Smith, Robert

, the very learned successor of Bentley as master of Trinity college, Cambridge, was born in 1689, and educated at that college, where he took his degrees of A. B. in 1711, A.M. in 1715, L L. D. in 1723, and D. D. in 1739. Very little, we regret to say, is on record, respecting Dr. Smith, who has so well deserved of the learned world. He was mathematical preceptor to William duke of Cumberland, and master of mechanics to his majesty, George II. It appears that he was maternal cousin, of the celebrated Roger Cotes, whom he succeeded in 1716, as Plumian professor at Cambridge, and afterwards succeeded Bentley as master of Trinity. He published some of the works of his cousin Cotes, particularly his “Hydrostatical and Pneumatical Lectures,1737, 8vo also a | collection of Cotes’s pieces from the Philosophical Transactions, &c. 1722, 4to. His own works, which sufficiently evince his scientific knowledge, were his “Complete systern of Optics,1728, 2 vols. 4to; and his “Harmonics, or the philosophy of Musical Sounds,1760. He died in 1768, in the seventy-ninth year of his age. The late Mr. Cumberland, who was under him at Trinity college, says. Dr. Smith was a strict examiner into the proficiency of the students, and led himself the life of a student, abstemious and recluse, his family consisting only of an unmarried sister advanced in years, and a niece. He was of a thin habit, the tone of his voice shrill and nasal, and his manner of speaking such as denoted forethought and deliberation. 1


Hutton’s Dict. new edit. Cumberland’s Life. Cambridge Graduates,