James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Vincent Gray (Abstract), 12 February 1805

§ From Vincent Gray

12 February 1805, Havana. “I now have it in my power to enclose to you (in the Aurora of tomorrow) the Declaration of War by His Catholic Majesty, agt. the King of great Britain and Subjects;1 as mentioned in my note of yesterday. The British half Squadron still off the port, and Some times in cannon Shot of the Moro.

“Last Evening a Signal was made at the Moro Castle, for an American Ship to windward, when the Frigatt stood in and cut her off, and boarded her, in sight of the city. After detaining her some time, for examination, stood away with her, to the Northward and Eastward.

“She has2 made her appearance this day—therefore we presume that she has been captured and sent to Jamaica. The arrival of the Declaration of War, will do away the necessity of the Contemplated interview with the Intendt. on the subject of the provision Order, herewith enclosed;3 as the port will be opened in a few days for dry goods &c: Referring you to my next.”

Adds in a postscript: “Two privateers are fitting out in the inner Harbour, with an expedition—They now appear as Spanish but are pri[n]cipally owned by Frenchmen.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, CD, Havana, vol. 1). 2 pp. Enclosures not found, but see nn. 1–2.

1For Spain’s declaration of war against Great Britain, see Charles Pinckney to JM, 12 Dec. 1804, 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 8:372–74 and n. 8.

2Gray apparently omitted the word “not” here.

3On 30 Mar. 1805 Gray issued a circular announcing the opening of the ports of Cuba “for the admission of all kind of provisions and dry goods, &c. in neutral vessels, from neutral ports” (National Intelligencer, 22 Apr. 1805).

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