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was the wise end of all his efforts. The other lived under a system, which, with many shows of seeining pure," was an actual curse; and his life was a long struggle to inspire his country with the spirit to reform it. These different objects of each—of the one to preserve freedom, of the other to obtain it-gave a different character to their oratory. Burke's wisdom had taught him the dangers of popular innovation; and he would have protected, even under the shield of superstition, the institutions over which he watched. There is a certain oracular pride and pomp in his manner of announcing important political truths, as if they were awful mysteries which the uninitiated crowd were to reverence from afar. Like the high priests of old, he would have inspired a sacred dread of approaching the inmost temple, lest some profane intruder should discover and proclaim that the god was not there. The spectacle of misrule in Ireland had, on the contrary, impressed upon Mr. Curran's mind the necessity of animating the people with a spirit of fearless inquiry. To do this he had to awaken them to a sense of their importance and their claims, by gratifying their selflove, and filling them with the persuasion, that there was no truth which they were not fitted to examine and comprehend.

Burke is more instructive and commanding than persuasive. He looked upon the people from an eminence, from which he saw them under their diminished forms, and betrayed a consciousness that he was above them. The other remained below-threw himself among them--and, persuading them that they were his equals, by that means became the master of their movements.

This is the most striking distinction in the impressions which they make upon us—that we feel the one to be our superior, and imagine the other to be only a companion. In Burke's most exalting conceptions there is a gorgeous display of knowledge and intellect, which reminds us of our inferiority and our incapacity to ascend without his aid. The popular charm of the other's eloquence is, that it makes us only feel more intensely what we have felt before. In his loftiest flights, we are conscious of being eleva

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ted with him, and for the moment forget that we soar upon another's wing; for the elements of his sublimity are the passions in which we all partake; and, when he wakes the living chords to their highest ecstasy, it is not that he strikes one which was never touched before, but that he gives a longer and louder vibration to the chords which are never still.

The history of each exemplifies their characters. Burke was a philosopher, and could transplant his sympathies. He went abroad, and passed his life admiring and enjoying the benefits of “ his adopted, and dearer, and more comprehensive country.” Mr. Curran was a patriot, whose affections, could he have torn them from their native bed, would have drooped in another soil. He stayed at home, and closed his days in deploring the calamities which he had vainly labored to avert.

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CHAPTER XIX.

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Mr. Curran's skill in cross-examination-His general reading-His conversation-His

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Next to the force of Mr. Curran's eloquence was the skill of his cross-examinations, a department of his profession in which he was, perhaps, still more unrivalled than as a speaker. Of the extent of this talent it is impossible that any description or examples can convey an adequate idea to those who have never witnessed the living scene; but the bar, who alone could fully appreciate his resources, for they alone were fully sensible of the difficulties in each case against which he had to contend, have unanimously allowed that his address and sagacity as a cross-examiner were altogether matchless. It was, perhaps, here that as an advocate he was most feared and most resistless.* In cases where there

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* In the cross-examination of witnesses, Mr. Curran's scrutiny was tremendous. Instinctive and intuitive as Shakespeare, he knew all the fastnesses, passes and windings of the human heart, into which truth seeks to retire and to conceal itself. He knew all the weaknesses, the passions of hope and of fear, of interest and of resentment; and such was his knowledge of human nature, and so much was he in her confidence, that he silently inhaled all the operations of the villain he would expose ; dragged Cacus from his cave, penetrated into the mysteries of bell, and threw open to the cominon observer the secrets of those dark regions. Keen and ardent in the pursuit, he was always sure of his game; eager and intrepid in the chase, he was ever in at the death; whether play. ful or severe, he never relaxed; whether his weapon was ridicule, or open and direct attack; whether it was the power of reason cutting through a weak and fluttering conseience, his edge was unerring: the mole which hid its head in the earth, he perceived by the kicking of its feet; when it could see nothing, it thought itself secure and unseen. If truth lay at the bottom of her well, he plunged in, and plucked up drowned honour by the lock; or did she escape to the mountain top, he would round its slopes and gain its heights with the activity of an Arab warrior. He had the power to elicit it from the flint; and by his touch, as if with a wand, he caused it to gush forth from the hardest rock. It may justly be said of him, that “The Gordian knot of it he could untie familiar

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was some latent fraud or perjury, in exposing which his whole strength was always most conspicuously developed, he uniformly surprised his own profession no less than the general spectator, by the singular versatility of his powers, and by his familiarity with every variety of human character, at once so extensive and so minute, that he could discover at a glance the exact tone and manner best calculated to persuade, terrify or entrap into a confession of the truth, the particular description of person upon whom he had to work. In managing a sullen or dishonest witness there was nothing that he left untried; solemnity, menace, ridicule, pathos, flattery, and even for the moment respectful submission. In contests of this kind he had, in an eminent degree, the art of "stooping to conquer." If a few insidious compliments to the witness's understanding, and an apparently cordial assent to all his assertions and opinions, or a long series of jests, no matter whether good or bad, seemed likely to throw him off his guard, he never hesitated ;* his favourite method was by some such artifice to divert his attention, or to press him with pretended earnestness upon some trivial irrelevant point until he found the witness elated with his fancied security, and then to drop, as it were incidentally,

as his garter.” Jurors latterly began to doubt themselves, and to be frighted at the magic of his address; while he who bore false witness against his neighbours was often seen, like Festus, to have trembled. In variety and effect in this department of his profession he was unrivalled, and sola sicca secum spatiatur ardua.- O’REGAN.

* The following may be taken as a specimen of the ludicrous phraseology to which he sometimes resorted :-A witness having sworn that as he was returning, at a late hour, from a supper party, he was assaulted by Mr. Curran's clieni, the counsel, in his cross. examination, asked him—“if the number of eggs that composed his supper was not more than that of the graces and equal to that of the muses ?--if he did not usually drink a little coarse wine at dinner, by way of foundation to keep the claret out of the wet? if he did not swallow a squib after dinner, by way of Latin for his goose ? and if, after his foundation of white wine, with a superstructure of three pints of claret, a stratum of nine eggs, a pint of porter, and a supra-cargo of three pints of Geneva punch, his judg. ment was not a little under the yoke p’-C. [In the case Massy v. the Marquis of Headford, Mr. Curran had described the “poble" defendant, as a hoary adulterer. In the cross-examination of one of the witnesses, he found it difficult to prove his age. At last the witness admitted, that the Marquis was gray. “You will admit,” said Curran, quote ing a well known adage, “ that he was gray before he was good.”—M.]

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and with a tone of indifference as to the answer, or in a manner implying that it had been already admitted, some vital question, to which, in all probability, the desired reply would be given before the perjurer had time to recollect whether he had previously asserted or lenied the fact. So unexpected and surprising were his discoveries of a person's character and morals, from external indications so slight as to be imperceptible to others, that the lower orders of his countrymen had an almost superstitious reverence for his abilities, as if he were gifted with a supernatural power of " looking through the deeds of men." From the prevalence of this opinion, bis name was the proverbial terror of the Irish informer. Even those wretches who, in “ drudging for a pardon," or a l'eward, had so steeled their conscience against remorse and shame, that they could hear unmoved the deep buzz of smothered execrations with which the multitude announced their approach, and even glory in their indifference to the “ sound of public scorn," had not the nerves to sustain his torturing development of their unrighteous lives. They were not only abashed and confounded by that art, which he so consummately possessed, of involving them in prevarication, by confronting them with themselves, but they have been actually seen, as if under a momentary shock of virtuous panic, to plunge from off the public table, and fly to shelter from his upbraiding presence, leaving the rescued victims to reward by their blessings their advocate and saviour.

It will not be necessary to dwell at any length upon Mr. Curran's character as a lawyer. He was never profoundly read; but his mind had firmly seized all the leading principles of the Eng. lish code, more particularly those of constitutional law; and he was always considered by the members of his own profession to have displayed eminent skill in his logical application of them. In the earlier part of his carreer his reasoning powers were admitted to have been of the first order, until the splendour of his eloquence gave rise to the unfounded notion, that where there

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