Note on Editorial Method
This volume is designed to make available lists of the officials who served in the
Colonial Office between 1794 and 1870. For this purpose the Colonial Office is
defined as the office of the third Secretary of State, established in 1794, which originally had responsibility for war alone and to which the conduct of the business
relating to the colonies was transferred in 1801. The department continued to have
charge of war and colonies until 1854 when the responsibility for war was transferred
to a distinct department, that of Secretary of State for War. The terminal point for the
lists is the end of 1870, the year which witnessed the introduction of the system of open
competition for entrants into the Civil Service. The material is presented in four
parts: an introduction, lists of appointments, periodic lists of officials and an alphabetical list of officials. The purpose of the introduction is to provide a short account of
the institutional development of the Colonial Office during the period in order that the
various offices and grades may be related to their general context. The lists of appointments give the dates of appointments to these offices and grades. They are preceded by
introductory notes which bring together information concerning such matters as the
method of appointment, remuneration and other relevant material. The periodic lists
enable the complete establishment to be seen at selected dates.
The alphabetical list is not intended to be a biographical index. Its purpose is
confined simply to providing summarised accounts of the offices held by each individual within the Colonial Office during the period. No information has been
included unless it is directly relevant to this purpose. Thus dates of death are included
only if the individual in question was in office at his death. Appointments to offices
outside the Colonial Office have been ignored unless they occasioned, or can reasonably be held to have occasioned, the departure of the official from the Colonial Office.
In general the accounts of the careers of the 'political' officials, the Secretary of State
and the Parliamentary Under Secretary, have been confined to a simple statement of
their periods of service in these offices; information concerning resignations and
retirements is provided only in the case of those holding 'permanent' offices. Where an
individual held an additional office within the Colonial Office such as a private
secretaryship, which was not directly related to the ordinary course of promotion, the
details of his period of service in this additional office have been placed in a separate
paragraph. The accounts of the careers of those who were in office at the end of 1870
have not been continued beyond this point.
All references have been concentrated in the alphabetical list. Peers and holders of
courtesy titles have been indexed under their titles. In the case of change of name or
status, appropriate cross-references have been inserted. Unless otherwise noted,
information concerning peers and baronets has been taken from the Complete Peerage
(ed. G. E. C. 2nd ed. 13 vols. London 1910-59), the Complete Baronetage (ed. G. E. C.
5 vols. Exeter 1900-6) and Burke's Peerage.
Certain conventions have been adopted for dating appointments. Where possible
the date selected is that of formal entry into office where this can be ascertained. Thus
appointments of Secretaries of State are dated by reference to the day on which they
received the seals of office; those of Under Secretaries and Clerks by reference to the
letters written in connection with the privilege of franking, where these are available.
This information has been supplemented by letters and minutes of appointment by
the Secretary of State. Where there is no indication of the date of appointment of an
individual, his period of service is dated by reference to the time during which he
received a salary or other remuneration or, failing this information, by reference to the
earliest and latest date at which he is found occupying a particular office. All officials
are taken to have remained in office until the appointment of their successors unless
there is clear evidence to support the selection of an earlier date.