Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 52.djvu/410

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Smee
Smellie
399

lectures which became a permanent feature. He was one of the founders of the Gresham Life Assurance Society and of the Accident Insurance Company. In later life he devoted himself to horticulture at his experimental garden at Wallington in Surrey, publishing his results in a magnificent work, ‘My Garden; its Plan and Culture’ (1872), which is written somewhat upon the lines of White's ‘Selborne.’ A second edition appeared in the same year, with thirteen hundred engravings. Smee contested Rochester, in the conservative interest, in 1865, in 1868, and again in 1874, but always without success.

He died at 7 Finsbury Circus, of diabetes, on 11 Jan. 1877, and was buried at St. Mary's Church, Beddington, in Surrey. He married Miss Hutchison on 2 June 1840, and by her had issue a son, Alfred Hutchison Smee, F.C.S., and two daughters. Had Smee lived a few years later he would have made himself a great reputation as an electrical engineer. His chief achievement dealt with electro-metallurgy, including the art of electrotyping. His medical work was subordinated to other and, as it proved, to more important issues, yet even here his acumen enabled him to carry out improvements in the details of everyday practice. He invented, while he was yet a student, that method of making splints out of plastic materials, known as ‘gum and chalk,’ which was only superseded by the use of plaster of Paris, and he was quick to turn to account in the treatment of fractures the physical properties of guttapercha. He also employed electrical means to detect the presence of needles impacted in different parts of the human body.

Smee's chief works, apart from those mentioned, were:

  1. ‘Elements of Electro-Metallurgy,’ London, 1840; an important work dealing with the laws regulating the reduction of metals in different states, as well as a description of the processes for platinating and palladiating, so that reliefs and intaglios in gold can be readily obtained. Smee was also the first to discover the means by which perfect reverses in plaster could be made by rendering the plaster non-absorbent; 2nd edit. 1843; 3rd edit. 1851. It was translated into Welsh, 12mo, Denbigh, 1852.
  2. ‘On the Detection of Needles … impacted in the Human Body,’ London, 8vo, 1845.
  3. ‘Vision in Health and Disease,’ &c., London, 8vo, 1847; 2nd edit. 1854.
  4. ‘A Sheet of Instructions as to the proper Treatment of “Accidents and Emergencies,”’ 12mo, 1850; 10th edit. undated; translated into French, Paris, 12mo, 1872, and into German, Berlin, 8vo, undated.

[Memoir of the late Alfred Smee, F.R.S., by his daughter (Mrs. Odling), 8vo, London, 1878; obituary notice in the Medical Times and Gazette, 1877, i. 79; additional information kindly supplied to the writer by Alfred Hutchison Smee, esq.]

D’A. P.

SMEETON, GEORGE (fl. 1800–1828), printer and compiler, rose from a humble position to the proprietorship of a printing business in the neighbourhood of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, Westminster. He became a strong ally of James Caulfield [q. v.], of Wells Street, Oxford Street, for whom he printed and published, in 1814, ‘The Eccentric Magazine,’ containing lives and portraits of misers, dwarfs, idiots, and singularities. In 1820 he issued, in two handsome quarto volumes, ‘Reprints of Rare and Curious Tracts relating to English History,’ containing sixteen seventeenth-century pamphlets, with some admirable reproductions of contemporary portraits and a few notes (cf. Lowndes, Bibl. Man., with contents table). The work, of which only 250 copies were printed, does credit to Smeeton's antiquarian tastes, and is now a prize for the collector, as many copies were destroyed by fire. Following in Caulfield's footsteps, Smeeton issued in 1822 his well-known ‘Biographia Curiosa; or Memoirs of Remarkable Characters of the Reign of George III, with their Portraits’ (London, 8vo; with thirty-nine portraits, and a plate of the ‘Beggars' Opera at St. Giles’). Commencing in 1825, he published four volumes of ‘The Unique,’ a series of engraved portraits of eminent persons, with brief memoirs. He was now living in the Old Bailey, whence he had removed to Tooley Street, Southwark, by 1828, in which year he issued ‘Doings in London: or Day and Night Scenes of the Frauds, Frolics, Manners, and Depravities of the Metropolis,’ London, 8vo, illustrated with designs engraved by Bonner after Isaac Robert Cruikshank [q. v.] This is a medley based to some extent upon Ward's ‘London Spy’ and the more recent compilations of Egan and Westmacott, while it anticipates in some respects the pictures of the debtors' prisons of that epoch given by Dickens and Mayhew.

[Lowndes's Bibl. Manual (Bohn), p. 2416; Allibone's Dict. of English Lit.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.

SMELLIE, WILLIAM, M.D. (1697–1763), man-midwife, son of Archibald Smellie and his wife, Sara Kennedy, was born in the town of Lanark in 1697, and was educated at its grammar school. Where he received medical instruction is unknown,