1) I realize this would depend on where they are stationed, but in the best of circumstances, how often could officers and midshipmen correspond with their families? And if they were stationed in Europe, would the letters be stored until their ship came into port?
1a) how much did postage of letters/parcels cost?
2) I know "ratings" auctioned off and bought their dead comrades' items---is the same true for officers or midshipmen? Or depending on their station, were their personal belongings sent to their families?
3) Could a midshipman resign his position? Or was he irredeemably stuck once he signed on?
4) What kind of personal items would officers and midshipman have with them at sea?
Edit: Sorry folks, just to clarify---I'm asking after the 1790s to the 1800s.