Supplement to the American Mercury: -- December 25, 1800. Convention Between the French Republic and the United States of America
[Hartford: Elisha Babcock], 25 December 1800. Broadside. Text in four columns. Usual folds.
A newspaper extra broadside printing of the treaty that ended the Quasi-War with France.
Starting in 1796, French privateers began seizing American ships and their cargo in reaction to the United States refusing to pay down its debt with France from the Revolution, as well as the economic ramifications of Jay's Treaty with Great Britain. In the first year of his administration, John Adams tasked three commissioners with securing an economic treaty with France. After the commissioners failed to reach an agreement, Thomas Jefferson and the pro-French Democratic-Republicans called for the publication of the dispatches from the commissioners in an effort to undermine Adams. However, the dispatches, when released, revealed an attempt by the French to extort a large loan for the French government. Each of the French agents involved had been given letter designations in the dispatches: "X" for Baron Jean-Conrad Hottinguer, "Y" for Pierre Bellamy, and "Z" for Lucien Hauteval; and the resulting controversy hence became known as the XYZ Affair. The Americans refused the loan and countered with the same terms offered Great Britain in Jay's Treaty, which France immediately rejected. By 1798, the relationship between the countries had fallen into all but an undeclared naval war. However, with the outbreak of the Napoleonic wars between France and Great Britain, it became beneficial for both the U.S. and France for the U.S. to remain neutral and the present treaty was negotiated. Among the terms of the treaty, known alternatively as the Convention of 1800 or the Treaty of Mortefontaine, were the return of public ships captured during the Quasi-War and the free passage for all goods. Signed on 30 September 1800, the treaty was presented to the Senate by Adams on 16 December, and subsequently published in U.S. newspapers. Although the treaty ended the undeclared Quasi-War with France in 1800, it was not fully ratified by the United States until Dec. 19, 1801, paving the way for Jefferson's negotiation for the Louisiana Purchase. This newspaper broadside extra very scarce, with only the Clements Library copy cited by OCLC.