secretaries of state
A major reorganization took place in 1782 when the southern secretaryship was converted into the Home Office and the northern secretaryship into the Foreign Office. After that there were periodic increases in the number of secretaryships. Henry Dundas was made secretary for war in 1794 and also took on colonial responsibilities; a separate secretaryship for the Colonies was created in 1854; a secretaryship for India after the mutiny, in 1858; a secretaryship for air in 1918. In the 20th cent., though the foreign and home secretaries retained their identities and importance, the others suffered from repackaging according to the vicissitudes of time. The colonial secretary found his department shrinking when, in 1925, a separate secretaryship for dominion affairs was set up. Since his main task after the Second World War was to wind up the British empire as rapidly as possible, his reward in 1966 was abolition. The secretary for dominion affairs did not long outlast him and, having changed his name to the secretary for Commonwealth relations in 1947, was swallowed up by the Foreign Office in 1968. The secretary of state for India vanished in 1947 when India became independent, and the secretary for air disappeared when an integrated Ministry of Defence was established in 1964. Meanwhile the proliferation of secretaryships illustrated the law that grand titles increase as power diminishes—for industry (1963), education and science (1964), employment (1968), social services (1968), environment (1970), and transport (1976).
The early evolution of the secretaryship in Scotland from the reign of David II followed a similar course to that in England, with the office emerging from the keepership of the signet. In 1558–71 it was held by William Maitland, in 1661–80 by Lauderdale, and after 1680 usually by two persons. At the Union of 1701 Mar and Loudoun were reappointed as secretaries of state, but in 1709 Queensberry became a single third secretary. This arrangement lasted until the Jacobite rising of 1745, after which no secretary of state for Scotland was appointed until 1885. A secretaryship for Wales was set up in 1964. In Ireland, the lord-lieutenant had the main responsibility, but was assisted by a powerful chief secretary who, from 1859 onwards, was usually a member of the cabinet. This post lapsed when the Irish Free State was set up in 1922, but a secretary of state for Northern Ireland was appointed in 1972 after direct rule had been imposed on the province.
J. A. Cannon
"secretaries of state." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 18, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/secretaries-state
"secretaries of state." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved January 18, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/secretaries-state
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