Nic(H)Olson, William (2), Dd

Nic(h)olson, William (2), D.D., a learned English prelate, son of Joseph Nicholson, rector of Hemland, in Cumberland, was born at Orton, in that county, about 1655. After a preparatory training he was sent to Oxford, and entered Queen's College in 1670. He took the degree of B.A. in 1675-6, and M.A. in 1679. He was soon after invited by Sir Joseph Williamson, fellow of the same college, and then secretary of state to Charles II, to accompany him in his travels in Germany. Nicholson also visited France, and on his return to England wrote on what he had seen abroad. He was made fellow of his college in 1679. About the same time his merit recommended him to Dr. Edward Rainbow, bishop of Carlisle; he was presented with a province and deanery in that church; and afterwards (1702), having greatly distinguished himself in the literary world, was promoted to the see of Carlisle. Bishop Nicholson was deeply engaged in the Bangorian controversy, which began in 1717. In 1718 he was translated to the bishopric of Londonderry, in Ireland. Still continuing in favor at court, he was, Jan. 28, 1726, raised to the archbishopric of Cashell, and made primate of Munster in the room of Dr. William Paliser; but he was prevented from entering into the full possession of this last dignity by his sudden death, which occurred at Derry, Feb. 13, 1727. Brown Willis observes, in relation to his character, that he was a man of very great learning, to whom the world is much indebted, not only for what he has published on antiquity, but in the universal sciences. He was certainly endued with an industrious faculty, such as is requisite for an antiquarian. He frequently falls, however, into mistakes for want of sufficient accuracy, not only in respect to manuscripts, which might be excusable, but in regard to printed and common books; and moreover the character he gives of many authors appears not to be free from prejudice. The bestknown of his learned writings are his Descriptions of Poland, Denmark, etc.; the English Historical Library (1696); and especially his Tracts on the Bangorian controversy, entitled A True State of the Controversy between the present Bishop and Dean of Carlisle. He also published a Sermon preached in the cathedral church of Carlisle, and some other sermons preached at different times, but these have never been collected into a volume. See Hook, Eccles. Biog. 7:416-421; Perry, Hist. of the Ch. of England, 3:387; Stephen, Hist. of the Ch. of Scotland, 4:61, 112, 133 sq.; Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Auth. ii, s.v.; Genesis Biog. Dict. s.v.

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