Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to George Hammond, 26 October 1791

To George Hammond

Oct. 26. 1791.

Mr. Jefferson has the honor of presenting his compliments to Mr. Hammond, of expressing his regrets that he happened to be from home when Mr. Hammond did him the honor of calling on him, and was equally unlucky in not finding him at home when he waited on him on Monday. Being informed by Mr. Bond that Mr. Hammond is charged with a public mission to the government of the United States, relative to which some previous explanations might be proper, Mr. Jefferson has the honor to assure Mr. Hammond he shall be ready to recieve any communications and enter into explanations either formally or informally as Mr. Hammond shall chuse, and at any time suitable to him. He recollects with pleasure his acquaintance with Mr. Hammond in Paris, and shall be happy in every opportunity of rendering him such offices and attentions as may be acceptable to him.

PrC (DLC). FC (DNA: RG 360, DL).

George Hammond, who had arrived in Philadelphia on 20 Oct. 1791, two days before TJ returned, was the first British minister plenipotentiary to the United States. He came armed with instructions from Grenville to discuss the controversies surrounding implementation of the Treaty of Paris, to consider the U.S. proposals for a commercial treaty with Britain, to offer British mediation to resolve the conflict between the United States and the western Indians, and to oppose adoption of any congressional legislation that might be injurious to British trade and navigation. Hammond’s dealings with TJ were singularly devoid of any substantive diplomatic agreements, in no small part because of the clandestine interference of the Secretary of the Treasury in many of the ongoing negotiations between the British minister and the Secretary of State (DNB; description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., Dictionary of National Biography, 2d edn., New York, 1908–1909 description ends Leslie Reade, “‘George iii to the United States Sendeth Greeting …,’” History Today, viii [1958], 770–80; Charles R. Ritcheson, Aftermath of Revolution: British Policy Toward the United States, 1783–1795 [Dallas, Texas, 1969], p. 123–44; Editorial Note to group of documents on commercial and diplomatic relations with Great Britain, Vol. 18: 252–4, 258, 276–83; Grenville to Hammond, 1 and 2 Sep. 1791, Mayo, British Ministers description begins Bernard Mayo, ed., “Instructions to the British Ministers to the United States 1791–1812,” American Historical Association, Annual Report, 1936 description ends , 13–19).

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