Born June 3, 1771, Sydney Smith was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, where he took a B.A. in 1792 and an M.A. in 1796. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1796 and became a curate in Nether Avon, near Amesbury. Moving to Edinburgh as a tutor, Smith published his first book of sermons and married Catharine Amelia Pybus. During this period he co-founded and edited the Edinburgh Review, to which he contributed much of his life. By 1803 the Smiths had gone to London, where he achieved a reputation as an outstandingly witty preacher at such places as Berkeley Chapel, Mayfair, the Foundling Hospital, and the Fitzroy Chapel. He lectured on moral philosophy at the Royal Institution from 1804 to 1806 and wrote his best-known work, Peter Plymley's Letters, on legalizing Roman Catholic worship. He served as priest at and lived near Foston-le-Clay, Yorkshire, in 1809, moved to Bristol to become a prebend in its cathedral in 1828, and three years later returned to London to take up a canonry at St Paul’s Cathedral. Besides his sermons and philosophic lectures, Smith's fame rests on his letters, and among them we find his occasional verse. He died at Green Street, London, on February 22, 1845, and interred at Kensal Green.