Benjamin Franklin Papers
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To Benjamin Franklin from William Hodgson, 23 January 1784

From William Hodgson

ALS: American Philosophical Society

London 23 Jany— 1784

Dear sir—

I recd your favor of the 26th Ultimo & have been endeavouring all in my Power ever Since to find out the Value of the two Ships you mention,2 but hitherto I have not been able to succeed, I find these Ships were released by the Court of Denmark, but so long a Time has elapsed, that those who did the Insurance cannot easily turn to the Acc’t indeed the Union had only a trifling Sum done upon her. She belonged to Atkinson the Contractor3 so that she was laden as I presume for Goverment Acc’t, I have been so hostile to A— all the War, that I fear much I shall have great Difficulty in procuring the Value, but I will try every possible method— The other I hope I shall be able to procure from Liverpool to which place she belonged, I shou’d suppose these Ships from their Size & general Idea of Cargoes for such a Voyage coud not be worth less than from 10 to 15 thousand pounds per Ship— I return you my best thanks for your intended Kindness in respect to the Consulship & remain allways Dr sir Your Affectionate Friend & very Hble Servant

William Hodgson

To His Ex. B. Franklin Esqr

Addressed: To / His Excellency Benj Franklin Esqr / Minister Plenipotentiary from the United / States of America / a / Paris

Notation: Wm. Hodgson— 23 Jany 1784.—

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2In their instructions to the American commissioners of Oct. 29, above, Congress ordered BF to pursue the matter of obtaining restitution for the Union and Betsy, prizes taken during the cruise of John Paul Jones’s squadron in 1779 and then turned over to the British by Denmark (XXXI, 261–5). BF’s letter to Hodgson has not been located.

3Doubtless Richard Atkinson (XXII, 301n), a major provisions contractor during the American war: Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, II, 32.

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