Journal from 13 Nov. 1779 to 6. January 1780.
[The preceding text was added in the handwriting of Charles Francis Adams]
P. B [Paper Book] No 30
[The preceding text was added in the handwriting of Charles Francis Adams]
Inside Front Cover
NOVEMBER 13TH. SATURDAY.
Took Leave of my Family, and rode to
Boston with my Son Charles, nine years
of Age last May. At four O Clock went on board the french Frigate the
Thaxter, my Son John, twelve Years old last
July, and my Servant Joseph Stevens having come on Board in
the Morning. -- I find the Frigate crouded with
Passengers, and Sailors, full 350 Men. They have recruited a great Number
Found a Grammar, entitled, lmens de la Langue Angloise, ou
Mthode pratique, pour apprendre facilement cette Langue. Par M.
Paris, chez Ruault, Libraire, rue de la Harpe, prs de la
rue Serpente. 1773. Avec Approbation, et Permission.
On the grand Bank of
N.F.L. [Newfoundland] A few days ago, We
spoke an American Privateer, the General Lincoln;
Captain Barnes. Wrote Letters by him to my family.
Mr. Dana wrote. Mr.
Thaxter, Mr. John, and several others.
Heard, since I came on board, several Hints concerning W.
[Winslow Warren]; Son of [Gen. James Warren]. That he has made a great
Fortune -- by Privateering, by Trade, by buying Soldiers
Sailors Shares, and by gambling. That he has won of
C. a great Sum of Money. C., whom nobody
pities. That has lost Rep. by the Appointment of
S., which is probable. That the Son has made Money, by knowing
what was wanted for the Navy, and purchasing it, in great Quantities and then
selling it, to the Board. That the Agent, B., has made a great
fortune. That his Wife is a great Tory. Anecdotes of her Conversation. That
B. would certainly be hanged, if it was not that she was a
Tory. Nasty, Poison Paper Money, &c. &c. &c. Not to put that nasty
Paper, with our other Money.
Jer. A. [Jeremiah Allen] is a very
different Man from his Brother J. None of that Wit,
Humour, or Fun -- none of that volatile Genius
appears. There is a Softness, and a Melancholly,
in his face, which indicates a Goodness. Not intemperate, or vicious, to
Arose at 4. A fair Wind and good Weather. We have passed the
Grand Bank, sounded Yesterday afternoon and found bottom in 30
fathom of Water, on the Eastermost Edge of the
Leur Gouvernement, (des Bataviennes) fut un Malange de Monarchie,
d'aristocratie, et democratie. On y voioit un chef, qui n'etoit proprement, que
le premier des Citoiens, et qui donnoit, moins des ordres, que des Conseils. Les Grands, qui jugeoient les
Procs de leur district, et commandoient les Troupes, etoient choisis,
comme les rois dans les assemblees generales. Cent Personnes, prises dans la
Multitude, servoient de Surveillans a chaque comte, et de chefs aux differens
hameaux. La nation entiere toit en quelque Sorte, une Arme
toujours Sur pied. Chaque famille y composoit un corps de Milice qui servoit
sous le Capitaine qu'elle se donnoit.
We are now supposed to be within 100 Leagues of
Corunna, to one of which Places We are bound. The Leak in the
Frigate, which keeps two Pomps constantly going, has
determined the Captn. to put into
This Resolution is an Embarrassment to me. Whether to travail by Land to
Paris, or wait for the Frigate. Whether I can get Carriages,
Horses, Mules &c. What Accommodations I can get upon the Road, how I can
convey my Children, what the Expence will be, are
all Questions that I cannot answer. How much greater would have been my
Perplexity, If the rest of my family had been with me.
The Passage of the
Pyrenees is represented as very difficult. It is said there is
no regular Post. That we must purchase Carriages and Horses &c. I must
About 11. O Clock discovered Land two large Mountains, one sharp and steep,
another large and broad. We passed 3 Capes
Tortanes [Torinaa] and
Yesterday the Chevr. de la Molion gave me some Nuts which
he call'd Noix d'Acajou. They are the same which I
have often seen, and which were called Cooshoo Nuts.
The true name is Acajou Nuts. They are shaped like our large white Beans. The
outside Shell has an Oil in it that is corrosive, caustic, or burning. In
handling one of these Shells enough to pick out the meat I got a little of this
oyl on my fingers, and afterwards inadvertently rubbing
my Eyes, especially my Left, I soon found the Lids swelled and inflamed up to
Ferrol, where We found the french Ships of the Line, went on
Board the General Sade, went ashore, visited the Spanish
General Don Joseph St. Vincent, took a Walk about Town, saw a
great No. of Spanish and french officers. Returned on
Board the Frigate.
Came on Shore with all my family. Took Lodgings. Dined with the Spanish
Lieutenant General of the Marine with 24 french and Spanish officers.
Don Joseph is an old Officer, but [has] a
great deal of Vivacity and Bonhommie.
The Difference between the Faces and Airs of the French and Spanish
Officers, is more obvious and striking than that of their Uniforms. Gravity and
Silence distinguish the one, Gaiety and Vivacity and Loquacity the others. The
Spanish are laced with a broad and even gold Lace, the french with scalloped.
The french Wigs and Hair have rows of Locks over the Ears, the Spanish one. The
french Bags are small, the Spanish large. The Spaniards have many of them very
long Hair queued, reaching down to their Hams almost. They have all a new Cock
Aid, which is made up of two a red one and a white in token of the Union of the
Went to the Comedy, or Italien opera. Many
Officers, few Ladies. Musick and Dancing tolerable.
The Language, Italien, not understood. A dull
Entertainment to me.
This Evening the French Consul
Corunna, and was introduced to me at my Chamber by the french
Vice Consul at this Place. Both made me the politest Offers of Assistance of
DECEMBER 10. FRYDAY.
Supped and slept at my Lodgings. Breakfasted on Spanish Chocolate which
answers the Fame it has acquired in the World.
Every Body congratulates Us, on our Safe Arrival at this Place. The Leak in
the Sensible, increases since she has been at Anchor, and every Body thinks We
have been in great danger.
Yesterday, I walked about the Town but there is nothing to be seen,
excepting two Churches and the Arsenals, dry docks, Fortifications and Ships of
The Inconvenience of this Harbour is, the Entrance
is so narrow, that there is no Possibility of going out but when the Wind is
one Way, i.e. South East, or thereabouts.
The Three french Ships of the Line here are the Triomphant, the
Souverain and the Jason, the first of 80 Guns, the
2d. 74, the 3d. 64.
M. Le Comte de Sade is the Chef D'Escadre or General.
Mr. Le Chevalier de Grasse
Preville is the Capitaine de Pavillon.
Mr. Le Chevr. de Glandevesse is Capitain of the Souverain.
Mr. de la Marthonie commands the Jason.
DECR. 14. TUESDAY.
Walked to the Barracks and dry docks, to shew them
to Cha [Charles]. The Stone of
which these Works are made is about as good as
Braintree Southcommon Stone. Went into the Church of St. Julien,
which is magnificent -- Numbers of Devots upon
This afternoon We cross the Water to go to
We have lodged en la Calle Street de la Madalena, junto
near coca, the Head en casa the House de
of Pepala Botoneca.
The Chief Magistrate of this Town is the Corregidor. Last Evening and the
Evening before I spent, in Conversation with the Consul, on the Law of Nations
and the Writers on that Law, particularly on the Titles in those Authors
concerning Ambassadors and Consuls. He mentioned several on the Rights and
Duties of Ambassadors and Consuls, and some on the Etiquette and formalities
I asked him many Questions. He told me that the Office of Consul was
regulated by an Ordinance of the King, but that some
Nations had entered into particular Stipulations with the
King. That the Consuls of different Nations were
differently treated by the same Nation. That as Consul of
France he had always claimed the Priviledges
1779 Decr 14.
the most favoured
Nation. That he enquired what
were enjoyed by the Consuls of
That there is for the
Province of Gallice, a Sovereign Court of Justice which has both
civil and criminal Jurisdiction. That it is without Appeal in all criminal
Cases: but in some civil cases an appeal lies to the Council. That there is not
Time for an Application for Pardon for they execute forthwith. That hanging is
the capital Punishment. They burn, some times, but it is after death. That
there was lately a sentence for Parricide. The Law required that the Criminal
should be headed up in an Hogshead, with an Adder, a Toad, a Dog, a Cat,
&c. and cast into the Sea. That he looked at it, and found that
they had printed those Animals on the Hogshead, and that the dead body was put
into the Cask. That the ancient Laws of the Visigoths is still in Use, with the
Institutes, Codes, Novelles &c. of Justinian the current
law and ordonnances of the
That he will procure for me a Passeport from the
General, or Governor of the Province, who resides [at]
Corunna, which will secure me all Sorts of facilities as I ride
the Country, but whether through the Kingdom or only through the Province of
Galicia I dont know.
I have not seen a Charriot, Coach,
Phaeton, Chaise, nor Sulky, since I have been in the Place. Very few
Horses, and those small, poor and shabby. Mules and Asses are numerous, but
small. There is no Hay in this Country. The Horses &c. eat Straw -- Wheat
The Bread, the Cabbages, Colliflowers,
Apples, Pears &c. are good. The Beef, Pork, Poultry &c. are good. The
Fish are good, excellent Eels, Sardines and other fish and tolerable Oysters,
but not like ours.
December 14. Tuesday.
There has been no frost yet. The Verdure in the Gardens and fields is fresh.
The Weather is so warm that the Inhabitants have no fires, nor fire Places but
in their Kitchens. They tell us We shall have no colder Weather before May,
which is the coldest Month in the Year. Men and Women and Children are seen in
the Streets, with bare feet and Legs standing on the cold Stones in the Mud, by
the Hour together. The Inhabitants of both Sexes, have black Hair, and dark
Complexions with fine black Eyes. Men and Women have long Hair
ramilied down to their Waists and even some times
to their Knees.
There is little Appearance of Commerce or Industry except about the
Kings Docks and Yards and Works. Yet the Town has some Symptoms
of growth and Prosperity. Many new Houses are building of Stone, which comes
from the rocky Mountains round about of which there are many. There are few
goods in the Shops. Little show in their Markett or
on their Exchange. There is a pleasant Walk, a little out of Town between the
Exchange and the Barracks.
There are but two Taverns in this Town. Captain Chavagne
and his Officers are lodged in one, at Six Livres each per day. The other is
kept by a Native of
America who speaks English and french as well as Spanish and is
an obliging Man. Here We could have loged at Six
Livres a dollar a day each, but We were obliged to give 129
dollars for six days besides the Barber, and a multitude of other little
Expences, and besides being kept constantly unhappy
by an uneasy Land lady.
1779. December 14. Tuesday.
Finding that I must reside some Weeks in
Spain, either waiting for a Frigate or travelling through the
Kingdom, I determined to acquire the Language, to which Purpose, I went to a
Bookseller and purchased Sobrino's
Dictionary in three Volumes in Quarto, and the Grammatica Castellana which is
an excellent Spanish Grammar, in their own Tongue, and also a Latin grammar in
Spanish, after which Monsr. de Grasse made me a Present of a
very handsome Grammar of the Spanish Tongue in french by
Sobrino. By the help of these Books, the Children and
Gentlemen are learning the Language very fast. To a Man who understands Latin
it is very easy. I flatter myself that in a Month I should be able to read it
very well and to make myself understood as well as understand the
The Consul and Mr. Linde an Irish Gentleman a Master of a
Mathematical Academy here, say that the Spanish Nation in general have been of
Opinion that the Revolution in
America was of a bad Example to the Spanish Colonies and
dangerous to the Interests of
Spain, as the
United States if they should become ambitious and be
seised with the Spirit of Conquest might aim at
The Consul mentioned Reynalles Opinion that it was not for
the Interest of the Powers of
America should be independant.
I told the Irish Gentleman, that Americans hated War: that Agriculture and
Commerce were their Objects, and it would be their Interest as much as that of
the Dutch to keep Peace with all the World, untill
their Country should be filled with Population which could not be in many
Centuries. That War and the Spirit of Conquest was the most diametrically
opposite to their Interests, as they would divert their Attention, Wealth,
Industry, Activity &c. from a certain Source of Prosperity, and even
Grandeur and Glory, to an uncertain one, nay to one that it is certain they
could never make any Advantage of. That the Government of
Spain over their Colonies had been such that she never could
attempt to introduce such fundamental Innovations as those by which
England had provoked and compelled hers to revolt, and the
Spanish Constitution was such as could extinguish the first Sparks of
discontent, and quel the first risings of the People.
That it was amazing to me that a Writer so well informed as
Reynale could ever give an Opinion that it was not for the
Interest of the Powers of
America should be independant,
when it was so easy to demonstrate that it was for the Interest of every one,
England. That they could loose nothing by it, but certainly
would every one gain Something, many a great deal.
It would be a pretty Work to shew, how
Denmark would gain. It would be easy to shew it.
DECEMBER 15. WEDNESDAY.
This Morning We arose at 5 or 6 O Clock, went over in a Boat, and mounted
our Mules. Thirteen of them in Number and two Mulateers -- one of whom went before for a Guide and the
other followed after, to pick up Stragglers. We rode over very bad roads, and
very high Mountains, where We had a very extensive Country, appearing to be a
rich Soil and well cultivated but very few Plantations of Trees. Some orange
Trees and some Lemmon Trees, many Nut trees, a few
Oaks &c. We dined at
Hog Bridge, about half Way, upon Provision made by the french
Consul, whose Attention and Politeness has been very conspicuous, so has that
of the Vice Consul at
Ferrol. We arrived at
Corunna about seven O Clock and put up at a Tavern kept by
Persons who speak french. An Officer who speaks English kept open the Gate for
Us to enter, attended Us to our Lodgings, and then insisted on our Visiting the
General who is Governor
of the Province and a Coll., who
commands under him and is Military Governor of the Town. These are both Irish
Gentlemen. They made many Professions of Friendship to our Cause and Country.
The Governor of the Province, told me he had orders from Court to treat all
Americans as their best friends. They are all very inquisitive about
Mr. Jays Mission, to know who he is, where he was born,
whether ever Member of Congress, whether ever President. When he embarked, in
what Frigate, where he was destined, whether to
Spain, and to what Port of
Decr 15. Wednesday.
The General politely invited me to dine. Said that Spaniards made no
Compliments, but were very sincere.
He asked me when this War would finish? I said Pas encore -- But when the
Spain would take the Resolution to send 20 or 30 more line of
Battle Ships to reinforce the Comte d'Estain and enable him to take all the
British Forces and Possessions in
This Morning the Governor of the
Province of Gallice, and the Governor of the Town of
Corunna came to my Lodgings at the
Hotel du grand Amiral, to return the Visit I made them last
Evening. His Excellency invited me to dine with him tomorrow with all my
family. He insisted upon seeing my Sons. Said I run a great Risque in taking
with me, my Children. Said he had passed not far from my Country, in an
Expedition vs. the Portugees. Said that he and every
Thing in his Power was at my Service, &c. That he did not speak English,
&c.I told him I was studying Spanish, and hoped that the next Time I should
have the Honour to see his Excellency I should be able
to speak to him in Spanish. He smiled and bowed. He made some Enquiries about
American Affairs and took Leave.
Mr. Dana and I walked about the Town, saw the
Fortifications, the Shipping, the Markett, Barracks
&c. and returned.
Decr 16. Thursday.
After dinner [illegible]
Mr. Trash and his
Mate, of a Schooner belonging to the Traceys of
who have been obliged by bad Weather
and contrary Winds to put in here from
Bilboa, came to visit me. I gave them Letters to Congress and
to my family
[John to Abigail, 16 December 1779]
The french Consul came in, and Mr. Dana and I walked with
him to the
Tour de Fer. This is a very ancient Monument. It is of Stone an
hundred foot high. It was intended for a Lighthouse, perhaps as it commands a
very wide Prospect of the Sea. It sees all the Vessells coming from the East and from the West. There was
formerly a magnificent Stair Case Escalier, winding round it in a Spiral from
the Ground to the Top, and it is said that some General once rode to the Top of
it, in a Coach, or on horse back. But the Stairs are all taken away and the
Stones employed to pave the Streets of
Corunna. The Mortar, with which the Stones are cemented is as
hard as the Stones themselves, and appears to have a large Mixture of powdered
Stone in it.
There are in this Town Three Convents of Monks and two of Nuns. One of the
Nunneries, is of Capuchins, very austere. The Girls eat no meat, wear no
linnen, sleep on the floor never on a bed, their faces
are always covered up with a Veil and they never speak to any Body.
DECEMBER 17. FRYDAY.
The Consul conducted me to the Souvereign Court
of Justice. We were There are three Halls -- one of civil
jurisdiction, another of Criminal, and a third of both. The three youngest
judges are the criminal judges.
The Consul introduced me to the President, and the other judges and to the
Attorney General in their Robes. The Robes, Wigs and bands both of the judges
and Lawyers are nearly like ours at
Boston. The President and other judges and the Procureur du Roi
treated me with great Ceremony, conducted me into the Place in the Prison,
where the Prisoners are brought out who have any Thing to say to the judges.
Waited on me, into each of the three Halls. Shewed me the Three folio Volumes
of the Laws of the Country, which are the Laws of the Goths, Visigoths,
Ripuarians &c., incorporated on the Corpus Juris. There are no Seats for
any Body in the Halls but for the judges. Every Body stands. The President told
me, that on Monday next there would be an interesting Cause, invited me to
come, said he would receive me in Character, and place me next
by the side of
himself on the Bench. Or if I chose to avoid this
Parade, he would order an
Officer to shew
me, a convenient Place to see and hear.
Soon after a Part of an Irish Battalion of Troops was drawn up before the
Court House, and made a fine Appearance.
Dined with the Governor, of the Province of
Gallicia. Mr. Dana, Mr.
Thaxter, Mr. Allen and myself. By the help of two
Irish Officers, I had much Conversation with the Governor, who speaks only
We sent for our Book of Maps and shewed him, the
R. Is., and the Possessions of the English
Went with the Consul into a Convent of Franciscans. Walked into the Church,
and all about the Yards, and Cells. Here are the Cells of Jealousy, Hatred,
Envy, Revenge, Malice, Intrigue &c. said the Consul. There is more Intrigue
in a Chapter of Monks for the Choice of a Prior than was employed to bring
about the entire Revolution in America. A Monk has no Connections, nor
Affections to soften him, but is delivered up to his Ambition, &c. The
Inscriptions over the Cells in Latin Verse
[Diary 30, 17 December 1779]
ingenious and good Morals.
Drank Tea with the Consul. The Attorney General was there, and Mr.
Logoanere, and the Captain of the french Frigate the
DECR. 18 SATURDAY.
Walked all round the Town, round the Wharves, Slips &c. on the Water and
round the Walls vs. the Country.
Afternoon walked, to see the Artillery. 12 Stands of Arms, Cannon, Bombs,
Balls, Mortars &c. have been all packed up for Sometime. By the last Post
Orders arrived to put up 5000 more in the same Manner, ready to embark, nobody
knows where. Saw the Magazines, Arsenals, Shops &c., Carpenters,
Wheelwrights, Blacksmiths &c. -- shewn Us by the
Commandant of Artillery, the Consuls Brother in Law.
The Consuls Name Address is De Tournelle
Consul de France a la Corogne.
The Governor of the Town is Patricio O Heir.
The Governor of the Province is Don Pedro Martin
Went into the Church of a Convent, found them all upon their Knees, chanting
the Prayers to the Virgin, it being the Eve of the Ste. Vierge. The Wax Candles
lighted, by their Glimmerings upon the Paint and Gilding made a pretty
Appearance and the Music was good.
DECEMBER 19. SUNDAY.
Dined, with Monsieur De Tournelle the French Consul, in
Company, with all my Family, the Regent, or President of the Sovereign Court of
the Province of
Galicia, the Attorney General, the Administrator of the Kings
Revenue of Tobacco, and the Commandant of Artillery, Mr.
We had every Luxury, but the Wines were Bourdeaux, Champagne, Burgundy,
Sherry, Alicante, Navarre, and Vin de Cap. The most delicious in the World.
The Chief Justice and Attorney General expressed a great Curiosity, to know
our Forms of Government, and I sent to my Lodgings and presented each of them
with a Copy of the Report of the Committee of Convention of
Mass. Bay. They said they would have them
translated into Spanish, and they should be highly entertained with them.
I have found the Pork of this Country, to day
often before, the most excellent and delicious, as also the Bacon, which
occasioned My Enquiry
into the manner of raising it.
The Chief justice informed me, that much of it was fatted upon
and much more upon Indian Corn, which was
much better, but that in some Provinces of
Spain they had a peculiar Kind of Chesnut
growing upon old
Pasture Oaks, which were very sweet and produced
better Pork than either Chesnuts
or Indian Corn.
That there were Parts of
Spain, where they fatted Hogs upon Vipers -- they
off their Heads and gave the Bodies to their Swine,
and they produced better Pork than Chesnuts
Indian Corn or Acorns.
These Gentlemen told Us that all Kinds of Grain, would come to a good
Markett in this Country even Indian Corn for they
never raised more than their Bread and very seldom enough. Pitch, Tar,
Turpentine, Timber, Masts &c. would do. Salt Fish, Sperma Coeti Candles,
&c. Rice &c. Indigo and Tobacco came from their own Colonies. The
Administrator of the Kings Tobacco told me that Ten Million Weight was annually
Spain in Smoking.
We enquired concerning the manner of raising the Kings Revenue. We [were]
told that there were now no Farmers General in
Spain. That they had been tried, and found prejudicial and
abolished. That all was now collected for the King. That he appointed
Collectors, for particular Towns or other Districts. That Duties were laid upon
Exports and Imports and Taxes upon Lands.
We enquired the manner of raising the Army. Found that some were enlisted
for a Number of Years. That others were draughted
Lot, for a Number of Years. And that a
Number of Years service
to several valuable
and Exemptions -- but the Pay was
The Consul gave me two Volumes, Droit public de
France: Ouvrage posthume de M. l'Abb
Fleury, compose pour l'education des Princes; Et publi avec
des Notes Par J. B. Daragon Prof. en l'Universit de
DECR. 20. MONDAY.
Went to the Audiencia, where We saw the four judges setting in their Robes,
the Advocates in theirs a little below and the Attorneys lower down still. We
heard a Cause argued. The Advocates argued sitting, used a great deal of Action
with their Hands and Arms, and spoke with Eagerness. But the Tone of oratory
seemed to be wanting.
Inscribed over the Cell of a Monk, at
Si tibi pulchra domus, si splendida mensa, quid inde?
Si Species Auri, atque Argenti massa, quid inde?
Si tibi sponsa decens, si sit generosa; quid inde?
Si tibi sint nati; si praedia magna, quid inde?
Si fueris pulcher, fortis, divesve, quid inde?
longus Servorum, si serviat Ordo; quid inde?
Si doceas alios in qualibet Arte; quid inde?
Si rideat mundus; si prospera cuncta; quid inde?
Si prior, aut Abbas, si Rex, si Papa; quid inde?
Si Rota fortunae to tollat ad astra; quid inde?
Annis si faelix regnes mille; quid inde?
tam cito praetereunt haec omnia, quae nihil inde?
Sola manet Virtus, qua glorificabimur inde:
Ergo Deo servi; quia sat tibi provenit inde,
quod fecisse volens in tempore quo morieris
Hoc facias juvenis, dum corpore sanus haberis.
quod nobis concedas Deus noster. Amen.
DECEMBER 22. WEDNESDAY.
Drank Tea, at Senior Lagoaneres. Saw the Ladies drink
Chocolat in the Spanish Fashion.
A Servant brought in a Salver, with a Number of Tumblers, of clean, clear
Glass, full of cold Water, and a Plate of Cakes, which were light Pieces of
Sugar. Each Lady took a Tumbler of Water and a Piece of Sugar, dipped her Sugar
in her Tumbler of Water, eat the one and drank the other. The Servant then
brought in another Salver, of Cups of hot Chocolat. Each Lady took a Cup and drank it, and then
Cakes and bread and Butter were served. Then each Lady took another cup of cold
Water and here ended the Repast.
The Ladies were Seniora
Lagoanere, and the Lady of the Commandant of Artillery, the Consuls
sister, and another. The Administrator of the Kings Tobacco, the french Consul,
and another Gentleman, with Mr. Dana, Mr.
Thaxter and myself made the Company.
Three Spanish Ships of the Line, and two french Frigates came into this
Harbour this afternoon. A Packet arrived here
The Administrator gave me a Map of
Gibraltar and the Spanish Ships about it by Sea, and Lines by
Orders of Ecclesiasticks
Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustins, only at
Nuns of St. Barbe. Capuchins,
DECEMBER 24. FRYDAY.
Dined on Board the Bellepoule, with the Officers of the
Galatea and the Bellepoule.
DECEMBER 25. SATURDAY. CHRISTMAS.
Went to the Palace, at 11. O Clock, to take my Leave of his Excellency.
Mr. O Heir the Governor of the Town went with me. The general
repeated a Thousand obliging Things, which he had said to me, when I first saw
him and dined with him.
At half after two, We mounted our Carriages and Mules, and rode four Leagues
Betanzos, the ancient Capital of the Kingdom of
Gallicia, and the Place where the Archives are still kept. We
saw the Building, a long Square stone Building without any Roof, opposite the
Church. There are in this Place two Churches and two Convents. The last League
of the Road was very bad, mountainous and rocky to such a degree as to be very
dangerous. Mr. Lagoanere did Us the Honour to bear Us company to this Place. It would appear
romantick to describe the House, the Beds, and the
Castillano. The Roads still mountainous and rocky. We broke one
of our Axletrees, early in the day, which prevented Us from going more than 4
Leagues in the whole.
Decr 27. Monday.
The House where We lodge is of Stone, two Stories high. We entered into the
Kitchen. No floor but the ground, and no Carpet but Straw, trodden into mire,
by Men, Hogs, Horses, Mules, &c. In the Middle of the Kitchen was a mound a
little raised with earth and Stone upon which was a Fire, with Pots, Kettles,
Skillets &c. of the fashion of the Country about it. There was no Chimney.
The Smoke ascended and found no other Passage, than thro two Holes drilled thro the
Tiles of the Roof, not perpendicularly over the fire, but at Angles of about 45
deg. -- On one Side, was a flew oven, very large,
black, smoaky, and sooty. On the opposite Side of the
Fire was a Cabbin, filled with Straw, where I suppose
the Patron del Casa, i.e, the Master of the House, his Wife and four Children
all pigged in together. On the same floor with the Kitchen was the Stable.
There was a Door which parted the Kitchen and Stable but this was always open,
and the floor of the Stable, was covered with miry Straw like the Kitchen. I
went into the Stable and saw it filled on both Sides, with Mules belonging to
Us and several other Travellers who were obliged to put up, by the Rain.
1779 Decr 27. Monday.
The Smoke filled every Part of the Kitchen, Stable, and other
[Parts] of the House, as thick as possible so that it was
almost impossible very difficult to see or breath. There was a
flight of Steps of Stone from the Kitchen floor up into a Chamber, covered with
Mud and straw. On the left Hand as you ascended the stairs was a stage built up
about half Way from the Kitchen floor to the Chamber floor. On this stage was a
bed of straw on which lay a fatting Hog. Around the Kitchen Fire, were arranged
the Man, Woman, four Children, all the Travellers, Servants,
Mulatiers &c. The Chamber had a large Quantity
of Indian Corn in Ears, hanging over head upon Sticks and Pieces of slit Work,
perhaps an hundred Bushells. In one Corner was a
large Bin, full of Rape seed, or Colzal, on the other Side another Bin full of
Oats. In another Part of the Chamber lay a Bushell or
two of Chesnutts. Two frames for Beds, straw Beds
upon them. A Table, in the Middle. The floor had never been washed nor swept
for an hundred Years -- Smoak, soot, Dirt, every
where. Two Windows in the Chamber, i.e. Port holes, without any Glass. Wooden
Doors to open and shut before the Windows.
Yet amidst all these Horrors, I slept better than I have done before, since
my Arrival in
DECR. 28. TUESDAY.
Baamonde. The first Part of the Road, very bad, the latter Part
The whole Country We have passed, is very mountainous and rocky. There is
here and there a Vally, and here and there a Farm
that looks beautifully cultivated. But in general the Mountains are covered
with Furze, and are not well cultivated. I am astonished to see so few Trees.
Scarce an Elm, Oak, or any other Tree to be seen. A very few Walnut Trees, and
a very few fruit Trees.
Baamonde, We stop untill Tomorrow to
get a new Axletree to one of our Calashes.
The House where We now are is better, than our last nights Lodgings. We have
a Chamber, for seven of Us to lodge in. We shall lay our Beds upon Tables,
Seats and Chairs, or the floor as last night. We have no Smoke and less dirt,
but the floor was never washed I believe. The Kitchen and Stable are below as
usual, but in better order. The Fire in the Middle of the Kitchen, but the Air
holes pierced thro the Tiles of the Roof draw up the
smoke, so that one may set at the fire without Inconvenience. The Mules, Hogs,
fowls, and human Inhabitants live however all together below, and Cleanliness
seems never to be tho't of. Our Calashes and Mules
are worth describing.
We have three Calashes in Company. In one of them I ride with my two
Children John and Charles.
In another goes Mr. Dana and Mr.
Thaxter. In a third Mr. Allen and Sam. Cooper
Johonnot. Our three servants ride on Mules. Sometimes the Gentlemen
mount the servants mules -- sometimes the Children -- sometimes all walk.
The Calashes are like those in Use in
Boston fifty Years ago. There is finery about them in Brass
nails and Paint, but the Leather is very old and never felt Oil, since it was
made. The Tackling is broken and tied with twine and Cords &c. but these
merit a more particular Description. The Furniture of the Mules is equally
curious. This Country is an hundred Years behind the
Massachusetts Bay, in the Repair of Roads and in all
Conveniences for travelling.
The natural Description of a Mule may be spared. Their Ears are shorn close
to the skin, so are their Necks, Backs, Rumps and Tails at least half Way to
the End. They are lean, but very strong and sure footed, and seem to be well
shod. The Saddles have large Ears, and large Rims or Ridges round behind. They
have a Breast Plate before, and a Breech Band behind. They have large Wooden
made like Boxes in a semicircular Form,
close at one End, open at the other, in which you insert your foot, which is
well defended by them
against rain and Sloughs. The wooden Boxes
are bound round with Iron.
We have magnificent Curb Bridles to two or three. The rest are guided by
Halters. And there is an Halter as well as a Curb Bridle to each of the
There are Walletts, or Saddle bags, on each made
with Canvas, in which We carry Bread and Cheese, Meat, Knives and forks,
Spoons, Apples and Nutts.
Mr. Lagoanere told Us, that the Original of the affair of
St. Iago, was this. A Shepherd saw a bright Light there in the
night. Afterwards it was revealed to an Archbishop, that St.
James was buried there. This laid the foundation of a Church, and they
have built an Altar, on the Spot, where the Shepherd saw the Light. Some time
since, the People made a Vow, that if the Moors should be driven from this
Country they would give so much of the Income of their Lands to St. James. The
Moors were driven away, and it was reported that St. James was in the Battle on
Horse back with a drawn Sword, and the People fulfilled their Vows by Paying
the Tribute, but lately a Duke of Alva, a Descendant of
the famous Duke, has refused to pay for his Estate, which has occasioned a Law
suit, which is carried by Appeal to Rome. The Duke attempted to prove that
St. James was never in
Spain. The Pope has suspended it. This
looks like a Ray of Light. Upon the Supposition that this is the Place of the
Sepulture of St. James, there are great Numbers
Pilgrims who visit it every Year from
Italy and other Parts of
Europe, many of them on foot.
St. Iago is called the Capitol of
Galicia, because it is the Seat of the Archbishop, and because
St. James is its Patron, but
Corunna is in fact the Capital as it is the Residence of the
Governor, the Audience &c. &c.
DECR. 30. THURSDAY.
Lugo, where We arrived Yesterday. We passed Yesterday the
River Minho which originates in the Mountains of
Asturies, and flows thro
Portugal. 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. Went a
Privateering in an English Vessell and was taken by
the Spaniards. -- Unfortunately taken he said. -- Unfortunately
inlisted I said. -- He wanted to make his fortune
he said. -- Out of your Country, and by fighting against your Country said
Two Irish Gentlemen came to pay their Respects to me, Michael
Meagher Oreilly and Lewis Obrien. Obrien afterwards
sent me a Meat Pie and a minced Pie and two Bottles of Frontenac Wine, which
gave Us a fine Supper.
1779. Decr. 30.
Galliego, in very good Season having made Six Leagues and an
Lugo . . . Mountainous, but not dangerous as heretofore. About a
league back, We passed
over a large Bridge over a River called
Cara Sedo, which emptyes
Minho, not far from
I see nothing but Signs of Poverty and Misery, among the People. A fertile
Country, not half cultivated, People ragged and dirty, and the Houses
universally nothing but Mire, Smoke, Fleas and Lice. Nothing appears rich but
the Churches, nobody fat, but the Clergy. The Roads, the worst without
Exception that ever were passed, in a Country where it would be easy to make
them very good. No Simptoms of Commerce, or even of
internal Trafic, no Appearance of Manufactures or
We are obliged, in this journey to carry our own Beds, Blanketts, Sheets, Pillows &c., our own Provisions of
Chocolat, Tea, Sugar, Meat, Wine, Spirits, and
every Thing that We want. We get nothing at the Taverns, but Fire, Water, and
Salt. We carry our own Butter, Cheese, and indeed Salt and Pepper too.
Sebrero, Seven Leagues. The Journey Yesterday and
to day has been very agreable. The Weather, remarkably fair, and dry, and the
Roads not so bad as We expected.
There is the grandest Profusion of wild irregular Mountains, that I ever
saw. Yet laboured
and cultivated every one, to its
Summit. The Fields
of Grain, are all green. We passed a Rang of
Mountains that were white with Snow, and there were here and there banks of
Snow on the Mountains We passed over, but no Frost at all in the Ground.
We are now on the highest Ground of all, and within Gun shot of the Line,
Leon. The Houses all along are small and of Stone. Some covered
with Brick Tile, some with Tile of Stone, but chiefly with Thatch. They
interweave a Shrub, of which they make Brooms, among the Straw and bind both
together with Wythes. These thatched Roofs are very
numerous -- But universally dirty, and smoaky. The
People wear broad brimmed Hats, or caps made of woolen Cloth like their Coats,
Jackets and Breeches which are all of a Colour, made
of black sheeps Wool without Dying. The Maragatoes
are dressed particularly, in a greasy leathern jackett &c. But these People will be hereafter more
The Mules, the Asses, the Cattle, Sheep, Hogs, &c. of this Country,
ought to be more particularly remarked.
JANUARY 1ST. SATURDAY.
Villa Franca, Seven Leagues. The Road at first was very bad.
Steep, sharp Pitches, ragged Rocks, &c. 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 Leagues from
Villa franca. Here We found a Road again made entirely by Art,
at an immense Expence, but it seems to be made
forever. They are going on with the Work. This Work is an Honour to the Nation. It shews that
Improvements are coming in, and that Attention is paid to the Ease,
Convenience, Utility, Commerce &c. of the People.
The Country We have travelled over to day
greatest Curiosity I ever beheld -- an uninterrupted succession of Mountains of
a vast hight
River Barcarcel flows between two Rows of Mountains, rising on
each hand to a vast hight
. The most grand, sublime,
awful Objects, yet they are cultivated up to their highest summits. There are
flourishing fields of Grain, on such steep declivities, near the Summits of
Mountains, as I cannot conceive it possible for Horses or Cattle to stand upon
them to plough. It must be done with Mules, and I know not
these or Men either could stand.
The Houses are uniformly the same through the whole Country hitherto --
common habitations for Men and Beasts -- the same smoaky, filthy holes. Not one decent House have I seen from
We passed this Day, the Ruins of an Ancient Castle of the Moors, on the
Summit of one of the steepest and one of the highest and one of the most rugged
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 Lord was at
War with Lord, a defence against Lances, Bows and
Arrows and no more -- possibly vs. Musquet Balls.
This Evening I bought a Mule, Saddle, Bridle &c. for 62 dollars and an
A Description of my Postilion. A little Hat, covered with oyl Cloth, flapped, before. A black, silk Cap of curious Work,
with a braided Tail, hanging down his Back in the Spanish fashion. A cotton
Handkerchief spotted red and white, around his neck. A double breasted short
jacket and Breeches.
JANUARY 2. SUNDAY.
Villa franca de el Bierzo Rio Pte [Puente].
We dined at
Ponferrada. We passed through several Villages and over Bridges
and Rivers. We passed
Campo de Narraya,
Cacabelos Rio P. [Puente] and
Ponferrada where We dined. The Country grows smoother.
Astorga. We passed through the Town and Country of the
Marragattoes. The Town is small -- stands on a
Brook in a great Plain. We met Coaches, and genteel People as We went into
Found clean Beds and no fleas for the first Time in
Spain. Walked twice, round the Walls of the City, which are very
ancient. 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, onions and Turnips the largest I ever saw,
Cabbages, Carrots &c. Saw the Market of Fuel -- Wood, Coal, Turf and brush.
Saw Numbers of the Marragato Women, as fine as
Squaws and a great deal more nasty.
Crucifixes, Beads and Chains, Earrings and fingerrings in silver, brass,
glass &c. about their Necks &c.
Saw the Cathedral Church, which is the most magnificent I have yet seen in
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.
This day, was brought me the Gazetta de
Madrid of the 24 of December, in which is this Article
Corua 15 de Diciembre.
Hoy mismo ban llegado esta Plaza el Caballero Juan
Adams miembro del Congreso Americano y Su Ministro Plenipotenciario
la Corte de
Paris y Mr. Deane Secretario
de Embaxada, quienes salieron de
Boston el 15 de Noviembre ltimo bordo de la
Fregata Francesa de Guerra la Sensible que entr en el
Ferrol el dia 8 del corriente. Trahe la Noticia de que habiendo los Ingleses
Rhode Island y retirado todas sus Tropas
Nueva Yorck, los Americanos tomaron Possesion de todos los
The Names of the Owner of the Post Chaises, the Postilions, and the two
Lads on foot, who are with me and my Suite
Senior Raymon San, the Owner of all the Post Chaises and
the Mules that draw them, and the Man with whom Mr. Lagoanere
made the Contract.
Senior Eusebioo Seberino, the Postilion that drives my
Diego Antonio, the Postilion that drives Mr.
Allen and S. C. Johonnot.
Joseph Diaz, the Postillion that drives Mr.
Dana and Mr. Thaxter. The Writer, educated
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. 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 very well.
JANY. 5. WEDNESDAY.
Leon, eight Leagues. This is one great Plain. The Road very
fine. Great Flocks of Sheep and Cattle. The Sheep of an handsome size, the
fleeces of Wool thick, long and extremely fine. The soil rather thin and
barren. We passed several smal Villages. The vast rang
Asturias Mountains covered with Snow on our left. The Weather as
pleasant as could be, tho cold -- some frost and Ice
on the Roads. We passed the
River and Bridge Orbigo, which in the Spring when swelled with
Freshes of melted Snow from the Mountains of
Asturias, is a very great River.
Leon, which We entered in the Night, has the Appearance of a
large River City.
1780. January 5. Wednesday.
Went to view the Cathedral Church which is magnificent, but not equal to
Astorga if 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, spread out his Hand to the People, who
all prostrated themselves on their Knees as he passed. Our Guide told Us, We
must do the same, but I contented myself with a Bow.
Went to see the Council Chamber of the Bishop and Chapter -- hung with
crimson Damask, the Seats all round crimson Velvet. This Room and a smaller,
where the Bishop sometimes took aside some of the Cannons, were very
Saw the Casa del Ciudad, and the old Castle of King
Alphonsus, which is said to be 1936 Years old. It is of Stone, and the
Work very neat.
But there is no Appearance of Commerce, Manufactures or Industry. The Houses
are low, built of brick and Mud and Pebble stones from the fields.
No Market worth notice. Nothing looks either rich or
but the Churches and Churchmen. There is
a Statue of Charles 5 in this Church, but very badly done.
There is a School of Saint Mark here as it is called, an Institution for the
Education of noble Youths here in Mathematicks
Leon, got into our Carriages and upon our Mules about one O
Clock, to proceed on our journey, passed the new Bridge of
Leon, which is a beautiful new Piece of Work. It is all of
Stone. The River, which comes down from the Mountains of
Asturias, is not now very large, but in the Spring when the
Snows melt upon the Mountains it is swelled by the freshes to a very great
Size. This River also runs down into the
Kingdom of Portugal. Not long after We passed another Bridge and
River, which the Peasants told me to call
Rio y Puente de Biliarente. This River also comes down from the
Asturias and flows down into
Portugal. We passed thro
very little Villages, in every one of which We saw the young People Men and
Women dancing, a Dance that they call Fandango. One of the young Women beats a
Machine, somewhat like a section of a Drum. It is covered with Parchment. She
beats on her drum, and the Company dance, with Each a
Pair of Clackers in his and her Hand. The Clackers are two Pieces of Wood, cut
handsomely enough, which they have the Art to rattle in their Hands to the Time
of the Drum. They had all, Males and Females, wooden shoes, in the Spanish
fashion, which is mounted on stilts. We stopped once to look and a Man came out
with a Bottle of Wine and a glass to treat Us. We drank his Wine in
Complaisance to his Urbanity, tho
it was very Sour,
and I ordered our Guide to give him somewhat.
We stop to night at a Village called
Mansillas, thro which runs another
large River from the
Asturias, stretching down to
Portugal. A great Stone Bridge over it, appears to have been
half carried away by the Water in some freshet. This was once a Walled City.
The Tours are yet standing all round the Town and the
Ruins and Fragments of the Wall and the Appearance of a Foss round it. The Towers were all made of small round
Stones, not bigger than two fists, which is the only Kind of Stone to be had
here. The Cement is the ancient, which is as hard and as durable as the Stones
them selves. I went upon the Top of one of the
Towers with Mr. D., Mr. A., and Mr.
Charles. The Town appears to be gone to decay, yet there are four or
five Churches here still. The People are
Inside Back Cover
There are in
Leon two Convents of Franciscans, one of Dominicans, one of St.
One Convent of Nuns of St. Benito, one of the Conception, one of Descalzas,
one of Recoletas.
Cassa de San Isi [Isidro] one,
one Cassa de San Marcus. Nine Parish Churches,
including the Cathedral.
The Grandee who is the Proprietor of the Land in and about
Leon is the Comte de Luna, a Descendant
from the ancient Kings of
Leon. He resides in
Madrid, and receives about sixty thousand Ducats, or about
thirty thousand dollars a Year of Rent, from the Tenants, partly in cash and
partly in Grain. He has a Secretary and some other Agents who reside at
Leon to collect his Rents. The Grandees of
Spain all reside at
Madrid. Former Kings, in order to break up the Barons Wars,
called all the Nobles to Court, and gave them Employments.