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Sydney Smith (June 3, 1771 – February 22, 1845) was an English writer and Anglican clergyman.

Contents

Life

Born in Woodford, Essex, England, Sydney was the son of merchant Robert Smith (1739–1827) and Maria Olier (1750–1801), who suffered from epilepsy. Robert, described as "a man of restless ingenuity and activity", "very clever, odd by nature, but still more odd by design", owned at various times nineteen different estates in England.

Sydney himself attributed much of his own lively personality to his French blood, his maternal grandfather having been a French Protestant refugee named Olier. Sydney was the second of four brothers and one sister, all remarkable for their talents. Two of the brothers, Robert Percy (known as "Bobus") and Cecil, were sent to Eton, but Sydney was sent with the youngest to Winchester, where he rose to be captain of the school. He and his brother so distinguished that their school-fellows signed a round-robin "refusing to try for the college prizes if the Smiths were allowed to contend for them any more".

Sydney Smith

In 1789, he became a scholar of New College, Oxford; he received a fellowship after two years' residence, took his degree in 1792 and obtained his M.A. in 1796. He planned to read for the bar, but his father disagreed, and he was reluctantly compelled to take holy orders. He was ordained at Oxford in 1796, and became curate of the village of Netheravon, near Amesbury, in Salisbury Plain. Sydney Smith did much for the inhabitants; providing the means for the rudiments of education, and thus making better things possible. The squire of the parish, Michael Hicks-Beach, invited the new curate to dine, was thrilled to find such a man there, and engaged him as tutor to his eldest son. It was arranged that they should go to the University of Weimar in Germany, but war prevented them, and "in stress of politics" said Smith, "we put into Edinburgh" in 1798. While his pupil attended lectures, Smith studied moral philosophy under Dugald Stewart, as well as medicine and chemistry. He also preached in the Episcopal chapel, attracting large audiences.

In 1800, he published his first book, Six Sermons, preached in Charlotte Street Chapel, Edinburgh, and in the same year, married, against the wishes of her friends, Catharine Amelia Pybus. They settled at 46 George Street, Edinburgh, where Smith made numerous friends, among them the future Edinburgh Reviewers. Towards the end of his five years' residence in Edinburgh, in a house in Buccleuch Place, the elevated residence of the then Mr Jeffrey, that Smith proposed the setting up of a review. "I was appointed editor," he says in the preface to the collection of his contributions, "and remained long enough in Edinburgh to edit the first number (October 1802) of the Edinburgh Review. The motto I proposed for the Review was Tenui musam meditamur avena.--'We cultivate literature on a little oatmeal.' But this was too near the truth to be admitted, and so we took our present grave motto from Publius Syrus, of whom, none of us, I am sure, had ever read a single line." He continued to write for the Review for the next quarter of a century, and his brilliant articles were a main element in its success.

He left Edinburgh for good in 1803, and settled in London, where he rapidly became known as a preacher, a lecturer and a society figure. His success as a preacher was such that there was often not standing-room in Berkeley Chapel, Mayfair, where he was morning preacher. He was also "alternate evening preacher" at the Foundling Hospital, and preached at the Berkeley Chapel and the Fitzroy Chapel, now St Saviour's Church, Fitzroy Square. He lectured on moral philosophy at the Royal Institution for three seasons, from 1804 to 1806; and treated his subject with such vigour and liveliness that the London world crowded to Albemarle Street to hear him. His views were seen as radical but are now thought of as progressive and far-sighted, being in favour of the education of women, the abolition of slavery and the teaching of practical subjects rather than the classics. His lectures were original and entertaining, but he threw them in the fire when they had served their purpose—providing the money for furnishing his house. His wife rescued the charred manuscripts and published them in 1850 as Elementary Sketches of Moral Philosophy.

Sydney Smith's elder brother Bobus had married Caroline Vernon, aunt of the third Lord Holland, and he was always a welcome visitor at Holland House. His Whig friends came into office for a short time in 1806, and presented Sydney with the living of Foston-le-Clay in Yorkshire. At first he employed a curate; but Spencer Perceval's Residence Act was passed in 1808, and after trying in vain to negotiate an exchange, he left London in 1809 and moved his household to Yorkshire. The "Ministry of All the Talents" was driven out of office in 1807 in favour of a "no popery" party, and in that year Smith published the first instalment of his most famous work, Peter Plymley's Letters, on the subject of Catholic emancipation, ridiculing the opposition of the country clergy. It was published as A Letter on the Subject of the Catholics to my brother Abraham who lives in the Country, by Peter Plymley. Nine other letters followed before the end of 1808, when they appeared in collected form. Peter Plymley's identity was a secret, but rumours got abroad of the real authorship. Lord Holland wrote to him expressing his own opinion and Grenville's, that there had been nothing like it since the days of Swift (Memoir, i. 151). The special and temporary nature of the topics advanced in these pamphlets has not prevented them from taking a permanent place in literature, secured for them by their vigorous, picturesque style, generous eloquence, and clearness of exposition.

In his country parish, with no educated neighbour nearby, Smith settled down to his new circumstances and won the hearts of his parishioners. There had been no resident clergyman for 150 years. He had a farm of 300 acres (1.2 km²) to keep in order; a rectory had to be built. All these things were attended to beside his contributions to the Edinburgh Review. "If the chances of life ever enable me to emerge," he wrote to Lady Holland, "I will show you I have not been wholly occupied by small and sordid pursuits". He continued to speak in favour of Catholic emancipation, his eloquence being specially directed against those who maintained that a Roman Catholic could not be believed on his oath. "I defy Dr Duignan", he pleaded, addressing a meeting of clergy in 1823, "in the full vigour of his incapacity, in the strongest access of that Protestant epilepsy with which he was so often convulsed, to have added a single security to the security of that oath". One of his most vigorous and effective polemics was A Letter to the Electors upon the Catholic Question (1826).

After twenty years in Yorkshire, Smith obtained preferment from a Tory minister, Lord Lyndhurst, who presented him with a prebend in Bristol Cathedral in 1828, and enabled him to exchange Foston for the living of Combe Florey, near Taunton, which he held conjointly with the living of Halberton attached to his prebend. From this time he discontinued writing for the Edinburgh Review. It was expected that when the Whigs came into power Sydney Smith would be made a bishop. There was nothing in his writings to stand in the way. He had been most sedulous as a parochial clergyman. However, his religion was of a practical nature, and his fellow-clergy were suspicious of his limited theology. His scorn for enthusiasts and dread of religious emotion were vented in his bitter attacks on Methodism as well as in ridiculing the followers of Edward Pusey. One of the first things that Charles Grey said on entering Downing Street was, "Now I shall be able to do something for Sydney Smith"; but he was not able to do more than appoint him in 1831 to a residentiary canonry at St Paul's Cathedral in exchange for the prebendal stall he held at Bristol. He was as eager a champion of parliamentary reform as he had been of Catholic emancipation, and one of his best fighting speeches was delivered at Taunton in October 1831 when be made his well-known comparison of the House of Lords with Mrs Partington of Sidmouth, setting out with mop and pattens to stem the Atlantic in a storm. With characteristic philosophy, when he saw that the promotion was doubtful, he made his position certain by resolving not to be a bishop and definitely forbidding his friends to intercede for him.

On the death of his brother Courtenay, Smith inherited £50,000, which put him out of the reach of poverty. His eldest daughter, Saba (1802-1866), married Sir Henry Holland. His eldest son, Douglas, died in 1829 at the outset of what had promised to be a brilliant career. This grief his father never forgot, but nothing could quite destroy the cheerfulness of his later life. His Three Letters to Archdeacon Singleton on the Ecclesiastical Commission (1837-38-39) and his Petition and Letters on the repudiation of debts by the state of Pennsylvania (1843) are as bright and trenchant as his best contributions to the Edinburgh Review. He died at his house in Green Street, London and was buried at Kensal Green.

Legacy

Long after his death, his memory was to live on among homemakers in the United States, due to his rhyming recipe for salad dressing.

One quote of Sydney Smith's can be viewed on the wall of the main hallway in the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas, USA. The quote refers to Sydney's love for tea and complements the museum's tea set display.

Primary literature

  • 1809. Sermons in two volumes
  • 1839. The Ballot
  • 1845. A Fragment on the Irish Roman Catholic Church
  • 1846. Sermons at St Paul's ...
  • 1956. The Selected Writings of Sydney Smith, ed. with an introduction by W. H. Auden. Farrar, Strauss and Cudahy. Out of print.

Secondary literature

  • Austin, Sarah, ed., 1855. A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith by his daughter, Lady Holland, with a Selection from his Letters, 2 vols.
  • Chevrillon, A., 1894. Sydney Smith et la renaissance des idées libérales en Angleterre au XIX' siècle.
  • Pearson, Hesketh, 1934. The Smith of Smiths, a biography.
  • Reid, Stuart J., 1884. A Sketch of the Life and Times of Sydney Smith.
  • Russell, G. W. E., 1905. Sydney Smith ("English Men of Letters" series).
  • a chapter on "Sydney Smith" in Lord Houghton's Monographs Social and Personal (x 873)

There are numerous references to Smith in contemporary correspondence and journals.

External links



Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little.

Sydney Smith (3 June 177122 February 1845) was an English clergyman, critic, philosopher and wit.

Contents

Sourced

  • Manners are the shadows of virtues; the momentary display of those qualities which our fellow creatures love, and respect.
    • Sermon XII, Sermons (1809)
  • The schoolboy whips his taxed top; the beardless youth manages his taxed horse with a taxed bridle on a taxed road; and the dying Englishman, pouring his medicine, which has paid seven per cent, into a spoon that has paid fifteen per cent, flings himself back upon his chintz bed which has paid twenty-two per cent, and expires in the arms of an apothecary who has paid a license of a hundred pounds for the privilege of putting him to death.
    • "Review of Seybert’s Annals of the United States", published in The Edinburgh Review (1820)
  • In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? Or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue? What does the world yet owe to American physicians or surgeons? What new substances have their chemists discovered? Or what old ones have they advanced? What new constellations have been discovered by the telescopes of Americans? Who drinks out of American glasses? Or eats from American plates? Or wears American coats or gowns? or sleeps in American blankets? Finally, under which of the old tyrannical governments of Europe is every sixth man a slave, whom his fellow-creatures may buy and sell and torture?
    • "Review of Seybert’s Annals of the United States", published in The Edinburgh Review (1820)
  • Great men hallow a whole people and lift up all who live in their time.
    • "Ireland", published in The Edinburgh Review (1820)
  • The object of preaching is, constantly to remind mankind of what mankind are constantly forgetting; not to supply the defects of human intelligence, but to fortify the feebleness of human resolutions.
    • "The Judge That Smites Contrary to the Law: A Sermon Preached...March 28, 1824", in The Works of the Rev. Sydney Smith (1860) p. 428.
  • It is the safest to be moderately base — to be flexible in shame, and to be always ready for what is generous, good, and just, when anything is to be gained by virtue.
    • "Catholics", published in The Edinburgh Review (1827)
  • Correspondences are like small clothes before the invention of suspenders; it is impossible to keep them up.
  • Dean Swift's rule is as good for women as for men — never to talk above a half minute without pausing, and giving others an opportunity to strike in.
    • "Parisian Morals and Manners", published in The Edinburgh Review (1843)
    • Smith might have been thinking of the final words of Swift's "Hints Towards an Essay on Conversation": "It is not a Fault in Company to talk much; but to continue it long, is certainly one; for, if the Majority of those who are got together be naturally silent or cautious, the Conversation will flag, unless it be often renewed by one among them, who can start new Subjects, provided he doth not dwell upon them, but leaveth Room for Answers and Replies."
  • The fact is that in order to do any thing in this world worth doing, we must not stand shivering on the bank thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
    • Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 6.

Elementary Sketches of Moral Philosophy (1850)

Lectures delivered at the Royal Institution, 1804-1806.

  • Have the courage to be ignorant of a great number of things, in order to avoid the calamity of being ignorant of every thing.
    • Lecture IX
  • A great deal of talent is lost to the world for the want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves a number of obscure men who have only remained obscure because their timidity has prevented them from making a first effort.
    • Lecture IX
  • Among the smaller duties of life I hardly know any one more important than that of not praising where praise is not due.
    • Lecture IX
  • No man can ever end with being superior, who will not begin with being inferior.
    • Lecture IX
  • If you choose to represent the various parts in life by holes upon a table, of different shapes — some circular, some triangular, some square, some oblong — and the persons acting these parts by bits of wood of similar shapes, we shall generally find that the triangular person has got into the square hole, the oblong into the triangular, and a square person has squeezed himself into the round hole. The officer and the office, the doer and the thing done, seldom fit so exactly that we can say that they were almost made for each other.
    • Lecture IX
  • It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little.
    • Lecture XIX

Lady Holland's Memoir (1855)

  • That knuckle-end of England—that land of Calvin, oatcakes, and sulphur.
    • Vol. I, ch. 2
  • Preaching has become a byword for long and dull conversation of any kind; and whoever wishes to imply, in any piece of writing, the absence of everything agreeable and inviting, calls it a sermon.
    • Vol. I, ch. 3
  • Avoid shame, but do not seek glory, — nothing so expensive as glory.
    • Vol. I, ch. 4
  • Take short views, hope for the best, and trust in God.
    • Vol. I, ch. 6
  • Looked as if she had walked straight out of the ark.
    • Vol. I, ch. 7
  • No furniture so charming as books.
    • Vol. I, ch. 9
  • Not body enough to cover his mind decently with; his intellect is improperly exposed.
    • Vol. I, ch. 9
  • He has spent all his life in letting down empty buckets into empty wells; and he is frittering away his age in trying to draw them up again.
    • Vol. I, ch. 9
  • Ah, you flavour everything; you are the vanilla of society.
    • Vol. I, ch. 9
  • My living in Yorkshire was so far out of the way, that it was actually twelve miles from a lemon.
    • Vol. I, ch. 9
  • As the French say, there are three sexes, — men, women, and clergymen.
    • Vol. I, ch. 9
  • Praise is the best diet for us, after all.
    • Vol. I, ch. 9
  • Daniel Webster struck me much like a steam-engine in trousers.
    • Vol. I, ch. 9
  • Live always in the best company when you read.
    • Vol. I, ch. 10
  • Never give way to melancholy; resist it steadily, for the habit will encroach.
    • Vol. I, ch. 10
  • He was a one-book man. Some men have only one book in them; others, a library.
    • Vol. I, ch. 11
  • Marriage resembles a pair of shears, so joined that they can not be separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes between them.
    • Vol. I, ch. 11
  • Macaulay is like a book in breeches...He has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation perfectly delightful.
    • Vol. I, ch. 11

Recipe for Salad

Original publication source not yet located; published in Common Sense in The Household : A Manual of Practical Housewifery (1873) by Marion Harland, and in The Tasting Spoon : How to Use Over 130 Spices, Herbs, Condiments, Flavorings to Enhance All Your Dishes and Add Zest to Any Menu (1955) by Loris Troup, p. 16 - Full text online
  • Let onion atoms lurk within the bowl
    And, scarce suspected, animate the whole.
  • Serenely full, the epicure would say,
    Fate cannot harm me, I have dined today.

Letter to Lord Jeffrey

  • If you could be alarmed into the semblance of modesty, you would charm everybody; but remember my joke against you about the Moon and the Solar System;—"Damn the solar system! bad light — planets too distant — pestered with comets — feeble contriviance; — could make a better with great ease."
    • As quoted in "Romantic Parodies, 1797-1831" by David A. Kent, D. R. Ewen, in The Review of English Studies, New Series, Vol. 44, No. 175, (1993), pp. 430-432

External links

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SYDNEY SMITH (1771-1845), English writer and divine, son of Robert Smith, was born at Woodford, Essex, on the 3rd of June 1771. His father, a man of restless ingenuity and activity, "very clever, odd by nature, but still more odd by design," who bought, altered, spoiled and sold about nineteen different estates in England, had talent and eccentricity enough to be the father of such a wit as Sydney Smith on the strictest principles of heredity; but Sydney himself attributed not a little of his constitutional gaiety to an infusion of French blood, his maternal grandfather being a French Protestant refugee of the name of Olier. Sydney was the second of a family of four brothers and one sister, all remarkable for their talents. While two of the brothers, Robert Percy, known as "Bobus," afterwards advocate-general of Bengal, and Cecil, were sent to Eton, Sydney was sent with the youngest to Winchester, where he rose to be captain of the school, and with his brother so distinguished himself that their schoolfellows signed a round-robin "refusing to try for the college prizes if the Smiths were allowed to contend for them any more, as they always gained them." At some time during his Oxford career he spent six months in France, being duly enrolled for safety's sake in the local Jacobin club. In 1789 he had become a scholar of New College, Oxford; he received a fellowship after two years' residence, took his degree in 1792 and proceeded M.A. in 1796. It was his wish then to read for the bar, but his father would add nothing to his fellowship, and he was reluctantly compelled to take holy orders. He was ordained priest at Oxford in 1796, and became a curate in the small village of Nether Avon, near Amesbury, in the midst of Salisbury Plain. The place was uncongenial enough, but Sydney Smith did much for the inhabitants, providing the means for the rudiments of education, and thus making better things possible. The squire of the parish, Michael Hicks-Beach, invited the new curate to dine, was astonished and charmed to find such a man in such a place, and engaged him after a time as tutor to his eldest son. It was arranged that they should proceed to the university of Weimar, but, before reaching their destination Germany was disturbed by war, and "in stress of politics" said Smith, "we put into Edinburgh." This was in 1798. While his pupil attended lectures, Smith was not idle. He studied moral philosophy under Dugald Stewart, and devoted much time to medicine and chemistry. He also preached in the Episcopal chapel, where his practical brilliant discourses attracted many hearers.

In 1800 he published his first book, Six Sermons, preached in Charlotte Street Chapel, Edinburgh, and in the same year, married, against the wishes of her friends, Catharine Amelia Pybus. They settled at No. 46 George Street, Edinburgh, where, as everywhere else, Smith made numerous friends, among them the future Edinburgh Reviewers. It was towards the end of his five years' residence in Edinburgh, in the eighth or ninth storey or flat in a house in Buccleuch Place, the elevated residence of the then Mr Jeffrey, that Sydney Smith proposed the setting up of a review as an organ for the young malcontents with things as they were. "I was appointed editor," he says in the preface to the collection of his contributions, "and remained long enough in Edinburgh to edit the first number (October 1802) of the Edinburgh Review. The motto I proposed for the Review was ` Tenui musam meditamur avena.' - ` We cultivate literature on a little oatmeal.' But this was too near the truth to be admitted, and so we took our present grave motto' from Publius Syrus, of whom, none of us, I am sure, had ever read a single line." He continued to write for the Review for the next quarter of a century, and his brilliant articles were a main element in its success.

He left Edinburgh for good in 1803, when the education of his pupils was completed, and settled in London, where he rapidly became known as a preacher, a lecturer and a social lion. His success as a preacher, although so marked that there was often not standing-room in Berkeley Chapel, Mayfair, where he was morning preacher, was not gained by any sacrifice of dignity. He was also "alternate evening preacher" at the Foundling Hospital, and preached at the Berkeley Chapel and the Fitzroy Chapel, now St Saviour's Church, Fitzroy Square. He lectured on moral philosophy at the Royal Institution for three seasons, from 1804 to 1806: and treated his subject with such vigour, freshness and liveliness of illustration that the London world crowded to Albemarle Street to hear him. He followed in the main Dugald Stewart, whose lectures he had attended in Edinburgh; but there is more originality as well as good sense in his lectures, especially on such topics as imagination and wit and humour, than in many more pretentious systems of philosophy. He himself had no high idea of these entertaining performances, and threw them in the fire when they had served their purpose - providing the money for furnishing his house. But his wife rescued the charred MSS. and published them in 1850 as Elementary Sketches of Moral Philosophy. With the brilliant reputation that Sydney Smith had acquired in the course of a few seasons in London, he would probably have obtained some good preferment had he been on the powerful side in politics. Sydney Smith's elder brother "Bobus" had married Caroline Vernon, aunt of the 3rd Lord Holland, and he was always a welcome visitor at Holland House. His Whig friends came into office for a short time in 1806, and presented him with the living of Foston-le-Clay in Yorkshire. He shrank from this banishment for a time, and discharged his parish duties through a curate; but Spencer Perceval's Residence Act was 1 Judex damnatur cum nocens absolvitur. passed in 1808, and after trying in vain to negotiate an exchange, he quitted London in 1809, and moved his household to Yorkshire. The Ministry of "All the Talents" was driven out of office in 1807 in favour of a "no popery" party, and in that year appeared the first instalment of Sydney Smith's most famous production, Peter Plymley's Letters, on the subject of Catholic emancipation, ridiculing the opposition of the country clergy. It was published as A Letter on the Subject of the Catholics to my brother Abraham who lives in the Country, by Peter Plymley. Nine other letters followed before the end of 1808, when they appeared in collected form. Peter Plymley's identity was a secret, but rumours got abroad of the real authorship. Lord Holland wrote to him expressing his own opinion and Grenville's, that there had been nothing like it since the days of Swift (Memoir, i. 151). He also pointed out that Swift had lost a bishopric for his wittiest performance. The special and temporary nature of the topics advanced in these pamphlets has not prevented them from taking a permanent place in literature, secured for them by the vigorous, picturesque style, the generous eloquence and clearness of exposition which Sydney Smith could always command. In his country parish of Foston, with no educated neighbour within 7 m., Sydney Smith accommodated himself cheerfully to his new circumstances, and won the hearts of his parishioners as quickly as he had conquered a wider world. There had been no resident clergyman in his parish for r50 years; he had a farm of 300 acres to keep in order; a rectory had to be built. All these things were attended to beside his contributions to the Edinburgh Review. " If the chances of life ever enable me to emerge," he nevertheless writes to Lady Holland, "I will show you I have not been wholly occupied by small and sordid pursuits." He continued to serve the cause of toleration by ardent speeches in favour of Catholic emancipation; his eloquence being specially directed against those who maintained that a Roman Catholic could not be believed on his oath. "I defy Dr Duigenan," 1 he pleaded, addressing a meeting of clergy in 1823, "in the full vigour of his incapacity, in the strongest access of that Protestant epilepsy with which he was so often convulsed, to have added a single security to the security of that oath." At this time appeared one of his most vigorous and effective polemics, A Letter to the Electors upon the Catholic Question (1826).

Sydney Smith, after twenty years' service in Yorkshire, obtained preferment at last from a Tory minister, Lord Lyndhurst, who presented him with a prebend in Bristol cathedral in 1828, and afterwards enabled him to exchange Foston for the living of Combe Florey, near Taunton, which he held conjointly with the living of Halberton attached to his prebend. From this time he discontinued writing for the Edinburgh Review on the ground that it was more becoming in a dignitary of the church to put his name to what he wrote. It was expected that when the Whigs came into power Sydney Smith would be made a bishop. There was nothing in his writings, as in the case of Swift, to stand in the way. He had been most sedulous as a parochial clergyman. Doctoring his parishioners, he said, was his only rural amusement. His religion was wholly of a practical nature, and his fellow-clergy had reasons for their suspicion of his very limited theology, which excluded mysticism of any sort. "The Gospel," he said, "has no enthusiasm." His scorn for enthusiasts and dread of religious emotion found vent in middle life in his strictures on missionary enterprise,;and bitter attacks on Methodism, and later in many scoffs at the followers of Pusey. Still, though he was not without warm friends at headquarters, the opposition was too strong for them. One of the first things that Lord Grey said on entering Downing Street was, "Now I shall be able to do something for Sydney Smith"; but he was not able to do more than appoint him in 1831 to a residentiary canonry at St Paul's in exchange for the prebendal stall he held at Bristol. He was as eager a champion of parliamentary reform as he had been of Catholic emancipation, and one of his best fighting speeches was delivered at Taunton in October 1831 when he made his well-known comparison of the House of Lords, who 1 Patrick Duigenan, M.P. for the city of Armagh, a Protestant agitator.

had just thrown out the Reform Bill, with Mrs Partington of Sidmouth, setting out with mop and pattens to stem the Atlantic in a storm. Some surprise must be felt now that Sydney Smith's reputation as a humorist and wit should have caused any hesitation about elevating him to an episcopal dignity, and perhaps he was right in thinking that the real obstacle lay in his being known as "a high-spirited, honest, uncompromising man, whom all the bench of bishops could not turn upon vital questions." With characteristic philosophy, when he saw that the promotion was doubtful, he made his position certain by resolving not to be a bishop and definitely forbidding his friends to intercede for him.

On the death of his brother Courtenay he inherited L50,000, which put him out of the reach of poverty. His eldest daughter, Saba (1802-1866), married Sir Henry Holland. His eldest son, Douglas, died in 1829 at the outset of what had promised to be a brilliant career. This grief his father never forgot, but nothing could quite destroy the cheerfulness of his later life. He retained his high spirits, his wit, practical energy and powers of argumentative ridicule to the last. His Three Letters to Archdeacon Singleton on the Ecclesiastical Commission (1837-38-39) and his Petition and Letters on the repudiation of debts by the state of Pennsylvania (1843), are as bright and trenchant as his best contributions to the Edinburgh Review. He died at his house in Green Street, London, on the 22nd of February 1845 and was buried at Kensal Green.

Sydney Smith's other publications include: Sermons (2 vols., 1809); The Ballot (1839); Works (3 vols., 1839), including the Peter Plymley and the Singleton Letters and many articles from the Edinburgh Review; A Fragment on the Irish Roman Catholic Church (1845); Sermons at St Paul's . (1846) and some other pamphlets and sermons. Lady Holland says (Memoir, i. 190) that her father left an unpublished MS., compiled from documentary evidence, to exhibit the history of English misrule in Ireland, but had hesitated to publish it. This was suppressed by his widow in deference to the opinion of Lord Macaulay.

See A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith by his daughter, Lady Holland, with a Selection from his Letters edited by Mrs [[[Sarah Austin|Sarah] Austin]] (2 vols., 1855); also A Sketch of the Life and Times of ... Sydney Smith (1884) by Stuart J. Reid; a chapter on "Sydney Smith" in Lord Houghton's Monographs Social and Personal (1873); A. Chevrillon, Sydney Smith et la renaissance des idees liberales Angleterre au XIX' siecle (1894); and especially the monograph, with a full description of his writings, by G. W. E. Russell in Sydney Smith (English Men of Letters series, 1905). There are numerous references to Smith in contemporary correspondence and journals.


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