Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Emmet, Christopher Temple

1153578Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 17 — Emmet, Christopher Temple1889John Thomas Gilbert

EMMET, CHRISTOPHER TEMPLE (1761–1788), barrister, eldest son of Robert Emmet, M.D., and elder brother of Thomas Addis and Robert Emmet [qq.v.], was born at Cork in 1761. He entered the university of Dublin in 1775, and obtained a scholarship there in 1778. He was called to the bar in Ireland in 1781, and in that year he married Anne Western Temple, daughter of Robert Temple, an American loyalist who had settled in Ireland. Emmet attained eminence as an advocate; he possessed a highly poetical imagination, remarkably retentive memory, and a vast amount of acquired knowledge of law, divinity, and literature. Under the chancellorship of Lord Lifford, Emmet was advanced to the rank of king's counsel in 1787. His death occurred in February 1788, while he was on circuit in the south of Ireland, and his widow died in the following November. The only known writings of Emmet are a short poem on the myrtle and other trees, and an allegory of thirty-two stanzas of four lines each, entitled ‘The Decree.’ The latter was written during the administration of, and inscribed to, the Earl of Buckinghamshire, viceroy of Ireland from 1777 to 1780. In these verses the author predicted that the future eminence of England would be imperilled if she delayed to act justly towards Ireland by annulling harsh laws, and by removing the enactments which prohibited commerce between the Irish and America, which he styled ‘the growing western world.’

[R. R. Madden's United Irishmen, 1860; Life of Grattan, vol. iv. (1840); manuscripts of Hon. Society of King's Inns, Dublin; Hibernian Magazine, 1788; Collection of Poems, 1789–90.]

J. T. G.