Smith, James (1645-1711) (DNB00)

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SMITH, JAMES, D.D. (1645–1711), Roman catholic prelate, born at Winchester in 1645, was educated in the English College at Douay, and was created D.D. on 5 Feb. 1679–80. He was appointed president of Douay College, in succession to Dr. Francis Gage [q. v.], on 28 Aug. 1682, and while occupying that post he succeeded to a large paternal estate, the chief part of which he granted to a younger brother. In 1687 he was nominated by James II to be one of the four vicars-apostolic of England, each of whom had an annual stipend of 1,000l. out of the royal exchequer, with 500l. upon entering into office. He was elected by Propaganda on 12 Jan. 1678, and was consecrated at Somerset House on 13 May (O.S.) 1688 as bishop of Calliopolis in partibus. After his consecration he went to his vicariate, arriving on 2 Aug. at York, where he was received with great ceremony by the secular and regular clergy, who sang the Te Deum publicly. In one of his visitations Smith was deprived of his large crozier by Thomas Osborne, earl of Danby and first duke of Leeds [q. v.], who deposited it in York Minster. This beautiful work of art was exhibited before the Society of Antiquaries on 23 Feb. 1888 (Proc. Soc. Antiq. 2nd ser. xii. 105). On the flight of the king, Smith left York and sought refuge in the house of Francis Tunstall, esq. of Wycliffe, who afforded him hospitality and protection till the time of his death. In 1700 it was contemplated that he should be promoted to the cardinalate and to the office of Protector of England, which had been vacant since the death of Cardinal Howard; the Duke of Berwick and Dr. George Witham were commissioned from St. Germains to solicit this appointment from Clement XI. Smith died at Wycliffe on 13 May 1711. Dodd characterises him as ‘a fine gentleman, a good scholar, and a zealous prelate.’

His name is subscribed to ‘A Pastoral Letter from the four Catholic Bishops to the Lay Catholics of England,’ on the re-establishment of Catholic episcopal authority in England, London, 1688 and 1747, 8vo. His portrait, engraved from the original picture in the chapel-house at York, appeared in the ‘Laity's Directory’ for 1819.

[Brady's Episcopal Succession; Catholic Miscellany, 1827, vii. 243; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 468; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. vii. 243, 3rd ser. xii. 278; Palmer's Life of Cardinal Howard, pp. 203–6; Panzani's Memoirs, pp. 365, 373, 399.]

T. C.