From William Hodgson
ALS: American Philosophical Society
London 6th Mar: 1783
I wrote you a few days ago4 on the Subject of our Ship to America craving your Advice & Assistance wh. I hope you will be so obliging as to favor me with a speedy Answer— I now inclose you the Draft of a Bill now in the House & which no doubt will pass into a Law, for restoring Trade betwixt this Country & America5 it is formed upon liberal principles & will I have no doubt produce the desired effect— I likewise inclose you a Letter from the Earl of Buchan which I recd from Mr Strahan.6 Mr Jones has got the appointment of one of the Judges in Bengal—a place of very great Emolument—7 I requested some Time ago the favor of Mr W. Franklin to make an Enquiry for me at Mr de Castries Office8 I fear it escaped his Memory— No Ministry as yet formed— I am Dr sir Yours most sincerely
N.B. The Prisoners are at last, all ordered away to France9
His Excellency B. Franklin Esqr
4. Above, Feb. 25.
5. While he was still prime minister, Shelburne had John Pownall (XIV, 74n) draft the so-called American Intercourse Bill in order to regulate British commerce with the United States until a definitive commercial treaty was signed. According to its provisions, American produce in British ports would be treated as if it were British, and American shipping could carry both exports from the British West Indies and American produce to the British West Indies. On March 3, with the ministry still in disarray (see the headnote to Hodgson’s Feb. 25 letter), William Pitt introduced the bill into the House of Commons. It was severely criticized in debate on March 7 before being referred to committee: Harlow, Second British Empire, I, 448–54; Cobbett, Parliamentary History, XXIII, 602–15; C. R. Ritcheson, “The Earl of Shelburne and Peace with America, 1782–1783: Vision and Reality,” International History Review, V (1983), 341n; John Ehrman, The Younger Pitt (3 vols., New York and Stanford, Calif., 1969–96), I, 96–7.
6. Probably Buchan to BF, Feb. 18.
7. On March 4 William Jones was appointed judge of the high court of Calcutta; two weeks later he was knighted. Garland Cannon, The Life and Mind of Oriental Jones: Sir William Jones, the Father of Modern Linguistics (Cambridge, New York, and Port Chester, N.Y., 1990), pp. 191–2.
8. His inquiry concerned the freighting of the ship Weeren Frienden at Lorient: Hodgson to WTF, Jan. 24, 1783 (APS).
9. The order was issued on March 3. A month earlier there still were more than 300 American prisoners in England, including 272 at Mill and Forton prisons: Sheldon S. Cohen, Yankee Sailors in British Gaols: Prisoners of War at Forton and Mill, 1777–1783 (Newark, Del., and London, 1995), pp. 205–6.