Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Smart, Peter
SMART, PETER (1569–1652?), puritan divine, son of a clergyman (perhaps Daniel Smart, presented in 1624 to the rectory of Oxhill, Warwickshire), was born in Warwickshire in 1569. He was at Westminster school with Richard Neile [q. v.] under Gabriel Goodman [q. v.], and Edward Grant [q, v.] On 25 Oct.1588, being then aged 19, he matriculated as a batler at Broadgates Hall, now Pembroke College, Oxford, and was elected (before April 1589) to a studentship at Christ Church, where he cultivated Latin verse, and commenced B.A. 26 June 1592, M.A. 9 July 1595. William James (1542-1617) [q. v.], who had been promoted (1596) from the deanery of Christ Church to the deanery of Durham, appointed Smart in 1598 to the mastership of Durham grammar school. James, when he became bishop of Durham (1606), ordained Smart, made him his chaplain, gave him the rectory of Boldon (co. Durham in 1609), and a prebend at Durham (sixth stall) on 30 Dec. 1609. At some time before 1610 Smart was made master of St. Edmund's Hospital, Gateshead. On 6 July 1614 he was promoted to the fourth stall at Durham. He was present when James I communicated at Durham on Easter Day (20 April 1617), and notes that by royal order there was no chanting or organ-playing; two plain copes were worn. In 1626, and again in 1627, he was placed on the high commission for the province of York, and was a member of it when summoned for 'a seditious invective sermon.'
For many years Smart had absented himself from the monthly communions at Durham Cathedral, his reason being that Neile, his old schoolfellow, now (1617-27) bishop of Durham, had brought in altars and 'images' (embroidered copes). The renovation of the cathedral and enrichment of the service drew from him on Sunday morning, 27 July 1628, a sermon (Ps. xxxi. 7) almost Miltonic in the strain of its invective (published 1628, reprinted at Edinburgh the same year as 'The Vanitie and Downefall of Superstitious Popish Ceremonies,' and again in 1640 with an appended 'Narrative of the Acts and Speeches ... of Mr. John Cosins'). A quorum of the high commission met at two o'clock the same day, and commenced proceedings against Smart. John Cosin [q. v.], specially pointed at in the sermon, was one of his judges. On 2 Sept. the commissioners suspended Smart, and sequestered his prebend. On 29 Jan. 1629 the case was transmitted to the high commission of the southern province sitting at Lambeth, Smart was held in custody, and his sermon (now in print) was burned. He had influential friends, but his 'bitter words before the commission' did not mend matters. Sir Henry Yelverton [q. v.] admired his sermon, and Archbishop Abbot is said to have composed this couplet:
Peter, preach down vain rites with flagrant heart;
Thy guerdon shall be great, though here thou Smart.
On his own petition, he was removed back (August 1630) to the high commission at York. At length for contumacy he was in 1631 'deposed,' degraded, and fined 500l. to the crown. Refusing to pay the fine, he was imprisoned in the king's bench. He brought a futile action at the Durham assises (August 1633) against Thomas Carre. D.D., his successor in the prebend; pleading that he had not been 'deprived,' nor duly degraded, as he had not been stripped of his 'priestlv garments' [cf. Johnson, Samuel, 1649-1703], but, if degraded, he could hold the prebend as a layman. His friends raised 400l. a year to support him and his family.
On 3 Nov. 1640, having been close on twelve years in custody, he drew up a petition (presented 12 Nov.) to the Long parliament for his release. The commons resolved (22 Jan. 1641) that his sentence was illegal and void, and directed the prosecution of Cosin. Francis Rous [q. v.] in his speech (16 March 1641) impeaching Cosin, styled Smart 'a Proto-Martyr.' Smart's articles exhibited (8 March) against Cosin break down in detail under Cosin's replies. In these articles, and more particularly in his "Short Treatise' (1641), he charges Cosin with 'unseemly words' and actions, not credible as they stand, though Cosin had a reputation for 'rustick wit and carriage' (Reliquiae Baxterianae, 1696, ii. 363).
Smart recovered his preferments; his petitions to the house, and letters, show that up to 1648 he was pertinacious in suing for arrears. He took the 'league and covenant' in 1643. At the trial of Laud (1644) he gave evidence. In 1645 be obtained, in place of Thomas Gawen [q. v.], the sequestered rectory of Bishopstoke, Hampshire, and in 1646 he had, or claimed to have, the sequestered vicarage of Great Aycliffe, co. Durham. He was living in London on 31 October 1648. Christopher Hunter [q. v.] heard from old people that he died at Baxter-wood, an outlying hamlet in the parish of St. Oswald. Durham, but failed find the record of his death, which probably took place in 1652. His portrait was twice engraved; the engraving by Hollar (1641) has Abbot's couplet. Fuller depicts him as 'one of a grave aspect and reverend presence.' Cosin describes him (Heylyn, Examen Historicum, 1658, i. 258) as 'an old man of a most froward, fierce, and unpeaceable spirit.' By his wife Susanna he had a son William, born 1603, matriculated (6 Dec. 1622) at University College, Oxford, B.A. July 16; entered as a student at Gray's Inn 1627; living in 1664. His 'sons' Ogle and Cookson were probably husbands of his daughters.
He published, besides the sermon of 1628, 1, 'The Humble Petition of Peter Smart, a poore Prisoner in the King's Bench,' [1640?], 4to (dated 3 Nov,) 2. 'A Short Treatise of Altars, Altar-furniture,' 4to (no place or date; probably printed 1641, but written 'a little before he was expelled,' i.e. 1628). 3. 'A Catalogue of Superstitious Innovations . . . Violations of the locall Statutes of Durham Cathedrall,' 1642, 4to. 4. 'Septugenarii Senis iterantis Cantus Epithalamicus,' 1643, 4to (dedicated to the Westminster Assembly). Wood mentions 'various poems in Latin and English,' catalogued as 'Old Smart's Verses,' which he had not seen.
[Smart's writing; Wood's Athenæ Oxon, (Bliss), iii. 40 sq.; Wood's Fasti (Bliss), i. 257. 270; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714, iv, 1368; Speeches ... in this Parliament, 1641, p. 45; Fuller's Church Hist. 1655, xi. 173; Prynne's Canterburies Doome, 1646, pp. 78, 93, 493; Fuller's Worthies, 1662, p. 295 (Durham retracts his judgement of Cosin); Rushwood's Historical Collections Abridged, 1706, iii. 272; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, ii. 20, 77; Hunter's Illustration of Neal's History, 1736 (copious material for Smart's life, ill arranged); Granger's Biographical Hist. of England, 1779. ii. 166 sq.; Biographia Britannica (Kippis), 1789, iv. 282 sq.; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, 1813, iii. 86 sq.; Neal's Hist. of the Puritans (Toulmin), 1822, ii. 181 sq.; Merridew's Catalogue of Warwickshire Portraits, 1648, p. 60; Colvile's Worthies of Warwickshire , pp. 695 sq.]