From 'The Dictionary of Daily Wants' - 1858-1859
Back to first page of Victorian Appointments including the Admiralty and Custom House.
The second class of officials in the Customs department is distributed
among a variety of branches, each having its peculiar duties, but all possessing the usual
features of office routine generally, salaries rising from £15 to £500.
Inland Revenue. - Under this title are included the Excise,
and the Stamps and Taxes. To the Excise branch is assigned the collection of revenue
arising from home or inland sources. One portion of this department is worked by what are
popularly termed "Excisemen," each of whom have a certain district placed under his
control, and in which he is expected to take an account of and levy the duty upon all articles
manufactured and chargeable with duty. The occupation of an Excise officer is harassing
and attended with great discomfort, inasmuch as he is liable to be removed from district
to district at a week's notice. This continual change coupled with the peculiar and
somewhat unpopular post that he fulfils, totally debar him from enjoying the amenities of
social life, or of cultivating the friendship and acquaintance of those with whom he may
be brought in contact. The salary of an ordinary Excise officer is £100 a year; the higher
grade of supervisor from £150 to £250. The clerks employed in the Excise receive salaries
much on par with those given in the better departments of the Custom House.
Stamps and Taxes. - This branch employs between three and
four hundred clerks, whose duties are of the usual official character; the salaries range
from £80 to £400. The latter sum is, however, rarely attained to, the maximum in the
majority of cases being £200, at which salary many clerks remain in this department after
a service of twenty years.
Ordnance Office. - The province of this department consists
of providing for the exigencies of the army and navy. The appointments are both numerous
and valuable, consisting of clerks with salaries of from £90 to £600, and store-keepers
£190 to £700.
Post Office. - This department employs an immense number of
servants in a variety of grades and capacities. The appointments in contrast with other
Government situations are not to be coveted, for its duties are exceedingly heavy, and
the remuneration unreasonably small. The usual hours of attendance are from ten till four,
but in the Inland Office attendance is required from five in the morning till nine, and
from five to eight in the evening. In this office the greatest punctuality is exacted,
and no allowances are made for being behind time. The clerkships are distributed among
various offices, tbe salaries ranging from £60 to £200. Connected with this department
are also letter-carriers and sub-sorters; the scale of remuneration for the first named
is from 20s. to 30s. per week; to this may be added gratuities received in the shape of
Christmas boxes; but as this is an observance now fast dying out, it cannot be considered
as a certain source of additional income. The sub-sorters are selected from the
letter-carriers, and receive from £65 to £110.
War Office - Employs a limited number of clerks from £80 to
£500; its duties are generally light, and an appointment in it difficult to secure.
In addition to the foregoing there are The Treasury, Board of Trade, Colonial Office,
Foreign Office, and a variety of other branches which employ a limited number of clerks,
appointments in which require an immense amount of influence, being generally given to the
relatives and connections of the ministerial members of both houses.
APPOINTMENTS, VARIOUS. - Distinct from Government appointments, and yet
partaking of a similar character, and possessing equal privileges, are the Bank of
England, and the East India House. The patronage of the Bank of England, with
the exception of every seventh vacancy, is in the hands of the directors, a clerk being
appointed by each director in rotation, until the vacancies are filled. Clerks are
admissible from the age of seventeen to twenty-five; the salary for the first year is
£50, increasing yearly until twenty-one; from the age of one-and-twenty to five-and-twenty,
the increase is £5 per annum, and then at the-rate of £8, until it reaches £260 a year,
which is fixed as the limit. In addition to these salaries, extra remuneration may be made
by overwork, as at certain seasons the augmentation of labour is made to devolve upon the
clerks already upon the establishment, instead of fresh hands being engaged. The Bank of
England also employs about 80 porters at salaries of £?6 and £84.
East India House. - The appointments in connection with this
institution, although, not very numerous, are respectable and well paid. The patronage is
vested in the directors of the company and the president of the Board of Control. The
clerks are divided into two classes, "established clerks" and "extra clerks." The
established clerks are eligible from the ages of eighteen to twenty-five; the commencing
salary is £96, and gradually progresses to £400. The extra clerks are qualified for
admission until thirty years of age, their salaries commence at £80, and progress to £200.
They possess the privilege, however, of adding to their stated pay by extra attendance,
and by this means are enabled with diligence and energy to double the salaries specified.
Akin to these appointments are those of Railways, Insurance Offices,
and Private Banks, the hours of attendance and the remuneration being governed by a
similar scale to that which applies to Government departments. The increase of salary
being also certain and progressive, and the permanency of the employment greatly depending
upon the capacity and good conduct of the employed. It is almost needless to state that
the appointments in these last mentioned are left to the nomination of those gentlemen
who are either directly or indirectly connected with the respective undertakings. The
chief qualifications for these situations are a sound commercial education, an aptitude
for correspondence, a gentlemanly deportment, and a good address. Books: Thomson on
the Choice of a Profession; The Imperial Calendar (Annual); Mitchel's Guide
to Government Situations.