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his father, which were foon after followed by his death, were the occasion of the son's being left very young in the hands of a near relation (one who married Mr, Neale's sister), whose name was Smith.
This gentleman and his lady treated him as their own child, and put him to Westminster-school under the care of Dr. Busby ; whence, after the loss of his faithful and generous guardian (whose name he assumed and retained), he was removed to Christ-church in Oxford, and there by his aunt handsomely maintained till her death; after which he continued a member of that learned and ingenious fociety, till within five years of his own; though, some time before his leaving Christchurch, he was sent for by his mother to Worcester, and owned and acknowledged as her legitimate son which had not been mentioned, but to wipe off the aspersions that were ignorantly cast by some on his birth. It is to be remembered for our author's honour, that, when at Westminster election he stood a candidate for one of the universities, he so signally distinguished himself by his conspicuous performances, that there arose no small contention between the representative electors of Trinity-college in Cainbridge and Christ-church in Oxon, which of those two royal societies should adopt him as their own. But the electors of Trinity-college having the preference of choice that year, they resolutely elected him; who yet, being invited at the same time to Christ-church, chose to accept of a studentship there. Mr. Smith's perfections, as well natural as acquired, seemn to have been formed upon Horace's plan; who says, in his Art of Poetry,
-Ego nec ftudium line divite venâ,
He was endowed by Nature with all those excellent and necessary qualifications which are previous to the accomplishment of a great man. His memory was large and tenacious, yet, by a curious felicity chiefly sufceptible of the finest impressions it received from the beft authors he read, which it always preserved in their primitive strength and amiable order.
He had a quickness of apprehension, and vivacity of understanding, which easily took in and surmounted the most subtle and knotty parts of mathematicks and metaphyficks. His wit was prompt and flowing, yet solid and piercing; his taste delicare, his head clear, and his way of expressing his thoughts perspicuous and engaging. I shall say nothing of his perfon, which yet was so well turned, that no neglect of himself in his dress could render it disagreeable ; infomuch that the fair sex, who observed and esteemed him, at once commended and reproved him by the name of the handsome Noven. An eager but generous and noble emulation grew up with him; which (as it were a rational sort of instinct) pushed him upon striving to excel in every art and science that could make him a credit to his college, and that college the ornament of the most learned and polite university; and it was his happiness to have several contemporaries and fellowfudents who exercised and excited this virtue in themfelves and others, thereby becoming so deservedly in favour with this age, and so good a proof of its nice discernment. His judgement, naturally good, soon ripened into an exquisite fineness and distinguishing fagacity, which as it was active and busy, so it was vigorous and manly, keeping even paces with a rich and strong imagination, always upon the wing, and never G g 2
tired with aspiring. Hence it was, that, though he writ as young as Cowley, he had no puerilities; and his earliest productions were so far from having any thing in them mean and trifling, that, like the junior compositions of Mr. Stepney, they may make grey authors biuih. There are many of his first effays in oratory, in epigram, elegy, and epique, still handed about the university in manuscript, which thew a mafterly hand; and, though maimed and injured by frequent transcribing, make their way into our most celebrated miscellanies, where they shine with uncommon lustre. Beides those verses in the Oxford books, which he could not help fetting his name to, several of his compositions came abroad under other names, which his own fingular modesty, and faithful silence, strove in vain to conceal. The Encænia and public Collections of the University upon State Subjects were never in such esteem, either for elegy or congratulation, as when he contributed most largely to them; and it was natural for those, who knew his peculiar way of writing, to turn to his share in the work, as by far the most relishing part of the entertainment. As his were extraordinary, so he well knew how to improve them; and not only to polish the diamond, but enchase it in the most solid and durable metal. Though he was an academick the greatest part of his life, yet he contracted no fourness of temper, no spice of pedantry, no itch of disputation, or obstinate contention for the old or new philosophy, no alluming way of dictating to others; which are faults (though excusable) which some are insensibly led into, who are constrained to dwell long within the walls of a private college. His conversation was pleasant and instructive; and
As his parts
what Horace faid of Plotius, Varius, and Virgil, might jusly be applied to him : “ Nil ego contulerim jucundo fanus Amico."
Sat. v. l. I. As correct a writer as he was in his most elaborate pieces, he read the works of others with candor, and reserved his greatest severity for his own compositions ; being readier to cherish and advance, than damp or depress a rising genius, and as patient of being excelled hiinself (if any could excel him) as industrious to excel others.
'Twere to be wished he had confined himself to a particular profession, who was capable of surpalling in any; but in this, his want of application was in a great measure owing to his want of due encourage
He passed through the exercises of the college and university with unusual appplause; and though he often suffered his friends to call him off from his retirements, and to lengthen out those jovial avocations, yet his return to his studies was so much the more pasfionate, and his intention upon those refined pleasures of reading and thinking so vehement (to which his facetious and unbended intervals bore no proportion), that the habit grew upon him, and the series of meditation and reflection being kept up whole weeks toge-, ther, he could better fort his ideas, and take in the sundry parts of a science at one view, without interruption or confufion. Some indeed of his acquaintance, who were pleased to distinguith between the wit and the scholar, extolled him altogether on the account of the first of these titles ; but others, who knew him better, could not forbear doing him justice as a pro
digy in both kinds. He had signalized himself, in the schools, as a philosopher and polemick of extensive knowledge and deep penetration ; and went through all the courses with a wise regard to the dignity and importance of each science. I remember him in the Divinity-school responding and disputing with a perspicuous energy, a ready exactness, and commanding force of argument, when Dr. Jane worthily presided in the chair ; whose condescending and disinterested commendation of him gave him such a reputation as silenced the envious malice of his enemies, who durst not contradict the approbation of fo profound a master in theology. None of those felf-sufficient creatures, who have either trifled with philosophy, by attempting to ridicule it, or have encumbered it with novel terms, and burdensome explanatious, understood its real weight and purity half so well as Mr. Smith. He was too discerning to allow of the character of unprofitable, rugged, and abstruse, which some fuperficial sciolists (so very smooth and polite as to admit of no impression), either out of an unthinking indolence, or an ill-grounded prejudice, had affixed to this sort of studies. He knew the thorny terms of philosophy served well to fence-in the true doctrines of religion ; and looked upon school-divinity as upon a rough but well-wrought armour, which might at once adorn and defend the Christian hero, and equip him for the combat.
Mr. Smith had a long and perfect intimacy with all the Greck and Latin Classicks; with whom he had carefully compared whatever was worth perusing in the French, Spanish, and Italian (to which languages he was no stranger), and in all the celebrated writers of