in 1678 incorporated M.A. at Cambridge. In 1704 he was presented by the college to the rectory of Melsonby in Yorkshire. Owing to some informality he was twice inducted, on 22 Oct. 1704 and on 23 June 1706. In 1705, having married, he was obliged to resign his fellowship; but he retained the revenues until 1711 (Hearne, Collections, i. 62, iii. 126). He died in December 1735, and was buried at Melsonby. By his wife Mary, widow of Gerard Langbaine (1656–1692) [q. v.], he had one child at least, according to Hearne, although he appears to have left no family at his death.
Smith was the author of: 1. ‘The Annals of University College,’ Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1728, 8vo. 2. ‘Litteræ de Re Nummaria,’ Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1729, 8vo. He also wrote twenty-seven manuscript volumes relating to Oxford, the result of his researches into the archives of the university and of his own college, which are in possession of the Society of Antiquaries.
A contemporary William Smith (fl. 1726), surveyor to the Royal African Company, proceeded to Africa in 1726 to make surveys and drafts of the English forts and settlements in Guinea. On his return he published the results of his labours in a volume entitled ‘Thirty different Draughts of Guinea,’ London, fol. He also left an account of his visit in a manuscript, published in 1744 under the title of ‘A New Voyage to Guinea,’ in which his own observations were eked out with long extracts from Bosman's ‘New Description of the Coast of Guinea.’ The importance of the part of the narrative actually written by Smith is very slight (Pinkerton, Collection of Voyages and Travels, 1745, ii. 464–481).
[Gent. Mag. 1853, ii. 163; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Thoresby Corresp.; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. ii. 137; Nichols's Illustrations of Literature, v. 485.]
SMITH, WILLIAM (1711–1787), translator from the Greek, was born on 30 May 1711 at Worcester, where his father, Richard Smith, was rector of All Saints' Church. He entered Worcester grammar school (Queen Elizabeth's) in 1722, and proceeded in 1728 to New College, Oxford. He was there a contemporary of Robert Lowth [q. v.] (afterwards bishop of London), with whom he contracted a lifelong friendship. He graduated B.A. in 1732, M.A. in 1737, and B.D. and D.D. in 1758. Soon after taking his bachelor's degree, Smith had the good fortune of becoming known to James Stanley, tenth earl of Derby, and he resided with him for three years in the capacity of his reader. In June 1735 he took deacon's orders, and the earl presented him on 11 Sept. to the rectory of Holy Trinity, Chester. His first publication, a translation of ‘Longinus on the Sublime,’ appeared in 1739, and established his reputation as a classical scholar. In 1743 he was appointed chaplain to Lord Derby, the successor of his former patron, and in 1748 headmaster of Brentwood grammar school. The life of a pedagogue proved distasteful, and Smith resigned at the close of a year.
In 1753 he became one of the ministers of St. George's, Liverpool, and in the same year he published his translation of Thucydides. In 1758, mainly through the influence of Lord Derby, he was presented to the deanery of Chester, with which he held other preferments. He resigned St. George's, Liverpool, in 1767, and Holy Trinity, Chester, in 1780, but he was rector of Handley from 1766 to 1787, and of West Kirby from 1780 to 1787. Smith died at Chester on 12 Jan. 1787, and was buried in the south aisle of the cathedral, where a monument was erected to his memory by his widow, Elizabeth, of the Heber family of Essex. He left no children.
Smith spoke Latin fluently, and was an excellent Greek and Hebrew scholar. He is best known by his translations from the Greek: 1. ‘Longinus on the Sublime, with Notes and Life,’ London, 1739, 8vo; the best edition is the fourth, which appeared in 1757; subsequent editions, 1770, 1800, and 1819. This was based upon the Latin edition of Zachary Pearce [q. v.], 1724; though much praised at the time, and read by Edmund Burke among others, Smith's version has been as completely superseded as those of his predecessors, J. Hall (1662) and Leonard Welstead [q. v.], which he censured, the text of Longinus having undergone a complete recension since his day. 2. ‘History of the Peloponnesian War, from the Greek of Thucydides, with Notes,’ 2 vols. 1753, 4to; 1781; 4th edit. 1805; and several American editions. A mediocre effort, in which the ruggedness and conciseness of the original are lost (cf. Gent. Mag. 1860, ii. 213). A rumour was formerly current that Lord Chatham had contributed the ‘Funeral Oration’ in Book ii., ‘but the hand of the great orator is nowhere discernible’ (Jowett, Thucydides, Introd. p. viii). 3. ‘Xenophon's History of Greece, by the Translator of Thucydides,’ 1770, 4to; 1781, and 1812. Smith also published ‘Nine Sermons on the Beatitudes’ (London, 1782, 8vo), and his friend, Thomas Crane, issued after his death ‘The Poetic Works of William Smith, D.D.’ (Chester, 1788, 12mo), including a para-