Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dodson, Michael

DODSON, MICHAEL (1732–1799), lawyer, only son of Joseph Dodson, dissenting minister at Marlborough, Wiltshire, was born there in September 1732. He was educated at Marlborough grammar school, and then, in accordance with the advice of Sir Michael Foster, justice of the king's bench, was entered at the Middle Temple 31 Aug. 1754. He practised for many years as a special pleader (some of his opinions are among the Museum manuscripts, Add. MS. 6709, ff. 113, 131), but was finally called to the bar 4 July 1783. In 1770 he had been appointed one of the commissioners of bankruptcy. This post he held till his death, which took place at his house, Boswell Court, Carey Street, 13 Nov. 1799. In 1778 Dodson married his cousin, Elizabeth Hawkes of Marlborough.

Dodson's legal writings were an edition with notes and references of Sir Michael Foster's ‘Report of some Proceedings on the Commission for the Trial of Rebels in the year 1746 in the County of Surrey, and of other crown cases’ (3rd edition 1792). In 1795 Dodson wrote a ‘Life of Sir Michael Foster.’ This, originally intended for the new edition of the ‘Biographia Britannica,’ was published in 1811 with a preface by John Disney. Dodson, who was a unitarian in religion, took considerable interest in biblical studies. In 1790 he published ‘A New Translation of Isaiah, with Notes Supplementary to those of Dr. Louth, late Bishop of London. By a Layman.’ This led to a controversy, conducted with good temper and moderation, with Dr. Sturges, nephew of the bishop, who replied in ‘Short Remarks’ (1791), and was in turn answered by Dodson in a ‘Letter to the Rev. Dr. Sturges, Author of “Short Remarks,” on a New Translation of Isaiah.’ Dodson wrote some other theological tracts.

[General Biog. 1802, iii. 416 et seq., contributed by Disney; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

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