Great Britain
Office of the Secretary of State for the Northern Department
Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Great Britain Government
Longest serving
William Stanhope, 1st Earl of Harrington

19 June 1730 – 12 February 1742
The Northern Department
StyleThe Right Honourable
(Formal prefix)
Member ofBritish Cabinet
SeatWestminster, London
AppointerThe British Monarch
on advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthNo fixed term
Formation1660-1782
First holderSir William Morice
Final holderDavid Murray, 7th Viscount Stormont

The Secretary of State for the Northern Department was a position in the Cabinet of the government of Great Britain up to 1782, when the Northern Department became the Foreign Office.[1][2]

History

Before the Act of Union, 1707, the Secretary of State's responsibilities were in relation to the English government, not the British. Even after the Union, there was still a separate Secretary of State for Scotland until 1746, though the post was sometimes vacant. This continued the previous Scottish government post of Secretary of State.

Before 1782, the responsibilities of the two Secretaries of State for the Northern and the Southern Departments were not divided up in terms of area of authority, but rather geographically. The Secretary of State for the Northern Department was responsible for relations with the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Poland, Russia, and the Holy Roman Empire. The Secretary of State for the Southern Department was responsible for Ireland, the Channel Islands, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, the states of Italy, and the Ottoman Empire. He was also responsible for the American colonies until 1768, when the charge was given to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Domestic responsibilities in England and Wales were shared between the two Secretaries. After the union with Scotland in 1707, the two secretaries also took responsibility for Scotland when there was no Secretary of State for Scotland in office.[3]

Until 1706, the practice was generally for the senior official to lead the Southern Department, and the junior the Northern Department, with the Northern Secretary being transferred to the Southern Department when a vacancy arose at the latter.[3] During the reigns of George I and George II, however, the Northern Department began to be seen as the more important, since its responsibilities included the monarchs' ancestral home of Hanover.[4] During the reign of George III, the two departments were of approximately equal importance.[5]

In 1782, the two Secretaries of State were reformed as the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.[6] During the 18th century, Secretaries of State for the Northern Department, if peers, were often Leaders of the House of Lords as well.

Secretaries of State for the Northern Department, 1660–1782

Included:[7]

Portrait Name
Constituency
Term of office Notes
Sir William Morice
MP for Plymouth
27 May
1660
29 September
1668
Sir John Trevor
MP for Arundel until 1661
MP for Great Bedwyn after 1661
29 September
1668
8 July
1672
Henry Coventry
MP for Droitwich
3 July
1672
11 September
1674
Sir Joseph Williamson
MP for Thetford
11 September
1674
20 February
1679
Robert Spencer
The Earl of Sunderland
10 February
1679
26 April
1680
Sir Leoline Jenkins
MP for Oxford University
26 April
1680
2 February
1681
Edward Conway
The Earl of Conway
2 February
1681
January
1683
Robert Spencer
The Earl of Sunderland
28 January
1683
1684
Sidney Godolphin
MP for Helston
17 April
1684
24 August
1684
Charles Middleton
The Earl of Middleton

MP for Winchelsea after 1685
24 August
1684
28 October
1688
Richard Graham
The Viscount Preston

MP for Cumberland
29 October
1688
2 December
1688
Daniel Finch
The Earl of Nottingham
5 March
1689
26 December
1690
Henry Sydney
The Viscount Sydney
26 December
1690
3 March
1692
Sir John Trenchard
MP for Poole
23 March
1693
2 March
1694
Charles Talbot
The Duke of Shrewsbury
2 March
1694
3 May
1695
Sir William Trumbull
MP for Oxford University
3 May
1695
2 December
1697
James Vernon
MP for Penryn until 1699
MP for Westminster after 1699
2 December
1697
5 November
1700
Sir Charles Hedges
MP for Malmesbury
5 November
1700
29 December
1701
James Vernon
MP for Westminster
4 January
1702
1 May
1702
Sir Charles Hedges
MP for Malmesbury until 1702
MP for Calne after 1702
2 May
1702
18 May
1704
Robert Harley
MP for Radnor
16 May
1704
13 February
1708
Henry Boyle
MP for Westminster
13 February
1708
21 September
1710
Henry St John
The Viscount Bolingbroke

MP for Berkshire until 1712
Viscount Bolingbroke after 1712
21 September
1710
17 August
1713
Sir William Bromley
MP for Oxford University
17 August
1713
17 September
1714
Charles Townshend
The Viscount Townshend
17 September
1714
12 December
1716
James Stanhope 12 December
1716
12 April
1717
Charles Spencer
The Earl of Sunderland
12 April
1717
2 March
1718
James Stanhope
The Earl Stanhope
19 March
1718
4 February
1721
John Carteret
The Lord Carteret
5 February
1721
21 February
1721
Charles Townshend
2nd Viscount Townshend
21 February
1721
16 May
1730
William Stanhope
The Lord Harrington
19 June
1730
12 February
1742
John Carteret
The Lord Carteret
12 February
1742
24 November
1744
William Stanhope
The Earl of Harrington
24 November
1744
January
1746
John Carteret
The Earl Granville
12 February
1746
March
1746
as sole Secretary
William Stanhope
The Earl of Harrington
March
1746
19 October
1746
Philip Dormer Stanhope
The Earl of Chesterfield
29 October
1746
6 February
1748
Thomas Pelham-Holles
The Duke of Newcastle
6 February
1748
23 March
1754
Robert Darcy
The Earl of Holdernesse
April
1757
June
1757
as sole Secretary
John Stuart
The Earl of Bute
25 March
1761
27 May
1762
George Grenville
MP for Buckingham
5 June
1762
9 October
1762
George Montague-Dunk
The Earl of Halifax
14 October
1762
9 September
1763
John Montagu
The Earl of Sandwich
9 September
1763
10 July
1765
George Montague-Dunk
The Earl of Halifax
September
1763
July
1765
Augustus Henry Fitzroy
The Duke of Grafton
12 July
1765
14 May
1766
Henry Seymour Conway
MP for Thetford
23 May
1766
20 January
1768
Thomas Thynne
The Viscount Weymouth
20 January
1768
21 October
1768
William Nassau de Zuylestein
The Earl of Rochford
21 October
1768
19 December
1770
John Montagu
The Earl of Sandwich
19 December
1770
12 January
1771
George Montague-Dunk
The Earl of Halifax
22 January
1771
6 June
1771
Henry Howard
The Earl of Suffolk
12 June
1771
7 March
1779
David Murray
The Viscount Stormont
27 October
1779
27 March
1782

See also

References

  1. ^ FCO Historians (April 1991). "The FCO: Policy, People and Places (1782-1995)". History Notes (2). Foreign and Commonwealth Office: 1. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "The National Archives' catalogue: Records assembled by the State Paper Office, including papers of the Secretaries of State up to 1782". The National Archives.
  3. ^ a b Thomson, Mark A. (1932). The Secretaries of State: 1681-1782. London: Frank Cass. pp. 2–3.
  4. ^ Cass (1932), pp. 21-22
  5. ^ Cass (1932), p. 4
  6. ^ Sainty, J. C. (1973). "Introduction". Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 2 - Officials of the Secretaries of State 1660-1782. British History Online. University of London. pp. 1–21. At the Restoration [in 1660] the practice of appointing two Secretaries of State, which was well established before the Civil War, was resumed. Apart from the modifications which were made necessary by the occasional existence of a third secretaryship, the organisation of the secretariat underwent no fundamental change from that time until the reforms of 1782 which resulted in the emergence of the Home and Foreign departments. ... English domestic affairs remained the responsibility of both Secretaries throughout the period. In the field of foreign affairs there was a division into a Northern and a Southern Department, each of which was the responsibility of one Secretary. The distinction between the two departments emerged only gradually. It was not until after 1689 that their names passed into general currency. Nevertheless the division of foreign business itself can, in its broad outlines, be detected in the early years of the reign of Charles II.
  7. ^ Sainty, J. C. "Lists of appointments British History Online". www.british-history.ac.uk. Originally published by University of London, London, 1973. Retrieved 12 March 2017.

Sources