Colonial Office staff and consultants

Descriptions of each role are quoted verbatim from this document: Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 6, Colonial Office Officials 1794-1870. Ed. J C Sainty. London: University of London, 1976. British History Online. This list of Colonial Office positions generally reflects the same order as the "Office-Holders" document. The order ostensibly reflects a hierarchy of positions, but the supernumerary, specialized position, and consultant entries challenge any interpretation of this order as organized strictly by rank.

Secretary of State for the Colonies

"The Secretary of State entered office on receiving the seals from the Sovereign and took the oath at a meeting of the Privy Council, usually held on the same day. His authority lasted until he handed the seals back to the Sovereign. Originally appointments were formally embodied in letters patent under the great seal granting the office during pleasure. This practice was abandoned after the appointment of Carnarvon in 1866."

Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Later Parliamentary Under-Secretary)

"On the formation of the department in 1794 provision was made for one Under Secretary. In 1806 a second under secretaryship was established with particular responsibility for war but was discontinued in 1816. Both these offices were 'nonpermanent' in character and were usually held by members of the House of Commons. In 1825 the office of second Under Secretary was revived on a permanent, nonparliamentary, basis. For a brief period in 1827-8 there was a third, unsalaried, Under Secretary."

Permanent Under-Secretary

"In 1831 the distinction between the Permanent and Parliamentary Under Secretaries, which in fact dated from 1825, was accorded official recognition."

Assistant Under-Secretary

"In 1834 provision was made for the Secretary of State to designate one of the officials of the department to serve as Assistant Under Secretary without additional salary…. In 1870 permanent provision was made for two Assistant Under Secretaries in the Colonial Office, each with a salary of £1200, one of whom was to be a barrister of at least five years' standing."

Chief Clerk

"On the formation of the department a Chief Clerk was appointed with a salary of £1000…. The office was abolished in 1833 but revived in 1840."

Extra Clerk

"Broadly speaking they may be divided into two categories: temporary Extra Clerks who were engaged as and when required mainly to undertake copying and similar tasks and permanent Extra Clerks who were drawn increasingly into the substantial work of the department."

Senior Clerk

"The grade of Senior, or First Class, Clerk was created in 1822 when provision was made for three such Clerks. The number was raised to four in 1824. In February 1825 a fifth Senior Clerk was appointed but this post was abolished in August of the same year."

Assistant Clerk

"The grade of Assistant, or Second Class, Clerk was created in 1822 when provision was made for two such Clerks together with two supernumeraries. In 1824 the number was fixed at four with no supernumeraries. It was raised to five in 1825, to seven in 1857 and to eight in 1870."

Junior Clerk

"The grade of Junior, or Third Class, Clerk was created in 1822 when provision was made for three such Clerks. However, until 1824 there was only one Junior Clerk since the two others in the grade were serving as supernumerary Assistant Clerks. In 1824 the number of Junior Clerks was fixed at four. It was raised to five in 1825 and to six in 1833. It was reduced to five in 1846 but increased to six in 1860 and to thirteen in 1870."

Assistant Junior Clerk

"The grade of Assistant Junior, or Fourth Class, Clerk was created in 1825 when provision was made for three such Clerks with salaries of £100 rising by annual increments of £10 to £150. The number was increased to eight in 1848, reduced to five in 1857 and increased to seven in 1860. The grade was abolished in 1870."

Supernumerary Clerk

"In 1828 the department began to employ permanent Extra Clerks, paid out of the contingent fund, who, after a probationary period of twelve months, were eligible to be placed on the establishment at the next vacancy. Originally known simply as Extra Clerks they came in the course of time to be designated 'Supernumerary Extra Clerks' or 'Probationary Clerks'."

Précis Writer

"This office was created in 1799 with a salary of £300 but discontinued in 1816. It was revived in 1825 with a salary of £300 rising by annual increments of £15 to £500 but abolished in 1833…. In 1847 the post was revived as a distinct office with a salary of £1000. It was finally abolished in 1870."

Librarian

"The office of Librarian was created in 1807. It was originally held by a Clerk on the establishment who received an additional allowance of £200 out of the contingent fund. In 1814 the post was conferred upon an Extra Clerk with the same allowance which was increased to £280 in 1819 and to £400 in 1821. In 1822 the office was placed on the establishment with a salary of £350 rising by annual increments of £15 to £545. In 1824 this was increased to £600 rising by annual increments of £20 to £800. The office was abolished in 1870."

Assistant Librarian

"The office of Assistant Librarian was created in 1824 with a salary of £200 rising by annual increments of £10 to £400. It was abolished in 1870."

Registrar

"In 1824 provision was made for a Registrar with a salary of £400 rising by annual increments of £15 to £545….The office was revived in 1848 with a salary of £300. It was finally abolished in 1870."

Private Secretary

"On the formation of the department an annual allowance of £300 was made available for a Private Secretary to the Secretary of State. When Clerks on the establishment occupied this post they received this allowance in addition to their ordinary remuneration. The payment of the allowance was suspended in the case of a Private Secretary with a seat in the House of Commons."

Counsel to the Colonial Office

"This post, which had previously been attached to the Home Office, was placed under the authority of the department on the transfer of responsibility for colonial affairs in 1801. It ceased to exist as a separate office in 1836 when Stephen, its then holder, was appointed Permanent Under Secretary."

Legal Adviser to the Colonial Office

"This office was created in 1867 with a salary of £1200. It was abolished in 1870 when its holder was transferred to the post of Assistant Under Secretary."

Crown Agents for the Colonies

Not listed in "Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 6, Colonial Office Officials 1794-1870."

Acting Senior Clerk

Not listed but mentioned in "Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 6, Colonial Office Officials 1794-1870."

Chairman, Colonial Land and Emigration Board

Not listed but mentioned in "Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 6, Colonial Office Officials 1794-1870."

Head of General Department, Colonial Office

Not listed in "Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 6, Colonial Office Officials 1794-1870." Listed in Colin Mackie, A Directory of British Diplomats, (FCO Historians, 2014), p. 1049: https://issuu.com/fcohistorians/docs/bdd_part_4_with_covers
The Colonial Despatches Team. Colonial Office staff and consultants. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/coStaff.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)