Thomas Cromwell : aspects of his administrative work
The thesis is concerned with these points: 1) The features of Cromwell's administration. 2) The light they throw on his personality. 3) The place of his rule in the history of administration. The introduction defines the limits set and reviews the sources. A first chapter discusses Cromwell's rise to power, showing that he rose by degrees and as an administrator, his arrival to power being marked by his obtaining an office. Chapter two investigates his chief lay offices (master of the jewels, clerk of the hanaper, chancellor of the exchequer, principal secretary, master of the rolls, lord privy seal), dealing with their functional their importance to Cromwell, and the effect on them of his tenure. His choice of offices is seen to have been determined by a desire to control the financical and secretarial organisations, and these are then discussed. In the former, note is taken of Cromwell's personal treasurership which made him the main disbursing officer for the king's money, of his relations with the chamber machinery whose decline was due to him, and of the agencies established to administer the new revenues. Then come his dealings with the various secretariats: orders which tightened up the organisation of the signet office; a stricter definition of the use of the signet and privy seal in the process of a grant under the great seal, and Cromwell's evasion of his own rules; his personal activities as secretary and lord privy seal; his use of Thomas Wriothesley as "undersecretary" in charge of the clerical departments. The last chapter investigates Cromwell's relations with the council; he is seen to have encouraged conciliar government and himself to have organised the privy council proper as early as 1536. The conclusion attempts to account for the fact that in his administration Cromwell seems to have been guided by contradictory desires (to organise bureaucratically, and to evade bureaucratic organisation in the interests of personal ascendancy), and to assess his place as the founder of modern government in England.