May 12, 1864
Association for the Protection of Commercial Interests as respects Wrecked and Damaged Property
Lloyd’s, 12 May 1864
Captain Francis Lodge
I have to acknowledge several of your favors and observe from you last that you anticipate requiring a renewal of credit, to enable you to prosecute this man Smiley, and for other purposes of your expedition.
I am just returned from Paris where I have learnt that the French underwriters are extremely anxious not to incur (indeed I may say, that they would be exceedingly unwilling to incur) further expenses without any tangible result, and from what I hear the English underwriters are entirely of the same mind. The sum of £2000 reserved to meet future expenses, is nearly exhausted and it would be a matter of extreme difficulty, almost an impossibility in fact, to recover any expenses insured in excess of that sum, from the underwriters.
No clue has hitherto been obtained of any of the treasure supposed to have arrived in Europe, in the beginning of the present year, and unless you really see some real and profitable advantage I really do not think that it will be worth while to prosecute Smiley any further at a large and unremunerative expenditure.
Had the case occurred here, where the severe punishment of a swindler, might have proved an example to others, it would have been somewhat different; but in a country like California; where I much fear, honesty, among the natives is the exception; severe punishments would bring Smiley more sympathy than any thing else has, even could a severe punishment be counted upon.
Unless therefore you see your way to some more substantial result than the mere conviction of the offender, I should certainly strongly recommend you to abstain from incurring future expenses.
I remain dear Sir,