Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 41.djvu/41
NICKOLLS, JOHN (1710?–1745), antiquary, son of John Nickolls, a quaker miller of Ware, Hertfordshire, was born there in 1710 or 1711. He was apprenticed to Joseph Wyeth [q. v.], a merchant of London, and, after serving his time, became a partner with his father. At his house in Trinity parish, Queenhithe, he formed an excellent library. He also collected from the bookstalls about Moorfields two thousand prints of heads, which afterwards furnished Joseph Ames (1689–1759) [q. v.] with material for his ‘Catalogue of English Heads,’ London, 1748. From the widow of his former master, Joseph Wyeth, Nickolls received a number of letters at one time in Milton's possession; they had since belonged to Milton's secretary, Thomas Ellwood [q. v.], and had been used by Wyeth in the preparation for publication of Ellwood's ‘Journal,’ which was issued in 1713. Among them were letters from Sir Harry Vane, Colonels Overton, Harrison, and Venables, John Bradshaw, Andrew Marvel, and others, with numerous addresses from nonconformist ministers in Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Herefordshire, and Kent, Dublin, and elsewhere. William Oldys [q. v.] visited Nickolls at Queenhithe on 22 Dec. 1737, to see this collection of original letters ‘all pasted into a large volume folio, in number about 130’ (Oldys, Diary, 1862, p. 17). These valuable documents were issued by Nickolls in 1743 under the title of ‘Original Letters and Papers of State, addressed to Oliver Cromwell, concerning the Affairs of Great Britain. From the Year mdcxlix to mdclviii, found among the Political Collections of Mr. John Milton. Now first published from the Originals.’
Nickolls was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 17 Jan. 1740. He died of fever on 11 Jan. 1745, and was buried at Bunhill Fields on the 16th of the same month.
His father presented on 18 Jan. 1746 the original manuscripts of the collection to the Society of Antiquaries, to be by them preserved for public use. In their possession they still remain. Oldys says in his ‘Diary’ that Nickolls allowed Thomas Birch, D.D. [q. v.], to use from six to ten of them in his life of Oliver Cromwell contributed to the ‘General Dictionary, Historical and Critical,’ 1731–41. Nickolls's prints and rare pamphlets were purchased by Dr. John Fothergill [q. v.][Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. xi. 123; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, ii. 159, 160; Smith's Cat. of Friends' Books, ii. 238–9; Minutes of the Society of Antiquaries.]
NICOL, Mrs. (d. 1834?), actress, was about 1800 housekeeper to Colonel and the Hon. Mrs. Milner, and while in that capacity became a member of the Shakespearean Society of London, the members of which used to act in a little theatre in Tottenham Court Road. She played Belvidera for a charitable benefit at the old Lyceum, and was, when her dramatic aptitude was discovered, encouraged by her master and mistress, who allowed her to remain in their service until she had gained enough experience to take to the boards for a livelihood. This she did in the provinces, and married soon after. Neither her maiden name nor the spot she selected for her professional début has been recorded. Nicol, her husband, was a printer, and easily obtained a situation in Edinburgh, in which town she made her first appearance, 15 Dec. 1806, as Cicely in ‘Valentine and Orson.’ On 3 Aug. 1807 she played Miss Durable in Kenney's farce ‘Raising the Wind,’ and on 23 Nov. in the same year Cottager's Wife in Mrs. Inchbald's ‘Lovers' Vows.’ It was in 1807 that she finally succeeded Mrs. Charteris in the old-women rôles which the latter actress had long monopolised at the Theatre Royal. Other parts she played in 1807–8 were: Mrs. Scant in the ‘Village Lawyer,’ Alice in the ‘Castle Spectre,’ Lady Mary Raffle in ‘Wives as they were,’ Winifred in ‘Children of the Wood,’ Manse in the ‘Gentle Shepherd,’ &c. On 2 May 1808 she took her first benefit. When, in 1809, the management was taken by Henry Siddons, she went with him to the New Theatre Royal in Leith Walk, playing Monica, an old woman, in Dimond's ‘Flowers of the Forest.’ On 25 Feb. 1817 she was Mrs. M'Candlish in Terry's adaptation of Scott's ‘Guy Mannering,’ and on 14 July 1817 Mrs. Malaprop in the ‘Rivals.’ At the first production in Edinburgh of ‘Rob Roy’ (15 Feb. 1819) she played Jean McAlpine, and the same part on the occasion of the king's visit to the theatre, 27 Aug. 1822. On 3 Dec. 1819, the first occasion when gas was used, she played Mrs. Hardcastle in ‘She stoops to conquer.’ The ‘Scotsman’ newspaper said about this time, ‘Mrs. Nicol is extremely amusing in her aged department, just in most of her conceptions, and quite perfect in the acting of many of her parts.’ Other parts she sustained were Mrs. Glass in ‘Heart of Midlothian,’ 23 Feb. 1820; Miss Grizelda Oldbuck in the ‘Antiquary,’ 20 Dec. 1820; Mysie in the ‘Bride of Lammermoor,’ 1 May 1822. At this time Mrs. Nicol was receiving 2l. per week for her services, and filling all the