Sir Lionel Smith, 1st Baronet

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General Sir Lionel Smith, 1st Baronet GCB GCH (9 October 1778 – 2 January 1842) was a British diplomat, colonial administrator, and soldier.


His mother was noted writer and feminist Charlotte Turner Smith. His father was Benjamin Smith, and his paternal grandfather was Richard Smith, a wealthy merchant and slave-owner.[1]

Lionel Smith was Governor of Tobago in 1833 and then Governor of Barbados (1833–1836), Viceroy of the colony of Windward Islands (which then included Grenada) from 1833 to 1836. He was awarded a baronetcy on 19 July 1838 for his service as Governor of Jamaica from 1836 to 1839.

During his governorship, the United Kingdom passed the Abolition Act that stated that slavery "shall be and is hereby utterly abolished and unlawful". On 1 August 1838, Governor Sir Lionel read the Proclamation of Freedom to a crowd of 8,000 at the Celebration of emancipation in the Square of Spanish Town, the then capital of Jamaica. The day has since been a day of celebration on Jamaica and a public holiday since 1893.

He was made Colonel of the 96th Regiment of Foot from 1832 to 1834 and later of the 40th Regiment of Foot from 1837 for life.

He left Jamaica in 1839 having run into difficulties with the passing of the Prisons Act and dissolving Jamaica's Assembly. Lionel Town, Clarendon is named after the Governor.

He was the fifth Governor of Mauritius from 16 July 1840 to 2 January 1842.[2]


Smith was twice married:[3][4]

  1. With his first wife, Ellen Marianne (d. 1814), daughter of Thomas Galway of Killery, co. Kerry, he had two daughters, Ellen Maria and Mary Anne.
  2. On 20 November 1819 he married Isabella Curwen, youngest daughter of Eldred Curwen Pottinger of Mount Pottinger, co. Down, and sister of Sir Henry Pottinger. She died three days after her husband, leaving four children, Lionel Eldred, Augusta, Isabella, and Charlotte. Isabella married George Floyd Duckett in 1845.[5]


  1. ^ John Bernard Burke (1845). A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. H. Colburn. p. 914. 
  2. ^
  3. ^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1898). "Smith, Lionel". Dictionary of National Biography. 53. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  4. ^ John Debrett (1839). The Baronetage of England. J. G. & F. Rivington. p. 463. 
  5. ^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1912). "Duckett, George Floyd". Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement​. 1. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

External links[edit]


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1898). "Smith, Lionel". Dictionary of National Biography. 53. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Jamaica)
Succeeded by
Lionel Smith-Gordon
Government offices
Preceded by
Nathaniel Blackwell
Governor of Tobago
Succeeded by
Henry Darling
Preceded by
Sir James Frederick Lyon
Governor of Barbados and the Windward Islands
Succeeded by
Sir Evan John Murray MacGregor
Preceded by
The Marquess of Sligo
Governor of Jamaica
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Metcalfe, Bt
Preceded by
Sir William Nicolay
Governor of Mauritius
Succeeded by
Sir William Maynard Gomm
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir George Cooke
Colonel of the 40th Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Sir Alexander George Woodford
Preceded by
Sir Edward Barnes
Colonel of the 78th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Paul Anderson
Preceded by
Sir Joseph Fuller
Colonel of the 96th Regiment of Foot
Succeeded by
Sir William Thornton