James Roche

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Roche, James, styled by Father Mahony, the "Roscoe of Cork," was born in Limerick in 1771. After completing his studies at the Catholic College of Saintes, in France, and paying a short visit to Ireland, he settled in Bordeaux, where he became acquainted with the most distinguished Girondists. He was in Paris during the horrors of the Revolution, and was arrested in 1793, but was released on the death of Robespierre. About the year 1800 he returned to Ireland, and, in partnership with his brother, opened a banking house in Cork. In 1819 a monetary crisis ruined him as well as many others; his property was sold, and his precious library, excepting a few books with which his creditors presented him, was brought to the hammer. After this he resided in London for some time as a parliamentary agent, and again visited the Continent; but eventually returned to Cork, where he performed the duties of a magistrate and director of the National Bank until his death. He was intimately acquainted with many of the great men of his time, and was especially familiar with everything concerning French history and literature. He contributed largely, over the signature "J. R. of Cork," to the Gentleman's Magazine, Notes and Queries, the Dublin Review, and other periodicals. In 1851 he printed in Cork, for private circulation, a most interesting work, in two volumes, Essays, Critical and Miscellaneous, by an Octogenarian. The Athenaeum says: "His strongest mental faculty was a memory of remarkable tenacity, joined to the talent of a linguist. He had stored up vast masses of erudition, which he placed liberally at the service of his numerous literary correspondents." He died in Cork, 1st April 1853, aged 82.

Sources

15. Athenaeum, The—Principally referred to under No. 233.

233. Manuscript and Special Information, and Current Periodicals.

254. Notes and Queries. London, 1850-'78.
O'Callaghan, John C., see No. 186.

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