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Sydney Smith


1771 - 1845

Clergyman, writer, wit and co-founder of the Edinburgh Review. Born in England and educated at Winchester and Oxford, Smith was ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1794. In 1798 he came to Edinburgh as a tutor, but also studied medicine. In 1802, he proposed the concept of the Edinburgh Review, a quarterly magazine, which he established along with Henry Brougham (1778 - 1868), Francis Horner (1778 - 1817) and Francis Jeffrey (1773 - 1850). The magazine was first published on the 10th October 1802, with Smith editing the first few issues, which were printed by Archibald Constable (1774 - 1827). Smith continued to write for the Review regularly during the following 25 years, contributing greatly to its success and helping make it one of the most influential arbiters of taste in Europe at the time.

Smith moved to London in 1803, where he lectured on moral philosophy and became well-known in literary society. He was a kindly man, who always fought for tolerance and reform, regardless of the effect his protests had on his own career. For example, in 1807-8 he wrote supporting Roman Catholic emancipation.

In 1809 he left London for Yorkshire, where he had been given a living of £500 a year and also served as a magistrate and doctor. He arrived in Somerset in 1829 and in 1831 he was created a prebendary in Bristol and a Canon at St. Paul's.


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