Lead: In 1797 the fledgling United States was about to go to war with France.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: President John Adams sent John Marshall, Charles Coatsworth Pinckney, and Elbridge Gerry to calm the French but from the time they reached Paris they were treated with stone-walling, insults and official corruption. French Foreign Minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand sent secret emissaries who presented several demands. They desired a U.S. apology for resent Adams' recent allegedly disparaging remarks about France to Congress, a $250,000 bribe for Talleyrand, and an enormous loan from the US to France which everyone agreed would never be repaid. Marshall, Pinckney and Gerry did not even consider the apology. That would impune U.S. national sovereignty. They were hardly shocked by the bribe. It was a little excessive but Marshall knew that bribery of high officials was a customary feature of diplomacy in Europe at the time. It was the loan that caused the negotiations come to a halt. When Pinckney heard the French terms he said in irritation, "No, no! Not a sixpence."

 

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