German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
Fax: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2055 / 7404 5573

URI: https://www.ghil.ac.uk

calendar & information

Breadcrumb navigation:

Editorial Principles and Technical Details

The series British Envoys to Germany comprises a selection of official reports sent by the British diplomats from the eight British diplomatic missions in the German Confederation and the German Kaiserreich (Berlin, Darmstadt, Dresden, Frankfurt, , Munich, Hamburg, Hanover, , Stuttgart, and Vienna) to the Foreign Office between 1816 and 1897. All originals are held in the National Archives/Public Record Office, Kew.

The selection for this edition is based on the quality, originality of perspective, and informative value of the dispatches as well as on a balance between the individual missions. While not aiming to present a representative selection of letters from each mission, it is intended to cover the major developments of the period 1816 to 1866 and present as multifaceted a picture of British perceptions of Germany as possible. Dispatches on non-German affairs (including the non-German parts of the Austrian Empire) which do not refer to Anglo-German relations were not considered for selection.

Each dispatch is provided with a standardized heading giving archive class mark (e.g. FO 68/72 = Foreign Office, general correspondence Saxony, volume 72) author, addressee, number of dispatch, place and date of origin, and (from British Envoys to the Kaiserreich, Vol. I ) in squared brackets, further information which has been taken from the dockets (found on the reverse side of the letters). This usually comprises the date the dispatch was received at the Foreign Office, the name of the messenger, the distribution list (government departments, individuals, other legations), recipients’ initials, initials of Foreign Office clerks, the permanent under-secretary, and, lastly, the initial of the incumbent secretary of state. As far as possible, in-house acronyms have also been retained including ‘Qy’, meaning ‘Query’, i.e. refer to relevant department, minister, or other authority; ‘X’, which, in the Western Department of the Foreign Office, had multiple meanings including (specifically for the dockets) ‘put by’; ‘FS’ which stood for ‘under flying seal’, i.e. diplomats were authorized to open dispatches sent via their legation before forwarding them to their final destination.

Each dispatch is preceded by a brief summary in italic, composed on the basis of the original dockets. The transcribed reports are printed in their entirety in order to maintain the authenticity of the sources, although the standardized salutation and concluding formula are omitted. Enclosures to the original dispatches, which can be voluminous, are not reproduced, but listed in footnotes. With the exception of ‘ß’ (which has been transcribed as ‘ss’), the orthography (including capitalization and abbreviations), punctuation (including dashes, hyphens, apostrophes, mixed use of single and double quotation marks and the usage of ‘it's’ as a possessive pronoun instead of ‘its’), emphases (underlining), and superscript of the original are retained. Errors or deviations in the original which might be mistaken for mistranscriptions are marked ‘[sic]’. Placeholders, line breaks, or paging are not considered.

Annotations to the dispatches, in the form of brief footnotes, aim to provide all the information required for an understanding of the document which does not become apparent from the document itself. German, French, and Latin expressions and terms are translated. Treaties, legislation, and publications mentioned in the reports are specified in the footnotes, and explained where necessary. In many cases, reference is made to other annotations and documents in the same volume. All individuals mentioned are identified, as far as possible, and listed with brief biographies in the annotated index of names. A subject index and index of places completes each volume.

A combined subject and biographical index (including the short biographies) of the series is available online. Additionally, all dispatches included in the volumes are listed and accessible via search tools.