The British were pleased with America's neutrality, but the French held that the Americans were ungrateful by refusing to reciprocate for assistance rendered during the American Revolution. Hamilton convinced President Washington that any obligation was to the French monarch Louis XVI, who had been beheaded in the revolutionary frenzy.
The French minister to the United States, Edmond GenÍt, tried to win Jeffersonian-Republican support, going so far as to outfit privateers in American ports and raise soldiers to wage war against Spanish possessions in North America.
This event provoked tremendous friction in the cabinet, but Washington eventually asked the French for GenÍt's recall. The dismissed minister, fearing for his life, was granted asylum in the United States where he lived out his life.