(MacMahon); Athenæum, 17 Feb. 1883; Academy, 17 Feb. 1883; Comptes Rendus, xcvi. 1095 (Jordan); Rouse Ball's Short History of Mathematics, p. 424; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Rugby School Register, i. 224; Proceedings London Math. Society, xiv. 322.]
SMITH, HORATIO, always known as Horace (1779–1849), poet and author, born in 1779, was second son of Robert Smith (d. 1832), and younger brother of James Smith (1775–1839) [q. v.] A sister was the mother of Maria Abdy [q. v.] The father, Robert Smith, was born at Bridgwater, Somerset, where his father, Samuel, was a custom-house officer, on 22 Nov. 1747; he entered a solicitor's office in London in 1765, and married in 1773 Mary, daughter of James Bogle French, a wealthy London merchant. She died, aged 55, at her husband's residence in Basinghall Street, on 3 Nov. 1804. Robert Smith was for many years solicitor to the board of ordnance, a post he resigned in 1812, and he was elected F.R.S. on 24 Nov. 1796, and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He was eighty-five when he died, on 27 Sept. 1832, at St. Anne's Hill, Wandsworth (Gent. Mag. 1832, ii. 573; cf. ib. 1804, ii. 1078 and 1050, containing a poem by H[orace] S[mith] upon his mother's death).
Like his brother, Horace was educated at a school at Chigwell, kept by the Rev. Mr. Burford, but, unlike James, was placed in a merchant's counting-house. Less attentive to business than to the drama and the amusements of the town, he produced a poem lamenting the decay of public taste as evinced in the neglect of the plays of Richard Cumberland, who, highly flattered, hunted him out of his counting-house and introduced him to literary society. He published two novels, ‘The Runaway’ in 1800, and ‘Trevanion, or Matrimonial Ventures,’ in 1802. A third, ‘Horatio, or Memoirs of the Davenport Family,’ followed in 1807. Meanwhile, in 1802, Smith joined with Cumberland, his brother James, Sir James Bland Burges, and others in writing for ‘The Pic Nic,’ a magazine which was edited by the notorious William Combe [q. v.], but had only a brief existence. At Cumberland's request, Horace and James wrote several prefaces for plays in ‘Bell's British Theatre,’ edited by him; and their acquaintance with Thomas Hill led both, but especially James, to contribute for four years to his ‘Monthly Mirror.’ They acquired a character as wits, and as gay, though not dissipated, young men about town, but were little known to the public, when they suddenly found themselves raised to the pinnacle of contemporary reputation by the utterly unforeseen success of their ‘Rejected Addresses’ (1812). These were parodies of the most popular poets of the day in the guise of imaginary addresses from their pens which purported to have been prepared in competition for a prize that had been offered by the managers on occasion of the reopening of Drury Lane Theatre after its destruction by fire (10 Oct. 1812). Horace Smith himself had been a serious competitor, and the commission had been entrusted to one of the poets parodied, Byron. The idea had been suggested to the Smiths by the secretary to the theatre, Mr. Ward, Sheridan's brother-in-law, who, having seen the addresses submitted bona fide, had been struck by their prevailing silliness, no less than sixty-nine competitors having invoked the aid of the Phœnix. The brothers had great difficulty in finding a publisher, until at last John Miller, of Bow Street, agreed to print at his own expense, and give them half the profits, ‘if any.’ The volume appeared on the day of the opening of the theatre, with the title ‘Rejected Addresses, or the New Theatrum Poetarum’ (18th edit. 1833, with new preface by Horace Smith). Success was instantaneous, and in truth there has been nothing better of the kind in the language, excepting only Hogg's inimitable parody of Wordsworth, ‘The Flying Tailor.’ In the ‘Rejected Addresses’ the best parodies were those of Cobbett and Crabbe, and were the work of James Smith, who also wrote the hardly less successful parodies of Wordsworth and Southey. Horace Smith's best are those of Byron and Scott, and the delectable nonsense of ‘A Loyal Effusion’ by William Thomas Fitzgerald [q. v.] Horace inserted his genuine rejected poem under the title of ‘An Address without a Phœnix.’ Neither brother did anything half so good again, though each has bequeathed a considerable amount of comic verse, never destitute of merit, but always courting comparison with the similar productions of Thomas Hood, and hopelessly distanced by them. Their only subsequent joint production, entitled ‘Horace in London, by the authors of Rejected Addresses,’ appeared in 1813.
After his apprenticeship in the counting-house was over, Horace Smith went on the stock exchange. He was probably a good man of business, for he throve so fast as to be able to retire in 1820, and was blamed for throwing away the prospect of a fortune. But when the panic of 1825 came, he congratulated himself on his good sense. Before retiring he had gained the friendship of poets and performed numberless generous actions. His good sense and conciliatory disposition