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more commonly the tribute of posterity. We regard Mr. Smedley's name as one of those whose memory is immortal;—though we believe its full celebrity will belong to later ages than ours. Although he has written much in various ways, which a less busy and frivolous generation would not however have neglected, it was scarcely possible that, in our own, his poetry should have gained him a popularity which his great masters, Dryden and Pope, have failed to retain; though we would not hesitate to assert that, had he been their contemporary, he would not have left it to posterity to pay his due. But although Mr. Smedley's poetry, with all its harmony, brilliancy, combined imagination and argument, may never be very extensively read; though his masterly contributions to the Encyclopædia Metropolitana, merged in the general matter of that noble work, which he so long and so ably conducted, may not associate his name with the pleasure and instruction of its readers, there is one book by which he has secured an immortal renown—"the History of the Reformed Religion in France ;” a small work indeed, if estimated at its size—but one on which immense diligence and research have been expended,-one which, for its minute accuracy and perpetual verification, will be a text-book for all students of history, and, for the purity and elegance of its style, a model for all historians. The merits of this work will, of course, be slowly ascertained-indeed, to estimate them fully it would be necessary to exert a degree of diligence akin to the author's ; but there can be no doubt that its fame, though of tardy advancement, is sure and immortal. To every qualification of a great historian Mr. Smedley has, in this work, substantiated an indefeasible title.
The life of Mr. Smedley will ever be an object of interest to those who feel inquisitive about the history of great and remarkable minds. We rejoice therefore at seeing it so well registered. But were Mr. Smedley's memory less honoured than it is and will be by those who reverence genius, industry, and piety, the publication of the memoir would still be a benefit to the world. It is the record of a singularly pure, simple, and prolific mind; of a holy, devout, and benevolent heart; of one who, in the true image of his Maker, was love; whose religion, like all his feelings, was ardent, but whose sobriety, orthodoxy and humility formed a just counterpoise to his zeal; who received revelation with the docility of a child, and followed out its consequences with an enlightened conscience and steady perseverance ; who was tried, as the spiritual gold usually is, by keen affliction, and who manifested, in the furnace, the purity of the metal. The memory of such a being ought not to perish-it would be injustice to the departed-it would be injury to the survivors. While we earnestly recommend to our readers the perusal of that which we can but very inadequately abridge, we cannot forego the opportunity of enriching our pages with the material of this interesting memoir, how much soever of its lustre it may lose in our hands.
The subject of the narrative was born in the Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, on the 12th of September, 1788. He was the second son of the Rev. Edward Smedley, and of Hannah, daughter of George Bellas, Esq. His father was one of the masters of Westminster school, to which he was sent when in his seventh year. At the age of ten he manifested a remarkable taste for poetry, and composed, as his friends remember, beautiful verses, although, by the common oversight whereby we undervalue what is present, none have been preserved.* The amiability of his disposition was, from the first, a prominent characteristic; “whatever else may have been forgotten concerning him," says his biographer, “ every one remembers that he was a boy whom every one loved.” And if there be truth in the remark of the poet,
“Gratior et pulcro veniens in corpore virtus," + his good qualities were not deficient in that recommendation also.
At the age of eleven his proficiency enabled him to obtain a king's scholarship at Westminster; and his love of literature, religious feeling, quiet and benevolent disposition, centered in an earnest anxiety for the
* The following was written when young Smedley was eleven :
To Miss R
Under your soft protection she soon will recover,
EDWARD SMEDLEY.-P. 109.
ministry of the Church. This inclination was confirmed by his holiday sojourns with his father at Meopham vicarage in Kent, where he imbibed the most intense taste for simple and rural pleasures. Here too his poetical temperament received stimulus and aliment from silent converse with Nature. Spenser was among his most favourite writers; and he soon added Tasso and Ariosto to his poetical acquaintances.
In 1805 he was elected to a scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge; his father, however, now entertained some thoughts of educating him for a civilian. This design was abandoned at the earnest entreaty of young Smedley, and the church, as originally intended, was decided on. A curious anecdote is here mentioned by himself:
A singular incident which occurred this night contributed not a little to strengthen the determination I had formed. The conversation, on this to me so important subject, on which, in great measure, my happiness in life depended, had agitated me very much; and, before I committed myself to sleep, I prayed most fervently to the Creator of all things, that He would vouchsafe to direct me in that way wherein I might prove most acceptable in His sight, most serviceable to my fellow-men. In my dreams I was haunted by the performance of clerical duties; I was much distressed to miss my sermon; again, I was in the pulpit and reading-desk, in the exercise of almost every sacred function of the Church. This may be superstitious weakness, but I own I was much affected by it; and, in writing to F. R. the next day, I mentioned it as giving me not a little consolation, in the idea that my decision was right.—Pp. 7, 8. Nothing, certainly, could be more natural than the dream
Nec Deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus
Inciderit but the earnestness of his youthful prayer, and the providential answer given in its fulfilment, deserve a passing observation.
In 1808 Mr. Smedley took his degree, being little more than nineteen. He immediately became tutor to the son of Sir John Maxwell, whom he accompanied to Polloc, near Glasgow. In 1810 he obtained the members' prize at Cambridge as middle bachelor, for a Latin essay. In 1811, he obtained the same prize as senior bachelor; and at the close of that year, not many days indeed after he had completed the necessary age, he was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Winchester; and in February 1812 he became fellow of Sydney Sussex College, Cambridge. About the same time he published, anonymously, “a few verses," of unequal merit, but some exquisitely beautiful. Two brief extracts are subjoined:
Oh! if some cherish'd hopes destroy
Yet, stay awhile! thine eye has stray'd
Nor droop till it entwines my tomb.-Pp. 137, 138. In 1813 and 1814 Mr. Smedley was the successful candidate for the Seatonian laurel; and although, in 1815, his exercise for this prize was considered inferior to that of Mr. Bellamy, the present head master of Merchant Tailors' school, it was, nevertheless, published at the request of the examiners.
Mr. Smedley commenced his clerical career as curate to his father at Meopham, the spot associated with so many recollections of the happiest period of life. Shortly after he was presented by Dr. Andrewes, Dean of Canterbury, an early and affectionate friend of the family, to the preachership of St. James's Chapel in the Hampstead Road; and in 1815 he was appointed by the Dean, who was rector of St. James's Westminster, clerk in orders to that parish. In the following year his kind friend conferred on him the highest earthly blessing in his power, or in that of Heaven itself to bestow, by uniting him to Mary, youngest daughter of James Hume, Esq. of Wandsworth Common. There is nothing in which the workings of Providence are more open to our observation than in the adaptation of supports and comforts to calamitous dispensations. The most cursory observer cannot fail to remark, particularly in the instance of the established Christian, how accurately the stay is contrived to meet the burden. Mr. Smedley was called on to endure corporeal trials of no common nature and intensity, in which no worldly comfort, save domestic affection, could prove of any solace or benefit ; while, to a heart like his, the absence of that blessing would have been an affliction far more severe than any which he was called on to endure. A loving Chastener had provided all that was requisite to sustain and comfort, in the excellent lady of Mr. Smedley's choice. His biographer, doubtless from apprehension of wounding the modesty of retiring worth, has said little on this subject; a similar consideration controls our pen ; yet surely it will not be unpardonable, if the writer of this, who for very many years had the privilege of knowing well this valuable lady and her excellent husband, should attest, that with all woman's devotion of heart, and with more than woman's strength, energy and exertion, she surrendered herself entirely to her partner's comfort and welfare, and, in pious submission to the Husband of the widow, lived only for him whom she had chosen " for better for worse, for rieher for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey.”
In the same year Mr. Smedley published his “ Prescience ; or the Secrets of Divination;" a poem in two parts, treating a difficult and very interesting subject with great beauty and judgment.
During the five years for which Mr. Smedley held the clerkship, he had great opportunity of exercise in the pastoral office; and the scenes of distress, both spiritual and temporal, which he had witnessed, had made deep impressions on his mind. Puritanism he always regarded with a suspicious eye;, not only from the tremendous consequences which history ascribes to it, but from the evil which he daily saw wrought on the minds of an ignorant and excitable populace by the pernicious misguidings of puritanical teachers. Such observation originated the “Religio Clerici; a Churchman's Epistle," which he published in 1818; a brief, but finished piece; powerful in argument, brilliant in wit, and exquisite in pathos. The success of this induced him to publish in the following year " A Churchman's Second Epistle;" a poem surpassing the former in all its excellences; and enriched with a body of the most curious illustrative notes, calculated, by facts, and on testimony the most unsuspicious and unexceptionable, to exhibit the character of modern puritanism. On his views on this subject, his biographer thus speaks :
It must be remembered, that it was not to quiet, conscientious dissent that Mr. Smedley opposed himself; no man could be more gentle in his judgment on individual motives and character, or more disposed duly to estimate the private worth, and useful labours, of moderate and sober Dissenters. Some of his most favourite works of divinity were those, for which the Church of Christ is indebted to men who had separated from the Church of England. In the opening of his new poein he thus expressed himself:
“My Creed, you know, in spite of modern cant,
Is staunch and firm, though not intolerant :
If peace our friendship means, or overthrow. It was to those whose object he believed to be, the destruction of that tolerant Church which gives them full liberty to attack and revile her; to the ignorant and presumptuous, who venture to be guides and teachers of others; to the rigid fanatic, who unsettles the reason or breaks the heart of the weak and timid: to the confident enthusiast, who suffers peace to precede penitence, and sends