The Colonial Office in the Early Nineteenth Century

The Colonial Office in the Early Nineteenth Century

The Colonial Office in the Early Nineteenth Century

The Colonial Office in the Early Nineteenth Century

Excerpt

Writers on British administration are, by and large, theorists or practitioners of the administrative craft. Many are retired civil servants or senior statesmen able to recall, perhaps, the pungency of Lord Curzon's official minutes, and always conscious of the interplay of personalities at the higher levels of government. Others are specialists in constitutional history or in political science with an ingrained talent for seeking out institutional relationships. It is with some diffidence that I attach myself to this company. When I began serious historical research, I was concerned with a problem on the periphery of Empire, the development of New Brunswick in the 1820s. My inability to find a satisfactory explanation for the colonial secretary's policies in that one colony led me to contemplate the feasibility of a comparative study of several colonies. As a preliminary step, I began the preparation of an outline of colonial administration in general, and of the Colonial Office in particular. My enquiry into the structure of administration proved so much more fruitful than I had anticipated that I undertook the preparation of this book. Although it began as an enquiry into colonial policy, and has been influenced by these origins, it became a study of a British government department, and it is as a chapter in the history of the British civil service that it should be judged.

One reader of the manuscript has suggested that I should have continued beyond 1830. There were two very good reasons for not doing so. First, the book has a unity as it stands and, secondly, the sheer volume of correspondence after 1830 presents a forbidding task of reading and analysis. Moreover, at the time of writing, it seemed probable that the late Dr. Eveline Martin would complete the study of the administrative career of Sir James Stephen that she was so eminently qualified to write, and for which she had long been gathering materials.

The learned help of many people has made this book possible. For several years I have had the advice and encouragment of Professor Gerald S. Graham. He supervised my research, and as editor of the Imperial Studies Series has shown great patience in seeing the book through to publication. I am also under great . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.