Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 41.djvu/28

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Nicholson
Nicholson
22

1859, and on 20 June became a first captain in the corps. He was stationed in the Isle of Wight, and was employed in the construction of the defences of the Solent. In 1861 he was appointed commanding royal engineer of the London or home district. On 20 July 1866 he was promoted brevet colonel, and in October was sent to Gibraltar. After two years there, Nicholson was summoned home to take up the staff appointment of assistant adjutant-general of royal engineers in Ireland. He remained in Dublin for nearly four years. On 27 Jan. 1872 he was promoted regimental lieutenant-colonel, and given the command of the royal engineers at Shorncliffe. On 1 Oct. 1877 he was promoted major-general, and on 1 Oct. 1878 was appointed lieutenant-governor of Jersey, and to command the troops there. He held the appointment for five years. On 19 Oct. 1881 he was promoted lieutenant-general.

On quitting Jersey in 1883 he was unemployed until 8 July 1886, when he received the appointment of inspector-general of fortifications and of royal engineers in succession to Lieutenant-general Sir Andrew Clarke. During the time Nicholson held this important office the defence of the coaling stations abroad was in progress, and he initiated the works for revising and improving the defences of the United Kingdom under the Imperial Defence Act, and for the reconstruction of barracks under the Barracks Act. In 1887, on the occasion of the queen's jubilee, he was made a K.C.B.

On 26 March 1891 Nicholson was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of Gibraltar. There he died on 27 June 1893, after a short attack of fever. He was buried, with full military and civil honours, in the cemetery at Gibraltar. Nicholson married in London, on 24 Nov. 1864, Mary, daughter of the first Baron Romilly. By her he had seven sons and three daughters, who, with their mother, survived him.

Possessed of a good constitution, and full of energy, Nicholson enjoyed an active life, and delighted in field sports. With an intense esprit de corps he combined a wide sympathy with the other branches of the service, and he interested himself in many philanthropic efforts.

A portrait is to be placed in the mess of the royal engineers at Chatham.

Nicholson contributed the following papers to ‘The Professional Papers of the Corps of Royal Engineers,’ new ser. vi. 21, ‘Demolition of Docks at Sebastopol;’ ib. p. 130, ‘Report on Defences of Kinburn and the Operations which led to their Surrender;’ viii. 54, ‘Reports on the Demolition of the Fort of Tutteah;’ ib. p. 94, ‘Bridge of Boats across the Gogra.’

[Royal Engineers Corps Records; War Office Records; Malleson's Indian Mutiny, vol. ii.; Despatches; Gibraltar Gazette, 27 and 28 June 1893; Royal Engineers' Journ. August 1893.]

R. H. V.

NICHOLSON, MARGARET (1750?–1828), assailant of George III, daughter of George Nicholson, a barber, of Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, was housemaid in three or more families of good position, one of her places being in the service of Sir John Sebright (Memoirs of Sir R. M. Keith). About the time of her leaving her last place she was deserted by her lover, a valet, with whom she is said to have misconducted herself in a former situation. She then lodged in the house of a stationer named Fisk, at the corner of Wigmore Street, Marylebone, where she remained about three years, supporting herself by taking in plain needlework. Although Fisk afterwards stated that ‘she was very odd at times,’ neither he nor any of her acquaintances suspected her of insanity. However, in July 1786 she sent a petition, which was disregarded, to the privy council, containing nonsense about usurpers and pretenders to the throne. On the morning of 2 Aug. she stood with the crowd that waited at the garden entrance to St. James's Palace to see the king arrive from Windsor. As he alighted from his carriage she presented him with a paper, which he received, and at the same moment made a stab at him with an old ivory-handled dessert knife. The king avoided the blow, which she immediately repeated. This time the knife touched his waistcoat, and, being quite worn out, bent against his person. One of the royal attendants seized her arm and wrenched the knife from her. As she was in some danger from the bystanders, the king, who remained perfectly calm, cried out, ‘The poor creature is mad; do not hurt her, she has not hurt me.’ She was at once examined by the privy council, and, Dr. Monro having declined to state offhand that she was insane, she was committed to the custody of a messenger. It was supposed that she was at the time about thirty-six years old (Jesse). On her lodgings being searched letters were found directed to some great persons, and expressing her belief that she had a right to the throne. On the 8th she was again brought before the privy council, and two physicians having declared that she was insane, she was the next day committed, on their certificate, to Bethlehem, or Bedlam, Hospital, orders being given that she should work if in a fit state to do so. On the 18th she was reported to have been very quiet in the hospital, and to have been supplied