Smyth, Richard (DNB00)
SMYTH, RICHARD, D.D. (1826–1878), Irish divine and politician, son of Hugh Smyth of Bushmills, co. Antrim, by Sarah Anne, daughter of J. Wray, was born at Dervock, co. Antrim, on 4 Oct. 1826. He was educated at the university of Bonn and at the university of Glasgow, where he graduated M.A. in 1850, and received the honorary D.D. and LL.D. degrees in 1867. For eight years he was assistant-collegiate minister of the first presbyterian church of Londonderry, and in 1865 was appointed professor of oriental languages and biblical literature in Magee College, Londonderry. In 1870 he became Dill professor of theology in the same college. He was a supporter of Mr. Gladstone's policy of disestablishment in Ireland, and in 1869 was raised to the moderatorship of the general assembly of the presbyterian church. In 1870 he was re-elected moderator, and took an active part in settling the financial affairs of the church in connection with the withdrawal of the regium donum. He was one of the trustees incorporated by royal charter under the Presbyterian Church Act for administering the commutation fund. He supported the Irish University Bill of 1873, and, as a liberal, was elected member of parliament for co. Londonderry on 16 Feb. 1874 to support the general policy of Mr. Gladstone's administration, especially with respect to land tenure and grand jury reform. He sat until his death, which took place at Antrim road, Belfast, on 4 Dec. 1878. He was buried at Dervock on 6 Dec.
Besides numerous pamphlets, he was the author of:
- ‘Philanthropy, Proselytism, and Crime: a Review of the Irish Reformatory System,’ London, 1861, 8vo.
- ‘The Bartholomew Expulsion in 1662,’ Londonderry, 1862, 18mo.
[Men of the Time, 1875, p. 912; Debrett's House of Commons. 1875, p. 220; Illustrated London News, 1874, lxv. 52; Belfast News Letter, 5 Dec. 1878 pp. 1, 5, 7 Dec. p. 8.]