Note on editorial method

Pages ix-x

Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 6, Colonial Office Officials 1794-1870. Originally published by University of London, London, 1976.

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Note on Editorial Method

This volume is designed to make available lists of the officials who served in the Colonial Office between 1794 and 1870. For this purpose the Colonial Office is defined as the office of the third Secretary of State, established in 1794, which originally had responsibility for war alone and to which the conduct of the business relating to the colonies was transferred in 1801. The department continued to have charge of war and colonies until 1854 when the responsibility for war was transferred to a distinct department, that of Secretary of State for War. The terminal point for the lists is the end of 1870, the year which witnessed the introduction of the system of open competition for entrants into the Civil Service. The material is presented in four parts: an introduction, lists of appointments, periodic lists of officials and an alphabetical list of officials. The purpose of the introduction is to provide a short account of the institutional development of the Colonial Office during the period in order that the various offices and grades may be related to their general context. The lists of appointments give the dates of appointments to these offices and grades. They are preceded by introductory notes which bring together information concerning such matters as the method of appointment, remuneration and other relevant material. The periodic lists enable the complete establishment to be seen at selected dates.

The alphabetical list is not intended to be a biographical index. Its purpose is confined simply to providing summarised accounts of the offices held by each individual within the Colonial Office during the period. No information has been included unless it is directly relevant to this purpose. Thus dates of death are included only if the individual in question was in office at his death. Appointments to offices outside the Colonial Office have been ignored unless they occasioned, or can reasonably be held to have occasioned, the departure of the official from the Colonial Office. In general the accounts of the careers of the 'political' officials, the Secretary of State and the Parliamentary Under Secretary, have been confined to a simple statement of their periods of service in these offices; information concerning resignations and retirements is provided only in the case of those holding 'permanent' offices. Where an individual held an additional office within the Colonial Office such as a private secretaryship, which was not directly related to the ordinary course of promotion, the details of his period of service in this additional office have been placed in a separate paragraph. The accounts of the careers of those who were in office at the end of 1870 have not been continued beyond this point.

All references have been concentrated in the alphabetical list. Peers and holders of courtesy titles have been indexed under their titles. In the case of change of name or status, appropriate cross-references have been inserted. Unless otherwise noted, information concerning peers and baronets has been taken from the Complete Peerage (ed. G. E. C. 2nd ed. 13 vols. London 1910-59), the Complete Baronetage (ed. G. E. C. 5 vols. Exeter 1900-6) and Burke's Peerage.

Certain conventions have been adopted for dating appointments. Where possible the date selected is that of formal entry into office where this can be ascertained. Thus appointments of Secretaries of State are dated by reference to the day on which they received the seals of office; those of Under Secretaries and Clerks by reference to the letters written in connection with the privilege of franking, where these are available. This information has been supplemented by letters and minutes of appointment by the Secretary of State. Where there is no indication of the date of appointment of an individual, his period of service is dated by reference to the time during which he received a salary or other remuneration or, failing this information, by reference to the earliest and latest date at which he is found occupying a particular office. All officials are taken to have remained in office until the appointment of their successors unless there is clear evidence to support the selection of an earlier date.