Nelson & His World

Discussion on the life and times of Admiral Lord Nelson
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 Post subject: Nelson's "spy" - information required for research
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:39 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:42 am
Posts: 33
Location: Oxford
I have been commissioned to complete my earlier research on Edward Gayner, the Quaker merchant living in Catalonia between 1794 and 1846. I have now found proof that he did pass information of a confidential nature to the Royal Navy between Nelson's arrival in the western Mediterranean in July 1803 and December 1804, when Gayner was arrested for espionage at Rosas, near Barcelona.

There are a few published articles about Gayner's subsequent life in Minorca (three editions of Nelson Dispatch, mid 1990s, a similar one in Revista de Menorca 1998, one in a Barcelona journal of the 1920s), and a line or two about him in Colin White's Nelson: New Letters, Janet MacDonald's Feeding Nelson's Navy and in a couple of biographies of the Admiral, all pretty much saying the same things. My own articles in forthcoming editions of The Nelson Dispatch fill in the gaps as far as I could prior to this new commission, which is to complete a monograph for publication in Spain.

However, as the French destroyed the town records when they evacuated Rosas in 1814, there is almost nothing about his life and business between leaving southern France in 1794 and leaving Rosas around 1808-09. I was very fortunate to come across a bill for a victualling order of 1804 drawn on Nelson by Gayner at Rosas, which gave me several leads; the owner of that has generously given me a copy for research.

If anyone has any information other than that already published, or has come across mentions in documents of either Edward Gayner (often known as Edward Gayner i Fry) or Rosas, Catalonia, between 1794 and 1808, the period when I believe he was supplying the Navy with food and wine, I would be most grateful; please email me off-list. I will of course credit citations where relevant or maintain confidentiality if desired.


[color=#0000FF][b]Justin Reay FSA FRHistS
Naval and Maritime Art Historian[/b][/color]

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