Peace December 28. 1779
of the famous Duke of that name, but probably grown more Philosophical
at least less catholick than his
Ancestor, has refused to pay for his Estate. This Refusal has given rise to a
Lawsuit, which has been carried by appeal to
Rome. The Duke attempted to prove that Saint
James was never in
Spain. The Pope has suspended the Cause, and it is suspected
because His Holiness doubts whether it is safe to trust the Dukes Evidence
before the Public.
Upon the Supposition that this is the place of the Sepulture of
Saint James, there are great numbers of Pilgrims, who visit
it, every Year, from
Italy and other parts of
Europe, many of them on foot.
Saint Iago is called the Capital of
Gallicia, because it is the Seat of the Archbishop and because
Saint James is its Patron: but
Corunna is in Fact the Capital as it is the Residence of the
Governor, the Audiencia &c. &c.
We travelled this day from
Lugo, and passed
the River Minho which originates in the Mountains of
Asturia, and flows down through
December 30 Thursday.
We went to see the Cathedral Church at
Lugo which is very rich. -- A Youth came to me in the Street,
and said he was a Bostonian, a Son of Mr. Thomas Hickling. He
went a Privateering in an English Vessell, he said,
and was unfortunately taken. Unfortunately inlisted, said I. . . . He wanted to make his fortune he
said. Out of your Countrymen and by fighting against your Country? said I.
Two Irish Gentlemen came to pay their respects to me, Michael
Meagher Oreilly, and Louis O Brien. These were Irish
Officers in the Spanish Service. They invited me with great Earnestness to go
to their house and spend the Evening and sup with them: but the Weather was now
so cold and we were so fatigued with our uncomfortable journey that I could not
think of going out. We excused ourselves as well as We could, and when
Obrien found that We could not go to his house, he sent Us a
Meat Pie and a minced Pie and two Bottles of Frontinac Wine, which gave Us a
We went from
Galliego and arrived in good Season, having made six Leagues and
an half from
Lugo. The Road was mountainous but not rocky as it had been
almost all the Way heretofore. We passed over a large Bridge over a River
Carasedo, which empties itself into
the Minho not far from
Lugo. I saw nothing but Signs of Poverty and misery among the
People: a fertile Country not half cultivated: People ragged and dirty: the
Houses universally nothing but mire, Smoke, Soot, fleas and Lice: nothing
appeared rich but the Churches, nobody fat but the Clergy. Many of the Villages
We passed, were built with Mud filled in between joists, Nine tenths of them
uninhabited and mouldering to dust. Yet in every
one of these Scenes of desolation, you would see a splendid Church, and here
and there a rosy faced Priest in his proud Canonicals rambling among the
rubbish of the Village. The Roads the worst, without exception the worst that
were ever travelled, in a Country where it would be easy to make them very
good: No Simptoms of Commerce, or even of internal
Trafick: No Appearance of Manufactures or
December 31. Fryday.
We rode from
Sebrero, seven Leagues. Our journey was more
agreable this day, than usual: the Weather was
remarkably fair and dry, and the roads not so bad as We had expected. There was
the grandest profusion of wild irregular Mountains I ever saw: yet
laboured and cultivated to their Summits. The Fields
of Grain were all green. We passed a Range of Mountains that were white with
Snow, and there were here and there Banks of Snow on the Mountain We passed
over: but no Frost at all in the Ground.
We were now on the highest ground of all, and within Musquet Shot of the Line between
Leon. The Houses all along our journey were small and of Stone,
except those of mud. Some of them were covered with Tiles of Brick, and some
with Tiles [of] Slate, but by far the greater part of them,
with Thatch. They interweave a Shrub of which they make brooms, among the
Straw, and bind both together with Wyths. These
thatched Roofs are very numerous, but universally dirty and smoaky. The People wore broad brimmed hats, or Caps made of
Woolen Cloth, like their Coats, Jacketts and small
Cloaths, which are made of black Sheeps Wool,
without dyeing, and consequently are all of a
colour. We were shewn some of
the Marragatoes, a peculiar kind of wild wandering People, who were
particularly dressed in a greasy leathern Jackett.
January 1. Saturday.
We arrived, from
Villa Franca, seven Leagues. The Road at first was very bad, in
many places very steep, Hills with sharp Pitches, and encumbered with ragged
rocks. We then came into the Road of
Leon, which is made seemingly out of a Rock. It was an excellent
road for a League and an half. We then came to a River, and travelled along the
Banks of it for some Leagues. This Way was as bad as the other was good; miry,
rocky, up and down, untill We came into a new road,
about two Legues from
Villa Franca. Here again We found a road made entirely by Art,
at a great Expence, but it seemed to be made,
forever. They are were going on with this Work, which is
an honor to the Nation, as it shews that Improvements
are beginning, and that some Attention is paid to the Ease, Convenience,
Utility and Commerce of the People. We were told that the King had lately
employed the Officers and Soldiers of his Army upon these Works and intended to
pursue them. The Country We travelled over this day was the greatest Curiosity
I had ever beheld.
The River Barcarel a flows between two Rows, an uninterrupted
succession of Mountains, rising on each hand to a vast hight, which appear the more sublime and awfull Objects, for the strange irregular Shapes of them.
Yet they are cultivated up to their highest Summits. There were flourishing
fields of Grain, on such steep declivities, near the Peaks of these Mountains,
that I could not conceive it possible for Horses, Cattle or even Mules to stand
upon them to plough them. I know not indeed how Men could stand to dig the
Ground with Spades. The Houses had been uniformly the same, through the whole
Country hitherto. Common habitations for Men and Beasts. The same
smoaky, filthy Dens. Not one decent house had I seen,
since I left
We passed this day, the Ruins of an ancient Castle of the Moors, on the
Summit of one of the steepest, highest, and most rugged of the Mountains.
There are in
Villa Franca, three Parish Churches, one Convent of Men and one
of Women. There is an old Brick Castle built in Feudal Times when Baron was at
War with Baron; a defence against Lances, and Bows
and Arrows and no more. Possibly it might ward off musquet Balls.
Here I bought a Mule, Saddle and Bridle for sixty two dollars and an
January 2. Sunday.
We rode from
Villa Franca, da el Bierzo Rio Pte,
passed through several Villages, and over Rivers and Bridges; We passed also
Campo de Narraya,
Cacabelos Rio P. and arrived at
Ponferrada where We dined. The Country grew smoother.
January 3. Monday.
We rode to
Astorga. We passed through the Town and Country of the
Marragattoes. The Town is small and stands on a
brook in a great Plain. As We went into
Astorga, We met Coaches and genteel People.
January 4. Tuesday.
Astorga, We found clean Beds and no fleas for the first time
since We had been in
Spain. Walked twice round the Walls of the City, which are very
ancient. We saw the Road to
Bayonne and the road to
Madrid. There is a pleasant Prospect of the Country from the
Walls. Saw the Market of Vegetables. The Onions and Turnips were the largest
and finest I ever saw. The Cabbages, Carrots &c. appeared very good. Saw
the Markett of Fuel, which consisted of Wood, Coal,
Turf and Brush. Numbers of the Marragatto Women attended the Market with their
Vendibles. These were as fine as any of our American Indian Squaws and a great
deal more filthy. Their Ornaments consisted of Crucifixes, Beads, Chains,
Earrings and Finger Rings, in Silver, brass or glass, about their Necks and
We went to see the Cathedral Church which is the most magnificent I had yet
Spain. Saw the Parliament House, or
Casa del Cieudad, where the Corregidor
and City Magistrates assemble, to deliberate, and to execute the orders of the
King. Some of the Spaniards brought me the Gazette of
Madrid of the 24th of December, in which was this Article.
15 de Diciembre
Hoy mismo ban llegado a esta Plaza el Cabellero Juan
Miembro del Congreso Americano, y su Ministro Plenipotentiario,
la Corte de
Paris, y Mr. Deane [i.e.
Secretario de Embaxada quienes salieron de
Boston el 15 de Noviembre Ultimo bordo de la Fregata
Francesa de Guerra la Sensible que entro en el
Ferrol el dia 8 del corriente. Trahe la Noticia de que habiendo
los Ingleses evacuado a
Rhode Island y retirado todas sus Tropes a
Nueva York. Los Americanos tomaron
todos los Puestos evacuados.
This Afternoon a genteel Spaniard came to my Lodgings to offer me, all Sorts
of Services and good Offices, and to enquire if I
wanted any kind of Assistance or if I wanted Cash. Said he had received a
Letter from Mr. Lagoanere at
Corunna desiring him to afford me every Aid in his Power, and to
furnish me with Money if I wanted it. I thanked him and desired him to thank
Mr. Lagoanere, but to assure him that I wanted nothing and
that I had got so far on my journey very well.
January 5. Wednesday.
We rode from
Leon, Eight Leagues. This was one great Plain, and the road
through it was very fine. We saw large Herds of Cattle and immense flocks of
Sheep. The Sheep were of an handsome Size, and their fleeces of Wool thick,
long and extreamly fine. The Soil appeared to be
rather thin and barren. We passed several small Villages, the vast range of
Asturias Mountains all covered with Snow on our left hand. The
Weather was cold, but otherwise very pleasant. We met with a good deal of Frost
and Ice in the Road. Our Mules found more difficulty to keep their Steps firm
upon the Ice over the Sloughs than they had among the roughest Rocks in the
Mountains. We passed the Bridge over
the River Orbigo, which in the Spring when swelled with the
freshetts of melted Snow from the Mountains of
Asturias, is a very great River.
Leon, which We entered in the night, had the Appearance of a
January 6. Thursday.
We went to see the Cathedral Church at
Leon which though magnificent, is not equal to that at
Astorga, if it is to that at
Lugo. It was the day of the Feast of the King and We happened to
be at the celebration of High Mass. We saw the Procession of the Bishop and of
all the Canons, in rich habits of Silk, Velvet, Silver and gold. The Bishop as
he turned the Corners of the Church spred out his
hand to the People, in token of his Apostolical Benediction; and those, in
token of their profound gratitude for the heavenly Blessing prostrated
themselves on their Knees as he passed. Our Guide told Us We must do the same.
But I contented myself with a Bow. The Eagle Eye of the Bishop did not fail to
observe an Upright figure amidst the Crowd of prostrate Adorers: but no doubt
perceiving in my Countenance and Air, but especially in my dress something that
was not Spanish, he concluded I was some travelling Heretick and did not think it worth while to exert his
Authority to bend my stiff Knees. His Eyes followed me so long that I thought I
saw in his Countenance a reproof like this
"You are not only a Heretick but you are not a
Gentleman, for a Gentleman would have respected the Religion of the
Country and its Usages so far as to have conformed externally to a Ceremony
that cost so little."
We were conducted to see the Council Chamber of the Bishop and Chapter,