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“ You are too conversant in the world to need the slightest hint from me, of what infinite utility the Speech on the aweful day has been to me. . rience, every hour, some good effect from it. I am sure that effects still more salutary and important, must follow from your kind and intended favour. I will labour-God being my helper,—to do justice to it from the pulpit. I am sure, had I your sentiments constantly to deliver from thence, in all their mighty force and power, not a soul could be left unconvinced and unpersuaded.
He added " May GOD ALMIGHTY bless and reward, with his choicest comforts, your philanthropick actions, and enable me at all times to express what I feel of the high and uncommon obligations which I owe to the first man in our times."
On Sunday, June 22, he writes, begging Dr. Johnson's assistance in framing a supplicatory letter to his Majesty :
“ If his Majesty could be moved of his royal clemency to spare me and my family the horroars and ignominy of a publick death, which the publick itself is solicitous to wave, and to grant me in some silent distant corner of the globe to pass the remainder of my days in penitence and prayer, I would bless his clemency and be humbled.”
8 His Speech at the Old Bailey, when found guilty. [It may be doubted how far Dr. Johnson's speeches for Dodd were of ".infinite utility." If they were thought to be Dodd's, they might be of some utility, as exciting compassion. It is somewhat remarkable that the celebrated Mrs. Carter, an acute discerner of Johnson's style, believed that the “ Last solemn Declaration," mentioned above, was the production of Dodd, and says “ There was nothing ostentatious or affected in it, but all was a natural expression of a heart deeply impressed with the sense of so awful a situation." Letters to Mrs. Montague, Vol. III. p. 27. Oct. 1817. A. C.]
This letter was brought to Dr. Johnson when in church. He stooped down and read it, and wrote, when he went home, the following letter for Dr. Dodd to the King :
“ May it not offend your Majesty, that the most miserable of men applies himself to your clemency, as his last hope and his last refuge; that your mercy is most earnestly and humbly implored by a clergyman, whom your Laws and Judges 8 8 have condemned to the horrour and ignominy of a publick execution.
“ I confess the crime, and own the enormity of its consequences, and the danger of its example. Nor have I the confidence to petition for impunity; but humbly hope, that publick security may be established, without the spectacle of a clergyman dragged through the streets, to a death of infamy, amidst the derision of the profligate and profane; and that justice may be satisfied with irrevocable exile, perpetual disgrace, and hopeless penury.
My life, Sir, has not been useless to mankind. I have benefited many. But my offences against God are numberless, and I have had little time for repent
Preserve me, Sir, by your prerogative of mercy, from the necessity of appearing unprepared at that tribunal, before which Kings and Subjects must stand at last together. Permit me to hide my guilt in some obscure corner of a foreign country, where, if I can ever attain confidence to hope that my prayers will be heard, they shall be poured with all the fervour of gratitude for the life and happiness of your Majesty.
“ I am, Sir,
“ Your Majesty's, &c.” [ 8 8 The phrase " your Laws and Judges" has ever appeared to me disrespectful, or, as a politician would say, unconstitutional. A. C.]
Subjoined to it was written as follows:
S TO DR. DODD.
“ I MOST seriously enjoin you not to let it be at all known that I have written this letter, and to return the copy to MIr. Allen in a cover to me. I hope I need not tell you, that I wish it success.-But do not indulge hope.- Tell nobody.”
It happened luckily that Mr. Allen was pitched on to assist in this melancholy office, for he was a great friend of Mr. Akerman, the keeper of Newgate. Dr. Johnson never went to see Dr. Dodd. He said to me, “ it would have done him more harm than good to Dodd, who once expressed a desire to see him, but not earnestly.”
Dr. Johnson, on the 20th of June, wrote the following letter:
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES JENKINSON.
6 SINCE the conviction and condemnation of Dr. Dodd, I have had, by the intervention of a friend, some intercourse with him, and I am sure I shall lose nothing in your opinion by tenderness and commiseration. Whatever be the crime, it is not easy to have any knowledge of the delinquent, without a wish that his life may be spared; at least when no life has been taken away by him. I will, therefore, take the liberty of suggesting some reasons for which I wish this unhappy being to escape the utmost rigour of his sentence.
“ He is, so far as I can recollect, the first clergyman of our church who has suffered publick execution for immorality; and I know not whether it would not be more for the interests of religion to bury such an offender in the obscurity of perpetual exile than to expose him in a cart, and on the gallows, to all who for any reason are enemies to the clergy.
“ The supreme power has, in all ages, paid some attention to the voice of the people; and that voice does not least deserve to be heard, when it calls out for mercy. There is now a very general desire that Dodd's life should be spared. More is not wished; and, perhaps, this is not too much to be granted.
If you, Sir, have any opportunity of enforcing these reasons, you may, perhaps, think them worthy of consideration : but whatever you determine, I most respectfully intreat that you will be pleased to pardon for this intrusion, Sir,
“ Your most obedient,
“ SAM. JOHNSON."
It has been confidently circulated, with invidious remarks, that to this letter no attention whatever was paid by Mr. Jenkinson, (afterwards Earl of Liverpool), and that he did not even deign to shew the common civility of owning the receipt of it. I could not but wonder at such conduct in the noble Lord, whose own character and just elevation in life, I thought, must have impressed him with all due regard for great abilities and attainments. the story had been much talked of, and apparently from good authority, I could not but have animadverted upon it in this work, had it been as was alledged; but from my earnest love of truth, and having found reason to think that there might be a mistake, I presumed to write to his Lordship, requesting an explanation ; and it is with the sincerest pleasure that I am enabled to assure the world, that there is no foundation for it, the fact being, that owing to some neglect, or accident, Johnson's letter never came to Lord Hawkesbury's hands. I should have thought it strange indeed, if that noble Lord had undervalued my illustrious friend; but instead of this being the case, his Lordship, in the very polite answer with which he was pleased immediately to honour me, thus expresses himself:-“ I have always respected the memory of Dr. Johnson, and admire his writings; and I frequently read many parts of them with pleasure and great improvement.”
All applications for the Royal Mercy having failed, Dr. Dodd prepared himself for death; and, with a warmth of gratitude, wrote to Dr. Johnson as follows:
June 25, Midnight. “ ACCEPT, thou great and good heart, my earnest and fervent thanks and prayers for all thy benevolent and kind efforts in my behalf.-Oh! Dr. Johnson ! as I sought your knowledge at an early hour in life, would to heaven I had cultivated the love and acquaintance of so excellent a man !-I pray God most sincerely to bless you with the highest transports--the infelt satisfaction of humane and benevolent exertions !-And admitted, as I trust I shall be, to the realms of bliss before you, I shall hail your arrival there with transports, and rejoice to acknowledge that you was my Comforter, my Advocate, and my Friend! God be ever with you!”
Dr. Johnson lastly wrote to Dr. Dodd this solemn and soothing letter:
TO THE REVEREND DR. DODD.
“ THAT which is appointed to all men is now coming upon you. Outward circumstances, the eyes