Military Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2017-06-30

The Military Accord System - Sweden

Introduction

While somewhat oversimplified, you could say that accord (ackord in Swedish) in former days was a way to buy and sell public positions, both within public services as well as within the armed forces. Accord was, in other words, a kind of purchase of a public position; a transfer of a public position or public office for a contractually agreed payment, defined in accordance with civil law. The accord system was a way to arrange private retirement annuities (pension insurance) for employees within public services and the armed forces. To a certain extent you could compare it with today’s golden parachutes. Accord was common in former days in Sweden, in particularly during the 18th century.

How it worked

When, for example, a lieutenant in the army was promoted to captain, if he accepted the promotion he had to pay a certain amount, the so-called accord, to his predecessor in that position. The promoted lieutenant could then sell his lieutenant position to his successor, a promoted second lieutenant. By selling his old position, the lieutenant raised most of the money needed to pay for his new position as captain. The higher the position, the higher amount to be paid. If the captain retired he cashed the full amount since he was not purchasing a new position. A person that had no prior position within the army and acquired an officer position was forced to pay the full amount by his own means. If he wasn’t from a wealthy family he perhaps would have to take out a loan. This was extremely difficult for people with very little means since the army didn’t normally pay them during the first year of service while they were trained to be an officer, often at first in lower positions. During an officer’s career he had to pay in total quite some substantial sums. For every promotion he had to pay a higher amount, although after the first commission he only paid the difference between the price of the new commission and what he got for his old commission when he sold it. However, since he received the full accord from his last commission when he retired, the system could be regarded as an investment for life. In 1833 the accord system was finally abolished by law in the armed forces and in 1840 in public administration (government services). It is estimated that the accord system came into use in the 1680’s, i.e. at the beginning of the Allotment System. It is difficult to state an exact date since this wasn’t a system instituted by the Government. There is a reason for that. The officers in the Allotment System received a residence, a homestead with land in the countryside. With higher rank came a larger residence. When a lieutenant was promoted to captain he also moved from his lieutenant residence to the captain residence. Officers were also paid in cash. However, when an officer retired he had to move out of his residence and if he wasn’t wealthy he and his wife might face poverty. The accord system prevented that since the retiring officer got an amount of money, the accord, when left his position. Military residences became available through the so-called “Reduction” in the 1680's during King Karl XI:s regency. In the "Reduction" process the Crown recaptured lands earlier granted to the nobility. An effect of the accord system was that the age of the active officers was kept relatively young. Without the accord system, many officers would probably have remained at their position until they died because they couldn’t afford to retire. You could say that the accord system arose due to the absence of a working pension system. The Army Retirement Fund was founded in 1757. Its purpose was to administer pensions to officers and NCOs, a pension that was based on the salary the person had when he retired. At the end of the 18th century the accord system worked in the following manner: the promoted person that took over a new position paid the amount for his position directly to the Army Retirement Fund which was in the bank Riksens Ständers Växelbank (corresponding to today’s Swedish Central Bank). The person in question wouldn’t get his new commission with the Army until this was done. The Army Retirement Fund charged 10% of the accord sum. The remaining part of the amount was paid to the officer who sold his commission. The successor to an officer that died while in service didn’t have to pay for any accord. However, the successor had to pay the 10% of the accord sum to the Army Pension Fund. This obligation was also compulsory for all officers with lower ranks that were now promoted due to the hastily arisen vacancy. For example, if a captain died a lieutenant was promoted to the new captain, then a second lieutenant had to be promoted to lieutenant to fill this vacancy, plus a new second lieutenant had to be found. The fact that the accord wasn’t paid to the next-of-kin of a deceased officer could strike the family very hard. The widow was left with debts from the loans taken to cover the accords but didn’t receive any money. The lack of cash could cause an officer to turn down a promotion. To take over a promoted position the officer had to pay his predecessor the accord for the new position. If he couldn’t afford the amount needed he had to turn down his promotion. In times of peace, competition was fierce for any officer position. Many desired a position as a second lieutenant. It was common that wealthy families put their children into service at a young age. The number of service years was important and the longer service times, the greater the opportunity for a promotion. In times of war competence was important to promotions but in times of peace the number of service years was the most important factor. However, in 1766 a regulation about promotions was passed which stated that the counting of service years couldn’t begin until the officer had received his commission.

Rules and Regulation

The rules and regulations for the accord system were changed many times during the second half of the 18th century. The system was disapproved of by the authorities and the Government made several attempts to stop the system by law. In 1734, 1741, 1748 and 1751 bills were passed in the Parliament prevent the system. However, none of these attempts were successful. Each officer had invested large amounts of money into the system so they weren’t willing to give it up. To get public control of the accord system the Government instead legalized it in 1757. The amounts to be paid for the different positions were set to a fixed sum. For example, the accord amount to be paid for the position of a second lieutenant was set to 1,666 daler silvermynt for the allotted infantry and to 3,333 daler silvermynt for the allotted cavalry. The newly established Army Retirement Fund was commissioned to administer the payment of the accords. The fund kept 10% of the paid accord amount as a fee, which was a good income for the retirement fund. In 1758 it was decided that an officer needed at least 30 years of service, counted from the officer’s 20th year of life, in order to receive accord when he was discharged. This was the same terms needed for the regular Army pension. A supplement was added to the terms in 1761 and 1762. Now, an officer wounded in battle but who hadn’t served for 30 years could still receive accord when discharged. In 1767 the accord system was abolished as a compulsory system. In other words it was made voluntary to pay for the accord sum. This was yet another attempt by the Government to stop the trading in accord. As a consequence of this regulation, the Army Retirement Fund no longer handled the accord payments. The absence of control lead to an escalation of accord amounts. Another attempt was made to stop the accord system in 1770. The regulation now stipulated that it was the officer with the highest number service years that was to be nominated as a candidate for promotion when a higher position was vacant. It was also stipulated that inability to pay for the accord amount mustn’t prevent this order of priority. In the same year the accord system was again made a compulsory system. However, the demand for 30 service years to receive accord when discharged was abolished. In 1774 another attempt was made to stop the system. All attempts to control the accord system failed, more or less. Too many officers and creditors had their money invested in the system. Therefore, it was almost impossible to stop it or replace it with something else. The system continued instead without any control at all (like a runaway horse), which resulted in heavily increased accord amounts. A consequence of the fact that the Army Retirement Fund no longer administered the accord payments was that they could no longer benefit from the 10% remuneration they had earlier. This meant that the regular pension system lost a valuable contribution of capital. Therefore, in 1793, it was decided that the Army Retirement Fund again was to administer the accord payments. Now they also tried to limit the amounts of the accord sums. They also drew up a plan to lower the accord amounts. In 1833 the accord system was finally abolished in the Armed Forces and in 1840 for government employees. However, the after-effects of the system lasted until the 1870’s.

Bizarre Effects of the Accord System

It was difficult for locals in the northern, less wealthy provinces of Sweden and Finland to advance to officers (Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809). During the major part of the 18th century almost all appointments of officers at the Österbotten Regiment of Finland went to wealthy young men from Sweden. The locally recruited NCOs in the poor Österbotten province had no means to pay for an accord. It happened that rich families in Sweden paid for the accord for a position as a second lieutenant for their young children, sometimes not even 10 years old at the time, who then did the so-called “gradpassering” (system of passing ranks which were a training period in lower ranks to later take positions as officers) before they even set foot at the Finnish regiment. They didn’t get their commission until they were finally qualified, however. The regimental commander of the Österbotten Regiment wrote a petition to the Government in 1741 where he pointed out that during the last 20 years no NCO at the regiment had been promoted to an officer’s position. He writes: "We have very competent young men here that are qualified to promotions". The following year, 1742, he wrote another petition where he complained about the same thing and mentioned that the regiment had received a new second lieutenant that had barely been born when the disregarded NCOs were first appointed officers.

An officer forced to bankruptcy

Second Lieutenant Carl Jacob Rahmé was forced to file a petition of bankruptcy on November 20, 1819, when he no longer could pay for the loan he had taken to pay for his accord. The petition arrived at a district court of law in Stockholm on April 27, 1818 (Case nr 3169), and the sentence was announced on November 20, 1819 (Number 264)]. Rahmé was born in 1786 and died of cholera in 1853. In 1802 Rahmé received his first position with the military and held a position as an artillery scribe in 1804. In 1805 he got his commission as an officer at the Garde du Corps (Livdrabantkåren) at age 19 years. He writes in his petition to the court in Stockholm that he was without means and therefore forced to take a loan for the 600 Riksdaler Banco needed to make the final payment on the accord. He writes: The reason for my current insolvency is that I, being of small means, paid for the accord for an officer’s position at the Garde du Corps before I was of age. The accord was on 600 Rdr Banco, a sum that I had to borrow. He paid the accord to his predecessor, Second Lieutenant Gustaf Borgstedt. Rahmé writes: I have received a commission as a Second Lieutenant at the Royal Garde du Corps with a regular salary plus fringe benefits, a position previously held by Second Lieutenant Gustaf Borgstedt whom I have paid 300 Rdr Banco for the accord and three months later another 600 Rdr Banco, Stockholm February 1807. He did the “gradpassering” during his first year as a commissioned officer, i.e. he served in lower positions to learn the profession. During this time he received no salary. He writes: Since I was poor, it was hard to serve nearly a year without pay. I only had means to pay for the most necessary and unavoidable expenses, that was needed for an officer doing “gradpassering”. However, the minimum expenses I had were still too much and I had to increase my debts even more. After he had passed his training year (gradpassering) he received an annual salary of 82 Rdr Banco. Later, his regiment, The Royal Garde du Corps, had to downsize so Rahmé received a corresponding position at an allotted regiment, the Hälsinge Regiment, in 1810. He kept his annual salary of 82 Rdr Banco, though. He writes: Shortly after I had received my annual salary of 82 Rdr Banco, the regiment had some cut backs and the company I served in was downsized which is why I was transferred as an officer to a provincial regiment with the retained salary of 82 Rdr Banco. He now had to pay for a new uniform, the uniform of Hälsinge Regiment, as well as pay for all other bills. Therefore, he had to take yet another loan. He writes: Now I was in a very difficult situation, without any means of my own and without any help from my family. I had to equip myself with a new uniform while I had to pay for fallen debts due to payment. Therefore, I had to take new loans to survive and thereby increase my debts. Nevertheless, I continued my service for two and a half years with the small pay I received without any other support. However, since I wasn’t able to make any down payments for the accord sum I had borrowed, the interest alone now came up to nearly two-thirds of the borrowed sum. Rahmé was now forced to resign from Hälsinge Regiment due to his financial problems since his salary was withdrawn. He then lost his entire accord since the Garde du Corps, where he had paid the accord for his position as second lieutenant, had no regulations for accord payments. Besides, at the Hälsinge Regiment he had no right to accord since no substitute was appointed. Therefore there was no one to pay for an accord for his current position. He writes: Since I was living in great poverty I had no other option than to resign since my salary at the Hälsinge Regiment was withdrawn. I have also lost the right to an accord since the corps where I was first employed as an officer and where I received a salary had no regulations for accord payments. Therefore, I could not receive any accord compensation. So, Rahmé stood there with his debts, with no job and a lost accord.

Certificate

This certifies that the former Second Lieutenant C J Rahmé, at first an officer at the Garde du Corps at the Stockholm Royal Palace and later transferred to the Royal Hälsinge Regiment with retained salary of 82 Rdr Banco and there discharged on January 8, 1812 when his salary was withdrawn and not have received an accord from neither the Hälsinge Regiment since no successor was appointed for his positions nor from the Garde du Corps where they have no accord regulation, has handed in evidence of the above. Stockholm October 19, 1818 The material about Second Lieutenant Carl Jacob Rahmé has been sent to me by Crister Lindström, Stockholm and is published on my site with his permission (February, 2004).

A person that began his military career as a NCO and advanced to

officer

This is an example of an officer whose destiny ended better than Rahmé’s. Jonas Brogren, born in 1780 in Östergötland, began his military career as an NCO and advanced to Lieutenant Colonel. In 1799 his father paid for his son’s accord for a vacant position as a “fältväbel” at Major’s Company in the Life Grenadier Regiment (later known as First Life Grenadier Regiment) with Unnerstad, Östergötland, as a residence. Fältväbel was an NCO rank, from 1833 named ”fanjunkare”. He received his appointment to fältväbel with salary on January 10, 1799 and did his “gradpassering” the same year. He was promoted to “stabsfänrik” (Staff second lieutenant) on June 23, 1803 at Lieutenant Colonel’s Company. He then paid the accord to his predecessor at this position, Lieutenant Gyllensköld. This promotion wasn’t an advantage when it comes to economic terms since the salary for this staff position was lower than the salary he held as a “fältväbel”. Staff positions were full officer positions but with a lower salary than the corresponding officer position with troop duty. For example, a staff second lieutenant held a salary of an NCO, a staff lieutenant held a salary of a second lieutenant, etc. Staff positions were in use in the companies of the regimental officers; Colonel’s Company (Life Company), Lieutenant Colonel’s Company and Major’s Company. Jonas Brogren nearly lost his accord for his “fältväbel” position when he was promoted to an officer’s position since his old position at first wasn’t replaced. However, it was soon replaced and he received his accord from his successor.  Later in 1803 he was transferred to a position as a second lieutenant at the First Major’s Company with Måla as a residence. For this position he paid yet another 200 Rdr accord but his financial position was greatly improved since he now received twice as much in salary.  Read more about the life of Jonas Brogren – an essay based on his memorandum (By Anders Brogren)

The Army Retirement Fund

The first official military pension system was the “Krigsmanshuskassan” founded in the 17th century which was a forerunner to the Army Retirement Fund (Arméns Pensionskassa) founded in 1757. The Army Retirement Fund gave officers and NCOs the right to a pension corresponding to the salary they had when they retired. The requirement was that they had to have at least 30 years of service to get a pension. Exceptions were made for officers and NCOs who due to illness and wounds couldn’t make 30 years. The financing of the retirement fund was built on the demand that everyone included in the retirement fund gave up 6% of their salary to the fund.

Gradpassering

Gradpassering” (passing ranks) was the service and training an officer or an NCO in the Swedish Army had to do in lower ranks in training purposes before he could take up a duty as an officer or an NCO. Gradpassering” was in other words a trainee period. According to regulations in the beginning of the 19th century a newly appointed officer had to do a training period of three months as a soldier, corporal and an NCO at an enlisted regiment and pass an examination. Thereafter he had to serve as an officer for two months at an enlisted regiment. If there was no enlisted regiment nearby, the new officer could do his training period, including the examination, at the allotted regiment where he had been appointed. The system of “Gradpassering” was abolished in 1883 when the rules for admittance to the War Academy were changed.  

Source References

1. "Officerskåren i Sverige under 1700-talet: En studie kring tjänsteställning, avlöning och tjänsteköp" , D-uppsats, 10 p, Department of History, Uppsala University by Esbjörn Larsson, 2000. 2. Kungliga Österbottens regemente 1723 - 1771, Svensk-Österbottniska Samfundet, skrift nr 29, Vasa, Finland 1973. 3. Handlingar vid Stockholms Stadsarkiv rörande Carl Jacob Rahmés konkurs 1819 (via Crister Lindstöm). Top of page
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Military Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2017-08-20

The Military Accord

System - Sweden

Introduction

While somewhat oversimplified, you could say that accord (ackord in Swedish) in former days was a way to buy and sell public positions, both within public services as well as within the armed forces. Accord was, in other words, a kind of purchase of a public position; a transfer of a public position or public office for a contractually agreed payment, defined in accordance with civil law. The accord system was a way to arrange private retirement annuities (pension insurance) for employees within public services and the armed forces. To a certain extent you could compare it with today’s golden parachutes. Accord was common in former days in Sweden, in particularly during the 18th century.

How it worked

When, for example, a lieutenant in the army was promoted to captain, if he accepted the promotion he had to pay a certain amount, the so-called accord, to his predecessor in that position. The promoted lieutenant could then sell his lieutenant position to his successor, a promoted second lieutenant. By selling his old position, the lieutenant raised most of the money needed to pay for his new position as captain. The higher the position, the higher amount to be paid. If the captain retired he cashed the full amount since he was not purchasing a new position. A person that had no prior position within the army and acquired an officer position was forced to pay the full amount by his own means. If he wasn’t from a wealthy family he perhaps would have to take out a loan. This was extremely difficult for people with very little means since the army didn’t normally pay them during the first year of service while they were trained to be an officer, often at first in lower positions. During an officer’s career he had to pay in total quite some substantial sums. For every promotion he had to pay a higher amount, although after the first commission he only paid the difference between the price of the new commission and what he got for his old commission when he sold it. However, since he received the full accord from his last commission when he retired, the system could be regarded as an investment for life. In 1833 the accord system was finally abolished by law in the armed forces and in 1840 in public administration (government services). It is estimated that the accord system came into use in the 1680’s, i.e. at the beginning of the Allotment System. It is difficult to state an exact date since this wasn’t a system instituted by the Government. There is a reason for that. The officers in the Allotment System received a residence, a homestead with land in the countryside. With higher rank came a larger residence. When a lieutenant was promoted to captain he also moved from his lieutenant residence to the captain residence. Officers were also paid in cash. However, when an officer retired he had to move out of his residence and if he wasn’t wealthy he and his wife might face poverty. The accord system prevented that since the retiring officer got an amount of money, the accord, when left his position. Military residences became available through the so-called “Reduction” in the 1680's during King Karl XI:s regency. In the "Reduction" process the Crown recaptured lands earlier granted to the nobility. An effect of the accord system was that the age of the active officers was kept relatively young. Without the accord system, many officers would probably have remained at their position until they died because they couldn’t afford to retire. You could say that the accord system arose due to the absence of a working pension system. The Army Retirement Fund was founded in 1757. Its purpose was to administer pensions to officers and NCOs, a pension that was based on the salary the person had when he retired. At the end of the 18th century the accord system worked in the following manner: the promoted person that took over a new position paid the amount for his position directly to the Army Retirement Fund which was in the bank Riksens Ständers Växelbank (corresponding to today’s Swedish Central Bank). The person in question wouldn’t get his new commission with the Army until this was done. The Army Retirement Fund charged 10% of the accord sum. The remaining part of the amount was paid to the officer who sold his commission. The successor to an officer that died while in service didn’t have to pay for any accord. However, the successor had to pay the 10% of the accord sum to the Army Pension Fund. This obligation was also compulsory for all officers with lower ranks that were now promoted due to the hastily arisen vacancy. For example, if a captain died a lieutenant was promoted to the new captain, then a second lieutenant had to be promoted to lieutenant to fill this vacancy, plus a new second lieutenant had to be found. The fact that the accord wasn’t paid to the next-of- kin of a deceased officer could strike the family very hard. The widow was left with debts from the loans taken to cover the accords but didn’t receive any money. The lack of cash could cause an officer to turn down a promotion. To take over a promoted position the officer had to pay his predecessor the accord for the new position. If he couldn’t afford the amount needed he had to turn down his promotion. In times of peace, competition was fierce for any officer position. Many desired a position as a second lieutenant. It was common that wealthy families put their children into service at a young age. The number of service years was important and the longer service times, the greater the opportunity for a promotion. In times of war competence was important to promotions but in times of peace the number of service years was the most important factor. However, in 1766 a regulation about promotions was passed which stated that the counting of service years couldn’t begin until the officer had received his commission.

Rules and Regulation

The rules and regulations for the accord system were changed many times during the second half of the 18th century. The system was disapproved of by the authorities and the Government made several attempts to stop the system by law. In 1734, 1741, 1748 and 1751 bills were passed in the Parliament prevent the system. However, none of these attempts were successful. Each officer had invested large amounts of money into the system so they weren’t willing to give it up. To get public control of the accord system the Government instead legalized it in 1757. The amounts to be paid for the different positions were set to a fixed sum. For example, the accord amount to be paid for the position of a second lieutenant was set to 1,666 daler silvermynt for the allotted infantry and to 3,333 daler silvermynt for the allotted cavalry. The newly established Army Retirement Fund was commissioned to administer the payment of the accords. The fund kept 10% of the paid accord amount as a fee, which was a good income for the retirement fund. In 1758 it was decided that an officer needed at least 30 years of service, counted from the officer’s 20th year of life, in order to receive accord when he was discharged. This was the same terms needed for the regular Army pension. A supplement was added to the terms in 1761 and 1762. Now, an officer wounded in battle but who hadn’t served for 30 years could still receive accord when discharged. In 1767 the accord system was abolished as a compulsory system. In other words it was made voluntary to pay for the accord sum. This was yet another attempt by the Government to stop the trading in accord. As a consequence of this regulation, the Army Retirement Fund no longer handled the accord payments. The absence of control lead to an escalation of accord amounts. Another attempt was made to stop the accord system in 1770. The regulation now stipulated that it was the officer with the highest number service years that was to be nominated as a candidate for promotion when a higher position was vacant. It was also stipulated that inability to pay for the accord amount mustn’t prevent this order of priority. In the same year the accord system was again made a compulsory system. However, the demand for 30 service years to receive accord when discharged was abolished. In 1774 another attempt was made to stop the system. All attempts to control the accord system failed, more or less. Too many officers and creditors had their money invested in the system. Therefore, it was almost impossible to stop it or replace it with something else. The system continued instead without any control at all (like a runaway horse), which resulted in heavily increased accord amounts. A consequence of the fact that the Army Retirement Fund no longer administered the accord payments was that they could no longer benefit from the 10% remuneration they had earlier. This meant that the regular pension system lost a valuable contribution of capital. Therefore, in 1793, it was decided that the Army Retirement Fund again was to administer the accord payments. Now they also tried to limit the amounts of the accord sums. They also drew up a plan to lower the accord amounts. In 1833 the accord system was finally abolished in the Armed Forces and in 1840 for government employees. However, the after-effects of the system lasted until the 1870’s.

Bizarre Effects of the Accord System

It was difficult for locals in the northern, less wealthy provinces of Sweden and Finland to advance to officers (Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809). During the major part of the 18th century almost all appointments of officers at the Österbotten Regiment of Finland went to wealthy young men from Sweden. The locally recruited NCOs in the poor Österbotten province had no means to pay for an accord. It happened that rich families in Sweden paid for the accord for a position as a second lieutenant for their young children, sometimes not even 10 years old at the time, who then did the so- called “gradpassering” (system of passing ranks which were a training period in lower ranks to later take positions as officers) before they even set foot at the Finnish regiment. They didn’t get their commission until they were finally qualified, however. The regimental commander of the Österbotten Regiment wrote a petition to the Government in 1741 where he pointed out that during the last 20 years no NCO at the regiment had been promoted to an officer’s position. He writes: "We have very competent young men here that are qualified to promotions". The following year, 1742, he wrote another petition where he complained about the same thing and mentioned that the regiment had received a new second lieutenant that had barely been born when the disregarded NCOs were first appointed officers.

An officer forced to bankruptcy

Second Lieutenant Carl Jacob Rahmé was forced to file a petition of bankruptcy on November 20, 1819, when he no longer could pay for the loan he had taken to pay for his accord. The petition arrived at a district court of law in Stockholm on April 27, 1818 (Case nr 3169), and the sentence was announced on November 20, 1819 (Number 264)]. Rahmé was born in 1786 and died of cholera in 1853. In 1802 Rahmé received his first position with the military and held a position as an artillery scribe in 1804. In 1805 he got his commission as an officer at the Garde du Corps (Livdrabantkåren) at age 19 years. He writes in his petition to the court in Stockholm that he was without means and therefore forced to take a loan for the 600 Riksdaler Banco needed to make the final payment on the accord. He writes: The reason for my current insolvency is that I, being of small means, paid for the accord for an officer’s position at the Garde du Corps before I was of age. The accord was on 600 Rdr Banco, a sum that I had to borrow. He paid the accord to his predecessor, Second Lieutenant Gustaf Borgstedt. Rahmé writes: I have received a commission as a Second Lieutenant at the Royal Garde du Corps with a regular salary plus fringe benefits, a position previously held by Second Lieutenant Gustaf Borgstedt whom I have paid 300 Rdr Banco for the accord and three months later another 600 Rdr Banco, Stockholm February 1807. He did the “gradpassering” during his first year as a commissioned officer, i.e. he served in lower positions to learn the profession. During this time he received no salary. He writes: Since I was poor, it was hard to serve nearly a year without pay. I only had means to pay for the most necessary and unavoidable expenses, that was needed for an officer doing “gradpassering”. However, the minimum expenses I had were still too much and I had to increase my debts even more. After he had passed his training year (gradpassering) he received an annual salary of 82 Rdr Banco. Later, his regiment, The Royal Garde du Corps, had to downsize so Rahmé received a corresponding position at an allotted regiment, the Hälsinge Regiment, in 1810. He kept his annual salary of 82 Rdr Banco, though. He writes: Shortly after I had received my annual salary of 82 Rdr Banco, the regiment had some cut backs and the company I served in was downsized which is why I was transferred as an officer to a provincial regiment with the retained salary of 82 Rdr Banco. He now had to pay for a new uniform, the uniform of Hälsinge Regiment, as well as pay for all other bills. Therefore, he had to take yet another loan. He writes: Now I was in a very difficult situation, without any means of my own and without any help from my family. I had to equip myself with a new uniform while I had to pay for fallen debts due to payment. Therefore, I had to take new loans to survive and thereby increase my debts. Nevertheless, I continued my service for two and a half years with the small pay I received without any other support. However, since I wasn’t able to make any down payments for the accord sum I had borrowed, the interest alone now came up to nearly two-thirds of the borrowed sum. Rahmé was now forced to resign from Hälsinge Regiment due to his financial problems since his salary was withdrawn. He then lost his entire accord since the Garde du Corps, where he had paid the accord for his position as second lieutenant, had no regulations for accord payments. Besides, at the Hälsinge Regiment he had no right to accord since no substitute was appointed. Therefore there was no one to pay for an accord for his current position. He writes: Since I was living in great poverty I had no other option than to resign since my salary at the Hälsinge Regiment was withdrawn. I have also lost the right to an accord since the corps where I was first employed as an officer and where I received a salary had no regulations for accord payments. Therefore, I could not receive any accord compensation. So, Rahmé stood there with his debts, with no job and a lost accord.

Certificate

This certifies that the former Second Lieutenant C J Rahmé, at first an officer at the Garde du Corps at the Stockholm Royal Palace and later transferred to the Royal Hälsinge Regiment with retained salary of 82 Rdr Banco and there discharged on January 8, 1812 when his salary was withdrawn and not have received an accord from neither the Hälsinge Regiment since no successor was appointed for his positions nor from the Garde du Corps where they have no accord regulation, has handed in evidence of the above. Stockholm October 19, 1818 The material about Second Lieutenant Carl Jacob Rahmé has been sent to me by Crister Lindström, Stockholm and is published on my site with his permission (February, 2004).

A person that began his military

career as a NCO and advanced to

officer

This is an example of an officer whose destiny ended better than Rahmé’s. Jonas Brogren, born in 1780 in Östergötland, began his military career as an NCO and advanced to Lieutenant Colonel. In 1799 his father paid for his son’s accord for a vacant position as a “fältväbel” at Major’s Company in the Life Grenadier Regiment (later known as First Life Grenadier Regiment) with Unnerstad, Östergötland, as a residence. Fältväbel was an NCO rank, from 1833 named ”fanjunkare”. He received his appointment to fältväbel with salary on January 10, 1799 and did his “gradpassering” the same year. He was promoted to “stabsfänrik” (Staff second lieutenant) on June 23, 1803 at Lieutenant Colonel’s Company. He then paid the accord to his predecessor at this position, Lieutenant Gyllensköld. This promotion wasn’t an advantage when it comes to economic terms since the salary for this staff position was lower than the salary he held as a “fältväbel”. Staff positions were full officer positions but with a lower salary than the corresponding officer position with troop duty. For example, a staff second lieutenant held a salary of an NCO, a staff lieutenant held a salary of a second lieutenant, etc. Staff positions were in use in the companies of the regimental officers; Colonel’s Company (Life Company), Lieutenant Colonel’s Company and Major’s Company. Jonas Brogren nearly lost his accord for his “fältväbel” position when he was promoted to an officer’s position since his old position at first wasn’t replaced. However, it was soon replaced and he received his accord from his successor.  Later in 1803 he was transferred to a position as a second lieutenant at the First Major’s Company with Måla as a residence. For this position he paid yet another 200 Rdr accord but his financial position was greatly improved since he now received twice as much in salary.  Read more about the life of Jonas Brogren – an essay based on his memorandum (By Anders Brogren)

The Army Retirement Fund

The first official military pension system was the Krigsmanshuskassan” founded in the 17th century which was a forerunner to the Army Retirement Fund (Arméns Pensionskassa) founded in 1757. The Army Retirement Fund gave officers and NCOs the right to a pension corresponding to the salary they had when they retired. The requirement was that they had to have at least 30 years of service to get a pension. Exceptions were made for officers and NCOs who due to illness and wounds couldn’t make 30 years. The financing of the retirement fund was built on the demand that everyone included in the retirement fund gave up 6% of their salary to the fund.

Gradpassering

Gradpassering” (passing ranks) was the service and training an officer or an NCO in the Swedish Army had to do in lower ranks in training purposes before he could take up a duty as an officer or an NCO. Gradpassering” was in other words a trainee period. According to regulations in the beginning of the 19th century a newly appointed officer had to do a training period of three months as a soldier, corporal and an NCO at an enlisted regiment and pass an examination. Thereafter he had to serve as an officer for two months at an enlisted regiment. If there was no enlisted regiment nearby, the new officer could do his training period, including the examination, at the allotted regiment where he had been appointed. The system of “Gradpassering” was abolished in 1883 when the rules for admittance to the War Academy were changed.  

Source References

1. "Officerskåren i Sverige under 1700-talet: En studie kring tjänsteställning, avlöning och tjänsteköp" , D-uppsats, 10 p, Department of History, Uppsala University by Esbjörn Larsson, 2000. 2. Kungliga Österbottens regemente 1723 - 1771, Svensk-Österbottniska Samfundet, skrift nr 29, Vasa, Finland 1973. 3. Handlingar vid Stockholms Stadsarkiv rörande Carl Jacob Rahmés konkurs 1819 (via Crister Lindstöm). Top of page