TOBIAS SMOLLET, one of the most prolific as well as popular of our novel-writers, was born in the year 1721, at the farm of Dalquhurn on the banks of the Leven, amidst some of the most picturesque scenery of Scotland, to the beauties of which he afterwards paid an elegant poetical tribute. His father was the fourth son of Sir James Smollet, of Bonhill: he married, without his father's consent, a lady of no fortune; and dying soon after the birth of his youngest son, his family, consisting of two sons and a daughter, were left entirely dependent on the bounty of their grandfather for a subsistence. The eldest, James, went into the army. His regiment was ordered abroad, and the transport in which he was, with part of the troops, was unfortunately lost off the coast of America. He is mentioned as a young man of great promise, and Dr. Smollet always preserved towards him an affectionate remembrance.

Tobias, the subject of this memoir, was put to school at Dumbarton, where it is recorded that the first efforts of his genius were shown in a copy of verses to the memory of Wallace,



several of whose adventures took place in the vicinity; for he had always a large share of that national spirit by which his countrymen are generally distinguished. Young Tobias, however, was not always in the heroic mood. Many stories are told of his exploits; and many acts of boyish mischief and frolic recorded in Roderick Random are supposed to be supplied from the memory of his own early years. From Dumbarton he was reinoved to Glasgow, where he was apprenticed to a surgeon, Mr. John Gordon, and at the same time attended the University lectures of anatomy and medicine. At Glasgow he began to display that vein of humour and propensity to satire which afterwards so strongly distinguished him, at the expense

of the circles to which he had access, and even ventured to aiin the shafts of his ridicule against some of the graver sort, whose exterior of piety he represented, possibly with truth, as only worn in compliance with the costume of the country. This, as may be supposed, gave

great offence.

His grandfather died while he was at Glasgow; and though he had maintained the family in a decent manner while he lived, and would probably have continued so to do, he made little or no provision for them at his death; and Smollet on this event, his apprenticeship being finished, came up to London to seek his fortune. On this occasion he was in want of money and recommendations; his friends supplied him very sparingly with the former, but were uncommonly liberal, he used to observe, in the latter article. He soon got a situation as surgeon's mate in a ship of the line, and acted as such in the unfortunate expedition to Carthagena which took place in the year 1741. Of this he published an account, joining with those who threw great blaine on the commander. The scenes he was here witness to made the strongest impression on his mind, and he has given them with great strength of colouring in his Roderick Random. Whoever reads that book will not wonder that he was disgusted with the sea-service, which he soon quitted, though he was certain of promotion, and resided some time in Jamaica, where he married a lady of the name of Lascelles. He returned to London soon after the year 1745, and became writer by profession.

The talents of Smollet were vigorous, his powers of application strong, his execution rapid, and there were few departments of general literature in which at one time or other he did not engage. Poetry, history, novel-writing, :

' travels, criticism, by turns employed his pen. At the age of eighteen he had written a play called The Regicide. The subject was the assassination of James the First of Scotland, the affecting story of which, as related by Buchanan, had deeply impressed his young mind.

mind. It was afterwards offered to the managers of the theatres, and, on their rejection, printed by subscription; a mode of publicity by which unsuccessful candidates have not unfrequently vindicated the sagacity of the managers. He does

. not seem to have studied euphony in the piece, if one may judge by the following specimen, -" While grimly smiling Grime.He also wrote an opera, which was rejected by Rich; and the querulous disposition which always made a part of his nature poured itself out in complaints, which the good sense he possessed would have told him, in any case but his own, were little interesting to any but the disappointed author.

In poetry the talents of Smollet were more respectable; he is the author of several pretty and elegant pieces, some of which, as The Ode to Leven Water, the Tears of Scotland, Verses to a young Lady playing, are written with tenderness and delicacy; while the Ode to Independence exhibits a manly vigour of thought, perhaps more analogous to the general tone of his mind. His Tears of Scotland was inspired by a generous sentiment for his country on occasion of the severities exercised there after the rebellion of 1745. He felt strongly on the occasion; for, in aid of his patriotism, he was a Tory if not a Jacobite; and when he was advised not to give any more copies of his Ode, lest it might hurt his interest, his only reply was the adding the following animated stanza:

“ While the warm blood bedews my veins,

And unimpair'd remembrance reigns,
Remembrance of my country's fate
Within my filial breast shall beat :
And spite of the insulting foe,
My sympathizing verse shall now,
Mourn, hapless Caledonia, mourn
Thy banish'd peace, thy laurels torn.'"

He also wrote two Satirical Epistles, with

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