John Abel Smith

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John Abel Smith (2 June 1802 – 7 January 1871) was a British Member of Parliament (MP) for Chichester and Midhurst.

He was the son of John Smith who preceded him as MP for Midhurst.

He married Anne Jervoise, the daughter of Sir Samuel Clarke Jervoise on 26 December 1827. He was the father of Hugh Colin Smith and Dudley Robert Smith (1830-1897).

Smith was a founding partner of the Hong Kong-based trading company Jardine, Matheson and Co.[1] and in 1835 became a partner in the merchant banking firm of Magniac, Smith & Co. along with partners Hollingworth Magniac and Oswald Smith at 3, Lombard Street, London. William Jardine agreed to make them agents for Jardines with the proviso that "At no time shall it be expedient that we should give up the option of carrying on transactions with other London houses."[2] In 1841 the bank was renamed Magniac, Jardine & Co.[3] when William Jardine became a partner on his return to England.

In 1847, Smith sat on the Committee of the British Association for the Relief of Distress in Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland, which had been founded by his friend Lionel de Rothschild.[4]

On 26 July 1858 Abel Smith and Lord John Russell, presented Lionel de Rothschild to the House of Commons. The Commons then voted to allow Rothschild, as a Jew, to take the oath on the Old Testament only.[5]

Abel Smith Street, in central Wellington, New Zealand, was named after him.


  1. ^ Keswick, Maggie; Weatherall, Clara (2008). The thistle and the jade:a celebration of 175 years of Jardine Matheson. Francis Lincoln Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7112-2830-6.  Appendices. Online version at Google books
  2. ^ Matheson Connell, Carol (2004). A Business in Risk – Jardine Matheson and the Hong Kong Trading Industry. Praeger. ISBN 978-0-275-98035-1.  p. 27
  3. ^ "William Jardine". Stanford University. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Christine Kinealy, 'Charity and the Great Hunger in Ireland. the Kindness of Strangers', Bloomsbury, 2013
  5. ^ Archived 2012-03-07 at the Wayback Machine.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Abel Smith
John Smith
Member of Parliament for Midhurst
With: George Smith
Succeeded by
George Robert Smith
Martin Tucker Smith
Preceded by
Lord John Lennox
John Smith
Member of Parliament for Chichester
1831 – 1859
With: Lord John Lennox to 1831
Lord Arthur Lennox 1831–1846
Lord Henry Gordon-Lennox from 1846
Succeeded by
Lord Henry Gordon-Lennox
Humphrey William Freeland