From William Hodgson
ALS: American Philosophical Society
London 4 Decemr. 1780
I rec’d your favor of the 24th Octr with the accot of Prisoners Released3 which I laid before the Board of Sick & Hurt & they are allowed in Acc’t, there remains due from you 41 Prisoners to make up the Number of the last Cartel, & untill that Debt is paid it is in Vain to expect any more exchanges.4
Inclosed you have an Acc’t of the expenditure of the one hundred pounds Rec’d from Mr Grand for the Relief of the Prisoners distresses—5 There have been lately near one hundred more committed to Forton, the publick Subscription6 is in a manner exhausted, so that very little more future help can be expected from that Quarter— Mens Minds seem more & more soured in this unhappy contest, insomuch, that to have even common Sentiments of Humanity towards Americans, is sufficient to expose such as possess them to obloquy & Reproach, However upon that Ground no Reproaches shall alter my Resolution to do all that in me lies, consistent with the Laws of my Country to alleviate their distress, persuaded that by so doing, I shall have the perfect complacency & Satisfaction of my own Mind— At the same Time it is not only necessary to act perfectly right, but is also necessary to avoid all cause of Censure by avoiding every concern but what Relates to the Objects which have hitherto been the sole purpose of our Correspondence, in that Line or in any conciliatory Measure you may freely command me, I decline no difficulty because upon that Ground I can face any Man or body of Men—I am with great Respect Dr sir your most Obedt. Hble serv
P.S. Am sorry to acquaint you our old Friend Mr Bentley died last week much regretted by the old Club—7 Your last inclosure was forwarded as directed alltho I have not the least doubt but that it was of a Nature perfectly innocent, yet in future I wish you to avoid that mode of Conveyance.
|March 31.8||Cash to Mr Wren at Portmo||£ 21—|
|Do Mr Heath at Plymo||10.10|
|May 31.||a distressed American Capt||4. 4|
|Oct.||Cash Mr. Wren||20|
|Sundry Clothing to Portmo & Plym||37. 9.6|
|Cash & Cloths to some prisoners in Wood st Compter9||6.16.6|
Addressed: Dr. Franklin / Passy
Notation: Hodgson William. London Decr. 4. 1780.
3. Actually, WTF had written Hodgson on behalf of his grandfather, then ill with gout, on Oct. 21. That letter enclosed a now-missing list of prisoners who had been delivered on Oct. 5 to Capt. George Bagster of the cartel ship James at Calais (probably from St. Omer: XXXIII, 313) and asked that credit be given for them. BF had not yet received an answer about American-made prisoners in Spain, except that those taken by Capt. Harridan [Haraden] had been successfully sent to America. Library of Congress.
4. The last British cartel ship sent with American prisoners to Morlaix had to return empty for want of British prisoners in exchange; the board (which had arranged the exchange) had expressed to Hodgson its disgust: XXXII, 167–8, 305–6, 556.
5. Probably the money BF had sent Hodgson in March for prisoner relief: XXXII, 81n.
6. Which Hodgson had helped to organize: XXXI, 142n.
7. Josiah Wedgwood’s partner Thomas Bentley (XXI, 190n) died on Nov. 26: DNB. Like BF and Hodgson, he had been a member of the Club of Thirteen: XXI, 119–20; XXXII, 81n.
8. The following payments are listed in Account XXVII (XXXIII, 6).
9. For Wood Street compter (prison) see Henry B. Wheatley, London Past and Present … (3 vols., London, 1891), III, 530–1.