Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to William Hodgson, 31 March 1782

To William Hodgson

Copy: William L. Clements Library

Passy, March 31, 1782.

It is long since I have been able to afford myself the pleasure of writing to you;3 but I have had that of receiving several Letters from you, and I sent you in consequence a credit for 300 £ which I hope you received.4 I am sorry that you had been obliged to advance: The trouble you so kindly take is sufficient. I just hear from Ireland, that there are 200 of our People, prisoners there, who are destitute of every Necessary, and die daily in numbers.5 You are about to have a new Ministry, I hear. If a sincere reconciliation is desired, Kindness to the Captives on both sides may promote it greatly. I have no Correspondent in Ireland. Can you put me in a way of sending those poor Men some Relief? And if you think the new Ministry better dispos’d than the last, I wish you would lay before them the slighted proposition I formerly sent you, for the Exchange of Prisoners.6 I see in your Newspapers that an Act is passing thro’ the House of Commons relative to that Subject. I beg you would send me a Copy of the Bill. Of the Dispositions on your side towards peace or Continuance of War, you must know more than me: I can only assure you of mine to finish this devilish Contest as soon as possible; and I have not lost sight of your request.7

B. Franklin.

To Mr. Wm. Hodgson, Merchts., Coleman-Street./

Notation: Passy, March 31, 1782. Copy of a Letter from Doctr. Franklin to Mr. Wm. Hodgson. Recd. 8th. April 1782.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3His last extant letter to Hodgson was written in early January: XXXVI, 389.

4Hodgson acknowledged it in his letter of March 22, above. His three previous letters explained the difficulties of providing relief to American prisoners of war: XXXVI, 439–41, 605–6, 633–4.

5See XXXVI, 606–7, as well as Whipple and Lewis’ letter of March 24.

6Conveyed by Hodgson nearly four months earlier, his proposal had not received a formal response: XXXVI, 62–3, 278, 440–1; Hodgson to BF, March 22, above.

7The request was that BF give him advance notice of the probability of peace (which would be useful in speculations on the stock market); BF had agreed to do so: XXXIV, 476–7, 508, 539, 573; XXXV, 46.

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