He was the author of "Time and Faith" and was the editor of The Westminster Review (1840–1852). He wrote part of the Official Peace Version of the British national anthem, approved by the Privy Council, found in the 1925 edition of Songs of Praise and, with one line changed, in the 1933 edition Hickson was the son of William Hickson, a boot and shoe manufacturer of Smithfield, London.
Having studied schools in The Netherlands and Germany, he retired from the family business in 1840 to concentrate on philanthropic pursuits: particularly the cause of elementary education.
He became editor and proprietor of The Westminster Review which was notable for its commitment to legislative reform and popular education. He is credited with popularizing the proverb:
"Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don"t succeed,
Try, try, try again. Hickson died at Fairseat, Stansted, Kent, where he was buried.