Nagle, Edmund (DNB00)

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NAGLE, Sir EDMUND (1757–1830), admiral, born in 1757, is said to have been a nephew of Edmund Burke. It would seem more probable that he was a son of Burke's first-cousin. He entered the navy in 1770, under the care of Captain John Stott, on board the Juno frigate, in which he went to the Falkland Islands, on the occasion of their being surrendered by Spain in 1771 (Beatson, Nav. and Mil. Memoirs, vi. 15; cf. art. Farmer, George). He afterwards served in the Winchelsea, Deal Castle, Thetis, and Bienfaisant, on the Mediterranean and home stations, and passed his examination on 7 May 1777 (Passing Certificate). On 25 Oct. 1777 he was promoted to be lieutenant of the Greenwich storeship, on the North American station. In 1779 he was in the Syren, in the North Sea, and from 1780 to 1782 was again on the coast of North America in the Warwick, with Captain Elphinstone [see Elphinstone, George Keith, Viscount Keith]. On 1 Aug. 1782 he was promoted to the command of the Racoon brig, which was shortly afterwards captured off the Delaware by the French frigate Aigle. A few days later, 11 Sept., Nagle regained his liberty, the Aigle being in turn captured by the Warwick. He was then appointed to the Hound sloop, and on 27 Jan. 1783 was posted to the Grana, which he brought home and paid off. In 1793 he commissioned the Active frigate, and early in 1794 was moved into the Artois of 44 guns, in which for the next three years he was actively employed, under the command of Sir John Borlase Warren [q. v.], or Sir Edward Pellew, afterwards Viscount Exmouth [q. v.] On 21 Oct. 1794, off Ushant, the little squadron, then commanded by Pellew, sighted the Révolutionnaire, French frigate, also of 44 guns, which was chased and brought to action by the Artois. On the other frigates coming up the Révolutionnaire surrendered. She was a new and very fine ship, and was for several years one of the crack frigates in the English navy. For his gallant service Nagle was knighted. The next year the Artois was with Warren in the expedition to Quiberon, and, continuing on the French coast, was lost on a sandbank off Rochelle on 31 July 1797, when in chase of a French frigate.

In August 1798 Nagle married ‘a lady of ample fortune—the widow of John Lucie Blackman of Craven Street’—after which he had little service at sea. In 1801–2 he commanded the Majestic, and afterwards the Juste for a few months, and in 1803 was appointed to command the sea fencibles of the Sussex coast. At this time, making his headquarters at Brighton, he was introduced to the Prince of Wales, and, telling a good story, and overflowing with rollicking Irish humour, became a great favourite. He was made rear-admiral on 9 Nov. 1805, and for a short time hoisted his flag on board the Inconstant at Guernsey. He was promoted to be vice-admiral on 31 July 1810, and, again for a short time, was commander-in-chief at Leith. In 1813 he was governor of Newfoundland, and in 1814, when the allied monarchs reviewed the fleet at Spithead, he was nominated aide-de-camp to the prince-regent. On 2 Jan. 1815 he was made a K.C.B., and on 12 Aug. 1819 was promoted to the rank of admiral.

During all this time, however, with these few intermissions, he was in attendance on the prince, and in 1820, on the prince's accession to the throne, was appointed groom of the bedchamber. He is described as a man of great good nature and a simplicity of mind which was said to make him the butt for some coarse practical jokes. He died at his house at East Molesey, Surrey, on 14 March 1830, leaving no issue.

[Marshall's Roy. Nav. Biog. i. 277; Gent. Mag. 1830, i. 469; Brenton's Naval History.]

J. K. L.