Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Nice work, if you can get it

Best of all were the official appointments, where drawing a salary was frequently the only work involved. Some of these, like the post of Master of the King's Buckhounds, were absolute sinecures in which no work was expected. More frequent was the practice of accepting a well-paid position and then appointing a deputy who did all the work for a small fraction of the salary. One George Selwyn, who controlled two or three votes in the Commons, was "at one and the same tie, Surveyor-General of Crown Lands, which he ever surveyed; Registrar of Chancery at Barbados, which he never visited; and Surveyor of Meltings and Clerk of the Irons at the Mint, where he showed himself once a week in order to eat a dinner which he ordered but for which the nation paid."

(from A History of England and the British Empire)

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