Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 41.djvu/34

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Nicholson
Nicholson
28

marle, who had been consecrated with him in the preceding January. Evelyn, who was present, describes it as 'a decent solemnity' (Evelyn, Diary, i. 331). He was appointed to the sinecure rectory of Llansantfraid-yn-Mechan in Montgomeryshire in 1663. According to Baxter, though not a commissioner, he attended the meetings of the Savoy conference, and 'spake once or twice a few words calmly' (Kennett, Register, p. 508). His treatment of the nonconformists in his diocese was conciliatory. He connived at the preaching of those whom he had reason to respect, and offered a valuable living to one of them if he would conform (ib. pp. 815, 817, 918). He was the 'constant patron' of the great theologian, Dr. George Bull [q. v.], who, at his earnest request, was presented by Lord Clarendon to a living in his diocese. In 1663 he caused a new font to be erected in Gloucester Cathedral, and solemnly dedicated it. For this he was attacked in a scurrilous pamphlet, entitled 'More News from Rome' (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. iii. 950 n.) Nicholson's name is quoted as an authority in the controversy as to the authorship of ' Eikon Basilike.' After her husband's death in 1662 the widow of Bishop Gauden settled in Gloucester, and, on the occasion of her receiving the holy communion, the bishop, 'wishing to be fully satisfied on that point, did put the question to her, and she solemnly affirmed that it was wrote by her husband' (Wordsworth, Who wrote Ikon Basilike? pp. 31, 32). He died on 5 Feb. 1672, aged 72, and was buried in a side chantry of the lady-chapel at Gloucester, in which his wife Elizabeth, who predeceased him on 20 April 1663, had also been interred. A monument was erected by his grandson, Owen Brigstocke, of Lechdenny, Carmarthenshire, with an epitaph by his friend Dr. Bull, describing him as 'legenda scribens, faciens scribenda' (see Heber, Life of Taylor, p. cccxiv). He is described as one who 'had the reputation of a right learned divine, conversant in the fathers and schoolmen, and excellent in the critical part of grammar; proved by his works to be a person of great erudition, endowed with prudence and modesty, and of a moderate mind' (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. iii. 950, iv. 848; Salmon, Lives of English Bishops, p. 267). 'He had all the merit necessary to fill so great a station in the church to the best advantage, having at heart the good of his church and the honour of his clergy; a great encourager of learning and of learned men' (Nelson, Life of Bull, pp. 44, 176).

He published: 1. 'A plain Exposition of the Church Catechism,' 1655 (re-issued in the library of Anglo-catholic theology). 2. 'Apology for the Discipline of the Ancient Church,' 1659. 3. 'Plain Exposition of the Apostles' Creed' (dedicated to Bishop Sheldon), 1661. 4. 'Easy Analysis of the whole Book of Psalms,' 1662.

[Bloxam's Registers of Magdalen, i. 29; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714, iii. 1072; Godwin de Praesul. ii. 134; Britton's Gloucester Cathedral, p. 38; Memoir prefixed to the Exposition of the Catechism, Lib. Anglo-catholic Theology.]

E. V.

NICHOLSON, WILLIAM (1753–1815), man of science and inventor, born in 1753 in London, where his father practised as a solicitor, was educated in North Yorkshire. At the age of sixteen he entered the service of the East India Company, in whose ships he made two or three voyages to the East Indies before 1773. After that date he was employed for two years in the country trade in India. Returning home in 1776, he became commercial agent in Europe for Josiah Wedgwood, the celebrated porcelain manufacturer, but soon afterwards settled in London, where he started a school of mathematics. Here he pursued his scientific studies and experiments, while he employed his leisure in translating from the French and compiling various historical and philosophical works.

His first publication was an ‘Introduction to Natural Philosophy,’ 2 vols., London, 1781, a book which soon superseded Rowning's ‘System of Natural Philosophy’ as an elementary class-book. He next brought out a new edition of ‘Ralph's Survey of the Public Buildings of London and Westminster, with additions,’ London, 1782; and this was followed by ‘The History of Ayder Ali Khan, Nabob Buhader; or New Memoirs concerning the East Indies, with Historical Notes,’ 2 vols., London, 1783. His ‘Navigator's Assistant,’ 1784, was intended to supersede Moore's ‘Practical Navigator,’ but met with little success. His ‘Abstract of the Arts relative to the Exportation of Wool,’ 1786, was followed in 1787 by his communication to the Royal Society of ‘The Principles and Illustration of an advantageous Method of arranging the Differences of Logarithms, on Lines graduated for the purpose of Computation,’ 1787 (Phil. Trans. lxxvii. 246). There Nicholson gave examples of several mathematical instruments, including a rule consisting of ten parallel lines, equivalent to a double line of numbers upwards of twenty feet in length; secondly, a beam compass for measuring intervals; thirdly, a Gunter's scale; and fourthly, a circular instrument, which was a combination of the Gunter's line and sector, with improvements rendering it superior to either.