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ENTSEND According to Act of Congress, in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred And Fifty five, by

J. S. TLDFIELD, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern

District of New York.


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John PHILPOT CURRAN, one of the truest patriots and greatest men ever native of Irish soil, was the centre of the sparkling wits, the renowned orators, the brilliant advocates, and the honored statesmen who flashed upon the darkness of his country's latest hours of freedom, and vainly endeavored to maintain the national independence which they had achieved for her. His life is identified with the latest years of Ireland's nationality. He manifested an independence as advocate for the accused,

during the State Trials, which endeared him to the people from whose

ranks he sprung. To use the words of Thomas Davis (who resembled him in many things), he was "a companion unrivalled in sympathy and wit; an orator, whose thoughts went forth like ministers of nature, with robes of light and swords in their hands; a patriot, who battled best when the flag

was trampled down; and a genuine earnest man, breathing of his climate, his country, and his time."

He has been fortunate in his biographers. The life by his Son (who is

yet living), contains materials which were inaccessible to other writers.

Also came a volume of Recollections by Charles Phillips, who knew him well

Jater years—a work which, greatly enlarged, was republished a few

years ago, with all the charm of novelty. Later still appeared the Memoir,


by Thomas Davis, prefixed to his edition of Curran's Speeches—a brilliant but brief tribute by one honest and gifted man to the worth and memory of another. Anterior to all these is the Memoir, by William O'Regan (the friend and contemporary of Curran, and often engaged with him in the same causes), written during Curran's lifetime, with his knowledge, if not with his direct sanction, and published within six weeks after his deatha book little known, but full of interesting personal details, and abounding with anecdotal and other illustrations of Curran's wit.

It appeared to me that there was sufficient in the career and character

of Carran to interest not only the members of his own profession but a

large number of general readers in this country. I have therefore taken the life by his Son, and without alterations or omissions, have introduced a large quantity of new matter, principally relating to his legislative and personal life. These additions will be found between brackets, and, with the notes which I have occasionally found it requisite to add, have made the Memoir more full of interest than any yet presented.

In the Appendix I have placed a few specimens of the wit with which Curran and his friends were wont " to set the table in a roar."

The portrait which embellishes this work is a characteristic likeness, by Comerford, of Dublin, now for the first time engraved in this country, and little known even in Ireland.


Nero York, September 20, 1855.






Catholic Emancipation-Mr. Curran moves an address to the Throne for an inquiry into

the state of the poor-Other Parliamentary questions—Mr. Ponsonby's plan of Reform

rejected-Secession of Mr. Curran and his friends-Orr's trial-Finnerty's trial-Fin.

ney's Trial—The informer, James O'Brien .......

............... 195

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