GRATTAN, The Right Honorable HENRY, was b. in Dublin July 3, 1746. His father was recorder and M.P. for that city until his death in 1766. The year after that event, having completed his university studies with distinction at Trinity college, Dublin, Grattan entered as a student of law at the Middle Temple, London, where, however, he neglected the pages of Blackstone, to listen to the living oratory of parliament, and in particular of lord Chatham. In 1772 he was called to the Irish bar, and in 1775 was returned to the Irish parliament as representative for the borough of Charlemont, for iich he sat until 1790, when he was elected as one of the representatives of the city of Dublin, to such an extent had his patriotism and eloquence recommended him to the Irish people. Mainly to him was owing, among other things, the partial abolition of the heavy restrictions on Irish commerce. But his popularity ebbed as it bad flowed (and oftener than once) in the hearts and huzzas of his impulsive and therefore incon stant countrymen. In 1797 he declined to come forward for Dublin, and went into. temporary but undeserved eclipse. In 1800 lie was returned for the borough of Wick low, to oppose the union, and that was to fight for the people's idea of the constitution. But the union was effected in spite of him, and in 1805 he was returned to the imperial parliament for the borough of Mahon, in Yorkshire. Next year, he was induced tcr
stand for Dublin, and was re-elected. He sat for it in successive parliaments till his. death, which happened on June 4, 1820, in London, to which he had gone when in a' weak state of health, contrary to the advice of his physicians, to advocate, as he had been wont, the cause of Catholic emancipation.
Grattan's public and private character was unimpeachable. For the vacillations of his popularity in Ireland, his countrymen had reason to be ashamed, and it is certain that he now holds a proper and exalted place in the• esteem of the people, for whom he labored with such sincerity, integrity and genius. The history of his life is in great measure the history of the Irish constitution, and entirely the history of the parliament of Ireland. His Life and Times was published by his son.
As an orator, be stands in the first rank. His style is full of point, rapidity, antithesis, and poetic suggestiveness. His eulogy on Chatham, and his invective against Bonaparte, are not surpassed in British eloquence. Byron declares him to be an orator— With all that Demosthenes wanted, endowed, And his rival or master, in all he possessed.
His speeches were published by his son and biographer. A statue of Grattan, on Col lege Green, Dublin, was unveiled in 1876.