Tobias George Smollett (19 March 1721 – 17 September 1771) was a Scottish poet and author. He was best known for his picaresque novels, such as The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748) and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751), which influenced later novelists such as Charles Dickens. George Orwell admired Smollett very much. His novels were amended liberally by printers; a definitive edition of each of his works was edited by Dr. O. M. Brack, Jr. to correct variants
Smollett was born at Dalquhurn, now part of Renton, in present-day West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. He was the fourth son of Archibald Smollett of Bonhill, a judge and land-owner who died about 1726, and Barbara Cunningham, who died about 1766. He was educated at the University of Glasgow, where he qualified as a surgeon; it has been asserted by some biographers that he then proceeded to the University of Edinburgh but left without taking a degree. His career in medicine came second to his literary ambitions; 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 during the disastrous campaign to capture Cartagena. On his return, he set up practice in Downing Street and married a wealthy Jamaican heiress, Anne "Nancy" Lascelles (1721–1791), in 1747. She was a daughter of William Lascelles. They had one child, a daughter Elizabeth, who died aged 15 years about 1762. He had a brother, Capt. James Smollet, and a sister, Jean Smollett, who married Alexander Telfair of Symington, Ayrshire. Jean succeeded to Bonhill after the death of her cousin-german, Mr. Commissary Smollett, and resumed her maiden name of Smollett in 1780. They lived in St. John Street off Canongate, Edinburgh and had a son who was in the Military.