George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 1 January 1796]

1. Remarkably mild and pleasant—perfectly clear.

Received the National Colours from Mr. Adet the Minister Plenipo. to day.

Much company visited.

Pierre Auguste Adet, French minister plenipotentiary, had arrived in the United States on 13 June 1795 to replace Fauchet. He brought with him a French flag, a gift of the French Committee of Public Safety, and an accompanying speech of warm friendship for the United States. His awareness of the anti-French bias in the American government, however, caused him to delay presenting the flag. In Dec. 1795 he finally notified GW that he desired to make the presentation, and GW chose New Year’s Day for the ceremony. GW answered the French address in a friendly manner, but he included the statement that the French flag would be placed in the archives. Adet took violent exception to this. An American flag presented earlier by James Monroe to the French National Convention was on prominent display in the French chamber, and Adet had expected the French flag to be accorded a conspicuous place in the halls of Congress. The Federalists, however, felt that Adet’s presentation was a flagrant attempt to sway American feeling during the discussion of the Jay Treaty (deconde, 424, 435–36).

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