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Arthur H. (Arthur Henry) Beavan.

James and Horace Smith ... A family narrative based upon hitherto unpublished private diaries, letters, and other documents online

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PAULINE FORE MOFFITT
LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA



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JAMES K MOFFITT



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By



James and Horace Smith



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ROBERT SMITH.
Thi; Father oh Jami;s anu Horaci; Smith.



James

and

Horace Smith

JOINT AUTHORS OF ' REJECTED ADDRESSES '

H ifamil^ IRarrative

BASED UPON HITHERTO UNPUBLISHED PRIVATE DIARIES, LETTERS,
AND OTHER DOCUMENTS



ARTHUR HfBEAVAN

AUTHOR OF 'MARLBOROUGH HOUSE AND ITS OCCUPANTS,'
'POPULAR ROYALTY,' ETC.



WITH FIVE PORTRAITS



LONDON:

HURST AND BLACKETT, LIMITED,

13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
1899

All rights reserved.



Richard Clat & Sons, Limited,
London & Bunoay.



PREFACE

Very many Smithian " footprints on the sands of
time " are somewhat faint, but those of James and
Horace Smith have left a deep and lasting impres-
sion. The brothers' chief work, Rejected Addresses,
is, in its way, a classic, declared by so high an
authority as Lord Jeffrey to indicate a talent to
which he " did not know where to look for a
parallel."

Why, it may be asked, has not a systematic Life
of James and Horace Smith been published before
this ? The reason is not far to seek : until now, the
necessary material has not been available.

Horace penned a brief memoir of James, as preface
to a collection of the latter's Comic Miscellanies, pub-
lished in 1840 ; and after Horace's death in 1849,
suggestions were made that a biography of the
two eminent brothers should be written. But for
various reasons the family discouraged the idea ; and



vi PREFACE

without their co-operation, it could not have been
accomplished, as the private journals, containing all-
important data, would have been inaccessible.

Lapse of time, fortunately, has removed these
objections; and through the kindness of a relative
of the Smith family — Harry Magnus, Esq., of Stone-
bridge Park, London — these journals have been
placed at my disposal, and are here made use of
in the writers' own words, and, as ftxr as possible
chronologically.

Arthur H. Beavan.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

1747—1769

PAGE

Introduction — Eobert Smith, the father of James and
Horace — His birth and parentage — Early recollections —
Education — First poetical effort — Meets "Perdita" —
Journeys to London — Is articled to an Attorney — Ex-
periences in London — Sets out for the Continent . . 1

CHAPTER II

1769—1779

Eobert Smith in Paris — Goes to Compiegne — Sees
Louis XV. and Madame du Barry — Sees Louis XV. at
supper — Follows the Royal Stag-hunt at Compiegne —
Meets the Corsican General, Paoli — Is admitted as an
Attorney — His courtship and marriage — Resides at Fen
Court— Birth of James Smith— Helps Mr. Hanway to
promote philanthropic institutions, and appeals to David
Garrick for a Benefit— Attends opening of Free Masons'
Hall— Removes from Fen Court to Frederick's Place,
Old Jewry 13

CHAPTER III

1779—1787

Birth of Horace Smith— The year 1780— The Lord
George Gordon Riots — Robert Smith's personal experi-



viii CONTENTS

PAGE

ence of them — He is appointed Assistant-Solicitor to
the Board of Ordnance — Removes to Old Jewry — Visits
the West Indies — Is elected Fellow of the Society of
Antiquaries 28

CHAPTER IV

1787—1790

Association of James and Horace Smith with the City —
Their childhood — James and Horace at Chi^well School 36



■"o '



CHAPTER V

1790—1791

Sundays at ChigAvell — Play days and recreation at
Chigwell — James at New College, Hackney — At Alfred
House Academy, Camberwell — Attends book-keeping
classes — Horace leaves Chigwell, and goes to Alfred
House 46

CHAPTER VI

The eve of the French Revolution — Robert Smith
again in Paris — Sees Louis XVI. ami Marie Antoinette
at Versailles — The French Drama — The political agita-
tion in Paris — Robert Smith's providential escape frum
the mob — James Smith in France — His narrow escape
from death at Dover 53

CHAPTER VII

1791—1800

James is articled to his father — Goes to Scotland —
Goes to the Isle of Wight — Robert Smith and Sir Joseph
Banks — James visits Dartmouth, the Isle of Thanet, and
" Leasowes " in Shropshire — Goes to various places on
Ordnance Board business — Robert Smith elected Fellow
of the Royal Society— Horace becomes clerk in a City
counting-house — James admitted as an Attorney — The



CONTENTS ix

PAGE

National Thanksgiving at St. Paul's — Patriotism in the
City — Kobert Smith becomes a member of the Society
of Arts — His experiences in Ireland .... 64

CHAPTER YIII

1800—1804

Earliest literary works of James and Horace Smith —
No. 36 Basinghall Street — City Halls and State Lotteries
— James dines with the Hon. Spencer Perceval — Family
visit to Windsor — Illness and death of Mrs. Robert Smith 78

CHAPTER IX

1804—1812

Robert Smith's second marriage — He visits Cambridge,
and there sees Henry Kirke White — Horace Smith be-
comes a merchant — The City in the first decade of the
century — Horace Smith's firm reconstituted— James ap-
pointed joint-assistant to the Ordnance Board Solicitor
— Robert Smith removes to Austin Friars — Horace
Smith becomes a member of the Stock Exchange . . 86

CHAPTER X

1812

Horace Smith's burlesque, The Highgate Tunnel, is
produced at the Lyceum Theatre — James and Horace
Smith's connection with the drama — Destruction of
Drury Lane Theatre by fire — Plans for the rebuilding —
The new theatre 93

CHAPTER XI

1812

Competition for Address to be spoken at opening of
new Drury Lane Theatre — Some of the Addresses — The



X CONTENTS

PAOK

re-opening of Drury Lane Theatre — How Rejected
Addresses came to be written — Its publication . .104

CHAPTER XII

1812—1813

Rejected Addresses and the Reviewers — The eflect of
its success upon the careers of James and Horace Smith
— Their social and literary circle — Horace Smith resides
at Knightsbridge — His friend William Heseltine —
Horace Smith and the Stock Excliantie . . . .117



o^



CHAPTER XIII

1813—1821

Horace Smith's letters to his sister Clara — His second
marriage — Removes from Knightsbridge to Fulham —
Entertains the poet Keats — Horace Smith's account of
his introduction to Shelley and Keats . . . .129

CHAPTER XIV

The Board of Ordnance, its officers and functions —
The " Assistant to the Solicitor " and his duties — Emolu-
ments of the office — An Ordnance Parliamentary " pre-
serve" — Retirement of Robert Smith from business, and
from the post of "Assistant to the Solicitor" — James
Smith appointed "Assistant to the Solicitor" . .140

CHAPTER XV

1821—1825

Horace Smith and ^heUey (continued) — Horace Smith's
connection with the Scott-Christie duel — Mr. Andrew
Lang's remarks thereon — Tlie death of Keats — ILjrace
Smith retires from business, and decides to visit Shcdiey
in Italy — Letter to his sister Clara — Is detained at Paris
by ill-health of his wife — Letters to Cyrus Redding . 149



CONTENTS xi



PAGE



CHAPTER XVI

1821—1825

Horace Smith receives the news of Shelley's death —
His personal recollections of Shelley, and his estimate of
the poet's character .167

CHAPTER XVII

1825—1832

The declining years of Eobert Smith — His verse-work
— Family marriages — Death of his second wife — His last
illness and death .178

CHAPTER XVIII

James and Horace Smith as Wits and Humorists . 186

CHAPTER XIX

Horace Smith's recollections of Sir Walter Scott,
Southey, and Thomas Hill of Sydenham . . . 199

CHAPTER XX

Horace Smith's recollections of Charles Mathews and
Theodore Hook 214

CHAPTER XXI

The personal appearance of James Smith — His habits
— His social circle — His clubs — His love of London —
Kevisits Chigwell school — His last illness and death . 233



^O '



CHAPTER XXII

The later literary works of James and Horace Smith . 249



xii CONTENTS

CHAPTER XXIII

1826—1849

PAGE

Brighton in the "twenties," "thirties," and "forties"
— Horace Smith at Brighton 267

CHAPTER XXIV

The declining years of Horace Smith's life — His last
illness and death — His personal appearance, tastes,
opinions, character, and disposition — The end .291

INDEX 307



ILLUSTRATIONS



ROBERT SMITH, 2ETAT 84, THE FATHER OF JAMES AND

HORACE SMITH Frmtispiece

From Original Miniature.

MARY HMITH, iETAT 25, THE MOTHER OF JAMES AND

HORACE SMITH To fact page 23

Frora a Silliciutte.

MR. ALDERMAN CADELL, MASTER OP THE STATIONERS'

COMPANY, 1798 115

From a Portrait in Stationers' Hall.

JAMES SMITH, yETAT C2 288

From the Portrait by Lontdale.

HORACE SMITH, iETAT 45 291

From the Portrait by Maifjucricr.

Contributed by the Baroness BunDErr-CocTre.



JAMES AND HOEACE SMITH



CHAPTER I
1747—1769

Introduction — Robert Smith, the father of James and
Horace — His birth and parentage — Earlj^ recollections —
Education — First poetical effort — Meets " Perdita " — Journeys
to London — Is articled to an Attorney — Experiences in
London — Sets out for the Continent.

Hard by the Wandle, in the ancient suburb to
which the stream has given its name, is All Saints,
Wandsworth, an unlovely church of some antiquity,
whose flint walls have for many years been hidden
beneath a casing of Georgian brickwork. It stands
in a small disused churchyard, where, amongst some
scores of tombs scattered about in various stages of
decay, may be seen a plain headstone, bearing with-
out text or comment this simple inscrij)tion : —

En ^Icmorji of

EGBERT SMITH, ESQ.,

OF ST. ANNE'S HILL, IN THIS PAEISH,

WnO DIED SEPTEMBER 27, 1832,
AGED So YEARS.



1



B



2 JAMES AND HORACE SMITH

Not one person in a thousand, perhaps, would
take the trouble to bestow a second thought upon
the owner of so common-place a name ; but the
Robert Smith whose body lies there was no ordinary-
person, and he was, moreover, the father of the
authors of Rejected Addresses. His experiences, too,
were exceptional. He had gazed upon the features of
Louis the Well-Beloved, and of his mistress, Madame
du Barry ; he had been a witness of the Lord George
Gordon riots ; he had seen Louis XVI. and Mario
Antoinette at Versailles, and had escaped by a mere
chance the first outburst of mob-violence that
presaged the Reign of Terror.

This plain Robert Smith — a boy of thirteen when
George IT. died — lived throughout the reigns of
George III. and George IV., intelligently observing
all the changes of that stirring period, and died just
after the passing of the Reform Bill.

Luckily for the biographer, Robert Smith had,
from early boyhood, been in the habit of noting
down, and afterwards elaborating, his impressions of
pa.ssing events; and as time went on, this custom
led him to keep a systematic diary of family aftairs,
etc., preserved in two stout closely-written volumes.

I was l)oi-n [he begins] on the 22nd of November,
1747, U.S., at the dwelling-house belonging to
the Custom-House in Castle Street, Bridgwater,^
and, when between two and three years of age,

' Robert Smith's father was at one time .Mayor of Bridg-
water, and heM the post of Dej^uty Collector of Custom.s at
that port.



ROBERT SMITH'S YOUTH 3

was placed at a day-school in the town kept by
an old woman of the name of Keene, of whose
person, I have still (1818) a clear recollection.
There I remained until the latter end of the year
1751, when I was removed to a writing-school kept
by Mr, David Webber.

An event of a public nature took place in the
year 1752, which was spoken of by everybody, but
understood by few. I mean the alteration of the
style by Act of Parliament. I was told, among
other surprising changes, that I should keep my
birthday, not on the anniversary of the day on which
it really happened, but on the 4th of December. This
puzzled me, as it did others to whom the Julian
and Gregorian calendars were alike unknown.

In the summer of 1754, when I was but seven
years old, my father indulged me in a jaunt of
pleasure to Bath and Bristol, under the charge of
my Uncle George. I was mounted on a long-tailed
pony, dressed in a new scarlet coat, boots, and a
flowing Avig. The riding on horse-back so long a
journey, and for the first time, I found fatiguing, but
the wonders of Bath and a day or two's rest restored
me. At Bristol we were met by father and mother, who
had gone thither on horseback, she riding behind my
father, seated on a blue cloth pillow, and dressed in
a "Joseph," or brown serge riding-dress, with buttons
down to the skirts. We all returned to Bridgwater,
when I recounted my adventures with no little pride
and satisfaction.

During the same year, the town was a continual
scene of liot and disorder, on account of the General
Election for members of Parliament. The candidates
were John, Earl of Egmont (in Ireland), afterwards
created Baron Lovel and Holland (in England),
Robert Balch, Esq., of Stowey in Somersetshire, and
Bubb Doddington, Esq. (afterwards created Lord



4 JAMES AND HORACE SMITH

Melcombe-Regis). The two former were elected,
and, as usual on such occasions, were " chaired "
throusfh the town on men's shoulders, amidst the
clamours of the high and low rabble, the ringing of
bells, the tiring of " chambers," and the rude sneers
of the unsuccessful party.

Two circumstances took place in 1755 Avhich
made an imi)rcssion upon my memory — the breaking
out of the war with France, and the accounts received
of a dreadful earthquake at Lisbon, wliich happened
on the 1st of November; and the year 17U0 pre-
sented an event of a public nature that made a
strong impression upon my mind at the time, viz.
the death of his Majesty, George II. It happened on
the 25th of October; the account of it was received
at Bridgwater on the following day.

Throughout these early years of his life, Robert
Smith was receiving a good and sensible education.
He was thoroughly well grounded in writing, book-
keeping, etc., and the object of his ambition was
reached when an opportunity arose for acquiring a
knowledge of the classics, by no means easy of attain-
ment in those days at a place like Bridgwater.

The scene now changed [he says]. Holmes'
Latin Grammar was put in my hands ; and tlic
difficulties which first present tht'inselves to a
learner being over, I got through my lessons with
tolerable credit. If a knowledge of the Latin tongue
be a nece.s.sary part of education fur boys, what harm
can it do to girls ? So my father rea.soned ; and he
accordingly ]>laced my eldest sister, Molly, at the same
.school. She Went through her exerci.ses regularly
with the boys, and had advanced a.s far as Ovid's
epistles, when my father removed her from the school.



"THE BOLD IRRESOLUTE" 5

Besides Latin and Italian, the boy studied French,
in which hmguage he afterwards became proficient ;
so that he was well qualified for the start in life
which presently offered itself in the office of a Mr.
John Popham, a London attorney practising in the
Court of Common Pleas, who owned a set of
chambers on the ground floor of No. 5, New Inn, of
which society he was an " Antient," and with whom
it was arranged that Robert should be articled
on his arrival in the metropolis.

Robert Smith evinced considerable powers of
composition at an early age ; and it is interesting to
record the first literary effort of him from whom
James and Horace Smith — the subjects of this
biography — inherited the talent of comic versification.
He describes it as " a loose imitation of some French
verses that he had stumbled upon," in which the
leading idea is sustained with humorous effect.

THE BOLD IRRESOLUTE

I.

As on tlie mar!j,iu of the flood,
Absorb'd in grief, young Colin stood,

His hapless fate bewailing,
Rous'd by despair the shepherd swore
Love's torments he'd no more endure.

So rashly plunged ... a pail in.

II.

Now, fierce with rage, he maddening flew,
And from its sheath a hanger drew.
Still o'er destruction brooding ;



JAMES AND HORACE SMITH

Before Dorinda's face, the sAvain,
At one despairing stroke, in twain

Down cleft, all me ! . . . a pudding.

III.

" The conflict's o'er — no more I'll flinch,
But in the imi!ion''cl hoid will quench

A flame than death more cruel,"
He said — then seizing on the bowl,
To Heav'n commends his parting soul,

And drank large draughts ... of gruel.

lY.

"With bitter pangs his heart opprest,
Love's tumult btiiling in his breast,

Ko mortal could abide it ;
Eager he seeks the halter's aid
Thick round his neck in order laid,

He tied, and then . . . untied it.



N(nv mopish grown, in pensive mood,
Beside his bed the shepherd stood,

And sigh'd and wept profoundly ;
A smotheriwj death he now prefers.
So clos'd his eyes, and said his prayers,

Then on his bed . . . slept soundly.

VI.

At length the nymph, to ea.se his pain,
Took pity on the amorous swain.

Her cruelty relented ;
In mutual love their willing hands
They joined in Hymen's silken bands,

And lived till both . . . repented.

Shortly before his first journey to London, Robert
and an old school-fellow, Juhn Chubb, seem to have



"PERDITA" ROBINSOX 7

taken sundry excursions together, one being to
Bristol, where they met the historic " Perdita," then
an innocent little girl of four years, as unconscious
of Florizel, the faithless, as he of his future in-
namorata. Writing of this many years afterwards,
Robert Smith says : —

We spent a few days with Captain Derby and
his wife, who was a distant relation of the Chubb
family. Amongst their children was a most in-
teresting little girl, who, Avhen grown up, married
clandestinely at the age of sixteen, and by degrees
fell off in her reputation. She became afterwards a
" favourite " of the Prince of Wales, and, having
made her dcliut on the stage in the character of
" Perdita," she was well known to the public by that
name. Her person and her manners were pleasing
in the highest degree ; she lived much among persons
of rank and fashion, and her literary talents were
not despicable. For several years before her death
she lost the use of her lower extremities, so as to
be utterly unable to stand.

The morning of Tuesday, the 7th of May,l76o,broke
cold and cheerless over the town of Bath, hardly the
kind of day one would have chosen for a long journey ;
but Robert Smith, a tall and sturdy youth of eighteen,
Avho had secured a seat the previous day after a
pleasant ride from Bridgwater, was one whom mere
physical discomfort would hardly deter from setting
forth for London, where he hoped to play no unim-
portant part. As, however, the cumbersome machine
cautiously manoeuvred out of the White Lion Inn
yard at seven o'clock, few hearts were heavier than



8 JAMES AND HORACE SMITH

his, for he was very fond of his home, anfl keenly felt
the parting from his peopk".

Travelling in those days was no light thing — un-
comfortable at its best, and often full of adventures
not infrequently dangerous. It was always expensive,
the fare from Bath to London during the summer
being twenty-eight shillings, with only fourteen
pounds weight of personal luggage allowed, anything
extra being charged at the rate of three-halfpence
per pound. Then there were the tips to the coach-
man and guard, and the charges at the various inns
were based upon a scale of great liberality towards
the landlord.

After leaving Bath, the coach made its way
to Trowbridge, whence it leisurely rolled along
to Devizes. At this point the serious part of the
journey began, as the route lay through the most
exposed district of Wiltshire, where the wind blew
with frightful violence, not to speak of its being all
" collar-work " for the horses.

To beguile the time, the coachman recounted, with
ample detail, how, two months before, there had been
a most remarkable fall of snow in this part of
England — which, indi-cd, had been general through-
out the country — when many lives were lost from
exposure, and numerous accidents occurred, the most
extraordinary of which was one that ha|>pened near
Newca.^tle, where, in the gloom of that storm, two
men riding at fidl gallop in opposite directions met
each r)tht'r with such force that both horses instantly
died, and the lives of their riders were despaired of



A JOURNEY BY COACH 9

But no snow fell on Robert Smith's journey ; and,
after much laborious struggling over the rugged, hilly
road, the travellers reached the inn at Shepherd
Shore. Here they rested and had tea.

Invigorated and warmed, horses and men jogged
along to Beckhampton Inn, and thence pasb the
famous Silbury Mound, where British warriors once
gathered together in battle-array to celebrate King
Arthur's second and last great battle of Badon Hill.

On and on, to the George at West Overton, the
Swan at Clatford, and — in the failing light — to the
Castle at Marlborough ; and after skirting Savernake
Forest for three miles, a welcome twinkling of lights
at Hungerford announced that bed and supper
awaited them at the Black Bear, sixty odd miles from
London. At daybreak the coach was off again.

The roads were now better, as was also the pace,
and there was nothing of interest to note, except that
at all the inns at Newbury, at the Angel, at Wool-
hampton, and at Reading, the meat-hooks that
generally bore a variety of tempting joints sustained
nothing but mutton. After passing through Houns-
low, the coachman, who had been repeatedly asked
for a solution of the mystery, at last admitted that
throughout Wilts and Berks, in consequence of the
past severe weather, there had been great losses
amongst the flocks of sheep, and consequently there
was a perfect glut of mutton that had not " inter-
viewed the butcher in a constitutional manner,"
though otherwise perfectly sound. Cart-loads had
been brought into the nearest towns, and all the



10 JAMES AND HORACE 8MlTli

inns along tlie road had very little else in their
larders.

At the Belle Sauvage on Ludgate Hill, where he
arrived late on the second day of his journey, Robert
Smith tarried not, but at once set out, following a
porter who carried his trunk, to Milk Street in the
City, where he was to lodge with his uncle Thomas,
a wholesale linen-draper.

The following morning, as the youth started west-
ward to present himself to Mr. Popham, it was upon
the London of Dr. Johnson, Boswell, Sir Joshua
Reynolds, and Garrick that he gazed; a London of
picturesque gabled houses flung down ap])arently at
random, with side streets so narmw and tortuous that
it was hardly possible to walk or ride in safety, and
whose principal thoroughfares, such as the Strand,
were so dirty that every morning the ajiprentices
might be seen washing away from the shop-fronts
the accumulated filth of the previous day; whore
jtedestrians in long blue coats like dressing-gowns,
brown stockings, and red or brown iiizzlod })criwigs,
braved all the splashings from pa.ssing traffic, as they
walked on the narrow trottoir of a roadway consisting
of rough stones, which idlhd and rubbed one against
the other ona foundation of nothing but old mud.

Robert Smith was articled I'or five years to Mi-.
Po])ham, by which articles it was agreed that his
father should ]»ay down a premium of one hundred
guineas, and provide for his son board and lodgings,
and " ajtparel suitable for a clerk," during the period ;
while Mr. Poj)ham unrlertook to teach him the law.



DR. JOHNSON 11

and so long as he abode with him, and was in his
actual service, to pay him each term one guinea as
" termage," or term fee. His line of life was now
considered settled. His office hours were from 9 a.m.
to 9 p.m. during the term time, with an allowance
of two hours for dinner; and day after day he
valiantly trudged from Milk Street, having besides
much walking to the law offices, the courts, etc. He
lived frugally, knowing how necessary it was to save
his father's purse ; and so well did he manage that,
from the time of his leaving his father's house until
the expiration of his articles, his expenses were not
more than £55 j)er annum, and this at a time when
living was comparatively dear.

The neighbourhood soon became quite familiar to
the young clerk — his own Inn of Court, with its
dingy brick building, high-pitched roof, and clustered
chimney-pots, its little hall inside the grass enclosure


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Online LibraryArthur H. (Arthur Henry) BeavanJames and Horace Smith ... A family narrative based upon hitherto unpublished private diaries, letters, and other documents → online text (page 1 of 20)