Desk diaries of the Assistant Private Secretary (Appointments) to the Secretary of State for the Colonies

Scope and Content

Desk diaries of Colonial Office patronage secretaries, with notes recording impressions of prospective candidates for colonial employment at theirpreliminary interviews, 1899, 1902-1912, 1914, 1915.

Administrative / Biographical History

The first separate organization for the administration of colonial affairs was a committee of the Privy Council appointed 'for the plantaons' in 1660. In the same year this was redesignated the Council for Foreign Plantations, and in 1672 it was united with the Council for Trade to form the Council of Trade and Plantations.

From 1768 colonial affairs had also been dealt with by the Secretary of State for the American, or Colonial Department, until 1782, when the Privy Council once again assumed direct responsibility for the colonies.

For the following two years, colonial affairs were dealt with by the Plantations Branch of the Home Office. In 1784, the Committee for Trade and Foreign Plantations was formed, though this gradually lost influence to the Secretary of State for the War and Colonial Department (later the Secretary of State for the Colonies).

The new secretaryship was completely separated from the office of the Secretary for War in 1856. In 1925, a separate Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was appointed. The Colonial Office finally merged with the Commonwealth Relations Office in in 1966 to form the Commonwealth Office.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Paul Davidson, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

Listed as no. 576 in Manuscript Collections in Rhodes House Library Oxford, Accessions 1978-1994 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1996).

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.

Related Material

While the Public Record Office is the official custodian of Colonial Office records, the library holds the following Colonial Office material:

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  • Civil uniform for West Africa sanctioned for Administrative and Departmental Officers, 1923 (ref. MSS. Afr. s. 1925)
  • Circulars, memoranda for the staff of Singapore prison, 1945-1949 (ref. MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 137)
  • Correspondence with the Customs and Medical departments in the Gold Coast regarding the conduct of their affairs and officials,1893-1900 (ref. MSS. Afr. s. 215)
  • Manuscript and printed papers concerning appointments to branches of the Nigerian administration, 1899-1900(ref. (B) MS. Dep. Monk Bretton 97)
  • Correspondence with Henry ElliotFitzgibbon concerning local government in Crown colonies, c1938-1949(uncatalogued)
  • Typed copies of circulars on the treatment accorded toforeign consular officers and diplomatic missions in colonial dependencies,1939 (ref. MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 289)