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[In 1834, seventeen years after the death of Mr. Curran, a committee of gentlemen was formed in Dublin, to provide for the removal of his mortal remains to Ireland. Prospect Cemetery, Glasnevin, Dublin, was the locality selected for his last earthly resting-place. The consent of his son (and biographer) was obtained, ---a faculty permitting the removal of the body from Paddington Church was procured,—the exhumed body was removed to the house of Alderman Sir Matthew Wood, in George Street, -it was thence taken to Dublin, where it was received by Mr. W. H. Curran and one of the Committee,—was temporarily deposited in the private Mausoleum at Lyons, the residence of Lord Cloncurry, the friend of Curran,—and was finally removed to a grave at Glasnevin. The attendants were Messrs. W. H.Curran, John Finlay, Con. Lyne, and Andrew Carew O’Dwyer—the last-named being the person with whom originated the proposition for restoring the remains to their native soil. This re-interment was private. The pageantry of a national procession which was suggested, was respectfully and judiciously declined by Mr. W. I. Curran. A inassive sarcophagus in Glasnevin contains the remains of Ireland's great orator and patriot, and the inscription, far more expressive than a laboured epitaph, is simply the one word
There is a monument to Curran in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin--a bust by Moore, on a sarcophagus. It is copied from Lawrence's portrait, and, Mr. Davis says, “ is the finest monument, so simply made, I ever saw. It is most like him in his glorified
funeral, declaring that of all, he was "the only incorrupted and faithful," adding, “ There is a loveliness and a heartiness over me when I think of this great man whom We have lost. Charles, there never was 80 honesi an Irishman. His very soul was republican Irish. Look to his history in 1778, in '92, in 1790-at the Union--at all timesin all places." He suggested that the Irish of all classes in London should be invited to attend the funeral, each wearing a shamrock, and that “on his coffin should be laid a broken harp and a wreath of shamrock.”—The funeral was private.-M.]
mood, full of thought and action. In an Irish Pantheon, our greatest orator should be represented at full length, and the basreliefs of his sarcophagus should be his receiving Father Neale's blessing, his rising to defend the Sheareses, his delivery of the judgment on Merry and Power, and his weeping for Ireland near his child's grave at the Priory.”]
Observations on Mr. Curran's Eloquence-Objections to his Style considered-His habits
of preparation for Public Speaking–His Ideas of Popular Eloquence-His PathosVariety of his powers--His Imagination-Peculiarity of his Images – His use of Ridicule -Propensity to Metaphor-Irish eloquence-Its origin--Mr. Curran's and Burke's eloquence compared.
For the last twenty years of his life, Mr. Curran enjoyed the reputation of being the most eloquent advocate that had ever appeared at the Irish bar; and if future times shall hold his genius in estimation, it is eloquence which must entitle him to that distinction.* His name may, indeed, derive a still more splendid
* O'Regan says: “ Whatever criticism may have torn from him,-however mutilated he may have been by the shallowness or inaccuracy of his reporters, his effect has been as described; in one comparatively subordinate power of mind, so frequently mistaken for genius or high understanding, he manifested taste in almost every subject connected with literature. His skill in music made him attentive to the structure and harmong of his periods. He well knew that eloquence charmed the ear, and opened the widest entrance to the heart; and he studied with great carnestness the principles of this art. So fastidious was he of pedantry, that, amidst his profuse quotations from the ancient classics, he studiously avoided this error: when he used them, they were employed as powerful illustrations, or beautiful ornaments. He was one of those few scholars who stripped literature of that affectation which encumbers it; he broke and fung away the husk and shell by which it is too frequently surrounded; and his delicacy fused the original sentiments into his native language, enriching both by the medium through which both were delivered. You drank the Falernian in all its richness and raciness. You looked not to the musty casks of antiquity for the mark of the consulate, in which it had been stored; but you got it defecated and poured forth in profusion into the clear modern glass, sparkling and mantling in all the purple colours, and in all the odour and flavour of its best vintage. To this exquisite delicacy of taste Mr. Curran had not an exclusive title; in the fine and cultivated mind of Mr. Bushe, redolent with classics, he may have found a rival.” He adds—"Such was the effect produced, that in taking the note of his speech in the case of Massy and Headfort, in which I was of counsel with him, I became suspended; the hand forgot its office, and, till roused from the delicious transport by some friend near me, I was not conscious that I left the paper unstained by any one note. On observing this circumstance to Mr. Curran in a few days after, be said, . Possibly at that very moment you were taking the best impression, perhaps then drinking deeply. It is probable it was then you were doing me and yourself the greatest justice.M.
claim to posthumous respect, for the purity and manliness of his public conduct, during times when the hearts and nerves of so many others were tried, and sunk beneath the proof. Divested of this, his eloquence would have been comparatively worthless. Orators are common characters; but it is not so common to find a man, upon every occasion of his life preferring his public duty to his personal advancement-conducting himself, amidst the shock of civil contentions, with danger and allurements on every side, so as to command the entire approbation of his own conscience and the more impartial, though not more valuable, applause of that succeeding time which is a stranger to the particular interests and passions that might bias its decisions. This period has not yet come; but it may be asserted that it is approaching, and that when it shall actually arrive, Mr. Curran's memory has nothing to fear from its judgment. Before this tribunal it will be admitted that he, and the few who joined him, in making (in defiance of much momentary opprobrium) an undaunted stand against those sinister measures upon which the framers have subsequently reflected with shame, were but exercising the right of superior minds, whose privilege it is to discern, amidst all the tumult of conflicting opinions, and the hasty expedients of ephemeral sagacity, what alone is permanently wise and good—to judge the men and acts of their own day, with the same unbetraying firmness with which they judge the times that have passed, and with which posterity will judge themselves. It will not be overlooked, that it is the ordinary fate of such persons to be misconceived and reviled; that in the hour of general intoxication, the most grievous of offenders is he who passes
cup, and will not be degraded, rebuking, by his importunate sobriety, the indecent revelry that surrounds him. To have done this will be considered more rare and honourable in Mr. Curran's history, than to have been distinguished by the most commanding abilities; but in his case it is needless to dwell upon his conduct as separated from his oratory. “Words," said Mirabeau, “ are things.” In Mr. Curran’s public life, his speeches were his acts; and all that the
reader of them requires to know is, that his practice never discredited his professions. If what he said was honest, what he did was not less so. His language and his actions had a common origin and object, and cannot now be dissociated for the purpose of separate encomium or condemnation; it is out of his own mouth that he must now be judged.
His eloquence was original, not formed by the imitation of any preceding model, so much as resulting from his individual constitution of mind and temperament, and from the particular nature of the society and the scenes upon which he was thrown. With the same advantages of education elsewhere, he would undoubtedly have risen above the ordinary level--he possessed powers too uncommon to keep him long in obscurity; but it required the theatre upon which his life was passed, to give them that exact direction to which his oratory is indebted for its peculiar character.* The history of his mind is, in this respect, intimately connected with that of his country.
By nature ardent, of the most acute sensibility, instinctively alive to every social gratification, he passed his infancy and youth among those ranks where such qualities are the peculiar objects of applause. The heart naturally cherishes the scenes and authors of its first indulgences; and Mr. Curran entered upon his career of public
* Mr. O'Regan says: “He found within himself the happy power of giving shapes and exquisite forms to the beings of his own creation. Whether passing from images of ter. ror to the soft and tender touches of pathos; whether he sported in the laugh of comedy, or in the broad grin of farce, he was equally successful in all. If he would huri the bolt of a Jupiter, shake thrones, and appal tyrants, you might conceive it was the work of Homer! Would he move to pity, you had all the effect of Virgil; and would he excite 10 mirth or laughter, you might have fancied yourself conversing with a Congreve. Such was his excellence in each of these departments, that he may have placed himself nearly at the head of each ; yet, though he rejeoted with fastidiousness to form himself either on the plans of the sophists, or of those societies which prefer words to ideas, talking to thinking, he furnished his mind from the groat stores of antiquity, and enriched it with much of the best and purest modern literature. By both he chastened the wanderings of his own luxuriant imagination, and regulated the branohes without injuring the tree; the sap was directed to feed the trunk, not to waste its aliment in idle foliage, or in gaudy flowers."--M,