Thomas Smith (diplomat)
He was born at Saffron Walden in Essex. He was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow in 1530, and in 1533 was appointed a public reader or professor. He lectured in the schools on natural philosophy, and on Greek in his own rooms. In 1540 Smith went abroad, and, after studying in France and Italy and taking a degree of law at the University of Padua, returned to Cambridge in 1542.
He now took the lead in the reform of the pronunciation of Greek, his views after considerable controversy being universally adopted. He and his friend, Sir John Cheke, were the great classical scholars of the time in England. In January 1543/4 he was appointed first Regius Professor of Civil Law. He was vice-chancellor of the university the same year. In 1547 he became provost of Eton College and dean of Carlisle Cathedral.
He was an early convert to Protestant views, which brought him into prominence when Edward VI came to the throne. During Somerset's protectorate he entered public life and was made a secretary of state, being sent on an important diplomatic mission to Brussels. In 1548 he was knighted. On the accession of Queen Mary I he lost all his offices, but in the reign of her sister, Elizabeth, was prominently employed in public affairs. He became a member of parliament, and was sent in 1562 as ambassador to France, where he remained till 1566; and in 1572 he again went to France in the same capacity for a short time. He remained one of Elizabeth's most trusted Protestant counsellors, being appointed in 1572 chancellor of the Order of the Garter and a secretary of state.
Sir Thomas Smith’s failed colony in Ireland:
"In 1571, Elizabeth, a great believer in colonization, granted her Secretary-of-State Sir Thomas Smith a huge 360,000 acres of East Ulster to plant English settlers in an effort to seize control of the Clandeboye O’Neill territory and control the native Irish. The grant included all of the area we know of today as North Down and the Ards, apart from the southern tip of the Peninsula, which was controlled by the Anglo-Norman Savage family.
Destroying the land
Unfortunately for Smith, the booklet he printed to advertise his new lands was read by the Clandeboye O’Neill chief, Sir Brian MacPhelim, who just a few years earlier had been knighted by Elizabeth. Furious at her duplicity in secretly arranging for the colonization of O’Neill territory, he burned down all the major buildings in the area, making it difficult for the plantation to take hold. Launching a wave of attacks on these early English settlers, the O’Neill’s scorched the land Smith claimed, burning abbeys, monasteries and churches, and leaving Clandeboye, ‘totally waste and void of inhabitants’." 
Sir Thomas Smith died 12 August 1577.
Marriages and heir
Smith married firstly, on 15 April 1548, Elizabeth Carkeke (d.1553), the daughter of a London printer.
He married secondly, on 23 July 1554, Philippa Wilford (d. 15 June 1578), widow of Sir John Hampden (d. 20 December 1553) of Great Hampden, Buckinghamshire, and daughter of the London merchant Henry Wilford.
Smith had no issue by either marriage. His heirs were his younger brother, George, and George's son, Sir William Smith (d. 12 December 1626) of Theydon Mount, Essex. Sir William Smith's daughter, Frances Smith, married Sir Matthew Brend, owner of the land on which the first and second Globe Theatres was built.
Sir Thomas Smith's book *De Republica Anglorum; the Manner of Government or Policie of the Realme of England, written between 1562 and 1565, was first published in 1583. He describes it as a mixed government, a commonwealth, and states that all commonwealths are of mixed character.
- A tract concerning the right prounciation and writing of English 1568
- "Smith, Thomas". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Scots, Ulster. "Ulster Scots Heritage Trail: Pre Ulster Scots". Theme: Pre Ulster Scots. Retrieved 10 Sept 2012.
- Richardson II 2011, p. 333.
- Dewar 1964, pp. 34, 75.
- Richardson II 2011, p. 333.
- Dewar 1964, p. 77.
- Richardson states that she was the daughter of John Wilford, gentleman, of London; Richardson II 2011, p. 333.
- Dewar 1964, pp. 202–8.
- Collins 1741, p. 344; Berry 1987, pp. 95–8, 113.
- Berry, Herbert (1987). Shakespeare's Playhouses. New York: AMS Press. pp. 82–8.
- Collins, Arthur (1741). The English Baronetage. III, Part I. London: Thomas Wotton. p. 344. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- Dewar, Mary (1964). Sir Thomas Smith; A Tudor Intellectual in Office. London: The Athlone Press.
- Richardson, Douglas (2011). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, ed. Kimball G. Everingham II (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1449966381
- Armitage, David. The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (2000) 238pp
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- Works by or about Thomas Smith (diplomat) in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- The Life of the Learned Sir Thomas Smith, Kt.D.C.L. by John Strype (Clarendon Press, 1820)
- Smith, Thomas (1513-1577), History of Parliament
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