Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 1, Treasury Officials 1660-1870. Originally published by University of London, London, 1972.
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Messengers of the Receipt and Messengers to First Lord 1660-1870; Office Keeper to First Lord 1836-70
The Messengers of the Receipt were four in number and were appointed by the crown by letters patent under the great seal, for life from 1660 to 1689 (fn. 1) and during pleasure thereafter. They were authorised by their patents to exercise their functions by deputy. Their offices formed part of the establishment of the Receipt of the Exchequer. As such they were subordinate to the Treasurer and, when the Treasury was in commission, came under the nominal authority of the Board. (fn. 2) The Messengers of the Receipt and their deputies were included in the Treasury establishment list of 1715 but they proved of little practical utility and the Board was obliged to make other arrangements to secure an adequate messengerial service. (fn. 3) In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries such functions as they did perform appear to have been undertaken for the First Lord rather than for the Board as a whole. (fn. 4)
In 1831 the right of appointment to these offices passed from the crown to the Treasury and in 1836 the Messengers were reorganised. They were obliged to exercise their duties in person and were placed under a Superintendent who bore the additional title of Office Keeper to the First Lord. (fn. 5) Thereafter the designation 'Messenger of the Receipt' passed out of currency being replaced by that of 'Messenger to the first Lord'.
The remuneration received by the Messengers of the Receipt was derived from a variety of sources. As officers of the receipt they received salaries of £60 0s 4½d in 1715 (fn. 6) and a total income of £232 7s 10d in 1786. (fn. 7) During the eighteenth century the allowances which had originally been provided for additional Messengers were attached to their offices. (fn. 8) In 1793 these allowances were discontinued. (fn. 9) In 1836 salaries of £150 were provided for the Messengers to the First Lord. At the same time £200 was provided for the Superintendent and Office Keeper. (fn. 10) This was increased to £220 in 1860. (fn. 11)