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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/67

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Smith
Smith
61

Smith was not content to claim that he was able graphically to construct a square equal in area to a given circle, but boldly laid down the proposition that the diameter of a circle was to the circumference in the exact proportion of 1 to 3.125. In ordinary business matters, however, he was shrewd and capable. He was nominated by the board of trade to a seat on the Liverpool local marine board, and was a member of the Mersey docks and harbour board. He died at his residence, Barkeley House, Seaforth, near Liverpool, in March 1872. Besides those mentioned, his principal works were:

  1. ‘A Nut to Crack for the Readers of Professor De Morgan's “Budget of Paradoxes,”’ Liverpool, 1863, 8vo.
  2. ‘The Quadrature of the Circle, or the True Ratio between the Diameter and Circumference geometrically and mathematically demonstrated,’ Liverpool, 1865, 8vo.
  3. ‘Euclid at Fault,’ Liverpool, 1868, 8vo.
  4. ‘The Geometry of the Circle a Mockery, Delusion, and a Snare,’ Liverpool, 1869, 8vo.
  5. ‘Curiosities of Mathematics,’ Liverpool, 1870, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1870.
  6. ‘The Ratio between Diameter and Circumference demonstrated by Angles,’ Liverpool, 1870, 8vo.

[Smith's Works; Men of the Time, 7th edit. p. 741; De Morgan's Budget of Paradoxes, passim; Allibone's Dict. of English Literature.]

E. I. C.

SMITH, Sir JAMES EDWARD (1759–1828), botanist, was born at Norwich on 2 Dec. 1759. He was the eldest child of James Smith, a wealthy nonconformist wool merchant, by his wife Frances, only daughter of the Rev. John Kinderley. Being delicate, Smith was at first educated at home. He inherited a love of flowers from his mother, but did not begin the study of botany as a science until he was eighteen, and then, curiously enough, on the very day of Linné's death (Transactions of the Linnean Soc. vol. vii.) He was guided in his early studies by his friends, James Crowe of Lakenham, Hugh Rose, John Pitchford, and Rev. Henry Bryant; and, though originally destined for a commercial career, was sent in 1781 to the university of Edinburgh to study medicine. Here he studied botany under Dr. John Hope, one of the earliest teachers of the Linnæan method, won a gold medal awarded by him, and established a natural history society. In September 1783 he came to London to study under John Hunter and Dr. William Pitcairn, with an introduction from Dr. Hope to Sir Joseph Banks [q. v.], then president of the Royal Society. On the death of the younger Linnæus in that year the whole of the library, manuscripts, herbarium, and natural history collections made by him and by his father were offered to Banks for a thousand guineas. Banks declined the offer, but on his recommendation Smith purchased it, with his father's consent. Subsequent offers from John Sibthorp [q. v.] and from the Empress of Russia were received by the executors. In September 1784 Smith took apartments in Paradise Row, Chelsea, where the Linnæan collections arrived in the following month. The total cost, including freight, was 1,088l. It is stated (Memoir and Correspondence of Sir J. E. Smith, edited by Lady Smith, i. 126) that Gustavus III of Sweden, who had been absent in France, hearing of the despatch of the collections, vainly sent a belated vessel to the Sound to intercept the ship which carried them. This probably apocryphal story is perpetuated on the portrait of Smith published in Thornton's ‘Temple of Flora.’

‘With no premeditated design of relinquishing physic as a profession’ (op. cit. p. 128), Smith now became entirely devoted to natural history, and mainly to botany. During the following winter Banks and Dryander went through the collections with him at Chelsea, and Pitchford urged him to prepare ‘a Flora Britannica, the most correct that can appear in the Linnæan dress’ (op. cit. p. 130). Elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1785, he made his first appearance as an author by translating the preface to Linné's ‘Museum Regis Adolphi Frederici,’ under the title of ‘Reflexions on the Study of Nature,’ in 1785. In June 1786 he started on a continental tour, and after obtaining a medical degree at Leyden (23 June), with a thesis ‘De Generatione,’ he travelled through Holland, France, Italy, and Switzerland. He visited Allamand and Van Royen at Leyden, the widow of Rousseau (for whom, as a botanist of the Linnæan school, he had a great admiration), Broussonet at Montpellier, Gerard at Cottignac, the Marquis Durazzo at Genoa, Mascagni the anatomist at Sienna, Sir William Hamilton and the Duke of Gloucester at Naples, Bonnet, De Saussure, and others at Geneva, La Chenal at Basle, and Herman at Strasburg. At the same time he carefully examined the picture galleries, the herbaria, and botanical libraries en route. His tour is fully described in the three-volume ‘Sketch’ which he first published in 1793.

Before his departure Smith appears to have broached to his friends, Samuel Goodenough [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Carlisle, and Thomas Marsham the idea of superseding a somewhat somnolent natural history` so-