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real history of the inspirer of these pathetic records continue to interest the sympathies of the gentle and the good. When first I saw her, she was in her twelfth year, and was even at that age remarkable for a pensive character of countenance, which she never afterwards lost. A favourite sister (to the best of my recollection, a twin) died when she was eight years old, and was buried under a large tree on the lawn of the Priory (Mr. Curran's seat, near Dublin), directly opposite to the window of their nursery. This tree had been a chosen haunt of the affectionate pair ;- under its shade they had often sat together-pulled the first primroses at its root—and watched, in its leaves, the earliest verdure of the spring. Many an hour, for many a year, did the afflicted survivor take her silent stand at the melancholy window, gazing on the well-known spot which constituted all her little world of joys and sorrows. To this circumstance she attributed the tendency to melancholy, which formed so marked a feature of her character through life. Fondly attached to both her parents, her grief may be imagined, when at the period of her attaining her fourteenth year, Mr. Curran publicly endeavoured to obtain a divorce from his wife. As there existed no ground but his caprice of temper for this disgraceful proceeding, he, of course, failed in his attempt; and, as the public were acquainted with his early history, and the sacrifices which had attended Mrs. Curran's acceptance of his hand, his conduct attracted no small share of popular odium. Mr. Curran's origin was humble, and even his splendid talents might not have been found sufficient to have raised him to the position in society he subsequently occupied, had it not been for his marriage with a lady of family and fortune. He began his career as private tutor in the family of Doctor Creaghe, of Creaghe Castle, in the county of Cork; a gentleman of large property, as well as an enlightened and eminent physician. Miss Creaghe, a young lady of considerable taste and acquirements, proved but too sensible of the genius and talents of this accomplished inmate of her paternal dwelling, and a private marriage was the consequence. After a short time subsequent to its discovery had elapsed, Doctor Creaghe consented to forgive his daughter; received her once more beneath his roof, and allowed her fortune to be expended on Mr. Curran's studies at the Temple.
That he requited the affection of this amiable woman by attempting to repudiate her, will surprise no one in the least acquainted with the general details of his domestic conduct. The breaking up of his establishment, the dispersion of his family, and his own loss of character, were the consequences of this unhappy step. His appeal to a Court of Justice was heard with impatience, and repelled with indignation.
In this perplexing position, my young friend shone conspicuous, and was as much distinguished among the members of her own family, as they were from the ordinary rank of society. Her engaging manners and amiable qualities, attracted the attention of many whose friendship never afterwards deserted her. Among these was the Reverend Thomas Crawford, of Lismore, one of the earliest of Mr. Curran's college friends. To be unhappy, was in itself a letter of introduction to which he was never inattentive. He was acquainted with every member of Mr. Curran's family; and the youth, the amiable disposition, and deep affliction with which his youngest and favourite daughter was overwhelmed by the separation of her parents, induced Mr. Crawford to offer her an asylum in his house. If anything could have caused her to forget her father, it would have been the part this worthy man so generously acted towards her. She was to him, indeed, as a daughter; he loved her, and valued her as such. Under his protecting care she remained, until Mr. Curran recalled his banished children once more to their home, and formed a new establishment for their reception. But, alas! my poor friend's life was but an April day; or rather, it consisted of " drops of joy, with draughts of ill between.” The two or three years she spent under the paternal roof, were the last she was permitted to number of enjoyment and happiness.
During the long war in which England,-often single handed,-struggled, with glory and success, for her own integrity and the liberty of Europe, her peaceful shores were repeatedly threatened with invasion by a foreign foe. The rumours of such an event, becoming very prevalent about the year 1802, reached the ears of a young enthusiast, at that time an exile from his native country, in Switzerland. In that cradle of liberty, did Robert Emmett, as he said, endeavour to forget the miseries of his native country, and the dishonour with which his soul beheld her branded, and live the life of a freeman!
When Switzerland, after a vain resistance, was fettered by the shackles of Buonaparte, Ireland was immediately menaced with a Gallic descent; and Emmett, in an illfated hour, landed on her shores, as he affirmed, to avert the calamity of her becoming a French province. His plans, by the little that is known of them, appear to have been perplexed and incoherent in the extreme; and had they been otherwise, the premature commencement of the insurrection would have rendered them abortive. After a slight disturbance, of only a few hours' duration, on the night of July 23, 1803, in which Lord Kilwarden and some other loyalists were unfortunately assassinated, peace and good order were again restored. A few of the ring leaders were punished; and, amongst the number, this unhapry worshipper of Utopian freedom became a sacrifice to his romantic dreams of liberty and patriotism. Previously to this eventful period of his life, Mr. Curran's eldest son, Richard, had been intimate with Robert Emmett, at Trinity College; and their youthful friendship, on his return to Ireland, was unfortunately renewed. He introduced his friend to his father and sisters; and Emmett
became a constant visitor at the Priory. An attachment, as ardent as it was unfortunate, was soon formed between him and Mr. Curran's youngest daughter. In the outpouring of his soul to this object of his idolatry, the enthusiast revealed all his plans and intentions respecting the meditated overthrow of the Irish government: happy would it have been for him, had he attended to the words of wisdom and of warning that fell from her gentle lips ; but, alas! on this occasion they were of no avail. Dazzled with the splendour thrown by Roman story over deeds admired because successful, he persuaded himself that, as tyranny was weakness, those whom he considered the enslavers of his country could be easily subdued; and he rushed with heedless impetuosity into the struggle.
Mr. Curran's politics had formerly been what are called “liberal;” but, from the time that his party had succeeded to power, he attached himself to the government, under which he enjoyed a post of honour and emolument. His surprise and indignation could hardly be wondered at, when it was announced to him that he was an object of suspicion to his former friends, and that he was supposed to be implicated in Emmett's designs. He repaired instantly to the Castle of Dublin, and insisted on remaining in custody there, until every person arrested for the plot had been examined. As his loyalty had not always been so apparent, it was a severe trial to his feelings, both as a parent and a man of honour, to be assured, beyond all