This fourth volume of the editorial series British Envoys to Germany comprises the last sixteen years of the German Confederation, between the Dresden Conferences of 1851 and the war between Prussia and the majority of the other member states in 1866. Many historical accounts of German politics of the years 1851 to 1866 are influenced on the one hand by the legacy of the revolutionary events of 1848–1849 and on the other hand by the dissolution of the Confederation and Bismarck's unification of a German nation-state dominated by Prussian policies and politics. While the early 1850s can be seen as a period of ‘reaction’ and a negative response to popular social and political demands, the remainder of the period is generally discussed in terms of the struggle for mastery in Germany, particularly the political and ultimately military conflict between Prussia and the Austrian Empire. However, the envoys’ correspondence questions teleological accounts of the time between Dresden and Königgrätz. Throughout the 1850s and 1860s, British diplomatic representatives reported on all matters regarding the German states and the German Confederation. In addition to international affairs and bilateral relations, the dispatches also cover German politics, its federal dimensions, and the policies and societies of the federal states. Like other contemporary sources, the envoys’ reports provide strong evidence that the period 1851–1866 should be seen as more than just a time of transition between revolution and unification. In fact, the multifaceted views of British diplomatic representatives to Germany provide a much broader picture and substantiate the demand for understanding the time between 1851 and 1866 in its own right.