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Three Warrants on Rank in North America
Edited by Keith Raynor

Whilst undertaking some research in the Public Records Office, London, England I came across the following documents relating to the " Settlng of Rank " in North America during the Seven Years War. The original documents can be found in WO 26/23, pages 87 & 88, and pages 354 to 356. I have reproduced them below as they might be of interest to re-enactors or other researchers. And, you never know, they could be handy things to quote in moments of friendly dispute.

Warrant for Settling the Rank and Precedence in America.

"GEORGE R.

Whereas Doubts may arise with regard to the Rank & Precedence to be observed between the Commander in Chief, Generals, and other Officers, of our Forces in America, and the Gov'rs, Lieut. Gov'rs, and Presidents of the Council of our several Provinces, and Colonies; in order to fix the same & prevent all disputes, We do hereby declare, that it is OUR WILL AND PLEASURE, that the following Rules be observed with respect to the Rank and Precedence of the said Persons in America vizt.

1st...The Commander in Chief of Our Forces by Commifsion under Our Great Seal of Great Britain.

2d....Captains General and Governours in Chief of Our Provinces, & Colonies, when in their respective Governments, as appointed by Commifsion under Our Great Seal of Great Britain.

3d....General Officers upon the Staff.

4th...Captains General & Governours in Chief of Our Provinces & Colonoies when out of their respective Governments.

5th...Lieut. Governours, and Presidents of Council when Commanders in Chief of Our Provinces & Colonies in their Respective Governments.

6th...Colonels.

7th...Lieut. Governors, and Presidents of Council when Commanders in Chief of Our Provinces & Colonies out of their respective Governments.

8th...Lieut. Governours of Proprietary Governments when in their respective Governments.

9th...Lieut. Governours of Our Provinces & Colonies, not being Commanders in Chief out of their respective Governments.

10th..Governours of Charter Colonies when in their respective Colonies.

11th..All Field Officers under the rank of Collonels.

12th..Lieut. Govrs. of Proprietary Governments, out of their respective Governments.

13th..Govrs. of Charter Colonies out of their respective Colonies.

All Captains General, & Govrs. in Chief of Our Provinces & Colonies, to take Rank according to the Duties of their Commifsions.

All Lieut. Govrs. of Our Provinces & Colonies the same.

All Lieut. Govrs. of Proprietary Governments the same.

Govrs. of Charter Colonies according to the date of their Charters.

Given at Our Court at Kensington this 7th day of May 1756 in the

Twenty Ninth year of our Reign.
By His Majesty's Command. H.Fox."

Warrant for Settling the Rank of Provincial General & Field Officers in No. America.

"GEORGE R.

Whereas some doubts have arisen with regard to the Rank and Command, which the General and Field Officers of the Troops raised by the Governours of Our Provinces in North America should have when joined, or serving together with Our Regular Forces, in Our said Provinces; In order to fix the same, & to prevent all Disputes on that account We do hereby declare, that it is OUR WILL & PLEASURE that all General & Field Officers serving by commifsion from the Govrs; Lieutenant or Deputy Govrs; or Presidents of the Council, for theTime being of Our Provinces shall take Rank as eldest Captains, on all detachments, Courts Martial or other Duty. WHEREIN the said Govrs & Field Officers may be employed in North America in conjunction with other Regular Forces.

Given at Our Court at Kensington this 12th day of May 1756 in the

Twenty Ninth year of Our Reign.
By His Majesty's Command. H.Fox."

Warrant for setting the Rank of Provincial Officers in North America.

"GEORGE R.

Whereas by our warrant bearing Date the 12th day of November 1754, in the twenty eighth year of our Reign, we were pleased to declare that all Troops serving by Commifsion sign'd by us, or by our General Commanding in Chief in North America, shall take Rank before all Troops which may serve by Commifsion from any of the Governors, Lieuts or Deputy Governors, or Presidents for the time being, of our Provinces in North America, and that the General and Field Officers of the Provincial Troops should have no Rank with the General and Field Officers who serve by Commifsion from us, But that all Captains and other inferior Officers of our Forces who are or may be employed in North America, are on all Detachments, Courts Martial or other Duty wherein they may bejoined with Officers serving by Commifsion from the Governors, Lieut. or Deputy Governors or Presidents for the time being, of the said Provinces, to command and take post

of the said Provincial Officers of the like Rank, though the Commifsions of the said Provincial Officers of the like Rank, sho'd. be of elder Date;

And Whereas by another Warrant bearing date the 12th day of May 1756 in the twenty ninth year of our Reign, We were pleased further to declare that all General and Field Officers serving by Commifsion from the Governors, Lieut. or Deputy Governors or Presidents of the Council for the time being, of our Provinces in North America, should take Rank

as eldest Captains on all Detachments, Courts Martial, or other duty, wherein the said General and Field Officers maybe employed in North America in conjunction with our Regular Forces.

And Whereas not withstanding the Regulations above recited, Difficulties have arisen with regard to the Rank of the Provincial Officers when acting in conjunction with our Regular Forces, and we being willing to give due encouragement to Officers serving in our Provincial Troops, are hereby pleased to declare, that it is OUR WIll AND PLEASURE that for the future all General Officers and Colonels serving by Commifsion honorary of the Governors, Lieutenant or Deputy Governors or Presidents of the Council for the time being, of our Provinces and Colonies in North America, shall on all Detachments, Courts Martial, or other Duty, wherein they may be employ'd in conjunction with our Regular Forces, take Rank next after all Colonels serving by Commifsions signed by us, though the Commifsions of such Provincial Generals and Colonels, should be of elder date, and in like manner, that all Lieut. Colonels, Majors, Captains, and other inferior Officers, serving by commifsion from the Governors, Lieut. or deputy Governors, or Presidents of the

Council, for the time being, of our said Provinces, and Colonies, in North America, shall on all Detachments, Courts Martial, or other Duty, wherein they may be employ'd in conjunction with our Regular Forces, have Rank next after all Officers of the like Rank, serving by commifsions signed by us, or by our General Commanding in Chief in North America,

though the commifsions of such Provincial Lieutenant Colonels, Majors, Captains, and other inferior Officers, should be of elder date to those of the like Rank signed by us, or by our said General.

Given at our Court at St. James's the thirtieth day of December 1757 in the thirty first year of our Reign.
By His Mayesty's Command W. Pitt."

Copyright: Keith Raynor, 1999.


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