Patronage in the Royal Navy: An Old Flame

In this our third and final post, Doctoral Student Catherine Beck continues to make discoveries in the papers of eighteenth century Admiral, John Markham...

John Markham received patronage requests from across his social network, from old shipmates to his close family friends.

One lapsed acquaintance caught my attention. In a box marked ‘friends and family’ was a letter from Mrs Lucy Kantzou in 1798. Another letter from 1786 mentions Markham’s love for a lady in Lisbon, Miss Lucy Grosett. In 1787, Miss Lucy Grosett married Markham’s friend and became Mrs Kantzou.

Lucy Kantzou wrote: ‘I address you just as if no such long period had elapsed and in assuring you that my esteem is not diminished recommend to your acquaintance a friend and relation of mine Mr Walter Grosett.’

After 11 years of silence, Lucy Kantzou used her connection to request a promotion for her nephew aboard Markham’s ship.

The quote from Lucy Kantzou's letter The quote from Lucy Kantzou's letter

This letter shows there were more ways to forge connections than polite acquaintance and family friends. It also makes me cautious when gauging the intimacy of a connection based on the letters that survive...