Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Murray, John Fisher

MURRAY, JOHN FISHER (1811–1865), Irish poet and humorist, eldest son of Dr. (afterwards Sir) James Murray [q. v.], was born in Belfast on 11 Feb. 1811, and after being educated in that town proceeded to Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. in 1830 and M.A. in 1832. His earliest productions apparently were published in 'Blackwood's Magazine,' to which he was for some years a constant contributor. There he wrote many amusing sketches of London life, afterwards reprinted separately, and also some stories and a series of papers in 1840, entitled 'Some Account of Himself, by the Irish Oyster Eater,' which have been attributed to William Maginn [q. v.] He also wrote for the 'Belfast Vindicator,' previous to 1840, and when the 'Nation' was started in 1842 contributed occasionally in its columns. His article entitled 'War with Everybody,' in its third number, was reprinted in 'The Voice of the Nation,' a collection of articles from the paper published in 1844. After a long interval he also wrote some poems for it over the signature of 'Maire,' one or two of which are still remembered. To the 'United Irishman' of 1848 Murray contributed a few characteristic pieces, and the 'Dublin University Magazine' contains a good many of his productions. His last years were spent in retirement, and his death took place in Dublin on 20 Oct. 1865. He was buried in Glasnevin. Murray's writings exhibit great satirical power, and were in their day widely popular. His 'Viceroy' is a scathing description of life in fashionable Dublin at the beginning of the century. His published volumes are: 1. 'The Court Doctor Dissected,' a severe pamphlet on the case of Lady Flora Hastings [q. v.], 8vo, London, 1839; fourth edition, 1839. 2. 'The Chinese and the Ministry,' 8vo, London, 1840. 3. 'The Viceroy,' a three-volume novel, 12mo, London, 1841. 4. 'The Environs of London Western Division,' 8vo, Edinburgh, 1842. 5. 'The World of London,' 2 vols. 8vo, Edinburgh, 1843; second series, 2 vols. 12mo, London, 1845.

[Duffy's Young Ireland, and Four Years of Irish History, 1880-1883; Northern Whig, 27 Oct. 1875; Brit. Mus. Cat]

D. J. O'D.