TOBIAS SMOLLETT, well known in his time for the variety and multiplicity of his publications, was born in 1720, at Dalquhurn, in the county of Dumbarton. He was educated under a surgeon in Glasgow, where he also attended the medical lectures of the University; and at this early period he gave some specimens of a talent for writing verses. As it is on this ground that he has obtained a place in the present collection, we shall pass over his various characters of surgeon's mate, physician, historiographer, politician, miscellaneous writer, and especially novelist, and consider his claims as a minor poet of no mean rank. He will be found, in this collection, as the author of The Tears of Scotland, the Ode to Leven-water, and some other short pieces, which are polished, tender, and picturesque; and, especially, of an Ode to Independence, which aims at a loftier flight, and perhaps has few superiors in the lyric style.
Smollett married a lady of Jamaica: he was, unfortunately, of an irritable disposition, which involved him in frequent quarrels, and finally shortened his life. He died in the neighbourhood of Leghorn, in October, 1771, in the fifty-first year of his age.