Note on editorial method

Pages xiii-xiv

Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 3, Officials of the Boards of Trade 1660-1870. Originally published by University of London, London, 1974.

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Note on Editorial Method

This volume is designed to make available lists of the officials who served in the Boards of Trade between the Restoration in 1660 and the year 1870 which witnessed the introduction of the system of open competition for entrants into the Civil Service. The term Boards of Trade has been understood to cover all the institutional arrangements, whether they took the form of Councils or Committees of the Privy Council, which had charge of trade and foreign plantations, functions which were undertaken by separate bodies until 1672 but which were invariably linked thereafter. 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 development of the Boards 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 such matters as the method of appointment, remuneration and the relevant statutes and minutes. 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 serving the Boards 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 was in office at his death. Appointments to offices elsewhere have been ignored unless they occasioned, or can reasonably be held to have occasioned, the departure of the official from the office. In general the accounts of the careers of the members of the successive Boards have been confined to providing the dates of their appointment. A terminal date is given only in the cases of salaried Commissioners and the President and Vice-President after 1786. Information concerning resignations and retirements is provided only for those holding 'permanent' offices. Where an individual held an additional office in the department 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 except in the case of the Commissioners where they are included in the relevant lists of appointments. Where printed calendars of manuscript material exist they have been used as authorities provided that the calendaring is sufficiently full. Peers and holders of courtesy titles have been indexed under their titles. In the case of changes 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. The year is taken to have begun on 1 January throughout the period. Where offices were conferred by an instrument such as letters patent under the great seal, the date is that of the instrument. Where an appointment was by order in council or by minute of the Board, it is that of the order or minute. The task of determining the periods of service of 'political' officials presents considerable difficulty particularly in the nineteenth century when their appointments were frequently canvassed in newspapers and elsewhere several days before the date of their formal entry into office. For the sake of consistency the latter date has been adopted throughout the period. 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. 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.