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William Hodges - In the Farrington Diaries


Joseph Farrington R.A. (1747 - 1821) kept a diary in which William Hodges R.A. is mentioned several times:

Thursday March 9th 1797

Humphry wrote to me inclosing a letter from John Carr dated Brixham, March 7th. informing him of the sudden death of Poor Hodges who was taken ill late on Sunday night last & died at 10 oClock on Monday morning, - of the gout in his stomach. - He describes pathetically the deep distress of Mrs. Hodges. -He wishes to know from Humphry whether there is a small allowance to the Widows of Academicians from the Royal Academy. Humphry called on me in the eving. - Jeffries this morning recd. a letter from John Carr, containing the above melancholy information, and that Mrs. Hodges will only have £70 a year which Hodges settled upon her to support a family of 7 Children. - He desires Jeffries to send him £20 and states that He shall do all He can for the family - that He has quitted the connexion He had with Gretton &c finding it a losing concern, - and is endeavouring to establish himself at Brixham.

Jeffries called on Humphry, & after consulting him, wrote to Mr. Hastings & inclosed Carrs letter. - Mr. Hastings sent Jeffries £20 and added that should a subscription be set on foot for the benefit of Mrs. Hodges & Her Children He desired to be considered as one of the first who would subscribe.

Jeffries said to Humphry that on reconsidering particulars He concludes Hodges had little money to spare, as several Bills have been brought to him such as Green grocers, - &c &c with enquiries where Mr. Hodges resided.

Monday March 13th 1797

Humphry called in eving. - Froude told him that He had recd. a letter from his Sister at Totness who had been informed by the Physician who attended Poor Hodges of the following particulars.

Owing to the stoppage of payments at the Bank of England the alarm raised by it induced the people at Dartmouth who had lodged money in Hodges & Grettons Bank to make a sudden demand of it, which was attended with consequences & anxiety which brought a fit of the gout on Hodges. The disorder seized his feet, and rising to his Knees, He proposed to draw the humours again to his feet by plundging his feet in warm water. - In consequence He felt a sensation such as He told Mrs. Hodges He never experienced before & apprended the worst consequences, a Physician was sent for to Totness 9 miles distant who when He saw Hodges He declared there was death in His face. - This change took place late on Sunday evening March 5th. & He died on Monday morning at Ten o'Clock.

Monday March 27th 1797

Westall called. J. Carr is in town. Hodges bathed feet on Sunday morning - went to Church afterwards in thin stockings, -complained, after dinner determined to go to Dartmouth to inform merchants of his Stoppage, owing to wet was ¾ of hour waiting for Ferry Boat, returned to late supper, told Carr his going would be his death, - talked of the State of the world eloquently, went to Bed, - in the night became worse, and died next morning. - Had taken some Laudunum but not to injure him. - Gouty complaint fixed in stomach, was expelled by Aether, and flew to his Head, which made him delirious.

Hodges lost £1400 by His publication of India Views, was engaged with B. Johnson & who advanced £2000 & were to share profits. -They pressed him on the subject and He imprudently gave bond to them for the whole -though they had agreed to lose the whole if work did not answer.

Hodges shd. have stopped payment on Tuesday before He died as other Banks had done. He paid till Saturday night when he had no more money lent. Only abt. £600 of his notes were remaining out.

Monday May 8th 1797

Cockerell joined us - talked abt. Mrs. Hodges. 4 or £500 will be lost by Trustees. She will have £100 a yr. She hesitates abt. receiving money from the Academy. - The creditors of Hodges will lose abt. £4000.

Thursday May 25th 1797

Cockerell called. Hodges borrowed £700 from trustees for his marriage settlement to make up £1200 to purchase House at Tunbridge for his mother - to whom He let it on lease for her life at £30 a yr. Trustees witheld whole interest of marriage settlement till death of Hodges which reduced debt to abt. £400. Miss Lindesgreen writes that Mrs. Hodges will take Academy money, - at first supposed it was to be a subscription of Individuals.

Monday June 12th 1797

Cockerells I went to, met Miss Pettiward & J Carr - the eldest girl to go to school - all debts incurred since Hodges death to be paid -allow Carr £98 for children - the settlement in the Funds yields £123 a yr. - Hayleys proposal to write life of Hodges scouted by Carr - Who was much pressed by Hayley who said He shd. like to try his hand at that attempt.

Gordon Crompton

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 918, volume 16, number 2 (1993).

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