Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 4, Admiralty Officials 1660-1870. Originally published by University of London, London, 1975.
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At the Restoration in 1660 the office of Lord High Admiral was re-established. The powers and functions of the Admiralty were vested in this office until the end of the period covered by these lists, except for the years 1684–9 when they were exercised directly by the crown acting through a Secretary for the Affairs of the Admiralty. The office was occupied by individuals only during the years 1660–73, 1702–8 and 1827–8; at other times it was placed in commission. Both Prince George (1702–8) and the Duke of Clarence (1827–8) were provided with a Council to assist them in executing the office of Lord High Admiral. (fn. 1)
The judicial functions of the Admiralty were of considerable antiquity. The offices of the court of Admiralty, those of Judge, Registrar and Marshal, had long been established. (fn. 2) The officials appointed by the Lord High Admiral or the Admiralty Board to represent their interests in the court, the Advocate and the Proctor, were in existence at the Restoration. During the reign of Charles II the offices of Judge Advocate and Deputy Judge Advocate of the Fleet, which were concerned with the conduct of naval courts martial, were placed on a permanent basis. A Counsel, attached originally to the Navy Board but later to the Admiralty as well, was first appointed in 1673; the office of Solicitor had its origin in 1692. Although these officials were in varying degrees subject to the authority of the Admiralty, they were distinct from the Admiralty office itself which is the principal concern of these lists.
The Admiralty office in its limited sense comprised those officials who served in a secretarial, clerical or subordinate capacity under the immediate direction of the Lord High Admiral or the Admiralty Board. This organisation had remained relatively undeveloped. The Secretary had been an important figure in Admiralty administration since the early seventeenth century. During the Commonwealth salaries from public funds had been made available for him and two Clerks. At the Restoration, however, the Secretary reverted formally to the station of a personal servant of the Lord High Admiral, deriving his remuneration exclusively from fees. (fn. 3) In 1664 he was accorded, in consideration of the abolition of the fees arising on commissions and warrants, a salary of £500 payable by the Treasurer of the Navy. (fn. 4) A salary was also provided for a Messenger from 1666 and, at various periods after 1676, for a Porter. (fn. 5)
Very little information has survived concerning the clerical organisation of the Admiralty before 1694 when salaries were provided for the Clerks from public funds. Statements about it during this period must, therefore, be of the most tentative kind. It seems that the Secretary was in origin entirely responsible for recruiting such Clerks as he needed for the conduct of business and that he either paid them salaries out of his own receipts from fees or allowed them to retain certain fees on their own account. The Clerks held their positions at the pleasure of the Secretary who could dismiss them at will as is illustrated by the case of Burchett in 1687. (fn. 6) The experience of Atkins who failed to retain his place in the Admiralty on Pepys' removal from office in 1679 indicates that Clerks appointed by one Secretary had at this date no claim to be continued in service by his successor. (fn. 7) Nevertheless there are some signs that there was a degree of continuity in the composition of the clerical staff. Thus Southerne, who had originally been appointed by Coventry in 1660, is found in the service of Pepys in 1673. (fn. 8) John Walbanke, who had served Pepys during his first period as Secretary, also acted as Clerk to Brisbane between 1680 and 1684 and again served Pepys from the latter year until his death in 1686. Burchett, although dismissed by Pepys in 1687, returned to serve his successors, Bowles and Southerne, at various periods between 1689 and 1694.
The earliest surviving list of the Admiralty establishment is dated 1 January 1687 and indicates that, in addition to the Secretary, Messenger and Doorkeeper, there were four Clerks in the office at that date, Atkins, Richard Walbanke, Burchett and Skinner. (fn. 9) There are indications that one of the Clerks was customarily given greater responsibilities than his colleagues and acted as Chief Clerk. The most obvious function of this Clerk was to sign the Secretary's letters in his absence. Southerne may have occupied this position continuously from 1660. By about 1674 he was replaced by Hewer who is the only Clerk to be specifically referred to as Chief Clerk before 1694. John Walbanke appears to have been Chief Clerk from 1680 to 1686 when he was succeeded by Atkins who appears first on the list of 1687. Samuel Pett seems to have served as Chief Clerk to Bowles in 1689 and Burchett acted as Southerne's principal subordinate in 1693. It must be emphasised that this reconstruction of the succession to the position of Chief Clerk rests on no greater authority than a series of scattered references but it derives some support from the fact that, of those mentioned, Southerne, Hewer, John Walbanke, Atkins, Samuel Pett and Burchett all held the office of Deputy Judge Advocate of the Fleet which may at this period have been regarded as a perquisite to which the Chief Clerk had a special claim. That the Chief Clerk was an official of some consequence is indicated by the fact that Atkins' association with the Admiralty began in 1674 when he became personal Clerk to Hewer as Chief Clerk in which capacity he served for three years before being appointed a Clerk by Pepys as Secretary. (fn. 10)
The transfer of the office of Lord High Admiral from the Duke of York to a Board of Commissioners in 1673 probably accelerated the growth of routines of business which in turn required some degree of specialisation on the part of the Clerks. Developments of this kind were undoubtedly encouraged by business-like Secretaries such as Pepys and Bridgeman. The demands made upon the office as a result of the continuous period of war between 1689 and 1698 necessitated the introduction of new regulations for the conduct of business and a further definition of the duties of the Clerks. (fn. 11)
In 1694 the decision was made to abolish the office fees and to provide all the staff with fixed salaries, borne on the ordinary estimate of the Navy and paid by the Treasurer of the Navy. (fn. 12) At the same time the Board adopted a proposal, which had originally been made in 1690, (fn. 13) and appointed two joint Secretaries, each with salaries of £800. Next in seniority were two Chief Clerks, with salaries of £200. The appointment of a second Chief Clerk may have been an innovation at this date and was possibly designed to correspond with the new secretarial arrangements. It may be significant in this connection that Burt, one of the Chief Clerks, was transferred directly to the Admiralty from the Navy Office. Under the Chief Clerks were six other Clerks, each with salaries of £80, a Messenger (or Head Messenger), two Servants (or Messengers), a Porter, a Watchman and a Necessary Woman. (fn. 14) Shortly afterwards the salaries of a Housekeeper and a Gardener were transferred to the establishment from the contingent fund. (fn. 15)
From 1694 it is possible to obtain a much clearer picture of the identity and periods of service of Admiralty officials than is the case earlier. The authorities for the payment of salaries are recorded in the Naval Salary and Pension Books (fn. 16) and the payments themselves can be traced in the Treasurer of the Navy's Ledgers (fn. 17) and Declared Accounts. (fn. 18) New appointments and increases in salary were quite frequently authorised directly by letters from the Admiralty Board. (fn. 19) Although the office continued to be known officially as the 'Secretary's Office' down to the end of the nineteenth century it seems clear that, whatever may have been the case before, the Secretary's discretion in establishment matters was increasingly circumscribed after 1694 as a result both of the intervention of the Board and of the growth of conventions within the establishment itself. The mere fact of receiving salaries from public funds tended to give the Clerks a more 'public' character and the accumulation of records associated with their remuneration provided them with a body of precedent to which appeal could be made should any arbitrary interference with customary conventions be contemplated. These conventions finally received full recognition by the Board as a result of the practice, increasingly observed after about 1720, of recording in the Minute Books decisions relating to appointments and other establishment matters. (fn. 20)
Two external factors particularly affected the development of the Admiralty establishment. First, as a service department its business was inevitably subject to substantial fluctuations according to whether conditions of war or peace prevailed.Secondly, because the amounts necessary for the payment of its officials had to be voted annually by the House of Commons, its establishment was subject to the possibility of parliamentary scrutiny to an extent which did not apply to the civil departments until the nineteenth century. At the conclusion of hostilities in 1698 retrenchment was demanded; one of the Secretaries was dispensed with and the number of Clerks was reduced. (fn. 21) Following the accession of Anne in 1702 war broke out once again. A second Secretary was again appointed and in the following year the clerical establishment was fixed at one Chief Clerk at £400, the other Chief Clerk having been dispensed with in 1696, and nine other Clerks with salaries ranging from £60 to £150. (fn. 22) In the years immediately following it was customary to employ a varying number of other Clerks, sometimes known as Extra Clerks, at £50 a year. (fn. 23) In 1705 one of the Secretaries was replaced by a new official of inferior standing, designated the Deputy Secretary. (fn. 24) In 1712 the establishment was again modified and provision was made for a Chief Clerk at £300, eight other Clerks with salaries ranging from £60 to £120 and four Clerks at £50. (fn. 25) On the termination of the war in 1713 the Chief Clerk's salary was fixed at £200, the number of Clerks on the establishment reduced to six with salaries from £60 to £100 and the Clerks at £50 discharged. (fn. 26)
Following the accession of George I the establishment of the Admiralty was revised. The basic structure of the office as settled in January 1715 endured in its essentials until the end of the eighteenth century. A short survey of the principles which governed its organisation may therefore be appropriate at this point. The office was presided over by the Secretary. In the years immediately following the Restoration the Secretary enjoyed a relatively insecure tenure. During Burchett's long period of office which extended from 1694 to 1742 it came to be accepted that the Secretary was a permanent official who remained in office until his death or voluntary retirement. (fn. 27) In the latter event a pension was customarily provided. (fn. 28) The security enjoyed by the Secretary was not in practice affected by the fact that he was usually a member of the House of Commons. (fn. 29) The salary attached to the office remained £800. In 1717 Burchett made a successful application to the Privy Council to have restored the Secretary's fees which had been abolished in 1694. (fn. 30) In the following year it was laid down by the Board that the Secretary should receive half of the product of these fees while the remainder should be divided up amongst the Clerks, the size of whose shares was calculated by reference to the amount of their salaries. (fn. 31)
Before 1783 the arrangements for providing the Secretary with assistance in his duties were relatively fluid. The Secretary acted alone from 1715 to 1728. Thereafter he usually had an associate who was either Deputy Secretary (1728–41, 1744–6, 1756–9 and 1764–83), joint Secretary (1741–2) or Second Secretary (1746–51 and 1759–63). The appointment of Corbett as joint Secretary in 1741 was occasioned by the need to provide the ageing Burchett with support; (fn. 32) the appointments of Clevland and Stephens in 1746 and 1759 respectively by the increased burden of work which fell upon the Secretary as a result of conditions of war. (fn. 33) The standing of all three was more or less comparable to that of the Secretary himself (fn. 34) and each of them ultimately succeeded to the senior position. All Secretaries who held office between 1715 and 1795 had had some experience of naval administration before their appointment to the Admiralty. However, the post was not one to which the Admiralty Clerks could ordinarily expect to be promoted. Corbett became Secretary in 1742 after having served successively as Clerk, Chief Clerk, Deputy Secretary and joint Secretary since 1715. Stephens, who was appointed Second Secretary in 1759, had entered the Admiralty as second established Clerk in 1751 after a career in the Navy Office. (fn. 35) On the other hand, Clevland, appointed Second Secretary in 1746, had served for the whole of his earlier career in the dockyards and the Navy Office. (fn. 36)
The standing of the Deputy Secretary approximated more closely to that of the Chief Clerk than to that of the Secretary. The salary attached to the office was £500 with an additional £100 in time of war. In ordinary circumstances it was the highest post to which the Clerks on the establishment could aspire. With the single exception of Jackson (1766–82) whose previous career had been in the Navy Office, (fn. 37) all Deputy Secretaries had served for long periods as Clerks and it was the usual practice for them to be promoted to the post after having occupied the position of Chief Clerk. Before 1783 the office of Chief Clerk to which a salary of £400 was attached was only filled when the Secretary was acting without the assistance of a joint, Deputy or Second Secretary. When there was a Deputy Secretary he appears to have undertaken the duties of the Chief Clerk which included immediate responsibility for the clerical staff and for the contingent fund. In these circumstances no special position was accorded to the senior established Clerk. However, during the periods when there was a Second Secretary (1746–51 and 1759–63), the senior established Clerk was a more important figure. Although Fearne's salary was not raised from £200 to £400 until 1763 it seems clear that he undertook at least some of the duties of Chief Clerk from 1759. (fn. 38)
Under the immediate direction of the Deputy Secretary or Chief Clerk were the established Clerks. In 1715 their number was fixed at seven with salaries of £200, £150, £120, £100, £80, £70 and £60. (fn. 39) After 1718 the Clerks received, in addition, shares in half the product of the office fees in the manner already described. By 1786 it had become the practice for them to demand personal fees as well. (fn. 40) Before 1715 there was a certain amount of flexibility in the clerical organisation of the office. Clerks like Lynn were brought in and immediately granted relatively high salaries; others like Parmiter, Oldner, Cole and Oakes were appointed to responsible posts in other branches of naval administration. Of the six Clerks in the office in January 1715 two, Crosfield and Allen, were appointed to posts elsewhere; two, Barnett and Newson, were discharged; while only two, Pembroke and Crickett, remained. Five new Clerks, Corbett, Hawes, Edwards, Hinsom and Westcomb, were brought in of whom only Hinsom had previously served in the Admiralty. Corbett and Hawes were appointed directly to the first and second places on the establishment.
However, the events of 1715 were unusual. In the years that followed the appointment of Clerks to posts outside the Admiralty became much rarer and it was accepted as the rule that Clerks should be appointed in the first instance to the junior position on the establishment after which their advancement should be governed by the principle of seniority. (fn. 41) Exceptions were, however, made from time to time. In 1717 Young, Secretary to Berkeley, the First Lord of the Admiralty, was appointed to the third place while in 1751 the Board, seeing the need to bring in an experienced naval administrator to undertake a particular branch of Admiralty business, appointed Stephens directly to the second place. This caused considerable resentment amongst the Clerks who had been overtaken. They embodied their grievances in a petition to the Board stating that this departure from the rule of promotion by seniority both injured them materially and damaged their reputation in the eyes of the world. In answering the petition the Board, significantly enough, did not attempt to deny that promotion by seniority was the rule of the office but justified their action not by insisting on the superior merits of Stephens but by maintaining that the vacancy which he had been appointed to fill was of such a special character that it could not be regarded as an occasion for the application of that rule. (fn. 42) Other departures from the ordinary course of promotion occurred in 1759 when Fearne was promoted from fourth to first place on the establishment and in 1763 when Borrodale was passed over for the first place on the grounds of age and infirmity. Borrodale was, however, compensated by being given an allowance out of the contingent fund that was equivalent to the increase of salary that he would have received had he been promoted. (fn. 43)
The Clerks, like the Secretaries, enjoyed a secure tenure. There were only two cases of dismissal during the period under discussion and they were occasioned by serious misconduct. (fn. 44) Allowances were provided for Clerks who retired after long service. These usually took the form of annuities to which the Clerks who benefited from the retirement contributed from their salaries. (fn. 45)
In addition to the established Clerks there was after 1715 a fluctuating number of Extra Clerks. At first they appear to have been employed as writers and copyists without salary. From 1738 they received £50 a year from the contingent fund. (fn. 46) Before 1740 their number and identity cannot be precisely determined. In that year when there were five, their salaries were transferred from the contingent fund to the ordinary estimate and made payable by the Treasurer of the Navy like those of the established Clerks. (fn. 47) Thereafter the identity of the Extra Clerks can be determined without difficulty. Unlike the Clerks on the establishment, the Extra Clerks did not have a secure tenure. Their number varied according to the pressure of work. Some of those who had been engaged during periods of war were liable to be discharged after the cessation of hostilities. On the other hand those Extra Clerks who had remained in the service of the Admiralty for a considerable time could look forward to promotion within the office. An Extra Clerk was appointed to the establishment in 1721 and from 1738 to 1800 vacancies on the establishment were with only one exception filled by Extra Clerks.
The first detailed evidence of the manner in which the work of the Admiralty was undertaken is to be found in a document of October 1759. (fn. 48) This records the changes in the distribution of functions which were made necessary by the promotion of Stephens from a clerkship to the office of Second Secretary and shows that it was the practice for branches of business to be assigned to particular established Clerks who were assisted by Extra Clerks. It is evident from a number of scattered earlier references that the practice of dividing up the work in this way was of considerable antiquity. (fn. 49)
A number of changes were made in the Admiralty office in the course of the eighteenth century. In 1731 an Inspector of Repairs was attached to the department. (fn. 50) In 1738 a Clerk of the Journals was appointed with the function of inspecting and making abstracts from Captains' journals so that the Board could inform itself as to the manner in which its instructions were being carried out. However, this post was discontinued as a separate office in 1741. (fn. 51) From 1755 it was usual for one of the Extra Clerks to be employed as Translator of French and Spanish Languages. (fn. 52) In the same year the establishment of the Marines was placed under the immediate authority of the Board. (fn. 53) This gave rise to the creation of two new sub-departments, the Marine Department and the Marine Pay Department. The Marine Department was placed under the Secretary who was granted an additional salary on this account and salaries were made available for two Clerks and two Extra Clerks. These salaries were paid out of the marine contingencies fund. A third Clerk was appointed in 1778. The two Extra Clerks were dispensed with in 1782 and in 1784 the number of Clerks was reduced to two. (fn. 54) The Marine Pay Department had its origin in the Clerks employed by the Paymaster of Marines. In 1756 three Agents of Marines were appointed. In 1763 they were reduced to one. (fn. 55)
In 1783 changes were introduced into the more senior offices of the department. The office of Deputy Secretary was abolished and replaced by that of Second Secretary which was now established on a permanent basis and also given the title of Second Secretary of the Marine Department. Thereafter the Admiralty office was presided over by a First and a Second Secretary until the end of the period covered by these lists. At the same time the position of Chief Clerk was also established on a permanent basis and conferred upon the senior established Clerk. (fn. 56)
In 1786 the Admiralty office was investigated by the Commissioners on Fees. The Commissioners examined twenty-seven officials of the department whose testimony was included in their third report which was made in the following year. (fn. 57) The Commissioners found the office presided over by two Secretaries who were, under the Board, charged with the oversight of all the business of the department. The immediate conduct of the work was entrusted to a Chief Clerk who was responsible for the direction of the other Clerks and who also acted as Paymaster of Contingencies. The business of the Admiralty was divided into six branches which were placed in the charge of the Chief Clerk himself and the next five established Clerks. The junior established Clerk was attached to the Chief Clerk as his assistant. Nine of the eleven Extra Clerks were attached to the Clerks in charge of the various branches; the remaining two were placed at the disposal of the Secretaries, one acting also as Translator of French and Spanish Languages.
The subordinate staff consisted of a Head Messenger, two Assistant Messengers, a Porter, a Housekeeper, a Necessary Woman, three Watchmen, a Gardener and an Inspector of Repairs, most of whom were accustomed to receive perquisites in addition to their salaries.
The Marine Department was under the direction of the two Secretaries of the Admiralty. Two Clerks were employed in the Department who were distinct from the ordinary establishment. There was also a Paymaster of Marines who was assisted by two Clerks, and an Agent of Marines. The Commissioners also extended their enquiry to the offices of Receiver and Comptroller of Admiralty Droits. (fn. 58)
Reviewing the organisation of the office the Commissioners began by commending the fact that the Secretaries 'contrary to the custom observed in other departments into which we have enquired, appear to be stationary Officers'. In their view the Clerks and other officials appeared to be efficient and to perform their duties in person although they felt that the amount of work that arose in peace-time was hardly sufficient to provide them all with full employment. However, the Commissioners were of the opinion that this consideration was outweighed by the advantage of having a body of experienced Clerks in readiness in the event of an outbreak of war when they were likely to be fully extended. The Commissioners deprecated the manner in which the Secretaries and established Clerks received their remuneration and were of the opinion that the Extra Clerks were inadequately paid given the nature and amount of work that they were called upon to perform.
The first recommendation made by the Commissioners was that the Secretaries, Clerks and other officials should all receive fixed salaries which should replace all existing forms of remuneration. They proposed that the First and Second Secretaries should receive £2000 and £1200 respectively and the Chief Clerk £800. The remaining six established Clerks should form a class of Senior Clerks with salaries ranging from £300 to £500. Eight of the Extra Clerks should be added to the establishment as Junior Clerks with salaries ranging from £150 to £250. The three junior Extra Clerks should retain their existing title with salaries of £90 and be placed on the establishment when vacancies occurred according to 'seniority and merit'. Special allowances were proposed for the Receiver of Fees and Paymaster of Contingencies and for the French and Spanish Translator.
The Commissioners deprecated the fact that the first Clerk in the Marine Department was also Chief Clerk to the Paymaster of Marines since this involved him in some degree in the responsibility of checking the accounts of his own principal, the Paymaster. They also commented unfavourably on the fact that the same official was a Purser of a ship, a post which he executed by deputy, and that he acted as agent for a number of marine officers.
Amongst the subordinate staff the Commissioners recommended the abolition of the office of Housekeeper as a sinecure and that of Inspector of Repairs as 'unnecessary'. Otherwise they approved this part of the establishment on the understanding that remuneration should be confined to fixed salaries and that all other emoluments should be discontinued. (fn. 59)
The Commissioners proposed that the office fees should continue to be received by one of the Senior Clerks, subject to certain accounting safeguards, and that they should constitute a fund to be applied towards defraying the expenses of stationery and contingencies. (fn. 60)
The Commissioners recommended that those officials who were obliged to retire on account of age or infirmity should receive pensions not exceeding half the amount of their salaries. Officials should take an oath of secrecy and fidelity before a Baron of the Exchequer and also enter into a bond to the amount of three times their salaries for the proper performance of their duties. To prevent abuse the bond should make clear that the official in question would not directly or indirectly take any fee or other perquisite for business done in the office, other than his established salary nor act as agent in connection with the purchase of naval supplies, on pain of dismissal. (fn. 61) Finally the Commissioners recommended that the office of Paymaster of Marines should be amalgamated with that of Agent and provided with an establishment of two Clerks, two Extra Clerks and a Messenger with salaries payable out of the marine contingent fund. (fn. 62)
The report of the Commissioners was referred to the Admiralty Board for comment in 1792. However, in 1797 the Commons Select Committee on Finance found that no system of regulation had been introduced into the office by the Board in consequence of its recommendations on the ground that the establishment proposed by the Commissioners was 'inadequate to the execution of the duties of that important and extensive department; and that the Salaries proposed to be allowed to the Secretaries and Clerks were by no means sufficient to compensate them for their constant and laborious services'. (fn. 63) The Committee observed that there had been a substantial increase in the cost of the department since the Commissioners reported. This was due partly to war but was principally occasioned by the creation of three new offices. Of these that of Hydrographer, first appointed in 1795, survived to become a permanent feature of the department. (fn. 64) The Inspector of Telegraphs, appointed in the same year, was intended only to be a temporary official for the duration of the war and his post was discontinued in 1816. (fn. 65) Finally, there was the sub-department concerned with naval works, which was established in 1796. This was under the direction of an Inspector General, assisted by an Architect, a Mechanist and a Chemist and served by a Secretary, a Draftsman, two Clerks and a Messenger at a total cost of £2700 a year. This sub-department remained under the immediate direction of the Admiralty until 1807 when it was transferred to the Navy Board. (fn. 66)
The Finance Committee were not unfavourably disposed towards these new offices but strongly urged that, as soon as conditions of peace returned, the Admiralty Board should make a determined effort to reduce the size and cost of the establishment generally and also to implement the recommendations of the Commissioners of 1786 with regard to the fees. (fn. 67)
The Board finally submitted its observations on the recommendations of the Commissioners in 1799. (fn. 68) It acquiesced with a marked lack of enthusiasm in the proposal that fixed salaries should be substituted for the existing system of remuneration. It reiterated its view that the salaries proposed for the Secretaries and Clerks were inadequate. Instead of £2000 for the First Secretary it recommended a salary of £3000 with an additional allowance of £1000 in time of war and instead of £1200 for the Second Secretary it proposed £1500 with an addition of £500 in time of war. The Board agreed that the salary of the Chief Clerk should be £800 and suggested that this official should undertake the duties of Receiver of Fees and Paymaster of Contingencies, receiving in time of war the allowance of £150 attached to this post.
With regard to the succession of Extra Clerks to vacancies on the establishment and the question of promotion generally the Board observed that 'it does not appear to us that any fixed rule should be laid down, as due attention will always be paid to the services of persons who have been in that capacity, if their conduct should merit approbation. The Junior Clerks on the Establishment, if competent to higher situations, will rise in succession as a matter of course'. The Board was of the opinion that the clerical establishment proposed by the Commissioners was inadequate both in terms of numbers and remuneration. It recommended that there should be six Senior Clerks with salaries ranging from £300 to £500, ten Junior Clerks with salaries from £150 to £250 and six Extra Clerks who were to receive either £90 or £100. The salary scale of one of the Clerks in the Marine Department should be assimilated to the class of Seniors; the salary scale of the other to that of Juniors. The Translator should receive £100 and the office of Secretary (or Private Secretary) to the First Lord should be inserted in the establishment at a salary of £300. The Board recommended that the Clerks should receive the addition of a fifth to their salaries in time of war.
Turning to the subordinate staff the Board agreed to the abolition of the posts of Housekeeper and Inspector of Repairs but urged the necessity of increasing the salaries of the established Messengers and of retaining the services of certain other additional officials until the end of the war. The Board agreed to the tightening up of the procedures for accounting for the fees and also to the proposal that the fees themselves should form a fund to be applied towards the payment of the contingencies. It rejected the suggestion that retiring officials should receive pensions amounting to half their salaries in all cases and proposed instead that the amount of the pensions should be related to length of service. The Board accepted that Clerks should take an oath of secrecy on entering office but felt that the proposal that every Clerk should give security to the amount of three times his salary was impracticable; this safeguard should apply only to the Chief Clerk who as Receiver of Fees and Paymaster of Contingencies was the sole official entrusted with public money. So far as the other Clerks were concerned, the sanction of dismissal in the case of misconduct remained.
The recommendations of the Commissioners of 1786 as thus modified by the Admiralty Board were embodied in an order in council of 15 January 1800 which provided the basic framework of the establishment until the end of the period. (fn. 69) The first significant change in the office to occur after this reorganisation related to the position of the Secretaries. As has been seen, it was an established principle during the eighteenth century that the Secretaries should be 'stationary' or permanent. However, the convention of permanence was broken in the case of the second secretaryship in 1804 when Tucker was turned out in favour of Barrow, in 1806 when Barrow was turned out in favour of Tucker and once again in 1807 when Barrow was reappointed. After this episode, however, the post reverted to its permanent character which was consolidated during Barrow's long second term of office which lasted until 1845. The permanent character of the first secretaryship was maintained until 1807 when Marsden, who had occupied the post without a seat in parliament since 1804, resigned. It was then agreed that the holder of the office should invariably be a member of the Commons. Thereafter it was accepted that the first secretaryship should be governed by the conventions which applied to the 'political' members of the administration and be vacated on a change of government. (fn. 70)
In 1807 it was agreed that the remuneration of the Clerks should be increased in view of the rise in the cost of living and also that the size of their salaries should be governed by the length of their service rather than by the particular position that they happened to occupy in the office. A system of progressive salaries was introduced with maxima of £600, £400 and £140 for the Senior, Junior and Extra Clerks respectively. The practice of paying additional allowances in time of war was continued. The new system was extended to the Clerks in the Marine and the Marine Pay Departments. (fn. 71)
In August 1809 the Board turned its attention to the condition of the Admiralty records. It was found that many rooms were filled with official documents which were almost inaccessible as a result of a lack of proper indexes. To deal with the problem authority was obtained for the appointment of a Keeper of Records and Papers with a salary of £500. The post was given to John Finlaison who was responsible for introducing into the Admiralty the distinctive system of digests and indexes. (fn. 72)
In September 1809 the separate existence of the Marine Department was brought to a close and its two clerkships integrated into the ordinary establishment. (fn. 73) In 1811 the Board, having found it necessary to increase the branches into which the business of the department was divided from seven to nine, was authorised to raise the number of Senior Clerks to nine and that of the Junior Clerks to twelve. (fn. 74) Between 1811 and 1816 Supernumerary Clerks were temporarily employed and paid on a weekly basis. (fn. 75) In 1812 allowances were made available for two Clerks for acting as Private Clerks or Private Secretaries to the First and Second Secretaries. (fn. 76) In 1815 it was provided that the distinction between war and peace salaries should be abolished and that the salaries both of the Secretaries and the Clerks should be fixed permanently at the war level. (fn. 77)
In 1816 the clerical structure of the office was subjected to a major reorganisation. (fn. 78) The avowed purposes of the reorganisation were to bring about uniformity in the conduct of business, to ensure that salaries were relevant to the responsibility assumed and to the amount of work performed and to maintain the distinction between the Clerks of the Admiralty and those of the subordinate naval departments, a distinction which the Board felt to be well founded 'in the superior political importance and responsibility of the duties of this department'. The existing grades of Senior, Junior and Extra Clerk and also the office of Keeper of the Records were abolished and replaced by three new classes. The First Class Clerks were eight in number. Seven of these were to preside over the various branches into which the business was divided: military, civil, legal, commission, record, miscellaneous and marine, while the eighth was to act as Reading Clerk or Reader to the Board. The First Class Clerks were accorded a progressive salary scale ranging from £600 to £850. Provision was made for eleven Second Class Clerks with salaries ranging from £400 to £600 and for fourteen Third Class Clerks with salaries ranging from £150 to £400. At the same time the order in council authorising this new establishment laid down that 'the removal from a lower class to a higher shall be the reward of qualification for the duties of the higher class without any reference whatsoever to the seniority the person may hold in the lower class'. The principles of the reorganisation of 1816 were extended to the Marine Pay Department in 1819 and continued to operate there until the abolition of that department in 1831. (fn. 79)
In the years following the end of the war parliamentary pressure forced the Admiralty, like other departments, to give serious attention to the question of cutting down the cost of its staff. In 1818 criticism in the House of Commons led to a reduction in the salaries of the Secretaries to the former peace-time level. (fn. 80) In 1822 a new scheme was introduced which 'reduced the establishment to the very lowest scale consistent with the due execution of public business'. The number of Clerks was reduced to six in the first class, to six in the second class and to twelve in the third class. The salaries of the First Class Clerks remained unchanged; those of the Second Class Clerks were reduced to a scale ranging from £350 to £550 and those of the Third Class Clerks were reduced to a scale ranging from £100 to £350. (fn. 81) In 1823 it was provided that Clerks should serve for a year on probation after appointment before being fully established. (fn. 82) In 1827 the right of appointment to clerkships was transferred from the First Secretary to the Duke of Clarence as Lord High Admiral, vesting subsequently in the First Lord of the Admiralty. (fn. 83)
In 1824 the Board reviewed the position of the Private Secretary to the First Lord. The duties attached to this post were, in the view of the Admiralty, 'very different in many respects from those of a similar description in the other principal departments'. (fn. 84) The Private Secretary was never selected from amongst the Clerks in the office as was often the case elsewhere but was usually an individual of considerable experience and standing. As the nineteenth century proceeded it became common for First Lords to appoint senior naval officers as their Private Secretaries. The Private Secretary had the duty of presiding over the First Lord's private office which came to include several of the Clerks on the establishment and a Messenger. (fn. 85) The post, which had carried a salary of £300 since 1800, had often been held in conjunction with another office to which few or no duties were attached. With the general reduction of establishments it was becoming increasingly difficult to find offices suitable for this purpose. It was, therefore, provided in 1824 that, when the Private Secretary had no other form of remuneration from the government, the salary scale should begin at £500 and rise to £600. (fn. 86)
During the Whig government of 1830–4 far-reaching changes were introduced into naval administration. In the first place the work of the Admiralty Board was reorganised. (fn. 87) Originally there had been no fixed principle governing the proportion of junior Lords who were naval officers. From 1804, however, it was the rule for there to be an equal number of 'civil' and 'naval' Lords. Until 1822 there were thus three civil and three naval Lords. When, in that year, the size of the Board was reduced, one civil and one naval lordship were abolished. In 1830 all the junior lordships were filled by naval officers. Two years later a Civil Lord was added and from then until 1869 it was the usual practice for the Board to be composed of four Naval Lords and one Civil Lord in addition to the First Lord. Originally all the Admiralty Lords had been eligible for election to the Commons; in 1832 the number so eligible was reduced to five. (fn. 88) It was apparently while Barham was First Lord (1805–6) that the first steps were taken in the direction of a permanent division of work amongst the various members of the Admiralty Board. During Sir James Graham's period of office as First Lord (1830–4) each junior Lord was made responsible for a specific area of naval administration. This arrangement was linked with the general reform of the naval departments which took place in 1832. This involved the abolition of the Navy and Victualling Boards and the transfer of their functions to five principal officers of the Navy, the Surveyor, the Accountant General, the Storekeeper General, the Controller of the Victualling and Transport Service and the Physician, whose activities were placed generally under the supervision of the Admiralty Board and specifically under the direction of a particular junior Lord. The former staffs of the Navy and Victualling Boards were placed under the authority of the five principal officers who conducted their business from Somerset House. These officials were thus both physically and administratively distinct from the Admiralty establishment in Whitehall and have not been included in these lists.
The reforms of 1832 prompted a review of the clerical establishment of the Admiralty which was fixed in that year at thirty-one, composed of one Chief, six First Class (or Senior), nine Second Class and fifteen Third Class Clerks. (fn. 89) In April 1837 the superintendence of the business relating to mail packets was transferred from the Post Office to the Admiralty; as a result one First Class, one Second Class and three Third Class Clerks were added. In June of the same year it was recognised that, due to the increase in the establishment, it was taking Clerks an excessively long time to reach the maximum salary for their grade; increases in the increments for the First and Second Classes were therefore authorised. (fn. 90)
In February 1841 another Clerk was added to the second class in order to provide assistance for the Controller of Steam Machinery. (fn. 91) In the following May the office of Reader was placed on a new footing. This important post, which involved being present at meetings of the Board, had previously been filled by one of the Clerks who received an additional allowance from the contingent fund. It was now provided that the Reader should, immediately on appointment, receive the maximum salary appropriate to his grade together with an allowance of £100. (fn. 92)
In 1842 the increasing amount of work falling upon the office, in particular that caused by the correspondence arising from the control of the slave trade, the supervision of the packet service and the introduction of steam machinery into ships, necessitated the appointment of an additional Second Class Clerk to the establishment which was fixed at one Chief Clerk, seven First Class, eleven Second Class and eighteen Third Class Clerks. (fn. 93) A further Third Class Clerk was added in 1847 to strengthen the steam department. (fn. 94)
In 1853 it was decided that the clerical duties associated with the Naval Coast Volunteers should be undertaken by the Admiralty. This decision prompted a general review of the establishment. The increasing amount of work, in particular that arising from the department's responsibilities for steam machinery, the contract packet service and the dockyard brigades, had for some time made it necessary to employ Extra Clerks. These Clerks, whose position was defined in 1841, were usually five in number. They held their posts on a permanent tenure and were promoted to the establishment as vacancies occurred. It was recognised that their status was anomalous and in conflict with the concept of a fixed establishment authorised by order in council. Since, however, the loss of their services would bring about serious inconvenience, the only satisfactory solution to the problem was to increase the establishment. The Treasury approved the addition of two First Class and six Third Class Clerks, thus bringing the total clerical staff to forty-seven, consisting of one Chief, nine First Class, twelve Second Class and twenty-five Third Class Clerks. (fn. 95)
In 1854 the extra work occasioned by the Crimean War led to the appointment of an additional First Class Clerk and three further Third Class Clerks. (fn. 96) In March 1855 it was recognised that the many alterations that had been made to the establishment in the course of the years had resulted in a considerable change in the relative proportions of the various classes of Clerks. In particular it was felt that the more senior Clerks in the third class were inadequately remunerated and required an increase of salary so that more encouragement could be held out to them. Accordingly the third class was divided into two sections, the first consisting of twelve Clerks with salaries ranging from £250 to £350 and the second consisting of sixteen Clerks with salaries ranging from £100 to £150. (fn. 97) Following the order in council of May 1855 arrangements were made for all those nominated to places on the establishment to be examined by the Civil Service Commissioners. (fn. 98)
In October 1855 the Board, after considering the reports of the investigations made by Sir Stafford Northcote and Sir Charles Trevelyan into the organisation of various public departments, approached the Treasury with the suggestion that a similar enquiry should be undertaken into the Admiralty establishment in Whitehall. The Treasury concurred and nominated the Hon. H. B. W. Brand, one of its junior Lords, to serve with Captain Milne, one of the Naval Lords, and Phinn, the Second Secretary of the Admiralty as a committee for the purpose. The committee never actually made a report but it gathered a great deal of valuable evidence from various Admiralty officials about the organisation and functioning of the office. (fn. 99) Conflicting opinions were expressed about the value of a system of promotion based upon merit rather than seniority. Witnesses admitted that, in spite of the terms of the order in council of 1816, there had been only one case since that date in which a Clerk had been passed over for promotion. (fn. 100) A number of changes were put forward during the proceedings of the committee, some of which were ultimately adopted. These included the appointment of a Librarian and the discontinuance of the system whereby Clerks on the establishment were entrusted with the preparation of the digests and indexes of Admiralty records and the introduction of a distinct class of Writers to undertake this work. The proposal that the duties of the Chief Clerk should be revised and his office associated with that of Assistant Secretary was not adopted until after the period covered by these lists.
Even after the end of the Crimean War it proved possible to make only relatively modest reductions in the establishment. The number of Third Class (Second Section) Clerks was gradually reduced, reaching eleven in 1859 and nine in 1862. However, from 1855 to 1866 it proved necessary to employ a body of Temporary Clerks who, despite their name, soon became accepted as a permanent feature of the office. Between 1861 and 1866 all new recruits to the establishment were selected from amongst the Temporary Clerks. In 1862 the additional work arising from the increased size of the naval force now maintained in commission and also from the measures that had been introduced to secure an adequate reserve of seamen led to the appointment of a further First Class Clerk. At the same time a Librarian was added to the establishment to take charge of the Admiralty Library which contained in the region of 25,000 books and was increasing at the rate of about 500 annually. (fn. 101)
In 1863 it was recognised that the increase in the size of the fleet and the introduction of iron ships into the navy had created more additional work for the department than it was able to undertake satisfactorily with its existing staff. The appointment of an additional Second Class Clerk was therefore authorised. At the same time the work of the Record Branch of the Admiralty was reorganised. As already noted it had previously been the practice for Clerks on the ordinary establishment to undertake the duties of registering, digesting and indexing papers. The decision was now made to entrust these tasks to a distinct grade of Writers specifically recruited for the purpose. Authority was given for the appointment of two Digest Writers with salaries ranging from £200 to £350 and two Index Writers with salaries ranging from £100 to £250. It was understood that the Writers would remain quite distinct from the ordinary establishment. Following these changes the permanent clerical staff of the Admiralty was fixed at one Chief, eleven First Class, thirteen Second Class and twenty-three Third Class Clerks, and four Writers. (fn. 102)
In January 1866 the Temporary Clerks were dispensed with and replaced by a new class of Temporary Writers who were to have no claim to be placed on the establishment. (fn. 103) In December 1866 a further revision of the clerical staff was made necessary as a result of the additional work caused by changes in the construction and armament of the fleet and the transfer to the Admiralty of the management of the estates of Greenwich Hospital. Authority was given for the appointment of an additional Second Class Clerk and three additional Third Class Clerks. The clerical establishment was thereupon fixed at fifty-one, consisting of one Chief, eleven First Class (or Senior), fourteen Second Class, twelve Third Class (First Section) and thirteen Third Class (Second Section) Clerks. (fn. 104) In 1867 the financial prospects of the Clerks were improved as a result of an increase in the size of the annual increments appropriate to the various grades. (fn. 105) Later in the same year the office of one of the First Class Clerks was dispensed with. (fn. 106)
Following the appointment of Childers as First Lord of the Admiralty in December 1868 important changes were introduced into naval administration generally. It was provided that the office of Second Naval Lord (or Third Lord) of the Admiralty should be combined with that of Comptroller of the Navy. (fn. 107) This change heralded a process of rationalisation and consolidation of naval administration generally. In particular it prompted a review of the staff of the Admiralty proper and that of the Comptroller. A departmental committee was set up in June 1869 consisting of Sir S. Robinson, the Third Lord and Comptroller of the Navy, Trevelyan, the Civil Lord and Lushington, the Second Secretary, which conducted a detailed enquiry into the departments. The committee noted that considerable reforms had already taken place. At the beginning of 1869 the work of the department apart from that concerned with the Record Office had been distributed amongst nine branches known as the military, naval, commission, warrant, legal, miscellaneous, pension, establishment and steam branches. In April the legal and miscellaneous and the commission and warrant branches were united and the business of the steam branch largely transferred to the Comptroller's department. The number of branches was thus effectively reduced to six. The committee recommended that the establishment branch should be broken up and the work of the department concentrated in five branches with the titles military, naval, commission and warrant, legal and miscellaneous and pension. The committee urged that no one should be finally placed permanently on the establishment until he had served three years on probation and it also approved a minute of 2 January 1869 according to which promotions in the department were to rest with the Permanent (or Second) Secretary subject to the approval of the First Lord. (fn. 108)
The recommendations of the committee were carried into effect by a minute of 4 January 1870. The Chief Clerk was confirmed in his position as the head of the clerical establishment. The number of First Class Clerks was fixed at six, five of whom were to preside over the five branches into which the business of the department was divided, while the remaining Clerk in the class was to have charge of the Record Office. The rest of the clerical staff was divided into twelve Clerks of the second class and eighteen of the third class. Four Digest Writers and thirteen other Writers were also to be employed. (fn. 109) This minute governed the structure of the office at the end of the year 1870, the terminal point for the period covered by these lists.