Thomas Colley Grattan

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Grattan, Thomas Colley, an author, was born at Clayton Lodge, in the County of Kildare, in 1796. He was distantly related both to Henry Grattan and Wellington. Educated at Athy, in due time he was apprenticed to a Dublin attorney. However, the prospect of a confined life was little to his taste, and he entered the militia, then passed on to the line, and saw some service on the Continent. Marrying, he settled in France, and engaged in literature. At Paris he associated with Moore and Irving, Beranger and Lamartine, and was a constant contributor to the Westminster and Edinburgh Reviews. Highways and Byways and Traits of Travel were well received; and his reputation as an author became established. His History of the Netherlands showed that he could excel in the graver as well as the lighter walks of literature. In the Revolution of 1830 his house was consumed, and he lost all his property through some unfortunate speculations. He removed to the Hague, where he wrote, among other works, Jacqueline of Holland and Legends of the Rhine. These were followed by Agnes of Mansfeldt, perhaps the best of his novels.

In 1839 he was appointed British Consul at Boston, where he took a prominent part in the negotiations relating to the boundary between the United States and Canada. In 1853 he was permitted to resign his consulship in favour of his son. Drake styles his Civilized America (2 vols. 1859) "a bitterly abusive book." In 1861 he wrote England and the Disrupted States of America, and a drama — The Woman of Colour, The Edinburgh Review says of his Highways and Byways: "The style is throughout sustained with equal vigour, .. and we may safely pronounce this work to be executed in a manner worthy of the patriotic motive which the author proposed to himself in its composition — the eradication of national prejudices." He died in London, where he had passed the latter part of his life, 4th July 1864, aged about 68.

Sources

16. Authors, Dictionary of British and American: S. Austin Allibone. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1859-'71.

36. Biographical Dictionary: William R. Cates. London, 1867.

37a. Biographical Dictionary—American Biography: Francis S. Drake. Boston, 1876.

39. Biographical Dictionary, Imperial: Edited by John F. Waller. 3 vols. London, N.D.

116. Dublin University Magazine (45). Dublin, 1833-'77.

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