Tobias George Smollett (1721-1771) was born at Dalquhurn, Dunbartonshire, Scotland. He was the son of a judge and land-owner, and was educated at the University of Glasgow, qualifying as a surgeon. His career in medicine came second to his literary ambitions, and in 1739 he went to London to seek his fortune as a dramatist. Unsuccessful, he obtained a commission as a naval surgeon on HMS Chichester and travelled to Jamaica, where he settled down for several years. in 1742 he served as a surgeon's mate during the disastrous campaign to capture Cartagena. On his return, he set up practice in Downing Street and married a wealthy Jamaican heiress, Anne Lascelles, in 1747.
His first published work was a poem about the Battle of Culloden entitled "The Tears of Scotland", but it was The Adventures of Roderick Random which made his name. It was modelled on Le Sage's Gil Blas, and was published in 1748. Several authors can lay claim to founding the HNF genre but this is a very early dated work. Smollett then began what he regarded as his major work, A Complete History of England, which took from 1757 to 1765. Many of his novels are not copyright in many countries and some are available as free eBooks, the HNF one in the online store.
|The Adventures of Roderick Random||Adventures at sea in a privateer and the Navy including the 1741 Siege of Cartagena|