Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 03.djvu/82

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Ball
Ball
76

at Barley in Hertfordshire, this vicarage having been recently sequestered from Herbert Thorndike, according to Walker (Sufferings, ii. 160). In Barley he proved himself an active and pious clergyman (Calamy's Acc. 362; Palmer's Nonconf. Mem. ii. 309; Faldo's Epistle prefixed to Spiritual Bondage). He married there the daughter of a neighbouring clergyman named Parr, by whom he had ten sons and three daughters. The 'Register' records five children of 'Mr. Nathaniel Ball, minister, and Mary, his wife' (Davids, Annals of Evangelical Nonconformity in Essex, 1863, p. 597). Thorndike in 1658-9 recovered his living, and Ball was ejected. For some time subsequent he resided in his parish, and then removed to Royston, where 'the people … chose him as their publick minister.' But the Act of Uniformity came, and he resigned the office as one of the two thousand. He did not immediately quit Royston, but 'continued in the town for some time,' preaching in the neighbourhood and beyond, as opportunities offered. He afterwards retired to Little Chishill, of which parish his brother-in-law, Robert Parr, became the rector soon after the ejection of James Willett. While at Chishill he acted as an evangelist in the town and parish, and at Epping, Cambridge, Bayford, and other places. In 1668 he took part with Scandaret, Barnard, Havers, Coleman, and Billio in two public disputes with George Whitehead, an irrepressible and fluent quaker. In 1669 he was returned to Archbishop Sheldon as a 'teacher to a conventicle at Thaxted, in connection with Scambridge [Scandaret] and Billoway [Billio].' On the 'Declaration' of 1672 he was described as of Nether Chishill, and obtained a license (25 May 1672) to be a 'general presbyterian teacher in any allowed place.' In June 1672 his own house was licensed to be a presbyterian meeting-place, and he himself was licensed in August to be a 'presbyterian teacher in his own house' there. He lived 'in a small cottage of forty shillings a year rent,' and frequently suffered for nonconformity. Amid his multiplied labours and poverty he died on 8 Sept. 1681, aged 58. He left his manuscripts to his 'brother beloved,' the Rev. Thomas Gouge, of St. Sepulchre's, London, who died only a few weeks after him. They came into the possession of John Faldo, another of the ejected, who published a now extremely rare volume by Ball entitled 'Spiritual Bonndage and Freedom; or a Treatise containing the Substance of several Sermons preached on that subject from John viii. 36, 1683.' Ball also wrote 'Christ the Hope of Glory, several Sermons on Colossians i. 27, 1692.' The former is dedicated to 'the right honourable and truly virtuous the Lady Archer, of Coopersail, in Essex,' one of Ball's numerous friends. It is greatly to be deplored that his biblical and oriental manuscripts — the laborious occupation of a lifelong student — and his extensive correspondence are now lost. They are known to have been in existence in comparatively recent times.

[Brook's History of Religious Liberty, ii. 66; Entry Book and License Book in State Paper Office; Barley Parish Registers as quoted in Davids's Annals, pp. 596-9; Newcourt, i. 8.]

A. B. G.

BALL, NICHOLAS (1791–1865), Irish judge, son of John Ball, silk mercer of Dublin, was educated at Stonyhurst and Trinity College, Dublin, where his fellow students were Richard Shell and W. H. Curran. He was called to the Irish bar in 1814, and afterwards passed two winters in Rome with Mr. (afterwards Sir Thomas) Wyse. The two young men saw much of Cardinal Gonsalvi, secretary of state. They were vehemently denounced and defended in the Irish press, because it was supposed that they used their influence to support a scheme for catholic emancipation, by which the pope should appoint Irish catholic bishops, subject to the veto of the English government. Ball obtained silk in 1830, and was admitted a bencher of the King's Inn in 1836. His success at the bar was not brilliant, but he soon obtained a very lucrative practice in the rolls court and in the court of chancery, where his reputation was that of an acute, clear, and ready advocate. In 1835 he was elected member of parliament for Clonmel, and in 1837 was appointed attorney-general and privy councillor for Ireland. He disliked parliamentary life, and spoke seldom and briefly, but in terse and lucid language. He was glad to take refuge in a judgeship of the common pleas (Ireland), to which he was preferred in 1839, and which he held till his death. He was the second Roman catholic barrister promoted to a judgeship after the passing of the Emancipation Act. He was a sound and able lawyer, and some of his charges are said to have been unsurpassed in his day. A silly story was current about him that 'he had ordered a mill to cease clacking until otherwise ordered by the court, and forgetting the withdrawal of the order before he left Cork, the owner had brought against him an action for damages.' Justice Ball was a sincere Roman catholic, but no ultramontanist, a zealous Irish liberal, but strongly opposed to the disintegration of the empire. His literary acquirements were extensive and