Peace Nov. 13 1779
nine, and one Servant for me and another for Mr. Dana, in
all seven Persons. That Mr. Dana was a Gentleman of principal
Rank in this Country, a Member of Congress and of the Council of
Massachusetts Bay and now in a very important Commission, which
made it necessary for me to request, that a particular Attention might be paid
to his Accommodation, and at least as much as to mine.
the Thirteenth day of November 1779
I had again the melancholly Tryal
of taking Leave of my Family, with the Dangers of the
Seas and the Terrors of British Men of War before my Eyes, with this additional
Aggravation that I now knew by Experience, how serious they were, much better
than I had when I embarked in
Nantasket Road in 1778. We went to
Boston and embarked on Board the Frigate whose Yards were
manned, in Honour
of the Passengers. We found the Ship
, full 350 Sailors, a great number of whom
had been recruited in
America: and a great many Passengers, among whom were
Mr. Jeremiah Allen and Samuel Cooper
Johonnot, Grandson of Dr. Cooper.
I shall not consume much time in the Relation
of this second Voyage to
Europe though it was attended with as much danger as the first.
We met indeed no British Men of War, which in my Estimation were the Worst of
all Evils. We had but one very violent Gale of Wind, and that was so much
to those I had encountered the Year
before in the
Bay of Biscay, in
the English Channel and above all in the Gulph
Stream, that it
have no terror in it. It was nevertheless furious enough to allarm
the Officers and People, and their Apprehensions were
increased by the foundering of a
or at least by the sudden and final
disappearance of a Chasse Maree, that had hitherto sailed under
our Convoy from
L'Orient. Their Fears as well as mine were increased by another
Circumstance, which very seriously threatened destruction to Us all. We had not
been two days at Sea before I perceived that the Pumps were going and that a
Leak in the Ship was constantly admitting a great deal of Water. At first it
was said to be a steady Leak, and not attended with much danger, but it
constantly increased from day to day, till our Arrival in
Spain. During all the latter part of the Voyage, a large Stream
of Water was constantly pouring over each Side into the Sea, from the Pumps
which were worked by day and by Night, till all the People on board, Passengers
and Officers as well as Seamen were almost exhausted with fatigue. The
Sensible was an old Frigate, and her Planks and timbers were so
decayed, that one half the Violence of Winds and Waves which had so nearly
wrecked the new and strong Ship the Boston the Year before, would
have torn her to pieces. Or had We been chased by a superiour
British Force, and obliged to spread all
our Sails, it is highly probable that the Leak would have been
increased and the Ship foundered.
November 24 1779
We were on the Grand Bank of
Newfound Land, and about this time, We spoke with an American
Privateer, The General Lincoln Captain Barnes. He came on
board and our Captain supplied him with some Wood and other Articles he wanted.
We all wrote Letters by him to our Families.
Since I came on board I found that even the French Officers had heard more
News, or at least more Title Tattle than I
had. This was the first time that I heard that Envy and Calumny had been busy
with the Character of my Friend General Warren and his Family.
That his Son had made a great Fortune, by Privateering, by Trade, by purchasing
Sailors Shares and by Gambling: That he had won of C, whom Nobody pittied, a
great Sum of Money. That he had made great Profits by buying, in great
quantities what he knew was wanted for the Navy and then selling it to the
Board. That the Agent too had made a great fortune, that his Wife was a Tory
and many Anecdotes of her Conversation &c. These Reports which were
mentioned as undoubted and notorious Truths gave me great Uneasiness, because,
though I gave very little Credit to them, It was not in my Power to contradict
them. There are no Appearances remaining I believe of the Great fortunes, and
probably the Accusations were greatly exaggerated, if not merely invidious
Suspicions. Indeed I had found that the Passions of Envy, jealousy, hatred and
Revenge engendered by Democratical Licentiousness, had encreased in a great degree by the political
Competitions in many other Instances, and was not a little allarmed at the Prospect they opened of still greater
November 25. 1779
The Wind was fair and the Weather pleasant. We had passed the
Grand Bank, and found ourselves on the Eastermost Edge of it. On sounding We found Bottom in
thirty fathoms of Water.
The Captain and all his Officers and Passengers were so much alarmed at the
increasing danger of the Leak and at the fatiguing Labour
of all hands in keeping the Pumps in play, that it
was concluded to make for one of the Western Islands as the first Friendly Land
We could possibly reach: but We missed them and some day in the beginning of
December 1779 We found ourselves, as was supposed within one hundred Leagues of
Ferrol or at least of
Corunna, to one or the other of which places We determined to
direct our Course with all the Sail, the Ship could prudently bare. The Leak
which kept two Pumps constantly going, having determined the Captain to put
Resolution was a great Embarrassment to
me. Whether I should travel by Land to
Paris a journey of twelve or thirteen hundred miles, or Wait for
the Frigate to be examined and repaired, which would
require a long time? Whether I could get Carriages, Horses,
Mules or any other Animals to convey Us? What Accommodations We could get upon
the Road? How I could convey the Children, and what the Expences
would be? were all questions which I could not
answer: nor could I find any Person on board, who was able to give me any
satisfactory Information. It was said however by some that the Passage of
the Pyranees was very difficult: that there was no regular Stage
or Post: that We must purchase Carriages and Horses &c. . . . I could not
help reflecting how much greater these inconveniences had been rendered, and
how much more our perplexity if the rest of my Family had been with me. With
Ladies and young Children and Additional Servants Male and Female We should
have been in more distress on Land [illegible] than
December 7. 1779. Tuesday.
About Eleven O Clock We discovered Land. Two large Mountains, one sharp and
steep, the other large and broad, made their Appearance. We passed three Capes,
Veillane. The Chevalier de La Molion gave
me some Accajou Nutts. In handling the outside Shell,
which has a corrosive Oil in it, in order to come at the meat, I got a little
of this juice on my fingers and afterwards inadvertently rubbing my Eyes, I
soon found the Lids swelled and inflamed up to my Brows.
December 8. 1779.
We got into
Ferrol, where We found a Squadron of French Ships of the Line
under the Command of the Count De Sade. We went on
Board, the General as they called him, that is The Commodore, to make our
Compliments. We then went on Shore, visited the Spanish General Don
Joseph St. Vincent, and then took a Walk about the Town, saw a great
Number of Spanish and French Officers, who all congratulated Us on our narrow
Escape and applauded Captain Chavagne for making
the first Port. When We returned on board the Sensible We found
she had made seven feet of Water in her Hold, within the first hour of her
coming to Anchor when the Pumps had been abandoned from the fatigue of
every Body worn out by pumping.
December 9. 1779.
Went on Shore with all my Family, and took Lodgings. Dined with the Spanish
Lieutenant General of the Marine with twenty four French and Spanish Officers.
Don Joseph, though an old
Officer had a great deal
of Vivacity and good humour
as well as Hospitality.
The difference between the Faces and Airs of the French and Spanish Officers
was more obvious and striking than that of their Uniforms. Gravity and Silence
distinguish the latter: Gaiety, Vivacity and Loquacity the former. The Spanish
Uniforms were laced ornamented
with a very broad and even
Gold Lace, the French with a narrow and scolloped one. The French
and Hair had several Rows of curls over the Ears:
The Spanish only one. The French Bags were small, the Spanish large: Many of
the Spaniards had very long hair quieued, reaching down to their hams almost.
All the Officers of both Nations had new Cockades, made up of two, a red and a
white one in token of the Union of the two Nations.
In the Evening We went to the Comedy or rather the Italian Opera; where We
saw many Officers, and very few Ladies. The Musick and
dancing were tolerable; but the Actors and Actresses very indifferent, at least
it was a dull Entertainment to me. Perhaps it might have been more pleasing, if
I had Understood the Italian Language: but all the Knowledge I ever had of
this, which was not much, was acquired after that time.
This Evening the French Consul, whose Name was De Tournelle
Corunna, arrived at
Ferrol, and was introduced to me at my Chamber, by the French
Vice Consul. Both made me the politest Offers of Assistance of every Sort.
Supped and lay down, but I cannot say I slept or rested, at my Lodgings. We had
too many Companions in Bed, in whose Society I never could sleep, much more
than if I had been buried in hot embers.
1779 December 10 Fryday.
Breakfasted for the first time on Spanish Chocolate which fully answered
the fame it had acquired in the World. Till that time I had no Idea that
any thing that had the Appearance of Chocolate and
bore that name could be so delicious and salubrious.
Every Body now congratulated Us, on our safe
Arrival at this place. The Leak in the Sensible had increased since she had
been at Anchor; and all agreed that We had escaped a very great danger.
I wrote to Congress the following Letter and prepared a Duplicate and
Triplicate to go by different Opportunities.
Ferrol December 11. 1779
I have the Honour to inform Congress, that on the
thirteenth day of November I embarked on Board the French Frigate Le
Sensible, and on the fourteenth came on Board The Honourable
Francis Dana Esq., the Secretary to my Commission,
when We fell down to
King Road, and on the fifteenth sailed for