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Sir  Pulteney Malcolm (1768–1838), by Samuel Lane, exh. RA 1835Sir Pulteney Malcolm (1768–1838), by Samuel Lane, exh. RA 1835
Malcolm, Sir Pulteney (1768–1838), naval officer, third son of George Malcolm of Burnfoot, Langholm, in Dumfriesshire, and his wife, Margaret, daughter of James Pasley and his wife, Magdalen, née Elliot, and sister of Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley, was born at Douglan, near Langholm, on 20 February 1768. and were his brothers. He entered the navy in 1778 on the books of the Sybil, commanded by his uncle, Captain Pasley. With Pasley he afterwards served in the Jupiter, in the squadron under Commodore George Johnstone, and was present at the action in Porto Praya and at the capture of the Dutch Indiamen in Saldanha Bay. In 1782 the Jupiter carried Admiral Pigot to the West Indies. Malcolm was thus brought to the admiral's notice, was taken by him into the flagship, and some months later, on 3 March 1783, was promoted lieutenant of the Jupiter. He continued serving during the peace, and in 1793 was first lieutenant of the frigate Penelope on the Jamaica station under the command of Captain Bartholomew Rowley. The Penelope's service was peculiarly active. In company with the Iphigenia she captured the French frigate Inconstante, off the coast of San Domingo, on 25 November 1793; she captured or cut out many privateers and merchant vessels; and Malcolm, as first lieutenant, commanded her boats in several sharp conflicts. Early in 1794 Commodore Ford took him into his flagship the Europa, and on 3 April promoted him to the command of the Jack Tar, which he took to England.

On 22 October Malcolm was made a post captain and a few days later appointed to the frigate Fox (32 guns). In February 1795 he convoyed a fleet of merchant ships to the Mediterranean; from there he went to Quebec, and afterwards was employed for some time in the North Sea. He was later sent out to the East Indies, and towards the end of 1797 into the China seas under the command of Captain Edward Cooke, in whose company he entered Manila Bay under false colours, on 14 January 1798, and carried off three Spanish gunboats. After some further cruising among the islands the Fox returned to India, where, on 18 June, he was appointed by Rear-Admiral Rainier to be his flag captain in the Suffolk (74 guns) and afterwards in the Victorious (74 guns). He continued to serve in this capacity during the war. On her homeward passage in 1803 the Victorious proved very unseaworthy and, meeting with heavy weather in the north Atlantic, was with difficulty kept afloat until she reached the River Tagus, where she was run ashore and broken up. Malcolm, with the officers and crew, returned to England in two vessels which he chartered at Lisbon.

In February 1804 Malcolm went out to the Mediterranean in the Royal Sovereign (100 guns) in which, on her arrival, Sir Richard Bickerton hoisted his flag, and he was appointed to the Kent (74 guns), then with Horatio Nelson at Toulon. He was, however, almost immediately sent to Naples, where, or in the neighbourhood, he remained during the year. His removal to the Renown (74 guns) in July did not change his station. It was not until the beginning of 1805 that he was permitted to rejoin the flagship and to exchange into the Donegal (74 guns) in time to take part in the celebrated pursuit of the French fleet to the West Indies. On the return of the fleet to the channel, the Donegal, with others, was sent to reinforce Collingwood off Cadiz and was still there when Nelson resumed command on 28 September. On 17 October she was sent to Gibraltar for water and a hurried refit. On the 20th Malcolm learned that the combined fleet was coming out of Cadiz. His ship was then in the Mole, nearly dismantled; but he made a supreme effort and got her out that night, and on the 22nd she sailed from Gibraltar with her foreyard towing alongside. It was blowing a gale from the westward, but she succeeded in getting through the Strait of Gibraltar and on the morning of the 24th rejoined the fleet, too late for the battle of Trafalgar but in time to render valuable assistance to the disabled ships and more disabled prizes. She captured the Rayo, which had sallied from Cadiz on the 23rd; and on the night of the 24th, when some of the prisoners on the French ship Berwick cut the cable and let her go on shore, on which she almost immediately broke up, the Donegal's boats succeeded in saving a considerable number of her men. She afterwards took charge of the Spanish prize Bahama and brought her to Gibraltar. Writing to Sir Thomas Pasley on 16 December Collingwood said:
Everybody was sorry Malcolm was not there [at Trafalgar], because everybody knows his spirit, and his skill would have acquired him honour. He got out of the Gut when nobody else could, and was of infinite service to us after the action. (Nicolas, 7.242)
The Donegal continued off Cadiz until the end of 1805, when she sailed for the West Indies with Sir John Duckworth and played an important part in the battle of San Domingo on 6 February 1806. Malcolm was afterwards sent home in charge of the prizes, and in a very heavy gale rescued the crew of the Brave as she was on the point of foundering. He received the gold medal for San Domingo and was presented by the patriotic fund with a vase valued at 100 guineas. In 1808 he convoyed troops to the Peninsula, and in 1809, still in the Donegal, was attached to the Channel Fleet, then commanded by Lord Gambier. In January 1809 he married Clementina, eldest daughter of the Hon. William Fullarton Elphinstone, a director of the East India Company and elder brother of Lord Keith.

The Donegal was paid off in 1811, and Malcolm was appointed to the Royal Oak, which he commanded off Cherbourg until March 1812, when he accepted the post of captain of the fleet to Lord Keith, his uncle by marriage. He was promoted rear-admiral on 4 December 1813 but remained with Keith until June 1814, when, with his flag in the Royal Oak, he convoyed a detachment of the army from Bordeaux to North America and served during the Anglo-American War (1812–14) as third in command under Sir Alexander Cochrane and Rear-Admiral (afterwards Sir George) Cockburn. On 2 January 1815 he was made a KCB and during the ‘hundred days’ of Napoleon's bid for power commanded a squadron in the North Sea in co-operation with the army under Wellington. In 1816–17 he commanded the St Helena station, specially appointed to enforce a rigid blockade of the island and to keep a close guard on Napoleon, who was imprisoned there. He was promoted vice-admiral on 19 July 1821 and was commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean from 1828 to 1831. In 1832 he commanded on the coast of the Netherlands, with the fleets of France and Spain under his orders; and from May 1833 to April 1834 was again commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. He was made a GCMG on 21 January 1829 and a GCB on 26 April 1833. He died on 20 July 1838.

J. K. Laughton, rev. Roger Morriss


J. Marshall, Royal naval biography, 1/2 (1823), 582–97 · O'Byrne, Naval biog. dict. · The dispatches and letters of Vice-Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, ed. N. H. Nicolas, 7 vols. (1844–6), 7.242 · W. James, The naval history of Great Britain, from the declaration of war by France in 1793, to the accession of George IV [4th edn], 6 vols. (1847) · P. Mackesy, The war in the Mediterranean, 1803–1810 (1957) · G. S. Graham, Sea power and North America, 1783–1820 (1941)


NL Scot., family corresp. and papers · NMM, letter-books and papers · U. Mich., Clements L., logbooks and family letters |  BL, corresp. with Sir Hudson Lowe, Add. MSS 20115–20120, 20140, 20147–20148, 20160, 20205 · BL, account of interviews with Napoleon, Add. MS 63107 · BL, letters and papers relating to Napoleon's captivity, microfilm M/570 · BL, notes of interviews with Napoleon, loan 57 · BL, letters to Lord Nelson, Add. MSS 34923–34929 · BL, corresp. with Sir Charles Pasley, Add. MSS 41961–41963 · Cumbria AS, Carlisle, corresp. with Sir James Graham · NA Scot., letters to Lord Melville · NL Scot., letters to Sir Alexander Cochrane · NL Scot., corresp. with Sir Charles Malcolm · NMM, letters to Sir Edward Codrington; letters to Lord Keith · TNA: PRO, corresp. with Stratford Canning, FO 352 · U. Durham L., letters to Viscount Ponsonby


S. Lane, oils, exh. RA 1835, Scot. NPG [see illus.] · W. J. Ward, mezzotint, pubd 1836 (after S. Lane), BM · E. H. Baily, statue, 1842, St Paul's Cathedral, London