Letters relating to Sale of Commission

Letters relating to the Sale of Commission (Limerick / London 1821-1822)

Thanks to a letter from the Public Records Office in 1950 to Kathleen May O’Hara (b 1907) (via Derek O’Hara), I managed to track down the letters relating to the sale of his commission in The National Archives 1.

Letter looking for Lawrence O'Hara in 1950

An officer of the British Army would have to purchase a commission. At the end of their term, they would be able to recoup the money by selling it on. This would be done through an intermediary agency, in this case Messrs Donaldson and Co.

Letter 1 (Brough offers money for purchase)

Buckingham St, Strand

Horse Guards

25th June 1821

Sir I have the Honor to refer to you the annexed copy of a Medical Report dated 15th instant upon the Case of Bt Major O’Hara of the 56th Regiment who has been absent from his Regiment in consequence of Ill Health since the 5th June 1819, and to acquaint you, that he has been informed in reply to an Application for Four Months further leave of Absence, that as no expectation is held out of his efficiency, the Commander in Chief cannot comply with his request, and he must therefore be placed upon the Half Pay

I have the honor to be, Sir
Your most Obedient
Humble Servant

Letter 2 – Annex (Lawrence’s Medical report)

Limerick
15th June 1821
Copy I hereby certify I have this day carefully examined Bt Major O’Hara of the 56th Regiment and find that his Health has been for the last three years much impaired by repeated Attacks of Rheumatic Gout & a liver Complaint attended with a [tropical?] affliction of the lumbar.

His General Constitution, and great Debility, which he reports was caused by Thirty Years Service in the East Indies. I am of opinion that Bt Major O’Hara is at this time unable to proceed to his Regiment, and further declare my belief that it does not appear to me there is any probability of this Officer becoming again fit for the Active Duties of a Military Life.

signed P Ormsby

Letter 3 (Covering Letter requesting leave to sell Commission)

Limerick
12th December 1821
Sir I beg leave to produce a Memorial to His Royal Majesty the Commander in Chief for leave to sell my Commission as Captain in His Majesty’s 56th Regiment of Foot and which you will be pleased to present.

I have the honour to be
Sir
Your most Obedient
Humble servant
L O’Hara Bt Major
HM 56th Regiment

Letter 4 (Letter requesting leave to sell Commission)

Limerick
12th December 1821
To His Royal Majesty the Commander in Chief

May it please your Royal Highness to obtain for me His Majesty’s consent to the sale of my commission of Captain in His Majesty’s 56th Regiment of Foot.
In case His Majesty will be graciously pleased to permit the same, I do declare and certify upon the word & honour of an officer and Gentleman, that I have not demanded nor accepted, neither will I demand nor accept directly or indirectly at any time or in any manner whatever, more than the sum of Eighteen hundred pounds being the price limited & fixed by His Majesty’s Regulations as the full value of said Commission

Letter 5 – Purchase Money transferred to Agent by Brough

42 Great Portland Street
7 January 1822
Sir I have to thank you for your communication of the 3rd inst. and in reply have the honor to inform you that Mssrs Donaldson and Co. the agents of the 56th Regiment are prepared to pay the purchase money for Lieut. Richmond William Brough when called upon.

I have the honor
to be Sir
Your most Obedient and very Humble servant
William Brough


  1. Memoranda of Appointments, Promotions and Resignations: 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 January 1822. 1822. The National Archives, Kew, WO 31/509 ↩︎