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OF THE

LEGAL, LITERARY, AND POLITICAL

LIFE

OF THE

LATE THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

JOHN PHILPOT CURRAN,

ONCE MASTER OF THE ROLLS IN IRELAND:

COMPRISING COPIOUS

ANECDOTES OF HIS WIT AND HUMOUR;

AND

A SELECTION OF HIS POETRY.

INTERSPERSED WITH OCCASIONAL

BIOGRAPHY OF HIS DISTINGUISHED COTEMPORARIES IN THE

SENATE AND AT THE BAR.

BY WILLIAM O’REGAN, Esq. BARRISTER.

Erant in eo plurimæ literæ, nec- eæ vulgares, sed interiores quedam, et
reconditæ : divina memoria, summa verborum et gravitas, et elegantia. CICERO.

Audivi Hiberniam olim in Eloquentia floruisse.

LONDON:
PRINTED FOR JAMES HARPER, 46, FLEET-STREET ;

AND
RICHARD MILLIKEN, GRAFTON-STREET, DUBLIN.

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PRE FAC E.

To give the perfect portrait of a person so distinguished for eloquence, wit, humour, literature, and taste; of one so pre-eminently gifted by nature, with the rarest and richest powers of mind, would require in the painter somewhat similar endowments. Livy said, that to draw the character of Cicero, the biographer must be another Cicero,

“ They best can paint it who have felt it most."

But as posterity would lose whatever was precious in the history of Mr. Curran's mind (for of it chiefly do I mean to treat,) if none could be found but of similar genius; if none other were to attempt it, the task must in this age be doomed to remain neglected through despair, or be imperfectly executed: and thus, from the apprehension of inadequacy, his fame would become extinct, or fade away in perishable tradition; or perhaps be fated to go down to future times, like many of the mutilated monuments of antiquity, with features distorted, or limbs broken, like those which the curiosity of an Elgin has but half preserved.

Should the character of his genius (the boast and admiration of his country) be preserved, and transmitted by the boldness of inferiority, distanced as it may be by his transcendency, still a great gratification is secured to the present and to other times ; though he whose singular superiority should fling into shade the presumption of such an undertaking; and though he who attempts it may be scorched by the rays he'so daringly approaches, Urit enim fulgore suo, qui prégravat artes infra se positas, yet better is it to gaze on matter, however mis-shapen, than on vacancy-on existence, than on annihilation.

Hume, to avoid misrepresentation, has

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