Adams Papers

The Commissioners to John [William?] Hodge, 19 April 1778

The Commissioners to John [William?] Hodge

Passi April 19. 1778


We find by our Bankers Account that you1 have received upwards of one hundred Thousand Livres of the public Money, for which there is no account from you among the Papers left by Mr Deane.

Captain Cunningham of the Revenge writes Us,2 that you have claimed that Vessell as the Property of Mr Ross and you, and under your Direction. It appears too, as well by a Letter from the Merchant at Corogne3 into whose Hands the Prizes made by that ship were put, as by one dated from thence and Signed by the Remainder of the Crew, that you have assumed to yourself the Produce of those Prizes, and the Distribution, of the Prize Money. In the Execution of this, the ships Company, complains of great Injustice; and that in Consequence of your Conduct, the Vessell is almost entirely abandoned.

We wish to hear you, before We determine upon the justice of these Complaints and the Propriety of your Proceedings. We therefore desire to have your State of the Matter, and the orders under which you Act, as soon as possible. The Vessell being confessedly half public Property. We shall direct Captain Conyngham touching his future Conduct. It is our desire that the full Prize Money be distributed among the remaining Officers Seamen and Marines, and who engage to abide by the Vessel, without any Deductions, or Reservations, that are not clearly just. We, are, &c.

LbC (Adams Papers).

1Despite the notation in JA’s Letterbook that this letter was meant for “Mr John Hodge at Cadiz,” the recipient’s copy may have been addressed to John and William Hodge or to the latter only. This is because the letter, part of the Commissioners’ effort to unravel Silas Deane’s tangled financial dealings, was answered by William Hodge on 10 July (below) in terms clearly suggesting that he was the intended recipient. In addition, the letter’s substance, the request to Hodge to justify expenditures as Deane’s agent and clarify the ownership of the cutter Revenge, directly concerned the activities of William Hodge, not those of his brother. An examination of accounts submitted by Ferdinand Grand to the Commissioners on 10 June 1777 and 24 Jan. 1778 (MH-H: Lee Papers) indicates that in the process Hodge spent 92,435.12.3 livres or, in 1775 equivalents, £3,940, which had been supplied by Deane (John J. McCusker, ed., Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775, Chapel Hill, 1978, p. 312). See Arthur Lee’s calculations on the back of a letter from Sartine of 26 April (below) and Hodge’s own statement of receipts and expenditures enclosed in his letter of 10 July (below, note 2).

2Not found, but see Commissioners to Gustavus Conyngham, 19 April (above).

3Not found, but probably from Lagoanere & Co. (same, note 3).

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