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Smith, Robert (fl.1689-1729) (DNB00)

SMITH, ROBERT (fl. 1689–1729), schoolmaster, was educated at Marischal College, Aberdeen. At the time of the revolution John Murray, second marquis, and afterwards first duke of Atholl [q. v.], procured a small grant to endow a school at Kerrow, in Glenshee, in the parish of Kirkmichael, Perthshire, and Smith was chosen as master. The heritors, however, showed no zeal to provide him with a dwelling, and, after waiting in vain for some months, he showed his resentment by publishing ‘A Poem on the Building of the Schoolhouse of Glenshee,’ in which he roundly abused the lairds for their neglect. This provoked a reply from a whig poet, Jasper Craig, who, Smith insinuates, was a disappointed candidate for the post. Several poetical rejoinders were forthcoming on either side, but Smith surpassed his antagonist both in coarseness and bad verse. In 1729 Smith removed from Glenshee and was schoolmaster at Glamis in Forfar. He had a son, Robert Smith, schoolmaster at Kinnaird in Perthshire; some of his verses appear in Nicol's ‘Rural Muse,’ 1753, of which there is a copy in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh [see Nicol, Alexander].

Smith published:

  1. ‘Poems of Controversy betwixt Episcopacy and Presbytery: being the substance of what passed 'twixt him and several other Poets; As also, Several Poems and Merry Songs on other Subjects. With some Funeral Elegies on several Noblemen and Gentlemen, two Parts,’ 1714, 12mo. It contains two prefaces, one to the ‘World,’ the other to the ‘Reader.’ Copies are in the British Museum, in Sir Walter Scott's library, and in the library of the Free Church College, Edinburgh. The last contains in addition a printed address in verse to ‘William Seton, the younger, of Pitsmedden.’
  2. ‘The Assembly's Shorter Catechism in Metre. For the Use of young ones. By Mr. Robert Smith, Schoolmaster at Glammis,’ Edinburgh, 1829. It contains also the Lord's Prayer and the Creed in verse. Only one copy is known to be extant, which, in 1872, was in the possession of William Bonar, of St. Michael's Alley, Cornhill, London.

Limited reprints of both works have been issued by Thomas George Stevenson—of the former in 1869 and of the latter in 1872.

[Stevenson's prefaces to Smith's works; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. iv. 321; Nicol's Rural Muse contains several curious particulars concerning Smith and Craig.]

E. I. C.