The disturbance raised by Genet spread rapidly, and there was great popular feeling and much excitement in favor of France. In fact a French party was formed and democratic societies sprang up everywhere. The flame was fanned by the opposition, and the result was a series of attacks upon the administration, and especially upon Washington, for issuing the proclamation of neutrality. In this state of affairs Hamilton took the field in the essays signed Pacificus, defending the neutrality policy and the right and duty of the President to issue the proclamation. As always, his writings produced a marked effect, and Jefferson instigated Madison to publish a reply signed Helvidius, but Hamilton had the best of the discussion.