Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Smith, John Prince

SMITH, JOHN PRINCE (1774?–1822), law reporter, only son of Edward Smith of Walthamstow, Essex, born about 1774, was admitted on 15 Nov. 1794 a student at Gray's Inn, where he was called to the bar on 6 May 1801. He practised on the home circuit, and as a special pleader and equity draughtsman, and was one of Daniel Isaac Eaton's counsel on his trial for blasphemous libel on 6 March 1812. He was appointed in 1817 second fiscal in Demerara and Essequibo, and died at Demerara in 1822, leaving a son (see below) and a daughter.

Among Smith's works were:

  1. ‘Elements of the Science of Money founded on the Principles of the Law of Nature,’ London, 1813, 8vo.
  2. ‘Practical Summary and Review of the Statute 53 Geo. III, or Law for the Surrender of Effects, and for the Personal Liberation of Prisoners for Debt,’ London, 1814, 8vo.
  3. ‘Advice for the Petitioners against the Corn Bill,’ London, 1815, 8vo.

Smith edited:

  1. ‘The Law Journal,’ London, 1804–6, 3 vols. 8vo;
  2. ‘An Abridgment of the Public General Statutes, 44–6 Geo. III,’ London, 1804–7, 3 vols. 8vo;
  3. ‘Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Court of King's Bench, 44–6 Geo. III,’ London, 1804–7, 3 vols. 8vo.

John Prince Smith, the younger (1809–1874), political economist, son of the preceding, born at London on 20 Jan. 1809, accompanied his father to Demerara, and was placed at Eton in 1820. On his father's death he entered the employ of Messrs. Daniel, merchants, of 4 Mincing Lane, which he quitted in 1828. After two years of irregular occupation as banker's clerk, parliamentary reporter, and journalist, in London and Hamburg, he obtained on 5 April 1831 the place of English and French master in Cowle's Gymnasium at Elbing. Resigning this post in 1840, he remained at Elbing, and, resuming journalistic work, gained no little celebrity by his able advocacy of free-trade principles in the ‘Elbinger Anzeigen.’ Removing to Berlin in 1846, he married Auguste, daughter of the eminent banker, Sommerbrod, and was elected a member of the Free Trade Union in the same year, and common councillor in 1848. He took an active part in the proceedings of the economic congresses at Gotha (1858), Hanover (1862), and Brunswick (1866), was deputy for Stettin in the Prussian House of Representatives (1862–6), and president of the Berlin Economic Society from 1862, and of the standing committee of the Lübeck Economic Congress from 1870 until shortly before his death. In 1870 he was returned to the Reichstag for Anhalt-Zerbst. He died at Berlin on 3 Feb. 1874. His ‘Gesammelte Werken,’ ed. Braun, Wiesbaden, and Michaelis, with ‘Lebensskizze’ by Wolff, appeared at Berlin, 1877–80, 3 vols. 8vo. His only English work is ‘System of Political Economy by Charles Henry Hager, LL.D. Translated from the German,’ London, 1844, 8vo.

[‘Lebensskizze’ by Wolff, above mentioned; Gray's Inn. Reg.; Law List, 1802; Rider's British Merlin, 1818–22; Gent. Mag. 1822, ii. 646; Howell's State Trials, xxxi. 953; Dict. Living Authors, 1816; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

J. M. R.