Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Hodgson: Extract and Note, [14 January 1783]

To William Hodgson: Extract and Note2

(I) Press copy of copy:3 American Philosophical Society; (II) press copy of AL: American Philosophical Society


[January 14, 1783]

It was in the Beginning of October that you inform’d me, the Prisoners would be immediately sent over hither to be exchang’d.4 There were then in the French Ports several American Vessels in which I could have sent them. I fear that I shall now be obliged to send a Vessel with them, which I must hire for that purpose. I therefore request you would procure for me a Passport with a Blank for the Captain and Vessel’s Name. Mr. Oswald will assist you in the Application if necessary. If the Vessels still here can take them I shall not make use of it; but methinks the Prisoners should be furnish’d with some kind of Protection to serve them till they get home.—

Extract of a Letter from B Franklin Esq to W. Hodgson Esqr. dated Passy Jan. 14 1783


Jany. 14. 1783

I heartily wish it were in my Power, my dear Friend, to give you the Information you desire: But I am afraid of misleading you, being as much in the dark as you can possibly be.— The Moment I learn any thing that can be depended on, and may [be] of Use to you, it shall be sent you. But I hope you may obtain earlier Intelligence nearer home.—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2Though the recipient’s name does not appear on the note, we conjecture that BF added this paragraph, written on a separate sheet, to the now-missing letter from which the extract was made. Hodgson had asked BF on Dec. 12 about the “probability” of a peace settlement. He repeated that inquiry, in equally veiled but pointed terms, in his letter of Jan. 8.

3The text is in L’Air de Lamotte’s hand. The notation was written by WTF.

4Above, Oct. 14.

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