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WHAT is to be expected in the following papers
, their titles fufficiently indicate. The interest taken by the public in the sentence of the unfortunate man to whom they relate, naturally produced this publication.
He that commits these papers to the press, desires not to be considered as approving or condemning. He means to gratify the honest curiosity of the reader, and hopes that his curiosity may end in useful meditation.
The papers are printed without any alteration, except the omission of a few words in one of the letters, which had a personal reference, and which therefore it was proper to suppress.
The most important of these pieces is the criminal's account of himself, which one of his friends advised him to have dilated more ; but the day of execution was approaching, and he may be easily forgiven if he left his story imperfect. He had, we ought to hope, other employment.
* Dr. DODD's Account of Himself.
THE greatest amiction and oppression to my mind at present is, the piercing reflection that I, who have lived all my life in an endeavour to promote the truth of Christianity, should now become an obstacle to that truth, and a scandal to that profession :-that I, who have with all my power, and with all sincerity, laboured to do good, and be a blessing to my fellow-creatures, should now become an evil and a curse. What shall I, can I, ought I to do, to prevent, as much as in me lies, any such dreadful consequences of my shame and my crime? Will a public attestation of my sincere belief of Christianity, and an ingenuous detail and confession of my offences, be of any avail ?In order to do this, and to acquaint you in few words with a perfect knowledge
• of this account Dr. Dodd may be said to have only drawn the outlines ; the picture, as it appears, was finished by Dr. Johnson.
of myself, (though I should wish to do it more fully) be so good as to consider the few following particulars.
I entered very young on public life, very innocentvery ignorant--and very ingenuous. I lived many happy years at West Ham, in an uninterrupted and successful discharge of my duty. A disappointment in the living of that parish obliged me to exert myself, and I engaged for a chapel near Buckingham Gate. Great success attended the undertaking : it pleased and elated me. At the same time Lord Chesterfield, to whom I was pere sonally unknown, offered me the care of his heir, Mr. S~* By the advice of my dear friend, now in heaven, Dr. Squire, I engaged under promises which were not performed. Such a distinction too, you must know, ferved to increase a young man's vanity. I was naturally led into more extensive and important connections, and, of course, into greater expences, and more dissipations. Indeed, before, I never disipated at all—for many, many years, never seeing a play-house, or any public place, but living entirely in Christian duties. Thus brought to town, and introduced to gay life, I fell into its snares. Ambition and vanity led me on. My temper, naturally chearful, was pleased with company; naturally generous, it knew not the use of money; it was a stranger to the useful science of economy and frugality; nor could it withhold from distress, what it too much (often) wanted itself.
Besides this, the habit of uniform, regular, sober piety, and of watchfulness and devotion, wearing off, amidst
• The present Lord Chesterfield,
this unavoidable scene of diffipation, I was not, as at West Ham, the innocent man that I lived there. I committed offences against my God! which yet, I bless him, were always, in reflection, detestable to me.
But my greatest evil was expence. To supply it I fell into the dreadful and ruinous mode of raising money by annuities. The annuities devoured me. Still I exerted myself by every means to do what I thought right, and built my hopes of perfect extrication from all my difiiculties when my young and beloved pupil should come of
age. But alas ! during this interval, which was not very long, I declare with solemn truth, that I never varied from the steady belief of the Christian doctrines ! I preached them with all my power, and kept back nothing from my congregations which I thought might tend to their best welfare; and I was very successful in this way during the time. Nor, though I spent in dißipation many hours which I ought not, but to which my connections inevitably led, was I idle during this period : as my Commentary on the Bible, my Sermons to Young Men, and several other publications prove. I can say too, with pleasure, that I ftudiously employed my interest, through the connections I had, for the good of
I never forgot or neglected the cause of the distressed; many, if need were, could bear me witness. Let it suffice to say, that during this period I instituted the charity for the Discharge of Debtors.
Such is the plain and ingenuous detail of myself. I sincerely lament all I have done wrong. I love, and ever did, religion and goodness. I hate and abhor vice, and myself for ever having committed any. I look Dd
with peculiar detestation on the crime to which I am ar present obnoxious ; and I wilh before I die, of all things, if it be posible, to make amends-by the most sincere and full confeffion and humiliation of myself.
May 21, 1777
The following DECLARATION Dr. DODD
inclosed in a Letter to a Friend some time before he suffered.
THOUGH I acknowledge in all its atrocity, and more especially with a view to my peculiar circumstances and character, the offence for which I fuffer,--yet, confidering that it is punished with such fanguinary severity in no commercial state under heaven; and that in my cafe it has been fully atoned for, so far as human creatures can atone to each other; I cannot but judge my punishment rather hard :--and still more so, as thar public (for whose benefit and example such ignominions death and punishment can alone be intended) has with a pleading, and almost unanimous voice fupplicated the throne, in the most humble manner, to shew mercy, and avert the abhorred stroke, by asigning another, though perhaps not less afiliative punilan ent.
In this cifpensation, however, I look far beyond the hand of poor human vengeance, and adore the justice