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ENTEEND according to Act of Congress, in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred And Fifty five, by

J. S. REDFIELT), in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern

District of New York.


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Joun Philpot CURRAN, one of the truest patriots and greatest men

ever native of Irish soil, was the centre of the sparkling wits, the

renowned orators, the brilliant advocates, and the honored statesmen who

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flashed upon the darkness of his conntry's latest hours of freedom, and

vainly endeavored to maintain the national independence which they had

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achieved for her. His life is identified with the latest years of Ireland's

nationality. He manifested an independence as advocate for the accused,

during the State Trials, which endeared him to the people from whose

ranks he sprung. To use the words of Thomas Davis (who resembled him


many things), he was

a companion unrivalled in sympathy and wit ;

an orator, whose thoughts went forth like ministers of nature, with robes of light and swords in their hands; a patriot, who battled best when the flag was trampled down; and a genuine earnest man, breathing of his climate, his country, and his time.”

He has been fortunate in his biographers. The life by his Son (who is yet living), contains materials which were inaccessible to other writers. Also came a volume of Recollections by Charles Phillips, who knew him well in his later years—a work which, greatly enlarged, was republished a few years ago, with all the charm of novelty. Later still appeared the Memoir,

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by Thomas Davis, prefixed to his edition of Curran's Speeches—a brilliant

but brief tribute by one honest and gifted man to the worth and memory

of another. Anterior to all these is the Memoir, by William O'Regan (the

friend and contemporary of Curran, and often engaged with him in the

same causes), written during Curran's lifetime, with his knowledge, if not

with his direct sanction, and published within six weeks after his death

a book little known, but full of interesting personal details, and abounding

with anecdotal and other illustrations of Curran's wit.

It appeared to me that there was sufficient in the career and character

of Curran to interest not only the members of his own profession but a

large number of general readers in this country.

I have therefore

taken the life by his Son, and without alterations or omissions, have

introduced a large quantity of new matter, principally relating to his

legislative and personal life.

These additions will be found between

brackets, and, with the notes which I have occasionally found it requi

site to add, bave made the Memoir more full of interest than any yet


In the Appendix I have placed a few specimens of the wit with which

Curran and his friends were wont " to set the table in a roar,"

The portrait which embellishes this work is a characteristic likeness, by

Comerford, of Dublin, now for the first time engraved in this country, and

little known even in Ireland.


New York, September 20, 1865.

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