Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Smith, Goldwin
SMITH, GOLDWIN (1823–1910), controversialist, was born on 13 Aug. 1823 at 15 Friar Street, Reading, where a tablet now records the fact. His father, Richard Prichard Smith (1795-1867), a native of Castle Bromwich, Warwickshire, was son of Richard Smith (1758-1820), rector of Long Marston, Yorkshire; he was educated at Repton and at Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated M.B. in 1817 and M.D. in 1825; was elected F.R.C.P. in 1826; practised with great success for many years at Reading; helped to promote the Great Western railway, of which he became a director, and ultimately retired to a large country house, Mortimer House, eight miles from Reading. Goldwin Smith was his son by his first wife, Elizabeth, one of the ten children of Peter Breton, of Huguenot descent. She died at Reading on 19 Nov. 1833, and was buried in St. Lawrence's churchyard, having borne her husband three sons and two daughters, of whom only Goldwin survived youth. In 1839 Goldwin's father married a second wife, Katherine, daughter of Sir Nathaniel Dvikinfield, fifth baronet, and sister of Sir Henry Dukinfield, sixth and last baronet, rector of St. Giles's, Reading; with his stepmother Goldwin's relations were always distant. Goldwin was named after his mother's uncle, Thomas Goldwin (d. 1809) of Vicars Hill, Lymington, Hampshire, formerly a Jamaica planter, who distributed by will (proved 16 Nov. 1809) a part of a large fortune among his many nephews and nieces of the Breton family. He owned at his death 'slaves and stock' in Jamaica.
At eight the boy went to a private preparatory school at Monkton Farleigh, near Bath, and from 1836 to 1841 was a colleger at Eton. He boarded in the house of Edward Coleridge, whose nephew John Duke, afterwards Lord Coleridge, was a life-long friend. Henry Fitzmaurice Hallam, son of the historian, was another close companion at school. Goldwin abstained from games and was reckoned reserved and solitary. According to his own account he did not work hard. He only studied classics and chiefly Latin composition. Proceeding to Oxford, he matriculated at Christ Church on 26 May 1841, and benefited little, he said in after life, by the tuition of William Linwood [q. v.]. Next year he was elected demy of Magdalen College, where Martin Routh [q. v.] was president. At Magdalen there were few undergraduates besides the thirty demies. Among these John Conington was the 'star,' and Goldwin was his chief satellite. Roundell Palmer, recently elected a fellow, showed him kindly attention, and their affectionate relations continued through later years. For Magdalen College he always cherished a warm regard. Although he attended Buckland's lectures on geology, his main energies were absorbed by the classics, for which he showed unusual aptitude. He read privately with Richard Congreve [q. v. Suppl. I], and made a record as a winner of classical prizes in the university. The Hertford scholarship fell to him in 1842, and the Ireland in 1845, together with the chancellor's Latin verse prize for a poem on 'Numa Pompilius,' the Latinity of which his friend Conington highly commended. In the same year, too, he won a first class in literæ humaniores, and graduated B.A., proceeding M.A. in 1848. In 1846 he carried off the chancellor's prize for the Latin essay on 'The Position of Women in Ancient Greece,' and in 1847 the chancellor's prize for the English essay on 'The Political and Social Benefits of the Reformation in England.' Thus three years running he recited prize compositions at the encænia in the Sheldonian theatre. Meanwhile he had contributed Latin verse to the 'Anthologia Oxoniensis' of 1846, some of which was reproduced in the 'Nova Anthologia Oxoniensis' (ed. A. D. Godley and Robinson Ellis, 1899). Although Smith shone in the society of congenial undergraduates, he was (he wrote) 'unoratoric' and he did not join in the union debates (E. H. Coleridge's Lord Coleridge, 1904). His views on religious and political questions were from the first pronouncedly liberal. While he admired Newman's style, he was impatient of the Oxford movement and was scornful of all clerical influences. He characterised the pending religious controversy as 'barren.'
When Queen's College, with what was then rare liberality, threw open a fellowship to general competition. Smith's candidature failed, owing as he thought to his anti-clerical views (cf. Meyrick's Memories of Oxford, 1905, whose accuracy Smith disputed). In 1846 however he was elected Stowell law professor of University College; and his career was intimately associated with that college till 1867. But for his first four years there he resided intermittently. With a view to making the law his profession, he had entered as a student at Lincoln's Inn on 2 Nov. 1842, and after taking his degree spent most of his time in London. He saw much of Roundell Palmer, and through his Eton friends came to know Henry Hallam and Sir John Taylor Coleridge. He went on circuit as judge's marshal with the latter, and afterwards with Sir James Parke and Sir Edward Vaughan Williams. But although he was duly called to the bar on 11 June 1850, the law proved uncongenial. He would rather (he wrote to his friend Roundell Palmer) seek fame through 'a decent index to Shakespeare than the chancellorship.' The autumn of 1847 was devoted to a foreign tour with Conington and other Oxford friends. Conington and he were contemplating an elaborate joint edition of Virgil, on which a Uttle later they set seriously to work. Some progress was made with the Eclogues and the Georgics. But the task was ultimately accomplished by Conington alone, who in dedicating the first volume to Smith in 1858 generously acknowledged his initial co-operation. The tour of 1847 extended to France, Italy, Switzerland, and Tirol, and Goldwin visited Guizot at Val Richer. His faith in liberal principles was confirmed by his social experience in London, where his Eton master introduced him to the duke of Newcastle, and he came to know the leading Peelites. But he hoped for progress without revolution, and in 1848 he acted as a special constable during the Chartist scare.
Meanwhile Oxford was stirring Ms reforming zeal. Already in 1848 he described himself as 'rouge' in university politics (Selborne, ii. 195). In 1850 his relations with Oxford became closer on his accepting an ordinary fellowship and tutorship at University in succession to Arthur Penrhyn Stanley [q. v.]. He held the tutorship for four years and the fellowship for seventeen. The current agitation for academic reform attracted him more than normal educational duties. He threw in his lot with those who were attacking clerical ascendancy and were endeavouring to dissipate the prevailing torpor. With Jowett and William Charles Lake [q. v. Suppl. I] he drafted a memorial to the prime minister, Lord John Russell, urging the grant of a royal commission of inquiry into the administration of the university. His hand, too, appears in the vigorously phrased letters in support of the same cause published soon afterwards in 'The Times' above the signature 'Oxoniensis' (Life of A. C. Tait, i. 158-9). A royal commission was appointed on 31 Aug. 1850, and Stanley and Smith were made joint secretaries. The report, which was issued on 27 April 1852, approved the relaxation of religious tests, the abrogation of restrictive medieval statutes, the free opening of fellowships to merit, and the creation of a teaching professorate. The government introduced a bill to give moderate and tentative effect to these findings, and Gladstone, who during 1854 piloted the measure through the House of Commons, frequently invited Smith's assistance. On the passing of the Oxford University Reform Act an executive commission was appointed to frame the necessary regulations for the university and the colleges. Of this body Smith again became joint secretary with the Rev. Samuel Wayte, and he was busily occupied with the task for nearly two years until it was completed in 1857. It fell to him to draw the statute which instituted the order of non-collegiate students. The general result fell far below his hopes, but he looked forward to a future advance, now that the ice was broken. The business of the commission kept Smith much in London, where he widened his intercourse with men of affairs. With A. C. Tait, one of the original commissioners, with Edward Cardwell, and with Sidney Herbert, he grew intimate, and he was a frequent guest of Lord Ashburton at the Grange near Airesford, where he met Carlyle and Tennyson. His leisure in London Smith devoted to journalism of the best literary type. As early as 1850 he had begun writing for the 'Morning Chronicle,' the Peelite organ, and when the editor of that journal, Douglas Cook, started the 'Saturday Review' in 1855 Goldwin Smith joined his staff. To the first number, 3 Nov. 1855, he contributed an article 'On the War Pas- sages in Tennyson's " Maud," ' in which he betrayed that horror of militarism which became a lasting obsession. He wrote regularly in the ’Saturday' for three years, chiefiy on literary themes, for he was out of sympathy with the political and religious tone of the paper. Cook, the editor, described him as his 'most effective pen.' He also occasionally acted as hterary critic for 'The Times,' reviewing sympathetically Matthew Arnold's 'Poems, by A' in 1854. His pen was likewise busy in the service of Oxford. To the ' Oxford Essays ' he contributed in 1856 an essay on 'The Roman Empire of the West' by his old tutor Congreve, and another on 'Oxford University Reform' in 1858.
In the last year Smith's usefulness and ability were conspicuously acknowledged by an invitation to become a full member of another royal commission of great importance — that on national education, under the chairmanship of the duke of Newcastle. The section of the report issued in 1862 on the proper application of charitable endowments was from his pen. Smith deprecated the suggestion that his services should be recognised by office in a public department. But greatly to his satisfaction, on the nomination of Lord Derby, the conservative prime minister, he was appointed in 1858, without making any application, regius professor of modern history at Oxford. His predecessor was Henry Halford Vaughan [q. v.], and both Richard William Church [q. v. Suppl. I] and Edward Augustus Freeman [q. v. Suppl. I] were candidates for the vacancy. Smith's new post was, he asserted, ' the highest object of his ambition,' but he lacked the qualification of historical training. Abandoning for the moment his journalistic work in London, he settled down at Oxford, as it seemed, for life. Always of delicate health, he built for himself a house to the north of the city, beyond The Parks, in what was then the open country. For many years the house stood alone, but it subsequently became the centre of a populous suburb. The building, which was greatly enlarged after he ceased to occupy it, has since been known as 7 Norham Gardens, and was long tenanted by Prof. Max Müller.
Goldwin Smith delivered his inaugural lecture as regius professor early in 1859. It was an eloquent and temperate plea for widening the old curriculum. Here, as in nearly all his subsequent public professorial lectures, his aim was to stimulate the thought and ethical sense of his hearers rather than to teach history in any formal way. His elevated intellectual temper broadened his pupils' outlook while his political fervour won adherents to his opinions. In private classes he was suggestive in comment, but he failed to encourage research, for which he had small liking or faculty. Controversy was for him inevitable, and he did not confine his controversial energy to the domain of history. In an early public lectnre on the ’Study of History' he somewhat ironically imputed an agnostic tendency to H. L. Mansel's metaphysical Bampton lectures of 1858. Mansel complained of misrepresentation, and Smith retorted, with a thinly veiled sceptical intention, in 'Rational Religion and the Rationalistic Objections of the Bampton Lecturer of 1858.' With Bishop Wilberforce he was even in smaller sympathy than with Mansel. In 'The Suppression of Doubt is not Faith, by a Layman' (Oxford, 1861) he attacked some of the bishop's sermons and pleaded openly for the rights of scepticism. In a second tract, 'Concerning Doubt' (Oxford, 1861), he defended his position against the published censure of 'A Clergyman.'
In 1861 Smith collected into a volume five lectures on modern history. The fourth, 'On some Supposed Consequences of the Doctrine of Historical Progress,' was a suggestive contribution to political philosophy, and the fifth, 'On the Foiuadation of the American Colonies,' approached nearer than any other to the historical sphere and gave him an opportunity of proclaiming his democratic ardour. In Michaelmas term 1859 King Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) matriculated at Oxford, and Goldwin Smith gave him private lectures in modern history at the prince's residence at Frewen Hall. Goldwin Smith expressed a fear that he bored his royal pupil, but he was impressed by the prince's admirable courtesy, and the prince always treated him with consideration in later life (Thompson's Life of Liddell). An invitation to accompany the prince on his Canadian tour of 1860 was declined, on the ground of Smith's duties at Oxford. In general university politics he continued to act with the advanced party, and warmly pleaded for a fuller secularisation of endowments. In regard to national politics he proved, in the university an effective radical missionary. He supported Gladstone through the period of his liberal development. 'Young Oxford,' he wrote to the statesman (June 1859), 'is all with you; but old Oxford takes a long time in dying' (Morley's Gladstone, ii. 630). His 'wonderful epigrammatic power' won him respect. 'With all his bitterness,' wrote J. B. Mozley to his sister, 'he is something of a prophet, a judge who tells the truth though savagely.' Prof. George Rolleston, Prof. H. J. S. Smith, and Prof. J. E. Thorold Rogers were his closest friends among resident graduates of his own way of thinking, but he maintained good relations with some leaders in the opposite camp. With (Canon) William Bright [q. v. Suppl. II], who was a fellow of University during Smith's residence there, he formed, despite their divergences of opinion, a close intimacy.
Public affairs distracted Smith's attention from the work of his chair, and he soon flung himself with eager enthusiasm into the political agitation of the day. From the Peelites he had transferred his allegiance to Cobden, Bright, and the leaders of the Manchester school, With a persistence which never diminished he preached the school's doctrines of universal peace and freedom, and the duty of refusing responsibilities which condoned war or persecution. His admirable style, his power of clear and eloquent expression, and his passionate devotion to what he deemed to be righteous causes fitted him for a great pamphleteer, and he developed some capacity for carefully premeditated public speaking. The imperialistic trend of public opinion, which he identified with a spirit of wanton aggression, and the Irish discontent first brought him prominently into the political arena. In 1862-3 he contributed to the ’Daily News' a series of letters on The 'Empire' which were collected with some additions in a volume in 1863. He argued for what he called 'colonial emancipation' — for the conversion of the self-governing colonies into independent states. He advocated the abandonment of Gibraltar to Spain, declared his belief that India would be best governed as an independent empire under an English emperor, and described the Indian empire in its existing guise as 'a splendid curse’ (letter to John Bright). Smith hailed the cession by Lord Palmerston's government of the Ionian Isles to Greece in 1862-3 as a step in support of his own principles. His views, which attracted much attention, offended a large section of the public. The colonial press, especially in Australia, hotly repudiated them (cf. Sir G. F. Bowen, Thirty Years of Colonial Government, 1889, i. 209 ; letter from Bowen to Gladstone, 18 Aug. 1862). Disraeli in the House of Commons ridiculed 'the wild opinions' of all professors, rhetoricians, prigs and pedants (Hansard, 5 Feb. 1863), and thenceforth he habitually imputed a mischievous tendency to Smith's pohtical propaganda.
In 1862 Smith visited at Dublin his friend Cardwell, who was chief secretary for Ireland, and in the same year issued 'Irish History and Irish Character.' He divided the blame for the miseries of Ireland between English misgovemment, which disestablishment of the Irish church and revision of the land laws might correct, and defects of Irish character, which were irremediable.
But Smith's interests were soon absorbed by the civil war in America. His antipathy to war at first led him to doubt the adequacy of the federal cause, and to favour the claim of the South to the right of secession. But the eloquence of John Bright, which always powerfully influenced him, convinced him that the main principle at stake in the conflict was the liberation of the slave, and before long he engaged with fiery zeal in the agitation in England on behalf of the federal government. He first appeared on a political platform at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, on 6 April 1863, at a meeting of the Manchester Union and Emancipation Society, which Thomas Bayley Potter [q. v.] had formed in the federal interest and was supporting at his own cost. Smith protested with sombre earnestness 'against the building and equipping of piratical ships in support of the Southern slaveholders' confederacy' (J. F. Rhodes, Hist. of the Civil War, iii. 470). Soon afterwards, at the Manchester Athenæum, he lectured on 'Does the Bible sanction American Slavery ?' and answered the question in the negative. In the same year he published a pamphlet attesting 'the morality of the emancipation proclamation.'
Next year he resolved to visit America to carry to the North a message of sympathy from England. He landed on 6 Sept. 1864 at New York and saw much of the country during some three months' stay. At Washington, where he was the guest of Seward, the secretary of state, he was received with characteristic absence of ceremony by President Lincoln, whose precise and minute information impressed him (A. T. Rice, Reminiscences of Lincoln, 1886). He visited the federal camp before Richmond on the Potomac and conversed with General Butler. At Cambridge, Massachusetts, he met C. E. Norton and Lowell, and at Boston, where he witnessed the presidential election (9 Nov.), he saw Emerson and the historian Bancroft. At Providence, Brown University conferred on him the degree of LL.D, Chicago and Baltimore also came within the limits of his tour (Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc. Oct. 1910, account of Smith's visit, pp. 3-13). In letters to the London 'Daily News' he described some of his experiences, and commended the steady purpose of the North and its grim determination to make the South submit. The confederate press abused him roundly, but he was enthusiastically received by the federals, and before he left America the Union League Club entertained Mm at New York (12 Nov. 1864), when he expressed abounding sympathy with the American people.
Until the final triumph of the North, Smith continued its defence among his countrymen. A pamphlet 'England and America' (1865) effectively sought to bring the sentiments of the two countries into accord. At the meeting which saw the disbandment of the Manchester Union and Emancipation Society in Jan. 1866 he spoke with optimistic eloquence of America's future. 'Slavery,' he said, 'is dead everywhere and for ever.' 'By war no such delivery was ever wrought for humanity as this.'
Next year he engaged with wonted heat in another agitation. In 1867 he joined the Jamaica committee which was formed to bring to punishment Governor Eyre for alleged cruelties in suppressing a rebellion of negroes. J. S. Mill was the moving spirit of the committee, and with him Smith grew intimate. An opposing committee in Eyre's favour, of which Carlyle, Kingsley, Tennyson, and Ruskin were members, drew from Smith much wrathful denunciation ; Ruskin's championship of what Smith viewed as cruelty excited his especial scorn, and a rancorous controversy followed later between the two men. In the interests of the funds of the Jamaica committee. Smith went about the country delivering a series of four 'Lectures on three Enghsh Statesmen' — one each on Pym and Cromwell and two on Pitt. These he published in 1867 with a dedication to Potter. His powers of historical exposition are here seen to advantage, but an irrepressible partisan fervour keeps the effort within the category of brilliant pamphleteering. With other philosophical radicals he co-operated in 'Essays on Reform' (1867), writing on 'Experience of the American Commonwealth.' Robert Lowe taxed Smith with an extravagant faith in democracy when he criticised the volume in the 'Quarterly Review' (July 1867).
Private anxieties unsettled Smith's plans. His father during 1866 had been injured in a railway accident ; his mind was permanently affected, and he found relief only in his son's society. Smith was constantly at Mortimer House, and the frequency of his enforced absences from Oxford led him to resign his professorship in the summer of 1866. While he was away from home during the autumn of 1867 his father died by his own hand (7 Oct. 1867). Gold win and his step-mother were executors of the will, which was proved on 30 Oct. by Goldwin for mder 30,000l. and gave him a moderate competence. The shock powerfully affected Smith's nerves. The increase of private fortune again changed his position at Oxford ; it disquaUfied him for his fellowship at University College, which was only tenable by men of smaller means. At Easter 1867 he had been chosen honorary fellow of Oriel — the college which, under the new statutes of 1857, had contributed 250l. a year to his professional salary — but no closer tie with the university remained.
Uncertain as to his prospects, Smith determined to revisit America. A rumour that he was leaving England for good quickly spread. Dean Church communicated it to Asa Gray on 17 Jan. 1868 (Life of Church, p. 24). In a letter to the 'New York Tribune' of the same date Smith explained that he had resolved on 'a prolonged residence in America in order to study American history.' His place of settlement was as yet undetermined. He had no intention of becoming an American citizen (cf. reprint in The Times, 11 Feb. 1868). In the spring of 1868 Andrew Dickson White, who had been appointed president of the newly projected Cornell University in Ithaca, New York State, arrived in England with a view to securing the aid of English teachers in the new venture. Smith had met Ezra Cornell, the founder of the institution, in 1864, and he strongly approved Cornell's design of endowing a university for comparatively poor men which should be free of all religious restrictions. Dickson's offer to Smith of a chair on the new foundation was accepted. Smith agreed to become first professor of English and constitutional history at Cornell University. As he desired to be wholly untrammelled by conditions of service, he declined remuneration. His political friends who had urged him to enter the House of Commons at the imminent general election lamented his decision. Chelsea was vainly pressed on him as a safe seat. There was talk of his candidature for the city of Oxford, where he had lately helped to found an Oxford Reform League (17 July 1866). He promised to stay in England and help the party till the coming general election was over. At the Manchester Reform Club he made (10 April 1868) a long speech on current political questions, which drew the censure of a leader writer in 'The Times' (13 April). He declared he would remain a good Englishman wherever he was. To Samuel Morley [q. v.], an organiser of the party, who again pressed him to stay at home, he replied that 'a student's duty' called him elsewhere. Later in the year he actively promoted the candidature of A. J. Mundella at Sheffield.
Smith's resolve of exile, to which many motives contributed, was doubtless influenced to some extent by disappointment at the slow advance of the cause of reform in the university. Amid other political distractions he had always found time for an active share in the current agitation for the complete abolition of tests at both universities. At an influential meeting in support of legislation on the subject held in the Freemasons' Tavern in Great Queen Street, London, on 10 June 1864 he was a chief speaker, and he published a powerful pamphlet on the question in the same year. There he seems for the first time to have applied the term 'the Free churches' to the dissenting persuasions. No legislation for the aboUtion of tests was passed till 1871 (L. Campbell, On the Nationalisation of the Old English Universities, 1901).
Goldwin Smith's farewell to Oxford took the form of a pamphlet on the 'Reorganisation of the University' (1868). After regretting the limited character of the reforms of 1854, he pleaded for university extension, for the raising of the standard of pass examinations, for the separation of prize and teaching fellowships, for the marriage of fellows, and for various changes of administration. He dissociated himself from the cry for the endowment of research. But he privately urged on the University Press the preparation of a standard English Dictionary, and he recommended that new provincial universities, the creation of which he foresaw, should undertake technical instruction in some kind of affiliation with Oxford and Cambridge, while the two old universities should still confine their efforts to the humanities. He sought to preserve Oxford from discordant features of industrial progress, and in 1865 had by speech and pen actively resisted the choice of the city as the site of the Great Western railway's factories and workshops. He had, too, encouraged the volunteering movement of 1859, and had joined the university corps, but he deprecated the increasing zeal for athletic sports, and he always regarded the college rowing races as largely misapplied energy.
Smith left England for Cornell University on 25 Oct. 1868, and although his life was prolonged for another forty-one years and he paid frequent visits to his native country, his place of permanent residence thenceforth lay across the Atlantic. He reached Ithaca in November 1868, a month after Cornell University opened and long before the university buildings were erected. He entered with energy on the duties of his chair. Residence was not compulsory, but he took lodgings at first in an hotel, and then at ’Cascadilla,' a new boarding-house for the professors. The two years and more during which he watched at close quarters and with fatherly devotion the growth of the new institution were, he always declared, save for the time spent at Magdalen, the 'happiest of his life.' He cheerfully faced the discomforts of the rough accommodation and always cherished pleasant memories of his intercourse with his nine colleagues, who included Alexander Agassiz the naturalist, George William Curtis, Bayard Taylor, and Lowell, whom he had already met at Cambridge. He sent for his library from Oxford and subsequently presented it to the university with a small endowment fund ($14,000). He wrote to his friend Auberon Herbert to send out English stonemasons and carvers to work on the new university structures. In the 'campus' he placed a stone seat inscribed with the words 'Above all nations is humanity.' To John Bright he wrote (from Ithaca, 6 Sept. 1869) of his kind reception, and that only a little more health and strength was needed to make him 'altogether prosperous and happy.'
While at Cornell, intercourse with friends in England was uninterrupted, and he exchanged free comment with them on the public affairs of the two countries. Amid his academic work, he was soon disquieted by the course of current politics in America. During 1869 a popular outbreak of bitter hostility to England sprang out of the negotiations concerning the Alabama's depredations and the old disputes over Canadian boundaries and fisheries. Smith's first publication on American soil was a pamphlet called 'Relations between England and America' (Ithaca, May 1869), in which, at the beginning of the storm; he defended England's political aims and morality from the severe strictures of the American statesman and orator, Charles Sumner. The effort proved of small avail, and ’hatred of England' grew. On 7 Dec. 1869 he wrote from Ithaca to his friend T. B. Potter, 'The feeling is still very bad, especially in New England, and everything we say and do, however friendly, turns sour, as it were, in the minds of these people.' Among the people at large he was, however, hopeful of a better tone, but 'the politicians one and all' he denounced as 'hopeless' — as 'a vile crew quite unworthy of the people.' His perturbation was the greater because the principle of protection was making rapid headway, and the doctrine of free trade which he sought to propagate in the United States was repudiated as a piece of British chicanery, devised for the ruin of American manufacturers. The political and economic situation in America continued to occasion him grave concern through the early months of 1870. Nor was it lessened by an unwelcome reminder from home of his recent political activity there. Disraeli on the platform had already sneered at him as an 'itinerant spouter of stale sedition' and as a ’wild man of the cloister going about the country maligning men and things.' In 1870 the statesman published his 'Lothair,' and there he rancorously introduced an unnamed Oxford professor 'of advanced opinions on all subjects, religious, social and political, of a restless vanity and overflowing conceit, gifted with a great command of words and talent for sarcasm, who was not satisfied with his home career but was about to settle in the New World. Like sedentary men of extreme opinions he was a social parasite.' The attack stung Smith, and he injudiciously replied in a letter to 'The Times' (9 June 1870) in which he branded Disraeli's malignity as 'the stingless insults of a coward.' Smith's retort bore witness to an extreme sensitiveness linked with his reckless aggressiveness. Thenceforth he lost almost all self-control in his references to Disraeli, and with an illogical defiance of liberal principle seized every opportunity of assailing Disraeli's race. The 'tribal' character of the Jews and their unfitness for civic responsibilities in Christian states was a constant theme of his pen in middle life. On such grounds he went near justifying the persecution of the Jews in Russia and other countries of Eastern Europe.
In the autumn of 1870 Tom Hughes, Prof. A. V. Dicey, and Mr. James Bryce visited Smith at Cornell and saw him at his work. In the same year he made a tour in Canada, going as far as what was then the village of Winnipeg. This experience combing with a certain dis-illusionment in his views of American politics led him to alter his plans. Several cousins were settled at Toronto, and early in 1871 he left his comfortless quarters at Ithaca for the residence at Toronto of his relatives Mr. and Mrs. Colley Foster. It was thus that Toronto became his home for life, and his professorial labours at Cornell came gradually to an end. He paid frequent visits to the university till the end of 1872, when he formally resigned his resident professorship. He was thereupon appointed non-resident professor, and in 1875 he was also made lecturer in English history, but thenceforth he gave only occasional lectures. He ceased to be professor in 1881, but retained the lectureship till 1894, when he received the title of emeritus professor. He never ceased to speak with satisfaction of the part he played in the inauguration of Cornell University. Till his death he deeply interested himself in its welfare.
On 3 Sept. 1875 he married at St. Peter's, Toronto, a lady of wealth, Harriet, daughter of Thomas Dixon and widow of Henry Boulton of The Grange, Toronto. That old-fashioned house had been built by Boulton's father in 1817. There Smith lived in affluence from his marriage till his death. His wife, who was born at Boston in 1825, was his junior by two years. He spent many vacations in Europe, travelling in Italy on his latest visit in 1889 ; he also twice crossed Canada to the Pacific coast, and was always a frequent visitor to the United States. But he grew attached to The Grange, and disliked the notion of living elsewhere.
As soon as he settled in Toronto Smith zealously studied colonial life, and sought his main occupation in journalism. Although he wrote much on current literature, on religious speculation, and on the public affairs of the European continent, he applied his pen chiefly to the politics of Canada, England, and the United States. He adhered with tenacity and independence to the principles which he had upheld in England, and maintained warfare with undiminished vehemence on militarism, imperialism, and clericalism. In Canadian politics he always described himself as an onlooker or a disinterested critic. His favourite signature in the Canadian press was that of 'A Bystander,' a fit title he declared for 'a Canadian standing outside Canadian parties.' But his genuine ambition was to moved public opinion ; he contemplated in 1874 finding a seat in the Ontario legislature and never shrank from close quarters with the political conflict. On arriving in Toronto in 1871 he became a regular contributor to the 'Toronto Globe,' an advanced radical organ owned and edited by Greorge Brown [q. v. Suppl. I]. A laudatory review by Smith of George Eliot's 'Middlemarch,' which offended the religious and moral susceptibilities of many readers, led to his withdrawal from the paper. The consequent quarrel with Brown moved Smith to aid others in the establishment of the 'Toronto Evening Telegram,' of which he was a staunch supporter, and to start a series of short-lived weekly or monthly journals of his own, in which he expounded his political and religious creed without restriction. His first venture, 'The Nation,' ran for two years (1874-6). 'The Bystander,' the whole of which came from his own pen, was a miscellany notable for its variety of topic and lucidity of expression ; it was first a monthly and then a quarterly (1880-3). The 'Leader' and the 'Liberal' enjoyed briefer careers. The 'Week,' to which he contributed a weekly article signed 'A Bystander,' lasted from 1883 to 1886. At the same time his pen was active in a newly founded magazine, at first called 'The Canadian Monthly,' and afterwards 'The Canadian Magazine' ; there he regularly wrote both literary and political essays from 1872 to 1897. He was subsequently the contributor of a weekly article on current events, again signed 'A Bystander,' to a weekly paper known at first as 'The Fanners' Sun' and afterwards as 'The Weekly Sun.' There was indeed scarcely any newspaper in Canada to which he failed to address plainly worded letters, and the lucid force of his style did much, despite the unpopularity of his opinions, to raise the standard of writing in Canadian journalism. At the same time in the United States he found in the New York 'Nation' and in the 'New York Sun' further outlets for his journalistic activity. Nor did he neglect the periodical press of England. Throughout his Canadian career he supplied comments on urgent political issues to 'The Times,' the 'Daily News,' the 'Manchester Guardian,' the ' Pall Mall Gazette,' the 'St. James's Gazette' among daily papers ; to the 'Spectator' among weekly papers ; and to 'Macmillan's Magazine,' the 'Contemporary Review,' the 'Fortnightly Review,' and the 'Nineteenth Century' among monthly magazines.
Smith's political propaganda in Canada aimed consistently at the emancipation of the colony from the British connection. The Dominion during his early settlement was passing through a period of depression which contrasted greatly with the growing prosperity of the United States, and Smith prophesied disaster unless the existing constitution underwent a thorough change. At first he urged complete independence, and he engaged in a movement started in 1871 by a Toronto barrister, named William Alexander Foster, which was known as 'Canada First,' and sought to create a self-sufficing sentiment of Canadian nationality. He joined the Canadian National Association and became president of the National Club ; both institutions were formed in 1874 to promote the new cause independently of the recognised political parties. In 1890 Smith wrote an appreciative introduction to 'Canada First,' a volume issued to commemorate the founder of the movement.
But the cry of 'Canada First' made little headway, and Smith next flung himself into the movement for a commercial union with the United States. He had come to the new conclusion that annexation with the United States was the destiny appointed to Canada by nature, and that the removal of the tariff barrier was the first step to that amalgamation of the two countries, which could alone be safely effected by peaceful means. In spite of his free trade principles, he condoned the tariff against the mother country and Europe, when it appeared to him to be of twofold use, as a unifying instrument within the continent, and as a valuable source of revenue. In 1888 he published an introduction to 'Commercial Union' — a collection of papers in favour of unrestricted reciprocity with the United States. Over the policy of commercial union he came into conflict with almost all the political chieftains, including Sir John Macdonald and Edward Blake, the liberal leader, much of whose policy he had approved. But he was undaunted by opposition, and denounced every measure which seemed to imperil the prospects of continental union. He bitterly attacked the formation of the Canadian Pacific railway as a 'politico-military' project. As the imperialist spirit spread in the dominion, his persistence in his separatist argument exposed him to storms of abuse from the Canadian press and public. He was denounced as a 'champion of annexation, republicanism and treason.' A motion for his expulsion from the St. George's Society, a social organisation of Englishmen in Toronto, in March 1893, was narrowly defeated, and a proposal on the part of the University of Toronto to grant him the hon. LL.D. in 1896 was so stoutly opposed that he announced that he would not accept it, if it were offered him. For a time he was subjected to a social boycott. His political following in Canada steadily declined in numbers and influence. But to the end his position knew no change. Of the colonial conferences in London which aimed in his later years at solidifying the British empire he wrote and spoke with bitter scorn. Meanwhile in America his plea for a complete union ’of the English-speaking race on this continent' could always reckon on sympathetic hearing. Writing at the end of his life to the editor of the 'New York Sun ' (4 March 1909), Smith recapitulated his faith in the coming fulfilment of his hopes. Smith kept alive his interest in English affairs not only by correspondence with his friends there and by his controversies in the English press but by active intervention in public movements on his visits to the country. In 1874 he aided his friend G. C. Brodrick when standing for Woodstock against Lord Randolph Churchill. A speech on England's material prosperity which he delivered when opening an institute to promote intellectual recreation at his native town of Reading (June 1877) brought on him the censure of Ruskin ; in 'Fors Clavigera' Ruskin ridiculed him as 'a goose' who identified wealth with progress (Ruskin's Works, ed. Cook and Wedderburn, xvii. 479; xxix. passim). Smith retorted in kind, and Ruskin was provoked into condemning Smith's 'bad English' and 'blunder in thought' (ibid. xxv. 429). In Oct. 1881 Smith presided over the economic section of the Social Science Congress at Dublin and delivered an address on 'Economy and Trade' (published independently as 'Economical Questions and Events in America'): there he attacked protection. In 1884 he was the chief speaker at the dinner of the Palmerston Club at Oxford. There was always a strong wish among his English friends and political allies that he should abandon his Canadian domicile. But he was deaf to all entreaty, owing partly to a wish to watch the development of Canada and partly to his wife's reluctance to leave the American continent. Matthew Arnold often argued in vain that the national welfare required his presence in the House of Commons. In 1873 he was vainly invited to become a liberal candidate for Manchester. In 1878 he was sounded without result, by some liberals of Leeds, whether he would stand for the party at the next general election. In 1881 he was invited to become Master of his old college (University) at Oxford. Next year he was gratified by the bestowal on him of the honorary degree of D.C.L. by his university, but neither academic nor political baits could alter his purpose of Canadian residence.
The course of politics in England in subsequent years caused Smith many misgivings. To Gladstone's support of home rule in 1886 he offered a strenuous opposition. His attitude was that of John Bright, to whom he always acknowledged discipleship. With the Irish race he had no sympathy, and although he admired Gladstone's exalted faith in liberal institutions he credited him with an excess of party spirit and ambition and a strain of casuistry and a vanity which ruined his moral fibre. Durng the summer of 1886 he took as a liberal unionist an active part in the general election in England, and he wrote a pamphlet, 'Dismemberment no Remedy,' which had a wide circulation, and was translated into Welsh. In Toronto he soon became president of the Canadian branch of the loyal and patriotic union, which was formed to fan the agitation against home rule. To his views on the Irish union he was faithful to the end. He repeated them in 'Irish History and the Irish Question' as late as 1906. He complacently ignored the apparent discrepancy between his Irish convictions and his hopes of Canadian 'emancipation.'
The subsequent predominance in Great Britain of the unionist party between 1886 and 1906 greatly encouraged the imperial sentiment, and Smith's disquietude consequently grew. On Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, who became colonial secretary in 1895 and whom he regarded as the chief promoter of the imperial spirit, he bestowed in his latest years all his gift of vituperation. The South African war he regarded as an inhuman crime, and he defended the cause of the Boers with vigour in the American as well as in the Canadian press. In a volume entitled 'In the Court of History, the South African War' (1902) he pushed to the utmost the pacificist argument against the war. He saw almost a Satanic influence in Cecil Rhodes, and he viewed with suspicion Rhodes's benefaction to Oxford. Nor in the development of American politics did he find much consolation. The success of the policy of protection, the war with Spain t and the annexation of the Philippine Islands (1900) profoundly dissatisfied him. In 'Commonwealth and Empire' (New York, 1902) he raised his voice once more against the moral perils of imperialism as exemplified in the recent history of the United States. Smith welcomed the liberal triumph in England at the polls in 1906, and he was until the close indefatigable in English political controversy. On the reconstitution of the House of Lords, the last great question which engaged public attention in England in his lifetime, he urged in letters to the 'Spectator' the need of a strong upper chamber on wholly elective principles. To a single chamber he was strongly opposed. The sociahstic trend of English political opinion found no favour with him. Although as a courtesy to J. S. Mill he signed in 1867 the first petition to the House of Commons for woman's suffrage, he came to regard the movement as a menace to the state.
But amid his political exertions, which had small effect beyond stirring ill-feeling. Smith was active in many causes which either excited no angry passion or invited general sympathy. He never forsook his historical or literary studies. In monographs on 'Cowper' ('English Men of Letters ' series, 1880) and ' A Life of Jane Austen' ('Great Writers' series, 1892) he showed his gentler intellectual affinities, if to no great literary advantage. In 'Bay Leaves,' translations from the Latin poets (1892), and in 'Specimens of Greek Tragedy,' translations from Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides (2 vols. 1893), he proved the permanence of his classical predilections, although the clumsiness of his English renderings hardly fulfilled his early promise as a classical scholar. But in 'A Trip to England' (reprinted from the 'Week,' Toronto, 1888, reissued in 1895) he gave a pleasant description of the country for Transatlantic visitors, and in 'Oxford and her Colleges' (1894) he sketched attractively the history of the university for the same class of readers. Many slight pamphlets of his later years embodied reminiscences of earlier days. 'My Memory of Gladstone' (1904; new edit. 1909) gives a brief appreciation from personal observation of Gladstone's character and career. More ambitious were his historical treatises : 'The United States : an Outline of Political History, 1492-1871' (published in 1893 ; 4th edit. 1899), and 'The United Kingdom: a Political History' (2 vols. 1899). Both works are mere sketches of history slenderly authenticated. But they present the main facts agreeably, and although Smith's prejudices are unconcealed they are not displayed obtrusively. In 'The United Kingdom ' he claimed to have written 'in the light of recent research and discussion.' The record ends with the accession of Queen Victoria; a few concluding remarks on the Empire — the history of Canada, India, and the West Indies — are on the familiar anti-imperialist lines.
In a number of small speculative treatises he explained his reasons for rejecting faith in supernatural religion. Such were 'Guesses at the Riddle of Existence' (New York, 1897); 'The Founder of Christendom' (Toronto, 1903) ; 'Lines of Religious Inquiry' (1904); 'In Quest of Light' (1906); and 'No Refuge but in Truth' (Toronto, 1908). Smith declared the Old Testament to be 'Christianity's millstone,' and there was much in his agnostic argument to scandalise the orthodox. Yet his attitude was reverent, and it was his habit at Toronto to attend church.
While Smith's political theories continued to offend Canadian opinion, his labours in other than the political sphere, his obvious sincerity, his intellectual eminence, and his growing years ultimately won him almost universal respect in Toronto and indeed throughout Canada. In matters of education, social reform, and public benevolence the value of his work, despite occasional friction with colleagues, could not be seriously questioned. In 1874 he was elected by the teachers of Ontario their representative on the council of public instruction, and he was afterwards president of the Provincial Teachers' Association. He never lost an opportunity of pleading with effect for higher education. He was a senator of the University of Toronto at an early date, and powerfully urged the federation of local sectarian colleges with the university. In 1908 he was a useful member of a royal commission appointed for the reorganisation of Toronto University, and he was granted at length the degree of LL.D. In the controversies over the place of religion in state education, and the claims of the Roman Catholics to control the state system, Smith consistently opposed the sectarian claim without aggravating religious animosities. The purity of political and municipal administration was another cause which evoked his enthusiasm to the satisfaction of the general public, and he became chairman of a citizen's committee at Toronto which made war on municipal corruption. He was also in sympathy with youthful effort. He actively helped in 1892 to organise the Toronto Athletic Club, to which he contributed $12,000, and although the club failed financially and was closed in 1896, its formation under Smith's direct auspices bore witness to his faith in well-regulated physical exercise. In 1895 he intervened in the discussions over the Canada copyright bill, which was designed in the interests of foreign authors. Smith sought to eliminate 'the manufacturing clause' which restricted foreign writers' copyright to books actually printed in Canada. This protective condition was rejected by the legislature, but the bill did not become law. Smith was liberal in private charity. He urged on the city council of Toronto the appointment of a relief officer to receive applications from persons in distress, to make inquiries about them, and to supply information as to suitable philanthropic agencies. The city council rejected his proposal: whereupon he appointed a charity officer at his 'own expense, with such good results that after two years the council adopted his plan.
Many attentions which pleased him were paid him in his last years. In Nov. 1903, in recognition of his eightieth birthday, surviving friends in Oxford sent him a congratulatory address. The fifteen signatures were headed by that of the vice-chancellor, D. B. Monro. In America, too, he received many honours. The University of Princeton made him LL.D. in 1892, and he was chosen president of the American Historical Association in 1904. On 19 Oct. 1904 he accepted the invitation to lay at Cornell University the comer stone of a new hall, 'the home of the humanities,' which was named after him 'Goldwin Smith Hall.' A copy of his 'United States' was placed m the box deposited in the stone. The imposing building, which cost 71,000l., was dedicated on 19 June 1906. At the ceremonies of both 1904 and 1906 he gave addresses, and he placed in ’Goldwin Smith Hall' a copy of Bacon's bust of Alfred the Great, which adorned the common room of University College, Oxford.
Goldwin Smith's wife died at The Grange on 9 Sept. 1909. He continued writing letters to the press on current politics, but a mellowing tolerance for opponents seemed to be at length accompanied by some diminution of vigour. In March 1910 he accidentally broke his thigh, and after some three months of enforced inactivity he died at The Grange on 7 June 1910. He was buried in St. James's cemetery, Toronto. Smith held The Grange, his wife's residence, for life under her will; in accordance with her direction it passed on his death to the city of Toronto to form an art museum there. Smith inherited none of his wife's property, which mainly consisted of real estate in the United States, stocks, and valuable mortgages, and was all distributed among members of her own family. But by prudent investments in Canada and the United States Smith greatly increased his comparatively small inheritance of some 20,000l. from his father, and he left an estate valued at §832,859, of which he disposed by a will dated 5 May 1910. His pictures and statuary went to the art museum at Toronto; S5000 was left to a nursing mission in the city, and §1000 each to the labour temple and a baptist church, in both of which he had been interested in his lifetime. Although Toronto University only inherited under the will Smith's library, the succession duty, amounting to $83,285, passed to the university by the law of the state. Save for modest sums to members of his household and to a few relatives and friends, the residue of Smith's fortune, amounting to §689,074, passed to Cornell University. The money was to be applied at Cornell to the promotion of liberal studies, languages ancient and modern, literature, philosophy, history, and political science. The bequest marked (Smith wrote) his devotion to the university in the foundation of which he took part, his respect for Ezra Cornell's memory, and his 'attachment as an Englishman to the union of the two branches of our race on this continent with each other and with their common mother' (Ann. Report of the President and Treasurer, Cornell Univ., 1909-10, pp. 43-5. For full text of wills of both Smith and his wife see the Evening Telegram, Toronto, 13 Sept. 1910).
Smith's tracts and pamphlets, some privately printed, are very numerous. The chief of his scattered writings are collected in the volumes 'Lectures and Essays' (New York, 1881), and in 'Essays on Questions of the Dav: Political and Social' (New York, 1893).' There he embodied his dominant convictions.
Smith was a masterly interpreter of the liberal principles of the Manchester school and of the philosophical radicalism which embodied what seemed to him to be the highest political enlightenment of his youth. His views never developed. He claimed with pride in his latest years to be 'the very last survivor of the Manchester school and circle.' The evils of slavery, of war, and of clerical domination were the main articles of his creed through life, and he looked to a free growth of democracy for their lasting cure. The spread, despite his warnings, of the imperialist sentiment in his later years, not only in Great Britain but in Canada and the United States, was a bitter disappointment. But he stood by his doctrine without flinching, and faced with indifference the unpopularity in which it involved him. A burning hatred of injustice and cruelty lay at the root of his faith, and he followed stoically wherever it led. With his keen intellect there went a puritanic fervour and exaltation of spirit which tended to fanaticism and to the fostering of some unreasoning and ungenerous prejudices. But his intellectual strength combined with his moral earnestness gave a telling force to all expression of his views. His incisive style, which Conington in undergraduate days likeness to that of Burke, owed, according to his own account, much to David Hume. The depth of his convictions and his melancholy and sensitive temper made controversy habitual to him, and as a disputant he had in his day few rivals. He devoted most of his energies to polemics, and poured forth with amazing rapidity controversial pamphlets of rare distinction. That detachment of mind which is essential to great history or philosophy was denied him. His historical work is little more than first-rate pamphleteering. For original research he had no aptitude, and he failed to make any addition to historical knowledge. The abandonment of his English career in the full tide of its prosperity, which is the most striking feature of his biography, is very partially explained by the change in his private circumstances due to his father's illness and death. Although he shared his progressive views with many EngUshmen of his generation, he was exasperated by the strength of the reactionary forces in his native land, and believed that his aspirations had no genuine chance of being realised save in a new world. His hope was far from verified. His cry for Canada's annexation to America misinterpreted Canadian feeling. His prophecy that Canada's persistence in the British connection would stunt her growth was falsified. To all appearance the sentiment of empire, his main abhorrence, flourished at his death as vigorously in the new world as in the old. But Smith stubbornly declined to acknowledge defeat and never abated his enthusiasm for what his conscience taught him to be right.
A portrait by E. Wylie Grier, R.C.A., at the Bodleian Library, was presented by Oxford friends in 1894. Another portrait by the same artist is in the office of the ’Evening Telegram' at Toronto. At The Grange, Toronto, there is a bust executed at Oxford in 1866 by Alexander Munro, together with a portrait by another Canadian artist, J. W. G. Forster, who also painted portraits for the Toronto Art Museum and for Cornell University. A final portrait, painted in 1907 at Toronto by John Russell, R.C.A., remains in the artist's studio at Paris, but a replica was presented to the corporation of Reading on 1 Feb. 1912 by Dr. Jameson B. Hurry. A crayon sketch by Frederick Sandys was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1882.
[Valuable assistance has been rendered in the preparation of this article by Mr. Arnold Haultain, who was for eighteen years Goldwin Smith's private secretary. In the last fifteen years of his life Goldwin Smith wrote out his reminiscences, but did not live to revise the manuscript. They were prepared for the press by Mr. Arnold Haultain in 1911. In spite of disjointed repetitions and inequalities the book offers useful material for biography. Mr. Arnold Haultain has also in preparation ‘Goldwin Smith as I knew him’ (chiefly records of conversations), together with a collection of Goldwin Smith's letters, and an edition in 10 vols. of the chief pamphlets and publications which are now out of print. Mr. Charles Hersey has supplied genealogical particulars in which he has made exhaustive research. The sons of John Bright and Thomas Bayley Potter have kindly lent the letters of Goldwin Smith in their possession, and Dr. T. H. Warren, the president of Magdalen College, Oxford, has generously placed at the writer's disposal the letters which Goldwin Smith addressed to him. A bibliography of Goldwin Smith's writings, including more than 1500 titles, by Waterman Thomas Hewett, M.A., P.L.D., of Cornell University, is in preparation. See Goldwin Smith's Early Days of Cornell, 1904; J. J. Cooper, Goldwin Smith: a Brief Account of his Life and Writings, Reading, 1912; The Times, 8 June 1910; The Nation, 9 July 1910; Oxford Magazine, 16 June 1910; The News, Toronto, 7 June 1910 (memoir by Martin J. Griffin); Lord Selborne's Memorials, two series; Frederic Harrison's Autobiographic Memoirs; Lives of Jowett, Stanley, Lord Coleridge, and E. A. Freeman; Lewis Campbell's Nationalisation of the Older Universities.]