Hickes, George

, an English divirre of uncommon abilities and learning, was born June 20, 1642, at Newsham in Yorkshire, where his parents were settled on a very large farm-. He was sent to the grammar school at North Allerton, and thence in 1659, to St. John’s college in Oxford. Soon after the Restoration he removed to Magdalen colJege, from thence to Magdalen hall; and at length, in 3664, was chosen fellow of Lincoln college, taking the degree of M. A. the year after. In June 1666 he was> admitted into orders, became a public tutor r and discharged that office with great reputation for seven years. Being then in a bad state of health, he was advised to travel; upon which sir George Wheeler, who had been his pupil, and had conceived a filial affection for him, invited him to accompany him to the continent. They set out in Oct. 1673, and made the totir of France; after which they parted, Hickes being obliged to return to take his degree of B. D. At Paris, where he staid a considerable time, he became acquainted with Mr. Henry Justell, who in confidence told him many secret affairs, particularly that of the intended revocation of the edict of Nantes, and of a design in Holland and England to set aside the family of | the Stuarts. He committed to him also his father’s ms. of the “Codex canonum ecclesiae universalis,” to be presented in his name to the university of Oxford.

After his return home, in May 1675, he took the degree just mentioned, being about that time rector of St. Ebbe’s church in Oxford; and, in Sept. 1676, was made chaplain to the duke of Lauderdale. In May 1677, his grace being appointed high commissioner of Scotland, took his chaplain with him into that kingdom; and, in April 1678, sent him up to court, with Dr. Burnet, archbishop of Glasgow, to lay before the king the proceedings in Scotland. He returned the month following, and was desired by Sharp, archbishop of St. Andrew’s, to accept the degree of D. D. in that university, as a testimony of his and his country’s great esteem for him, which request the duke of Lauderdale approving, Hickes was dignified in a full convocation, although rather against his will, as he seems to have thought that this was putting a slight on his own university. Afterwards, when he returned with his patron into England, the archbishop, in his own name and that of all his brethren, presented him with a copy of Labbe’s “Councils,” in 18 vols. folio, as an acknowledgment of his services to that church.

In Sept. 1679 he married; and December following was created D. D. at Oxford. In March 1679-80 the king promoted him to a prebend of Worcester; and in August he was presented by Sancroft, archbishop of Canterbury, to the vicarage of Allhallows Barking, near the Tower of London. In Dec. 1681, he was made chaplain in ordinary to the king; and, in Aug. 1683, dean of Worcester. The bishopric of Bristol was vacant the next year, and Hickes, it is said, might have had it if he would; but, missing his opportunity, the king died, and he lost his prospect of advancement; for though his church principles were very high, yet he had distinguished himself too much by his zeal against popery to be any favourite with James 11. Iti May 1686 he left the vicarage of Barking, and went to settle on his deanery; the bishop of Worcester having offered him the rectory of All-church, not far from tha^ city, which he accepted.

Upon the Revolution in 1688, Dr. Hickes, with many others, refusing to take the oaths of allegiance, fell under suspension in August 1689, and was deprived the February following. He continued, however, in possession till the | beginning of May; when reading in the Gazette that the deanery of Worcester was granted to Talbot, afterwards bishop of Oxford, Salisbury, and Durham, successively, he immediately drew up in his own hand-writing a claim of right to it, directed to all the members of that church and, in 1691, affixed it over the great entrance into the choir, that none of them might plead ignorance in that particular. The earl of Nottingham, then secretary of state, called it “Dr. Hickes’ s Manifesto against Government;” and it has since been published by Dr. Francis Lee, in the appendix to his “Life of Mr. Kettlewell,” with this title, “The Protestation of Dr. George Hickes, and claim of right, fixed up in the cathedral church of Worcester.” Expecting on this account the resentment of the government, he privately withdrew to London, where he absconded for many years, till May 1699, when lord Somers, then chancellor, out of regard to his uncommon abilities, procured an act of council, by which the attorneygeneral was ordered to cause a. noli prosequi to be entered to all proceedings against him.

Soon after their deprivation, archbishop San croft and his colleagues began to consider about maintaining and continuing the episcopal succession among those who adhered to them; and, having resolved upon it, they sent Dr. Hickes over, with a list of the deprived clergy, to confer with king James about that matter. The doctor set out in May 1693, and had several audiences of the king, who complied with all he askedj Dr. Hickes, after being detained some months by an ague and fever, returned to England in February, and on the eve of St. Matthias the consecrations were performed by Dr. Lloyd bishop of Norwich, Dr. Turner bishop of Ely, and Dr. White bishop of Peterborough, at the bishop of Peterborough’s lodgings in the Rev. Mr. Giffard’s house, Southgate. Hickes was consecrated suffragan bishop of Thetford, and Wagstaffe suffragan of Ipswich; at which solemnity Henry earl of Clarendon is aid to have been present. It has indeed been averred, that Hickes was once disposed to take the oaths, in order to save his preferments; but this is not probable: he was a man very strict in his principles, and what he was convinced was his duty he closely adhered to, choosing to suffer any thing rather than violate his conscience. Some years before he died he was grievously tormented with the stone; and at length his constitution, though naturally | strong, gave way to that distemper, Dec. 15, 1715, in his 74th year.

Dr. Uickes was a man of universal learning; but his temper, situation, and connexions were such, as to suffer him to leave us but few monuments of it that are worth remembering; for though he wrote a great deal, the greatest part consists of controversial pieces on politics and religion, which, however, we shall enumerate, as they throw considerable light on his character and opinions. In his controversies with the Romanists he is a sound and acute reasoner, and confirms his arguments with exact and elaborate proofs. The late bishop Home had a high opinion of him in this respect. He was particularly skilful in the old Northern languages, and in antiquities, and has given us some works on these subjects, which will be valued when all his other writings are forgotten. He was deeply read in the primitive fathers of the church, whom he considered as the best expositors of Scripture; and as no one better understood the doctrine, worship, constitution, and discipline of the catholic church in the first ages of Christianity, it was his utmost ambition and endeavour to prove the church of England perfectly conformable to them.

The principal works of Dr. Hickes are the three following: 1. “Institutiones Grammaticse Anglo-Saxonicae & Maeso-Gothicae. Grammatica Islandica Runolphi Jonas. Catalogus librorum Septentrionalium. Accedit Edwardi Bernardi Etymologicum Britannicum,” Oxon. 1689, 4to. inscribed to archbishop Sancroft. While the dean was writing the preface to this book, there were great disputes in the house of commons, and throughout the kingdom, about the original contract; which occasioned him to insert the ancient coronation oath of our Saxon kings, to shew, what was not very necessary, that there is not the least footstep of any such contract. 2. “Antiquae literature Septentrionalis libri duo: quorum primus G. Hickesu S. T. P. Linguarum Veterum Septentrionalium thesaurum grammatico-criticum & Archaeologicum, ejusdem de antique literatures Septentrionalis militate dissertationem epistolarum, & Andreas Fountaine equitis aurati numismata Saxonica& Dano-Saxonica, complectitur alter contn Humfredi Wanleii librorum Veterum Septentnonaliiim, qui in Ano-liae Bibiiothecis extant, c.ialogum histonco-cr im, necmTn multorum veteruni codicum Septentrionalium alibi extantiuro notitiam, cum totius operis sex mdicibus, | Oxon. 1705, 2 or sometimes 3 vols. folio. Foreigners as well as Englishmen, who had any relish for antiquities, have justly admired this splendid and laborious work, which is now scarce and dear. It was originally published at 3l. 3s. the small, and 5l. 5s the large paper. The latter now rarely appears, and the former is worth 15l. The great duke of Tuscany‘ s envoy sent a copy of it to his master, which his highness looking into, and finding full of strange characters, called a council of the Dotti, and commanded them to peruse and give him an account of. They did so, and reported it to be an excellent work, and that they believed the author to be a man of a particular head; for this was the envoy’s compliment to Hirkes, when he went to him with a present from his master. 3. Two volumes of Sermons, most of which were never before printed, with a preface by Mr. Spinckes, 1713, 8vo. After his death was published another volume of his Sermons, with some pieces relating to schism, separation, &c. 4.A Letter sent from beyond the seas to one of the chief ministers of the ndnconforming party, &c. 1674“which was afterwards reprinted in 1684, under the title of” The judgment of an anonymous writer concerning these following particulars first, a law for disabling a papist to inherit the crown secondly, the execution of penal laws against protestant dissenters; thirdly, a bill of comprehension all briefly discussed in a letter sent from beyond the seas to a dissenter ten years ago.“This letter was in reality an answer to his elder brother, Mr. John Hickes, a dissenting minister, bred up in Cromwell’s time at the college of Dublin; whom the doctor always endeavoured to convince of his errors, but without success. John persisted in them to his death, and at last suffered for his adherence to the duke of Monrnouth; though, upon the doctor’s unwearied application, the king would have granted him his.life,^ but that he had been falsely informed that this Mr. Hickes was the person who advised the duke of Monmouth to take upon him the title of king. 5.” Ravillac Redivivus, being a narrative of the late trial of Mr. James Mitchel, a conventicle preacher, who was executed Jan. 18, 1677, for an attempt on the person of the archbishop of St. Andrew’s, &c.“6.” The Spirit of Popery speaking out of the mouths of fanatical Protestants; or, the last speeches of Mr. John Kid and Mr. John King, two presbyterian ministers, who were executed for high treason at Edinburgh, | ’ten Aug. 14, 1679.“These pieces were published in 1630, and they were occasioned by his attendance on the duke of Lauderdale in quality of chaplain. The spirit of faction made them much read, and did the author considerable service with several great personages, and even with the king. 7.” Jovian; or, an answer to Julian the apostate;“printed twice in 1683, 8vo. This is an ingenious and learned tract in defence of passive obedience and nonresistance, against the celebrated Samuel Johnson, the author ofJulian.“8.” The case of Infant Baptism, 1683;“printed in the second vol. of theLondon Cases, 168.5,“4to. 9.” Speculum beatae Virginis, a discourse on Luke i. 28. of the due praise and honour of the Virgin Mary, by a true Catholic of the Church of England, 1686.“10.” An apologetical Vindication of the Church of England, in answer to her adversaries, who reproach her with the English heresies and schisms, 1686,“4to; reprinted, with many additions, a large preface, and an appendix of” Papers relating to the Schisms of the Church of Rome,“1706, 8vo. 11.” The celebrated story of the Thebati Legion no fable: in answer to the objections of Dr. Gilbert Burners Preface to his Translation of Lactantius de mortibus persecutorum, with some remarks on his Discourse of Persecution;“written in 1687, but not published till 1714, for reasons given in the preface. 12.” Reflections upon a Letter out of the country to a member of this present parliament, occasioned by a Letter to a member of the house of commons, concerning the Bishops lately in the Tower, and now under suspension, 1689.“The author of the letter to which these reflections are an answer, was generally presumed to be Dr. Bumet, though that notion was afterwards contradicted, 13.A Letter to the author of a late paper entitled A Vindication of the Divines of the Church of England, &c. in defence of the history of passive obedience, 16S9.“The author of the” Vindication,“was Dr. Fowler, bishop of Gloucester, though his name was not to it. 14.A Word to the Wavering, in answer to Dr. Gilbert Burnet’s Inquiry into the present state of aflairs, 1689.“15.” An Apology for the new Separation, in a letter to Dr. Sharp, archbishop of York, &c. 1691.“16.A Vindication of some among ourselves against the false principles of Dr. Sherlock, &c. 1692.“17.” Some Discourses on Dr. Burnet and Dr.Tillotson, occasioned by the lute funeral sermon of the former upon the latter, 1695.“| It is remarkable, that in this piece Hickes has not scrupled to call Tiilotson an atheist. 18.” The Pretences of the Prince of Wales examined and rejected, &c. 1701.“19. A letter in the” Philosophical Transactions,* entitled, “Epistola viri Rev. D G. Hickesii S. T. P ad D. Hans Sloane, M. D. & S. R. Seer, de varia lectione inscriptions, quse in statua Tagis exaratur per quatuor alphabeta Hetrusca” 20. “Several Letters which passed between Dr. G. Hickes and a Popish priest, &c. 1705.” The person on whose account this book was published, was the lady Theophila Nelson, wife of Robert Nelson, esq. 21. “A second collection of controversial Letters relating to the church of England and the church of Rome, as they passed between Dr. G. Hickes and an honourable lady, 1710.” This lady was the lady Gratiana Carew, of Hadcomb in Devonshire. 22. “Two Treatises; one of the Christian Priesthood, the other of the dignity of the episcopal order, against a book entitled, The Rights of the Christian Church.” Trie third edition in 1711, enlarged into two volumes, 8vo. 23. “A seasonable ana 1 modest apology in behalf of the Rev. Dr. Hickes and other nonjurors, in a letter to Thomas Wise, D. D. 1710.” 24. “AVindication of Dr. Hickes, and the author of the seasonable and modest apology, from the reflections of Dr. Wise, &c. 1712.” 25. “Two Letters to Robert Nelson, esq. relating to bishop Bull,” published in Bull’s life. 26. “Some Queries proposed to civil, canon, and common lawyers, 1712;” printed, after several editions, in 1714, with another title, “Seasonable Queries relating to the birth and birthright of a certain person.” Besides the works enumerated here, there are many prefaces and recommendations written by him, at the earnest request of others, either authors or editors. 1


Biog. Brit, vol. VII. Supplement. —Burnet’s Own Times. Birch’s Life of Tillotson. Letters by Eminent Persons, 3 vols, 8vo, l 13. Jones’s Life of Bishop Home.