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Henry De La Poire Murphy

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Henry De La Poire Murphy (1828-1871)


1872 Obituary [1]

MR. HENRY DE LA POIRE MURPHY, the son of Mr. Henry C. B. MacMorrough Murphy, a practising solicitor in Dublin, was born in that city on the 28th of April, 1828.

During his earlier years he enjoyed the advantages of a liberal scholastic education. When quite a boy he showed a tendency for a seafaring life, and was accordingly submitted to the usual training for that profession.

At the age of fifteen he had completed the prescribed course of navigation and marine surveying, and then entered upon active duties in the mercantile service. Mr. Murphy followed that profession assiduously, availing himself of all the means of improvement within his reach ; and, making his way upwards with steady advances, secured the confidence and esteem of his commanders and brother officers in the service. In other respects, however, his naval career was a singularly unlucky one, He was three times shipwrecked, and on each occasion narrowly escaped being drowned.

In the year 1859, wearied with disappointments and discouraged by his losses, Mr. Murphy joined some relatives then resident in Bombay, and was thus enabled to enjoy a short period of relaxation, after fifteen years of almost incessant toil and exposure to the destructive influences of a tropical climate.

During his residence in Bombay, Mr. Murphy was introduced to Major-General Walter Scott, then Chief-Engineer at the Presidency, who, knowing his repugnance to resume a seafaring life, and entertaining a high opinion of his executive and intellectual qualities, obtained for him an appointment on certain survey operations then being carried out in the province at Guzerat, under Captain Chambers, of the Royal (Madras) Engineers.

On the conclusion of these surveys, Mr. Murphy was attached to the Bombay Harbour defence works, as nautical assistant, in which capacity he had charge of a considerable fleet of steamers, and other craft. He was also placed in charge of the extensive workshops connected with the harbour defence works ; and besides reclaiming a considerable area of the shore, for the construction of boat-harbours, landing-wharves, &C., he executed a pier of some magnitude for the shipment of the stone employed in the construction of the several batteries.

In every position that Mr. Murphy held, and in all the work that he carried out as a government officer, he displayed an energy and power of organization that commanded the approval and admiration of his superiors. In cases of emergency it was no uncommon thing for Mr. Murphy to be entrusted with the performance of the required duties. During the despatch of the war and engineering materials for the Abyssinian campaign from Bombay, great difficulties were experienced in lading the transport vessels and clearing them out of port. They were, in most instances chartered by time, and there was, therefore, little inducement on the part of the commanders to hasten their departure.

Mr. Murphy was, however, detailed for the important duty of superintending the shipment of the plant, and contributed inn o small degree to the success of the preliminary arrangements of the undertaking. The exposure, loss of rest, and the anxiety, however, proved too much for his long-tried constitution, and after a period of broken health he was compelled to leave India, and seek the restoring influences of a home climate. The change unfortunately proved of little benefit, and Mr. Murphy, after two years of almost constant travel through England, France, and Ireland, died in Dublin on the 6th day of April, 1871, in the 44th year of his age, deeply regretted by all who knew him.

Mr. Murphy was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 4th of May, 1869.


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