Book Review: XYZ Affair
The book starts out with the introduction of the main characters. W- Nicholas Hubbard: an Englishman by birth and a junior partner in the Amsterdam banking firm of Van Staphorst and Hubbard. The same bank happened to be one of the banks that had American interests. X-Jean Conrad Hottinguer: a former Zurich banker who came to Paris in the 1780s because he was trying to break into Swiss banking. He later established his own bank in Paris but was forced to leave in 1793 and fled to London to avoid of imprisonment or death. In 1796 Hottinguer returned to London and started a new company in which Pierre Bellamy was named Secretary. Y-Pierre Bellamy was an educated as a clergyman. Bellamy had become a member of the Council of Two Hundred in 1791 and then the auditor next year. Unfortunately in 1794 he was going to receive a death sentence since he was charged with counter revolutionary acts. Luckily he saved his own life by giving a speech and as a result he was sent to permanent exile. Z-Lucien Hauteval, the only one out of the group who wasn’t involved in banking. The rest of the group also faced death in Paris.
The main controversy started from the ratification of the Jay’s Treaty in 1795 and President Adam’s oratory. Even though the treaty prevented war and disentangled many problems between Great Britain and America after the Revolution and allowed commerce to take place. However, the French felt it violated the Treaty of Alliance of 1778. This was a defensive tactic between France and America; formed in the midst of the American Revolutionary War. It provided military support if the British forces attack America in the near or far future. Therefore the reason they retaliated against the Jay Treaty was because before Americans were against Great Britain and now they are “joining hands.” In retaliation the French confiscated American ships.
At the meeting of the agents it didn’t go as planned. The French intermediaries stated that...