Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 2, Officials of the Secretaries of State 1660-1782. Originally published by University of London, London, 1973.

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'Introduction', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 2, Officials of the Secretaries of State 1660-1782, (London, 1973), pp. 1-21. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

. "Introduction", in Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 2, Officials of the Secretaries of State 1660-1782, (London, 1973) 1-21. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

. "Introduction", Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 2, Officials of the Secretaries of State 1660-1782, (London, 1973). 1-21. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

In this section



At the Restoration the practice of appointing two Secretaries of State, which was well established before the Civil War, was resumed. Apart from the modifications which were made necessary by the occasional existence of a third secretaryship, the organisation of the secretariat underwent no fundamental change from that time until the reforms of 1782 which resulted in the emergence of the Home and Foreign departments. (fn. 1) The powers of the Secretaries were in theory identical. They could undertake any of the business and were obliged to do so in cases where one of the offices was vacant or its occupant absent. However, while there were no binding rules, certain conventions governing the distribution of functions came to be generally understood and accepted. English domestic affairs remained the responsibility of both Secretaries throughout the period. In the field of foreign affairs there was a division into a Northern and a Southern Department, each of which was the responsibility of one Secretary. The distinction between the two departments emerged only gradually. It was not until after 1689 that their names passed into general currency. Nevertheless the division of foreign business itself can, in its broad outlines, be detected in the early years of the reign of Charles II. (fn. 2) Until 1674 the incoming Secretary took over the responsibilities of the Secretary whom he replaced. Between 1674 and 1706 it was usual for a newly appointed Secretary to take charge of the Northern Department and to move to the Southern Department, to which higher remuneration was attached, when a vacancy occurred and he came to occupy the senior position. There was, however, an exception to this convention. During Vernon's tenure of office (1697- 1702) Jersey and Manchester took charge of the Southern Department immediately on appointment although both were junior to him in length of service. From 1706 it was usual for a Secretary to remain throughout his period of service in the Department to which he had been first appointed. (fn. 3) When the process of equalising the remuneration of the Secretaries was finally completed in 1709, the distinction which had previously existed between the senior and junior offices ceased to have any practical significance.

In 1709 a third Secretary was appointed and given responsibility for Scottish affairs which had formerly fallen to the Secretary in charge of the Northern Department. (fn. 4) Queensberry, the first holder of this office, was able to obtain a share in the conduct of foreign business but his successors were confined to Scottish affairs. The office was left vacant from 1726. It was revived in 1742 and was finally discontinued in 1746. A third Secretary was again appointed in 1768 and given charge of colonial business which was transferred from the Southern Department. (fn. 5) In 1782 the secretariat was reorganised. The Colonial Department was abolished. All domestic and colonial business was transferred to the former Southern Department which came to be known as the Home Office while the sole responsibility for foreign business was allocated to the former Northern Department which came to be known as the Foreign Office. (fn. 6)

Special arrangements were made for the performance of secretarial functions when the King went abroad. It was generally accepted that he should be accompanied by a Secretary of State on such occasions. However, William III, although he took first Nottingham and then Sydney with him to the Low Countries in 1691, left both Secretaries in England at other times. During the expedition to Ireland in 1690 Sir Robert Southwell accompanied the King and undertook the necessary secretarial duties; and William Blathwayt acted similarly during the annual expeditions to Holland and Flanders between 1692 and 1701. Neither Southwell nor Blathwayt was ever actually appointed a Secretary of State. (fn. 7) George I and George II followed a more orthodox course when they visited their German possessions and were, as a general rule, accompanied by one of the Secretaries while the other remained in England. However, this practice was varied in 1723 when both Secretaries went with the King to Hanover and in 1736 when both remained in England, the King being accompanied abroad by Horatio Walpole. (fn. 8) On two occasions the royal absences abroad gave rise to the appointment of temporary Secretaries. In June 1716 Methuen was appointed to take charge of the Southern Department in the absence of Stanhope and in 1723 Walpole was appointed to conduct the secretarial business of the Northern and Southern Departments in England in the absence of Townshend and Carteret.


Before an attempt is made to give an account of the officials of the Secretaries of State, something must be said about the nature of the relevant evidence. It is in several respects less satisfactory than that available for other major departments. In consequence many details must remain tentative and imprecise. Precision is usually attainable in the case of the periods of service of the Secretaries of State themselves and of those officials who were appointed by instruments or who received their salaries from some public source. Included in these two groups are the Clerks of the Signet, the Secretaries for the Latin and French Tongues, the Writer of the Gazette (after 1719) and the Keeper, Collector and Methodisers of State Papers. It is otherwise in the case of the Secretaries' immediate officials-the Under Secretaries, the Clerks, the Office Keepers and the Necessary Women. These were appointed directly by the Secretaries and until the end of the period remained in theory their personal servants. While conventions grew up in the course of time which were usually respected by successive Secretaries, these never found formal or binding expression. A few memoranda relating to office organisation have survived but they were evidently drawn up in response to particular contingencies and there is nothing to suggest that they formed part of a continuous collection of comparable material. (fn. 9)

The officials in this last category received no instruments of appointment and took no oaths of office. There was, therefore, no occasion for any systematic record of their appointments to be kept. However, there is one reasonably satisfactory source which in some measure supplies this deficiency. This is the series of letters written in connection with the privilege of franking which was enjoyed by the Under Secretaries, Clerks and certain other officials designated by the Secretaries of State. Following the appointment of a Secretary it was the usual practice for a letter to be sent to the Post Office giving details of the composition of his office. Further letters were sent in the event of subsequent changes. While the privilege itself was well established by 1685, the first letter of this kind to survive is of 1708. (fn. 10) There are considerable gaps but the series is reasonably complete from this date until the end of the period. These letters are of great value in determining the identity of Under Secretaries and Clerks. However, they must be used with caution since there are a number of cases in which it can be shown from other sources that they were written a considerable time after the appointments which they record. (fn. 11)

Also of value in determining the periods of service of the Secretaries' officials are the documents relating to their remuneration. These fall broadly into two categories- the accounts of the office fees and the accounts of the receipts and disbursements of the Secretaries of State. The practice of exacting fees of fixed amounts on certain types of business transacted by the Secretaries was already well established in the reign of Charles II. In 1684 the recipients in one of the offices were the Secretary himself, the senior 'Clerk', the 'Writing' Clerk and the Chamber Keeper. This was probably the case for the other office as well. As will be seen the pattern of distribution at this date was the basis of the eighteenth-century convention whereby the right to official fees in each office was enjoyed by the Secretary, the two Under Secretaries, the First or Chief Clerk and the two Office Keepers. (fn. 12) Originally there was considerable competition between the offices for those types of business which gave rise to the payment of fees. This was brought to an end in 1699 when an agreement was made according to which the fees received in each office were periodically brought to account and then divided equally between them. (fn. 13) By the eighteenth century the function of keeping the accounts of the office fees had devolved upon the Chief Clerks who were also responsible for collecting the fees and paying them to the officials who were entitled to them. Where signed receipts occur in the account books they enable these officials to be identified. The earliest accounts of fees to survive cover part of Coventry's period of office 1672-3 and the whole of Williamson's 1674-9 and Conway's 1681-3 but they contain nothing of value for the identification of their officials. (fn. 14) The first accounts to be of any use in this connection are for Vernon's secretaryship 1697-1702. (fn. 15) Apart from Harley's accounts nothing further survives until 1727 when the series in the Public Record Office begins. This series is far from complete. (fn. 16)

At least two other types of accounts were kept in connection with the Secretaries' official activities. The accounts of the London Gazette, the profits of which the Secretaries shared, were kept by the printer. A few of these accounts have survived and from these it is evident that, in the earlier part of the period, some Secretaries made provision for the remuneration of their officials out of their receipts from this source. Coventry assigned his share of the profits to his Under Secretary, Cooke. The elder Sunderland divided his share between one of his Under Secretaries and two of his Clerks. (fn. 17) Trumbull, Harley and, during his first period of office, the younger Sunderland paid salaries to their Clerks and inferior staff from the same source. (fn. 18) The more common practice, however, was for these salaries to be paid by the Chief Clerks who came to be responsible for receiving the Secretaries' various salaries and allowances and accounting for the disbursements made from them. The earliest accounts of this kind are for Vernon's term of office. (fn. 19) Others survive for part of Carteret's and Newcastle's terms of office between 1724 and 1739. (fn. 20) Receipts for the salaries of Clerks and others exist for the secretaryships of the younger Sunderland 1717-18, Stanhope 1718-21, Tweeddale 1742-6 and Egremont 1761-3. (fn. 21)

The rather meagre amount of information obtainable from these sources may be supplemented by that contained in the warrants for the payment of travelling allowances and board wages in connection with the journeys of the court either abroad or to one of the royal residences outside London. In the case of journeys abroad the Secretary of State who accompanied the King took some of his officials with him. In 1736 when both Secretaries remained in England, Horatio Walpole went to Hanover with a collection of officials drawn from both offices. Occasionally persons who were not Secretaries' officials were temporarily attached to the staff in these circumstances. Thus Luke Schaub acted as Under Secretary to Stanhope in 1719 and Caspar Wetstein to Carteret in 1743. (fn. 22) In the case of domestic journeys, which were either to Windsor or Hampton Court, it was the practice for both Secretaries to accompany the court. (fn. 23) Also of some value for an understanding of the Secretaries' offices is the diary of Brietzcke, who held office as a Clerk in the Northern and Southern departments from 1756 to 1782 and subsequently in the Home Office. The surviving portions of the diary which extend from 1759 to 1764 throw considerable light on working conditions and on the principles that governed the organisation of the offices at this period. (fn. 24)

Since so few of the documents most closely associated with establishment matters have survived, considerable reliance must be placed on incidental references to Secretaries' officials in tracing their careers. The appointments of Under Secretaries are often the subject of comment in newsletters, Luttrell's Historical Relation and, later, in the Historical Register and the Gentleman's Magazine. Their periods of service can be established reasonably accurately from references to them in the official letter books where these survive. The careers of the Clerks and inferior officials present greater problems since they attracted less attention in view of their relatively small importance. Contemporary published lists are, however, of some value in this connection. 'Chief Secretaries' to the Secretaries of State first appear in the edition of Chamberlayne's Present State for 1682. (fn. 25) The first reasonably full account of the offices occurs in that for 1694. Most subsequent editions of this and other comparable works contain such lists although it is not until the second quarter of the eighteenth century that their accuracy can be relied upon.

It will be clear from the nature of the sources that any description of the principles which governed the organisation of the Secretaries' offices must in many respects be tentative. However, by the end of the reign of William III, a pattern had emerged which, with some minor modifications, was to endure until the end of the period. The arrangements in the offices of the two older Secretaries will first be described. Those in the Scottish and Colonial Departments will be considered later.


By 1702 it was the established practice for each office to be staffed by two Under Secretaries, a First or Chief Clerk, a varying number of other Clerks, two Chamber or Office Keepers and a Cleaner or Necessary Woman. Lack of evidence makes it impossible to trace the origin of these arrangements with any certainty. The practice of maintaining in unbroken succession two Secretaries of State dated from the latter part of the reign of James I. There was, therefore, a period of about a quarter of a century before the outbreak of the Civil War during which there was an opportunity for conventions governing the organisation of their offices to become established. A letter of 1628 describing the conditions in Secretary Coke's office implies that certain principles had already gained acceptance at that date. (fn. 26) The writer in this case was seeking appointment to the position of 'English and ancientest Secretary' to Coke. It is clear that the holder of this office was the Secretary of State's principal subordinate, ranking above a number of other Clerks or 'Secretaries' who received small salaries.

While there is no direct evidence on the point it is reasonable to suppose that in 1660 the Secretaries of State reconstructed their offices on the principles which had been current before the Interregnum. The first document to give a clear picture of the situation dates in its final form from 1684. It is a memorandum describing the situation in Middleton's office shortly after his appointment in that year. (fn. 27) It must be emphasised that this memorandum deals with only one of the Secretaries' offices. Nevertheless it embodies features which have enough in common with what is known about the situation both before and after the time when it was drawn up to make it a suitable point of departure for a discussion of the principles governing the organisation of the offices during the period covered by these lists. The memorandum names Middleton's Clerks in order of seniority and gives details of their functions and remuneration. The first Clerk in the list is Cooke who had important general responsibilities and undertook the direction of the office as a whole. He received no salary but was entitled to fees on official business. Next is Wynne who also had general responsibilities and was rewarded by the relatively large salary of £200 paid by the Secretary of State. Then follow three Clerks, de Paz, Chute and Carne, who received salaries ranging from £40 to £60. Finally there is a Writing Clerk, Widdows, who was particularly attached to the service of Cooke, the senior Clerk, from whom he received a salary. The memorandum indicates that the Writing Clerk and the Office Keeper, like the senior Clerk, were entitled to fees on official business which were distinct from those enjoyed by the Secretary of State himself. This suggests that they formed the original nucleus from which the Secretaries' offices developed.


The first question to be considered in the light of the memorandum of 1684 is the origin of the office of Under Secretary. It should be emphasised in this connection that the term 'Under Secretary', although found in use as early as 1672, (fn. 28) passed only gradually into general currency. For a considerable period it was used concurrently with the designations 'Secretary', 'Clerk', and even 'Chief Secretary' and 'Chief Clerk'. (fn. 29) This confusion adds appreciably to the difficulty of tracing the development of the office in the earlier part of the period. However, it is clear that in 1684, although all Middleton's subordinates are described as 'Clerks', the two most senior, Cooke and Wynne, are, from the point of view of function and remuneration, in a different category from the rest and approximate to the condition of 'Under Secretaries'. It seems that Cooke's situation corresponded to that of the 'English or ancientest Secretary' in Coke's office in 1628 and of the 'inward men' of other early Stuart Secretaries of State. On the other hand, the fact that the fees to which Cooke was entitled as senior 'Clerk' in 1684 were the same as those received by the Under Secretaries in the eighteenth century places the basic identity of his office with theirs beyond doubt. (fn. 30) Cooke's position as the principal subordinate in one of the offices can be traced back to the Restoration. For how long he had had a colleague of comparable standing is unknown. Wynne was brought into the office by Secretary Jenkins in 1680 almost certainly to replace Thynne who had served Coventry in a similar capacity since 1672. There is thus reasonable justification for tracing the pattern of two 'Under Secretaries' in this office at least as far back as the latter year. Wynne received his renumeration in 1684 in the form not of fees but of a salary from the Secretary of State which suggests that the practice of appointing a second 'Under Secretary' may have been a relatively late development. As will be seen it was later the practice for the two Under Secretaries to share equally in the product of the fees accruing to the Secretary's principal subordinate, a development which had the effect of placing them more in a position of parity. Nevertheless, in spite of this distinction between Cooke and Wynne, it seems reasonable to describe them both as Under Secretaries. It is worth noting in this connection that in the edition of Chamberlayne's Present State for 1684 both are designated 'Chief Secretaries' to Jenkins. (fn. 31)

It is difficult to say how far the arrangements just described were reflected in the other office during the reign of Charles II. The only document to throw any light on this question is a memorandum drawn up by Williamson in 1673 which gives some information about the state of Arlington's office at that date. (fn. 32) Williamson had occupied a leading position in this office ever since the Restoration. He frequently received communications on official business from Cooke which suggests that the two men were of comparable standing. (fn. 33) The precise nature of Williamson's functions is nowhere defined and he appears not to have had any consistent designation. In his earlier years in the office he is occasionally called 'Secretary' to Nicholas and Arlington and seems to have occupied a position similar to that of Whittaker and Godolphin who are also so described. But in 1673 he differentiated his situation from that of Arlington's then Secretaries, Bridgeman and Richards. At that date the direction of the office was in Williamson's hands while Bridgeman and Richards were acting more as Private Secretaries than as the later Under Secretaries. However, Williamson's career was unusual. There is no parallel to the employment of a person of his prominence in a subordinate position in the Secretaries' offices and the customary pattern of organisation may have been adapted to meet his case. When he became Secretary himself in 1674 in succession to Arlington he does not appear to have appointed a single individual to fill the role which he had occupied in the office. He retained the services of Bridgeman as one of his 'Secretaries' and replaced Richards by Brisbane. Bridgeman appears to have been the more important of the two and to have carried out many of the functions that Williamson had performed (fn. 34) but, so far as the fragmentary nature of the evidence allows a judgment to be formed, it seems that from 1674 the pattern of organisation in this office conformed closely to that already observed in the other. Certainly the complier of the edition of Chamberlayne's Present State for 1684 felt able to equate the position of Bridgeman and Mountsteven, 'Chief Secretaries' to Sunderland with that of Cooke and Wynne, 'Chief Secretaries' to Jenkins. After 1689 the position of the two Under Secretaries at the head of each office was securely established. From this date their identity and periods of service can in most cases be accurately determined although, as has already been noted, their actual designation continued to vary considerably.

The right of appointing and dismissing the Under Secretaries lay with the Secretaries of State. However, it is clear that from an early date they were obliged to take into account the interest of the crown in the matter. Thus Shrewsbury dismissed Wynne in 1689 because the King disapproved of him. Newcastle was careful to consult the Queen, in the King's absence, before appointing Couraud in 1729. (fn. 35) There were probably many other similar instances of which no record has survived. Later in the eighteenth century the crown's interest was formally acknowledged. This is indicated by the fact that after 1766 the Secretary of State, when notifying the Post Office of the appointment of a new Under Secretary, on several occasions stated that it had been made with the King's approbation. (fn. 36) So long as this condition was satisfied, an incoming Secretary was free to appoint whom he wished. He was under no obligation to retain the Under Secretaries who had served his predecessor. It was, however, almost invariable for a Secretary to ensure that at least one of his Under Secretaries had had previous experience of the office. (fn. 37)

There was no firm convention corresponding to the modern distinction between the parliamentary and permanent under secretaryships. Under Secretaries were specifically exempted from the provisions of the Place Act of 1742 (fn. 38) and between 1660 and 1782 twenty-seven individuals sat in the House of Commons while holding the office of Under Secretary in the two older departments. (fn. 39) However, their membership appears to have been determined largely by factors unconnected with their official position and there is nothing to suggest that any steps were taken to ensure that there was a regular succession of Under Secretaries with seats in Parliament. On the other hand a broad distinction can be made between men of business who made a career as Under Secretaries and those individuals whose presence in the office was determined largely by their attachment to a particular patron. Of the seventy-three men who held the office in the Northern and Southern departments during the period, thirty-seven served only once. (fn. 40) Of the careers of the remainder (fn. 41) the most remarkable was that of Tilson who was appointed in 1708 and remained in office until his death in 1738 after having served during eight separate secretaryships. Also noteworthy was that of Cooke who served under six Secretaries from 1660 to 1688. The periods of service of this type of Under Secretary were not always continuous. For example Bridgeman's career (c. 1667-81; 1683-8; 1690-4) was interrupted twice and Weston's (1729-46; 1761-4) once. While an analysis of the careers of Under Secretaries reveals certain trends, (fn. 42) the situation remained fluid and largely defies generalisation. Secretaries naturally tended to take care that at least one of their Under Secretaries was a man of business but it was not until the end of the period that the idea of a 'Permanent' Under Secretary began to take root. Fraser (1765-71; 1771-89) held what amounted to this situation in one office and Porten (1768-82) in the other while Bell considered that he had been appointed in 1781 on the understanding that he would succeed Porten as 'what is considered the fix'd and Resident' Under Secretary. (fn. 43)

For the greater part of the period covered by these lists the Under Secretaries derived their remuneration principally from official fees. As already noted these fees were in 1684 received in Middleton's office by his senior subordinate, Cooke, whose colleague, Wynne, was paid a salary by the Secretary of State. Later a new arrangement was made whereby neither Under Secretary received a salary but both shared equally in the product of the fees to which Cooke had been solely entitled. The date of this arrangement cannot be established precisely. It was presumably not made before Cooke's retirement in 1688. On the other hand, the fact that all four Under Secretaries are shown in the poll tax assessment for July 1689 as receiving their remuneration in the form not of 'Wages' but of 'Perquisites' may indicate that the change had taken place by that date. (fn. 44) By 1697 it was certainly the practice in one of the offices for the product of the fees to be equally divided between the two Under Secretaries (fn. 45) and it is probable that the effect of the agreement of 1699 was to make the receipts of all four Under Secretaries equal. In 1674 and 1675 Cooke and Bridgeman respectively were granted annuities of £400 from the Exchequer in consideration of their services in the Secretaries' offices. (fn. 46) However, these grants were of a personal character and did not result in salaries from public funds being accorded to their successors. The creation of the Scottish secretaryship in 1709 brought about, at least temporarily, a reduction in the share of the office fees available to each Under Secretary which led to a demand that they should be accorded fixed allowances in recompense. (fn. 47) This demand proved unsuccessful and it was not until 1770, shortly after the creation of the Colonial Department, that salaries of £500 from public funds were established for each of the six Under Secretaries. (fn. 48)

In view of their relatively precarious tenure Under Secretaries sought to acquire additional offices, which were either sinecures or could be exercised by deputy, in order both to augment their incomes while actually serving and to provide for their retirement. Particularly favoured for this purpose were the patent offices in the colonies. In 1719 the Under Secretaries prepared a petition in which they asked to be accorded salaries or, failing that, for certain offices under the general authority of the Secretaries of State to be reserved to them. If this petition was ever presented no response has survived, but the Under Secretaries succeeded in establishing the substance of their case. In the course of the eighteenth century they came virtually to monopolise the offices of Secretary for the Latin Tongue, Writer of the Gazette, Keeper and Collector of State Papers and the clerkships of the Signet. (fn. 49) In some cases provision was made for them either from the secret service or in the form of a pension at the Exchequer. (fn. 50)

While the conventions governing the under secretaryships were in general firmly fixed it was not unknown for individual Secretaries of State to vary them in detail. In addition to his Under Secretaries a Secretary might employ other individuals whose standing in the office approximated more closely to theirs than to that of the Clerks. On entering office in 1755 Fox removed Rivers from the position of Under Secretary to make way for Digby. However, he retained the services of the former who was given a salary of £200 with the title of Interpreter of Southern Languages and in fact acted as an additional Under Secretary until he regained his former position in the following year. (fn. 51) In 1759 Holdernesse took what was apparently an unprecedented step in replacing one of his Under Secretaries, Wallace, by Fraser and Morin, whose subordinate position relative to the remaining Under Secretary, Potenger, was marked by the fact that he retained a half share in the Under Secretaries' fees for the office while they were obliged to divide the other share between them. (fn. 52) For a decade thereafter it was usual for this pattern to be reproduced in one of the offices. No consistent designation was applied to the Under Secretaries in this subordinate position. They were most commonly described as 'Assistants to the Under Secretary' or 'Assistant Under Secretaries'. (fn. 53) For the sake of convenience the latter term has been used throughout these lists. The usual number of Assistant Under Secretaries was two but Shelburne employed three between 1766 and 1768. After 1768 no more were appointed and the earlier practice of having two Under Secretaries of equal standing in each office was observed until the end of the period.

While the Under Secretaries remained formally the personal servants of the Secretaries of State, they gradually acquired public functions in their own right. During the reign of Charles II it was the practice for one of the Under Secretaries in the office of the senior Secretary to be appointed by the Irish government its salaried agent in England. (fn. 54) From 1695 the Lords Justices selected their Secretaries from amongst the Under Secretaries. (fn. 55) In the early eighteenth century they were regularly included in the commissions of the peace for Middlesex in order that they might conduct examinations of witnesses. (fn. 56) Their public standing was confirmed in the Place Act of 1742, the need for the approval by the crown of their appointments and the grant of a regular salary from public funds in 1770.

Lack of evidence makes it difficult to say how far there was a regular division of duties between the Under Secretaries. In the memorandum of 1684 specific duties were assigned to Cooke and Wynne. Cooke's functions were in some respects similar to those undertaken by the 'English and ancientest' Secretary in Coke's office in 1628. After about 1689 the distinction of rank that can be observed in the case of Cooke and Wynne seems to have disappeared and given way to the convention that the Under Secretaries were equal in standing if not in actual importance. (fn. 57) This may have resulted in greater flexibility in the distribution of duties. In 1737 Couraud, Under Secretary to Newcastle, was able to say that 'Domestic Business falls chiefly to my care: Foreign to my brother Stone'. (fn. 58) This distinction is a perfectly reasonable one but there is little to suggest that it hardened into a permanent convention. It would appear that each incoming Secretary was free to arrange the distribution of business as he thought fit. (fn. 59) The only occasions on which the fact that Under Secretaries were specialising in a particular field of business was publicly acknowledged occurred in 1763 when Sedgwick was appointed Under Secretary for American Affairs by Halifax and in 1766 when Shelburne gave two of his Assistant Under Secretaries, Macleane and Morgann, similar responsibilities. (fn. 60)

A detailed account of the recruitment of Under Secretaries is outside the scope of this introduction. Broadly speaking, the holders of these offices fall into a number of different but by no means necessarily exclusive categories. (fn. 61) Some were close relatives or dependants of the Secretaries who brought them into office. Others had diplomatic experience. Perhaps of greatest interest in the context of these lists are those who had had earlier careers in the Secretaries' offices. There is no evidence that Clerks could look forward to promotion to under secretaryships as a matter of right. (fn. 62) Examples of such promotion are not frequent and appear in every case to have resulted from the special qualities of the individuals in question. Some were appointed directly from the offices; others after a period of service elsewhere. (fn. 63)


By 1702 the place in the hierarchy of the two offices immediately after the Under Secretaries had come to be occupied by an official known as the First or Chief Clerk. The early history of this office, to which reference is first made in 1700, is obscure. In 1786 the Chief Clerk in the Home Department summarised his duties as follows: 'to prepare all warrants and commissions for the Royal Signature, to distribute the official business to the Clerks, to examine it when done, to take care that the public dispatches are properly entered in the books of the Office, and punctually transmitted, to receive the Secretary of State's salary, all the fees, and to pay all the Under Clerks salaries, and contingencies of Office'. He went on to state that he had no salary and that his official income arose principally under the following heads: 'a fixed proportion of the fees of office' and 'a moiety of gratuities received upon certain warrants signed by the King'. (fn. 64) While this description dates from after the division of the secretariat into the Home and Foreign Departments, there is no reason to suppose that it does not provide a generally accurate account of the functions and remuneration of the Chief Clerks throughout the eighteenth century. The evidence suggests, however, that the special position enjoyed by the Chief Clerks was achieved gradually and only as a result of the transfer to them of functions which had previously been carried out by distinct officials. The earliest document to throw any light on this question is the memorandum of 1684. In it one Clerk is singled out from the rest and described in the following terms: 'Mr. Widdows (who may be styled the writing clerk) transcribes all papers for the King's hand, and enters them when signed; is reckoned Mr. Cooke's clerk and to be paid by him at £50 a year, besides 2s 6d out of each signature that passeth and pays...'. (fn. 65) It will be clear that this Clerk has some features in common with the later Chief Clerks. Unlike the other junior Clerks in the office at this date he had a recognised right to fees. He was particularly concerned with royal documents. In connection with his duty of entering papers it should be noted that as early as 1610 there was a Clerk of the Entries in Salisbury's office and that as late as 1719 the fees of the Chief Clerks are described as arising in favour of the 'Entering Clerk'. (fn. 66) The fact that Widdows was 'reckoned' Cooke's clerk and was paid by him suggests that the functions which he performed had originally been part of the duties of the Secretary's senior subordinate who had found it convenient to delegate them. If this is correct it seems likely that the process of delegation continued since the task of judging 'of the style and forms of the office when anything occurs that is difficult or without precedent' (fn. 67) which fell to Cooke in 1684 was later one of the special responsibilities of the Chief Clerks.

While, therefore, there seems little doubt that the office of Chief Clerk evolved from that of Entering or Writing Clerk, the nature of the evidence makes it impossible to state with certainty when the former achieved its distinctive position at the head of the clerical staff. One factor that would appear to be relevant in this connection is the doubling of the fee due to the Entering Clerk on royal 'signatures' which occurred between 1684 and 1699. (fn. 68) It has already been suggested that it was about 1689 that a new arrangement was made for the division of the fees between the Under Secretaries. It is conceivable that this was part of a general reorganisation of the functions and remuneration of the Secretaries' officials. The opportunity may have been taken to discontinue the Entering Clerk's salary which had been a charge on the senior Under Secretary and to increase the fee due to him in compensation. At the same time the recipient of this increased fee may have been given enlarged responsibilities and authority over the more junior Clerks-a development which in the course of time gave rise to the adoption of the title 'First' or Chief Clerk.

One of the problems of drawing up lists of the early Chief Clerks arises from the fact that it was only from 1718 that the holders of these offices are regularly distinguished from their colleagues in lists of Secretaries' officials. Before this date identification must in many cases be tentative. However, some indication of their identity is to be found in an examination of the arrangements for keeping the accounts of the offices. It has already been noted that this was one of the principal functions of the Chief Clerks in the later eighteenth century. At that time they kept two separate sets of accounts: one of the office fees and the other of the receipts and disbursements of the Secretaries of State. According to the memorandum of 1684 the accounts of the fees were kept at that date by the Office Keeper in one office and by a Clerk in the other. No further information is available on this subject until the period of Vernon's secretaryship 1697-1702. The accounts of Vernon's receipts and expenditure as Secretary of State were kept throughout by Welby. It is clear that at this date this function was not necessarily combined with that of keeping accounts of the office fees. Welby was indeed responsible for keeping such accounts from 1697 to 1698 and again from 1699 to 1702 but between May 1698 and March 1699 this function was undertaken by A. Stanyan. In this connection it should be noted that in the earliest list which specifically mentions these officials Stanyan is designated Chief Clerk to Vernon. (fn. 69) This list was published in 1700 by which time Stanyan had left the office and it must, therefore, be used with caution. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that Stanyan would have been singled out in this way if he had not in fact occupied the office at some point. It is significant that the next list, published in 1701, names Welby as Vernon's Chief Clerk. In the other office Swinford appears as Chief Clerk both in 1700 (to Jersey) and in 1701 (to Hedges). (fn. 70) Swinford is known to have kept the accounts of the fees in Hedges' office. On the basis of this evidence it would appear that, by the time of the appointments of Vernon in 1697 and Jersey in 1699, the Chief Clerks had already acquired the distinctive function of keeping the accounts of the office fees.

Any attempt to distinguish earlier Chief Clerks must be highly speculative. One or two suggestions may, however, be made. In 1697 Bernard was receiving fees for Shrewsbury and it is possible that he was doing so as his Chief Clerk. Stanyan was in Trumbull's office in the same year. It is clear from the surviving accounts that he was not being paid a regular salary like Trumbull's other Clerks and the explanation for this may be that he was receiving his remuneration in the form of the fees due to the Chief Clerk. In 1694 Stanyan occurs first in a list of the Clerks in the office of Trenchard, Trumbull's predecessor as Secretary of State, which may mean that he served him as Chief Clerk as well. In the same list the Clerk occupying the corresponding position in Nottingham's office is Yard. (fn. 71) Yard heads the list of Shrewsbury's Clerks in 1689 and may have entered Nottingham's service as Chief Clerk when the latter became sole Secretary in 1690, displacing Armstrong who is listed as Nottingham's most senior Clerk in the previous year. (fn. 72)

After 1700 the identity of the Chief Clerks can be established more securely. Although, as has been seen, it is not until 1718 that they are regularly distinguished from their colleagues, there seems no reason to doubt that the names which appear first on the lists of Clerks are those of the Chief Clerks. Where other evidence is available it supports this conclusion. Thus it seems clear that Armstrong served as Chief Clerk to Nottingham from 1702 to 1704. Harley appointed Jones, probably on succeeding Nottingham in the latter year. Jones served all succeeding Secretaries until his death in 1719. In the other office Swinford evidently served Hedges during both his secretaryships (1700-1; 1702-6), his tenure of office being interrupted while Manchester was Secretary in 1702. The latter apparently employed Lewis as Chief Clerk. Delafaye is named first in the list of Sunderland's Clerks in 1708 and may have been appointed Chief Clerk by him on his entry into office in 1706. Delafaye remained to serve the succeeding Secretary, Dartmouth, but left the office in 1713 on being appointed Private Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The identity of the individual who served as Chief Clerk to Bromley, Dartmouth's successor, is unknown. The next Secretary, Stanhope, appointed Micklethwaite in 1714 and when Sunderland succeeded Stanhope in 1717 he replaced Micklethwaite by Wace who remained in office under all succeeding Secretaries until his death in 1745.

The details of the probable succession to the two chief clerkships have been given at some length in order to illustrate a significant change that occurred in the character of the offices during the early years of the eighteenth century. Of the first identifiable Chief Clerks several had a special personal relationship with the Secretaries whom they were serving and a tenure similar to that of the Under Secretaries. Thus Welby, who was Vernon's nephew, acted as Chief Clerk only during his uncle's secretaryship. Swinford, although apparently taken over by Hedges from Jersey, served only Hedges thereafter, leaving office with him both in 1701 and 1706. Armstrong, who was Nottingham's man of business, served only while his master was Secretary. Lewis had been in the service of Manchester while the latter had been Ambassador to France. A rather different case was that of A. Stanyan whose probable tenure of the office of Chief Clerk was punctuated by his appointment as Secretary to the Embassy to Venice (1697-8) and terminated by his appointment as Secretary to the Embassy to France (1699-1700). It is not difficult to see the disadvantages of this situation. With the two Under Secretaries on a precarious tenure the fact that the Chief Clerk was not normally a permanent official meant that there could be a serious loss of continuity on a change of Secretary. This was probably one of the considerations which led to the acceptance of the convention that the post should be filled from amongst the more senior of the Clerks serving in the offices and should be held on what amounted to a permanent tenure, unaffected by changes of Secretary. In one of the offices this convention was established during Jones's period of service (1704-19). In the other, the career of Delafaye, Chief Clerk 1706-13, appears to indicate the acceptance of the same convention. However, Stanhope, by selecting as his Chief Clerk Micklethwaite who had been his Secretary when he was Ambassador to Spain, reverted to the older practice and it was only with the appointment of Wace, Chief Clerk 1717-45, that the new convention finally became established in this office.


By 1702 it had long been accepted that the Secretaries should employ a number of Clerks apart from the Under Secretaries and the Chief Clerks. In the absence of the relevant records it is impossible to give a complete account of these Clerks until the eighteenth century although a few documents do survive which enable some idea to be formed of their place in the structure of the offices in the earlier period. The memorandum on the state of Arlington's office in 1673 suggests that in this office at this date Arlington's two 'Secretaries', Bridgeman and Richards, were the only officials in his direct employment and that the Clerks, Yard, Ball and Swaddell, belonged rather to Williamson than to him. This inference is supported by the evidence of the rivalry which existed between the Secretaries and Clerks which is to be found in the letters written to Williamson whilst he was on a diplomatic mission to Cologne in 1673. (fn. 73) However, as already suggested, Williamson's position was unusual and it is doubtful whether the organisation of Arlington's office was typical. The memorandum on Middleton's office of 1684 is the next document to throw any light on the position of the Clerks. This memorandum has several characteristics in common with the description of Coke's office in 1628 which suggests that it is more representative of the normal state of affairs. In the list of Middleton's Clerks the names of Cooke and Wynne are followed by those of three Clerks, de Paz, Chute and Carne, who are stated to have received salaries 'at the rate of £40 or £50 per annum and Mr. Chute at £60'. In 1628 the Junior Clerks or 'Secretaries' in Coke's office had 'allowances the best 40 l., the others 20 l. or 30 l. per annum apiece at most'. (fn. 74) The distinguishing features of these Clerks were that they had no entitlement to official fees and that they received fixed salaries. It may be inferred from the document of 1684 that these salaries were paid directly by the Secretary of State. This was certainly the case for both offices in 1698 (fn. 75) and continued to be so until the end of the period.

The right of appointing the Clerks belonged to the Secretaries as did that of dismissing them and fixing the level of their salaries. Before 1689 lack of evidence makes it difficult to say how far it was the practice for an incoming Secretary to take over his predecessor's Clerks. An examination of the careers of such Clerks as Benson, Tucker and Yard shows that this occasionally occurred earlier. The retention of Clerks was not, however, an automatic process at this period. In 1693 Trenchard dispensed with the services of Le Pin, who had spent eighteen years as a Clerk in the Secretaries' offices. In his petition for a retiring pension Le Pin makes it clear that his employment by Shrewsbury (1689) and Sydney (1690) had in each case involved the intervention of influential patrons. (fn. 76) However, within a few years of this there is an indication that the Clerks had succeeded in establishing themselves on a more or less permanent basis.

The accounts of Vernon's secretaryship cover two periods when the other office was left vacant for more than a quarter. On both occasions Vernon paid the salaries of some at least of the Clerks in that office as well as those in his own. (fn. 77)

From the beginning of Anne's reign it seems to have been accepted that an incoming Secretary would take over such of his predecessor's Clerks as wished to remain in the office. While dismissals were not unknown, (fn. 78) it is clear that, during the eighteenth century, the Secretaries' power was in practical terms limited to the making of new appointments. (fn. 79) In this respect the Secretaries' offices conformed to the general pattern which prevailed in the government service throughout the eighteenth century. There was a natural desire to retain the services of efficient Clerks in the interests of continuity. On the other hand the absence of any comprehensive system of retiring allowances made it a matter of humanity not to deprive the old or infirm of their means of livelihood. This approach to the problem is illustrated by Newcastle's statement 'There are some (Clerks) that are of very little use but being there I don't care to displace them'. (fn. 80)

Subject to these considerations the Secretaries were free to fix the number of their Clerks at whatever level they wished. In 1732 Newcastle summed up the situation by saying'...there is not any fixed Number of clerks in my office and as they are paid by me there are more or less as the business requires'. (fn. 81) During the period covered by these lists there were considerable variations in the number employed. As already noted there were three Clerks in Arlington's office in 1673 and in Middleton's in 1684. Trumbull (1695-7) employed four and Vernon (1697-1702) from four to five. During the first half of the eighteenth century the average number of Clerks in each office increased from five to six. Between 1750 and 1782 there were usually between seven and nine although there were occasionally more marked variations. The most significant of these occurred in the years immediately after 1766 when Shelburne's appointment of additional Clerks in connection with colonial business had the effect of increasing the number in one of the offices to thirteen. On the eve of the reorganisation of the secretariat in 1782 there were, apart from the Chief Clerks, seven Clerks in the Northern and nine in the Southern Department.

Little is known of the functions of the Clerks. The memoranda of 1673 and 1684 give some indication of their activities at these dates. There is, however, no evidence of any permanent arrangements for the distribution of work. Even as late as 1786 the Clerks in the Home and Foreign Offices had 'no particular branches of business assigned to them'. (fn. 82) Towards the end of the period the more senior Clerks came to be distinguished by the designation 'Senior Clerks'. In one office this was applied to two Clerks from 1763 and in the other to three from 1772. The origin of this distinction is unknown and there is no means of discovering whether it reflected any significant change in the organisation of business. Much of the Clerks' time was spent in copying letters and other documents although the more able were, in all probability, given greater responsibilities. In 1735 and 1736 one of the Clerks, the elder Payzant, was described as 'Translator'. (fn. 83) Obviously a knowledge of at least one foreign language was a useful accomplishment-a fact which no doubt explains the employment of a significant number of Clerks of Huguenot origin. However, the fact that special arrangements were made for the translation of German, Southern (Italian and Spanish) and Oriental languages suggests that the Clerks' knowledge rarely extended beyond French. (fn. 84)

There are indications that, in addition to the Clerks on the establishments of the offices, it was the practice to appoint supernumeraries. Delafaye began his career as an unsalaried 'Extraordinary' Clerk to Jersey and Vernon. In 1717 an application was made on behalf of a candidate that he might 'succeed Mr. Armestead or at least stand a Clerk Extraordinary which I think has been of late practised'. (fn. 85) Similarly in 1732 the Earl of Carlisle asked Newcastle to admit a candidate 'as a Clerk in your office and if at present you have no room for him that you will allow him to attend as a supernumerary which I am told is frequently done'. (fn. 86) There are traces of this practice later in the century although in 1785 there were no supernumeraries in either the Home or Foreign Offices. (fn. 87) Occasionally Secretaries of State allowed certain individuals to spend some time in their offices on an unpaid basis in order to prepare themselves for a career in public life. This practice is illustrated by the career of Jenkinson who served in Holdernesse's office on this basis. In 1785 there was a person in the Home Office who 'has no salary, but attends the office merely to obtain a knowledge of the management of public business'. (fn. 88)


Something should be said at this point about Private Secretaries. In the establishments of the Home, Foreign and War Offices drawn up in 1795 provision was made for salaried Private Secretaries to the Secretaries of State. (fn. 89) Before 1782, however, the arrangements in this respect lacked definition and appear to have varied widely. In all probability most Secretaries of State employed some kind of Private Secretary in addition to their Under Secretaries. The nature of the evidence is such that these individuals can only rarely be identified and it is impossible to draw up satisfactory lists for the period. Some Secretaries of State selected their Private Secretaries from amongst the Clerks already on the establishment of their offices. (fn. 90) Others brought their Private Secretaries from outside. As early as 1688 Preston brought Tempest with him to attend to his 'private affairs in the office'. (fn. 91) Balaguier's position in Carteret's office 1721-4 appears to have been that of Private Secretary. However, the only Private Secretaries whose appointments were publicly acknowledged in the sense that they were notified to the Post Office were Blair, Private Secretary to Harrington (1730 and 1742) and Cosby, Private Secretary to Halifax (1762). (fn. 92) The standing and importance of the Private Secretaries varied greatly. Balaguier acted as Carteret's Under Secretary when he accompanied the King to Hanover in 1723 and when Blair accompanied Harrington there during his periods of office he was always ranked between the Under Secretaries and the Chief Clerk. H. V. Jones was similarly ranked in 1748 and 1750 when he was acting in fact, if not in name, as Private Secretary to Newcastle. (fn. 93) These are isolated cases, however, and the Private Secretary's position appears usually to have been more humble.


In 1702 the personnel of each office was completed by two Chamber or Office Keepers and one Cleaner or Necessary Woman. The employment of some kind of Office Keeper was probably as old as the Secretaries' offices themselves. In 1684 'the Office Keeper' was amongst those entitled to official fees. Before the end of the seventeenth century the number of Office Keepers employed appears to have varied. By 1698 it was fixed at two for each office who received, in addition to their fees, salaries from the Secretaries of State. A Cleaner is first mentioned in Trumbull's office in 1695. From 1698 it was the rule for there to be one salaried Office Cleaner or, as she was more commonly designated in the later eighteenth century, 'Necessary Woman', in each office. Office Keepers sometimes executed their duties by deputy.


Throughout the period the attachment of the staff at all levels was to the Secretaries of State rather than to the departments in which they were serving. It was the general rule for a newly appointed Secretary to take over the officials who had served his predecessor and to take his staff with him if he subsequently moved from one department to the other. But there were exceptions to this convention. When Vernon moved from the Northern to the Southern Department in 1700 he retained one of his Under Secretaries, Hopkins, and replaced the other, Ellis, by Yard who had served as Under Secretary to Jersey, the last Secretary in the Southern Department. Ellis was appointed an Under Secretary by Hedges, the incoming Secretary for the Northern Department. As far as the Clerks were concerned, Vernon took two, Jones and de Lacombe de Vrigny, with him, left three, Payzant, Vanbrugh and Roberts, in the Northern Department, and took on three, Egar, Tilson and Weston, who had served Jersey in the Southern Department. Finally Vernon left to Hedges the Office Keepers, Smith and Ramsey, who had served him in the Northern Department and took on Shorter and Turner, who had previously been employed in the Southern Department. However, when Vernon returned to the Northern Department in 1702, he took his entire staff with him. For the next three instances in which a Secretary was transferred from one department to the other during his term of office information is scarce but it appears that, as a rule, the Secretary took his officials with him. (fn. 94) There were no further transfers until 1748 when Newcastle, on moving from the Southern to the Northern Department, took all his staff with him. With one exception, Wallace, the Clerks and subordinate staff who had served Chesterfield, the previous Secretary for the Northern Department, moved to the Southern Department. Wallace was, however, retained by Newcastle in his old department. Perhaps the greatest change to take place in the personnel of a Secretary's office occurred in 1754 when Holdernesse moved from the Southern to the Northern Department. Holdernesse brought one of his Under Secretaries, Potenger, with him to replace Amyand who was transferred to the Southern Department. He also brought with him two Clerks, F. Wace and Fraser, who had served him in the Southern Department. Otherwise the personnel of the two department was unaffected by the transfer. Halifax took his whole staff with him on being transferred from the Northern to the Southern Department in 1763. In 1766, Seymour Conway, on being transferred from the Southern to the Northern Department took all his staff with him with the exception of two Assistant Under Secretaries, P. M. Morin and Roberts, and two Clerks, Brietzcke and J. Morin, who remained to serve Richmond, the incoming Southern Secretary. In addition Seymour Conway retained one Clerk, Jouvencel, who had served Grafton, the previous Secretary for the Northern Department. In 1768 Weymouth, on moving from the Northern to the Southern Department, took all his officials with him. In 1770 Rochford did the same in similar circumstances for all his staff except the Office Keepers and the Necessary Woman.

There are a few examples of officials changing departments in other circumstances. In 1724 Delafaye, Under Secretary to Townshend in the Northern Department, was transferred to the Southern Department as Under Secretary to Newcastle. In the following year one of Townshend's Clerks, Couraud, was also transferred to Newcastle's service. In 1746 Newcastle selected as his Chief Clerk the elder Larpent who was serving not in his own office but in that of his colleague, Harrington. In 1775, on the appointment of Weymouth as Secretary of State for the South, the two Chief Clerks, Sneyd and Shadwell, exchanged places as did the Office Keepers and Necessary Women.


The pattern of organisation which evolved for the two older offices naturally influenced the arrangements made when the Scottish and Colonial Departments were created in 1709 and 1768. Little is known of the officials of the Scottish Secretaries except for Tweeddale's period of office. Queensberry (1709-11) employed two Under Secretaries, a Chief Clerk, two other Clerks and an Office Keeper. Mar (1713-14) appears to have appointed only one Under Secretary, and in this seems to have been followed by his successors. Tweeddale (1742-6) employed one Under Secretary, a Chief Clerk, one other Clerk, an Office Keeper and a Necessary Woman. In the Colonial Department only one Under Secretary was at first appointed, presumably because the fees in the department were insufficient to provide remuneration for another. In 1770, however, when salaries were made available by the crown for two Under Secretaries in each department, a second was appointed. In other respects the structure of the department conformed closely to that of the Northern and Southern offices. Successive Secretaries employed two Under Secretaries, a Chief Clerk, two Senior Clerks, between four and five other Clerks, an Office Keeper and a Necessary Woman. In general there was little interchange of personnel between the office of the third Secretary and those of the two older Secretaries. There were, however, a few cases where this occurred. (fn. 95)


Throughout the period covered by these lists there were in existence a number of offices whose holders, while not under the immediate direction of the Secretaries of State, were in varying degrees subject to their general authority. Of these the Keeper of State Papers, the Clerks of the Signet, the Secretaries for the Latin and French Tongues and the Embellisher of Letters originated before the Restoration. The rest, comprising the Gazette Writer (1665), the Decipherers (1701), the Interpreter of Oriental Languages (1723), the Collector of State Papers (1725), the Translator of the German Language (1735), the Law Clerk (1743), the Translator of Southern Languages (1755) and the Methodisers of State Papers (1764) were instituted subsequently. All these officials were common to the secretariat as a whole. The offices of Secretary for the French Tongue, Law Clerk and Translator of Southern Languages had been discontinued by 1782. For the remainder the reorganisation of that year had no special significance and they continued to exist largely unchanged. Details of these offices will be found in the introductory notes to the lists of appointments. In the interests of continuity their holders have been included in the lists down to their abolition in the nineteenth century. (fn. 96)


  • 1. For the secretariat generally during this period, see Evans, Principal Secretary; Thomson, Secretaries of State; Spector, American Department.
  • 2. For the emergence of the two departments and the responsibilities assigned to each, see Evans, Principal Secretary, 102-5, 131-6; Thomson, Secretaries of State, 2-3, 90-4.
  • 3. Evans, Principal Secretary, 132-3; Thomson, Secretaries of State, 3-4; The Letters of Joseph Addison, ed. W. Graham (Oxford 1941), 64-5.
  • 4. For the Scottish Department, see Thomson, Secretaries of State, 29-37, 164-6.
  • 5. For the responsibilities of the Colonial Department, see Thomson, Secretaries of State, 52-64, 167- 174; Spector, American Department, 11-32; A. H. Basye, The Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations 1748-82 (New Haven 1925), 176-201.
  • 6. For the origins of the Home and Foreign Offices, see Nelson, Home Office, 3-10; Public Record Office Handbook No. 13: The Records of the Foreign Office 1782-1939 (London 1969), 1-3.
  • 7. For the arrangement of secretarial duties during the reign of William III, see G. A. Jacobsen, William Blathwayt: A late 17th Century English Administrator (New Haven 1932), 240-87, 484; R. A. Preston, 'William Blathwayt and the Evolution of a Royal Personal Secretariat', History, new ser., xxxiv (1949), 28-43. Southwell held the distinct office of Secretary of State for Ireland; Blathwayt that of Secretary at War.
  • 8. For the administrative arrangements made in connection with these journeys, see p. 5 n. 22.
  • 9. The most important memoranda for the earlier part of the period are those of 1673 and 1684 described below. The list of Secretaries' officials in the poll tax assessment of July 1689 is also of value (LS 13/231 pp. 13-14). A number of documents of 1766-8 survive amongst the Shelburne papers (Shelburne MS 134 pp. 101-61). A certain amount of material covering the years 1769-82 exists amongst the records of the Foreign Office (FO 95/591/1 ff. 1-8; FO 366/669 pp. 9-15). The first comprehensive account of the Secretaries' offices dates from 1785-6, after the separation of the secretariat into the Home and Foreign Departments, and is to be found in 1st Rept. on Fees.
  • 10. CTB, viii, 461-2; SP 44/107 p. 280. Copies of the relevant letters are to be found in the Secretaries' and Under Secretaries' Domestic Letter Books. A search in the General Post Office for the originals proved unsuccessful. The privilege of franking was, so far as the Clerks were concerned, severely curtailed in 1764. See p. 34.
  • 11. For example, Brietzcke's appointment made on 29 April 1756 was not notified until 9 May 1757.
  • 12. Lists of fees payable exist as follows: c. 1684 (Evans, Principal Secretary, 192-3); c. 1714 (SP 44/326); c. 1719 (SP 35/19 ff. 190-1); 1786 (1st Rept. on Fees, 45-6). These lists indicate that for each royal 'signature' the fees of the Secretary of State, the Under Secretaries and the Office Keepers remained constant at £5, £1 and 2s 6d respectively. At some point between 1684 and 1699 the fee of the Writing or Entering Clerk rose from 2s 6d to 5s (BM Add. MS 40784). For summarised totals of fees at various dates during the 18th century, see Thomson, Secretaries of State, 115-16; Spector, American Department, 63 n. 26.
  • 13. Thomson, Secretaries of State, 147; Vernon Correspondence, ed. G. P. R. James (London 1841), ii, 282-3; BM Add. MS 40785 f. 37. Except during Queensberry's period of office this arrangement was not extended to the third secretaryship (Thomson, Secretaries of State, 147-8; Spector, American Department, 52-5).
  • 14. Coventry MS 12 ff. 74-90; SP 29/365; Folger MS V.b.302.
  • 15. BM Add. MSS 40783, 40784.
  • 16. Monthly accounts survive for Harley's period of office 1704-8 (BM Loan 29/163, 356). The collection of account books in the Public Record Office is best understood when related to the Chief Clerks who kept them: SP 45/26 kept Jan. 1727-Dec. 1733 by Wace for Townshend and Harrington; SP 45/28 kept Jan. 1749-Dec. 1754 by Richardson for Bedford, Holdernesse and Robinson; SP 45/29 kept Aug. 1758-June 1761 by Richardson for Pitt; SP 45/27 kept Jan. 1746-Nov. 1756 by Prevereau and Larpent for Newcastle and Holdernesse; SP 45/31 kept Jan. 1764-Jan. 1768 by Larpent for Halifax and Seymour Conway; SP 45/33-5 kept Jan. 1772-May 1782 by Larpent and Shadwell for Suffolk, Weymouth, Hillsborough and Shelburne (Home Secretary); SP 45/32 kept Jan. 1768-March 1782 by Pollock for successive Secretaries for the Colonial Department. SP 45/30 is not a fee book but contains summarised accounts of Egremont and Sandwich 1761-5 which are of no value for the identification of their officials. Copies of the accounts of fees received in both offices during Bedford's secretaryship (1748-51) survive amongst his official papers.
  • 17. Evans, Principal Secretary, 292, 296; All Souls MS 204 f. 81c.
  • 18. Trumbull Add. MS 113; BM Loan 29/162; SP 34/12 f. 165. For details of payments to Harley's Clerks, see A. J. D. M. McInnes, 'Robert Harley, Secretary of State' (Unpublished M.A. thesis, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1961), 185-90.
  • 19. BM Add. MSS 40785, 40786.
  • 20. MSS Rawlinson C 367, 123. An account book kept by Armstrong, Nottingham's Clerk and man of business, from 1687 to 1706 records the receipt of his salaries and allowances as Secretary 1689-93 and 1702-4 but no payments to Clerks or other officials (Finch MS DG 7/1/19a). Possibly the salaries of the latter were paid out of the Gazette account.
  • 21. Stanhope MS 76; Sunderland MS D 1/36; Tweeddale MSS Acc. 4862, Boxes 57/16, 160/1; PRO 30/31/1-7.
  • 22. The warrants for payments in connection with journeys abroad are as follows: 1716-17 (CTB, xxx, 312; ibid. xxxi, 138-9); 1719 (T 52/29 p. 403; T 52/30 p. 16); 1720 (T 52/30 p. 97; T 52/31 p. 10); 1723 (T 52/32 p. 361; T 52/33 pp. 23, 51, 79, 275); 1725-6 (T 52/33 p. 366; T 52/34 pp. 14, 82); 1727 (T 52/35 p. 2); 1729 (T 52/36 pp. 330-1, 403); 1732 (T 52/37 pp. 391, 469); 1735 (T 52/38 p. 474; T 52/39 p. 89); 1736-7 (T 52/39 pp. 164, 253, 326); 1740 (T 52/41 pp. 24, 151); 1741 (ibid. pp. 236-7, 350); 1742 (T 52/42 p. 82); 1743 (ibid. pp. 205, 324); 1745 (T 52/43 pp. 134, 213); 1748 (T 52/44 pp. 372, 386, 502); 1750 (T 52/45 pp. 162, 324); 1752 (T 52/46 pp. 44, 147); 1755 (T 52/47 pp. 101-2, 188). The officials received travelling allowances but no board wages for the journey in 1727 which was cut short by the King's death. Travelling allowances were paid in September 1742 in connection with a journey which never actually took place. From 1725 it was the general rule for the Secretary of State who accompanied the King to receive an allowance of £3000 for expenses (T 52/34 p. 77; T 52/47 p. 11).
  • 23. The warrants for payments in connection with domestic journeys are as follows: 1724 (T 52/33 p. 275); 1728 (T 52/36 pp. 335-6); 1730 (T 52/37 p. 122); 1731 (ibid. p. 319); 1733 (T 52/38 pp. 190-1); 1737 (T 52/40 p. 7). Board wages but not travelling allowances were paid on these occasions.
  • 24. The surviving portions of Brietzcke's diary have been printed in Notes and Queries as follows: cxcvi (1951), 185-8, 357-61; cxcvii (1952), 68-74, 141-2, 209-11, 543-4; cxcviii (1953), 29-31, 203-5, 346-9; cxcix (1954), 60-3, 165-9, 205-8, 259-62, 297-9, 340-3; cc (1955), 30-3, 70-6, 115-18, 161-4, 245-9, 310-11, 443-5, 486-8; cci (1956), 172-4, 311-14; cciii (1958), 66-70, 120-1, 153-61; cciv (1959), 94-7, 136-7, 178-81, 228-31, 281-4, 311-13, 373-5, 412-13; ccv (1960), 229-31, 301-2, 343-6, 389-95, 451-6; ccvi (1961), 9-14, 61-3, 83-6, 144-7, 191-3, 210-14, 258-62, 302-6, 335-8, 391-5, 433-4, 452- 461.
  • 25. Chamberlayne, Present State (1682), pt. i, 193.
  • 26. Printed in Evans, Principal Secretary, 154-5.
  • 27. Printed ibid. 192-3 from All Souls MS 204 f. 119. Another version exists in BM Add. MS 41806 ff. 64-7.
  • 28. In a letter of 31 May 1672 Sir William Coventry passed on to his brother, Henry, an application from Francis Vernon 'desiring to be one of your under Secretaries' (Coventry MS 119 f. 2).
  • 29. For the use of the term 'Chief Secretaries' in 1682, see Chamberlayne, Present State (1682), pt. i, 193 and Memoirs of Thomas, Earl of Ailesbury (London 1890), i, 63; for the use of the term 'Chief Clerk' in 1698, see Camden Miscellany, xx (Camden 3rd ser., lxxxiii, 1953), 48. As late as 1759 Pitt's Under Secretaries were officially referred to as 'Secretaries' (SP 44/137 p. 64).
  • 30. See p. 3 n. 12.
  • 31. Chamberlayne, Present State (1684), pt. ii, 7-8.
  • 32. Printed in Evans, Principal Secretary, 191-2 and in CSPD Addenda 1660-85, 403.
  • 33. These communications were frequent between 1662 and 1673 (CSPD 1661-2, 457; CSPD 1672-3, 399).
  • 34. Cooke began to communicate with Bridgeman shortly after Williamson's promotion (CSPD 1673-5, 573).
  • 35. Thomson, Secretaries of State, 130.
  • 36. See the notifications of the appointments of Macleane and Morgann in 1766 (SP 44/141 p. 119), Eden and Willes in 1772 (ibid. p. 311; SP 44/142 p. 363), Oakes in 1778 (SP 44/141 p. 458) and Bell in 1781 (SP 44/143 p. 189). Porten was said to have been 'permitted to retire' by the King in 1782 (F. B. Wickwire, British Subministers and Colonial America 1763-83 (Princeton 1966), 72-3).
  • 37. However, Conway appointed Gwyn and Blathwayt in 1681 and Boyle appointed Walpole and Tilson in 1708, none of whom had previously been Under Secretaries.
  • 38. 15 Geo. II, c 22.
  • 39. Addison, Aldworth, Amyand, Bridgeman, Burke, Chamier, Chetwynd, Digby, Eden, Ellis, Finch, Godolphin, Hare, Hopkins, Jenkinson, Langlois, Leveson Gower, Lewis, Mountsteven, Stone, Townshend, Vernon, Walpole, Whately, Williamson, Wood and Yard. Macleane, an Assistant Under Secretary, may still have been in office on his election in 1768. Three Under Secretaries in the Colonial Department, de Grey, D'Oyly and Pownall, were members of the Commons while holding office. Delafaye was a member of the Irish parliament of George I.
  • 40. Aglionby, Aldworth, Balaguier, Bell (Under Secretary, Home Office March-April 1782), Blathwayt, Brisbane, Burke, Burnaby, Couraud, Digby, Eden, Finch, Godolphin, Graham, Gwyn, Hare, Holt, Hume, Jenkinson, Jones, Langlois, Leveson Gower, Oakes, Potenger, Prior, Ramsden, Richards, C. Stanhope, T. Stanhope, A. Stanyan, Stawell, Stone, Thynne, Townshend, Whately, Whittaker and Willes.
  • 41. Under Secretaries who served twice: Addison, Chamier, Isham, Mountsteven, Phelps (Under Secretary, Colonial Department 1768), Potter, Pringle, Pulteney, Sedgwick, Stonehewer, Sutton, Wallace, Walpole, Williamson; three times: Chetwynd, Hopkins, Lewis, L. Stanhope, Tickell, Vernon, Wood, Yard; four times: Amyand, Delafaye, Porten, Rivers, Tucker, Wynne; five times: Ellis; six times: Cooke, T. Stanyan, Warre; seven times: Bridgeman, Fraser (Under Secretary, Foreign Office 1782-9), Weston; eight times: Tilson.
  • 42. For a detailed study of the careers of some of the 18th century Under Secretaries, see L. Scott, 'Under Secretaries of State, 1755-75' (Unpublished M.A. thesis, Manchester University, 1950).
  • 43. Nelson, Home Office, 28; HO 42/2, Bell's memorial, 28 Feb. 1783.
  • 44. LS 13/231 pp. 13-14.
  • 45. BM Add. MS 40783 ff. 1-13.
  • 46. Evans, Principal Secretary, 164-5.
  • 47. The memorial in which this request is made is calendared under the year 1702 (CSPD 1702-3, 516-17). Its reference to the third secretaryship, however, makes it clear that it cannot have been drawn up before 1709.
  • 48. Royal warrant 12 July 1770 (T 52/60 p. 463).
  • 49. The petition is printed in Thomson, Secretaries of State, 178-9. The word described as illegible by Thomson appears to be 'Court Post' (SP 35/14 ff. 19-20). The Secretaries of State successfully resisted a recommendation by the Commissioners on Fees of 1786 that the offices of Keeper and Collector of State Papers, Secretary for the Latin Tongue and Writer of the Gazette should be abolished, on the ground that 'the nomination to these offices . . . affords almost the only means which the Secretaries of State have of rewarding Officers for diligence and long services' (1st Rept. on Fees, 12; 16th Rept. on Finance, 310-11). They did, however, suggest the abolition of the sinecure office of Translator of the German Language (16th Rept. on Finance, 310).
  • 50. Ellis, Post Office, 132. In 1769 Sutton was granted a pension at the Exchequer which became payable on his retirement in 1772 (CHOP 1770-2, 556). In 1771 L. Stanhope was granted a pension from the same source (C 66/3731).
  • 51. Grenville Papers, ed. W. J. Smith (London 1852-3), i, 180-1; T 53/45 p. 461.
  • 52. Notes and Queries, cxcix (1954), 208. Between 1762 and 1764 Weston evidently received all the Under Secretaries' fees in his office (ibid. cciv (1959), 284; SP 45/31). During this period the Assistant Under Secretaries were presumably paid salaries by the Secretaries of State. For the arrangements made in Seymour Conway's office in 1765, see Hist. MSS Comm. 10th Rept., 391-2.
  • 53. In 1749 Aspinwall, one of Newcastle's Clerks, was described as 'Assistant Secretary' (Court and City Reg. (1749), 106). The significance of this designation is obscure.
  • 54. The agency, to which a salary of £100 was attached, was exercised by Bridgeman to 1674, Thynne 1674-80 and again by Bridgeman from 1680 (CSPD 1670, 285; Coventry MS 17 ff. 147-9; Hist. MSS Comm. Ormonde, iv, 579; ibid. v, 271; ibid. vi, 40; Evans, Principal Secretary, 165). The subsequent history of the agency is obscure. It may have been replaced by the practice, first recorded in 1702, of paying allowances of £50 from the Irish concordatum fund to each of the four Under Secretaries (BM Add. MS 28889 ff. 158, 179, 183).
  • 55. The following Under Secretaries acted as Secretaries to the Lords Justices: Vernon 1695-7 (CTB, xiii, 406); Yard 1698-1701 (ibid. xiv, 222; ibid. xv, 187; ibid. xvi, 141, 391); Delafaye 1719-26 (T 52/30 pp. 59, 442; T 52/33 p. 73; T 29/25 p. 135); Couraud and Stone 1740-1 (CTBP 1739-41, 407, 606); Stone and Weston 1743 (CTBP 1742-5, 426); Stone and Ramsden 1745 (ibid. 824); Aldworth and Potter 1748 (T 52/44 p. 450); Aldworth and Leveson Gower 1750 (T 52/45 p. 248); Amyand and Potenger 1752 (T 52/46 p. 130); Amyand and Rivers 1755 (T 52/47 p. 170). Addison, a former Under Secretary, acted as Secretary in 1714 (CTB, xxix, 776). As Secretaries these individuals received £500 for each period during which the Lords Justices acted. From 1719 an allowance was also made available for distribution amongst the Clerks and other officials of the secretariat for their services to the Lords Justices. Originally £200, this allowance was raised to £300 in 1740 and to £400 in 1743 (T 53/28 p. 42; CTBP 1739-41, 407; CTBP 1742-5, 426).
  • 56. See the following letters requesting the appointment of Under Secretaries as Justices: 26 Jan. 1705 for Lewis (BM Loan 29/263 p. 56); 1 July 1710 for Warre and Lewis (SP 44/110 p. 8); 8 Oct. 1714 for C. Stanhope, Pringle, Tilson and Walpole (SP 44/117 p. 5; SP 44/147); 8 May 1717 for Delafaye (SP 44/120 p. 157). See also SP 45/8 pp. 111-15.
  • 57. Occasional references to 'First' and 'Second' Under Secretaries imply a distinction of rank but this was not reflected in any permanent administrative arrangements. See, for example, Gent. Mag. (1754), xxiv, 143; Hist. MSS Comm. 10th Rept., 392-3.
  • 58. BM Add. MS 32690 f. 265. A plea for a regular division of duties between the Under Secretaries was made by Pulteney in 1691 (BM Add. MS 34095 f. 351).
  • 59. There is no suggestion in the evidence given by the Under Secretaries in 1785 that there was any permanent arrangement for the distribution of business at that date (1st Rept. on Fees, 19, 27). See also Jenkinson's memorandum on the Secretary's office 1761 (The Jenkinson Papers 1760-6, ed. N. S. Jucker (London 1949) 3-5).
  • 60. CHOP 1760-5, 303; Court and City Reg. (1767), 109.
  • 61. For a classification of the Under Secretaries in the latter part of the 18th century, see Scott, 'Under Secretaries of State, 1755-75'.
  • 62. Some information on this point is provided in a letter of 1705 from de Fonvive to Harley (Hist. MSS Comm. Portland, viii, 187-8).
  • 63. Under Secretaries and Assistant Under Secretaries appointed directly from the offices: Couraud, Fraser, Jones, Morin, Ramsden, Richards, Rivers, Roberts, T. Stanyan, Tucker, Wallace, Yard; those appointed after service elsewhere: Burnaby, Delafaye, Digby, Lewis, A. Stanyan, Tilson. Scott, an Under Secretary in the Scottish office, had earlier served as a Clerk in that department.
  • 64. 1st Rept. on Fees, 20.
  • 65. Evans, Principal Secretary, 193.
  • 66. Ibid. 161; SP 35/19 ff. 190-1.
  • 67. Evans, Principal Secretary, 192.
  • 68. See p. 3 n. 12.
  • 69. Chamberlayne, Present State (1700), 502-3. Detailed references to the evidence for the careers of the Chief Clerks will be found in the Alphabetical List of Officials.
  • 70. Ibid.; Miège, New State (1701), pt. iii, 109. In 1701 Swinford's name is coupled with that of Charles (sic) Rowley. There is no other evidence that Rowley occupied this position or that the office of Chief Clerk was ever held jointly.
  • 71. Chamberlayne, Present State (1694), 243. In fact this list must reflect the situation before Nottingham's resignation in Nov. 1693.
  • 72. Poll tax assessment July 1689 (LS 13/231 pp. 13-14).
  • 73. Evans, Principal Secretary, 292.
  • 74. Ibid. 155. Miss Evans was of the view that the 'Secretaries' referred to in 1628 were the Secretaries for the Latin and French Tongues-officials appointed by the crown (ibid. 168). While there can be no certainty on the point, the context seems to make it more natural to suppose that the individuals in question were in the direct employment of the Secretary of State as 'Clerks'. Furthermore the salaries are smaller than those enjoyed by the Secretaries for the Latin and French Tongues.
  • 75. BM Add. MS 40785 f. 34.
  • 76. CSPD 1693, 255.
  • 77. BM Add. MS 40785 ff. 34, 65-6.
  • 78. The following cases of dismissal are recorded: P. Roberts (1706), Shuckburgh (1761), Taylor (1774) and, possibly, Draper and the younger Payzant (1756). An earlier instance was that of Bernard (1697).
  • 79. There is no suggestion in Brietzcke's diary that a change of Secretary imperilled his position in the office. The diary records the entry into office of Bute in 1761, Grenville in 1762 and Halifax in 1764 (Notes and Queries, cc (1955), 162-3; ibid. cciv (1959), 283; ibid. ccv (1960), 391). See also Stormont's minute 6 Nov. 1779 (FO 95/591/1 f. 3).
  • 80. BM Add. MS 32687 f. 512. The elder Payzant, on his death in 1757 aged 100, was said to have served for 70 years in the Secretaries' offices (Gent. Mag. (1757), xxvii, 339).
  • 81. BM Add. MS 32687 f. 512.
  • 82. 1st Rept. on Fees, 4. Some insight into the work of the Clerks in Harley's office may be obtained from the evidence given by Gregg in 1708 (Lords Journals, xviii, 516-19). Brietzcke's diary is valuable for the 1760s. For the regulations governing the attendance of Clerks in Richmond's office in 1766, see SP 104/242 pp. 28-9 and of those in Rochford's office in 1775, see BM Add. MS 45519 f. 43.
  • 83. Chamberlayne, Present State (1735), pt. ii, 43; ibid. (1736), pt. ii, 47. On Payzant's death in 1757 he was succeeded by Jouvencel as 'Translator of modern languages in the secretary of state's office for the southern department' (Gent. Mag. (1757), xxvii, 482). No other trace of this office has been found.
  • 84. For the question of the teaching of modern languages as a preparation for the public service at this date, see D. B. Horn, The British Diplomatic Service 1689-1789 (Oxford 1961), 131-2; C. H. Firth, Modern Languages at Oxford 1724-1929 (Oxford 1929), 1-19; see also Burnaby's representations to Newcastle in 1734 (BM Add. MSS 32689 f. 288, 33057 ff. 49-50).
  • 85. SP 35/10 f. 16.
  • 86. BM Add. MS 32687 f. 497.
  • 87. 1st Rept. on Fees, 21, 28. 'Extra' Clerks were employed on a temporary basis to deal with exceptional business such as that arising at the beginning of a new reign (Notes and Queries, cxcix (1954), 297-9). Pollock stated that he had been employed as an Extra Clerk 1757-8 (1st Rept. on Fees, 19).
  • 88. 1st Rept. on Fees, 19.
  • 89. 16th Rept. on Finance, 311.
  • 90. Amongst Clerks who acted as Private Secretaries were Higden (to Rochford), Jones (to Newcastle), Jouvencel (to Grafton) and Kluft (to Bute).
  • 91. Ellis Corr., ii, 287.
  • 92. SP 44/122 p. 457: SP 44/129 p. 369; CHOP 1760-5, 202.
  • 93. T 52/44 pp. 372, 386, 502; T 52/45 pp. 162, 324.
  • 94. The transfers in question were those of Hedges (1704), Bolingbroke (1713) and Stanhope (1716). However, in 1704 Delafaye, instead of being taken on by Harley with the rest of Nottingham's Clerks, appears to have remained in the Southern Department to serve Hedges on his transfer there.
  • 95. T. Stanyan, the first Chief Clerk in the Scottish Department, was transferred from one of the older offices to which he later returned as Under Secretary. Kineir, originally appointed to one of the older offices, later served in the Scottish Department. The staff of the Colonial Department included three individuals with previous experience in the older offices: Phelps (Under Secretary), Pollock (Chief Clerk) and the younger Larpent (Senior Clerk). On the suppression of the department in 1782 three of its Clerks, Pollock, Wilmot and Palman and its Deputy Office Keeper, Crowder, were absorbed into the Home Office. Another former Clerk, Peace, eventually became its Librarian.
  • 96. The Messengers of the Chamber or King's Messengers are not included in these lists. Technically they formed part of the Royal Household under the authority of the Lord Chamberlain. During the 18th century, and especially after 1772, they passed increasingly under the control of the Secretaries of State. For some account of these officials, see A. V. Wheeler-Holohan, The History of the King's Messengers (London 1935); 1st Rept. on Fees, 8-9, 35-7.