A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Nicolas, Nicholas Harris

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NICOLAS, G.C.M.G., K.H. (Lieutenant, 1815. f-p., 7; h-p., 32.)

Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas, born 10 March, 1799, is brother of Capt. John Toup Nicolas, R.N., C.B.

This officer entered the Navy, 27 Oct. 1808, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Salvador del Mundo 112, Capt. Thos. Wolley, bearing the flag of Admiral Wm. Young at Plymouth; where he continued employed in the Résolue and Prince Frederick 74’s, flag-ships of Sir Edw. Buller, until April, 1811; in the course of which month he sailed in the Cephalus 18, Capt. Aug. Wm. Jas. Clifford, for the Mediterranean, and there joined the Pilot 18, commanded by his brother, Capt. J. T. Nicolas. In that vessel (of which he was nominated Midshipman 31 March, 1812) he served for a period of four years and a half, and was frequently engaged in her boats at the capture and destruction of armed vessels and convoys on the Calabrian coast. After a servitude of six months at Plymouth and again in the Mediterranean (whither he proceeded in the Sparrowhawk 18, Capt. Fred. Wm. Burgoyne), in the Impregnable and Boyne 98’s, flag-ships of Sir John Thos. Duckworth and Lord Exmouth, he was promoted, 20 Sept. 1815, to the rank of Lieutenant. He then went back to the Pilot, and served in her as an Extra-Lieutenant until the early part of 1816. Since that period he has been on half-pay.

Unsuccessful in his efforts to obtain employment, Lieut. Nicolas adopted the profession of the law, and in May, 1825, was called to the Bar by the Society of the Inner Temple. In Oct. 1831 he was nominated a K.H. and a K.C.M.G.; and in Oct. 1840 a G.C.M.G. He was appointed Secretary of the Knight Commanders and Companions of the Bath 10 April, 1832; and he was subsequently selected to fill the office (which he still holds) of Chancellor of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. Sir N. H. Nicolas, whose prolific writings, too numerous to enumerate here,[1] have rendered him eminent as a literary genius, has received the large Silver Medal of the ‘Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce,’ for telegraphic improvements; among which are the numerical code of flags now used by the Royal Yacht Squadron, and submitted by him to the Admiralty in March, 1819. He married, 28 March, 1822, Sarah, youngest daughter of John Davison, Esq,, of Loughton, co. Essex, by whom he has issue four sons and four daughters. Agents – Messrs. Stilwell.

  1. We may however mention, as among his recent productions, ‘The Letters and Despatches of Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson,’ and ‘A History of the Royal Navy from the earliest period to the Wars of the French Revolution.’