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Sydney Smith

(1771-1845) Miscellaneous writer, born at Woodford, Essex, the son of a gentleman of independent means, and educated at Winchester and Oxford, took orders 1794, becoming curate of Amesbury. He came to Edinburgh as tutor to a gentleman's s., was introduced to the circle of brilliant young Whigs there, and assisted in founding the Edinburgh Review. He then went to London, where he was for a time preacher at the Foundling Hospital, and lectured on moral philosophy at the Royal Institution. His brilliant wit and general ability made him a favourite in society, while by his power of clear and cogent argument he exercised a strong influence on the course of politics. His Plymley Letters did much to advance the cause of Catholic emancipation. He received various preferments, and became a canon of St. Paul's. In politics he was a Whig, in his Church views an Erastian; and in the defence of his principles he was honest and courageous. Though not remarkable for religious devotion he was a hard-working and, according to his lights, useful country parson. By the death of a younger brother he in his later years came into a considerable fortune.

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