|Edmond Charles Genet
[zhuh neh'] French minister to the
"Citizen Genet," as
he came to be called by the American public,
arrived at Charleston, South Carolina on April 8, 1793, with instructions
from the French government to enlist American
help in France's war against Great Britain. It
took him 28 days to make his way to Philadelphia,
then the seat of the federal government. Along
the way he was wined and dined by some of the
most distinguished citizens of the day, including
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
He also attempted to persuade American citizens
to organize expeditions against Spanish Florida
and tried to commission privateers to harass
British ships off American shores. Although he
was coolly received officially, he was eagerly
entertained by the American people, a vast number
of whom supported Genet's ambitions.
issued, in 1793, a proclamation of neutrality,
stating that America would not involve itself in
the war, Genet condemned Washington and
dispatched the privateers. Washington finally
asked the French government to recall Genet, and
he was replaced in 1794. Afraid he would be
executed if he returned to France, Genet instead
moved to Long Island, New York, and later married
the daughter of New York Governor George Clinton.
He subsequently became an American citizen.
Charleston, South Carolina
President George Washington
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