Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/115

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

formance in a piece entitled ‘The Dice of Death;’ and on 1 April 1853 he played at the Adelphi in ‘Mr. Webster at Home.’ On 20 April 1854, at the same house, he was Musgrave in Tom Taylor and Charles Reade's ‘Two Loves and a Life,’ and this appears to have been his last original part.

About 1826 Joseph Smith, the bookseller of Holborn, having produced a set of theatrical engravings, applied to ‘O Smith, the famous comedian,’ for an account of the English stage, to accompany the plates. An agreement was accordingly drawn up, but the author eventually deemed his prospect of credit from the work to be unsatisfactory, and withdrew from the undertaking. He nevertheless continued to accumulate materials, such as theatrical prints, newspaper cuttings, magazine articles, playbills, catalogues, &c., relating to stage history, and also to interleave and annotate theatrical memoirs. Before his death his collections filled twenty-five large quarto volumes. Of these, vols. xx–xxiii. comprise a manuscript ‘Dramatic Chronology;’ the remainder consist chiefly of printed matter, scantily annotated, but interspersed with many valuable prints. The twenty-five volumes are now in the British Museum Library, catalogued under Smith's name as ‘A Collection of Material towards a History of the Stage.’

Smith died, after a long illness, on Thursday, 1 Feb. 1855, and was buried on the 8th in Norwood cemetery. A portrait accompanies the memoir in the ‘Theatrical Times.’

[The preceding particulars, some of them of very dubious authority, are extracted from Genest's Account of the Stage. Tallis's Drawing-Room Table-Book of Theatrical Portraits; Theatrical Times, i. 121; Scott and Howard's Life of Blanchard; Dibdin's Edinburgh Stage; Dramatic and Musical Review, various years; Era Almanack, various years; Era Newspaper, 4 and 11 Feb. 1855.]

J. K.

SMITH, ROBERT (fl. 1689–1729), schoolmaster, was educated at Marischal College, Aberdeen. At the time of the revolution John Murray, second marquis, and afterwards first duke of Atholl [q. v.], procured a small grant to endow a school at Kerrow, in Glenshee, in the parish of Kirkmichael, Perthshire, and Smith was chosen as master. The heritors, however, showed no zeal to provide him with a dwelling, and, after waiting in vain for some months, he showed his resentment by publishing ‘A Poem on the Building of the Schoolhouse of Glenshee,’ in which he roundly abused the lairds for their neglect. This provoked a reply from a whig poet, Jasper Craig, who, Smith insinuates, was a disappointed candidate for the post. Several poetical rejoinders were forthcoming on either side, but Smith surpassed his antagonist both in coarseness and bad verse. In 1729 Smith removed from Glenshee and was schoolmaster at Glamis in Forfar. He had a son, Robert Smith, schoolmaster at Kinnaird in Perthshire; some of his verses appear in Nicol's ‘Rural Muse,’ 1753, of which there is a copy in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh [see Nicol, Alexander].

Smith published:

  1. ‘Poems of Controversy betwixt Episcopacy and Presbytery: being the substance of what passed 'twixt him and several other Poets; As also, Several Poems and Merry Songs on other Subjects. With some Funeral Elegies on several Noblemen and Gentlemen, two Parts,’ 1714, 12mo. It contains two prefaces, one to the ‘World,’ the other to the ‘Reader.’ Copies are in the British Museum, in Sir Walter Scott's library, and in the library of the Free Church College, Edinburgh. The last contains in addition a printed address in verse to ‘William Seton, the younger, of Pitsmedden.’
  2. ‘The Assembly's Shorter Catechism in Metre. For the Use of young ones. By Mr. Robert Smith, Schoolmaster at Glammis,’ Edinburgh, 1829. It contains also the Lord's Prayer and the Creed in verse. Only one copy is known to be extant, which, in 1872, was in the possession of William Bonar, of St. Michael's Alley, Cornhill, London.

Limited reprints of both works have been issued by Thomas George Stevenson—of the former in 1869 and of the latter in 1872.

[Stevenson's prefaces to Smith's works; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. iv. 321; Nicol's Rural Muse contains several curious particulars concerning Smith and Craig.]

E. I. C.

SMITH, ROBERT (1689–1768), mathematician and founder of Smith's prizes at Cambridge, was born in 1689, and probably at Lea, near Gainsborough, to which living his father was instituted in October 1679. His father, John Smith, had married Hannah (d. 1719), the aunt of Roger Cotes [q. v.]; he became rector of Gate Burton, Lincolnshire, and was buried at Lea on 28 Dec. 1710. Robert was educated at the Leicester grammar school, and admitted pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge, on 28 May 1708, and scholar on 13 May 1709. At Trinity he was under the care of Cotes, his cousin, who was then Plumian professor of astronomy, and lived with him as his assistant. He graduated B.A. 1711, M.A. 1715, LL.D. 1723, and D.D. per literas regias 1739. He was elected minor fellow, 1714, major fellow, 1715, sublector quartus, 1715, lector linguæ Latinæ, 1724, lector linguæ Græcæ, 1725, lector primarius,