Something for Nothing - Georgian Sinecures

Blake Pinnell explains how an ancient tradition got out of hand and drained the public purse of 18th-century England.

Two hundred years ago the British government, the law courts, the established church, part of the army and the royal house- hold contained many positions in which the occupants did little or nothing for the money they received. In some of these sinecures there was no work to be done, ancient responsibilities having withered away although the incomes continued to be paid. In other jobs work was still needed but incomes were received quite disproportionate to the effort required. In many posts all the responsibilities were exercised by deputies who handed over the 'profits' to the sinecure holder.

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