From the 1820s papers of significance began to be distributed to officials in the Foreign Office, Cabinet and other departments as Confidential Print. The practice grew until the 1850s when nearly every important dispatch or telegram was routinely printed. The Confidential Prints vary in format from a single page to a substantial volume, many have maps (we have over 700) and diagrams. The documents are numbered 1-10,600 (1827-1914) in roughly order of printing.
For the historian this is an incredible set of primary source documents. They are a window to Britain’s colonial past covering subjects such as slavery, railways, expeditions, diplomatic relations and war, from Abyssinia to Zanzibar.
The index, ‘List of Confidential Papers Relating to Foreign Affairs’ (No. 10330, covers no.1-10,000) has been transcribed into a database. The index was arranged alphabetically by country, and the documents listed roughly in date order.
* search for documents with maps by entering map in the subject box
* search by jurisdiction, date and document number
* do a keyword search in the subject box
* email results in a spreadsheet format.
We do not have a complete set of documents at Oxford, so the search will return
* whether we have the document or not
* how many pages it has
* whether it has any illustrations or maps.
Records for 10,001-10,600 are in the process of being added to the database.