the coast of
France, some of the Officers or Passengers told a Story
of Garrick. He had a relation convicted of a Capital Offence.
He obtained Leave to wait upon his Majesty to beg a pardon. The King asked what
was the Crime. He has only taken a Cup too much, may it please your Majesty. Is
that all said the King? Then let him be pardoned.
One of Captain Tuckers Stories too diverted the Frenchmen as well as the
Englishmen and Americans. A Frenchman in
London Advertised an infallible Remedy against fleas. The Women
as well as Men flocked to the place to purchase the Powder. But after many had
bought it and paid for it, one only of the Women, asked for directions to Use
it. Madam said the Frenchman, you must catch the Flea, and squeese him between
your thumb and finger, till he gape, then put a little dust of this powder in
his mouth, and he never will bite you again. But said the Lady when I have him
between my fingers why may I not throw him in the fire or press him to death?
Ali, Madam, said the Frenchman, dat will do just as well den. I should not
perhaps have remembered this story, if the same had not been told me afterwards
by Mr. Dumas at the
Hague, who declared he had been present and seen and heard the
same Sale and Dialogue between a German Mountebank and a Dutch Woman at the
We had been becalmed all day in Sight of
Oleron. The Village of Saint Dennis was in Sight,
and many Windmills and Sand Hills all along the Shore: and Multitudes of Vessells in Sight, French, Spanish and Dutch Merchantmen
and English Smugglers.
I felt a strong curiosity to visit this
Island of Oleron, so famous in Antiquity for its Sea Laws.
March 30. Monday. 1778.
This Morning the Officer came down and told the Captain that a lofty Ship
was in Sight and had fired two heavy Guns. All hands were called up: but the
lofty Ship appeared to be an heavy loaded Snow. The Weather was Cloudy, but
there was no Wind. All very still excepting a small Suel. The
Tower of Cordovan or as our Sailors called it
The Bourdeaux lighthouse, was in Sight over our larbord Bow. The
Officers were now employed in clearing the Ship and removing all warlike
This day had been fortunate and happy.... Our Pilot had brought Us
safely into the River of Garonne, and We had run up with Wind and
Tide as far as
Pouliac, when We anchored for the night and took in another
This forenoon a Fisherman came along Side of Us, with Hakes, Skates and
Gennetts. We bought some of them and had a high regale.
The River was very beautiful: on both sides of it, the plantations were
pleasant. On the South Side especially We saw Horses, Oxen, Cows and great
flocks of Sheep, feeding grazing. The Husbandmen ploughing and Women
half a dozen in a drove with their hoes. The Churches, Convents, Gentlemens
Seats, and the Villages appeared to me, simple Inhabitant of the American
Wilderness, very magnificent.
The River seldom swells with Freshes, for the rural Improvements and even
the Fishermens Houses, are brought quite down to the Waters Edge. The Water in
the River is to all Appearance very foul, being saturated and stained with red
or purple Earth, washed into it I suppose from the banks on each Side of it.
The Tide setts in at the rate of five Knotts. The Wind
was directly fair, and We outsailed every Thing in going up the River. The
Lands on each Side of Us and the Vessells in the
River seemed to fly away from Us.
The Buildings public and private were of Stone: and a great number of
pleasant Groves, appeared between the principal Seats and best plantations.
The Vessells at Anchor and sailing in the River were
very numerous. The Pleasure resulting to a Novice, from the Sight of Land,
Houses, Cattle, after Three tremendous Storms and three equally tremendous
Chases, one in the Gulph Stream, one in
the English Channell and one in the
Bay of Biscay, if it was ever experienced before I hope it never
will be again, delicious as it was, by any human Being.
It gave me a pleasing kind of Melancholly Reverie, to see this Country and to look at
a Part of
Europe,whichas a few Weeks before I had
never expected to see this great Theatre of Arts, Sciences, Commerce and
March 31. Tuesday. 1778.
Lying in the River, near
Pouliac; a twenty four Gun Ship close by Us, under French Colours
Dominique. A dark misty morning. I was anxious to enquire
, who was Agent for the
United States of America at
Bourdeaux, at Blaye &c., who were the principal Merchants on
this River, concerned in the American Trade? What Vessells
French or American had sailed, or were about
America? What their Cargoes and for what Ports? Whether
on Account of the
United States, of any particular State, or of private Merchants
French or American? But I could get no satisfactory Intelligence on any of
This Morning the Captain and a Passenger came on board
The Boston from The Julie, a large Ship bound to
Saint Domingo, to make Us a Visit. They invited Us on board to
dine. Captain Palmes, Jesse Deane,John
Quincy Adams and myself, went, and found a very pretty Ship, an
elegant Cabin and every Accommodation. The white Stone plates were laid, a
clean Napkin in each and a Cut of very fine Bread. The Cloth, Plates, Servants,
all things were as neat as in any Gentlemans House. The first Dish was a French
Soup. I had heard of Soup Meagre, which in
America as well as in
England had been a termWords of Contempt:
but I thought if this was Soup meagre, it was a very respectable thing. Then a
dish of boiled Beef, as I called it, having never heard the Word Bouillie. Then
the Lights of a Calf dressed one Way and the Liver another. Then roasted
Mutton. Then fricasseed Mutton. A good Sallad and
something very like Asparagus, but not it. The Bread which had been baked on
board was very fine. We had then Prunes, Almonds and the most delicious Raisins
I ever saw; Dutch Cheese, then a Dish of Coffee, then a little glass of French
Liqueur. Wine and Water and excellent Claret with our dinner. All these
Appearances and provisions were luxuries to which We had been Strangers for
many Weeks. None of our Hosts who entertained Us so hospitably understood
English: None of Us French, except Dr. Noel who acted as
Interpreter. The Conversation of the French Gentlemen among themselves was
lively enough: but to the rest of Us it was a dull and silent Scne.... On the Quarter deck I was struck with the
Capons, Cocks and Hens in their Coops the largest I ever saw and the Number was
as remarkable as their Size and beauty. While at dinner We saw a Pinnace, with
half a dozen genteel People, go on board the Boston. Mr.
Griffin one of our Petty officers, came inourthe
Pinnace, with Captain Tuckers Compliments desiring to see me.
We took leave and returned to our Ship, where we found very polite Company
consisting of the Captain of another Ship bound to
Martinique, and several of the Kings Officers bound out. One was
the Commandant of that Island.
March 31. Tuesday. 1778.
Captain Palmes was sent to
Blaye, in the Pinnace, to the Officer at the Castle, in order to
produce our Commission, and procure an Entry and Pass
to Bourdeaux. Palmes returned full
the Compliments of the Officer to the Captain and to me. I shall not repeat the
Compliments to me. But the earnest request to Captain Tucker
was that he would salute the Fort with thirteen Guns, which was accordingly
All the Gentlemen We have seen to day agree that
the American Commissioners Franklin, Deane and
Lee, had been received in great pomp by the King, that a
Treaty had been concluded. And they all expected War every moment.
This afternoon We ascended this beautiful River, the Villages and Country
Seats appearing on each Side of Us all the Way, to within three Leagues of the
April 1. Wednesday. 1778.
This Morning Mr. J. C. Champage, Merchant and Broker of the
Blaye, came on board to make a Visit and pay his Compliments. I
learned from him that of the first Grouths of Wine,
in the Province of
Guienne, there are four Sorts of Grapes, bearing the names of
Chateau Margeaux, Hautbrion, La Fritte and Latour.
This Morning I took Leave of the Frigate Boston, and excepting
a short Visit or two on board, before I satt out on my
journey to Paris never saw her afterwards. She was injudiciously
Charleston to defend that City, which a dozen such Ships
would not have been able to effect, and was taken by the English. I went
up to the City of
Bourdeaux with my Son
and Servant, Mr. Vernon,
Mr. Jesse Deane and Dr. Noelwho were all my Suite,
and Dr. Noel as an Interpreter, in the Pinnace. When We came
up to the Town We had the good Luck to see Mr. McCreery and
Major Fraser, on the Wharf.McCrery I had
America. It had happened that I had ridden a long journey with
him. He came on board our Boat and conducted Us up to his Lodgings, where We
dined, in the fashion of the Country. Among many other Things We had fish,
and [illegible] and Salad, and Claret,
Champaign and Mountain Wines. After
Dinner Mr. Bondfield, whom I had known also in
America, and who was agent at this place, invited me to a Walk.
We went first to his Lodgings where We drank Tea, and then walked around the
Town and went to see the new Comedy, a most splendid Building erecting for the
Amusement of the Town. After this We went to the Opera, where the Scenery,
dancing and Music aforded to my Curiosity a chearful
and sprightly entertainment, having never seen any Thing of the kind before.
Our American Theatres had not then existed even in Contemplation.