Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/89

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(Biographie Universelle des Musiciens, viii. 221). Smith also studied theory under Dr. John Christopher Pepusch [q. v.] and Thomas Roseingrave [see under Roseingrave, Daniel]. Very early in life he was established as a successful teacher. At eighteen his health suffered from excessive application to music, and the physician Dr. Arbuthnot invited him to spend the summer at his house in Highgate. The rest proved beneficial, and the symptoms of consumption were arrested. At Highgate Smith had the advantage of meeting Swift, Pope, Gay, and Congreve. In 1732 he composed an English opera, ‘Teraminta,’ and the following year a second opera, ‘Ulysses.’ Subsequently he spent several years on the continent.

In 1751 Handel's sight became affected, and, at his desire, Smith returned to England to fill his place at the organ during the oratorio performances. He also acted as the composer's amanuensis, and Handel's latest compositions were dictated to him. In 1750 he was appointed first organist of the Foundling Hospital. Smith was intimately acquainted with Garrick, who was instrumental in producing his opera, ‘The Fairies,’ at Drury Lane in 1754. This musical drama, which was adapted from ‘Midsummer Night's Dream,’ had an excellent reception. A similar work, arranged from the ‘Tempest,’ was less appreciated, though the song ‘Full fathom five’ became permanently popular.

Handel bequeathed to his old pupil all his manuscript scores, his harpsichord, his portrait by Denner, and his bust by Roubiliac. When Handel announced a wish to alter the bequest, and present his manuscripts to Oxford University, Smith declined an offer of a legacy of 3,000l. by way of compensation. After Handel's death in 1759 Smith, with the assistance of John Stanley, carried on the oratorio performances until 1774, when, the attendance having greatly fallen off, he gave up the conductorship and retired to his house in Upper Church Street, Bath. He composed several oratorios, ‘Paradise Lost,’ ‘Rebecca,’ ‘Judith,’ ‘Jehoshaphat,’ and ‘Redemption,’ as well as the Italian operas ‘Dario,’ ‘Il Ciro riconosciuto,’ and ‘Issipile.’ He taught the harpsichord to the Dowager Princess of Wales, one of his most generous patrons, whose death in 1772 he commemorated by a setting of the burial service. Out of gratitude for the many favours received from the royal family, Smith presented George III with Handel's manuscript scores—which are now at Buckingham Palace—as well as Handel's harpsichord and the bust by Roubiliac, which are now preserved at Windsor Castle. Smith died at Bath on 3 Oct. 1795.

[Anecdotes of Smith and Handel by the Rev. William Coxe, containing a portrait of Smith engraved from an original picture by Zoffany; Mason's Gray, 1827, p. 415; Burney's History of Music; Rockstro's Life of Handel; Grove's Dictionary of Music.]

R. N.

SMITH, JOHN GORDON (1792–1833), professor of medical jurisprudence, born in 1792, was educated at Edinburgh and graduated in the university in 1810 with the highest honours in medicine. He entered the army as a surgeon, and was attached to the 12th lancers at the battle of Waterloo, when he received the thanks of Colonel Ponsonby, whose life he saved, for his services to the wounded. He retired from the army on half-pay when peace was concluded in 1815, and settled in London. Here he found it difficult to establish himself in practice, as he held a Scottish degree only, and was therefore not entitled to practise in England. He accepted the appointment of physician to the Duke of Sutherland, and resided with him for four years, occupying his leisure in composing a work on forensic medicine. At the same time he acted as surgeon to the Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital. He also lectured on medical jurisprudence at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in 1825 and again in 1826, and at the Mechanics' Institute; and in 1829 he was elected the first professor of medical jurisprudence at the London University (now University College) in Gower Street. None of the licensing bodies in London required any evidence of instruction in forensic medicine, and there was consequently no class. Smith lectured for two years, and then resigned his office. For a time he edited the ‘London Medical Repository.’ He died in a debtor's prison, after fifteen months' confinement, on 16 Sept. 1833.

An ardent reformer in politics as well as medicine, Smith was an enthusiastic pioneer of the study of medical jurisprudence, which (Sir) Robert Christison [q. v.] was endeavouring at the same time to set on a scientific basis. Smith fought hard, but again unsuccessfully, to place Scottish and English degrees and licences in medicine upon an equal footing.

He published, besides various contributions to the ‘Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal:’ 1. ‘De Asthmati,’ Edinburgh, 1810. 2. ‘The Principles of Forensic Medicine,’ 8vo, London, 1821; 2nd edit. 1824; 3rd edit. 1827. 3. ‘An Analysis of Medical Evidence,’ London, 8vo, 1825.