Smith, William

, a learned English divine and translator, was the son of the rev. Richard Smith, rector of AllSaints, and minister of St. Andrew, both in Worcester, who died in 1726. He was born at Worcester in 1711, and educated at the grammar-school of that city. In 1728 he was admitted of New-college, Oxford, where he proceeded B. A. in 1732, M. A. in 1737, and D. D. in 1758. In 1735 he was presented by his patron, James earl of Derby, in whose family he was reader, to the rectory of Trinity-church, Chester, and by his son and successor’s interest, whose chaplain he was, to the deanery of Chester in 1753. He held the mastership of Brentwood-school in Essex for one year, 1748; and in 1753 was nominated by the corporation of Liverpool one of the ministers of St. George’s church there, which he resigned in 1767. With his deanery he held the parish churches of Handley and Trinity, but in 1780 resigned the last for the rectory of West Kirkby. He died Jan. 12, 1787. His character is thus briefly drawn by his biographer: “He was tall and genteel; his voice was strong, clear, and melodious; he spoke Latin fluently, and was complete master not only of the Greek but Hebrew language; his mind was so replete with knowledge, that he was a living library; his manner of address was graceful, engaging, and delightful; his sermons were pleasing, informing, convincing; his memory, even in age, was wonderfully retentive, and his conversation was polite, affable, and in the highest degree improving.” He is known in the learned world, chiefly by his valuable translations of “Longinus on the Sublime,1739, 8vo, which went through four editions, the last of which, with the frontispiece designed by Dr. Wall of Worcester, is said to be the best; “Thucydides,1753, 2 vols. 4to, reprinted in 1781, 8vo; “Xenophon’s History of the Affairs of Greece,1770, 4to. In 1782 he published “Nine Sermons on the Beatitudes,” 8vo, very elegantly written. In 1791, appeared “The Poetic Works of the rev. William Smith, D. D. late dean of Chester; with some account of the life and writings of the Author. By Thomas Crane, minister of the parish church of St. Olave in Chester, &c.” This work we have not seen, and for the account of Dr. Smith’s life we are indebted to a review of it in the Gent. Mag. 1


Gent. Mag., vol. LXI.