To William Hodgson
Copy: William L. Clements Library
Passy, March 31, 1782.
It is long since I have been able to afford myself the pleasure of writing to you;3 but I have had that of receiving several Letters from you, and I sent you in consequence a credit for 300 £ which I hope you received.4 I am sorry that you had been obliged to advance: The trouble you so kindly take is sufficient. I just hear from Ireland, that there are 200 of our People, prisoners there, who are destitute of every Necessary, and die daily in numbers.5 You are about to have a new Ministry, I hear. If a sincere reconciliation is desired, Kindness to the Captives on both sides may promote it greatly. I have no Correspondent in Ireland. Can you put me in a way of sending those poor Men some Relief? And if you think the new Ministry better dispos’d than the last, I wish you would lay before them the slighted proposition I formerly sent you, for the Exchange of Prisoners.6 I see in your Newspapers that an Act is passing thro’ the House of Commons relative to that Subject. I beg you would send me a Copy of the Bill. Of the Dispositions on your side towards peace or Continuance of War, you must know more than me: I can only assure you of mine to finish this devilish Contest as soon as possible; and I have not lost sight of your request.7
To Mr. Wm. Hodgson, Merchts., Coleman-Street./
Notation: Passy, March 31, 1782. Copy of a Letter from Doctr. Franklin to Mr. Wm. Hodgson. Recd. 8th. April 1782.
3. His last extant letter to Hodgson was written in early January: XXXVI, 389.
4. Hodgson acknowledged it in his letter of March 22, above. His three previous letters explained the difficulties of providing relief to American prisoners of war: XXXVI, 439–41, 605–6, 633–4.
5. See XXXVI, 606–7, as well as Whipple and Lewis’ letter of March 24.
6. Conveyed by Hodgson nearly four months earlier, his proposal had not received a formal response: XXXVI, 62–3, 278, 440–1; Hodgson to BF, March 22, above.
7. The request was that BF give him advance notice of the probability of peace (which would be useful in speculations on the stock market); BF had agreed to do so: XXXIV, 476–7, 508, 539, 573; XXXV, 46.