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Home Office


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Until 1782 the two secretaries of state divided their responsibilities into southern and northern Europe, dealing with the catholic and protestant powers. Domestic duties needed little attention: the justices of the peace looked after most problems of law and order and the secretary at war was at hand if troops needed to be called in. In 1782, when the Rockinghams took office, a new division was agreed: one secretary took domestic and colonial affairs, the other foreign affairs. The first home secretary, Lord Shelburne, had two under‐secretaries, a chief clerk, and ten other civil servants. But in the 19th cent. business increased dramatically as the office picked up responsibility for aliens, prisons, and police supervision. In 1833 the Home Secretary was empowered to appoint factory inspectors. By the 20th cent. the post of home secretary had become one of the most senior and difficult in the government.

Subjects: British History — Literature.


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