Smith, Gerard Edward (DNB00)

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SMITH, GERARD EDWARD (1804–1881), botanist and divine, born at Camberwell, Surrey, in 1804, was sixth son of Henry Smith. He entered Merchant Taylors' school in January 1814, and St. John's College, Oxford, as Andrew's exhibitioner, in 1822; he graduated B.A. in 1829. Before being ordained he published his principal botanical work, ‘A Catalogue of rare or remarkable Phanogamous Plants collected in South Kent,’ London, 1829, which is dated from Sandgate. The ‘Catalogue,’ which occupies only seventy-six pages, is arranged on the Linnæan system, deals critically with several groups, and has five coloured plates drawn by the author. Smith was vicar of St. Peter-the-Less, Chichester, from 1835 to 1836, rector of North Marden, Sussex, from 1836 to 1843, vicar of Cantley, near Doncaster, Yorkshire, from 1844 to 1846, perpetual curate of Ashton Hayes, Cheshire, from 1849 to 1853, and vicar of Osmaston-by-Ashbourne, Derbyshire, from 1854 to 1871. He died at Ockbrook, Derby, on 21 Dec. 1881.

Smith was the first to recognise several British plants, describing Statice occidentalis under the name S. binervosa in the ‘Supplement to English Botany’ (1831, p. 63), and Filago apiculata in the ‘Phytologist’ for 1846 (p. 575). His herbarium, which does not bear witness to any great care, is preserved at University College, Nottingham.

Smith contributed ‘Remarks on Ophrys’ to Loudon's ‘Magazine of Natural History’ in 1828 (i. 398); ‘On the Claims of Alyssum calycinum to a place in the British Flora’ to the ‘Phytologist’ for 1845 (ii. 232); a preface to W. E. Howe's ‘Ferns of Derbyshire’ in 1861, enlarged in the edition of 1877; and ‘Notes on the Flora of Derbyshire’ to the ‘Journal of Botany’ for 1881. Besides the South Kent Catalogue and two sermons he published separately: 1. ‘Stonehenge, a poem,’ Oxford, 1823, 8vo, signed ‘Sir Oracle, Ox. Coll.,’ and intended to be humorous. 2. ‘Are the Teachings of Modern Science antagonistic to the Doctrine of an Infallible Bible?’ London, 1863, 8vo. 3. ‘The Holy Scriptures the original Great Exhibition for all Nations,’ an allegory, London, 1865, 8vo. 4. ‘What a Pretty Garden! or Cause and Effect in Floriculture,’ Ashbourne, 1865, 16mo.

[Robinson's Reg. of Merchant Taylors' School, ii. 197; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Journal of Botany, 1882, p. 63.]

G. S. B.