(1727–1803), Scottish-born educator and Episcopal minister, came to America (1751), and, after outlining his theories of education in A General Idea of the College of Mirania (1753), was made provost of the College of Philadelphia (1755–79). He was prominent in politics as a supporter of the Crown and the Penn family, opposing the Quakers and such liberals as Franklin, and his opposition to the assembly occasioned a temporary imprisonment. To further his conservative beliefs, he edited The American Magazine and Monthly Chronicle (1752–58), and at the approach of the Revolution attacked Paine's Common Sense in a series of weekly letters to The Pennsylvania Gazette, written under the pseudonym Cato. These were answered by Paine in the Pennsylvania Packet. Although Smith opposed the Stamp Act as contrary to the rights of Englishmen, he was equally set against the independence of the colonies. His Sermon on the Present Situation of American Affairs (1775) created a sensation, and was considered by many to be a Loyalist document. The Assembly voided the charter of his college (1779), contending that the administration was hostile to the state government and opposed to equal privileges for all religious denominations. Smith then went to Maryland to found Washington College, of which he was president until the Pennsylvania college charter was restored (1789). He was again provost, until the college became the University of Pennsylvania (1791).
From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.