Hodges, William (1645?-1714) (DNB00)

HODGES, Sir WILLIAM (1645?–1714), London merchant and writer, descended from a Middlesex family, was born about 1645. On 6 June 1611 a complaint was preferred by the citizens of Chester against a William Hodges, merchant, of London, who was perhaps Sir William's father (Harl. MS. 2105, p. 379). Hodges rapidly acquired a large fortune from the Spanish trade, and was in partnership at Cadiz with Christopher Hague, Ellis Terrell, and the Hon. Henry Bertie (see will). On one occasion he accepted a bill for 300,000l., and paid it for the use of the English fleet under the command of Admiral Russell, afterwards Earl of Orford (Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum, iv. 603). The records of his financial dealings with the government date from 4 Aug. 1697 (Cal. of Treasury Papers, 1697–1701–2 passim, 1702–7 p. 301, cf. pp. 227, 255). Hodges was created a baronet on 31 March 1697. He died on 31 July 1714, and was buried on 6 Aug. at St. Katherine Coleman in Fenchurch Street. Malcolm describes his funeral, which was of unusual grandeur, forty-two noblemen's coaches following the procession (Lond. Red. iv. 603). His will, dated 13 July 1714, was proved in the P.C.C. [Aston, 139]. Hodges resided in 1681 in Mincing Lane, and at the time of his death had a house in Winchester Street, near Austin Friars. He married in 1681 (licence dated 25 April) Sarah, daughter and coheiress of Joseph Hall, merchant, of London and Hampstead, when his age was stated as ‘about thirty-six’ (Harl. Soc. xxx.; Marriage Allegations, p. 60). He had an only son, Joseph, who succeeded to the baronetcy, but wasted his estate, and died unmarried in 1722, when the title became extinct (Burke, Extinct Baronetcies, 2nd edit. p. 266). Lady Hodges died in 1717.

Hodges is doubtless the author of the following pamphlets pleading for the relief of British seamen from extortion:

  1. ‘An humble Representation of the Seamen's Misery’ [London, 1694], fol.
  2. ‘Great Britain's Groans; or an account of the oppression … of the … seamen of England,’ London, 1695, 4to.
  3. ‘Humble Proposals for the Relief … of the Seamen of England,’ 1695, 4to.
  4. ‘The Groans of the Poor … for the spoiling of our money,’ London, 1696, 4to.
  5. ‘Ruin to Ruin … being the distressed state of the seamen of England,’ London, 1699, 4to.

[Le Neve, Monumenta Anglicana, v. 290; Brit. Mus. Cat.; authorities above quoted.]

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