James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Gavino, 14 September 1801

From John Gavino, 14 September 1801

⟨No:⟩ 71

Gibraltar 14th: September 1801


I now beg leave to inclose you duplicate of my lasts No: 69 & 70 also what wrote Capn: Barron the 8. Ulto: to which referr. Capn: Barron of the Philada: has a Deal of Merit in keeping the two Tripolin Cruisers so closely blockd up, which occasiond fresh Desertions among the remaining Crews. In Consequence the Tripoly Admiral got leave to halt his two Vessels in the Mole, where they Struck Yards Topmasts &ca: and about 20 Men is all that remains in the two Vessels. The Admiral with 8 others chiefly officers went Passengers for Malta in order to get to Tripoly. Had they not met so imediate a check by the arrival of the frigates must have done great Damage. It is still apprehended if the Capn: of the Brig finds a good opportunity will take her over to Tetuan where he may recruit a Crew out of the Men that were sent round. He went for thence some days ago and is return’d.

I now inclose you Copy of a Letter recd. from Consul Cathcart dated 11th: May last agreeable to his request.

On the 29th. Ulto. the Essex went past to the Westward with 26 Sail of our Merchant Vessels. After seeing them out of the Gutt she Calld in here next day for Provisions having only for 8 days, but none arrived or to be purchased here, she went out on the 31st: in quest of the Philada: to the East for a supply but could not fall in with her; the Essex on the 3d: Inst: was off Alguesiras and went to the West. Said Evening the Philada: came in when I informed Capn: Barron of what was passing with the Essex when he went in quest of her ⟨&⟩ on the 5th: they both went to the East, and have since been in Tetuan Bay.

Admiral Pool arrived from England off Cadiz with Six Sail the Line to reinforce that Squadron, & four of those that were on the Station returns to England, so that [. . .] Sail the Line will remain off Cadiz.

I have a Letter from Commodor Dale dated at Malta 19th: Ulto: wherein he hands me the agreeable Account of Mr: Steritt in the Schooner Enterprize having fallen in off that Island with a Tripolin Cruiser of 14 Gunns & 80 Men which he took after an Action of 3 hours. He Killd 20 & wounded 30 of their Men, but not one hurt in the Enterprize; at that time there was no accounts of the Beys Cruisers having taken any of our Mercht: Vessels. Said Gentn: say she Expects to be here the begining of next Month for Provisions.

Three of our Merchant Vessels were sent in by the fleet off Cadiz & one stopd at an anchor in this Bay for adjudication per Inclosed List.

In the Course of Explaining the Interrogation or Declaration in preparatory to a Spanish Passenger taken on board the Charlott, there was some assertions inserted which I thought it my Duty to Explain to the Deponant, when he insisted on their being taken out as Contrary to his meaning. This brought on some altercation between me & the Kings Fiscal of the Vice Ady: Court, who is also Proctor for the Captors, and in General is the Interrogator in Preparatory. He at last took them out in one Place when the Spaniard Signd & Swore thereto. I immediately after took up said Interrogation or Examination and found some Expressions nearly to same purpose still Existed at the Conclusion of the Interrogation which I informed the Spaniard of, when he as well as myself insisted as aforesaid on their being also taken out as Contrary to his meaning, but said Fiscal & Proctor would not do it. This Occasiond my making a Declaration and Protest before Mr: Willm: Toye, the only Notary Publick in the Place of note (we have no Lawyers or Councilers here) of the Facts to serve in the Event of an appeal, and yet some servd on the Acting Judge of the Vice Admy: Court, who shortly after returnd same to the Notary saying would not admit it.

At same time I stated therein that I did not Conceive that the Kings Fiscal, who is also Proctor for the Captors was a proper officer thro’ whose Intervention the Interrogatories or Examination in preparatory should be taken but that of the Judge, Register, or some other Indifferent officer of the Court Protesting the Proceedings & those whom it might Concern. I have now to observe that notwithstanding what past said Fiscal and Proctor Continues to Interrogate in Preparatory the Commanders &ca: of our Vessels brought in for adjudication, and as he is the Prosecutor in the Causes I conceive some order should be obtaind from the British Court to put a stop thereto, as no Steps here are of avail. This I have also mentiond to Samuel Williams Esqr. our Consul in London to be laid before our Minister. The Fiscal & Proctor in consequence of Mr: Toye having taken my Declaration on the Business has sujested to him that his writings in his Court will not be attended to unless he is sanctiond to act in this Garrison by the Governor as said Mr: Toye is of great use to the Consuls in the Execution of the business of their offices. Represented it to the Governor who in answer has referrd the business to the Minister of State in London, on which point I have also adressd Mr: Williams, as has the Danish Consul his Envoy. I have the honor to be Sir Your most obedt: & most hl: Servt:

John Gavino

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