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Secretary of State for the Northern Department

The Secretary of State for the Northern Department was a position in the Cabinet of the government of Great Britain up to 1782, when the Northern Department became the Home Office.

Before the Act of Union, 1707, the Secretary of State's responsibilities were in relation to the English government, not the British. Even after the Union, there was still a Secretary of State for Scotland until 1746, though the post was sometimes vacant. This continued the previous post of Secretary of State, Scotland.

Before 1782, the responsibilities of the two Secretaries of State for the Northern and the Southern Departments were not divided up in terms of area of authority, but rather geographically. Both were responsible for England and Wales. The Secretary of State for the Northern Department, the more junior of the two, was responsible for foreign relations with the Protestant states of Northern Europe. The more senior Secretary of State for the Southern Department was responsible for relations with the Catholic and Muslim states of Europe. In 1782, the two Secretaries of State were reformed as the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

During the 18th century, Secretaries of State for the Northern Department, if peers, were often Leaders of the House of Lords as well.

Secretaries of State for the Northern Department, 1660–1782

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