Scott, Joseph Nicoll (DNB00)

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SCOTT, JOSEPH NICOLL, M.D. (1703?–1769), dissenting minister and physician, eldest son of Thomas Scott, independent minister, was born at Hitchin, Hertfordshire, about 1703. His father, the son of Daniel Scott, a London merchant, by his first wife, and half-brother of Daniel Scott LL.D. [q. v.], was minister at Back Street Chapel, Hitchin (1700–9), and succeeded John Stackhouse as minister of a secession from the Old Meeting, Norwich, on 13 Oct. 1709. This secession had a meeting-place in the Blackfriars; but about 1717 differences were healed, and the elder Scott became minister of the Old Meeting.

Joseph Nicoll became his father's assistant about 1725. A change of his views in the Arian direction was followed by his dismissal in 1737 or 1738. To his father this was a terrible blow; his nervous system became permanently unhinged; he died on 15 Nov. 1746, aged 66. Doddridge speaks of him as ‘one of the holiest and most benevolent men upon the earth.’ He published two funeral sermons and an ‘Attempt to prove the Godhead of Christ,’ 1726, 8vo (sermon, John xx. 28; cf. his letters in Humphreys's Correspondence of Doddridge, iii. 424 sq.).

Dismissed from the Old Meeting, Scott was established by his friends in a Sunday lectureship at the French church, St. Mary-the-Less. At first he drew considerable audiences, and was patronised by members of the church of England. Two volumes of his discourses (1743) contain many striking sermons; one is on ‘the Mahometan Revelation considered;’ others affirm the ultimate annihilation of the wicked, anticipating the position of Samuel Bourn (1714–1796) [q. v.] of Norwich. His lecture was discontinued before the publication of the sermons. He studied medicine at Edinburgh, and graduated M.D. in 1744. For some years he practised in Norwich. A Mr. Reynolds, a casual acquaintance and admirer, left him an estate at Felsted, Essex; here he ended his days, dying on 23 Dec. 1769. A monument to his memory is in the Old Meeting, Norwich. ‘The Gracious Warning,’ a monody on his death, by George Wright, was published in 1774, 8vo. His widow (maiden name, Bell) died at Aylsham, Norfolk, in 1799, aged 87 (Gent. Mag. 1799, lxix. 352).

He published: 1. ‘Sermons … in defence of all Religion … Natural or Revealed,’ &c., 1743, 8vo, 2 vols. 2. ‘An Essay towards a Translation of Homer's Works in Blank Verse, with Notes,’ &c., 1755, 4to (a spirited version of thirteen selected passages from the ‘Iliad’). He also revised the etymologies from classic and oriental languages for an issue (1755, fol.) of the ‘English Dictionary,’ by Nathan Bailey [q. v.]

[Norfolk Tour, 1829, ii. 1248; Nomina eorum qui Gradum M.D. in Academia … Edinburgi … adepti sunt, 1846, p. 3; Browne's Hist. Congr. Norf. and Suff. 1877, pp. 267 sq.; Urwick's Nonconformity in Herts, 1884, p. 650; information kindly furnished by Hardinge F. Giffard, esq., F.S.A.]

A. G.