Anne Smollett (née Lassells or Lascelles)

1721 - 1791


Creole Jamaican, marrying the novelist Tobias Smollett c. 1743. The couple are known to have had property in Jamaica, and to have drawn income from it, but LBS has not yet found any trace of it in the Accounts Produce or other sources. Lewis M. Knapp reported that Elizabeth Fickle (q.v.) had purchased “four lots of footland (each lot 150’ by 50’) on John’s Lane, East Queen Street, and Upper East Street, Kingston, from Tobias and Anne Smollett on 23 March 1764".

  1. Ann, daughter of Charles Lassells and his wife Elizabeth, baptised in St Thomas-in-the-East, Jamaica, 04/01/1792 aged 10 days.

  2. "FIRE AT JAMAICA. Ann Smollett, widow of the late Dr Tobias Smollett, humbly begs leave to represent, that by a letter received from her agent, Mr. Agnus[sic] Macbean, dated Kingston, March 6th, 1782, she is informed of the melancholy misfortune befallen her, by the late dreadful fire, which has entirely consumed her tenements and property at that place, and reduced her into the most deplorable state, being in a foreign country, at a great distance from her native island Jamaica, in a very infirm state of health, far advanced in years, and now deprived of every means of support. Thus oppressed with grief, which such a dire and most unexpected stroke of Providence has caused her, she is under the necessity to recur to the known humanity and benevolence of her country, and hopes she shall receive from their generosity such support as may enable her to finish with decency the few days which God may be pleased to spare her, and which will be employed in offering her prayers to the Supreme, for the protection and happiness of her humane beneficiaries. Subscriptions are received at the following bankers... Received of Mr Lewis Bull, bookseller, Bath, the following subscriptions for account of Mrs Smollett (widow of the late Dr Smollett) ammounting to £17 6s 6d vid. A Lady, a friend to Mrs Smollett £5 5s; Mrs Annestley, 10s; Mr. Bowater[?] £1 1s; Mrs Catherine Pennant £10 10s.

  3. Anne "Nancy" Lascelles Smollett was buried in 1791 at the English Cemetery at Livorno, Toscana, Italy, age 70. She had lived there since the death of her husband at Livorno in 1771. Her friends the Renners were buried in an adjacent grave.

  4. In her will she reportedly said 'First, I give and bequeath unto my dearly beloved friend Mrs. Ann Renner, wife of Mr. George Renner, merchant of Leghorn to have and to hold to my said friend Mrs. Ann Renner to and for her own sole and separate use and benefit during her natural life, notwithstanding her coverture all the rents dues, &c. &., from my estates in the West Indies, and also I bequeath to the said Ann Renner all my property in the funds or in bonds or on annuities or in whatsoever kind or manner said property may be placed and that the said Ann Renner be put in possession of the same immediately after my death....I will and bequeath at the death of Mrs. Ann Renner all my property real and personal in the West Indies to the daughter of Mr. Robert Graham in North Britain to be held by her for her use and to be entirely at her disposal forever. moreover in case of the recovery of said property in whole or in part it is my will and desire that my agent Mr. Angus MacBean there shall be presented to a ring of not exceeding £20 sterling value .'


Lewis M. Knapp 'Ann Smollett, Wife of Tobias Smollett', PMLA, Vol. 45, No. 4 (Dec., 1930), pp. 1035-1049; Lewis Mansfield Knapp, Tobias Smollett Doctor of Men and Manners (New York, 1963) p.328, which gives reference as Deeds 204/22 in Spanish Town). In Knapp, 'Ann Smollett', at p. 1042 is the following: 'Robert Graham of Gartmore, wrote to Smollett from London, August 13, 1771: "A short time before I left Jamaica I received your letter from Leghorn replete with various complaints. If Mr. Hamilton has used you badly, I heartily condole with you" .... This Letter is printed in part by Mr. R. B. Cunninghame Graham in his Doughty Deeds, London, 1925, p. 85. A complete copy of the above letter, and copies of other letters of Robert Graham of Gartmore to Mrs. Smollett and to her friends, I owe to the courtesy of Mr. R. B. Cunninghame Graham. By virtue of these letters and other material now accessible it will soon be possible to determine the approximate income which the Smolletts enjoyed from the West Indies.' It is not clear whether this estimate of income was ever made.

  1., Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online].

  2. Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette 24/10/1782.

  3. [accessed 06/07/2020].

  4. Lewis M. Knapp 'Ann Smollett, Wife of Tobias Smollett', PMLA, Vol. 45, No. 4 (Dec., 1930), p. 1047.

We are grateful to Andrew Bennett for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Maiden Name
Lassells or Lascelles
Tobias Smollett

Relationships (2)

Daughter → Father
Notes →
This relationship is given in a footnote in INGLEDEW, JOHN. "SAMUEL JOHNSON'S JAMAICAN CONNECTIONS." Caribbean Quarterly 30, no. 2 (1984): 1-17. Accessed April 9, 2020....
Wife → Husband

Addresses (1)

Livorno, Italy