Imagens da página
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

EUROPEAN MAGAZINE,

AND

LONDON REVIEW,

FOR FEBRUARY, 1818.

MEMOIR OF THE RIGHT HON. JOHN PHILPOT CURRAN,

LATE MASTER OF THE ROLLS IN IRELAND.

(WITA A PORTRAIT, ENGRAVED BY HENRY MEYER, FROM AN ORIGINAL PAINTING

BY ŠIU THOMAS LAURENCE.] Εγω μεν δή κατανοών τε ανδρος της τι ζοφίαν και τη γενναιότητα, έτι μη μεμνήσθα δυναμαι άντε έτι μεμνομενός μη εκ επαινείν.

ΞΕΝΟΦΩΝ. ΑΠΟΛΟΓ. ** Impressed as I am with the conviction of this man's intelligence of mind and ingenuous

firmness of character, it is impossible that I should ever forget him, or cease tu

eulogise his memory.TVB sevtiment conveyed in the same degree with those who equally feeling acknowledged by every surviv: gifted son of Erin, the above passage ing friend of the excellent man who is of the Greek historian speaks the same Ura subject of it. The brilliancy of his interesting testimony of recollection as taients delighted all who were so for that wbich the intimate conviction of tunate as to wilness its display, either in their own hearts suggests. the public sphere of his action, or within With these friends of his living fame the private circle of his social inter. we acknowledge the painful record that course. -But, substantiated as it was racks bin among the departed lights of by the most undeviating stedfastness of the age; but, while we trace the lumihonorable principle, admiration be nous path of his life, we feel the cheer: came' reverence, and friendship grew ing certainty that this huruble tribute into affeciionale esteem.

to bis memory will not be subjected to With a heart highriy susceptible of the stigma of undeserved eulogiuin. friendly attachment, ne justitied by the integrity of his lite, ao ihe siccerily of JOHN PHILPOT CURRAN, Esg. his conduct, the partiality of those who was born at Newniarket, a village in tlie felt the gratification and acknowledged county of Cork, in the year 1750. His the honor of being nombered anong parenis may be classed among that bis inlimate associates. These con sarge mass of the Irish population which, sisted of the most celebrated political without any pretensions to affluence, and literary characters of his time, and maintain the respectability of social life a Prince of the Royal Blood", distin- by the prudent inapagenient of incomes guisbed for his impartial and wise dis. barely competent to meet the anxious crimination of intrinsic genius, allowed desire of putting their children in posa himseit to be called the friend of Cur- session of the acquirements of educaa To this exalted personage in the tiou. This ansiety is well knowu tu bu

11. 2, H the Duke of Sussex

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

a pational feeling of the Irish ; and to which are, alas! sometimes found to this it was owing that the most cele act with an adverse influence upon the brated orator of the senate and bar of happiness of the married state. They our sister isle received, in a small pro. may be lampented, but ought not to be vincial school, the elements of that recorded. classical instruction which is universally At this period Mr. Curran began to comprehended in the education of a emerge from the embarrassinents of a gentleman. The superior promptitude scanty ineome into the more promisiog of his intellect soon qualified bim for condition of celebrity. His character the more erudite pursuits of scholastic developed itself in all its superior attainment; and, at an unusually carly... endowments, and the day of pros. period, he was admitted at Trimity tol.- perity dawned upon his prospects. He lege, Dublin, and obtained a scholar- proclaimed himself the advocate of his ship, which, in that community is a coantry, and, under-lbe banner of pasure mark of merit, and its certaiq e...triotisiu, avowed bimself the independward. Here he took the degree of A.B. eut defender of her political rights.But not feeling the course of study con.. By a manly exertion of his talents as genial with the energetic constitution one of the counsel at an election conof bis mind, be resolved uot to proceed test; and, by a spirited resistance to tbe for a fellowship, but left college, and personal reflections, as well as the relaturned his views towards the lay tive pretensions of the candidate oo tbe

On this wide field of emulous confict otber side, he convinced his adversary for advancement, he entered, unpro tbat Curran' Ibe barrister was not an tected by alliance, and umassisted by antagonist to be despised, whatever pecuniary resource, but he kuew it was gifts of Nature or of fortune had been a path to reputation and promotion, denied to his person or his purse. The which was accessible to industry and contention between them terminated genius; however ynsupported he felt without recourse, to that fallacious test hiimself to bc, by the adventitious dis. of a factitious honour, a duel. The tinctious of birth, or the useful facilities candidate who began it with sarcastic of wealth. Thus decided as to his personalities, admitted the unwarrantchoice of a profession, he prepared himable nature of his attack, and, with that self for all the difficulties and repulses good sense which is always open to the which he was well aware he had to ex conviction of nature reflection, became pect: he came to London, and took bis the friend and patron of him whom he seat on the Irish side of the Bencher's bad so unjustifiably assailed with alu. table in the Middle Temple; and in the sions which weakened his own cause, year 1775 was called” as an Utter- and gave to that of their object an Barrister.

accession of strengib in the indignant Soon after this event he returned to sympathies of those who were the wit. bis gative country, and practised at the nesses of the altercation, sessions, ou the circuit, and in the four A short time after tbis, Mr. Curran Courts, of Dublin. Under what cir- became a member of the Irish House cumstances he piade bis progress tu. of Commons;, in which he signalized wards professional eminence and emo. bimself among tbe most eloquent pa: Jument we have no means of ascertain. triuts of that das. During the adminis, ing; but this we may assume, as a war tration of 1782, under the auspices of ranted conclusion, that a mind, like his the theu Lord Licu lenant, Williani would easily surinonut whatever obsta: Henry Cavendish, Duke of Portland, he cles might lay in bis way to distinction; accepted a silk gown. He was elected and it is no sinall advantage on the side member for the borough of Kilbeggio, of such a man, that he feels le must be in the county of Westmeath; and, from the maker of his own fortuues - the im 1783 to the dissolution wbich took pression gives energy to gepius, and in place in 1789, he was conspicuous pulse to talents and seldum fails to work

among tbe Irish Wbigs for the zeal and out the accomplishmeut of the object. oratory with which be engaged in the

About this time Mr. Curran uuited debates of the house. himself in marriage with a young Irish In the new Parliamept of 1790, Moi lady, of the name of O'Dell, of respect. Curran was returned for the borough able, but by no means opulent con of Rathcurmuck in the county of Cork; Dexiops.

which seat he held with the big best To this union were attached rosus Lovour to the principles that he esen

[ocr errors]

poused, and the talent with which he mate ability and great legal knowledge, maintained them, until the next disso, in favour of * Emancipation," tea lution in 1797 ; but in the Parliament years after. Many of his forensic of 1800, which sanctioned the memor. speeches upon different occasions, which able union, we do not find the subject of were of great interest both to his indi. this memoir to have been a member. vidual clients and the public in general,

It would seem, that during this inter- bave been published, but, we believe, val, he had employed himself with pe- in no authenticated form. culiar diligence and great lucrative ad These are ten in number:vantage, in the higher paths of his pro Ist.-In behalf of Archibald Hamil. session. The silk gowo which he had too Rowan, Esq. for a libel. pul on, gare him importance, and pro. 2d.-In behalf of Mr. Patrick Finney, cured him a great accession of business, for high treason. both in the King's Bench and at the 3d. - In behalf of Mr. Peter Fingerty, Chancery Bar. The cases in which he for a libel. was principally employed, were such as 4th. - In behalf of Oliver Bond, Esq. required the exertion of all his oratori. for bigh treason. cal qualifications, which he did not fail 5th.Jo behalf of Lady Pamela Fitzto display in all their peculiar charac. gerald and children, against the Bill of teristics of poignaot irony and witty re Attainder of Lord Edward Fitzgerald. mark. In the mean tinse, it may be saidh 67.—Lu the action for false impriof him, that he had arrived at the full sonment, by Mr. Joba Hevey against accomplishment of his hopes - the in- Major Sirr. crease of bis income kept pace with the itb.-- In the trial of Owen Kirwan, for progress of bis fame. But it unfortu- high treason. galely happened that although the iatter 8th.—Io the action brought by the was established, the fornier soon after Rev. Charles Massey, against the Marbecame materially affected by the con quis of Headfort, for adultery. sequences of his former hostility to the 9th. In the cause of the King against Attorney-General.* whom both in the the flon. Mr. Justice Johnson. House and at tbe Bar, he had invariably 1011.-Iu The cause of Merry versus opposed with all the force of his elo- the Right Rev. Dr. John Power, Roquence and the acrimony of his wit. An man Catholic Bishop of Waterford. Bostility, which produced a persoual We have not room within that space conflict in the field of honour.' When of our miscellany usually allotted to the this Gentleroan ascended the woolsack, Memoir, to introduce, in this instance, (under the title of the Earl of Clare,) any critical remarks upon these he retained all his asperity of feeling speeches, in a distinct form. But we towards Mr. Curran, and the frowns of are glad to avail ourselves of an opiuion power effected what the opposition of which has been given of these speeches talent could not succeed in producing - by a Northern Review; and we quote á cunsiderable diminution of his inte. it with the more pleasure, because it rest and emoluments in the Chancery conveys a more liberal estimate of Irish Court. This enmity, however, although oratory, than what that publicativa it was the cause of Mr. Curran's leaving contained upon a subsequent occasion, that. Court, did not prevent him from when the speech of Charles Phillips, Esq. distinguishing himself in the olber in the action of Guthrie versus Sterns, Courts, and in the ranks of opposition. was the subject of their criticism:-"If Some of bis speeches delivered in Par- (says the Review in question, of OctoLament were recorded. That made in ber, 1308,) it be the test of suprenie 1993, upon the question of right in the genius to produce strong and perma. Gommons of Ireland to originate all neat emotions, the passages which we Money Bills; and two others in 1755, bave quoted must be in the very highest one on the commercial intercourse be style of eloquence.” la a previous tween Great Britain and Ireland; and passage, they have declared," this style ole upon the matter of Attachinents.

to be of Irish origin, and to have attainTwo also, which he delivered in 1786, ed to its highest honour's only in its na in support of a Bill for limiting Irish tive soil.” Pensions; and an address of consume The eloquence which is thus justly

characterized, and which Mr. Carran #Ms, Fitzgibbos,

certainly possessed in an emincot de

gree, gave a weight to his jofluence, losing by his conscious superiority of which attracted the notice of those of talent one of those oumerous friends his friends who formed the Administra which the good qualities of his heart, as tion of 1806. He was offered and ac well as the bright endowments of his cepted the appointment of Master of mind had secured to him. The natural the Rolls, worth 50001. a year. This generosity of his disposition induced he resigned in 1814, to his successor, him to rejoice in every opportunity of the Right Hon. Sir William M.Mahon, encouraging rising genius, and he never, Bart. a relation of Sir John M.Mahon, refused his advice, or withheld his apBart. the late respected Secretary tò probation, either in private or public, His Royal Highness the Prince Regent. when he perceived the slightest probaTüere is but one decision of Mr. Cur- bility of promoting the advantage and ran’s, as Master of the Rolls, which has prosperous progress of any inan of abi. been printed, that of Merry v. the Right lity and desert. Rev. I. Power, D. D. the titular Bishop Some inorths before his decease, his of Waterford. This decision is consi: friends perceived a manifest, though. dered as intelligent and liberal - two gradual decay of his mental and physie qualities which might naturally be ex cal faculties; and at the house of Mr. pected to form the prominent features Moore, the author of Lalla Rookh, be of a Judge who, by their constant appli. was first seized with an attack of purus cation to all his professional acts, had lysis, which after two other successive atlained all bis popularity. His resig. strokes, deprived him of exislence. He nation of this bigh office was accompil- breathed his last in the bosom of his nied with a peusion, on which, and the family, on the 15th day of October, profils of his laborious exertions, le 1817; dyiog with great composure, and. Kved in affluent ease; until that period almost without a struggle. arrived which was to extinguish the last In his person Mr. Curran was short spark of an exalted genius, that had and thin; but his countenance bore the been for opwards of 40 ycars the orna- physiognomy of cousiderable acuteness, ment and boast of the Irish Bar, aslo. and his oyes possessed a remarkable de. nishing and delighting by its impassion. degree of animation. He has left iwo ed force of expression, its vivid power daughters and three sous, and among of imagery, and its classical allusions, them a large portion of hereditary ge. thousands of enraplured auditors; vin. nius. His eldest son is in tbe navy, and dicating the incocent, appalling the his third has been called to the bar, disguilty, and confounding the corrupt, by tinguished by all those amiable traits of a most impressive combination of talent. private character which endeared his He had for some time previous to his celebrated father to society, and posdeath been in the habit of paying occa sessed of much of that professional abi. sional visits to bis friends in England, lity, for which liis revered parent was and had at length fixed his residence at deservedly valued and admired, by all Brompton, where amid a select society who had judgment sufficient to estimate of congenia! minds he enjoyed the full it aright, and enough of ingenuous feelpossessiou of the olium cum dignitate.- ing to acknowledge it without any ad. In those hours of festive association be verse bias of party prejudice or prepos. was unequalled in the sound arguments session. of a vigorous understanding, in the bril.

II. G. W. liant sallies of a lively fancy, and in those superior powers of wit, which appeared to be habitual to him, and always at his To the Editor of the European Maguzine. command. Yet wilb all his informa

SIR, tion and powers of reasoning, he was never known to assume the importance

F of dogmatical wisdom, nor did he ever Colbert, (Minister of State woder allow the sbafls of his wit to infict i Louis XIV.) addressed by him to his son wanton wound; and such was the ur. M. de Seignelay, should meet your op: banity of his manners, and the sweetness probation, an early insertion of it will of bis converse, that few of his political oblige, adversaries allowed themselves to be.

Your's, come his personal encinics; while he

W. L. never expericuced the mortificatioir of London, Feb. 1818.

SIR,

WISH

LETTER FROM M. COLBERT, MINISTER Tothe Editor of the European Magazine.

OF STATE, TO HIS son, M. DE SEIG-
NELAY.

I

to ask yoar mathematical

readers, whether it has ever been I AM sufficiently satisfied with your observed that, in the binomial theorem, studies, but it is necessary to redouble the co-efficient of any term is always your application, and to consider well equal to the whole number of changes what I have often said to you, that of order, that can be made in the letters 'until you derive more gratification from denoting its quantities ; and whether it study than from pleasure and amuse. is probable ihat any thing useful might ment, I shall not be persuaded that you result from the investigation of this will ever bare merit and virtue suffi- truth. cient to follow my example. Again, Thus, in (a +x) 5-15+5a+r+1023.1 in regard to your maoners, I am not bf-101228+5nx++x), the number of quite satisfied; and wish that you would changes in ab is equal to i, its copay allention to four essential points, efficient; in q*t may be made 5 concerning which you have often heard changes, and 10 in 43re, and so on. me speak: The first is, the obedience Whence, it is obvious, that the young and respect which you owe to your mathematician may easily find the comasters, with a perpetual application efficient of any term, independently of to the tasks which they set you; this any other term, by dividing the cooobedience and this respect ought to be tinued product of a series, beginning accompanied with a great docility, and with the index of the power of the you ougbt more particularly to submit binomial, and decreasing by unity to to it, because your nature is disposed as many terms as there are units in to resist it. The second is, the friends the index of one of the letters, in ship and good nature which you ought that term of the binomial, by the to show your brother, taking care never continued product of another series, to treat him ill; on the contrary, when of the same number of terms, of the he commits any fault, never reprove natural numbers from unity upwards ; him with ill-pature, nor in the presence - it will, of course, be shorter lo take of any one, but admonish bim in pri- the index of that letter which is least vale, with gentleness and good.nature. involved. In this manner, ihe coThe third, that when engaged in any efficient of a pois found =

7. 6. 5. sport, and on all other occasions, you

1. 2. 3. · learn, when in fault, to condemp.your. 35. self on the spot, without employing

W. GREEN, yourself in disputes, which are always

Hans Town, 3d Feb. 1818. wrong when you know that you are in fault. Oo the same subject i must add, To the Editor of the furopean Magazine. thal every time you doubt whether you have done wrong or not, it will

* Y inserting the following answer always be better and more useful for

to the arithmetical question of you to condemn yourself, than to lose time in fruitless disputes. The fourth fer an obligation on, Sir,

your Correspondent H. you will conis, that you shall endeavour to receive

Your's, &c. E. M. all your companions with civility and good-vature; and that aftability and Call the number of terms or trees, ut politeness may be perceived in your

1280 rods, or 4 miles conduct to all the world. Such are the

less

80 distance to and from qualifications that will render you be

the house loved ; instead of which, if you persevere in the roughness and incivility that

X21200 is observed in you, you will be hated by every ope. Do not fail seriously

X 600 to consider these four points. I wish 22 x + = 600 +4 on every Saturday you would write

X-= V 600 + $ = 241 to me, giving me an account of how you have executed these directions, X == 248 + = 25 and how you have correcied your

, or uuniber of trees - 25 Auswer. faults.

Lordon, Fel. 21, 1818. E. M.

SIR,

1 X 4

2

« AnteriorContinuar »