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misfortune which seems uniformly to have accompanied me. That I have written to your daughter since an unfortunate event has taken place, was an additional breach of propriety, for which I have suffered well; but I will candidly confess, that I not only do not feel it to have been of the same extent, but that I consider it to have been unavoidable after what had passed; for though I will not attempt to justify in the smallest degree my former conduct, yet when an attachment was once formed between us and a sincerer one never did exist-I feel that, peculiarly circumstanced as I then was, to have left her uncertain of my
situation would neither have weaned her affections, nor lessened her anxiety; and looking upon her as one, whom, if I had lived, 1 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 extenuation 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 whom he has left nothing but sorrow."*
“ MY DEAREST RICHARD,
“I find I have but a few hours to live, but if it was the last moment, and that the power of utterance was leaving me, I would
* The original, from which the above has been copied, is not signed or dated. It was written in the interval between Mr. Emmett's conviction and execution.-0.
thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generous expressions of affection and forgiveness to me.
If there was any one in the world in whose breast my death might be supposed not to stifle 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, instead of having her own mind a pray to affliction. Oh! Richard, I have no excuse to offer, but that I meant the reverse; I intended as much happiness for Sarah as the most ardent love could have given her. I never did tell you how much I idolised 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 did hope 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.
* In 1847 a London journal mentioning the death of Miss Curran, at Rome, declared that the lady was "the betrothed of Robert Emmett," and the heroine of Moore's song and Irving's touching story. This was an error. It was Amelia, Curran's eldest daughter, who thus died at Rome. His youngest daughter, Sarah, had passed away some thirty years before.-M.
This letter was written at twelve o'clock on the day of Mr. Emmett's execution,* and the firmness and regularity of the original hand-writting contain a striking and affecting proof of the little influence which the approaching event had over his frame. The same enthusiasm which allured him to his destiny, enabled him to support its utmost rigour. He met his fate with unostentatious fortitude; and although few could ever think of justifying his projects or regreting their failure, yet his youth, his talents, the great respectability of his connexions, and the evident delusion of which he was the victim, have excited more general sympathy for his unfortunate end, and more forbearance toward his memory, than is usually extended to the errors or sufferings of political offenderst
* The best account of Emmett's trial is given by Dr. Madden. He pleaded "Not guilty," but made no defence. Nor, in his speech alter conviction, did he allude to Plunket. O'Grady was Attorney-General, James McClelland was Solicitor General, and it was his duty to speak to evidence. But Plunket performed that task-and is accused of having volunteered to do it. Neither of the two law officials had thought it necessary to speak --so clear was the case against Emmett, but Plunket (as one of his own biographers admits) “assailed the sad enthusiast, in that form of his deepest suffering, in a theme of invective which might well have been spared.” It would seem as if Plunket wished to show how his own strong liberality had declined down to the Government gauge. In tro months from that date, Plunket was in office as Solicitor-General.-M.
+ In Ireland, the Emmett family bave invariably spelled their name with a double t. In this country, they have economized, and write Emmet.-M.
Mr. Curran's domestic affairs-Forensic efforts Appointed Master of the Rolls in Ireland
--His literary projects--Letter to Mr. M‘Nally-Account of a visit to Scotland in a letter to Miss Philpot-Letter to Mr. Leslie~Letters to Mr. Hetherington.
[This seems to be the proper place to introduce a notice of Mr. Curran's domestic relations, which it was very pardonable in his son, to have avoided any mention of. His two other biographers, , Phillips and O'Regan, were not in a situation to be affected by such delicacy, and have spoken what they knew. Phillips says:
“There is no doubt there were times when he was subject to the most extreme despondency; but the origin of this was visible enough, without having recourse to any mysterious inquiries. It was the case with him as it is with every person whose spirits are apt to be occasionally excited—the depression is at intervals in exact proportion. Like a bow overstrained, the mind relaxes in consequence of the exertion. He was naturally extremely sensitive--domestic misfortunes rendered his home unhappy-he flew for a kind of refuge into public life; and the political ruin of his country, leaving him without an object of private enjoyment or of patriotic hope, flung him upon his own heart-devouring reflections. He was at those times a striking instance of his own remark upon the disadvantages attendant upon too refined a sensibility. “Depend upon it, my dear friend,' said he, “it is a serious misfortune in life to have a mind more sensitive or more cultivated than common; it naturally elevates its possessor into a region which he must be doomed to find nearly uninhabited! It was a deplorable thing to see him, in the decline of life, when visited by this constitutional melancholy. I have not unfrequently accompanied
him in his walks upon such occasions, almost at the hour of mid-
of twelve, and he had her buried in the midst of a small grove just adjoining this garden. A little rustic memorial was raised over her, and often and often have I seen him, the tears chasing each other' down his cheeks, point to his daughter's monument, and 'wish to be with her, and at rest.' Such, at times, was the man before whose very look not merely gravity, but sadness has often vanished—who has given birth to more enjoyment, and uttered more wit, than perhaps any of his contemporaries in any country—who had in him materials for social happiness such as we can not hope again to see combined in any one; and whose death has cast, I fear, a permanent eclipse upon the festivities of his circle. Yet even these melancholy hours were not without their moral. They proved the nothingness of this world's gifts—the worse than inutility of this world's attainments; they forced the mind into involuntary reflection; they showed a fellow-creature enriched with the finest natural endowments, having acquired the most extensive reputation, without a pecuniary want or a professional rival, yet weighed down with a constitutional depression that left the poorest wealthy and the humblest happy in the comparison. Nor were they without a kind of mournful interest: he spoke as under such circumstances no human being but himself could have spoken--his mind was 80