Page:A Compendium of Irish Biography.djvu/564

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the greater portion of the expense out of her scanty means. Archbishop Ussher is described as well made, and moderately tall, of an erect carriage, with brown hair and a ruddy complexion; his features expressed gravity and benevolence, and his appearance commanded respect and reverence. He was of a vigorous constitution and of simple and temperate habits, which enabled him to bear a life of incessant study; his manners were courteous and affable, his temper sweet and peaceable. He was an impressive preacher, "not with enticing words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and with power." He was of a deeply religious cast of mind — his intolerance being a fault common to all men in that age. Ussher was a voluminous writer both in Latin and English: in the list in Harris's Ware his works number some forty. Perhaps one of the most important of them was Annales Vetens Testamenti (London, 1650). That relating to Ireland oftenest quoted is his Religion Antiently Professed by the Irish and English (London, 1631). An edition of the Whole Works of Archbishop Ussher, in 17 vols., was published at the expense of Trinity College, Dublin, between 1848 and 1864. It contains much matter for the first time printed, and Dr. Elrington is said to have devoted nearly twenty years of his life to its preparation. At his death, in 1850, vol. xiv. remained unfinished, which was completed by Dr. Reeves; who also compiled the indexes which form the substance of vol. xvii. This sketch is taken from Dr. Elrington's memoir of the Archbishop's life, which occupies the first volume of the above edition. Dr. Elrington says: "The works which he had published sufficiently attest the stupendous extent of his information, and the skill with which he could make use of the treasures he possessed. His name became celebrated throughout Europe, and his services to the cause of literature, more especially in the departments of history and chronology, have been acknowleged by all modern writers." Ussher had intended to bequeath his magnificent library of 10,000 volumes to Trinity College; but the shattered state of his finances compelled him to leave it as an only provision for his daughter. The King of Denmark and Cardinal Mazarin competed for its purchase. Cromwell, however, refused to let it out of the kingdom, and obliged his daughter to accept the insufficient sum of £2,200 subscribed by the army of Ireland as a donation to Trinity College. On the receipt of the books in Dublin, they were retained at the Castle, open to depredations, and it was not until the Restoration that the remnant were handed over to the College Library, where they remain—a monument to the wisdom and learning of the great Archbishop. Several remarks upon Archbishop Ussher and upon Elrington's edition of his life will be found in the 2nd and 3rd Series of Notes and Queries. [Ambrose Ussher, the Archbishop's brother, a fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, was a man of some eminence. According to Ware, the Library of the College was enriched with thirty-five manuscripts in his handwriting, including a complete translation of the Bible, and an Arabic Dictionary and Grammar.] 118 334 339

Ussher, James, author, a descendant of the Archbishop, was born in the County of Dublin, about 1 720. He was successively a farmer, a linen-draper, a Catholic clergyman, and a school teacher (for a time in partnership with John Walker, author of the Pronouncing Dictionary). He wrote a Discourse on Taste (2 vols., 1772), and some minor works, and died at Kensington in 1772. 16 38

Vallancey, Charles, General, an antiquary, was born in England in 1721. He entered the army at an early age, was attached to the Royal Engineers, became a lieutenant-general in 1798, and a general in 1803. He came to Ireland before 1770 to assist in a military survey of the island, and made the country his adopted home. His attention was strongly drawn towards the history, philology, and antiquities of Ireland at a time when they were almost entirely ignored, and he published the following, among other works: Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, 6 vols., between 1770 and 1804; Essay on the Irish Language, 1772; Grammar of the Irish Language, 1773; Vindication of the Antient Kingdom of Ireland, 1786; Antient History of Ireland proved from the Sanscrit Books, 1797; Prospectus of a Dictionary of the Aire Coti or Antient Irish, 1802. He was a member of many learned societies, was created an honorary LL.D., and became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1784. During the Insurrection he furnished the Government with plans for the defence of Dublin. Queen's-bridge, Dublin, was built from his designs. He died 8th August 1812, aged 91. There are portraits of him in the Royal Irish Academy and in the board-room of the Royal Dublin Society. In the light of modern research his theories and conclusions—a fanciful compound of crude deductions from imperfect knowledge—are shown to be without value, and such as would not now receive a mo-540