Ussher, Ambrose (DNB00)

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USSHER, AMBROSE (1582?–1629), scholar, born in Dublin about 1582, was third but second surviving son of Arland Ussher and his wife Margaret. James Ussher [q. v.], archbishop of Armagh, was his elder brother. Probably he was, like his brother, educated at the school in Schoolhouse Lane, Dublin; subsequently he is said to have been for a time at Cambridge. He, however, soon returned to Dublin, where he graduated M.A. and was elected fellow of the recently established university in 1601. He devoted his life to unremitting study, and, in addition to more ordinary acquirements of scholarship, he became learned in Hebrew and Arabic. Among his correspondents was Henry Briggs [q. v.] the mathematician (Rawlinson MS. C. 849, f. 5). Before the completion of the authorised version of the Bible, Ussher prepared a translation from the original Hebrew, which he dedicated to James I. It remains in manuscript in three volumes in the library of Trinity College, Dublin; a long extract from the ‘Epistle Dedicatorie’ and Ussher's translation of Genesis, chap. i., are printed in the historical manuscripts commission's fourth report (App. pp. 598–9; cf. Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ix. 102). Ussher died at Dublin, unmarried, and was buried on 4 March 1628–9. The only work he published was a ‘Brief Catechism very well serving for the Instruction of Youth,’ printed at Dublin without date. He left, however, thirty-four works in manuscript, now preserved in Trinity College, Dublin. They include several volumes of sermons, commentaries on various portions of scripture, and notes on classical authors. Besides the translation of the Bible above mentioned, the more important are: 1. ‘Disputationes contra Bellarminum,’ 4 vols. 2. ‘An Arabian Dictionary and Grammar.’ 3. ‘Laus Astronomiæ.’ 4. ‘De Usu Sphæræ cum numero Constellationum.’ 5. ‘Summaria Religionis Christianæ Methodus.’ 6. ‘Of the Kingdom of Great Britain, or a Discourse on the Question of Scotland's Union with England.’ 7. ‘The Principles of Religion explained in English, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.’ 8. ‘Confutatio Errorum Ecclesiæ Romanæ.’ 9. ‘Prolegomena Arabica.’ 10. ‘Collectanea Arabica et Hebraica.’

[Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. pp. 588, 589, 591, 592–3, 598–9; Rawlinson MS. C. 849, ff. 5, 262; Ussher's Letters, ed. Parr, 1696; Elrington's Life and Works of Ussher, i. 95–7; Wright's Ussher Memoirs, 1889; Ware's Irish Writers, ed. Harris; Taylor's Univ. of Dublin, pp. 269, 366.]

A. F. P.