Biographies


Secretaries of State with Responsibility for the Colonies


In 1768, a new position was created to deal with the increasing acrimony and difficulties being faced in the American colonies; Secretary of State for the Colonies. The position was terminated in 1782 with the loss of the American colonies and responsibility for the colonies went to the Home Secretary. This changed in 1794 with the advent of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. To reflect the worldwide threat to the Empire posed by Revolutionary France, the colonies became the responsibility of the Secretary of State for War. This was formalised in 1801 with a new title of The Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The two departments were not to be separated until 1854 as the Crimean War broke out. The Secretary of State for the Colonies remained in being until 1966. There were two main orgnisational exceptions. The first was to be 'Protectorates' which were initially under the authority of the Foreign Office until the first decade of the twentieth century. The second exception was to be the Dominions - which were separated out of the Colonial Office in 1925 into their own Dominions Office with thier own Secretary of State.

1966 to 1968 saw the creation of the Commonwealth Office with the merger of the Colonial Office with the Commonwealth Relations Office. This shortlived Office was then subsumed back into the Foreign Office as the newly renamed Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1968. This office is still technically responsible for the remaining Overseas Dependencies.

Picture Title Name (and Titles) Party Dates
Secretary of State for the Colonies Wills Hill
The Earl of Hillsborough
(subsequently Marquess of Downshire)
Whig 27 February 1768 - 27 August 1772
Secretary of State for the Colonies William Legge
The Earl of Dartmouth
Tory 27 August 1772 - 10 November 1775
Secretary of State for the Colonies Lord George Germain Tory 10 November 1775 - February 1782
Secretary of State for the Colonies Welbore Ellis Whig February 1782 - 8 March 1782
Home Secretary William Petty
The Earl of Shelburne
Marquess of Lansdowne
Whig 27 March 1782 - 10 July 1782
Home Secretary Thomas Townshend
Viscount Sydney
Whig 10 July 1782 - 2 April 1783
Home Secretary Frederick North
Lord North
Earl of Guilford
Tory 2 April 1783 - 19 December 1783
Home Secretary George Nugent-Temple Grenville
Marquess of Buckingham
Earl Temple
Whig 19 December 1783 - 23 December 1783
Home Secretary Thomas Townshend
Viscount Sydney
Whig 23 December 1783 - 5 June 1789
Home Secretary William Wyndham Grenville
Lord Grenville
Tory 5 June 1789 - 8 June 1791
Home Secretary Henry Dundas
Viscount Melville
Tory 8 June 1791 - 11 July 1794
Home Secretary William Henry Cavendish Bentinck
Duke of Portland
Tory 11 July 1794 - 30 July 1801
Home Secretary Henry Dundas
Viscount Melville
Tory 11 July 1794 - 17 March 1801
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Robert Hobart
Lord Hobart
Earl of Buckinghamshire
Tory 17 March 1801 - 12 May 1804
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies John Jeffreys Pratt
Marquess of Camden
Earl Camden
Tory 14 May 1804 - 10 July 1805
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Robert Stewart
Viscount Castlereagh
Marquess of Londonderry
Tory 10 July 1805 - 5 February 1806
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies William Windham Whig 5 February 1806- -25 March 1807
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Robert Stewart
Viscount Castlereagh
Marquess of Londonderry
Tory 25 March 1807 - 1 November 1809
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Robert Banks Jenkinson
Earl of Liverpool
Tory 1 November 1809 - 11 June 1812
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Henry Bathurst
Earl Bathurst
Tory 11 June 1812 - 30 April 1827
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Frederick John Robinson
Viscount Goderich
Tory 30 April 1827 - 3 September 1827
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies William Huskisson Tory 3 September 1827 - 30 May 1828
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Sir George Murray Tory 30 May 1828 - 22 November 1830
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Frederick John Robinson
Viscount Goderich
Whig 22 November 1830 - 3 April 1833
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley
Earl of Derby
Whig 3 April 1833 - 5 June 1834
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Thomas Spring Rice
Baron Monteagle of Brandon
Whig 5 June 1834 - 14 November 1834
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Arthur Wellesley
Duke of Wellington
Tory 17 November 1834 - 9 December 1834
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies George Hamilton-Gordon
Earl of Aberdeen
Conservative 20 December 1834 - 8 April 1835
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Charles Grant
Lord Glenelg
Whig 18 April 1835 - 20 February 1839
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Constantine Henry Phipps
Marquess of Normanby
Whig 20 February 1839 - 30 August 1839
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies John Russell
Lord John Russell
Earl Russell
Whig 30 August 1839 - 30 August 1841
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley
Earl of Derby
Conservative 3 September 1841 - 23 December 1845
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies William Ewart Gladstone Conservative 23 December 1845 - 27 June 1846
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Henry George Grey
Earl Grey
Whig 6 July 1846 - 21 February 1852
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies John Somerset Pakington
Baron Hampton
Conservative 27 February 1852 - 17 December 1852
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Henry Pelham Fiennes Pelham-Clinton
Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne
Peelite / Coalition 28 December 1852 - 10 June 1854
Secretary of State for the Colonies Sir George Grey
Baronet
Whig 12 June 1854 - 8 February 1855
Secretary of State for the Colonies Sidney Herbert
Baron Herbert of Lea
Whig 8 February 1855 - 23 February 1855
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies John Russell
Lord John Russell
Earl Russell
Whig 23 February 1855 - 21 July 1855
Secretary of State for the Colonies Sir William Molesworth
Baronet
Whig 21 July 1855 - 21 November 1855
Secretary of State for the Colonies Henry Labouchere
Baron Taunton
Whig 21 November 1855 - 21 February 1858
Secretary of State for the Colonies Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley
Earl of Derby
Conservative 26 February 1858 - 5 June 1858
Secretary of State for the Colonies Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer Lytton
Baron Lytton Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Conservative 5 June 1858 - 11 June 1859
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Henry Pelham Fiennes Pelham-Clinton
Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne
Liberal 18 June 1859 7 April 1864
Secretary of State for the Colonies Edward Cardwell
Viscount Cardwell
Liberal 7 April 1864 - 26 June 1866
Secretary of State for the Colonies Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert
The Earl of Carnarvon
Conservative 6 July 1866 - 8 March 1867
Secretary of State for the Colonies Richard Plantagenet Campbell Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville
The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos
Conservative 8 March 1867 - 1 December 1868
Secretary of State for the Colonies Granville George Leveson-Gower
The Earl Granville
Liberal 9 December 1868 - 6 July 1870
Secretary of State for the Colonies John Wodehouse
The Earl of Kimberley
Liberal 6 July 1870 - 17 February 1874
Secretary of State for the Colonies Henry Howard Molyneux Herbert
The Earl of Carnarvon
Conservative 21 February 1874 - 4 February 1878
Secretary of State for the Colonies Sir Michael Hicks Beach Conservative 4 February 1878 - 21 April 1880
Secretary of State for the Colonies John Wodehouse
The Earl of Kimberley
Liberal 21 April 1880 - 16 December 1882
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley
Earl of Derby
Liberal 16 December 1882 - 9 June 1885
Secretary of State for the Colonies Frederick Stanley
16th Earl of Derby
Conservative 24 June 1885 - 28 January 1886
Secretary of State for the Colonies Granville George Leveson-Gower
The Earl Granville
Liberal 6 February 1886 - 20 July 1886
Secretary of State for the Colonies Edward Stanhope Conservative 3 August 1886 - 14 January 1887
Secretary of State for the Colonies Henry Thurstan Holland
The Lord Knutsford
Conservative 14 January 1887 - 11 August 1892
Secretary of State for the Colonies George Frederick Samuel Robinson
The Marquess of Ripon
Liberal 18 August 1892 - 21 June 1895
Secretary of State for the Colonies Joseph Chamberlain Liberal Unionist / Conservative 29 June 1895 - 16 September 1903
Secretary of State for the Colonies Alfred Lyttelton Liberal Unionist / Conservative 11 October 1903 - 4 December 1905
Secretary of State for the Colonies Victor Alexander Bruce
The Earl of Elgin
Liberal 10 December 1905 - 12 April 1908
Secretary of State for the Colonies Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes
The Earl of Crewe
Liberal 12 April 1908 - 3 November 1910
Secretary of State for the Colonies Lewis Vernon Harcourt
Viscount Harcourt
Liberal 3 November 1910 - 25 May 1915
Secretary of State for the Colonies Andrew Bonar Law Conservative / Coalition 25 May 1915 - 10 December 1916
Secretary of State for the Colonies Walter Long
Viscount Long
Conservative / Coalition 10 December 1916 - 10 January 1919
Secretary of State for the Colonies Alfred Milner
The Viscount Milner
Liberal / Coalition 10 January 1919 - 13 February 1921
Secretary of State for the Colonies Winston Churchill Liberal / Coalition 13 February 1921 - 19 October 1922
Secretary of State for the Colonies Victor Cavendish
The Duke of Devonshire
Conservative 24 October 1922 - 22 January 1924
Secretary of State for the Colonies James Henry Thomas Labour 22 January 1924 - 3 November 1924
Secretary of State for the Colonies Leo Amery Conservative 6 November 1924 - 4 June 1929
Secretary of State for the Colonies Sidney James Webb
Lord Passfield
Labour 7 June 1929 - 24 August 1931
Secretary of State for the Colonies James Henry Thomas Labour / Nationalist Coalition James Henry Thomas
Secretary of State for the Colonies Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister
Earl of Swinton
Conservative / Nationalist Coalition 5 November 1931 - 7 June 1935
Secretary of State for the Colonies Malcolm MacDonald Labour / Nationalist Coalition 7 June 1935 - 22 November 1935
Secretary of State for the Colonies James Henry Thomas Labour / Nationalist Coalition 22 November 1935 - 22 May 1936
Secretary of State for the Colonies William Ormsby-Gore
Baron Harlech
Conservative / Nationalist Coalition 28 May 1936 - 16 May 1938
Secretary of State for the Colonies Malcolm MacDonald Labour / Nationalist Coalition 16 May 1938 - 12 May 1940
Secretary of State for the Colonies George Ambrose Lloyd
Lord Lloyd
Conservative / Coalition 12 May 1940 - 8 February 1941
Secretary of State for the Colonies Walter Edward Guinness
Lord Moyne
Conservative / Coalition 8 February 1941 - 22 February 1942
Secretary of State for the Colonies Robert Arthur James Gascoyne-Cecil
Viscount Cranborne
Conservative / Coalition 22 February 1942 - 22 November 1942
Secretary of State for the Colonies Oliver Stanley Conservative / Coalition 22 November 1942 - 26 July 1945
Secretary of State for the Colonies George Hall
Viscount Hall
Labour 3 August 1945 - 4 October 1946
Secretary of State for the Colonies Arthur Creech Jones Labour 4 October 1946 - 28 February 1950
Secretary of State for the Colonies Jim Griffiths Labour 28 February 1950 - 26 October 1951
Secretary of State for the Colonies Oliver Lyttelton
Viscount Chandos
Conservative 28 October 1951 - 28 July 1954
Secretary of State for the Colonies Alan Lennox-Boyd
Viscount Boyd of Merton
Conservative 28 July 1954 - 14 October 1959
Secretary of State for the Colonies Iain Macleod Conservative 14 October 1959 - 9 October 1961
Secretary of State for the Colonies Reginald Maudling Conservative 9 October 1961 - 13 July 1962
Secretary of State for the Colonies Duncan Sandys
Baron Duncan-Sandys
Conservative 13 July 1962 - 16 October 1964
Secretary of State for the Colonies Anthony Greenwood
Baron Greenwood of Rossendale
Labour 18 October 1964 - 23 December 1965
Secretary of State for the Colonies Frank Pakenham
Earl of Longford
Labour 23 December 1965 - 6 April 1966
Secretary of State for the Colonies Frederick Lee
Baron Lee of Newton
Labour 6 April 1966 - 1 August 1966




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