After serving his apprenticeship as Secretary and Chargé d'Affaires at the courts of Munich, Ratisbon, Berlin, Turin and Madrid, Robert Liston was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary at Madrid in 1784.
After leaving Madrid he was the British Representative at Stockholm, Constantinople, Washington, The Hague, and again at Constantinople.
Within each regional section there are two main categories, official and personal. The first contains documents, with instructions or information for the Ambassador, letters from the Secretary of State's Office, and copies of Liston's dispatches. The second contains personal letters to Robert Liston or to his wife Henrietta, and copies of his own letters. But the two categories are not entirely distinct, for many of the personal letters are from diplomats, commenting on current political affairs.