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DMUND SMITH is one of thofe lucky writers who have, without much labour, attained high reputation, and who are mentioned with reverence rather for the poffeffion than the exertion of uncommon abilities.
Of his life little is known; and that little claims no praise but what can be given to intellectual excellence, feldom 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 better to transcribe at once than to take by pieces. I fhall fubjoin fuch little memorials as accident has enabled. me to collect.
Mr. EDMUND SMITH was the only fon 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. II.
were the occafion of the fon's being left very young in the hands of a near relation (one who married Mr. Neale's fifter), whofe 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. Bufby; whence, after the lofs of his faithful and generous guardian (whose name he affumed and retained), he was removed to Christchurch in Oxford, and there by his aunt handfomely maintained till her death; after which he continued a member of that learned and ingenious fociety till within five years of his own; though, fome time before his leaving Chrift-church, he was fent for by his mother to Worcester, and owned and acknowledged as her legitimate fon; which had not been mentioned, but to wipe off the afperfions that were ignorantly caft by fome on his birth. It is to be remembered, for our author's honour, that, when at Westminster election he ftood a candidate for one of the univerfities, he fo fignally diftinguished himself by his confpicuous performances, that there arofe no fmall contention, between the reprefentative electors of Trinity-college in Cambridge and Chrift-church in Oxon, which of those two royal focieties fhould adopt him as their own. But the electors of Trinitycollege having the preference of choice that year, they refolutely elected him; who yet, being invited at the fame time to Chrift-church, chose to accept of a studentship there. Mr. Smith's perfections, as well natural as acquired, seem to have been formed upon Horace's plan, who fays, in his "Art of "Poetry:"