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mountains and bad roads. You would have been diverted to have seen us all mounted upon our mules and marching in train. From the mountains we had all along the prospect of a rich, fertile country, cultivated up to the tops of the highest hills and down to the very edge of water, all along the shore.
I made my visit last night to the governor of the province, who resides here, and to the governor of the town, and was politely received by both. I have a long journey before me of a thousand miles, I suppose, at least, to Paris. Through this kingdom we shall have bad roads and worse accommodations. I don 't expect to be able to get to Paris in less than thirty days. I shall have an opportunity of seeing Spain, but it will be at a great expense. I am advised by every body to go by land. The frigate, the Sensible, is in so bad condition as to make it probable she will not be fit to put to sea in less than three or four weeks, perhaps five or six; and then we should have the storms and enemies of the Bay of Biscay to escape or encounter. After this wandering way of life is passed, I hope to return to my best friend and pass the remainder of our days in quiet.
I cannot learn that Great Britain is yet in temper to listen to propositions of peace, and I don 't expect before another winter to have much to do in my present capacity. My tenderest affection to our dear children, and believe me
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
Bilboa, 16 January, 1780.
We arrived here last night, all alive, but all very near sick with violent colds taken on the road for want of comfortable accommodations. I was advised on all hands to come by land rather than wait an uncertain time for a passage by sea. But if I had known the difficulties of travelling in that part of Spain which I have passed through, I think I should not have ventured upon the journey. It is in vain to attempt a description of our passage. Through the province of Gallicia, and again when we came to that of Biscay, we had an uninterrupted succession of mountains; through that of Leon and the old Castile, constant plains. A country tolerably good by nature, but not well cultivated. Through the whole of the journey the taverns were inconvenient to us, because there are no chimneys in their houses, and we had cold weather. A great part of the way, the wretchedness of our accommodation exceeds all description.
At Bilboa we fare very well, and have received much civility from Messrs. Gardoqui and Sons, as we did at Ferrol and Corunna from M. de Tournelle and M. Lagoanere. I wish I could send you some few things for the use of the family from hence, but the risk is such, that I believe I had better wait until we
get to France. I have undergone the greatest anxiety for the children through a tedious journey and voyage. I hope their travels will be of service to them, but those at home are best off. them.
My love to
Paris, Hotel de Valois, 16 February, 1780.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
I HAVE the honor to be lodged here with no less a personage than the Prince of Hesse Cassel, who is here upon a visit. We occupy different apartments in the same house, and have no intercourse with each other, to be sure; but some wags are of opinion, that if I were authorized to open a negotiation with him, I might obtain from him as many troops to fight on our side of the question as he has already hired out to the English against us.
I have found every thing agreeable here as yet. The children are happy in their academy, of which I send you the plan enclosed.
The English bounce a great deal about obtaining seven thousand troops from the petty German princes and ten thousand from Ireland to send to America,
but this is only a repetition of their annual gasconade. We are in pain for Charleston, S. C., being apprehensive that they have made or will make an effort to obtain that; which will be a terrible misfortune to that people, and a great loss to the United States, but will be no lasting advantage to our enemies.
The channel of correspondence you propose, by way of Bilboa and Cadiz, will bring many letters no doubt, and I have received one of the 10th of December, but the postage is so expensive, being obliged to pay forty-four livres for the packet that came with yours, that I would not advise you to send any thing that way, unless it be a single letter or any thing material in the journals of Congress, or letters from my friends in Congress or elsewhere, that contain any thing particularly interesting. The house of Joseph Gardoqui and Sons have sent to you, by Captain Babson, of Newburyport, belonging to Mr. Tracy, some necessaries for the family, and you may write to Mr. Gardoqui for any thing you want by any vessel belonging to your uncle, to Mr. Jackson, or Mr. Tracy, provided you don't exceed one hundred dollars by any one vessel. Mr. Gardoqui will readily send them and draw upon me for the money.
I had a great deal of pleasure in the acquaintance of this family of Guardoquis, and was treated by them with the magnificence of a prince. They will be very glad to be useful to you in any thing they can do. You will remember, however, that we have many children, and that our duty to them requires that we should manage all our affairs with the strict
est economy. My journey through Spain has been infinitely expensive to me, and exceeded far my income. It is very expensive here, and I fear that I shall find it difficult to make both ends meet; but I must and will send you something for necessary use by every opportunity. If Mr. Lovell does not procure me the resolution of Congress I mentioned to him, that of drawing on a certain gentleman or his banker, I shall soon be starved out. Pray mention it
I shall write as often as possible, but conveyances will be very rare, I fear.
I am, as I ever was and ever shall be,
Yours, yours, yours.
Paris, Hotel de Valois,
Rue de Richelieu, 23 February, 1780.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
THE children made me a visit to-day, and went with me to dine with my old friends, the two Abbés, whom you have often heard me mention, Chalut and Arnoux, who desire me to mention them to you in my letters as devoted friends of America, and particular friends to me and to you, notwithstanding the difference of religion. The children are still in good