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Victorian Appointments

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.

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