Charles Smith, Esq. is a character mentioned in Persuasion. He died before the course of the novel and thus does not make an appearance. He was married to Mrs. Smith before his death. William Elliot's treatment of Smith is one of the main reasons for Mrs. Smith's dislike of Mr. Elliot. It is also how Anne Elliot realizes that her cousin is a blackguard.


Smith was a man of modest wealth, and very kind. He married Miss Hamilton, the old governess of Anne Elliot. He and his wife had a happy marriage at first, although some of their spending was a bit more than what their income could cover, but not much. They became acquainted with William Elliot, the poor relation of Sir Walter Elliot of Kellynch Hall, and the baronet's heir presumptive to his estate. Mr. Elliot hated his cousins and was rude and despicable when talking about them. He wanted to be wealthy. He did not want to come by money by working, but through marriage. He decided on an heiress whom Smith and his wife knew would be inappropriate for the future wife of a baronet. She was not a gentlewoman, although her father was quite wealthy.

Once they had married, Mr. Elliot was a supremely wealthy man. He did the opposite of what Smith did for him; he did not help him or aid him with his finances, but instead urged him to spend even more, beggaring him. Mr. Elliot did not help him out of that bind either. Mr. Smith died before he knew the extent of the debts, but Mrs. Smith did and had to live as a poor, ruined widow for the rest of her life[1].

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Persuasion, Chapter 21

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