Reforming the Registry: internal Foreign Office correspondence

[Foreign Office]. Correspondence respecting the Establishment of a Central Registry in the Foreign Office 1904-5.

[London], 1904-1906, with additional material to 1914 inserted at the end.

Folio (225 x 320 mm). 38 distinct items of correspondence, typed and manuscript, mainly on letter-headed stationery, including printed reports, circulars and memoranda. A total of 460 pp., comprising 144½ manuscript pp. and several manuscript tables; 142½ typescript pp. and several typescript tables; 147 printed pp; with 27 pp. of additional material loosely inserted at the end. Bound in contemporary calf with title lettered in gilt on spine ("General / Establishment of a Central Registry in the Foreign Office / 1904-05") and "Foreign Office" stamped in blind to both covers.


A substantial volume of internal government correspondence, mainly between Baron Thomas Sanderson (1841-1923), Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, George H. Murray (1849-1936), Joint Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, and Eyre A. Crowe (1864-1925), soon to be Senior Clerk at the Foreign Office, but also including material by Sir Francis Hyde Villiers (1852-1925), Assistant Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, Schomberg Kerr McDonnell (1861-1915), Secretary to the Office of Works, and the Treasury civil servant E. G. Harman. The papers, apparently bound as a volume in 1906, all concern the reform of the organization of the Foreign Office, an undertaking in which the brilliant civil servant Crowe, who is best remembered for his incisive 1907 memorandum against Germany's expansionist designs and who would later serve as Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office from 1920 until his death in 1925, played a major role: "In May 1904 the Cartwright Committee, a Committee instituted by Sanderson prompted by Lansdowne, recommended that the Foreign Office should initiate a Registry system which would be run, as in the Colonial Office, by second division clerks. After many difficulties with the Treasury, the additional funds needed to implement the new scheme were secured and the Registry system put into operation on 1 January 1906. Its success was assured when Eyre Crowe, an enthusiastic refomer who had been instrumental in working out the details of the new system, became temporary head of the Registry. Charles Hardinge replaced the ailing Sanderson and returned to London early in 1906 determined to turn the 'existing cosy, if somewhat tedious family party' into an organized Department of State" (V. Cromwell, Z. S. Steiner, "The Foreign Office before 1914: A Study in Resistance", in: G. Sutherland [ed.], Studies in the Growth of Nineteenth Century Government [London, 1972], pp. 167-194).

Spine chipped with substantial loss but title labels preserved. Edges and corners severely rubbed and bumped. Papers generally very well preserved. Detailed list of contents available on request.

Stock Code: BN#49649 Tags: ,