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tions of lords-lieutenant, &c., which do not belong to the departments of the other Secretaries of State or to the Treasury. The regulation of factory labour, and of labour in mines and factories, the inspection of fisheries and coal-mines, the supervision of pauper lunatics and lunatic asylums generally, the registration of births, marriages, and deaths, the registration of aliens, the granting of certificates of naturalisation, and various other duties, belong also to his department. The authority of the Home Secretary extends over England, Wales, Scotland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man; and he is the organ of communication between the Cabinet and the viceregal Government of Ireland, for which he is personally responsible. Subordinate to him are the two law officers of the Crown, the President and Secretary of the PoorLaw Board, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the Attorney-General for Ireland, and the Lord Advocate for Scotland. The Home Secretary, to assist him in his labours, has two under-secretaries, one permanent and the other political, and a staff of clerks.
The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs is the official organ of the Crown in all communications between Great Britain and foreign powers. He negotiates all treaties and alliances with foreign states, protects British subjects residing abroad, and demands satisfaction for any injuries they may sustain at the hands of foreigners. He introduces to the Queen all foreign ministers accredited to the British Government; and it is his duty to inform the ministers of foreign Governments of any acts of his own Government or of her Majesty's subjects which may be liable to misconstruction, and to explain their nature and purport. For this reason he is in constant communication with the diplomatic agents of the British Government abroad, either by public despatches or by private diplomatic correspondence. No decision can be given in the Foreign Office to any business without his knowledge and consentin fact, every paper of any importance whatever upon which any action is to be taken comes under the personal notice of the Foreign Secretary. All passports to native-born or naturalised British subjects going abroad are granted by this Secretary of State, and in his hands is the selection of all ambassadors, ministers, and consuls, accredited from Great Britain to foreign powers. The nature of the responsibility of the Foreign Secretary may be partly understood from the following extract from
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE FOREIGN SECRETARY. 93
a letter of her Majesty read by Earl (then Lord John) Russell in the House of Commons, February 3, 1852. The Queen required, first, that the Foreign Secretary should “distinctly state what he proposes in a given case, that the Queen may as distinctly know to what she is giving her royal sanction; secondly, that having once given her sanction to a measure, it be not altered or modified by the minister. . . . She expects to be kept informed of what passes between him and foreign ministers before important decisions are taken based upon that intercourse, and to receive foreign despatches in good time, and to have the drafts for her approval sent to her in sufficient time to make herself acquainted with their contents before they must be sent off.” Formerly the language in which diplomatic intercourse was conducted by the representatives of the British Government with the agents of foreign states was French, but now English is invariably employed, it being considered unbefitting the greatness of England to be dependent upon France for the language of diplomatic communications. No important political instruction is ever sent to any British minister abroad without its draft being first submitted to the Prime Minister, in order that the royal pleasure may be taken thereupon. “The lead
ing features of our foreign policy are, to extend our commercial relations, not to interferé unnecessarily in the affairs of other countries, and to endeavour legitimately to promote the good government and prosperity of other countries.” The Secretary of State is assisted in his labours by the political and permanent under-secretaries, an assistant undersecretary, and a staff of clerks. · In 1660 the direction of the colonies of England was intrusted to a committee of the Privy Council called the “ Council of Foreign Plantations,” which was afterwards consolidated with the Council of Trade, and was known as the “ Board of Trade and Plantations.” On the loss of a large portion of the North American colonies, the Plantation Board was abolished, and the remaining colonies placed under the charge of the Home Secretary. From 1801 to 1854 the business of the colonies was consolidated with the War Office; but in 1854 the two departments became separate, and each under the control of its own Secretary of State. The Secretary of State for the colonies has to superintend the government of the various colonial possessions of the British Crown. He appoints the governors over the different dependencies of the Crown, and sanctions or disallows the enactments of the colonial legisla
tures. He corresponds with the colonial governors, and makes such recoinmendations or suggestions as may be expedient to assist the deliberations of the colonial councils, and to promote the welfare of colonial subjects. In his hands is placed the responsibility of devising and submitting to Parliament laws peculiarly affecting the colonies, and in these matters he is often assisted by the Privy Council Committee for Trade. The Secretary of State for the colonies is directly responsible for every act of the governor of any of the colonial dependencies of the British Crown; and all colonial governors act under his immediate directions and instructions. All colonial enactments are brought under the consideration of this important officer of state, by whom they are referred to legal officers whose duty it is to examine and report upon every act, for the purpose of discovering any defect, and of determining the expediency of allowing or disallowing the same. Under the supervision of the Colonial Secretary is the Colonial Land and Emigration Board, which considers all questions relating to colonial lands, and the conveyance of emigrants to the various colonies. Owing to the establishment of responsible government in many of our colonies, the correspondence of the Colonial Office has much