Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/298

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Alford
Alford
284

rally, at a later date, one of the leaders of the company for the revision of the English New Testament until his death. In the last year of his life he undertook a commentary on the Old Testament, which was only carried to the twenty-fifth chapter of Exodus at the time of his death.

His works were very miscellaneous, comprising a book on the Greek poets, selections of English prose and verse for translation into the classical languages and vice versâ, a volume entitled ‘The Queen's English,’ lectures on English descriptive poetry, and many other subjects. He edited the works of Dr. Donne, in seven volumes, for J. W. Parker, in 1839. He was editor of ‘Dearden's Magazine,’ published at Nottingham at the same time. In later life he was the first editor of the ‘Contemporary Review,’ and to this and ‘Good Words’ and the ‘Sunday Magazine’ he was a constant contributor. Indeed, he was one of the most voluminous writers of our age. The list of his works, with a short statement of their subjects, occupies an appendix to his ‘Life’ of 15 pages 8vo. They comprise 48 volumes, some of which are slight, but others, like the Poems and the Greek Testament, exceedingly laborious; 104 articles in reviews, and 21 short separate pieces, hymns, sermons, or tracts. His activity and powers of sustained intellectual work were very remarkable. He passed rapidly and without rest from one employment to another. When he commenced his New Testament he was working seven hours a day with pupils, besides having the charge of a parish and the cares of a family; and throughout life his standard of work was on a similar scale. He had extraordinary buoyancy; but the effects of overstrain began to tell upon him some ten years before his death, and he was obliged to take frequent intervals of repose, mostly in the shape of foreign tours, which became longer and more frequent. His death, in his sixty-first year, was sudden, and appears to have had no other cause than the exhaustion of the vital energy.

[The materials for this article are gathered from ‘The Life of Dean Alford by his Widow’ (Rivingtons, 1873), from a general acquaintance with his works, and from personal reminiscences.]

W. H. F.


ALFORD, MICHAEL (1587–1652), a Jesuit and ecclesiastical historian, whose real name was Griffiths, was born in London in 1587, and entered the noviciate of the Society of Jesus at Louvain in 1607. He studied philosophy in the college of the English Jesuits at Seville, and theology at Louvain. On his promotion to the priesthood he was ordered to Naples to attend the English gentry, merchants, and sailors there. In 1615 he was English penitentiary at St. Peter's, Rome. He was appointed Socius to the Master of Novices at Liége, and in 1621 he became rector of the house of Tertians at Ghent. In 1629, or late in the previous year, he was sent to the English mission. On landing at Dover he was arrested on suspicion of his being Dr. Richard Smith, bishop of Chalcedon, for whose apprehension the government had offered a reward of 200l. He was conveyed by his captors to London, but as his person in no respect corresponded with the description of the bishop, he was restored to liberty, through the mediation of Queen Henrietta Maria, consort of Charles I. The county of Leicester was the chief scene of Father Alford's missionary labours. There is, however, a tradition, apparently well founded, that he resided for some time at Combe, in Herefordshire. In 1636 he was rector of the ‘Residence’ of St. Anne, comprising the county of Leicester. He resided at Holt, where he employed his leisure in composing his learned works. In order to put the finishing stroke to his ‘Annales Ecclesiastici,’ he obtained leave to retire to the College of St. Omer in the spring of 1652, and while there he was attacked by a fever, from which he died on 11 Aug. in the same year. His works are:

1. ‘The Admirable Life of St. Winefride,’ 1635 (a translation), re-edited the same year by Father John Falconer. 2. ‘Britannia Illustrata, sive Lucii, Helenæ, Constantini, Patria et Fides,’ Antwerp, 1641, 4to, an extremely rare work, containing much curious matter connected with English and Irish history. It has an appendix, ‘De tribus hodie controversis, de Paschate Britannorum, de Clericorum Nuptiis, num olim Britannia coluerit Rom. Ecclesiam?’ 3. ‘Fides Regia Britannica sive Annales Ecclesiæ Britannicæ. Ubi potissimum Britannorum Catholica, Romana, et Orthodoxa Fides per quinque prima sæcula: e Regum et Augustorum factis, et aliorum sanctorum rebus è virtute gestis, asseritur,’ 4 large folio vols. Liége, 1663. It is remarkable that the title-page varies in each of these handsome volumes. Bishop Fleetwood has pronounced this collection to be a very valuable treasury of the ecclesiastical history of our nation.

[Foley's Records S. J. ii. 299, vii. 320; Oliver's Collectanea S. J. 42; Ribadeneira, Bibl. Script. Soc. Jesu, ed. Southwell, 610; De Backer, Bibliothèque des Ecrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus, (1869), i. 70; Butler's Lives of the Saints (1838), ii. 796 n.; Dodd's Church History (1737), iii. 310.]

T. C.