Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/155

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In the Mathews collection of pictures, now in the Garrick Club, is a portrait of Smith as Charles Surface in ‘the screen scene,’ with King as Sir Peter, Palmer as Joseph Surface, and Mrs. Abington as Lady Teazle. Prints of the same characters were published by John Harris in 1778, and Sayer in 1789. A portrait of Smith as Iachimo by William Lawranson has also been engraved. A portrait by Hoppner (1788) was presented to the nation by Serjeant Taddy in 1837, and was transferred from the National to the National Portrait Gallery in 1883 (Cat. 1896, p. 369). John Jackson (1778–1831) [q. v.], at the instance of Sir George Beaumont, went down to Bury in 1811 to paint a portrait of Smith, then over eighty years of age; this was engraved by William A. E. Ward [q. v.], and published in 1819.

[Genest's Account of the English Stage; Manager's Note-Book; Thespian Dictionary; Gilliland's Dramatic Mirror; Theatrical Inquisitor, 1819; Clark Russell's Representative Actors; Boaden's Life of Mrs. Jordan, i. 122; O'Keeffe's Recollections; Smith's Cat.; Garrick Correspondence; Davies's Life of Garrick; Dutton Cook's Hours with the Players; Georgian Era; Walpole Letters, ed. Cunningham; Boswell's Johnson, ed. Hill; Taylor's Records of my Life; note from R. F. Scott, esq., of St. John's, Cambridge.]

J. K.

SMITH, WILLIAM (1756–1835), politician, only son of Samuel Smith, of Clapham Common, a merchant of London, and his wife, Martha Adams, was born on 22 Sept. 1756. His family belonged to the Isle of Wight, and had owned a small estate there since the reign of James I. He was educated at the college of Daventry, and early acquired a taste for literature and art, which was exhibited in after life in his fine library and collection of pictures. On 2 April in the general election of 1784 he was elected M.P. for Sudbury in Suffolk, and sat till the dissolution in June 1790. He was not re-elected, but obtained a seat for Camelford, Cornwall, on 8 Jan. 1791, on the vacancy caused by the death of Sir Samuel Hannay, and sat till 1796. In the next parliament he was elected on 25 May 1796 for Sudbury, but after the dissolution on 29 June 1802 he was elected on 5 July 1802 for Norwich. He did not obtain a seat in the next parliament, which sat from 15 Dec. 1806 to 29 April 1807, but on 4 May 1807 he was again elected for Norwich, and re-elected in the four successive parliaments of 1812, 1818, 1820, and 1826, retiring from parliamentary life at the dissolution of 24 July 1830. He had been brought up in the principles of the revolution of 1688, and adhered to them throughout life. His father and uncle were ground landlords of a great part of the city of Savannah, but sympathised so strongly with the Americans that they made no claim for the loss of their property after the declaration of American independence. The first important debate in which Smith took part (Parl. History, vol. xxv. 824) was that on Mr. Beaufoy's motion in 1787 for a repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. He spoke at great length on the same subject in 1789, when he was answered by Lord North; in 1790 on Fox's motion on the same subject; on 1 March 1791 he spoke last in a great debate in which Burke, Fox, and Pitt spoke on a motion for leave to bring in a bill for the relief of catholic dissenters, and twice on the same bill in April 1791. In 1792 he attacked Burke on Fox's motion for the repeal of certain penal statutes respecting religious opinions, and again attacked him on the address of thanks on 13 Dec. 1792, but often afterwards quoted him and spoke of him with respect. He took part in almost every discussion on religious disabilities till the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1828, when he was vice-chairman at the banquet on 8 May 1828 held to celebrate the repeal, under the presidency of the Duke of Sussex. In a speech made in 1790 in defence of Dr. Priestley, he stated that he was himself a unitarian dissenter, and in 1792, in another debate on religious disabilities, ‘that as long as his name was William he would stand up for his principles.’ His position as chairman of the deputies of the three denominations and as the chief advocate of their interests in parliament, and the frequent length of his speeches, were satirised in a political poem of the time:

    At length, when the candles burn low in their sockets,
    Up gets William Smith with both hands in his pockets,
    On a course of morality fearlessly enters,
    With all the opinions of all the Dissenters.

On 26 May 1788 he supported the motion of Sir William Dolben on the African slave bill, and in 1789 spoke in favour of William Wilberforce's resolution on the slave trade. In 1791 he spoke at great length in the same cause, giving much varied information on slavery, and the speech seems to have produced some effect on Pitt. He frequently used classical quotations, and on this oc-