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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0009-0008-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-05

1779 December [5]. Sunday.

We are now supposed to be within 100 Leagues of Ferrol or 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 Spain.1
This Resolution is an Embarrassment to me. Whether to travail by Land to Paris, or wait for the Frigate. Whether I can get Carriages, { 404 } 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 enquire.
1. “29th [Nov.], The ship is very leaky the passengers are all called to the Pump four times per day 8 oclock A M. 12 oclock 4 oclock P M. and 8 oclock P M.” (JQA, Diary, 29 Nov.). Dana mentions (on the 28th) that Capt. Chavagnes and the other officers were all taking their turns at the pumps (Journal, 1779–1780, MHi). The Sensible had encountered heavy weather from the 25th to the 28th, and on the 26th the Courrier de l'Europe, a chasse marée that had accompanied it to Boston and thus far on the return voyage, was dismasted and probably lost at sea (same).

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0009-0008-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-07

1779 December 7. Tuesday.

About 11. O Clock discovered Land—two large Mountains, one sharp and steep, another large and broad.—We passed 3 Capes, Finisterre, Tortanes [Torinaña] and Veillane [Villano].
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 my Eyebrow.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0009-0008-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-08

8 Wednesday.

Got into Ferrol, where We found the french Ships of the Line, went on Board the General Sade,1 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.2
1. See entry of 13 Dec., below.
2. JQA's Diary provides a great deal more detail on the entrance to the harbor and the events of this day. This is true occasionally on succeeding days, and Francis Dana's Journal in Spain is also very full. They are cited here, however, only when they clarify or correct JA's Diary.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0009-0008-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-09

9. Thursday.

Came on Shore with all my family. Took Lodgings. Dined with the Spanish Lieutenant General of the Marine with 24 french and Spanish { 405 } 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 two Nations.
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 arrived from Corunna,1 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 every Sort.
1. His name was Detournelle (Almanach Royal, 1778, p. 501). The following entries record many kindnesses for which the Adams party were indebted to him.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/