Open main menu

GOLDSMITH, FRANCIS (1613–1655), translator of Grotius, son and heir of Francis Goldsmith of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields, Middlesex, and grandson of Sir Francis Goldsmith of Crayford, Kent, was born on 25 March 1613, and entered the Merchant Taylors' school in September 1627, during the mastership of Dr. Nicholas Gray. He became a gentleman-commoner of Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1629, but migrated to St. John's College, where he took his degree. On leaving Oxford he entered at Gray's Inn and studied law for some years, but finally retreated to his estate at Ashton in Northamptonshire. He married Mary, the daughter of Richard Scott of Little Lees, Essex, and by her had two sons and one daughter, Catherine. He died on 29 Aug. 1655, and is buried with his wife and daughter in Ashton Church. G. Baker (Hist. of Northamptonshire, ii. 127) gives the inscriptions on their graves. Goldsmith occupied his leisure by translating portions of the works of Hugo Grotius. In 1647 there appeared in London ‘Hugonis Grotii Baptizatorum Puerorum Institutio, Alternis Interrogationibus et Responsionibus,’ with a Greek translation by Christopher Wase of King's College, Cambridge, and an English translation by Goldsmith. The book, which was to be used at Eton, has a Latin dedication by Nicholas Gray to John Hales, and an epistle in English, also by Gray, ‘to his loving and beloved scholars,’ Goldsmith and Wase. The fourth edition in 1655 contained portraits of Grotius and Goldsmith. There were editions in 1662 and 1668. In 1652 Goldsmith published ‘Hugo Grotius his Sophompaneas, or Joseph. A Tragedy, with Annotations. By Francis Goldsmith, Esq.,’ 8vo, n. d. At the end of the tragedy, which takes up forty-two pages, come more than fifty pages of annotations, ‘gleaned out of the rich crops of Grotius and Vossius themselves,’ added ‘for the satisfaction of the Printer … to increase the bulk.’ The notes close with a translation of the poem, ‘Somnium Dramaticum Synesii Junioris, Cognomento Chirosophi.’ Then follows a new title, ‘Hugo Grotius, his Consolatory Oration to his Father. Translated out of the Latine Verse and Prose. With Epitaphs, &c. By F. G.’ The epitaphs indicate that the author lost two sons. An elaborate description of the whole volume, with a specimen of the verse of the translation, is given in Corser's ‘Collectanea Anglo-Poetica,’ vii. 17.

[Besides the authorities cited see C. J. Robinson's Register of Merchant Taylors' School, i. 122; Hasted's Kent, i. 208 (where the date of birth is given as 1612); Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 400, 505.]

R. B.