Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 41.djvu/39

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Nicholson
Nicholson
33

ballot was won, and the ministry was forced to accept it as part of their electoral act, the cruder form of Nicholson's project being superseded by the method afterwards known as the ‘Australian ballot.’

Shortly afterwards (1856) Nicholson returned to England, where he was welcomed as the father of the ballot, not yet adopted in the old country, and spoke in public on the subject on several occasions. On 14 April 1858, at the Freemasons' Hall, he was presented by the council of the Society for Promoting the Adoption of the Ballot with an address, signed by Cobden, Bright, and others, recognising his services in the cause. John Stuart Mill, writing to Henry Samuel Chapman of Victoria in the same year, refers to Nicholson's fame, and the interest aroused in England by the adoption of the ballot in Victoria.

Returning in July 1858 to Melbourne, he unsuccessfully contested one of its districts, but was elected to the assembly for Murray in January 1859, and for Sandridge at the general election in August of the same year. He became chairman of the Constitutional Association formed to overthrow the existing (O'Shanassy) government, and in November 1859, at the opening of parliament, defeated the government on an amendment to the address.

Nicholson now became premier, and formed a strong ministry, with James (afterwards Sir James) McCulloch [q. v.] in charge of finance. He set himself to settle the land question on the basis of throwing open the colony's lands in blocks to free selection, and of payment by instalments. The upper chamber emasculated his bill, and Nicholson resigned; but the governor, Sir Henry Barkly, declined to accept his resignation on public grounds, and he continued in office, sending the bill, again amended, back to the council. That chamber cut out the amendments a second time, and Nicholson resigned; but, after the failure of three others to form a ministry, returned to office, with his cabinet impaired by the loss of two leading ministers. Ultimately, after a riot before the parliament house (28 May), and compromise on both sides, the bill, considerably changed, became the Land Act of 1860. After a short recess the houses met again in November 1860, and Nicholson, defeated on an amendment to the address, resigned office, and became the leader of the opposition. In 1862 he joined O'Shanassy's second administration, without portfolio.

In January 1864 Nicholson was suddenly struck down by paralysis, and he died at St. Kilda on 10 March 1865. He was buried at the Melbourne general cemetery. His portrait hangs in the council chamber of the Melbourne town-hall.

Nicholson was a great promoter of the benefit building society systems, a founder of the Bank of Victoria, and chairman of the Australian Fire and Life Insurance Company. In 1859 he was chairman of the Melbourne chamber of commerce. He held a very high reputation as a magistrate.

Nicholson married Sarah Fairclough, and left children, who remained in Australia.

[Melbourne Argus, 10 March 1865; McCombie's History of Victoria, 1858, p. 294; Kelly's Victoria, 1859, ii. 263 seq.; Heaton's Australian Dictionary of Dates and Men of the Time, 1879.]

C. A. H.

NICHOLSON, WILLIAM ADAMS (1803–1853), architect, born on 8 Aug. 1803 at Southwell, Nottinghamshire, was the son of James Nicholson, carpenter and joiner, who relinquished business about 1838 and became sub-agent to Sir Richard Sutton's estates in Nottinghamshire and Norfolk. William was articled about July 1821, for three years, to John Buonarotti Papworth [q. v.], architect, of London. In 1828 he established himself at Lincoln, and there and in the neighbouring counties he formed an extensive practice. Among his numerous works he designed the churches at Glandford-Brigg, at Wragby, and at Kirmond, both on the estate of C. Turnor, esq. Many other churches were restored under his supervision, including that of St. Peter at Gowts in Lincoln, which was not quite completed at his death. Among the numerous residences erected from his designs are those of Worsborough Hall, Yorkshire; the Castle of Bayons Manor for the Right Hon. C. T. D'Eyncourt; and Elkington Hall, near Louth. He also designed the town-hall at Mansfield. The village of Blankney, near Lincoln, was almost rebuilt under his superintendence; while the estates of General Reeve, Sir J. Wyldbore Smith, bart., Mr. C. Turnor, Mr. C. Chaplin, among several others, evince his skill in farm buildings. In Lincoln he erected in 1837 the Wesley Chapel, for two thousand persons, and subsequently designed the union workhouse; the Corn Exchange in 1847, since enlarged, a corn-mill, and several private residences. From 1839 to 1846, as Nicholson & Goddard, the firm carried out many works, including the dispensary at Nottingham. He joined the Royal Institute of British Architects as a fellow at its commencement. In the ‘Transactions’ for 1842 is printed his ‘Report on the Construction of the Stone Arch between the West Towers of Lincoln Cathedral,’ taken from very care-