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S M I TH.
LTDMUND SMITH is one of those lucky wri
ters who have, without much labour, attained high reputation, and who are mentioned with reverence rather for the possession than the exertion of uncommon abilities.
Of his life little is known, and that little claims no praife but what can be given to intellectual ex. -cellence, seldom employed to any virtuous purpose. His character, as given by Mr. Oldisworth, with all the partiality of friendship, which is said by Dr. Burton to fhew “what fine things one man of parts can fay of another," and which, however, comprises great part of what can be known of Mr. Smith, it is betrer to transcribe at once than to take by pieces. I shall subjoin such little memorials as accident has enabled me to collect.
Mr. EDMUND SMITH was the only son of an eminent merchant, one Mr. Neale, by a daughter of the famous baron Lechmere. Some misfortunes of his father, which were foon followed by his death, Vol. X.
were the occasion of the son's being left very young in the hands of a near relation (one who married Mr. Neale's fifter), whose name was Smith.
This gentleman and his lady treated him as their own child, and put him to Westminster-school under the care of Dr. Busby; whence, after the loss of his faithful and generous guardian (whose name he afsumed and retained), he was removed to Christchurch in Oxford, and there by his aubt handsomely maintained till her death; after which he continued a member of that learned and ingenious fociety till within five years of his own; though, some time before his leaving. Christ-church, he was sent for by his mother to Worcester, and owned and acknowledged as her legitimate son; which had not been mentioned, but to wipe off the aspersions that were ignorantly cast by some on his birth. It is to be remembered, for our author's honour, that, when at Westminster election he stood a candidate for one of the universities, he lo signally distinguished himself by his conspicuous performances, that there arose no small contention, between the representative electors of Trinity-college in Cambridge and Christ-church in Oxon, which of those two royal societies should adopt him as their own. But the electors of Trinitycollege having the preference of choice that year, they resolutely elected him; who yet, being invited at the same time to Christ-church, chose to accept of a studentship there. Mr. Smith's perfections, as well natural as acquired, seem to have been formed upor Horace's plan, who says, in his " Art of " Poetry :"
“ – Ego