Secretary of State for the Colonies


Secretary of State for the Colonies

The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet official in charge of managing the various British colonies. The position was first created in 1768 to deal with the increasingly troublesome North American colonies. Previously those responsibilities had fallen to the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, who was responsible for Southern England, Wales, Ireland, the American colonies, and relations with the Catholic and Muslim states of Europe.

The men who held office were:

*Wills Hill, 1st Earl of Hillsborough (February 27, 1768 - August 27, 1772)
*William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth (August 27, 1772 - 10 November 1775)
*Lord George Germain (10 November, 1775 - February 1782
*Welbore Ellis (February - March 8, 1782)

In 1782, following the loss of the American colonies, the office was abolished, and its duties given to the Home Secretary, then Lord Sydney. In 1794 a new office was created for Henry Dundas — the Secretary of State for War, which now took responsibility for the Colonies, and was renamed the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies in 1801. In 1854, military reforms led to the Colonial and Military responsibilities of this secretary of state being split into two separate offices, with Sir George Grey becoming the first Secretary of State for the Colonies under the new arrangement.

*Sir George Grey, 2nd Baronet (June 12, 1854 - February 8, 1855)
*Sidney Herbert (February 8, 1855 - February 23, 1855)
*Lord John Russell (February 23, 1855 - July 21, 1855)
*Sir William Molesworth (July 21, 1855 - November 21, 1855)
*Henry Labouchere (November 21, 1855 - February 21, 1858)
*Edward Henry Stanley, Lord Stanley (February 26, 1858 - June 5, 1858)
*Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton (June 5, 1858 - June 11, 1859)
*Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle (June 18, 1859 - April 7, 1864)
*Edward Cardwell (April 7, 1864 - June 26, 1866)
*Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert, 4th Earl of Carnarvon (July 6, 1866 - March 8, 1867)
*Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos (March 8, 1867 - December 1, 1868)
*Granville George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville (December 9, 1868 - July 6, 1870)
*John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley (July 6, 1870 - February 17, 1874)
*Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert, 4th Earl of Carnarvon (February 21, 1874 - February 4, 1878)
*Sir Michael Hicks Beach (February 4, 1878 - April 21, 1880)
*John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley (April 21, 1880 - December 16, 1882)
*Edward Henry Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby (December 16, 1882 - June 9, 1885)
*Frederick Arthur Stanley (June 24, 1885 - January 28, 1886)
*Granville George Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville (February 6, 1886 - July 20, 1886)
*Edward Stanhope (August 3, 1886 - January 14, 1887)
*Henry Thurstan Holland, 1st Baron Knutsford (January 14, 1887 - August 11, 1892)
*George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon (August 18, 1892 - June 21, 1895)
*Joseph Chamberlain (June 29, 1895 - September 16, 1903) (Resigned)
*Alfred Lyttelton (October 11, 1903 - December 4, 1905)
*Victor Alexander Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin (December 10, 1905 - April 12, 1908)
*Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Earl of Crewe (April 12, 1908 - November 3, 1910)
*Lewis Vernon Harcourt (November 3, 1910 - May 25, 1915)
*Andrew Bonar Law (May 25, 1915 - December 10, 1916)
*Walter Hume Long (December 10, 1916 - January 10, 1919)
*Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner (January 10, 1919 - February 13, 1921)
*Winston Churchill (February 13, 1921 - October 19, 1922)
*Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire (October 24, 1922 - January 22, 1924)
*James Henry Thomas (January 22, 1924 - November 3, 1924)
*Leo Amery (November 6, 1924 - June 4, 1929)
*Sidney James Webb, 1st Baron Passfield (June 7, 1929 - August 24, 1931)
*James Henry Thomas (August 25, 1931 - November 5, 1931)
*Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister (November 5, 1931 - June 7, 1935)
*Malcolm MacDonald (June 7, 1935 - November 22, 1935)
*James Henry Thomas (November 22, 1935 - May 22, 1936) (Resigned)
*William Ormsby-Gore (May 28, 1936 - May 16, 1938)
*Malcolm MacDonald (May 16, 1938 - May 12, 1940)
*George Ambrose Lloyd, 1st Baron Lloyd (May 12, 1940 - February 8, 1941)
*Walter Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne (February 8, 1941 - February 22, 1942)
*Robert Arthur James Gascoyne-Cecil, Viscount Cranborne (February 22, 1942 - November 22, 1942)
*Oliver Stanley (November 22, 1942 - July 26, 1945)
*George Hall (August 3, 1945 - October 4, 1946)
*Arthur Creech Jones (October 4, 1946 - February 28, 1950)
*James Griffiths (February 28, 1950 - October 26, 1951)
*Oliver Lyttelton (October 28, 1951 - July 28, 1954)
*Alan Lennox-Boyd (July 28, 1954 - October 14, 1959)
*Iain Macleod (October 14, 1959 - October 9, 1961)
*Reginald Maudling (October 9, 1961 - July 13, 1962)
*Duncan Sandys (July 13, 1962 - October 16, 1964)
*Anthony Greenwood (October 18, 1964 - December 23, 1965)
*Francis Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford (December 23, 1965 - April 6, 1966)
*Frederick Lee (April 6, 1966 - August 1, 1966)

Until 1925, when the office of Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was created, the Colonial Office had responsibility for all British colonies and dominions besides India, which had its own Secretary of State. In 1966, with most of the colonies gone, the office was merged with that of the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations to create the new office of Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs.

In 1968 the Commonwealth Office was subsumed into the Foreign Office, which became known as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

From 1768 until 1966 the Secretary of State was supported by an Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (at times an Under-Secretary of State for War and the Colonies), and latterly by a Minister of State.


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