Front Page Titles (by Subject) JAY TO HIS FATHER. - The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781)
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JAY TO HIS FATHER. - John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, vol. 1 (1763-1781) 
The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston, A.M. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890-93). Vol. 1 (1763-1781).
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JAY TO HIS FATHER.
Madrid, 23d May, 1780.
Various have been the scenes through which I have passed since last we bid each other farewell. Some of them have been dangerous, and many of them disagreeable. Providence has, however, been pleased to bring me safe through them all to the place of my destination, and I hope will restore me to my country and friends as soon as the business committed to me shall be completed. Then I shall have the pleasure of entertaining you with the recital of many interesting matters which the risk to which all my letters are exposed forbids me to commit to paper.
I will, nevertheless, give you some little account of our journey from Cadiz to Madrid, because as the manner of travelling here differs entirely from that of our country it may afford you some amusement. The distance is between three and four hundred English miles. We were told at Cadiz that it would be necessary to take with us beds, hams, tea, sugar, chocolate, and other articles of provision, as well as kitchen utensils for dressing them, for that we should seldom find either on the road. We were further informed that these journeys were usually performed in carriages resembling a coach and drawn by six mules, the hire of which was from a hundred and thirty to a hundred and fifty dollars, and that they would carry near a thousand weight of baggage. We accordingly made the necessary provision for eating and sleeping comfortably by the way. We crossed the bay of Port St. Mary’s in very pleasant weather and in a handsome boat which the brother of the Minister of Indies was so kind as to lend us. We staid a night in that place waiting for carriages, and were very hospitably entertained by Count O’Reilly, the same who established the Spanish government at New Orleans at the end of the last war. He is a man of excellent abilities and great knowledge of men as well as of things. He has risen to be Inspector and Lieutenant-General of the armies of Spain, into which he introduced a degree of discipline to which they had long been stangers, and Captain-Governor of Andalusia, etc.
. . . . . . .
We travelled at the rate of between twenty and thirty miles a day, and the same mules brought us to Madrid that we set out with from Cadiz, at which they had arrived from Madrid only a day before we left it. We stopped but once in the course of the day. At the end of the journey they appeared to be in as much flesh and spirits as when we set out. The manner of driving them is in my opinion greatly to their disadvantage, very fast up and down hill and slow on plain ground. I had no idea of there being animals of this kind in the world so fine. I am convinced that they are stronger as well as more durable than horses, though not so handsome. One reason perhaps why the mules of this country exceed those of others, is that the generality of their horses are better. The Andalusian horses, of which you have often heard, are noble animals, handsome, sprightly, and well-tempered. It is more than probable that when I return home I shall take a couple of mules with me; I am more than satisfied that two very good mules are worth three very good horses.
The Poradas or inns are more tolerable than had been represented to us. Many of them had very good rooms, but swarming with fleas and bugs. The mules were generally lodged under the same roof, and my bedroom has frequently been divided from them by only a common partition. The innkeepers gave themselves little trouble about their guests further than to exact as much from them as possible. . . . At one tavern we dined late, and, except the Colonel, went to bed without supper. We took breakfast in the morning. Our servants, four in number, ate of the provisions they brought, except a little bread and milk, and we all slept in our own beds. When the reckoning was called it amounted to 477 reals, that is, £9 10s. 9d. York money. They charged us for fourteen beds, though our number, including servants, amounted only to eight. On observing this to them, we were told that there were many beds in the rooms in which we had slept and in others communicating with them, and that we might have used them all if we pleased. We remarked that it was impossible for eight persons to use fourteen beds; they replied, that was not their fault. There was no remedy, and I paid after taking an account of the particulars with a receipt at the foot of it, which I keep as a curiosity.
I am told that these impositions arise from this circumstance: The houses in which these Poradas are kept generally belong to great men, who for rent and license to keep tavern demand from the poor wretches much more than they can honestly get by that business, and thence they are driven to make up the deficiency by the iniquitous practices. The landlords know this, and to enjoy their high rents support their tenants against travellers and take care that the latter be losers by all disputes with innkeepers. Besides, as travellers cannot remain long enough at one place to prosecute and abide the event of such litigations, they generally put up with the first loss.
On the subject of politics, I make it a rule to write to none but Congress.
Love to all the family, I am, dear sir,
Your dutiful and affectionate son.
P. S.—I bought a very fine negro boy of fifteen years old at Martinico.