Nasmith, David (DNB00)

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NASMITH, DAVID (1799–1839), originator of town and city missions, born at Glasgow on 21 March 1799, was sent to the city grammar school with a view to the university, but, as he made no progress, he was apprenticed about 1811 to a manufacturer there. In June 1813 he became secretary to the newly established Glasgow Youths' Bible Association, and devoted all his leisure to religious work in Glasgow. From 1821 until 1828 he acted as assistant secretary to twenty-three religious and charitable societies connected with the Institution Rooms in Glassford Street. Chiefly through his exertions the Glasgow City Mission was founded on 1 Jan. 1826. He afterwards proceeded to Dublin in order to establish a similar institution there. He also formed the Local Missionary Society for Ireland, in connection with which he visited various places in the country. In July 1830 he sailed from Greenock to New York and visited between forty and fifty towns in the United States and Canada, forming in all thirty-one missions and various benevolent associations. In June 1832 he went to France, and founded missions at Paris and Havre. In 1835 he accepted the secretaryship of the Continental Society in London. There he organised the London City Mission, with the assistance of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton [q. v.], as treasurer, the Philanthropic Institution House, the Young Men's Society, the Adult School Society, the Metropolitan Monthly Tract Society, and finally the London Female Mission. In March 1837 he resigned his office as gratuitous secretary of the London City Mission, and with a few friends he formed, on 16 March, the British and Foreign Mission, for the purposes of corresponding with the city and town missions already in existence and of planting new ones. While prosecuting this work Nasmith died at Guildford, Surrey, on 17 Nov. 1839 (Gent. Mag. 1839, pt. ii. p. 665), and was buried on the 25th in Bunhill Fields. He died poor, and 2,420l. was collected by subscription and invested on behalf of his widow and five children. In March 1828 he had married Frances, daughter of Francis Hartridge, of East Farleigh, Kent. There is a portrait of him by J. C. Armytage.

[Dr. John Campbell's Memoirs of David Nasmith (with portrait); Chambers's Eminent Scotsmen, iii. 204.]

G. G.