Surgeon, Author, Poet, ?
1772 - 1843
A truly remarkable individual with a complicated and contradictory nature.
A surgeon, saving lives but, on the other hand, happy to strip the skin from an executed 18 year old boy and use it to cover a book about the 'murder' that the boy is supposed to have committed.
According to the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery, Smith was also involved in the slave trade. In 1837 he made a claim for compensation, which was contested and then rejected...more to add.
Richard Smith was always destined to have his own page on this website; mainly because he inherited some of George Catcott's papers and had direct contact with the other members of the Catcott family, all of whom knew Chatterton in one way or another. So, as soon as it is ready I will upload all I have found in relation to Chatterton.
In the meantime, enjoy the background to the life and times of Mr Richard Smith, surgeon; starting with his publication 'The Fratricide, or Murderer's Gibbet; being the Right Tragical Hystorie of Sir John D. Goodere, Bart., Who was Murdered by his Brother, Captain Samuel Goodere, and Assistants On the 19th January, 1741...' The front cover and first page of the booklet have an engraving taken from the woodblock below.
The Woodblock of Captain Samuel Goodere.
According to Richard Smith, he searched the print shop after his 'Fratricide' booklet was printed but the Woodblock couldn't be found. It might not be a missing Van Gogh but it was a wonderful thing to rediscover in 2022.
Do note that the 'murder' actually took place in 1741, and various reports have appeared over the years - some links below and more to come later.
And now, my most recent discovery: Richard Smith's sample of the Gibbet and Irons from the execution of Matt Mahony for the murder of Sir John Dineley Goodere - A little morbid and gruesome but also an indication of the interests driving Richard Smith.
Papers & Publications
Chatterton (on hold - working on this section)
Everything Else (Non-Chatterton)
Printed in 1839 for private circulation By Richard Smith.
Captain Goodere's Confession to the Clergyman who attended him after the verdict. Printed 1823.
Together with the Life, History, Trial, And Last Dying Words of his Brother Captain Samuel Goodere, Who was Executed at Bristol, With Matthew Mahony and Charles White, Two Sailors, His Accomplices, On Wednesday, April 15, 1741, For the Horrid Murder of the Said Sir John Dineley Goodere, Bart. Worcestershire.
This edition is estimated to be dated to 1785 but is said to be a copy of the original printed in 1741. It includes three copperplate engravings detailing the murder.
The earliest printing of a transcript of the trials that I can find online, 1742, pages 795 to 834:
It seems that Richard Smith loaned the Woodblock of an image of Samuel Goodere to Samuel Seyer (Bristol Historian). Who published the story in his Memoirs of Bristol, 1823.
Note: putting links here as I find them - will do some weeding soon.