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The Author published a pamphlet in 1859, which forms the basis of the earlier portion of the present considerably enlarged work. From the critical opinions which appeared at the time, a few are subjoined:
This biography reads like so many pages out of Mr. Lever's Con Cregan or the Irish Gil Blas; but Mr. Fitzpatrick quotes several legal and literary documents to authenticate his text. Facts in abundance are produced. As illustrative of the state of Irish political society in those days this tract is extremely curious. Extraordinary power of social research ... Most curious... This tract merits préservation. The mass of social and personal knowledge accumulated by Mr. Fitzpatrick is very striking. He writes like an ex post facto Boswell, and the research with which he amasses minute particulars is a speciality with him. It is for want, heretofore, of detailed and accurate domestic knowledge, that Irish history is so crude and * colourless ; and works like those of Mr. Fitzpatrick have value.- Athenceum.
As strange as any fiction that the wildest romancist could invent. Mr. Fitzpatrick's industry, patience, and discrimination in disinterring buried and long-forgotten facts, are wonderful. The files of old newspapers, and contemporary records of every kind, are ransacked by him with unwearied perseverance. He will pursue the faintest traces of some fact until he bas found its hiding place. But his talent in construction is not less admirable. He collects his isolated facts together, and produces a narrative full of interest, like a naturalist constructing a skeleton out of scattered bones. The story of Francis Higgins is one of the most extraordinary, perhaps, that the annals of Dublin can produce. But in connexion with that, many other stories are brought to light, strikingly illustrating the state of society in this city seventy years ago. This book will, no doubt, have a wide circulation, on account of its curious revelations, and the light it throws on Dublin society in the last century.-Daily Express.
This is a curious collection of materials for illustrating the state of party and the press, at a most momentous period of Ireland's history. It throws much light upon many parts of the Cornwallis correspondence, but is well worth reading without any reference to that work.-Notes and Queries.
The story of Francis Higgins, the pot-boy of Fishamble Street, the pre. tended convert who cheated a poor confiding priest, the speculator in matrimony who robbed his wife and maddened her to death, the clerk who was the pimp and pander of his libidinous master, the journalist who defamed
all honest men and did the ribald work of the government, the “justice" who heaped blacker infamy on a bench disgraced already by magisterial ini. quity, the spy who purchased wealth by the blood of the noblest hearts the story of this wretch, so leprosied with guilt, is but a condensation of the history of his time. Mr. Fitzpatrick's picture gallery, gathered into so small a space, is terrible: in Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors you have nothing like it. We heartily tender our thanks for this most excellent pamphlet-its composition is so much more good work done in the cause of Ireland, and we strongly advise all nationalists to get possession of this valuable brochure, and read it carefully and attentively.-- Irishman.
The awful depth of corruption and rascality which the Cornwallis Papers have disclosed, as to the affairs of Ireland, may well form the subject of a further notice, when we shall avail ourselves of the singular and important mass of information which Mr. Fitzpatrick has placed at our disposal Dublin Review.
The author of this brochure belongs to a class of men the number of whom is infinitesimally small. Like the Sicilian diver, he has ventured to the bottom of the well; and, where others have failed to find the priceless pearl, truth, he has not only discovered but brought it up to this world of ours. By & happy combination and peculiar contexture, Mr. Fitzpatrick has interwoven a series of most rare and interesting episodes with his narrative. But the title he has given to this valuable contribution is far too insignificant for the importance and amount of the information it embraces. We shall avail ourselves occasionally of its pages for contribution to our columns. The Cornwallis Papers attracted considerable attention, but we have not found in them anything that has interested us so much as Mr. Fitzpatrick's very valuable “ Notes".--Telegraph.
A most interesting pamphlet. There is no one better qualified than Mr. Fitzpatrick to write on any question of Irish modern history, for there is no one who has devoted himself more ardently or perseveringly than he has done to its patient study.- Weekly Register.
William John Fitzpatrick, who has already obtained a high reputation for his profound knowledge of the recent history of Ireland, and his lucid manner of illustrating it.- Freeman's Journal.
[For other encomiums at home and abroad, see Galignani's Messenger, the Dublin Evening Post, etc.)
WITH A VIEW OF THEIR CONTEMPORARIES.
TO WHICH ARE ADDED
Jottings about Ireland Seventy years ago.
“ Truth is stranger than fiction".