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The King granted preferments, that is offices, titles, posts, etc., as he saw fit. During his reign, Charles I granted preferments to many of his friends, and occasionally to those whom others considered his enemies. This was generally done to garner favour and cooperation, as well as to reward favours done for the Crown.
It was a tactic used also by ministers, such as Thomas Osborne, the Earl of Danby, whom had control over the disposition of various offices and pensions. Danby was said to have granted lucrative positions to many members of the House of Commons to gain influence in Parliament, and thereby the government, thus constituting High Treason.
Preferment is the term used to any side benefits that people can win for themselves. This includes titles (which comes with an extra estate) and offices. To gain these options you should wield Favour. Make sure that somebody higher up in the food chain owes you and then politely request the position, tax exemption etc.
Gaining a position in the Game
There are various ways of "getting ahead" in society.
One can buy a title. Most often one would buy a Baronet or Knighthood. This is what Cedric Doolittle did, henceforth known as Sir Cedric. This position doesn't buy entry in the House of Lords, nor does it come with an estate. Knights are not gentry, but Baronets are.
If a merchant wants to be come a Knight, it will generally take around 5,000 pound for The Chancellor's office to come up with an official achievement that merits the title. The title of Baronet will cost around 10,000 pound.
Theoretically one can buy a title of Baron (the lowest title that gives access to the House of Lords, as well as coming with an estate) but this would require quite a bit more than simply buying off The Chancellor's office. The King will require additional favours and a great deal more money. See under Royal Recognition.
An extraordinary achievement in the field of science, medicine, literature, military, etc. would warrant a title as Knight, or in exceptional cases Baronet, without extra money exchanging hands. Naturally moneys always smooths the way, but the King also wants to stimulate culture and scientific advancement, which adds to the greater glory of his reign, and this is his tool. If this is relevant one might also gain an office on the basis of merit.
Anything ranking between Baron and Duke (which includes such preferment titles as Duke's Daughter for ladies, which allows them to be called lady and stand above a mere Earl's Daughter) is reserved for royal favourites. This means the King uses preferment either to reward a favour done to him or to seek favour, like smoothing ruffled feathers or trying to convince his opponents to support a certain measure in Parliament.
How do you give favour to the King? Large Loans to support the Privy Purse, or indeed large loans to Royal Mistresses are a sure fire way of making the ever poor King happy. It could also be taking a noted stance in favour of the King in Parliament when it mattered. Perhaps you have fulfilled a dangerous mission for the King himself. Ladies of course know that being a Royal Mistress or indeed a Ducal one where it refers to York or Monmouth, can be an excellent way of rising into favour, but a steadfast cultural or witty presence might also gain one recognition.
In short, this is a longer process, worked on In Character, and a reward not for a single thing, but a long standing reputation. It would help if bribes are offered to the Chancellor's office in the case of peerage, or the department where one seeks office, as well as gaining supporters who advise the King. In practical terms the King will need a vacated estate or extinct title before he gives it away. In some rare cases a true new peerage is created.
There is no benefit called Preferment. If you choose the benefit High Rank your character starts out with a higher preferment than others. You can add to that by having your family be a Famous Family or a Politically connected family.
Making Money out of Preferment
You don't want Preferment just because it looks nice. It brings in hard cash.
Official Positions: Selling an office
Just as you can buy a position, you can also sell one once you are done with. If you are a military commander you might in fact be selling commissions to young officers (up to 500 pounds). The same is true for government positions. That might cover several thousand of pounds.
Official Positions: Bribery, graft
See Also Favour
Graft is the unscrupulous use of one's position to derive profit or advantages. Bribery is the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in discharge of a public or legal duty. The bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient's conduct. It may be any money, good, right in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, object of value, advantage, or merely a promise or undertaking to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity.
This not only took place, it was expected of people to earn something on the side. If you have an official office you can use it to gain some profitable extra's.
Lottery, Monopolies, Tax Exemptions and other Royal goodies
The King is key here, and of course his ministers like Arlington and Danby. The King could grant a character a single royal decree in which a lottery is allowed. Or a tax exemption on wine. Perhaps you fancy a monopoly on a product that needs to be imported. Or anything that would either reduce cost or would give you ready cash. The King of course is also the one to curry favour to if you want extra titles (and thus extra estates that might earn you extra money), or indeed one of his toadies such as the Duke of Lauderdale, the Duke of York or the Duke of Monmouth . Most peers have more than one estate. Don't miss out. Keep favour with the King and his royal favourites!