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To John Robinson, Esquire, 8c.

Madrid, 8th of March, 1781. Sir: My banker informs me of a difficulty which has arisen in replacing the bills which I have had oco sion to draw upon him for the expenses of my commission at this court.

As I have not had the honor of hearing from you on this subject, and as it does not appear that he had seen you, when he wrote to me, the alarm which such an event would else have given me, is mitigated by this consideration, as I am sure there can be no intention in government to disgrace me at this court in a commission, undertaken on my part without any other stipulation than that of defraying my expenses. I Hatter myself, therefore, that you have before this done what is needful in conformity to what was settled on our parting. Suffer me to add, that by the partition I have made of my office with the gentleman who executes it, by the expenses preparatory to my journey, all which I took on myself, and by many others since my departure, which I have not thought proper to put to the public account, I have greatly burdened my private affairs during my attendance on the business I am engaged in.

That I have regulated my family here for the space of near a twelvemonth, with all possible economy upon a scale in every respect as private, and void of ostentation as possible, is notorious to all who know me here; but a man must also know this court and country to judge what the current charges of my situation must inevitably be ; what the occasional ones have been can only be explained by myself; and as I can clearly make it appear that I have neither misapplied the money nor abused the trust of government in any instance, I cannot merit, and I am persuaded I shall not experience any misunderstanding or unkindness. I have the honor to be, &c. &c.

R. C.' I might have spared myself the trouble of this humiliating appeal. It produced just what it should produce-nothing; for it was addressed to the feelings of those who had no feelings; and called for justice, where no justice was, no mercy, no compassion, honor or good faith.

I wearied the door of Lord North till his very servants drove me from it. I withstood the offer of a benevolent monarch, whose munificence would have rescued me; and I embraced ruin in my own country to preserve my honor as a subject of it; selling every acre of my hereditary estate, jointured on my wife by marriage settlement, who generously concurred in the sacrifice, which my improvident reliance upon the faith of government compelled me to make.

But I ought to speak of these things with more moderation, so many years having passed, and so many of the parties having died, since they took place. In prudence and propriety these pages ought not to have seen the light, till the writer of them was no more; neither would they, could I have persisted in my resolution for withholding them, till that event had consigned them into other hands; but there is something paramount to prudence and propriety, which wrests them from


My poverty, but not my will, consents.



The copyright of these Memoirs produced to me the sum of five hundred pounds, and if, through the candor and protection of a generous public, they shall turn out no bad bargain to the purchaser, I shall be most sincerely thankful, and my conscience will be at rest—but I look back, and find myself still at Madrid, though on the point of my departure. On the 15th of March I write to the Earl of Hillsborough as follows, viz:

“My LORD: On the 11th instant I had the honor of your lordship's letter, dated the 14th of February, and in obedience to his majesty's commands, therein signified, I took occasion on the same day of demanding my passports of the minister of Spain. Agreeably to the indulgence granted me by His Majesty, I yesterday took leave of Count Florida Blanca, at the Pardo, and this day my family presented themselves to the Princess of Asturias, at the convent of Santo Domingo el Real, who received their parting acknowledgments with many expressions of kindness and condescension. I am to see the King of Spain on Sunday, and expect to leave Madrid on Tuesday or Wednesday next.

The ambassador of France having in the most obliging manner given me a passport, and your lordship’s letter containing no directions to the contrary, I propose to return by Bayonne and Bourdeaux, to which route I am compelled by the state of my health, and that of part of my family. I have the honor to be, &c. &c.

R. C. I hope your lordship has received my letter No. 18, also those numbered 20 and 21, which conclude what I have written.'

To the sub-minister Campo, who had been confidential throughout, and present at almost every conference I had held with the Premier, I wrote as follows:

Madrid, March 20th, 1781. You have done all things, my dear sir, with the greatest kindness and the politest attention. I have your passports, and as my baggage is now ready to be inspected, I wait the directions of the Minister Musquiz, which I pray you now to dispatch. To-morrow, in the forenoon, at 11 o'clock, or any other hour more convenient to the officers of the customs, will suit me to attend upon them.

You tell me that no more could be done for me, were I an ambassador. I am persuaded of it, for being, as I am, a dependant on your protection, and intrusted to you by my country, how can I doubt but that the Spanish point of honor will concede to me not less (and I should not wonder if it granted more), than any ambassador can claim by privilege.

I have never ceased to feel a perfect confidence in my situation, nor ever wished for any other title to all the rights of hospitality and protection than what I derive from the trust, which my court has consigned to me, and that which I repose in yours.

I bring this letter in my pocket to the Pardo, lest you should not be visible at the hour I shall arrive. I beg to recommend to you the cause of the English prisoners, who have undersigned the inclosed paper.

I hope to set out on Friday: be assured I shall carry with me a lasting remembrance of your obliging favors, and I shall ardently seize every occasion in my future life of expressing a due sense of them.

If your leisure serves to favor us with another visit at Madrid, we shall be happy to see you, and I shall be glad to confer with you on the subject of the Spanish prisoners, and apprise you of the language I shall hold on that topio upon my return home.


On all occasions, and in every place I shall conscientiously adhere to truth. Let me say, for the last time I shall speak of myself, that no man ever entered Spain with a more conciliating disposition, and I hope I leave behind me some proof of patience. Farewell! ever faithfully yours,

R. C."


In perusing Cumberland's narrative of his mission to Spain, the reader cannot fail to be struck with his evident anxiety to have it redound to the benefit of his country. His great mistake was in advancing into Spain at all, inasmuch as, under the circumstances, it was a violation of the letter of his instructions. He acted, however, as he conceived, for the advantage of his country. His error was of the head; and the ministry's refusal of payment for his services was a harsh and cruel return for all his sacrifices and endea

The mission to Spain, honorable in itself, was disastrous in its consequences, and embittered the remainder of Cumberland's life.

In addition to the causes which he assigns for its failure, the disturbances in London, and other untoward circumstances, it must not be forgotten that, amid all the tortuosities of Spanish diplomacy, and notwithstanding all its protestations and propositions, there was a strong desire to see British power humbled, and British supremacy overthrown. At the same time, the opinion prevailed that the American Revolution was a bad example to the Spanish colonies, and dangerous to Spain, as the United States, if they should become ambitious, and be seized with the spirit of conquest, might aim at Mexico and Peru. The court of Spain seem to have acted on the principle, either to make no treaty with the United States, until they had accomplished their independence, or to make important concessions to them the conditio sine qua non of a treaty, and consequent aid.

When Cumberland arrived at Madrid, he found there, as minister from the United States, John Jay, who had resigned his post of President of Congress, to accept this mission. The disclosures of Jay and Cumberland exhibit in a very striking light the craft and duplicity of Florida Blanca, and, indeed, of all the Spanish officials connected with the foreign office. While Cumberland was received and caressed in the manner he has described, “it was given out, and Jay was officially informed, that Cumberland and his family were desirous of passing through Spain, to Italy ; that the journey was undertaken on account of the ill health of a daughter, to whom the Duke of Dorset was much attached ; that the opposition made by his friends to the marriage had affected her health, &c. The minister assured Jay that whatever proposals Mr. Cumberland might make, should be candidly communicated to him. It is needless, perhaps, to add that no such communication was made. .... The people, said Mr. Jay, supposed Cumberland's errand to be secret overtures for peace, and, as far as he could judge, were very glad of it. In truth, the war with England was very unpopular with the Spaniards. “They appear to me,' wrote Jay, 'to like the English, hate the French, and to have prejudices against us.' - Flanders' Lives and Times of the Chief Justices, p. 298.

Whatever the sentiments of the Spanish people, the Spanish court had different objects to accomplish. They cajoled and deceived Cumberland, and their conduct towards Jay was marked by treachery and duplicity. With the desire to curtail British power, was associated the fear that the independence of America might be prejudicial to Spain. But whatever might betide, the Spanish ministry were anxious so to shape their conduct that Spain should profit from whatever turn affairs might take.




Leaves Spain-Madrid-Progress and incidents of his homeward journey.

On the 24th of March, 1781, having taken a last painful leave of the worthy Abbé Curtis and the rest of my friends, at half past ten in the forenoon, I set out upon my journey. My party consisted of my wife, my two eldest daughters, and my infant daughter, born in Spain, at the breast of a Spanish nurse, a wild but affectionate creature, native of San Andero; the good Marchetti and the poor redeemed prisoner Anthony Smith accompanied us, and we had three English servants, two of which (Thomas Camis and Mary Sampson) had been in my family from their earliest years, and have never since served any other master. Two Spanish coaches, drawn by six mules each, with mules for our out-riders, constituted our travelling equipage, and I contracted for their attending upon us to Bayonne. They are heavy clumsy carriages, but they carry a great deal of baggage, and if the traveller has patience to put up with their very early hours and slow pace, there is nothing else to complain of.

Madrid, which may be considered as the capital of Spain, though it is not a city, disappoints you if you expect to find suburbs, or villas, or even gardens when you have passed the gates, being almost as closely environed with a desert as Palmyra is in its present state of ruin. The Spaniards themselves

have no great taste for cultivation, and the attachment to the i chase, which seems to be the reigning passion of the Spanish

sovereigns, conspires with the indolence of the people in suffering every royal residence to be surrounded by a savage and unseemly wilderness. The lands, which should contribute to supply the markets, being thus delivered over to waste and barrenness, are considered only as preserves for game of various sorts, which includes everything the gun can slay, and these are as much res sacrae as the altars, or the monks, who serve them. This solitudo ante ostium did not contribute to support our spirits, neither did the incessant jingling of the mules' bells relieve the tedium of the road to Guadarama, where we were agreeably surprised by the Counts Kaunitz and Pietra Santa, who passed that night in our company, and next morning with many friendly adieus departed for Madrid, never to meet again

Animas queis candidiores

Nusquam terra tulit. The next day we passed the mountains of Guadarama by a magnificent causeway, and entered Old Castile. Here the country began to change for the better; the town of Villa Castin presents a very agreeable spectacle, being new and flour. ishing, with a handsome house belonging to the Marchioness of Torre-Manzanares, who is in part proprietor of the town. This illustrious lady was just now under a temporary cloud for having been party in a frolic with the young and animated Duchess of Alva, who had ventured to exbibit her fair person on the public parade in the character of postilion to her own equipage, whilst Torre-Manzanares, mounted the box as coachman, and other gallant spirits took their stations behind as footmen, all habited in the splendid blue and silver liveries of the house of Alva. In some countries a whim like this would have passed off with eclat, in many with impunity, but in Spain, under the government of a moral and decorous monarch, it was regarded in so grave a light, that, although the great lady postilion escaped with a reprimand, the lady coachman was sent to her castle at a distance from the capital, and doomed to do penance in solitude and obscurity. We

e were now in the country for the Spanish wool, and this place being a considerable mart for that valuable article, is furnished with a very large and commodious shearing-house. We slept at a poor little village called San Chidrian, and being obliged to change our quarters on account of other travellers, who had been beforehand with us, we were fain to put up with the wretched accommodations of a very wretched posada.

The third day's journey presented to us a fine champaign country, abounding in corn, and well peopled. Leaving the town of Arebalo, which made a respectable appearance, on our right, we proceeded to Almedo, a very remarkable place, being surrounded with a Moorish wall and towers in very tolerable preservation; Almedo also has a fine convent and a handsome

a church.

The fourth day's journey, being March the 27th, still led us through a fair country, rich in corn and wine. The river Adaga runs through a grove of pines in a deep channel very romantic, wandering through a vast tract of vineyards without fences. The weather was serene and fresh, and gave us spirits to enjoy

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