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Curran And The Judge

Irish Humour Home

Soon after Mr. Curran had been called to the bar, on some statement of
Judge Robinson's, the young counsel observed, that he had never met the
law, as laid down by his Lordship, in any book in his library. That
may be, sir, said the Judge; but I suspect that your library is very
small. Mr. Curran replied, I find it more instructive, my Lord, to
study good works than to compose bad ones.[1] My books may be few; but
the title-pages give me the writers' names, and my shelf is not
disgraced by any such rank absurdities, that their very authors are
ashamed to own them. Sir, said the Judge, you are forgetting the
respect which you owe to the dignity of the judicial character.
Dignity! exclaimed Mr. Curran; My Lord, upon that point I shall cite
you a case from a book of some authority, with which you are, perhaps,
not unacquainted. He then briefly recited the story of Strap, in
Roderick Random, who having stripped off his coat to fight, entrusted
it to a bystander. When the battle was over, and he was well beaten, he
turned to resume it, but the man had carried it off. Mr. Curran thus
applied the tale:--So, my Lord, when the person entrusted with the
dignity of the judgment-seat lays it aside for a moment to enter into a
disgraceful personal contest, it is in vain when he has been worsted in
the encounter that he seeks to resume it--it is in vain that he tries to
shelter himself behind an authority which he has abandoned. If you say
another word, I'll commit you, replied the angry Judge; to which Mr. C.
retorted, If your Lordship shall do so, we shall both of us have the
consolation of reflecting, that I am not the worst thing your Lordship
has committed.

Next: Curran's Quarrel With Fitzgibbon

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