A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Urquhart, Sir Thomas

Urquhart, Sir Thomas (1611-1660).—Eccentric writer and translator, was ed. at King's Coll., Aberdeen, after leaving which he travelled in France, Spain, and Italy. He was bitterly opposed to the Covenanters, and fought against them at Turriff in 1639. His later life was passed between Scotland, England (where he was for some time a prisoner in the Tower), and the Continent, where he lived, 1642-45. A man of considerable ability and learning, his vanity and eccentricity verged upon insanity, and he is said to have d. from the effects of an uncontrollable fit of joyful laughter on hearing news of the Restoration. Among his extravagances was a genealogy of his family traced through his f. to Adam, and through his mother to Eve, he himself being the 153rd in descent. He pub. Trissotetras, a work on trigonometry (1645), an invective against the Presbyterians (1652), a scheme for a universal language, Logopandecteision (1653), and a partial translation of Rabelais (1653), a further portion being pub. in 1693. In the last he was assisted by Peter Anthony Motteux, a Frenchman who had established himself in England, who continued the work.