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Title: Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan, Assistant Secretary to the Treasury, 1840-1859
Author: Armstrong, David William
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1975
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Trevelyan brought from his early service in India a strong distrust of government intervention in economic matters and a belief in the political and administrative significance of popular education. At the Treasury he was concerned in more routine matters in the general supervision of a supervisory department and in the gradual extension to other departments of Treasury control, including improved techniques of estimate and audit. The limitations for individual influence in this work made him appreciate the scope for reform and innovation in his investigation of government departments that began in 1848 and culminated in the Northcote-Trevelyan Report of 1853. Based on his experience of the Treasury his original overall objective had been to ensure a separation between "intellectual" and "mechanical" work in the Civil Service, but Gladstone gave the question a new twist with his insistence on open competition for most first appointments. The Whigs in the Aberdeen coalition were not prepared for this proposal, and Trevelyan's critical and tactless comments on the quality of Civil Service personnel ensured maximum opposition from his colleagues. The half-hearted compromise of limited competition was a disappointment. Other related concerns were the reform of superannuation and provision of office buildings. Management of the Commissariat until l854 gave Trevelyan scope for executive action, and provided the setting and key personnel for his single-handed overall supervision of Irish relief under the Russell administration. Here, Trevelyan had the satisfaction of applying his theories of economic non-intervention rigorously in a unique situation of administrative autonomy. His interest in the Commissariat promotion system led him to express critical concern over purchase of commissions in the army itself. Trevelyan concluded his public service by two brief periods in India between 1859 and 1865.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biographies