Conditions continued to deteriorate as John Adams assumed office in 1797. The French minister to the United States, Pierre Adet, publicly criticized the new president, provoking a troublesome situation similar to that faced earlier by Washington with Citizen Genêt. Meanwhile, American shipping was the target of the French navy and privateers; the loss of American ships soon totaled more than 300. The French further displayed their displeasure by severing diplomatic ties with the United States. Alexander Hamilton and other "High Federalists" were openly pleased with the deepening crisis and hoped for war against France.