Hodgson, William (1745-1851) (DNB00)

HODGSON, WILLIAM, M.D. (1745–1851), politician and author, born in 1745, was descended from an ancient border family, and in early life studied medicine in Holland, where he developed a taste for botany. On his return to England he attended with success, through a severe illness, a member of Lord Holland's family, but he declined Lord Holland's offer of an appointment. He adopted extreme political views, chiefly derived from the French philosophers, and Franklin and Bolivar were among his warmest friends. On 9 Dec. 1793 he was tried at the Old Bailey on charges of having proposed as a toast ‘The French Republic,’ and of having ‘compared the king to a German hog butcher.’ He was found guilty and was sentenced to be confined in Newgate for two years, to pay a fine of 200l., and to find securities in 400l. for two years longer. After regaining his liberty he relinquished politics for literature and science. He died in Hemmington Terrace, Islington, on 2 March 1851, at the age of 106.

Hodgson published: 1. ‘The Picture of the Times,’ 3rd edit. 1795. 2. ‘The Commonwealth of Reason. By W. Hodgson, now confined in the Prison of Newgate, London, for sedition,’ London, 1795, 8vo. 3. ‘The System of Nature,’ from the French of Mirabaud, London, 1795, 8vo. 4. ‘The Case of W. Hodgson, now confined in Newgate for the payment of 200l. after having suffered two years' imprisonment on a charge of sedition, considered and compared with the existing laws of the country,’ London, 1796, 8vo. 5. ‘Proposals for publishing by subscription a treatise called the Female Citizen, or a Historical … Enquiry into the Rights of Women’ [London, 1796?], small sheet, 8vo. 6. ‘The Temple of Apollo, being a Selection of the best Poems from the most esteemed Authors,’ Lond. 1796, 8vo. 7. ‘Memoranda: intended to aid the English Student in the acquirement of the niceties of French Grammar,’ London, 1817, 12mo. 8. ‘A critical Grammar of the French and English Languages; with tabular elucidations,’ London, 1819, 12mo. 9. ‘Flora's Cabinet’ [1835?] in which the relation of chemistry to the flower garden is scientifically elucidated. 10. ‘The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, once Emperor of the French,’ London [1841], 8vo. 11. Articles on chemistry in the ‘Guide to Knowledge.’ 12. ‘A Derivative and Terminal Dictionary,’ left unfinished at his death.

[Annual Register, 1851, pt. ii. 268; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, p. 160; Gent. Mag. 1851, pt. i. p. 560; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. ix. 475.]

T. C.