From James Monroe
London Octr 26. 1805.
You will receive within a copy of a note recd. yesterday Evening from Mr. OReilly of Phila., of certain reports in circulation yesterday at the exchange.1 That with respect to the Prussian minister has been confirm’d in the gazettes of this morning, tho’ no notice is taken in them of that wh. more particularly regards us. I send so much of the Chronicle as respects publick concerns.2 No allusion of the kind was made me yesterday by Mr. Hammond, tho’ as our conversation was lengthy an opportunity was furnished for it. If the report is true the prospect with respect to Prussia has confirmed them in the policy, if indeed it has not long since been decided on. I shall be able to inform you more correctly in a few days by the Bristol Packet an American ship wh. sails for N. York.3 Mr. Hammond mentioned to me an interesting circumstance wh. he said had an irritating tendency. Admiral Collingwood had taken a dispatch of Yrujo to his govt. from an american vessel, stating a proposition from commodore Truxton accompanied with a plan for taking the Island of Jamaica, in which he informed him that he had certain plans of the fortifications &ca of the Island, wh. had been given him by admiral Parker, wh. wod. be or were at the ministers service. He shewed me the dispatch in spanish, wh. as I read that lang[u]age imperfectly, & the room was dark, I do not state on that evidence but give it only on Mr. Hammonds report to me. I will send you by the Bristol packet a copy of a late pamphlet called “war in disguise” alluding to neutral trade, wh. advises direct war on us in pretty plain terms.4 It is said to be a ministerial work, or rather under its auspices. How truly will soon be seen. Yr. friend & servt.
RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers); enclosure (DNA: RG 59, DD, Great Britain, vol. 12). Cover sheet marked “private” by Monroe. For enclosure, see n. 1.
1. Monroe enclosed a 25 Oct. 1805 letter from Thomas O’Reilly at St. Paul’s Coffee House (1 p.; docketed by Wagner as received in Monroe’s dispatch No. 35 of 18 Oct. 1805), stating that “official notification” from the Prussian minister had been sent to Lloyd’s Coffee House “importing that no Prussian Vessel would be safe in the Ports of France or Holland” and adding that there was a rumor on the Exchange that orders had been issued that day from the Admiralty that British cruisers were to detain all neutral vessels bound to enemy ports. O’Reilly added that a 15 Sept. 1805 letter received the previous day from Moses Young said that Charles Pinckney was still at Madrid but said nothing about George W. Erving’s arrival.
2. The London Morning Chronicle, 26 Oct. 1805, said that Baron Jacobi-Kloest had told Mr. Freydag, the Prussian consul at London, to instruct all Prussian ships there “not to clear out for any French or Dutch ports.” The paper speculated that this meant Prussia would soon be joining the coalition against France, which could strengthen it to such a degree as to bring about the defeat of Napoleon. The rest of the article contained news of the movements of various nobles, kings, and generals throughout Europe. Monroe may also have included other articles from Berlin, reporting Frederick William III’s actions, and from Portugal, describing ship movements there and at Madeira.
3. The Bristol Packet of Boston arrived at New York on 10 Jan. 1806 (New-York Commercial Advertiser, 11 Jan. 1806).
4. James Stephen wrote War in Disguise; or, The Frauds of the Neutral Flags (London, 1805) at the behest of the ministry. It urged the British government to end the neutral trade with Europe (William M. Sloane, “The Continental System of Napoleon,” political Science Quarterly 13 : 219).