Feb. 15th, 1864
Lodge1 PDF, p. 4
T.A.W. Harper, Esq.
I have been throughout the last week at the district Court of Admiralty listening to arguments for & against the jurisdiction of the court. The question was decided on Saturday by the Judge pronouncing in my favor on all the questions.
I can therefore now proceed against Smiley in the civil action & intend to do so. I believe I will be able to get judgement against him but where am I then? I cannot find any tangible property and he will in all probability turn round and laugh at me. In the mean time “Smiley” is exerting himself successfully in getting all of the witnesses out of the way & he has nearly succeeded. Nevertheless there are a few left.
I have offered a large new reward for the recovery of any part of the treasure, but I have no great hopes of every seeing any of it.
I get no assistance from any one. The New York & Boston underwriters keep aloof and leave me to make the best fight I can singlehanded.
They are ready enough to take advantage of anything I do, but they decline any part in the risk. In fact they are asking this year in the same manner as they did last year. I had to take all the risk and then it turned out a profitable speculation. They share in it & so they are willing to do now.
By the last mail shared I drew upon you for £300 being part of my letter of credit on Hellman Bro. This is the draft that I advised you of in my previous letter as being for $1500.
This is a pretty considerable fix suit now and don’t see my way very clearly to get out.
I remain Sir your best sert. (abbrev.for servant)
Francis W. Lodge
P.S. Some of the bars will find their way to London, Paris, Hamburg. Can the detectives do anything on speculation by making inquiries upon mints or otherwise?