Haddock, Nicholas (DNB00)

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HADDOCK, NICHOLAS (1686–1746), admiral, youngest son of Sir Richard Haddock [q. v.], entered the navy on 19 May 1699, as a volunteer on board the Portland, under the command of his kinsman, Captain (afterwards Sir Edward) Whitaker [q. v.] In 1702 he was a midshipman of the Ranelagh, one of the ships engaged in the expedition to Cadiz, and at the destruction of the French-Spanish fleet at Vigo, in which, as his old father proudly wrote, he 'behaved himself with so much bravery and courage that he hath gained the good report of the Duke of Ormonde, … and was the first man that boarded one of the galleons' (Thompson, p. 43). His passing certificate is dated 29 Dec. 1702. In June 1704 he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Crown, from which he was moved in the following December to the Royal Anne, and in December 1705 to the St. George. In her he was present at the relief of Barcelona under Sir John Leake [q. v.] and the Earl of Peterborough, of which operation he wrote an interesting account to his father (ib. p. 49). On 6 April 1707 he was promoted to be captain of the Ludlow Castle, 'being then,' according to Charnock, 'little more than twenty years old.' On 30 Dec. 1707, while cruising in the North Sea, he had the fortune to come up with and recapture the Nightingale, a small frigate which had been captured by the French a few months before, and had been fitted out under the command of Thomas Smith, a renegade Englishman, who was now sent to London and duly hanged as a traitor (Engl. Historical Review, iv. 78). Haddock afterwards commanded the Chatham in 1710, the Exeter in 1715, the Shrewsbury in 1717, and on 14 March 1717-18 was appointed to the Grafton, which went to the Mediterranean in the fleet under Sir George Byng [q. v.], and was the leading ship in the action off Cape Passaro, where Haddock, by his brilliant conduct, largely contributed to the completeness of the success (Corbett, Expedition of the British Fleet to Sicily, 2nd edit, p. 19). In 1721 he commissioned the Torbay, and was still commanding her in 1726, when Sir Charles Wager [q. v.] hoisted his flag on board her as commander-in-chief in the Baltic, and afterwards, in 1727, at the relief of Gibraltar. In 1728 he was again appointed to the Grafton, in which, in 1731, he accompanied Wager to the Mediterranean, and in 1732 was commander-in-chief at the Nore. In March 1734 he was appointed to the Britannia, but on 4 May was promoted to be rear-admiral of the blue, when he hoisted his flag on board the Namur, as third in command of the grand fleet under Sir John Norris [q. v.] In May 1738, being then rear-admiral of the red, he was appointed commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, and on the breaking out of the war with Spain in the following year blockaded the Spanish coast, more especially Barcelona and Cadiz, making also many rich prizes, including two treasure-ships reputed to be worth two million dollars. On 11 March 1740-1 he was advanced to be vice-admiral of the blue, and during 1741, as through 1740, he kept Cadiz closely sealed. The Spanish admiral, Navarro, was meantime eagerly waiting for an opportunity to escape, in order to convoy the transports from Barcelona to Italy; and in December 1741, on Haddock's being forced to go to Gibraltar to refit, he succeeded in slipping through the Straits. Haddock immediately followed, and on 7 Dec. came up with the Spanish fleet off Cape Gata, but only in time to see it effecting a junction with the French fleet, which had come south to meet it. England was not then at war with France; but the attitude of the French admiral, M. de Court, as well as many previous instances of ill-will [cf. Barnett, Curtis], left no doubt in Haddock's mind that an attack on the Spaniards would be resisted by the whole combined force, to which his own was very inferior. He accordingly retired to Port Mahon, while the combined fleets convoyed the Spanish troops to Italy, and drew back to Toulon, where they were blockaded for the next two years. Haddock's health had been severely tried by the anxious service of the two years preceding; and the vexation of this eventual failure aggravated the symptoms of his illness, and compelled him to resign the command [see Lestock, Richard] and return to England, May 1742. He had no further employment, but was promoted, on 19 June 1744, to be admiral of the blue, and died 26 Sept. 1746, 'in the sixtieth year of his age.' He as well as his brother Richard, was buried with his forefathers in the churchyard of Leigh, Essex. Some twenty years later a white marble tablet to his memory was put up on the exterior wall of the church; but in the course of 'restoration,' in 1837, it was destroyed. His portrait, a half-length by George Knapton, is in the Painted Hall at Greenwich. In the parliaments of 1734 and 1741 Haddock was one of the representatives of the city of Rochester, and latterly resided principally at Wrotham in Kent, where he had purchased a property in 1723. By his wife Frances, who died in 1735, he had five sons two of them named Richard of whom, three survived him. The younger Richard died a captain in the navy on 6 Jan. 1749-50; Nicholas, the eldest son, died in 1781; Charles, the youngest, was living at Wrotham and corresponding with Captain William Locker in 1792. 'Here,' says Mr. Thompson (p. vii), 'the male line of the Haddocks fails,' There were, however, younger Haddocks, presumably of the same family; and the name of one, Edward, a lieutenant in the navy, appeared in the 'Navy List' as late as 1819.

[Charnock's Biog. Nav. iii. 383; Thompson's Correspondence of the Family of Haddock (Camden Miscellany, vol. viii.); Egerton MSS. 2520-1, 2528-32; official letters and other documents in the Public Record Office; Dunkin's Archæological Mine, ii. 41-51; Benton's Hist. of Rochford Hundred, p. 350 et seq.]

J. K. L.