James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Vincent Gray (Abstract), 11 February 1805

§ From Vincent Gray

11 February 1805, Havana. “The Mail in 41 Days from Cadiz arrived yesterday morn’g via Porto Rico.

“It brings accots of the Blockade of Cadiz1 and permission for Spanish vessels to arm and to Capture all British vessels. All British property here, has been seized & detained.

“The Council will meet this forenoon for the purpose of opening the Port of Havana and St. Jago de Cuba, for the admission of Dry Goods &c: in Vessels of the United States, in the Same terms, as during last war.

“I will write you again when the Council rises.”2

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD, Havana, vol. 1). 1 p.; docketed by Wagner as received 12 Mar.

1For the blockade of Cádiz, see Anthony Terry to JM, 5 Jan. 1805, PJM-SS, description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (9 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 8:459 and nn. 1–2.

2Filed with the RC is a second letter from Gray, also dated 11 Feb. 1805 (2 pp.; addressee not indicated, but internal evidence indicates it was to JM), stating that the mail had brought news of the blockade of Cádiz and the declaration of war against Great Britain by Charles IV. The letter added: “It also brought permission for Spanish vessels to arm and to Capture all British vessels.
“The Declaration of War will be published here tomorrow morn’g & proclaimed thro the City in the Usual manner.
“I have this moment left the Secretary of the Council of the Island, who informed me that I may write possitively that the Ports will be open’d immediately for the admission of American vessels, with all Kind of Dry goods & other articles, on the same terms & Conditions as during the last War—and that the Council will meet this Even’g for that purpose.
“I wrote you a note this morn’g to which I will refer you.
“My Returns went by way of Bristol.”

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