Wood dismisses the story of its cause with the remark, ‘I shall only say that our Author Hill was a person of good parts, but humorous; that he had a peculiar and affected way, different from others in his writings, that he entertained fantastical notions in his philosophy, and that as he had lived most of his time in the Romish persuasion, so he died, but cannot be convinced that he should die the death of a fool or a madman.’ He left in the hands of his widow many papers upon the essence of God, the eternity and infinity of matter, and the like. Copies of these essays appear to have been made by several hands, but his only printed work was a treatise on philosophy, dedicated to his son Laurence, and entitled ‘Philosophia Epicurea, Democritiana, Theophrastica, proposita simpliciter non edocta,’ Paris, 1601, 8vo; another edition, Geneva, 1619, 12mo. Ben Jonson mentions Hill in his ‘Epigrams’ (No. 134) thus:
… those Atomi ridiculous,
Whereof old Democrite and Hill Nicholis,
One said, the other swore, the world consists.
[Wilson's Hist. of Merchant Taylors' School; Oxf. Univ. Reg. II. ii. 160, iii. 171 (Oxford Hist. Soc.); Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 86.]
HILL, PASCOE GRENFELL (1804–1882), miscellaneous writer, son of Major Thomas Hill, was born at Marazion, Cornwall, on 15 May 1804. He was educated at Mill Hill School, Middlesex, and at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. in 1836. In the same year he was ordained a priest, and became a chaplain in the royal navy, in which he served till 1845, when he was placed on the retired list. During his service at sea he saw much of the slave trade on the African coast, of which he afterwards published an account in two works. An early publication, entitled ‘Poems on Several Occasions’ (chiefly love poems), was dedicated to his uncle, Oliver Hill, but in after years he repented of this production. From 1852 to 1857 he was chaplain of the Westminster Hospital, and for some time morning reader at Westminster Abbey. On 26 Jan. 1863 he was appointed rector of St. Edmund the King and Martyr with St. Nicholas Acons, Lombard Street, city of London, where he continued to his death. He endeavoured to enliven his church by providing a succession of preachers, by improving the choir, and holding short services in the middle of the day. He was the first to introduce a surpliced choir into a city church. He died at the rectory house, 32 Finsbury Square, London, 28 Aug. 1882, and was buried in the City of London cemetery at Ilford. His wife, Ellen Annetta, whom he married 26 Jan. 1846, died 18 April 1878. Hill was the author of: 1. ‘Fifty Days on Board a Slave Ship in the Mozambique Channel,’ 1843; 3rd ed. 1853. 2. ‘Poems on Several Occasions,’ Penzance, 1845. 3. ‘A Voyage to the Slave Coasts of West and East Africa,’ 1849. 4. ‘A Journey through Palestine,’ 1852. 5. ‘The Kaffir War,’ 1852. 6. ‘A Visit to Cairo,’ 1853. 7. ‘The Christian Soldier, a sermon,’ 1853. 8. ‘Modern British Poesy, with Biographical Sketches,’ 1856. 9. ‘Letter to the Lord Mayor on Street Slaughter,’ 1866. 10. ‘Life of Napoleon,’ 3 vols. 1869.
[City Press, 2 Sept. 1882, p. 5; Citizen, 2 Sept. 1882, p. 2; Times, 30 Aug. 1882, p. 10; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. i. 240; Boase's Collectanea Cornubiensia, p. 365.]
HILL, RICHARD (1655–1727), statesman and diplomatist, second son of Rowland Hill of Hawkstone, Shropshire, and his wife Margaret, daughter of Richard Whitehall of Doddington in the same county, was born at Hawkstone on 23 March 1655. He was educated at Shrewsbury School, and afterwards at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1675, and became a fellow. While acting as tutor to Lord Hyde, the eldest son of Laurence, first earl of Rochester [q. v.], he became acquainted with Richard, earl of Ranelagh, the paymaster of the forces, by whom he was appointed deputy-paymaster to the army in Flanders, a post which he held for six years. In 1696 he became envoy extraordinary to the elector of Bavaria at Brussels (Luttrell, iv. 37). He succeeded Sir Joseph Williamson in 1699 as ambassador at the Hague (ib. iv. 495, 520, 576), and in the same year went on a special mission to the court of Turin. On 15 Nov. 1699 he was appointed a lord of the treasury, and continued in that office until the accession of Queen Anne to the throne. On 20 May 1702 Hill became one of the council to Prince George of Denmark, the lord high admiral, and in July 1703 was appointed envoy extraordinary to the Duke of Savoy. After meeting with many delays and difficulties Hill succeeded in detaching the duke from Lewis XIV, and induced him to join the grand alliance. In accordance with his instructions he gave his assistance to the Vaudois and other protestants in the duke's dominions, and was successful in obtaining the revocation of the decrees against the Vaudois, and the confirmation in their favour of the secret article of 20 Oct. 1690, and of the edict of 23 May 1694. Hill left Genoa in February 1706, and returned to England early in May. On the death of Prince George of Denmark in October 1708