French were seizing American ships to prevent them from trading with the British.-Washington sent Pinckney, Gerry, and Marshall to Paris to restore calm. -three agents told the men that to talk to the minister, they needed to pay France 10 million bucks and the minister $250,000. American refused.
X Y Z Affair
When word of the French demands reached the United States, it caused an uproar and prompted calls for war. After some members of Congress asked to see the diplomats’ reports regarding what had transpired in France, Adams handed them over with the names of the French agents replaced with the letters X, Y and Z; thus the name XYZ Affair
The XYZ Affair was a political and diplomatic episode in 1797 and 1798, early in the administration of John Adams, involving a confrontation between the United States and Republican France that led to an undeclared war called the Quasi-War.
Congress subsequently authorized various defense measures, including the creation of the Department of the Navy and the construction of warships. Then, in July 1798, it authorized American ships to attack French vessels, launching an undeclared naval war that came to be referred to as the Quasi-War.
The hostilities were settled with the Convention of 1800, also known as the Treaty of Mortefontaine, which was ratified in 1801.
-Congress canceled its treaties with France and allowed U.S. Ships to seize French vessels.