Colonial Office
Throughout its imperial history, the British empire had various departments administering the colonies. When the War and Colonial Office was divided into two in 1854, the Colonial Office was created with the specific mandate to oversee colonial affairs. The Office was headed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies and ran by a core staff of Under Secretaries, clerks, registrar, and librarian. While the Secretary of State was responsible for all the decisions on the Office's formal communications, the Senior Clerk coordinated the routine of processing despatches, who minuted the correspondences, suggested answers and/or courses of handling the subjects, and prepared drafts of replies. The Colonial Office staff minutes are interesting to read in many regards. They are more than the accustomed bureaucratic records. There are gossips, rants, and sarcastic comments on the corresponding governors. The minutes capture the high-ranking officers' personalities as much as their interest (disinterest) in colonial affairs. The Colonial Office was merged into the Commonwealth Office in 1966, which was consequently amalgamated with the Foreign Office to form the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1968.1
  • 1. Nancy Brown Foulds, Colonial Office, The Canadian Encyclopedia ; The Colonial Despatches, Colonial Office staff and consultants, The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, ed., James Hendrickson, (Victoria BC: University of Victoria).
Mentions of this organization in the documents