Conversation with Robert Liston1
[New York, October, 1797]
“It remains to be considered whether His Majesty’s Service might not reap considerable advantage from a general stipulation for the restitution of deserters2 in nearly the same terms with those employed in the French Treaty.3 Our friends in this Country think it would, and they strongly advise that an article of that tenour should be concluded. Among the number of these is Colonel Hamilton of New York, who expressed to me his opinion that we ought carefully to avoid urging the American Ministry to any stipulations which might add strength to that imputation of partiality to Great Britain which has of late been cast upon them by the Democratic Party.”
PRO: F.O. description begins Public Record Office of Great Britain. description ends (Great Britain), 5/18.
1. This conversation has been taken from Liston to Lord Grenville, October 28, 1797 (ALS, PRO: F.O. description begins Public Record Office of Great Britain. description ends [Great Britain], 5/18). Liston was the British Minister to the United States. George Grenville was the British Foreign Secretary.
2. On May 12, 1797, Liston wrote to Grenville and proposed that a new article be added to the Jay Treaty which would provide for the reciprocal restitution of deserters (Mayo, Instructions to British Ministers description begins Bernard Mayo, ed., “Instructions to the British Ministers to the United States,” Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1936 (Washington, 1941), III. description ends , 135, note 27). On July 5, 1797, Grenville sent Liston “the Draft of an Article stipulating the reciprocal Restitution of all Deserters from the Naval or Land Service of Great Britain or the United States who may take refuge in the Territories of either Country” (Mayo, Instructions to British Ministers description begins Bernard Mayo, ed., “Instructions to the British Ministers to the United States,” Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1936 (Washington, 1941), III. description ends , 135).
3. This is a reference to Article 23 (originally 25) of the 1778 Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and France (Miller, Treaties, II description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America (Washington, 1931), II. description ends , 20–21).