During late 17th and early 18th centuries some German governments regularly received news of British politics from intelligence officers in London.
Two reports on English politics written in 1694 by Guillaume Berry and Frederick Bonnet for Guelph court in Celle and Hanover and Prussian court in Berlin.
He describes uniqueness of these reports and classifies them as transcribed journalism, from business correspondence to classic diplomatic correspondence. In addition, report analyzes detailed political coverage of reports, which mainly focus on royal courts and parliament, and reveal source of information.
From 1680s to 1710s, about a dozen London scribe news providers provided selected German courts with latest information on English politics.
Important among them were brothers Frederick and Louis Frederick Bonnet, who served needs of Prussian rulers, as well as Guelis of Celle and Hanover. Guillaume Berry, who represented court of Husband dynasty.
Their accounts are well known to historians of time, and Bonnet's dispatch in particular has attracted attention since 19th century.
Frederick Bonnet (1652–1696), elder of two brothers, was not first such journalist employed by Brandenburg-Prussian court in English capital.
Earlier examples are from hiatus era, but his predecessors reported shorter time periods than his predecessors and often had no immediate successors, leaving a large gap in coverage of British affairs.
Frédéric worked for 12 years from 1685 until his death in 1696, when his younger brother Louis-Frédéric Bonnet followed suit.
The latter spent more than 20 years in London, becoming a de facto messenger during last decade of his long tenure, a period that Charles Littleton explores in detail in his main work.
The nomination to post of Prussian spokesman was rather idiosyncratic for former news provider, whose promotion was partly due to avarice of King Frederick I of Prussia, who sent a new envoy to London held back by a price, partly due to proximity that bound Bonnet family to Essichl von Spanheim, one of most prominent diplomats of his time and a respected figure at Berlin court.
It was Spanheim who first won London post for his nephew Bonnet Elder in 1685, while Berry, on other hand, was not supposed to have relatives upstairs.
The author claims that: His path to full-time employment was paved by his ability to write written news, and from 1687 he provided regular reports on London politics to Count Bernstorff, chief minister at court of Celle. events.
On Bernstorff's recommendation, a handwritten pamphlet written in early 1689 setting out Elector Sophia's claims to British throne, as well as discussion among British political elite, may also be credited. According to rumors among members, Berry was hired as a correspondent at court of Celle in same year.
In 1693 he added to his portfolio powers of Hanoverian court, second branch of House of Guelph, which he held until 1711, when Berry officially received his agency. was not promoted to resident until 1706, and Bonnet appears in records as "resident" from beginning.
While Berry and possibly Bonnet are commissioned by others in wider Guelph and Hohenzollern dynasties, their main duties include writing doubles for patrons in Celle, Hanover and Berlin. Weekly news coverage.
Written in French, authors usually refer to them as "ordinaires", standard term used at time for various reports, frequency of which was determined by delivery intervals of postal service.
When drafting their letters, both should remember that they are working with officially recognized envoys who write their own letters, higher British politics, discussions and decisions between Sovereign and his ministers. The solution is beyond Berry, Bonnet et al..
On contrary, none of their reports dealt with immediate political interests of courts employing them, although from 1692 princes of Celle and Hanover allied with William III in battle against Louis XIV,
For example, Berry kept silent about Anglo-Hanoverian negotiations in autumn and winter of 1693 in order to prevent Elector Ernst August from leaving Great Union and convince him to take part in next election. The season fulfills contractual obligations.
This diplomatic controversy had to be left to discretion of envoy himself, and, remarkably, neither Berry nor Bonnet relayed any news that could have anything to do with politics of Holy Roman Empire.
With exception of Prince Louis of Baden's visit to Wilhelm III earlier in year, only six messages between them mentioned topics not even related to imperial affairs.
If any further evidence is required, there are no passes in encryption, a clear indication of secret diplomatic messages confirming that what Bonnet and Berry reported was significantly different from what envoys concealed in their letters.
Hence, the Bonnet and Berry report contains only "events that any reasonable observer could independently observe", although collecting information about political events that are not shrouded in state secrets would be much more difficult than K. would like to make us believe.
Nevertheless, reports are filled with reports of English legal and parliamentary proceedings, Jacobite plots, arrival of merchant fleet, fighting between British and French armies in various maritime theaters and preparations for next battle in Flanders, works, and every now and then last gossip from London aristocratic society.
The Bonnet and Berry Newsletter, sent out twice a week on Post Day, provides recipients with a broad overview of major political events taking place in London and elsewhere in British Isles.
If that makes these reports different from diplomatic letters, they also don't quite follow traditional pattern of 17th century commercial correspondence.
We did not meet intermittent rhythm, characteristic of avvisi world, rather short news reports arranged in separate paragraphs and in order in which they arrived.
Despite Berry's focus on covering a range of different topics, overall both he and Bonnet offer readers a more limited amount of news than traditional journalism.
Instead, they gave each news a broader meaning, often adding their own comments, which is unusual for other business news, not to mention print newspapers.
Their service is more professional, avoiding actual reporting style of other news outlets, although both expect their readers to be well versed in British political affairs.
For example, there is little background material on parliamentary procedures, constitutional rules, and geography of British Isles, with an emphasis on extended summaries of current news.
The special nature of these reports, which lie between established categories of traditional handwritten correspondence and diplomatic correspondence, is also reflected in their appearance and importance, which are in neat type with little or no marginal indentation, apparently for post. consumption.
Contrary to habit of some English-speaking correspondents who try to establish a formal relationship with their readers and address them with formal "Mr", neither Berry nor Bonnet use any form of address .
Their reports are just a London headline and a date at top of page, and then from first news there is no intro. The two reporters also lacked elaborate closing salutations of diplomatic letters and did not sign their reports, bringing them closer to conventions of handwritten journalism.
They average four pages in length, but although Berry follows standard four-part format for many business communications, Bonnet writes his reports on a spread, which gives him almost two pages. space, in case of Berry - from 510 to 520 words, and in case of Bonnet - about 950 words.
However, reports may differ significantly in length from newsletters. During Wilhelm III's stay on Continent, when popular news was harder to come by, number of pages was repeatedly reduced to three pages, and in case of Bonn sometimes even to two or only one.
The low point was reached in second half of October, when political life in London froze in anticipation of imminent return of king, and Berry was forced to admit that his reports were outdated because there was nothing to report.
On other hand, moments of political drama, such as important parliamentary debates or last illness of Mary II in December, led to a significant increase in time to send five or six pages, and at some point even eight pages.
Their penchant for diplomatic letters and handwritten journalism was also reflected in inclusion of more signed documents and newspapers. The interweaving of printed materials and manuscripts has been identified by literary scholars and historians as typical of news production of the period, and this is also true of Bonnet and Berry's reporting.
Both repeatedly added a French version of London Gazette, and about a third of Bonnet's reports were accompanied by latest edition of court's quasi-official mouthpiece and, once, by a Dutch newspaper.
Bairy's dispatch must have had same number of copies, but at least some of them were deleted before archiving, and it is not surprising that in William's absence both included additional ballots, to compensate for brevity of message. their reports.
In addition to printing newspapers, they sent handwritten copies of documents circulating in Parliament, royal speeches, speeches in both Houses, protests by certain groups of colleagues, individual acts, lists of British warships, pamphlets and distribution in Parliament of a letter from an MP.
Even new letter from Versailles is an appendix to letters of Berry and Bonnet, either in full or in fragments, but always accurately translated into French.
They sent in additional material so often that Berry added same skin twice in a matter of weeks, unaware of his mistake.
Despite these similarities, two sets of reports also have some differences. Berry's stories usually cover a wide range of topics and places, from royal courts and parliament to events in Scotland and Ireland, fate of merchant marine and latest military news.
This mode of reporting is somewhat similar to a newsletter: Bonnet prefers to focus on a limited number of topics, sometimes just two or three, and cover them in more detail like a diplomat.
This is especially true of his reporting during parliamentary sessions, where he often focuses almost exclusively on debates in House and Senate, only to touch on other news very briefly at end of a press release or ignore it entirely.
Bonnet also spoke about activities of other diplomats at court of St. James, but Berry never touched on this topic.
On other hand, Berry's account has been repeatedly enlivened by what a modern term would call an essay in which he wrote of a diver who traversed entire Thames from Whitehall to Lambeth, winner of the grand prize in a lottery draw.
A man whom a mysterious lady from high society dueled for years, and nobility of two officers who, after a shipwreck, allowed their wives to take remaining two positions on a lifeboat, thereby sacrificing their own life.
He also had a weakness for crime and developed a habit of reporting sensational murders as well as vices of British nobility such as Lord Mohon, the Earl of Warwick and some people. tend to lose their temper, attack and even kill their subordinates, and sometimes their own.
None of this is included in Bonnet's message, which is too focused on politics, especially parliamentary politics, to consider stories of human interest as newsworthy.
Therefore, neither of them adheres entirely to conventions of either of two main genres, handwritten correspondence and diplomatic correspondence, and their reporting must fall somewhere between these two extremes, but in this range, Bay Here's storytelling is definitely closer to journalistic reporting, while Bonnet leans towards diplomatic option.
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