Online Encyclopedia

JOHN NICHOLSON (1822-18J7)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 658 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
JOHN NICHOLSON (1822-18J7), Anglo-Indian soldier and administrator, son of Alexander Nicholson, a north of Ireland physician, was born on the 11th of December 1822 and educated at Dungannon College. He was presented with a cadetship in the Bengal infantry in 1839 by his uncle Sir James Hogg, and served in the first Afghan War of 1839-42; he distinguished himself in the defence of Ghazni, and was one of the prisoners who were carried to Bamian and escaped by bribing the guard upon General Pollock's successful advance. It was in Afghanistan that Nicholson first met Sir Henry Lawrence, who got him the appointment of political officer in Kashmir and subsequently on the Punjab frontier. In 1847 he was given charge of the Sind Sagar district, and did much to pacify the country after the first Sikh \Var. On the seizure of Multan by Mulraj, he rendered great service in securing the country from Attock, and was wounded in an attack upon a tower in the Margalla Pass, where a monument was subsequently erected to his memory. On the outbreak of the second Sikh War he was appointed political officer to Lord Gough's force, when he rendered great service in the collection of intelligence and in furnishing supplies and boats. On the annexation of the Punjab he was appointed deputy commissioner of Bannu. There he became a kind of legendary procrastination, and at one time was thinking of appealing to strategia. On the death of Pericles he was left leader of the the army to set Wilson aside and elect a successor; but at last, on the 13th of September, he forced Wilson to make up his mind to the assault, and he himself was chosen to lead the attacking column. On the morning of the 14th he led his column, r000 strong, in the attack on the Kashmir gate, and successfully entered the streets of Delhi. But in trying to clear the ramparts as far as the Lahore Gate, he undertook a task beyond the powers of his wearied troops. In encouraging them as they hesitated, he turned his back on the enemy and was shot in the back. The wound was mortal, but his magnificent physique allowed him to linger for nine days before finally succumbing on the 23rd of September. His best epitaph is found in the words of Sir John Lawrence's Mutiny Report: " Brigadier-General John Nicholson is now beyond human praise and human reward. But so long as British rule shall endure in India, his fame can never perish. He seems especially to have been raised up for this juncture. He crowned a bright, though brief, career by dying of the wound he received in the moment of victory at Delhi. The Chief Commissioner does not hesitate to affirm that without John Nicholson Delhi could not have fallen." See J. L. Trotter, Life of John Nicholson (19o4) ; Sir John Kaye, Lives of Indian Officers (1889); Bosworth Smith, Life of Lord Lawrence (1883) ; Lady Edwardes, Memorials of Sir Herbert Edwardes (1886); and S. S. Thorburn, Bannu (1876).
End of Article: JOHN NICHOLSON (1822-18J7)
[back]
HENRY ALLEYNE NICHOLSON (1844-1899)
[next]
WILLIAM NICHOLSON (1753-1815)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.