Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/64

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18 [see under Smith, Horatio]. James Smith's contributions to these famous parodies were perhaps the best, though not the most numerous, but he appeared contented with the celebrity they had brought him, and never again produced anything considerable. Universally known, and everywhere socially acceptable, ‘he wanted,’ says his brother, ‘all motive for further and more serious exertion.’ He produced, however, the text for Charles Mathews's comic entertainments, ‘The Country Cousins,’ ‘The Trip to France,’ ‘The Trip to America’ (1820–2), and the two latter brought him in 1,000l. ‘James Smith,’ said Mathews, ‘is the only man who can write clever nonsense.’ He also produced much comic verse and prose for periodicals, not generally of a very high order, but occasionally including an epigram turned with point and neatness. His reputation rather rested upon his character as a wit and diner-out; most of the excellent things attributed to him, however, were, in the opinion of his biographer in the ‘Law Magazine,’ impromptus faits à loisir. He was less genial than his brother, ‘circumscribed in the extent of his information, and, as a natural consequence, more concentrated in himself,’ says a writer in the ‘New Monthly Magazine.’ When in his office ‘he looked as serious as the parchments surrounding him.’ Keats, after dining with both the Smiths and their friends, left with a conviction of the superiority of humour to wit. James Smith, nevertheless, was a general favourite, and tempered his powers of sarcasm with much good nature. He died, unmarried, at his house in Craven Street, Strand, on 24 Dec. 1839, and was buried in the vaults of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. His ‘Comic Miscellanies’ were edited in 1840, with a memoir, by his brother (London, 2 vols. 12mo).

A portrait by Lonsdale was bequeathed by him to the Torrholme family. Smith also figures in the ‘Maclise Portrait Gallery’ (ed. Bates, p. 277).

[Memoir by Horace Smith, 1841; Law Mag. vol. xxiii. February 1840; New Monthly Mag. vol. lxxxvii, 1849; Rejected Addresses, edited by Percy Fitzgerald, 1890.]

R. G.


SMITH, JAMES (1789–1850), of Deanston, agricultural engineer, born in Glasgow on 3 Jan. 1789, was son of a merchant of that city, a native of Galloway by birth, who died two months after James's birth. He was brought up by his maternal uncle, Archibald Buchanan, a pupil of Arkwright, and managing partner of the cotton works at Deanston, Perthshire, till his removal to the factory of Catrine in Ayrshire. After studying at the Glasgow University, Smith was, at the age of eighteen, put in charge of the Deanston works. He quickly improved and reorganised the factory, which had become dilapidated since the departure of his uncle. He was also at this time planning a reaping-machine, and in 1811 he had a working model made. Next year he competed unsuccessfully for a premium of 500l. offered by the Dalkeith Farmers' Club for an effective one-horse machine. Smith's reaper differed in principle from the type in use at present. It was not pulled but pushed from behind, and the corn was cut by means of a cylinder revolving horizontally (see illustrative plate, frontispiece, Farmer's Magazine, xvii. 1816). In 1813 Smith made a second attempt with a two-horse machine. Again the judges refused to award him the premium; but the ingenuity of his invention was acknowledged, and it attracted much attention from agricultural societies at home and abroad, including the Highland Society of Scotland and the Imperial Agricultural Society of St. Petersburg. Considerable discussion took place as to its merits and the priority of invention, which was also claimed by Archibald Kerr, a mathematical instrument maker in Edinburgh.

Smith had devoted his attention at a very early period to land draining. When, in 1823, he came into possession of the farm at Deanston, he at once set to work to experiment upon it with a system of deep and thorough drainage. He drained the farm throughout the whole of its extent by means of parallel trenches placed from sixteen to twenty-one feet apart, and thirty inches deep, which were filled up with broken stones to a depth of one foot. A coating of thin turf was then laid over the stones, and the remaining eighteen inches were filled in with earth to permit of the working of the plough.

The partial failure of this system led Smith to his second and supplementary invention of the subsoil plough, by means of which the barren lower strata of the land were broken up and fertilised without being intermixed with the richer surface soil. By these methods the unproductive Deanston farm, formerly overgrown with rushes, furze, and broom, was in a few years brought into a state of garden cultivation. The word ‘Deanstonising’ passed into common use to signify deep ploughing and thorough draining. The farm was visited by a large number of agriculturists from all parts of the kingdom, as well as from the continent of Europe and America. Especially was this the case after 1831, when Smith published a paper on ‘Thorough Drain-