a biographical sketch
Addicted to Glory
A daring frigate captain, he dabbled in diplomacy and fancied
himself an amateur spy. Virtually unknown today, he was as famous
as Horatio Nelson during the Napoleonic Wars. He was hailed by
the London crowds as the Lion of the Seas. Besides his
devotion to the English crown he provided excellent service to
three other European royal families and the Ottoman Empire. He
stopped Napoleon in his effort to conquer India. Advanced in rank
to admiral he never directed a major fleet action. He devoted the
last years of his life to the abolition of slavery. He was
Sir William Sidney Smith.
Smith was born in London in 1764. His father, Captain John Smith
of the Guards, and a gentleman-usher to Queen Charlotte, was
known as an adventurer and libertine. Adventure and connections
with royalty were to mark Sidney's life. He eloped with the
thirty year-old daughter of Pinkney Wilson, a rich London
merchant who responded to what he thought an ill-considered
marriage by disinheriting his daughter and eschewing all contact
with her and the three children of the union.
An aunt intervened to convince Wilson to pay for his grandson's
education. His father also used young Sidney as the bearer of
messages begging money for his own support even after he had
separated from the child's mother.
Smith's naval career began at age thirteen. He was appointed a
captain's servant on the Tortoise, a transport of 32
guns. Despite the ship's humble designation, her captain acted as
if he commanded a frigate. This aggressive nature may have rubbed
off on Smith. Three months after his posting the
Tortoise left for America escorting merchant ships. Upon
his arrival, Smith was transferred to the brig Unicorn.
Aboard her he got his first taste of real action. In company with
the Experiment, the Unicorn met the American
frigate Raleigh and engaged her for three hours before
the 44-gun Experiment was able to come to their
assistance. The brig lost thirteen killed and a large number
wounded including Smith. His forehead was laid open by a
splinter. During the return across the Atlantic the
Unicorn was laid over on its side during a gale and
Smith aided in jettisoning the guns to right the ship, saving
Smith's career was off to a flying start. His next assignment, in
1779, was to the ship of the line Sandwich, then
flagship of the channel squadron under Admiral Sir George Rodney.
On 8 January 1780, Rodney's fleet encountered a Spanish convoy
headed for Cadiz. Rodney captured all the vessels including a 64-gun ship, four frigates, two sloops and a dozen supply ships.
Within a few days of this encounter Smith saw his first real
fleet action. Rodney had learned of a Spanish squadron off Cape
Saint Vincent and determined to engage them. The squadron, eleven
ships of the line and two frigates under Admiral Juan de Langara
was only about half the strength of Rodney's fleet. When Langara
sighted a mass of sail approaching from the north on the
afternoon of January 16 he assumed it was an unescorted convoy.
Only too late did he realize it was Rodney with the channel
fleet. Forming a line Langara raced for Cadiz. Rodney signaled
General Chase to allow his faster ships to overhaul the
fleeing Spaniards. The British won a considerable victory despite
growing darkness and a lee shore. Langara's flagship the 80-gun
Fenix and five 70s were captured and another 70 blown
up. Crippled with gout, Rodney was nevertheless able to direct
the fighting and extricate his fleet from the dangerous situation
it found itself in after the ten hour battle that became known as
the Moonlight Battle of Saint Vincent. Smith was
mentioned favorably for his actions in the engagement.
In September of 1779, Smith passed the examination for lieutenant
and was posted to the 74-gun Alcide despite being only
16 years old. He performed well under Admiral Graves at the
Battle of the Chesapeake. His bravery under Rodney at the Saintes
in April 1782 earned him his first command, the schooner
Fury. He was later appointed post captain and given
command of the frigate Alcemene. He was then nineteen
With the navy reduced following the 1783 Treaty of Versailles,
Smith found himself on half-pay. Always restless, he decided to
try his hand as an amateur spy. Making use of his command of the
French language, he visited Normandy, observing efforts to
convert the port of Cherbourg into a naval base. He sent the
Admiralty a detailed description of efforts to build a breakwater
at the port.
Following two years in France, Smith traveled to Gibraltar and
Morocco where he observed commerce and naval dispositions,
reporting again to the Admiralty. Among his suggestions was a
recommended change of tactics for covering the entrance to the
Mediterranean. As variable winds made it impossible to constantly
cover the entrance from Gibraltar, he suggested basing a second
squadron on the Atlantic side and recommended himself as most
qualified to command such a squadron. He was then twenty-three.
Restless with the peace, his thirst for action took Smith to
Sweden where war had broken out with Russia. He applied for
permission to serve the Swedish crown and when this permission
was slow in coming he was not completely forthright about his
involvement in military affairs in the conflict. Despite a lack
of official British approval, he served Swedish King Gustavus III
as an advisor in land operations as Colonel Smith. He
was then appointed commander of the small craft in the Swedish
fleet. This appointment enraged many Swedish officers who
considered themselves far senior to the English upstart. Avoiding
the truth he wrote the English authorities in Stockholm that he
was following the Swedish king in a yacht and would not take part
in hostilities. In fact he played a crucial role in the Swedish
naval efforts. Further, Smith's talent for self promotion had won
him the ear of King Gustavus who presented Smith's case to the
English king, bypassing bureaucratic and diplomatic formalities.
The Russians had trapped the Swedish fleet in the Bay of Viborg
and Smith's flotilla of some one-hundred small craft including
bomb vessels, galleys and gun boats, was able to clear a number
of islands at the entrance, allowing the Swedes to escape. In the
Battle of Svensksund, the Russians lost sixty-four ships and over
a thousand men killed. The Swedes lost four ships and had few
casualties. An armistice followed.
Smith's success was not so well thought of by many of his English
contemporaries as six half-pay British naval officers serving on
the Russian side had been killed in the fighting. Nevertheless,
at the request of King Gustavus, King George III of England
invested Smith with the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the
Sword. Smith thereafter referred to himself as Sir Sidney
Smith while his detractors labeled him the Swedish
knight. He did not receive an English knighthood till 1838,
when Queen Victoria knighted him two years before his death.
Smith's younger brother, Spencer, had been appointed an envoy to
Turkey. In 1793, when hostilities resumed between Britain and
France, Sir Sidney was in Smyrna, serving as a volunteer in the
Turkish navy. He purchased a small lateen rigged vessel and
recruited a crew of forty former British seamen to man his new
ship. They set sail for London where Smith hoped to receive a
Making their way along the length of the Mediterranean they came
upon Admiral Hood with a fleet at Toulon, the primary French
naval base on the Mediterranean. The city had been seized by
Royalist opponents of the French revolution, but by the time
Smith arrived, forces of the revolutionary government were
pressing close to the city. One of the critical players in this
assault was a young artillery officer, Napoleon Bonaparte, whose
well-handled guns were of great aid to the besiegers.
Hood involved Smith, still an unemployed officer on half-pay, in
his plans. Unpopular because of his attitude and the Swedish
affair, Smith was met with considerable criticism. His response
was that while his critics were commanding ships and crews paid
for by the government, his command was financed solely from his
Hood gave Smith command of a detachment charged with removing or
burning the French naval vessels in Toulon's harbor before the
revolutionaries retook the city. The effort was to be supported
by a Spanish contingent that failed to appear. Despite lack of
support from those allies, Smith's men were able to remove four
ships of the line, eight frigates and seven corvettes. A further
ten ships of the line, two frigates and two corvettes were
burned. Although Hood was unstinting in his praise of Smith's
efforts, which had resulted in greater losses to the enemy than
any previous naval engagement in England's history, many of
Smith's critics pointed out that not all of the French vessels
anchored at Toulon were destroyed in the chaotic night action.
Although Smith had destroyed more French ships than had the most
successful fleet action to that date, he was blamed by Nelson and
Collingwood, among others, for this failure to destroy all of the
Returning to London, the Admiralty gave Smith command of the
fifth-rate Diamond and posted him to Sir John Borlase
Warren's Western Frigate Squadron, serving with such stalwarts as
Sir Edward Pellew. Smith's exploits on that station became the
stuff of legend.
In July 1795, Smith in Diamond in company with other
vessels, occupied the les Saint-Marcouf off the coast of
Normandy. Sacrificing two of his gun vessels, Badger and
Sandfly, to provide materials and manpower he fortified
the islands and established a naval garrison. With additional
fortifications established, the islands served as a forward base
for the blockade of Le Havre for nearly seven years.
Informed by the admiralty in 1796 that the French fleet had
sailed from Brest, a harbor not visible from the open sea, Smith
undertook a daring reconnaissance. Disguising the
Diamond as a French frigate, he penetrated the narrow
channel to the port. Although suspected by the French, his self-confidence and command of the language allowed his escape.
The next year Smith followed a convoy of nine French ships into
Herqui, on the Brittany coast. He captured and burnt them; then
captured the forts that protected the harbor and spiked their
guns. The lieutenant who had led the capture of the forts sailed
for London with dispatches describing the victory and, as a
present for the admiralty, the captured ensign. London was wild
with excitement, Convent Garden put on an Operetta, The Point
in Herqui or The Triumph of British Courage.
These exploits were not enough to satisfy Smith. He imagined he
could sail up the Seine and attack Bonaparte in his lair. In
April 1797, he entered Le Havre on the estuary of the Seine.
Although he was planning a reconnaissance preparatory to his
grand plan, his immediate objective was to capture the
Vengeur, a privateer that harried British shipping. In a
carefully planned cutting-out expedition, he penetrated the
harbor under cover of darkness in four small boats and easily
captured his prize. However, wind and current prevented them
leaving the harbor or the Diamond coming to their
rescue. With daylight the situation was clear to the French.
Landing his prisoners, Smith prepared to fight it out. After an
hour, he recognized the futility of defense and surrendered,
lowering the British ensign flying above his prize.
Smith was imprisoned in Paris for two years where he was held as
a spy and threatened with the guillotine. This was in part due to
his fame. Despite his reputation, he was often allowed
considerable liberties, including freedom of the streets of Paris
so long as he gave his parole as an officer.
French royalists hatched a plot to free him from prison. They
rented a house that overlooked Smith's cell and communicated with
him by a specially devised sign language. Smith was moved from
one jail to another several times. The final time he was
transported, he discovered his guards were monarchists. The
carriage overturned in their haste to escape and they were chased
to the coast where he was placed aboard a boat for England. One
of his rescuers, a French fortification expert named Phillipeaux
was to play a prominent role in later events.
Extremely popular with the London crowd after his escape, Smith
was received at the Admiralty, by the Prime Minister and the
King. His connections with Turkey were recalled and he was sent
to the Mediterranean with two sets of orders, one to put himself
under the command of Admiral Saint Vincent, and the other making
him joint Minister Plenipotentiary to the Ottoman Empire with his
younger brother, Spencer, as the other minister. Having served in
the Ottoman Empire's navy he was considered perfect to provide
assistance to the Turks in light of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt.
Smith's character made his twin roles as naval captain and
minister quite difficult, especially for his superiors. Smith set
sail in the 80-gun Tigre and was soon the subject of
many complaints. Believing himself a senior diplomat, Smith
showed insufficient respect for his naval superiors. He
requisitioned ships from other squadrons and flew a commodore's
broad pennant without authorization. He corresponded directly
with the Admiralty, bypassing the chain-of-command.
With the Turks he was a complete success. Wearing Turkish dress,
including turban and long moustaches, he participated as an
elected member of their highest council – the Divan. He was
able to stiffen the Turkish will to resist Napoleon despite
initial setbacks. Eluding Nelson in a chase across the
Mediterranean, Napoleon had successfully landed in Egypt,
defeated the Mamelukes garrisoning the country, and was marching
on Syria preparatory to an invasion of India through Persia to
fulfill his dream of becoming a modern day Alexander the Great.
Nelson had destroyed the French fleet at Aboukir Bay and the land
route to India was not only Napoleon's first but only choice.
Although the French army was small by European standards,
numbering some 15,000 men; western trained and organized forces
had been winning spectacular victories over much larger eastern
armies since classical Greece. Napoleon's final nemesis, the Duke
of Wellington, got his start in just such engagements in India.
Smith, with a scratch squadron and his Turkish allies was the
major obstacle between Napoleon and his perceived destiny.
In March 1799, Smith was lying off Alexandria in the
Tigre, an 80-gun ship of the line that had been captured
from the French. Smith received a message from Achmed Dejezzer,
the Turkish Governor of Syria, informing him that Napoleon had
taken Jaffa by storm and was marching on the port of Acre (now
the Israeli town of Akko). Smith responded quickly to the news,
dispatching Captain Miller in the 74-gun Theseus and a
smaller vessel to conduct a reconnaissance of the Syrian coast.
Acre lay north of the headland of Mount Carmel on an open bay.
The city was just past the sandbar choked mouth of the river
Kishon. Theseus arrived on March 13, followed by Smith
in the Tigre, accompanied by the Alliance and
Marianne on March 15.
After consultations with the Turks, who were ready to defend the
city, Smith offered his assistance. On the 17th he
sent the Theseus south along the coast. Smith, with the
Tigre's boats, took a position at Caifia under Mount
Carmel south of Acre. That night the first French units were
detected, mounted on donkeys and camels moving along the coast.
Smith positioned a launch with a 12-pounder carronade to block
the advance. With daylight, an effective fire was laid down and
the French were forced to move inland to the Nazareth road.
Smith's ships, anchored off Acre, prevented the French from
encircling the city to the north, forcing the French to approach
the city from the northeast where the defenses were stronger.
During the first exchanges with the French, Smith noted a lack of
artillery, and suspected guns were being transported by sea. On
the morning of the 18th, a flotilla consisting of a
French corvette and nine gun vessels was sighted from the
Tigre. The ships were engaged and all the gun vessels
taken. The corvette escaped. The captured vessels were packed
with siege guns and supplies. Smith landed the siege guns and
deployed the gunboats so as to harass the French advance up the
Not all of Smith's efforts were successful. A boat attack on four
French transports anchored off Caiffa was repulsed with heavy
losses to the British. Contrary weather forced the British ships
to up anchor on that same day and winds prevented their return
until April 6th. During his absence Smith was able to
revictual in preparation for protracted hostilities.
The fighting for Acre was notable for its hand-to-hand ferocity.
The British seamen who played crucial roles in many aspects of
the struggle were armed primarily with pikes and cutlasses.
French dead littered the narrow avenues of the assault and their
decomposing bodies were incorporated into the defensive works
Napoleon ordered erected to protect his advancing troops from the
flanking fire of heavy guns manned primarily by British gunners
who were able to direct deadly accurate fire from solid ground
instead of the rolling deck of a ship at sea.
The French, with Napoleon directing them, pushed an attack on the
Northeast defenses of the city. Napoleon felt that the capture of
Acre was crucial for his continued advance. Napoleon, using field
pieces, in lieu of his lost siege artillery, was still able to
create a small breach in the outer wall and a tunneling mine was
dug under one of the towers on the city walls. The French pushed
trenches up to the Turkish fortifications.
The French were also digging a tunnel or mine under a corner
tower in an effort to collapse it. The British and Turks mounted
a sortie under cover of darkness to prevent the undermining of
the tower. The plan called for English sailors and marines to
attack the mine while Turkish troops attacked the trenches on
either side. The noisy Turks spoiled any chance of surprise for
the predawn attack. Nevertheless, the British seamen, supported
by the marines, were able to enter the mine tunnel and partially
collapse it, thwarting the French effort for the moment.
The French were not long without siege artillery. More French
guns were brought by sea to Jaffa and then overland to the siege.
Despite repeated sorties and supporting fire from British ships
and boats in the harbor, the breach at the northeast corner tower
was enlarged by the combined fire of twenty-three French guns.
Napoleon mounted an assault on May 1st. The
Theseus and Tigre provided supporting fire from
either side of the city, and after much fighting, the assault was
repulsed with heavy casualties on both sides. Colonel
Phillipeaux, who had been instrumental in designing the city's
improved defenses, died of fatigue as a result of his tireless
efforts during the desperate struggle.
Although Napoleon was an experienced artillery officer with
considerable engineering abilities, Smith proved his equal in the
technical conduct of the siege. The resourceful naval officer
expanded the city's defenses with two ravelins flanking the
disputed breach, but French attacks continued with increasing
By May 7th, the city had been reinforced by two
Turkish corvettes and more than twenty transports bearing
Napoleon countered with works of his own to protect his advancing
troops, throwing up walls of sandbags, earth and French corpses,
so high that only the bayonets of the advancing infantry could be
seen by the defenders. The massed French artillery created a
breach at the northeast corner tower, and the French pushed their
siege works closer to weakened fortifications. A steady fire from
British-manned guns in the lighthouse tower, and a flanking
ravelin, along with shells from two 68-pounders in shallow draft
boats just off shore greatly annoyed the French in their
Even as Turkish reinforcements under Hassan Bey were disembarking
from the recently arrived transports, the French mounted an
attack at first light on May 8th focusing on the
battered northeast corner, where rubble made a sort of ramp up
the partially collapsed wall.
Seeing the danger of the French effort, Smith personally led a
contingent of sailors to defend the breach with pikes, cutlasses,
and boarding axes. They joined Turks who had been hurling rocks
down at the French and the heartened Turks and their British
allies engaged the attackers in hand-to-hand fighting. Djezzar
Pasha, the Turkish commander, on learning Smith was in the
breach, rushed to the defenses to urge caution, fearing the death
of his English friend might prove a fatal blow to
morale. Smith turned a deaf ear to the pleas and led a freshly
arrived Turkish regiment, trained and armed in the European
fashion, in a counterattack. The French beat back the Turkish
sally, but in forming their defense they exposed themselves to
the British-manned guns. Both sides suffered considerable losses
and the French were checked in their advance.
Napoleon's ambitions were unchecked. Through May 9th
and 10th, he personally directed the French artillery
and work parties from an exposed mound named after Richard
the Lionheart, who had fought on the same ground during the
Crusades. The defenders could clearly see the animated general
encouraging his troops. Taking a direct interest in the efforts
against the northeast tower, Napoleon personally reconnoitered
the breach. French artillery continued a scathing fire throughout
the two days with each ball and shell knocking away chunks of
wall to add to the rubble ramp. Although the French had only a
few heavy guns they were concentrated against the battered corner
of the medieval defenses and did considerable damage.
On the evening of May 10th, a massive column of French
infantry assailed the breach again and carried it, only to be
stopped at new defensive works Phillepeux had ordered erected
prior to his death. One French general was killed and another
seriously wounded by the Turks who fought with courage and little
regard for their own safety. Their fighting fervor was so great
that British reinforcements were also attacked by the Turks who
confused the uniforms of the British officers with those of the
Fighting continued over the breach through the night and into the
next day. The French then mounted a fresh assault but were met by
a counterattack that drove them back to the third parallel of
their siege works. The French attack became a desperate attempt
to regain their jumping-off point. Several French guns were
spiked. Both sides suffered grievously in the fighting.
On board the Theseus an accident resulted in the
explosion of some seventy shells. The crew suffered 87 dead and
wounded and damage to the ship was considerable. The French
situation, however, was deteriorating. The troops were reluctant
to mount another assault across piles of dead before the breach,
and plague had broken out. The attackers proposed a truce to bury
the dead, but the Turks rejected the entreaty. A new assault was
mounted after the rejection, and it too was repulsed.
On the night of May 20th, the French lifted the siege
and retired down the coast. Twenty-three siege guns were
abandoned on the field.
The siege had lasted sixty-one days. The besiegers had mounted
eight major assaults and the defenders had countered with eleven
sorties. Losses were heavy on both sides, but Napoleon's hopes of
a triumphant march into Asia were dashed. Smith and his ad hoc
squadron remained at Acre well into June, rendering assistance to
the Turks. With the exception of the losses on the
Theseus, British casualties had been remarkably light.
Nelson, who had been somewhat disturbed by Smith's independence
from his command, was lavish with his praise for the defense of
Acre. Smith, whose younger brother was ambassador to
Constantinople, was well known to the Turks and had been acting
under diplomatic orders to assist their efforts against the
French advance. This had not initially been known to Nelson and
he had bridled at Smith's rejection of his authority as the
superior naval officer in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Napoleon staggered back to Egypt with a defeated, plague-ridden
army. Negotiations between Napoleon, Smith and the Turks to get
the French to quit Egypt were rejected by the British
authorities. This agreement, the Treaty of El Arish, was stoutly
opposed by Nelson.
British troops were landed, and after a success at the Battle of
Alexandria (the first British land victory over Napoleon), an
agreement similar to the El Arish agreement was reached.
Napoleon, returning to France in a frigate, blamed Smith as the
man who had kept him from his destiny.
Smith sailed home carrying news of his victory. He was rewarded
with an annual pension of £1000. Smith, as well as Nelson,
were now firmly established as the heroes of the British Navy.
On his return to England, Smith represented the town of Rochester
in Parliament and took the opportunity of defending the naval
budget. It was also reported that he engaged in an affair with a
neighbor, Princess Caroline of Brunswick, the estranged wife of
the Prince of Wales and future King George IV.
Following the defense of Acre, Smith, still far from the top of
the captains' list – promotions were primarily based on
seniority – became enamored of the new technology of
warfare including submarines and catamaran landing craft. During
1803, he was employed in the North Sea to stymie an expected
French invasion, and his interest in technology was directed to
that end. Among the inventors he worked with was the American
Robert Fulton. The Admiralty was not impressed with his
technological proposals and none were adopted, perhaps because of
his attitude that tolerated no opinions except his own.
He finally reached the rank of Rear Admiral of the Blue in 1805;
two days after news of Nelson's death at Trafalgar shocked the
nation. Returning to the Mediterranean in 1806, he was given
command of the inshore squadron under the overall command of Lord
Collingwood. Smith's special responsibility was Sicily.
The Sicilian situation was delicate. The Kingdom of the Two
Sicilies was divided into two parts. The mainland portion,
centered on Naples, was ruled by Napoleon's brother, Joseph. The
legitimate Bourbon King, Ferdinand IV, married to the ill-fated
Marie Antoinette's sister, held sway over the actual island of
Sicily, but was under severe pressure from the French. Their
kingdom, The Two Sicilies, was expected to soon be united under
Joseph Bonaparte. British troops, aided by Sicilians and
Corsicans, were trying to prevent the invasion of the island.
King Ferdinand named Smith Viceroy of Calabria and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. This appointment added political and
military responsibilities to his naval brief. However, Smith had
received no approval from his government before accepting these
responsibilities from King Ferdinand.
Going against the British generals on the scene, Smith, supported
by the Queen, determined that the best defense was a strong
offense. Smith decided to attack the mainland. First taking the
Island of Capri, Smith mounted an invasion of Calabria using
5,000 British troops and Corsican irregulars. Assisted by the
Massi, the Calabrian mountain fighters, the invaders won an
unexpected victory against the French.
Hugh Elliot, the British ambassador, was beside himself. He had
not only received no advance warning of the attack but funds he
had provided Smith for intelligence gathering had been used to
arm the Massi. Mere victory was not an antidote for widespread
criticism of Smith's actions and arrogance and he was recalled.
An emergency revoked Smith's orders to London. Bonaparte had
captured the Eastern border of the Adriatic Sea and he was
negotiating with the Turks for passage across Turkey, Levant, and
Egypt with India as his final destination. Smith was ordered to
proceed to Constantinople and place himself under the command of
Sir John Duckworth. Although Smith's knowledge of the Ottoman
Empire was superior to any serving English senior officer, his
self-promoting attitude and general arrogance gave overall
command to Duckworth who proved unequal to the task.
Where Smith would likely have relied on his friendship with the
Sultan, Duckworth resorted to intimidation. The Turks were not
intimidated. Entering the Sea of Marmora from the Eastern rather
than the Western side the squadron was prevented by strong
currents from approaching Constantinople. They were forced to
withdraw and one of Duckworth's ships was struck by an 800-pound
stone cannonball fired from the Turkish fortifications. Smith was
in the rear of the squadron and was unable to intervene. After
two months Duckworth abandoned the mission.
Smith returned to Britain but was soon recalled to duty. On
November 9th, he hoisted his flag on the
London with orders to proceed to Portugal, then
threatened by the French. From his station of the Tagus, Smith
was in a position to escort the Portuguese Royal Family to safety
in Brazil. With four ships of the line as escort, the Portuguese
Royal Family and 12,000 Portuguese citizens arrived in Rio De
Janeiro on March 7th.
Sidney Smith arrived in May to take command of a naval station on
the Brazilian coast.
Smith now gave his total support to the Prince Regent's wife, D.
Carlota Joaquina, in her ambition, who in the name of her brother
now King of Spain, to rule Buenos Aires and La Plata. Smith is
still remembered as a sort of Brazilian national hero. Once again
a British ambassador was incensed with Smith's meddling and
demanded his recall.
In 1810 he was promoted to Vice-Admiral and, in that same year,
at the age of 46, he married a widow four years his senior,
Caroline Rumbolt. Finding himself at the Battle of Waterloo,
Smith arranged for care for the wounded.
With the years of war a thing of the past, Smith became
increasingly eccentric, although he did dedicate himself to the
abolition of African slavery. Ironically, Smith lived in France
during his later years to avoid English creditors. This did not
greatly displease Smith, who was quite at home in the nation that
had been his country's bitter enemy for decades. He became
eccentric in the last decades of his life, supporting projects
and propositions that seemed almost hallucinatory.
He was forced to move to Paris to avoid his creditors. He died in
1840 at age 76. Although his ego was insufferable, even his
enemies admitted his courage.
contributed by Jess C. Henderson