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Smith, James


Journalist; b. Skolland, Shetland, July 11, 1790; d. Oakley, Fife, Jan. 5, 1866. He was brought up a Presbyterian and trained as a solicitor before the Supreme Courts in Edinburgh. He was converted to Catholicism and, in the public controversy over the Catholic Emancipation Bill of 1829, lectured and wrote in support of Catholic claims. He married Catherine Mackenzie (1812), a cousin of Bp. Alexander MacDonell of Kingston, Ontario; and his own son, William, became archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh (1885). In 1831, some of Smith's controversial lectures, Dialogues on the Catholic and Protestant Rules of Faith, were published and, in 1832, he founded and edited the first Catholic Scottish monthly; the Edinburgh Catholic Magazine. It appeared from April 1832 to November 1833, then fell silent until February 1837. In April 1838, "Edinburgh" was dropped from the title, and it continued as the Catholic Magazine until December 1842.

One of the reasons for the journal's eventual failure (and a typical source of weakness in Scottish periodical literature) was that the editor migrated to London. There he continued his journalistic activities, editing two successive issues of the Dublin Review (1837, 1838), and launching the Catholic Directory on the lines of John macpherson's directory in Scotland. Smith's publication superseded the old Laity's Directory and still continues as the national Catholic directory for England and

Wales. Smith continued a prominent role in religious controversy and Catholic public life, acting for a time as secretary to the Catholic Institute of Great Britain. Toward the end of his life he returned to his native land.

[d. mcroberts]

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