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had he not lingered near her abode, where he was at last discovered and apprehended. It was then that Mr. C. first discovered the correspondence that had passed between him and his daughter; and thought it necessary to wait on the Attorney General with all the papers that he had recovered. His own innocence never was brought into question; but the fate of Emmet was instantly decided—and he suffered the last rigour of the law, There are two very striking letters introduced, both written in the short interval between his condemnation and execution-one to Mr. Curran himself, the other to his son. The editor says very feelingly- There was a time when the publication of them would have excited pain; but that time is past. The only persons to whom such a proceeding could have given a pang, the father and the child, are now beyond its reach; and their survivor, who from a sense of duty permits them to see the light, does so under a full persua* sion, that all those who, from personal knowledge, or from report, may sometimes recall their memories with sentiments of tenderness or esteem, will find nothing in the contents of those documents • which can provoke the intrusion of a barsher feeling.' (II. pp. 230—231.) The first is chiefly apologetical; and we can only afford to give a part of it. After confessing that he did wrong in writing to his daughter subsequent to the insurrection, he says,
Looking upon her as one, whom, if I had lived, I hoped to have had my partner for life, I did hold the removing her anxiety above every other consideration. I would rather have had the affections of your daughter in the back settlements of America, than the first situation this country could afford without them. I know not whether this will be any extenuation of my offence--I know not whether it will be any cxtenuation of it to know, that if I had that situation in my power at this moment, I would relinquish it to devote my life to her happiness—I know not whether success would have blotted out the recollection of what I have done--but I know that a man, with the coldness of death on him, need not be made to feel any other coldness, and that he may be spared any addition to the misery he feels, not for himself, but for those to whoin he has left nothing but sorrow." II. pp. 235, 236.
The other was finished just before he was summoned to the scaffold. We shall give the concluding part of it, and the short comment of the editor.
“ If there was any one in the world in whose breast my death might be supposed not to stitle every spark of resentment, it might be you--I have deeply injured you--I have injured the happiness of a sister that you love, and who was formed to give happiness to every one about her, insiead of having her own mind a prey to affliction. Oh! Richard, I have no excuse to offer, but that I méant the reverse; I intended as much happiness for Sarah as the most ardent love could have given her. I never did tell you how inuch I idolized her :--it was not with a wild or unfounded passion, but it was an attachment increasing every hour, from an admiration of the purity of her mind, and respect for her talents. I did dwell in secret upon the prospect of our union. I did hope that success, while it afforded the opportunity of our union, might be the means of confirming an attachment, which misfortune had called forth. I did not look to honours for myself-praise I would have asked from the lips of no man;
but I would have wished to read in the glow of Sarah's countenance that her husband was respected. My love, Sarah! it was not thus that I thought to have requited your affection. I had hoped to be a prop round which your affections might have clung, and which would never have been shaken ; but a rude blast has snapped it, and they have fallen over a grave.
“ This is no time for affliction. I have had public motives to sustain my mind, and I have not suffered it to sink ; but there have been moments in my imprisonment when my mind was so sunk by grief on her account, that death would have been a refuge. God bless you, my dearest Richard. I am obliged to leave off immediately.
“ ROBERT EMMET." This letter was written at twelve o'clock on the day of Mr. Emmet's execution; and the firmness and regularity of the original hand writing contain a striking and affecting proof of the little influence which the approaching event exerted over his frame. • The same enthusiasm which allured him to his destiny, enabled him to support its utmost rigour. He met his fate with un
ostentatious fortitude; and although few could ever think of justifying his projects or regretting their failure ; yet his youth, bis talents, the great respectability of his connexions, and the evident * delusion of which he was the victim, have excited more general sympathy for bis unfortunate end, and more forbearance towards his memory, than is usually extended to the errors or sufferings of political offeuders.' 11. pp. 237-239. *
The public life of Mr. C. was now drawing to a close. He distinguished himself in 1804 in the Marquis of Headfort's case, and in that of Judge Johnson in 1805; but, on the accession of the Whigs to office in 1806, he was appointed to the situation of Master of the Rolls, and never afterwards made any public appearance. He was not satisfied with this appointment; and took no pains to conceal his dissatisfaction.
There is a very able and eloquent chapter on the character of Mr. Curran's eloquence-encomiastic of course, but written with great temper, talent, and discrimination. Its charm and its defects, the learned author refers to the state of genuine passion and veheinent emotion in which all his best performances were delivered ; and speaks of its effects on his auditors of all descriptions, in terms which can leave no doubt of its substantial excellence.
We cannot now enter into these rhetorical disquisitions—though they are full of interest and instruction to the lovers of oratory. It is more within our province to notice, that he is here said to liave spoken extempore at his first coming to the Bar; but when his rising reputation made him more chary of bis fame, he tried for some time to write down, and commit to memory, his more important pleadings. The result, however, was not at all encouraging : and he soon laid aside his pen so entirely, as scarcely even to make any notes in preparation. He meditated his subjects, however, when strolling in his garden, or more frequently while idling over
his violin; and often prepared, in this way, those splendid passages and groups of images with which he was afterwards to dazzle and enchant his admirers. The only notes he made were often of the metaphors he proposed to employ-and these of the utmost brevity. For the grand peroration, for example, in H. Rowan's case, his notes were as follows—Character of Mr. R.-Furnace--Rebellion
smothered-Stalks-Redeeming Spirit.' From such slight hints he spoke fearlessly—and without cause for fear. With the help of such a scanty chart, he plunged boldly into the unbuoyed channel of bis cause, and trusted himself to the torrent of his own eloquence, with no better guidance than such landmarks as these. It almost invariably happened, however, that the experiment succeeded ;
that his own expectations were far exceeded; and that when his mind came to be more intensely heated by his subject, and by that inspiring confidence which a public audieuce seldom fails to infuse into all who are sufficiently gifted to receive it, a multitude of new ideas, adding vigour or ornament, were given off; and it also happened, that, in the same prolific moments, and as almost their inevitable consequence, some crude and fantastic notions escaped ; which, if they impeach their author's taste, at least • leave him the merit of a splendid fault, which none but men of * genius can commit.' (pp. 403–4.)
The learned author closes this very able and eloquent dissertation with some remarks upon what he says is now denominated the Irish school of eloquence; and seems inclined to deny that its profusion of imagery implies any deficiency, or even neglect of argument. As we had some share, we believe in imposing this denomination, we may be pardoned for feeling some little anxiety that it should be rightly understood; and beg leave therefore to say, that we are as far as possible from holding that the greatest richness of imagery necessarily excludes close or accurate reasoning; on the contrary, it is frequently its appropriate vehicle and natural exponent-as in Lord Bacon, Lord Chatham, and Jeremy Taylor. But the eloquence we wished to characterize, is that where the figures and ornaments of speech do interfere with its substantial object-where fancy is not ministrant but predominant -where the imagination is not merely awakened, but intoxicated —and either overlays and obscures the sense, or frolics and game bols around it, to the disturbance of its march, and the weakening of its array for the onset :-And of this kind, we spill humbly think, was the eloquence of Mr. C.-The author says, indeed, that it is a mistake to call it Irish, because Swift and Goldsmith had none of it—and Milton and Bacon and Chatham had ;--and moreover, that Burke and Grattan and Curran had each a distinctive style of eloquence, and ought not to be classed together. How old the style may be in Ireland, we cannot undertake to say
though we think there are traces of it in Ossian. We would observe too, that, though born in Ireland, neither Swift nor Goldsmith were trained in the Irish school, or worked for the Irish market; and we have already said, that it is totally to mistake our conception of the style in question, to ascribe any tincture of it to such writers as Milton, Bacon, or Taylor. There is fancy and figure enough certainly in their compositions ; but there is no intoxication of the fancy, and no rioting and revelling among figures --no ungoverned and ungovernable impulse--no fond dalliance with metaphors--no mad and headlong pursuit of brilliant images and passionate expressions--no lingering among tropes and melodies-no giddy bandying of antitheses and allusions—no craving, in short, for perpetual glitter, and panting after effect, till both speaker and hearer are lost in the splendid confusion, and the argument evaporates in the heat which was meant to enforce it. This is perhaps too strongly put; but there are large portions of Mr. C.'s Speeches to which we think the substance of the description will apply.
(Here a passage is quoted from his argument in Judge Johnson's case.]
In his happier moments, and more vehement adjurations, Mr. C. is often beyond all question a great and commanding orator ; and we have no doubt was, to those who had the happiness of bearing him, a much greater orator than the mere readers of his speeches have any means of conceiving :-But we really cannot help repeating our protest against a style of composition which could betray its great master, and that very frequently, into such passages as those we have extracted. The mischief is not to the master-whose genius could efface all such stains, and whose splendid successes would sink his failures in oblivion—but to the pupils, and to the public, whose taste that very genius is thus instrumental in corrupting..... It is not difficult to imitate the defects of such a style—and of all defects they are the most nauseous in imitation. Even in the hands of men of genius, the risk is, that the longer such a style is cultivated, the more extravagant it will grow,-just as those who deal in other means of intoxication, are tempted to strengthen the mixture as they proceed. The learned and candid author before us, testifies this to have been the progress of Mr. C. himself--and it is still more strikingly illustrated by the history of his models and imitators. Mr. Burke had much less of this extravagance than Mr. Grattan-Mr. Grattan much less than Mr. Curran-and Mr. Curran much less than Mr. Phillips. It is really of some importance that the climax should be closed somewhere.
There is a concluding chapter, in which Mr. C.'s skill in crossexamination, and his conversational brilliancy, are commemorated; as well as the general simplicity and aflability of his manners, and
his personal habits and peculiarities. He was not a profound lawyer, nor much of a general scholar, though reasonably well acquainted with all the branches of polite literature, and an eager reader of novels-being often caught sobbing over the pathos of Richardson, or laughing at the humour of Cervantes, with an unrestrained vehemence which reminds us of that of Voltaire. He spoke very slow, both in public and private, and was remarkably scrupulous in his choice of words : He slept very little, and, like Johnson, was always averse to retire at night-lingering long after he rose to depart—and, in his own house, often following one of his guests to his chamber, and renewing the conversation for an hour. He was habitually abstinent and temperate ; and, from his youth up, in spite of all his vivacity, the victim of a constitutional melancholy. His wit is said to have been ready and brilliant, and altogether without gall. But the credit of this testimony is somewhat weakened by a little selection of his bons mots, with which we are furnished in a note. The greater part, we own, appear to us to be rather vulgar and ordinary; as, when a man of the name of Halfpenny was desired by the judge to sit down, Mr. C. said, I thank
your Lordship for having at last nailed that rap to the counter ;'or, when observing upon the singular pace of a Judge who was lame, he said, Don't you see that one leg goes before like a tipstaff, to
make room for the other?'—or, when vindicating his countrymen from the charge of being naturally vicious, he said, “ He had never ' yet beard of an Irishinan being born drunk.'
The following, however, is good—I can't tell you, Cursan,' observed an Irish nobleman, who had voted for the Union, how frightful our old • House of Commons appears to me.' "Ah! my lord,' replied the other, “it is only natural for Murderers to be afraid of Ghosts ;'-and this is at least grotesque. Being asked what an Irish gentleman, just arrived in England, could mean by perpetually putting out his tongue? Answer—" I suppose he's trying to catch the English . accent.” In his last illness, his physician observing in the morning that he seemed to cough with more difficulty, he answered, that is rather surprising, as I have been practising all night.'
But these things are of little consequence. Mr. Curran was something much better than a sayer of smart sayings. He was a lover of his country-avd its fearless, its devotell, and indefatigable ser
To his energy and talents she was perhaps indebted for some mitigation of her sufferings in the days of her extremity-and to these, at all events, the public has been indebted, in a great degree, for the knowledge they now have of her wrongs, and for the feeling which that knowledge bas excited, of the necessity of granting them redress. It is in this character that he must have most wished to be remembered, and in which he has most deserved it. As to any tlaws or lapses in his private lite, we agree, with the ex