Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Jane Hogarth, 22 May 1767

From Jane Hogarth3

AL: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

May 22d [17674]

Mrs. Hogarth presents her Compliments to Dr. Franklin and should be much obliged to him if he would influence some of his Friend’s of the House of Common’s, to be present on Monday Next at the reading of the Artist’s Bill, to Support a Clause that is inserted in it, In her Favor.5

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Jane Thornhill Hogarth (d. 1789) was the widow of the artist William Hogarth (1697–1764), whom she had married in 1729. Since Hogarth was reputed to have been answering an “agreeable letter” from BF when he died (above, X, 172 n), the two men may have established friendly relations during BF’s first mission to England. In 1766–67 BF had doubtless sought Mrs. Hogarth’s help in procuring a set of her husband’s works for Lib. Co. Phila.

4The year date of this note is determined by its reference to the prospective reading of the “Artist’s Bill” in the House of Commons. The measure referred to, entitled “An Act to amend and render more effectual an Act made in the Eighth Year of the Reign of King George the Second, for Encouragement of the Arts of Designing, Engraving, and Etching, Historical and other Prints; and for vesting in, and securing to, Jane Hogarth, Widow, the Property in certain Prints,” 7 Geo. III, cap. 38, was reported by the committee and certain amendments were agreed to on May 21, 1767; it was ordered engrossed, May 22, and received its third reading and was passed with one small favorable amendment on Monday, May 25, 1767. After approval by the Lords it received the royal assent on June 29. Commons Journal, XXXI, 379–80, 381, 383, 393, 415.

5Among other provisions, the measure gave Mrs. Hogarth the sole right for 20 years after Jan. 1, 1767, of printing and reprinting her husband’s works on which the first copywright had expired or was near expiring. There is no indication of whether BF recruited his friends to support Mrs. Hogarth’s cause.

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