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Sidney Smith

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Published : 4 Articles
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Date of Birth : N/A
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Smith, Sidney I Sidney Smith I, misc. writer. The Athenaeum, Dec. 22, 1849, reviewing one of Smith's books, more than hinted that "Sidney Smith" was a pseudonym, assumed by the author "on the strength of some supposed affinity" between the thought and language of his book and that of "the writings of Peter Plymley." If the author's name was really Sidney Smith, he had, to be sure, a right to use it, admitted the reviewer grudgingly, and "we have of course no more to say." Sidney Smith was Smith's real name. Author of The Principles of Phrenology, 1838, assigned in some catalogues to Sidney Smith "Phrenologist," but proved by announcement on verso of title page of Whether to Go, and Whither? to be by the writer here discussed. As secretary to National Anti-Corn-Law League, delivered in 1840 three lectures in Devizes, reported in Wiltshire Independent and reprinted as pamphlet, Anti-Corn-Law Lectures. Author of two guide books for emigrants, The Settler's New Home: or The Emigrant's Location and Whether to Go, and Whither?, both published 1849, and brought out in following year under a joint title. In 1849 published also The Mother Country: or, The Spade, the Wastes, and the Eldest Son, an analysis of the agricultural, economic, and social condition of England; dedicated the book to Baron Lionel Rothschild, "In return for much considerate kindness and many useful acts of effective service," and in tribute to Rothschild's character and his management of wealth to the benefit of mankind. The dedication suggests that Falkland. An Historical Play, 1876, dedicated to Alfred de Rothschild "by his obliged servant, Sidney Smith," is probably by the same Sidney Smith. Smith had much interest in seventeenth-century English history.


      In The Settler's New Home (p. 21), recounting some of the pleasures of life that even the poorest settler could enjoy, Smith included books – among them, in very respectable company, those of Dickens. Would the settler have society, he wrote, "Plato, Shakespeare, the dear old vicar of Wakefield, Burns, Fielding, Scott, or Dickens, will join the fire-side with small importunity."
      Smith's H.W. articles deal with the use of waste land and with agriculture. His contention, in "Chip: The Ace of Spades," [II, 477–78. Feb 8, 1851] that a man could make a good living by spade cultivation of a few acres was disputed by several H.W. readers from agricultural districts. Replying to them in his following article, "Chip: The Spade," [II, 595–97. March 15, 1851] Smith cited evidence in support of his contention. Toward the end of the article appeared the statement: "Those of our readers who desire to pursue this subject ... will find a mass of information gathered from all available sources in the small work entitled 'The Mother Country; or, the Spade, the Wastes, and the Eldest Sow [sic],' by Sidney Smith.'
      The H.W. article "Ballinglen" referred to Smith's "The Spade in Ireland" and corrected a typographical error in that article.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Allibone

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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