20 Oct. 1640. On the commencement of the disturbances in Ireland in 1641, Loftus returned to Dublin and passed some time with the garrison in charge of his father's castle at Rathfarnham. He sat in the Irish House of Commons as member for Naas from 1642 to 1648. Under the pseudonym of ‘Philo Britannicus,’ and at the instance of Sir William Parsons, lord justice of Ireland, Loftus wrote a treatise to deprecate the admission of measures of compromise between the English government and the Irish then in arms. In 1647 Loftus was sent to London by the Marquis of Ormonde, viceroy of Ireland, to submit to the committee at Derby House the conditions of the surrender of Dublin to the commissioners of the parliament.
Under the parliamentarian rule in Ireland, Loftus held the offices of deputy-judge advocate, within the province of Leinster, from 24 June 1651. He was commissioner of revenue and judge of admiralty from 1654, and also filled a lucrative post in the exchequer. Cromwell in 1655 appointed Loftus a master in chancery in Ireland, and he was continued by Henry Cromwell in that office. After the Restoration Loftus was reappointed master in chancery in Ireland, and he also held the offices of judge of the prerogative court and vicar-general. He was elected in 1659 M.P. for both co. Kildare and co. Wicklow, for Bannow in 1661, and for Fethard, co. Wexford, in 1692. Loftus died in June 1695 in his seventy-sixth year, and was interred in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. He is stated to have been noted for levity, improvidence, and indiscretion.
Loftus married Frances, daughter of Patrick Nangle, and by her, who died 18 June 1691, had two sons and five daughters. All died young or unmarried except a daughter Letitia, whose husband was named Bladen.
Loftus was an accomplished orientalist. At the request of Selden and Ussher he supplied the Ethiopic version of the New Testament in Walton's Polyglot Bible with a Latin version (1657), and Walton bore testimony to Loftus's oriental scholarship.
A Latin catalogue of a collection of 128 manuscripts belonging to Loftus was printed at London in 1697. They included writings in Arabic, Armenian, English, French, Hebrew, Irish, Italian, Persian, Russian, Syriac, and Welsh. Some of these are extant in the British Museum, the Bodleian, Trinity College, and Marsh's Libraries, Dublin, but several manuscript volumes of Loftus were destroyed as waste paper by an ignorant relative.
- ‘Logica Armeniaca in Latinam traducta,’ Dublin, 1657, 12mo.
- ‘Introductio in totam Aristotelis Philosophiam,’ Dublin, 1657, 12mo.
- ‘Liber Psalmorum Davidis ex Armeniaco idiomate in Latinum traductus,’ Dublin, 1661, 12mo.
- ‘Lettera Esortatoria di mettere opera a fare sincera Penitenza,’ &c., 1667, 1667, 4to.
- ‘Reductio Litium ad Arbitrium Boni Viri de Prædestinatis et Reprobatis,’ Dublin, 1670, 4to.
- ‘Several Chapters of Dionysius Syrus's Comment on St. John the Evangelist,’ Dublin, 1672, 4to.
- ‘Exposition of Dionysius Syrus on St. Mark,’ Dublin, 1676, 4to.
- ‘Praxis Cultus Divini,’ Dublin, 1693, 4to; containing several ancient liturgies.
- ‘A Clear and Learned Explication of the History of our Blessed Saviour,’ Dublin, 1695, 4to; a translation from Dionysius Syrus.
Other translations are attributed to him by Watt (Bibl. Brit.), and he published several occasional tracts.
[Wood's Athenæ Oxonienses, ed. Bliss, iv. 428; Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, 1789, ed. Archdall, vii. 260–1; Ware's Writers of Ireland, 1746; Howard's Exchequer, 1776; Hist. of Dublin, 1859; Gilbert's Hist. of Irish Confederation, 1891; Journal of Antiquaries, Ireland, 1891.]
LOFTUS, WILLIAM KENNETT (1821?–1858), archæologist and traveller, born at Rye, Sussex, about 1821, was grandson of a well-known coach proprietor of the same name in Newcastle-on-Tyne. He was educated successively at Newcastle grammar school, at a school at Twickenham, and at Cambridge, where, however, he took no degree. He acted for some time as secretary to the Newcastle Natural History Society, and his interest in geology attracted the attention of Professor Sedgwick and afterwards of Sir Henry De la Beche. Sedgwick proposed him as a fellow of the Geological Society, and De la Beche recommended him to Lord Palmerston for the post of geologist on the staff of Sir William Fenwick Williams on the Turco-Persian Frontier Commission. On this work Loftus was engaged from 1849 to 1852. He went by land from Baghdad to Busrah to join the other members of the commission, and, as he was accompanied by an escort of troops, was able to visit the principal ruins on the way without risk. He discovered the interesting burial-mound and other remains at Warka, which was identified by Sir Henry Rawlinson with the ancient Erech or Ur of the Chaldees, the birthplace of Abraham. Returning a second time alone, Loftus made some excavations, and sent home two collections and a report to the British Museum. The most important articles