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1 December 2004 Explorer, Botanist, Courier, or Spy? André Michaux and the Genet Affair of 1793
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Abstract
French botanist André Michaux (1746–1802) is well known in botanical history. Working on behalf of France, he spent the years 1785–96 in North America where he traveled widely, explored frontier areas not visited by earlier botanists, and discovered hundreds of plant species new to science. Perhaps the least understood episode of his career concerns his participation in the shadowy political and diplomatic tangle known in U.S. history as the “Genet Affair.” In 1793, the French Minister to the U.S., Edmond Charles Genet (1762–1834), attempted to clandestinely raise an army of frontiersmen under the leadership of General George Rogers Clark for the purpose of driving the Spanish out of Louisiana. Acting on Genet's instructions, Michaux traveled to Kentucky and participated in this enterprise. It has been suggested that Michaux may have used Genet's mission as a means to travel to Kentucky to botanize; he was first and foremost a botanist. Evidence is presented that Michaux embraced the mission as a French patriot and made strenuous efforts to carry out his instructions.
and Charlie Williams "Explorer, Botanist, Courier, or Spy? André Michaux and the Genet Affair of 1793," Castanea 69(sp2), (1 December 2004). https://doi.org/10.2179/0008-7475(2004)sp2[98:EBCOSA]2.0.CO;2
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