Dodd, William LL.D., an unworthy clergyman of the Church of England, was born in 1729, at Bourn, Lincolnshire, and was admitted a sizar of Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 1745. In 1753 he was ordained, and settled in London; and from this time he continued to obtain a succession of small preferments in the Church, holding, in the latter part of his life, two chapels in London, with a rectory and vicarage in the country, and possessing an ecclesiastical income of £800 a year. He was one of the most popular preachers of the day; was one of the king's chaplains; and in 1763 was entrusted with the education of Philip Stanhope, afterwards earl of Chesterfield. In 1775 he was deprived of his king's chaplaincy for having offered to the wife of chancellor Apsley a bribe of £3000 if she would secure him the living of St. George's, Hanover Square. He preached his last sermon February 2, 1777; two days after he forged a bond for £4200 on Lord Chesterfield, was arrested, tried, and convicted February 24, and executed June 27. Strenuous efforts were made by men of the highest rank to save him, but without effect. He was a man of superficial learning, but of great literary industry. Besides minor pieces in prose and verse, he published An Elegy on the Death of the Prince of Wales (1751, 4to): — Thoughts on the
glorious Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ, a poetical essay (1758, 4to): — Sermons on the Parables and Miracles (1758, 4 volumes, 8vo): — Account of the Rise, Progress, etc., of the Magdalen Charity (1759, 8vo): — A familiar Explanation of the poetical Works of Milton (1762, 12mo): — Reflections on Death (1763, 12mo): — Comfort for the Afflicted (1764, 8vo): — The Visitor (1764, 2 volumes, 12mo): — a new edition of Locke's Commonplace-book to the Bible (1766, 4to): — Sermons on the Duties of the Great, transl. from Massillon (1769, 8vo): — A Commentary on the Bible, 3 volumes, fol. (published in numbers, commenced in 1765, and completed in 1770. "In order to give greater éclat to this undertaking, it was announced that lord Masham had presented him with the MSS. of Mr. Locke, and that he had help also from the MSS. of lord Clarendon, Dr. Waterland, and other celebrated men. The ability and sound judgment with which, in the compilation of this work, Dodd availed himself of the labors of preceding commentators, foreign as well as British, have rendered this a very valuable work." It was made the basis of Dr. Coke's Commentary, without adequate acknowledgment):Sermons to young Men (1771, 3 volumes, 12mo): — The Frequency of capital Punishments inconsistent with Justice, sound Policy, and Religion (1772, 8vo): — Thoughts in Prison, etc., with Memoirs of his Life (posthumous). See some interesting notices of Dodd's attack on Wesley, and of Wesley's visits to him, in Wesley's Works, N.Y. ed., 4:245, 466; 6:537.