Patrick O’Brien

That  men of extraordinary stature, called giants, have frequently existed, we know, but there is no good reason to believe that the general stature of man was ever different from what it now is. If men were either smaller or larger than they are, they would be ill proportioned to the condition of things around them; beside, those of extraordinary height have usually a feeble pulse, and short lives. Those greatly below the usual stature, generally die early. It is fair to infer from these facts, that the present average height of man is the permanent standard. Among the mummies of Egypt, or the ancient remains of mankind found in other countries, there appears to be no general deviation from the common height.

Of the individual instances of great stature, Patrick O'Brien, born in the county of Kinsale, Ireland, in 1761, affords a memorable instance. He was put to the trade of a bricklayer, but such was his height at eighteen, that he was taken to England, and shown as the Irish giant. At twenty-five he attained the height of eight feet and seven inches; and, though not well made, his bulk was proportioned to his height. He continued to exhibit himself for several years, when, having realized an independence, he retired to the vicinity of Epping forest, where he died, in 1806. He was peculiarly mild and gentle in his character and manners. His body was enclosed in a leaden coffin, 9 feet 2 inches long, and to prevent any attempt to disturb his remains, his grave, by his own direction, was sunk twelve feet in the solid rock.