Smith, Thomas

, a learned English writer and divine, was born in the parish of Allhallows Barking, in London, June 3, 1638, and admitted of Queen’s college in Oxford at nineteen, where he took the degrees in arts. In 1663 he was made master of the free school joining to Magdalen college; and, in 1666, elected fellow of that college, being then famous for his skill in the oriental languages. In June 1668, he went as chaplain to sir Daniel Harvey, ambassador to Constantinople; and returned thence in 1671. In 1676, he travelled into France; and, returning after a short* stay, became chaplain to sir Joseph Williamson, secretary of state. In 1679 he was designed to collate and publish the Alexandrian manuscript in St. James’s library, and to have for his reward (as Charles II. promised) a canonry of Windsor or Westminster; but that design was reserved for the industry and abilities of Mr. Woide, at a far distant period (1784). Mr. Smith published a great many works, and had an established reputation among the learned. So high an opinion was conceived of him, that he was solicited Ijr the bishops Pearson, Fell, and Lloyd, to return into the east, in order to collect ancient manuscripts of the Greek fathers. It was designed that be should visit the monasteries of Mount Athos, where there was said to be extant a great number of Mss. reposited there before the decline of the Greek empire. He was then to proceed to ^Smyrna, Nice, Nicornedia, Ancyra, and at last to Egypt; and to employ two or three years in this voyage; but he could not prevail on himself to undertake it, both on account of the dangers inevitably to be encountered, and of the just expectations he had from his patron Williamson of preferment in the church. These expectations, however, were disappointed; for Wood says, that, after living several years with him, and performing a great deal of drudgery for him, he was at length dismissed without any reward .*

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Of this neglect Smith was not insensible. In one of his letters to Mr. Cradock, dated Stanhope-street, near Charing Cross, Oct. 7, 1676, he says, "Upon my first coming here, I perceived sir J. W.’s intention of a charuoer in his house is in order to make me his chaplain; but truly though I have lived in the family of an ambassador, I am sensible already, that I am not cut out for it, wanting perchance those arts of compliance and giving me courtship, to which I was never bred, which, I see a man must be guilty of,

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if he would please, and which I am now too old to learn and therefore shall never part with my liberty, and live under continual restraint, it may be for two or three years, in hopes of a prebend or a living, when I can live happily all my life long in a college, and enjoy myself, as well as the great man at Lambeth." Letters by Eminent Persons, 1813, 3 vols. 8vo.

| In 1683, he took a doctor of divinity’s degree; and, the year after, was nominated by his college to the rectory of Stanlake in the diocese of Oxford, but upon some dislike resigned it in a month. In 1687, he was collated to a prebend in the church of Heytesbury in Wilts. In August 3688, he was deprived of his fellowship by Dr. GilTard, the Popish president of Magdalen college, because he refused to live among the new Popish fellows of that college. He had before resisted the intrusion of Antony Farmer into the office of president, and presented a petition to the earl of Sunderland, beseeching the king either to leave the college to a free election, or recommend a qualified person. This being refused, he was for presenting a second address, before they proceeded to the election, and at last he and Mr. Chernock were the only two fellows that submitted to the authority of the royal commissioners, yet this did not avail him when he refused to associate with the new popish fellows under GilTard. He was, however, restored in Octoher following; but, afterwards refusing to take the oaths to William and Mary, his fellowship was pronounced void, July 25, 1692. From this time he lived chiefly in sir John Cotton’s family. He died at London, May 11, 1710, and was buried in St. Anne’s church, Soho, privately, according to his desire.

His works, are, 1. “Diatriba de Chaldaicis Paraphrastis,” Oxon. 1662, 8vo. 2. “Syntagma de Druidum moribus ac institutis.” 3. “Remarks upon the Manners, Religion, and Government of the Turks; together with a Survey of the seven Churches of Asia, as they now lie in their Ruins; and a brief Description of Constantinople,1678, 8vo, originally published in Latin. 4. “De Grsecse Ecclesix hodierno statu Epistola;” which, with additions, he translated into English, and published with the following title: “An Account of the Greek Church, as to its Doctrines and Rites of Worship, with several Historical Remarks interspersed, relating thereto. To which is added, an Account of the State of the Greek Church under Cyrillus Lucaris, patriarch of Constantinople, with a Relation of his Sufferings and Death,1680, 8vo. 5. “De causis et rernediis | dissidiorum,” &c. Ox. 1675, 4to, printed afterwards among his “Miscellanea,” and published by him in English, under the title of “A pacific Discourse or, the causes and remedies of the differences about religion, which distract the peace of Christendom,” Lond. 1688, 4to. 6. Two volumes of “Miscellanea” in Latin, on subjects chiefly of ecclesiastical history and biblical criticism, Lond. 1686, 8vo, and 1692, 4to. 7. A translation of the “Life of St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi,” with a preface, ibid. 1687, 4to. 8. A Latin life of Camden, which was prefixed to his edition of Camden’s “Epistolse,” in 1691, 4to. 9. “Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum Bibl, Cottonianse,” Oxon. 1696, fol. with a life of sir Robert Cotton. 10. “Inscriptiones Grgecse. Palmyrenorum, cum scholiis Ed. Bernardi et Thotnse Smithi,Utrecht, 1698, 8vo. 11. The lives of Dr. Robert Huntington, bishop of Raphoe, and of Dr. Edward Bernard, in Latin. 12. An edition of “Ignatii Epistolae,” Oxon. 1709, 4to. 13. A preface to sir Philip Warwick’s “Memoirs of the reign of Charles I.” prefixed to the edition of 1702, and of which there has lately been a republication (1813); and lastly, that very useful volume entitled “Vitae quorundam eruditissimorum & illustrium virorum,1707, 4to. In this collection are the lives of archbishop Usher, bishop Cosins, Mr. Henry Briggs, Mr. John Bainbridge, Mr. John Greaves, sir Patrick Young, preceptor to James I. Patrick Young, library-keeper to the same, and Dr. John Dee. Three papers by him are inserted in the “Philosophical Transactions:” 1. “Historical Observations relating to Constantinople, No. 152, for Oct. 20, 1683.” 2. “An Account of the City of Prusia in Bithynia, No. 155, for Jan. 1633.” 3. “A Conjecture about an Under-current at the Streights-mouth, No. 158, for April 1684.” He left his Mss. to Hearne, with whom he was a frequent correspondent.*

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Hearne, in one of his ms diaries, says, 'Dr. Thomas Smith, as he was a person well versed in all sorts of learning, aud one of the bust scholars that were ever bred in Magdalen college, and indeed in this university, so he had an extraordinary good collection of books, in all faculties, which he took care to digest in the best order. These books he picked up in his travels, and at other times when he had a good convenient opportunity. His knowledge of books was so extensive, that men of the best reputation, Much as have spent not only hundreds, but thousands of pounds for furnishing libraries, applied themselves to him for advice and direction, and were glad when they could receive a line or two from him to assist them in that office. His printed books (collected with great care and judgment) consist of about 6 or 7 thousand volumes, of the best and most useful authors, some of which he

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had left to the university of Oxford (particularly to the Bodleian and Magdalen college libraries) had he not been much discouraged (as divers other e*cellent men hare been) in his several pursuits after learning and had not some men of that place put a slight upon him, which he neither could, or indeed ought to brook." Letters by Eminent persons, &c.

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Biog. Brit.- Gen. Dict.—Ath. Ox. vol. II.

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