Loftus, Dudley

, a very learned oriental scholar, was the second son of sir Adam Loftus, and great grandson of Dr. Adam Loftus, who was archbishop of Armagh, then of Dublin, and one of the lords justices, and lord chancellor of Ireland. He was born in 1618, at Rathfarnam, near Dublin, a stately castle built by his ancestor the archbishop, and was educated in Trinity college, where he was admitted fellow- commoner in 1635. About the time he took his first degree in arts, the extraordinary proficiency he had made in languages attracted the notice of arciibishop Usher, who earnestly advised his father to send him to Oxford, where he might improve his oriental learning, a matter which that worthy prelate considered as highly important in the investigation of the history and principles of the Christian religion. Mr. Loftus was accordingly sent by his father to Oxford, and entered of University college, where he was incorporated B. A. in November 1639, About this time he commenced the | study of the law, with a view to take his bachelor’s degree in that faculty, but at the persuasion of his friends in University college, took his degree of master of arts in 1641, and then returned to Ireland at the moment the rebellion broke out. His father, who was at that time vice-treasurer, and one of the privy council, procured a garrison to be placed in his castle of Rathfarnam, and gave the command of it to his son Dudley, who displayed his skill and courage, by defending the city from the incursions of the Irish inhabiting the neighbouring mountains. He was afterwards made one of the masters in chancery, vicargeneral of Ireland, and judge of the prerogative court and faculties, all which offices he held to the time of his death. He was also a doctor of the civil law, and esteemed the most learned of any of his countrymen in that faculty. Towards the latter part of his life, his talents and memory were very much impaired, and when about seventy-six years of age, he married a second wife, but died the year following, in June 1695, and was buried in St. Patrick’s church, Dublin.

Mr. Loftus’s greatest excellence lay in the knowledge of various languages, especially the oriental; and it is said, that when only twenty years of age, he was able to translate as many languages into English. Among archbishop Usher’s letters is one from him to that prelate, which, although short, shews his avidity to search out oriental books and Mss.; as well as his high respect and gratitude to Usher, who first directed his attention to the treasures of the Bodleian library. Yet his character in other respects does not correspond with his parts or learning. He was accounted, says Harris, an improvident and unwise man, and his many levities and want of conduct gave the world too much reason to think so. The same biographer mentions “a great, but free-spoken prelate,” who said of Mr. Loftus, that “he never knew so much learning in the keeping of a fool.

His learning, indeed, and his industry appear very evident by his many writings. Besides the ^thiopic New Testament which he translated into Latin, at the request of Usher and Selden, for the Polyglot, and which procured him from Walton the character of “vir doctissimus, tain generis prosapia, quam linguaruoi orientalium scientia, nobilis,” he published, 1. “Logica Armeniaca in Latinam traducta,Dublin, 1657, 12mo. 2. “Introductio in totam | Aristotelis Philosophiam,” ibid. 1657, 12mo. 3. “The Proceedings observed in order to, and in the consecration of, the twelve Bishops in St. Patrick’s Church in Dublin, Jan. 27, 1660,” Lond. 1661, 4to. 4. “Liber Psalmorum Davidis ex Armeniaco idiotnate in Latinum traductus,Dublin, 1661, 12mo. 5. “Oratio funebris habita post exuvias nuperi Rev. jbatris Joan. (Bramhall) archiepiscopi Armacbani,” ibid. 1663, 4to. 6. “The Speech of James duke of Ormond, made in a parliament at Dublin, Sept. 17, 1662, translated into the Italian,” ibid. 1664. 7. “Reductio litium de libero arbitrio, proedestinatione, et reprobatione ad arbitrium boni viri,” ibid. 1670, 4to. 8. “A, Book demonstrating that it was inconsistent with the English government, that the Irish rebels should be admitted to their former condition with impunity, by topics drawn from principles of law, policy, and conscience,” published under the name of Philo-Britannicus. 9. “Lettera esortatoria di mettere opera a fare sincera penitenza mandata alia signora F. M. L. P. &c.1667, 4to. This piece was written on account of a lady of Irish birth, with whom he was criminally connected, and whom he wished to pass for an Italian, as she was educated in Italy. Her name was Francisca Maria Lucretia Plunket. It was to her he wrote this exhortatory letter, which was followed soon after by, 10. “The Vindication of an injured lady, F. M. Lucretia Plunket, one of the ladies of the privy chamber to the queen mother of England,” Lond. 1667, J-to. i I Two pamphlets of the “Case of Ware and Shirley,” a gentleman who married an heiress against her will. 12. “A Speech delivered at the Visitation held in the diocese of Clogher, vacant e, Sept. 27, 1671,Dublin, 1671, 4to. 13. “The first marriage of Katherine Fitzgerald (now lady Decies), &c. asserted,” Lond. 1677, 4to. Readers of the present times will be surprised to be told, that this pamphlet relates to the marriage of lord Decies, aged eight years, to Katherine Fitz-gerald, aged twelve and a half. The little lady in about twenty months took another husband, Edward Villiers, esq. Mr. Loftus’s opinion was, that the first marriage was legal. His argument was answered by Robert Thomson, LL. D. in a pamphlet under the title of “Sponsa nondum uxor,” Lond. 1678, 4to. 14. “Several Chapters of Dionysius Syrus’s Comment on St. John the Evangelist, concerning the Life and Death of our Saviour,Dublin, 4 to. 15. “The | Commentary on the Four Evangelists, by Dionysius Syrus, out of the Syriac tongue.” 16. “Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistles, by Moses Bar-Cepha, out of the Syriac.” 17. “Exposition of Dionysius Syrus, on St. Mark,Dublin, 1676, 4to, according to Harris, but by the Bodleian catalogue it would appear that most, if not all, the four preceding articles were published together in 1672. 18. “History of the Eastern and Western Churches, by Gregory Maphrino, translated into Latin from the Syriac.” 19. “Commentary on the general Epistles, and Acts of the Apostles, by Gregory Maphrino.” 20 “Praxis cultusdivini juxta ritus primoevorum Christianorum,” containing various ancient liturgies, &c. Dublin, 1693, 4to. 21. “A clear and learned Explication of the History of our Blessed Saviour, taken out of above thirty Greek, Syriac, and other oriental authors, by way of Catena, by Dionysius Syrus, translated into English,Dublin, 1695, 4to. Harris mentions a few other translations from the Armenian, Arabic, and Syriac, but without date or place, and which probably were printed with some of the preceding.1

1 Ath. Ox. vol II. Harris’s edition of Ware’s Ireland. Lodge’s Peerage of Ireland, art. Loftus.