Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Murphy, Francis Stack

MURPHY, FRANCIS STACK (1810?–1860), serjeant-at-law, born in Cork about 1810, was son of Jeremiah Murphy, a rich merchant, whose brother John was catholic bishop of Cork from 1815 to 1847. He was educated at Clongoweswood College, co. Kildare, and was one of the pupils of Francis Sylvester Mahony [q. v.], 'Father Prout.' Proceeding to Trinity College, Dublin, he graduated B.A. in 1829 and M.A. in 1832. He studied law in London, and in 1833 was called to the English bar. In 1834 he became connected with 'Fraser's Magazine' as an occasional contributor, assisting 'Father Prout' in his famous 'Reliques.' He was an excellent classical scholar, and was responsible for some of Mahony's Greek and Latin verses (see Bates, Maclise Portrait Gallery, 1883, pp. 464, 466-7). Mahony introduces him in his 'Prout Papers' as 'Frank Cresswell of Furnival's Inn.' In 1837 Murphy became M.P. for co. Cork, and retained the seat for sixteen years. On 25 Feb. 1842 he was made serjeant-at-law, and resigned his place in parliament in September 1853, when appointed one of the commissioners of bankruptcy in Dublin. He died on 17 June 1860. His portrait figures in Maclise's well-known group of 'The Fraserians.' He was a clever lawyer, and was noted for his wit; many of his repartees are recorded in Duffy's 'League of North and South' (1886, pp. 211, 227) and in Serjeant Robinson's 'Bench and Bar' (1891). Only one work bears his name on the title-page, 'Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Court of Exchequer, 1836-1837,' which was written in conjunction with Edwin T. Hurlstone, 8vo, London, 1838.

A first cousin, Jeremiah Daniel Murphy (1806–1824), born at Cork in 1806, developed as a boy rare linguistic faculties, mastering Greek, Latin, French, Portuguese, Spanish. German, and Irish. He contributed to 'Blackwood's Magazine' some excellent Latin verse: 'Adventus Regis' (December 1821), and an English poem, 'The Rising of the North' (November 1822). He died of disease of heart on 5 Jan. 1824, and his precocity was commemorated in English and Latin verse in 'Blackwood's' next month (cf. Bates, Maclise Gallery, pp. 41, 489).

[Annual Register, 1860; Gent. Mag. 1860 authorities cited in text.]

D. J. O'D.