Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/98

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

struction,’ published anonymously, 1875–9, in 3 vols. 8vo. It is the best book on the subject published in this country. A fourth volume, on the ‘Theory of Construction,’ was published in 1891. He contributed to vols. xvi. and xviii. new ser. of the ‘Professional Papers of the Corps of Royal Engineers.

[India Office Records; obituary notices in Royal Engineers' Journal, 1882, 1893; Times, 17 May 1882; Proceedings of the Royal Soc. vol. xxxiv. 1882–3; Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, vol. lxxi. 1882–3, and in Vibart's Addiscombe, its Heroes and Men of Note; Allibone's Dict. of English Literature; Indian Government Despatches; Professional Papers of the Corps of Royal Engineers; Professional Papers of the Madras Engineers.]

R. H. V.

SMITH, JOHN WILLIAM (1809–1845), legal writer, born in Chapel Street, Belgrave Square, London, on 23 Jan. 1809, was eldest son of John Smith, who was appointed in 1830 paymaster of the forces in Ireland. His mother was a sister of George Connor, master in chancery in Ireland. After exhibiting remarkable precocity at a private school in Isleworth, he passed in 1821 to Westminster School, where he was elected queen's scholar in 1823. He entered in 1826 Trinity College, Dublin, where he obtained a scholarship in 1829, and was awarded the gold medal in classics in the following year. He joined on 20 June 1827 the Inner Temple, where, after practising for some years as a special pleader, he was called to the bar on 3 May 1834. In the same year appeared his ‘Compendium of Mercantile Law,’ London, 8vo, a work distinguished equally by profound learning and luminous exposition. ‘An Elementary View of the Proceedings in an Action at Law’ followed in 1836, London, 8vo, and ‘A Selection of Leading Cases on Various Branches of the Law,’ a work of incalculable benefit to the student, in 1837–1840, London, 2 vols. 8vo. From 1837 to 1843 Smith was lecturer at the Law Institution, and in 1840 was appointed to a revising barristership. He practised for a time on the Oxford circuit and at the Hereford and Gloucester sessions, but latterly only in the metropolis, where he died of consumption induced by overwork on 17 Dec. 1845. He was buried in Kensal Green cemetery, and a tablet was placed to his memory in the Temple Church.

In Smith an ungainly person, a harsh voice, and awkward manners served as a foil to mental endowments of a high order. To a veritable genius for the discovery and exposition of legal principles he added a large erudition not only in the ancient classics, but in the masterpieces of English, Italian, and Spanish literature. He was also well read in theology and a devout Christian. Smith's ‘Mercantile Law’ reached a third edition in its author's lifetime; later editions by Dowdeswell appeared at London in 1848, 1855, 1871, and 1877, 8vo, and by Macdonell and Humphreys in 1890, London, 2 vols. 8vo. The ‘Elementary View of the Proceedings in an Action at Law’ reached a fourteenth edition by Foulkes in 1884, London, 12mo; and the ‘Leading Cases,’ a tenth edition, edited by Chitty, Williams, & Chitty, in 1896, London, 2 vols. 8vo. Other (posthumous) works by Smith are: (1) ‘The Law of Contracts: in a course of lectures delivered at the Law Institution; with notes and appendix by Jelinger C. Symons,’ London, 1847, 8vo; subsequent editions by Malcolm in 1855 and 1868, and by Thompson in 1874 and 1885, 8vo. 2. ‘The Law of Landlord and Tenant: being a Course of Lectures delivered at the Law Institution; with notes and additions by Frederic Philip Maude,’ London, 1855, 1866, 1882, 8vo.

[Westminster School Reg. ed. Barker and Stenning, p. 213; Law Mag. xxxv. 177; Law Times, vi. 473; Warren's Misc. ed. 1855, i. 116–184, and Law Studies, ed. 1863; Albany Law Journ. vi. 393.]

J. M. R.

SMITH, JOSEPH (1670–1756), provost of Queen's College, Oxford, fifth son of William Smith, rector of Lowther, and younger brother of John Smith (1659–1715) [q. v.], was born at Lowther, Westmoreland, on 10 Oct. 1670. On his father's death when five years old, his mother removed to Guisbrough in Yorkshire, where he attended the grammar school. Thence he proceeded to the public school at Durham, and on 10 May 1689 he was admitted a scholar of Queen's College, Oxford. In 1693 he was chosen a tabarder and graduated B.A. in 1694. He proceeded M.A. by diploma in 1697, having accompanied Sir Joseph Williamson [q. v.], his godfather, who was one of the British plenipotentiaries, to Ryswick as his private secretary. On 31 Oct. 1698, in his absence, he was elected a fellow of the college. Soon after his return in 1700 he took holy orders and obtained from the provost, Dr. Timothy Halton [q. v.], the living of Iffley, near Oxford. In 1702 he was chosen to address Queen Anne upon her visit to the university. In 1704 he was elected senior proctor, and dubbed ‘handsome Smith’ to distinguish him from his colleague, Thomas Smith of St. John's. In the same year Dr. Halton died, and Smith's friends proposed him as a candidate. He, however, would not hear of it, but gave all his interest to Dr. William Lan-