Malcolm, Charles (DNB00)

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MALCOLM, Sir CHARLES (1782–1851), vice-admiral, tenth son of George Malcolm of Burnfoot, youngest brother of Sir Pulteney Malcolm [q. v.], and Sir John Malcolm [q. v.], was born at Burnfoot in Dumfriesshire on 5 Sept. 1782. In 1791 his name was put on the books of the Vengeance, commanded by his uncle, Commodore (afterwards Admiral Sir Thomas) Pasley [q. v.], and in 1793 of the Penelope, of which his brother Pulteney was first lieutenant. Personally he entered the navy in 1795 on board the Fox, then commissioned by his brother, with whom he went out to the East Indies, and whom he followed to the Suffolk. He was promoted by the admiral to be lieutenant of that ship, 12 Jan. 1799, and remained in her till 3 Oct. 1801, when he was appointed acting commander of the Albatross sloop, a promotion which was confirmed by the admiralty to 28 May 1802. In 1803 he came home acting captain of the Eurydice, and on his arrival in England found that he had been previously promoted by the admiralty on 29 Dec. 1802. In 1804 he commanded the Raisonnable in the North Sea; and from 1806 to 1809 the Narcissus frigate, actively employed on the coast of France and Portugal; at Oporto in 1807 he was able to preserve much British property from falling into the hands of the French. In the beginning of 1809 he went out to the West Indies, and in April took part in the capture of the Saintes islands. On his return to England he was moved into the Rhin, in which during 1812 and 1813 he was employed in co-operating with the patriots on the north coast of Spain. In 1813 he went out to the West Indies with convoy; in 1814 he was cruising on the coast of Brazil; and on 18 July 1815, having been joined by the Menelaus and Havannah frigates and the Fly and Ferret sloops, he landed a party of seamen and marines at Corrijou on the coast of Brittany, stormed the battery, and brought out of the harbour three small armed vessels and a convoy under their protection. The affair was of a type which had become customary, but is noteworthy as the last of the kind during that war.

In September 1817 he fitted out the Sibylle, as flag-captain to Sir Home Popham [q. v.] in the West Indies, from which station he invalided in February 1819. From 1822 to 1827 he commanded one or other of the yachts, William and Mary and Royal Charlotte, in attendance on the Marquis Wellesley, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, by whom he was knighted. In November 1827 he was appointed superintendent of the Bombay marine, then reorganised and placed under new regulations, which required it to have a captain of the royal navy at its head. Malcolm arrived at Bombay in June 1828, and under his careful and kindly rule the marine received a new development. On 1 May 1830 its name was officially changed to ‘the Indian navy;’ and in addition to the rigorous discharge of its police duties, it became distinguished as a school of surveyors. Malcolm held the post for ten years, and on his being relieved was officially thanked by the governor in council for the able and zealous manner in which he had watched over and advanced the interests of the naval service. The introduction to and establishment of steam navigation in the Red Sea were also largely due to his exertions (Low, ii. 66). He was promoted to be rear-admiral on 10 Jan. 1837, and to be vice-admiral on 28 April 1847, but had no further service. During his later years he gave much attention to the organisation of charitable institutions. He also served continuously on the council of the Royal Geographical Society. He died at Brighton 4 June 1851, and was buried there.

Malcolm was twice married: first, in 1808, to his cousin Magdalene, daughter of Charles Pasley, his mother's brother; and secondly, in 1829, to Elmira Riddell, youngest daughter of Major-general Shaw. He had issue by both marriages.

[O'Byrne's Nav. Biog. Dict.; Gent. Mag. 1851, pt. ii. p. 431; Low's Hist. of the Indian Navy, vol. i. chap. xiv., and vol. ii. chaps. i. and ii.; Journal of the Royal Geogr. Soc. vol. xxii. p. lxiv.]

J. K. L.