Dodd, William, 1729-1777

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William Dodd (1729-1777) attended the University of Cambridge, and was ordained as a minister in 1752. He published a wide variety of works from 1747 onward, including poetry, a novel, theological writings, and his most successful work, The Beauties of Shakespeare (1752). In 1767, he founded Pimlico Chapel in London behind Buckingham House, in an effort to attract royal patronage. Dodd grew increasingly desperate for money to pay debts. On 1777 Feb. 1, he forged the name of a former pupil on a bond in an effort to obtain £4200, for which he was sentenced to death on May 16. Despite a vigorous public sympathy campaign, led in part by author Samuel Johnson, clemency was not granted and Dodd was executed on June 27.

From the guide to the Poems by the late unhappy and lamented William Dodd, LL.D., 1745-1796., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

The Rev. William Dodd, a London-area clergyman, found himself desperate for money to pay debts. On 1777 Feb. 1, he forged the name of a former pupil on a bond in an effort to obtain £4200. He was arrested a week later, convicted on Feb. 22, and sentenced to death on May 16. Samuel Johnson became interested in the case through the efforts of his friend and neighbor, printer Edmund Allen. Over the next several weeks, Johnson wrote several letters, speeches and petitions on Dodd's behalf. Although one of Johnson's petitions gathered twenty-three thousand signatures, and his words helped generate widespread public sympathy for Dodd's case, clemency was not granted. Dodd was executed on June 27.

From the description of William Dodd papers, 1777. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612839026

The Rev. William Dodd (1729-1777), a London-area clergyman, found himself desperate for money to pay debts. On 1777 Feb. 1, he forged the name of a former pupil on a bond in an effort to obtain £4200. He was arrested a week later, convicted on Feb. 22, and sentenced to death on May 16. Author Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) became interested in the case through the efforts of his friend and neighbor, printer Edmund Allen (1726-1784). Over the next several weeks, Johnson wrote several letters, speeches and petitions on Dodd's behalf. Although one of Johnson's petitions gathered twenty-three thousand signatures, and his words had helped generate widespread public sympathy for Dodd's case, clemency was not granted. Dodd was executed on June 27.

From the guide to the William Dodd papers, 1777., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

William Dodd attended the University of Cambridge, and was ordained as a minister in 1752. He published a wide variety of works from 1747 onward, including poetry, a novel, theological writings, and his most successful work, The Beauties of Shakespeare (1752). In 1767, he founded Pimlico Chapel in London behind Buckingham House, in an effort to attract royal patronage. Dodd grew increasingly desperate for money to pay debts. On 1777 Feb. 1, he forged the name of a former pupil on a bond in an effort to obtain £4200, for which he was sentenced to death. He was executed on June 27.

From the description of Poems by the late unhappy and lamented William Dodd, LL.D. : manuscript, 1745-1796. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612867089

Bedfordshire clergyman.

Son of a clergyman, William Dodd was born in 1729 and attended school at Oxford. He married Mary Perkins in 1751. Throughout his adult life he lived above his means and accumulated numerous debts. Finally, pressed by creditors, in 1777 he forged a bond for 4200 pounds from his pupil, Lord Chesterfield. He was quickly caught, tried and executed on June 27, 1777.

From the description of The King agst Dr. Dodd, 1777 : copies of the case of the prosecutor and various proceedings had pending the prosecution up to the final judgment subsequent to his execution. (Scottsdale Public Library). WorldCat record id: 22657080

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Dodd, William, 1729-1777. An epistle to a lady, / by Wm. Dodd, chaplain-in-ordinary to his majesty, [ca. 1753]. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Best, Thomas, of Brook Green. Correspondence of Thomas Best Esq. from 1777 to 1802, 1855 Jan. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn [Album concerning William Dodd], 1752-1799. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Account of the last five months of the life of Dr. William Dodd [manuscript], ca. 1778. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Garrick, David, 1717-1779. Epilogue by David Garrick for Master Ernst [manuscript], [1767]. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson (Houghton Library). Papers &c relating to the fate of the unfortunate Dr. Dodd : scrapbook, 1752-1777. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn An account of the Last Five months of the Life of the Revd. Dr. William Dodd ... [manuscript], ca. 1778. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Extracts from Shakespeare's plays [manuscript], ca. 1800. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Dodd, William, 1729-1777. William Dodd papers, 1777. Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf William Dodd papers, 1777. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Dodd, William, 1729-1777. Poems by the late unhappy and lamented William Dodd, LL.D. : manuscript, 1745-1796. Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf Dodd, William, 1729-1777,. The King agst Dr. Dodd, 1777 : copies of the case of the prosecutor and various proceedings had pending the prosecution up to the final judgment subsequent to his execution. Arizona State University Libraries
referencedIn Dodd, Philip Stanhope, 1775-1852. The trial and execution of the Reverend William Dodd : manuscript, [not before 1813] Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Garrick, David, 1717-1779. Autograph song by David Garrick for Dodd [manuscript], [18th century]. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Portrait file: Guide. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Donald Hyde and Mary Hyde Eccles Autograph Collection, 1505-1957 (inclusive), 1702-1854 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn [Clippings, portraits and other material relating to the trial of Dr. William Dodd, who was executed for forgery on June 27, 1777]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Letters of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., collected and edited by George Birkbeck Hill, extra-illustrated, 1413-1900 (inclusive), 1775-1839 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Poems by the late unhappy and lamented William Dodd, LL.D., 1745-1796. Houghton Library.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Allen, Edmund person
associatedWith Allen, Edmund, 1726-1780, person
associatedWith Anthony Chamier, 1725-1780 person
associatedWith Bathurst, Henry Bathurst, Earl, 1714-1794, person
associatedWith Best, Thomas, of Brook Green. person
associatedWith Butler, Weeden, 1742-1823, person
correspondedWith Caroline Fitzroy, Countess Harrington, 1722-1784 person
associatedWith Chamier, Anthony, 1725-1780, person
associatedWith Charlotte, consort of George III, 1744-1818 person
associatedWith Charlotte, consort of George III, King of Great Britain, 1744-1818, person
associatedWith Dodd, Philip Stanhope, 1775-1852. person
correspondedWith Dodd, William. person
associatedWith Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson (Houghton Library) corporateBody
associatedWith Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson (Houghton Library) corporateBody
correspondedWith Edmund Allen. person
associatedWith Garrick, David, 1717-1779. person
associatedWith George III, King of Great Britain, 1738-1820, person
associatedWith Harrington, Catherine Fitzroy, Countess, 1722-1784, person
correspondedWith Henry Bathurst, Earl of Bathurst, 1714-1794 person
associatedWith Johann Christian Bach, 1735-1782 person
associatedWith Johnson, Samuel, 1709-1784. person
associatedWith Mansfield, William Murray, Earl of, 1705-1793, person
associatedWith Maxfield, Thomas, d. 1784, person
correspondedWith Samuel Johnson person
associatedWith Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. person
correspondedWith Unidentified correspondent. person
associatedWith Weeden Butler person
associatedWith William Dodd. person
correspondedWith William Murray, Earl of Mansfield, 1705-1793 person
associatedWith Winterbottom, Abraham, person
Place Name Admin Code Country
London (England)
England
Great Britain
Arizona--Tempe
Subject
Trials (Forgery)
Capital punishment--18th century
English poetry--18th century
Women--Conduct of life
Manuscripts--English
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1729-05-29

Death 1777-06-27

Britons

English

Information

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