Meanwhile, the French Navy was inflicting substantial losses on American shipping. On 21 February 1797, Secretary of State Timothy Pickering told Congress that during the previous eleven months,
Increased depredations by French privateers led to the rebirth of the United States Navy and the creation of the United States Marine Corps to defend the expanding American merchant fleet. Congress authorized the president to acquire, arm, and man not more than twelve ships of up to twenty two guns each. Several merchantmen were immediately purchased and refitted as ships of war, and construction of the frigate Congress resumed.
Congress rescinded the treaties with