Hammond, George (DNB00)

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HAMMOND, GEORGE (1763–1853), diplomatist, was younger son of William Hammond of Kirk Ella, East Riding of Yorkshire, and matriculated at Merton College, Oxford, on 16 March 1780, aged 17. In 1783 he went to Paris as secretary to David Hartley the younger [q. v.], who was conducting the peace negotiations with France and America. He acquitted himself there with much ability, and acquired an admirable knowledge of French. He returned to Oxford to take the degree of B.A. in 1784, was elected fellow of his college in 1787, and proceeded M.A. in 1788. From 1788 to 1790 he took Sir Robert Keith's place as chargé d'affaires at Vienna; in September 1790 he was removed to Copenhagen, and afterwards to Madrid to serve in a like capacity. In August 1791 Lord Grenville, secretary for foreign aifairs, sent him to Philadelphia as minister plenipotentiary to the United States of America.

Hammond, although only 28, was the first British minister accredited to the United States. The part he had played in the negotiations of 1783 well fitted him for the post. Thomas Jeiferson, the American secretary of state, whose acquaintance he had already made in Paris, regarded his arrival as 'a friendly movement.' Socially he was popular, and his marriage with a lady in Philadelphia in 1793 increased his personal influence. But the conflicting claims of the two countries in giving effect to the treaty of 1783 involved Jefferson and Hammond in very serious controversy. Jefferson demanded the evacuation by English troops of all American territory in accordance with the seventh article of the treaty. Hammond insisted that all loyalists should be freed from further molestation, and that their confiscated estates should be restored to them. The commercial relations between the two countries were also much disturbed. Jefferson, who always spoke well of Hammond's action, resigned in 1793, and his successor, Edmund Randolph, continued the negotiations. Finally, after Washington had sent a special envoy (Jay) to London, a treaty settling the points in dispute was signed in 1794. With the French representative in America (Genet) Hammond had also much difficulty, and his honeymoon in 1793 was chiefly spent in endeavouring to obtain an assurance from the American government that their subjects should not sell arms to the French republic while at war with England. This assurance was refused, but Hammond conducted the negotiations throughout to the complete satisfaction of his government. He left America in 1795 to become under-secretary at the foreign office in London, and was thenceforward very intimate with his chief, Lord Grenville. Canning became Hammond's colleague at the foreign office in 1796, and the friendship formed between them only ended with Canning's death. As foreign under-secretary Hammond was entrusted with several important diplomatic missions to Berlin in 1796, to Vienna in 1799, and with Lord Harrowby, foreign secretary, to Berlin in 1805.

In 1797 Canning devised the tory 'Anti-Jacobin' as an antidote to the whig 'Rolliad.' Hammond was closely associated with the enterprise, and William Lamb (afterwards Lord Melbourne), in a poetical congratulatory epistle, published in the 'Morning Chronicle,' 17 Jan. 1798, represents Canning as joint-editor with Hammond. In 1809 Canning first suggested the 'Quarterly Review' at (it is said) a dinner given by Hammond at his house in Spring Gardens to John Murray, John Hookham Frere, and other writers in the 'Anti-Jacobin.'

When Fox became foreign minister in February 1806, Hammond retired from the under-secretaryship with a pension, but on the accession of Canning to the foreign office in the Duke of Portland's administration in March 1807, Hammond resumed his former post. The Walcheren disaster led to the resignation of the ministry in September 1809, and in the following month Hammond resigned, removing from London and settling at Donnington, Berkshire. In 1810 he received the honorary degree of D.C.L. at Oxford, while his friend, Lord Grenville, was chancellor of the university. From November 1815 to July 1828 he served (on the recommendation of Lord Castlereagh) with David Morier on the committee of arbitration, for securing to British subjects indemnity for loss of property during the French revolution. The duties required Hammond's frequent presence in Paris, where on 26 Aug. 1816 he gave a ball, which was attended by the Duke of Wellington and Sir Stratford Canning, then on his honeymoon. Hammond lived in retirement after 1828, and died at his residence, 22 Portland Place, London, on 23 April 1853, aged 90.

In 1793 Hammond married at Philadelphia Margaret, daughter of Andrew Allen, by whom he was father of Edmund, lord Hammond [q.v.]

Much of Hammond's voluminous correspondence with Jefferson is printed in 'Authentic Copies of the Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson, Esq., and George Hammond, Esq.,' London and Philadelphia, 1794, and in 'American State Papers Foreign Relations,' i. 188 sq.

[Information from H. E. Chetwynd Stapylton, esq. Cf. Narrative and Critical Hist, of America, ed. Justin Winsor, vii. 462 sq.; Parton's Life of Jefferson, Boston, 1874, pp. 414-15, 475, 478; Theodore Lyman's Diplomacy of the United States, Boston, 1828, i. 176 sq.; Interesting State Papers from President Washington, &c., likewise Conferences with George Hammond, Esq., quoted by Edmund Randolph, London and Philadelphia, 1796.]

S. L. L.