while that of 1880–1 was spent in Egypt and Arabia, mainly in Jeddah, but with a somewhat arduous excursion into the interior as far as Taif, of which he published an account in the ‘Scotsman’ newspaper. On the death of Edward Henry Palmer [q.v .], lord almoner's professor of Arabic at Cambridge, he, on the suggestion of his friend, Professor William Wright (1830–1889) [q. v.], applied for the vacant post, and the application, which was supported by testimonials from practically all the specialists in Europe—including De Goeje, Guidi, Kuenen, Von Kremer, Spitta, Wellhausen—was successful. The letter announcing his appointment reached him on new year's day 1883.
Although the somewhat light duties and correspondingly light emoluments of his new office did not demand or greatly encourage residence at the university, Smith nevertheless decided to settle there, and Cambridge was his congenial home for the rest of his life. For some time he was the guest of Trinity College, where he had rooms in the master's court, but from October 1885, on his election to a fellowship at Christ's, his residence was in the fellows' buildings there. The lord almoner's professorship he held till December 1886, when he was elected to the chief librarianship of the university, vacated by the death of Henry Bradshaw. This in turn he exchanged in 1889 for the Adams professorship of Arabic in succession to William Wright.
Apart from his ‘Encyclopædia’ work and the duties of his other offices, he found time to see through the press in 1885 a work on ‘Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia,’ the substance of which had been delivered as professorial lectures. And in 1887 he was appointed by the Burnett trustees to be their lecturer in Aberdeen for 1888–91, the subject assigned being ‘The Primitive Religions of the Semitic Peoples, viewed in relation to other Ancient Religions, and to the Spiritual Religion of the Old Testament and Christianity.’ Three series were delivered, but only the first was published, under the title ‘Religion of the Semites: Fundamental Institutions’ (1889; 2nd edit. 1894). In 1892 he issued a second and finally revised edition of his ‘Old Testament in the Jewish Church.’
Though never of robust appearance, he enjoyed uniformly vigorous health until 1890 (he was an ardent pedestrian, and no despicable mountaineer); but early in 1890 obscure symptoms, suggesting the presence of a grave constitutional malady, began to show themselves. Gradually their true character became apparent. After a prolonged struggle, carried on hopefully to the last, for the most part in unobtrusive silence, and always with the most delicate and thoughtful consideration for others, the end came, at Christ's College, on 31 March 1894. He was buried in the churchyard of his native parish, when a noteworthy tribute of respect was paid by his former fellow citizens and fellow parishioners, as well as by numerous representatives of the scholarship of England and Scotland. Smith was the recipient of many academic distinctions. He was created M.A. of Cambridge, LL.D. of Dublin, and D.D. of Strasburg.
Intellectually Smith was characterised by a singular quickness of perception and power of generalisation, combined with unwearying patience in treatment of details. He often spoke gratefully of his father's training in accuracy, and still more in rapidity, of work; but his power, in every investigation, of seizing the essential and dismissing the irrelevant was entirely his own. His ready command of every subject he had once mastered made him in private a brilliant conversationalist and in public an effective and convincing speaker. If in the earlier period of his public life circumstances had made him rather a populariser and apologist or ‘mediator,’ he ultimately took his rightful place as an investigator and pioneer, and the originality of the researches embodied in his later works is cordially acknowledged by all whose own labours in the same field have given them a right to judge. Many pupils and fellow workers have borne testimony in their books to his generous help and encouragement.
Smith bequeathed some oriental manuscripts to the Cambridge University library, and all the rest of his books to the library of Christ's College, Cambridge.
Two portraits were painted by Sir George Reid, P.R.S.A. One, dated 1875, is now in custody of his mother, Mrs. Smith, in Aberdeen, but is destined (by Smith's will) for the combination room of Christ's College, Cambridge. The second portrait, painted in 1896, was placed by subscribers in the common hall of Free Church College, Aberdeen.
[Information from the family; personal acquaintance since 1865.]
SMITH, Sir WILLIAM SIDNEY, known as Sir Sidney Smith (1764–1840), admiral, born on 21 June 1764, was second son of John Smith, a captain in the guards, and grandson of Edward Smith, a captain in the navy, who, in command of the Eltham, was mortally wounded in the attack on La Guayra on 18 Feb. 1742–3 [see Knowles,