Sir Pulteney Malcolm

1768-1838. He was born at Douglen, Dumfriesshire, on 20 February 1768, the third son of seventeen children of a farm manager, George Malcolm of Burnfoot, Dumfriesshire, and of his wife, Margaret Pasley. Of his older brothers, John Malcolm was an Indian administrator and Sir James Malcolm a lieutenant colonel of the Royal Marines. His younger brothers included General Sir John Malcolm of the East India Company, Lieutenant George Malcolm of the Marines, who died at St. Domingo in 1794, and Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Malcolm. He was the nephew of Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley, and the first cousin of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Briggs.

After attending an academy near Portsmouth at the expense of his uncle, Captain Thomas Pasley, Malcolm was entered onto the books of the Sibyl 28, commanded by his uncle, on 20 October 1778. He was aboard the Sibyl when she sailed to the Cape of Good Hope on convoy duty in 1780, and he followed Pasley to the Jupiter 50 towards the end of September, which vessel took part in the Battle of Porto Praya on 16 April 1781. After the Jupiter had conveyed Admiral Hugh Pigot out to the Leeward Islands command in 1782, Malcolm joined the flagship Formidable 90 in July before returning to his uncle aboard the Jupiter on 3 March 1783, on which day he was commissioned lieutenant. Returning to England with a convoy, the Jupiter reached the Downs two months later to be paid off at the end of July.

On 18 December 1783 he was appointed to the Scipio 64, Captain John Inglefield, which was employed as a guardship off the Medway until she was paid off in June 1786. He spent the next two and a half years on the beach, and in the summer of 1788 left for France with his uncle, where he resided at Amiens. He returned to duty with his appointment on 30 January 1789 as the second lieutenant of the Pegasus 28, Captain Herbert Sawyer, going out to Newfoundland in July and returning to England via Lisbon in January 1790. He was immediately appointed first lieutenant of the Scipio under his uncle and moved with him on 19 July to the Bellerophon 74, joining the fleet at Spithead during the Spanish Armament. Returning to the Nore, this vessel was also employed in the Russian Armament during 1791 before being decommissioned in August, by which time Malcolm had become her first lieutenant. In September he joined Vengeance 74 under Pasley as her third lieutenant before transferring in August 1792 to the Penelope 32, Captain Bartholomew Rowley.

Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm

Come the commencement of the French Revolutionary War in February 1793, Malcolm had been serving for some six months on the Jamaican station as the first lieutenant of the Penelope. The frigate was busily engaged cruising, and she captured the French frigate Inconstante 32 off San Domingo on 25 November, on which occasion Malcolm led the boarding party which took possession of the enemy. He thereafter commanded the Penelope’s boats in various cutting out missions, including one of a merchant ship that involved a fifteen-mile row before clambering over her side in the darkness. In the early part of 1794 he transferred to the Europa 50, Commodore John Ford, assisting in the landing of troops on Cape Tiburon in February.

On 3 April 1794 he was promoted commander of the ex-French privateer Jack Tar 14, which he commissioned at Jamaica. Sent to protect the town of Cape Nicholas Mole on Saint-Domingue, he missed out on the prizemoney which the rest of the squadron earned at the capture of Port-au-Prince in June. After collecting a convoy from Honduras in July, the Jack Tar was attached to a homeward-bound Jamaica convoy, and following her arrival in the Downs she was decommissioned at Woolwich and sold off.

Upon being posted captain on 22 October 1794, Malcolm was appointed to the frigate Fox 32 at Portsmouth in place of the indisposed Captain Thomas Drury. Collecting the stragglers from a convoy at Plymouth in February 1795, his command sailed for Portugal where she was chased by a division of the French fleet off Cape Ortegal but managed to get back to Plymouth. On 17 March she was dispatched once more to Portugal to collect the Oporto convoy, and after undertaking an unsuccessful cruise in the Bay of Biscay whilst waiting for the merchant ships to gather, she reached Portsmouth in mid-June. On 11 July she arrived off Portsmouth with a large convoy from the Downs, from where she proceeded with the trade to Quebec and Newfoundland, prior to returning to the Downs in December. After going aground on a sandbank, she then spent more than a month under repair at Sheerness.

In January 1796 the Fox was sent north to Scotland, and whilst spending three weeks anchored in Leith, Malcolm visited his family. Returning to the Downs, she was later attached to Rear-Admiral Thomas Pringle’s squadron in the North Sea which in February came upon a Dutch force bound for the Cape but surprisingly deferred from an action. After a brief spell in blockade of the Texel, the Fox was dispatched with other men-of-war in April to cruise off the Shetlands in search of French privateers, and she was then employed in Norwegian waters before entering Sheerness on 24 May to fit out for foreign service.

On 27 June 1796 the Fox departed for the Cape from Portsmouth in the company of the Trident 64, Captain Edward Oliver Osborn, and a dozen East Indiamen. Also aboard was the future Duke of Wellington, at that time known as Colonel Hon. Arthur Wellesley, as well as Malcolm’s younger midshipman brother Charles, another brother, Tom, who was going out to join his regiment in India, and their cousin Peter Heywood, who in time would become the Fox’s first lieutenant. After a ten-week passage, the Fox spent five weeks at the Cape, and on 11 November she departed for India where she delivered the last of the convoy to Calcutta in early February 1797 and then sailed to join the British fleet under the commander-in-chief, Rear-Admiral Peter Rainier, at Madras.

On 9 March 1797 the Fox captured the prolific French privateer Modeste 20 off Vizagapatam following a seven-hour chase, after the enemy had initially approached Malcolm’s command on the assumption that she was a merchantman. Next ordered to deliver a convoy to Macao with the Trident and Sybille 38, Captain Edward Cooke, they reached China in mid-December from where the Sybille and Fox departed on 5 January 1798 with seven homeward-bound East Indiamen. Once these vessels were detached at a safe point, the two frigates headed east for the Philippines to establish the strength of the Spanish, with whom hostilities had opened.

Arriving off Manila on 14 January 1798, the Fox and Sybille attempted the deception of the Spanish authorities which saw three enemy gunboats removed from the harbour, although sadly, a lieutenant, a midshipman, and twelve men were lost when one of the gunboats foundered in a squall. Shortly afterwards, an attempt to obtain water and provisions from Samboangon on the isle of Mindanao was repulsed by the Spanish with the loss of five men killed and sixteen wounded. When the two frigates did manage to water, they were attacked by the natives and ten men abducted, although these were recovered some months later following punitive action against settlements in the area. By March the two frigates were back at Macao to collect the remainder of the trade, and they set sail on the 28th with sixteen East Indiamen and country ships in convoy. Pausing only to replenish in the Straits of Banca, they reached Trincomale on 29 May and rejoined Rear-Admiral Rainier’s squadron.

On 18 June 1798, Malcolm was appointed Rainier’s flag captain aboard the Suffolk 74, which over the next few months was to be found at Madras and Trincomale, prior to arriving at Bombay in November. During January 1799 Malcolm led the fire-fighters tackling a blaze at that port aboard an East Indiaman, the Scaleby Castle, in March the Suffolk delivered troops to the Malabar Coast in the war against Tipu Sultan, and during May she was cruising with the squadron off Mangalore when a sudden storm saw her sails torn away and her mainyard snapped in two. After transporting Lieutenant General James Stuart and his troops from the Cannanore Roads to Madras in June, she spent the rest of the year on the Coromandel coast before proceeding to Bombay once more for the winter.

Early in February 1800 the Suffolk departed Bombay, by the end of April she was at Madras, and on 14 May she returned to that port, having come south with an East Indiaman from Masulipatam. She was with Rainier’s squadron which put to sea from Madras at the beginning of June, and although the admiral spent some time on board other vessels, the Suffolk was flying his flag in the Madras Roads during early August. She next collected a troop convoy in the Bay of Bengal which arrived at Trincomale on 14 September, and where that force remained for the next two months whilst more transports arrived, as did the commander of the expeditionary force, Colonel Wellesley. Further troops were collected after the convoy reached the Point de Galles on the southernmost tip of Ceylon, and departing on 8 February 1801, it reached Bombay on 23 March where the Suffolk was docked. Unfortunately, by this time, many of the troops had succumbed to death and illness after being cooped up on transports in a tropical climate for four months.

In June 1801 the Suffolk was at Trincomale, and on 8 August she reportedly sailed from Bombay for Madras. Shortly afterwards, accounts in the British press allayed fears that she had been lost in the Bay of Bengal with news that she was safe in the Straits of Malacca.

On 11 October 1801, Malcolm removed to the Victorious 74 in place of the terminally ill Captain William Clark, and he initially retained this ship as Rainier’s flag-captain. During early March 1802 the Victorious reached Calcutta from Vizagapatam, from where she sailed on the 14th for Columbo. She was back in the Madras Roads during May, and after sailing for Penang to escort the China trade, she entered Madras once more with Rainier’s flag on 17 September.

When news of the end of the French Revolutionary War in March 1802 reached Indian waters, Rainier and Malcolm set off for England aboard the Victorious, departing Trincomale on 27 October in the company of several other men-of-war including the Eurydice 24, commanded by Malcolm’s brother, Charles. Reaching the Cape on 12 December, they departed seventeen days later, but by now both the Victorious and her captain were worn out, and it little helped that she was hampered by bad weather on the voyage up the Atlantic. On 13 March 1803 she arrived at Lisbon in a very leaky state, having landed her lower deck guns at St. Helena, and Malcolm had to run her ashore in the Tagus to prevent her from foundering. An Admiralty surveyor condemned her on 30 April, whereupon her stores were sold off. The Chichester 44 armed en-flute, Commander Joseph Spear, was ordered out to bring her officers and crew home, but by then Malcolm had hired a couple of merchant vessels, the Calpe and Sir Andrew Mitchell, and they arrived at Portsmouth on 1 August whereupon the returning men were drafted to various ships at Spithead following the commencement of the Napoleonic War.

There now followed anxieties of a more social aspect for Malcolm, as he was taken to court by Lieutenant-Colonel John Shee, whose somewhat promiscuous but estranged young wife had struck up a relationship with Malcolm during the voyage home in the Victorious, the couple being discovered by Shee in bed together. Accused of a ‘criminal conversation’, Malcolm decided not to contest the charge and he was fined the nominal amount of forty shillings. In January 1804 a boy was born to Mrs Shee whom Malcolm accepted as his own son, and although Mrs Shee remarried shortly afterwards, Malcolm continued to support their child for the rest of his life.

In January 1804, Malcolm was appointed to the Royal Sovereign 100, and on the 14th he left London for Plymouth to fit her out for the Mediterranean. Arriving at Gibraltar on 19 February via the Channel Fleet, the Royal Sovereign joined the Mediterranean Fleet off Toulon on 14 March, whereupon she was seconded by Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton to carry his flag in preference to the Kent 74, into which Malcolm removed. Shortly afterwards this leaky and worn-out ship was sent to Naples to act as a guardship, and here Malcolm temporarily took lodgings ashore whilst assuming responsibility for procuring supplies for the fleet. In July 1804 he exchanged with Captain John Chambers White into the equally unfit Renown 74 so that the Kent could return home. Continuing to serve at Naples, he was obliged to rebuke the bull-headed Commander Robert Corbet of the sloop Bittern for boarding French merchantmen in the neutral port when searching for deserters.

In March 1805 he was released from his onerous and unfulfilling duty in Naples and was appointed to the Donegal 74 so that the sickly Captain Richard John Strachan could return home. The ship joined Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s pursuit of the

HMS Donegal

French Toulon fleet to the West Indies following its breakout on 29 March, and after returning with the Nelson to Europe she was present at the blockade of Cadiz. On 17 October the Donegal was sent to Gibraltar to replenish casks, but upon hearing that the allied fleet had put to sea, Malcolm rushed her out of the Rock five days later, apocryphally towing her foreyard alongside, but certainly continuing to make repairs as she sailed. By the time that she reached Cape Trafalgar on the afternoon of the 23rd the battle was over, however she did render valuable assistance with the prizes in the mighty storm that followed, and she captured the Rayo 100, which had ventured out of Cadiz under the orders of Commodore Julien Marie Cosmao-Kerjulien in the hope of securing some of the stranded ships. Unfortunately, the Rayo foundered shortly afterwards with twenty-nine of the prize crew aboard. On the 28th the Donegal’s boats rescued scores of men from the prize Berwick 74 after her original French crew had cut her cable, with Malcolm gallantly instructing his men to rescue the wounded French before taking off the British prize crew. She completed her exertions by carrying the abandoned Spanish Bahama 74 into Gibraltar on 4 November, and for their conduct over the days following the battle her men earned the praise of all who had fought in it, with the unquestioned affirmation that they had deserved to be there. On a more materialistic note, it was only after a protracted legal case lasting five years that Malcolm and his men would receive ‘head money’ for the capture of the Rayo, with his personal share being about £1,000.

The Donegal continued off Cadiz under the orders of firstly Rear-Admiral Thomas Louis, and from the middle of November 1805 under Vice-Admiral Sir John Duckworth, and when a division of the Brest fleet broke out in December, she took part in their pursuit and fought at the Battle of San Domingo on 6 February 1806. During this engagement she forced the surrender of the Jupiter 74 and Brave 74, whilst incurring casualties of twelve men dead and thirty-three wounded, with Malcolm being knocked to the deck by a shot which carried the leg off one midshipman and shattered the leg of another. Having reached Port Royal on 12 February to undertake repairs, the Donegal sailed for England with Louis and the French prizes, during which voyage she removed the crew of the Brave on 13 April when the captured French ship was on the point of foundering to the north-east of Bermuda. She eventually reached Portsmouth on 30 April and Malcolm was subsequently awarded the San Domingo gold medal and a vase from the Patriotic Fund. Meanwhile, his command underwent repairs and a refit at Portsmouth during the summer, allowing Malcolm to attend a levee and visit Bath.

On 9 July 1806 the Donegal sailed from Portsmouth to join the Channel Fleet off Brest, and she was with Admiral the Earl of St. Vincent when he sailed south to the Tagus during August. She then joined Rear-Admiral Eliab Harvey’s squadron off Cape Finisterre before returning to Plymouth on 16 February 1807, and she remained in Cawsand Bay for some weeks. Putting out from Plymouth Sound on 14 March, she rejoined the blockade of Rochefort under Rear-Admiral Hon. Michael De Courcy before returning on 22 July to Plymouth and sailing out again on 6 August for the Channel Fleet.

During the early part of 1808, the Donegal was serving with Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan off Rochefort, prior to returning to Plymouth to be docked for repairs at the beginning of February. On 12 April she sailed from the Devonshire port for the Channel Fleet, and on 30 June she arrived at Cork to convoy Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Wellesley’s army to the Iberian Peninsula, departing on 12 July and anchoring in Mondego Bay two weeks later. Malcolm was active in the disembarkation of the troops in difficult circumstances until the end of August before sailing to join Admiral Sir Charles Cotton in the Tagus on 2 September. Here he was ordered to join Rear-Admiral Charles Tyler’s squadron in the escort of six Russian ships to Portsmouth, and after going around to Plymouth on 10 November the Donegal spent a month refitting. Malcolm meanwhile provided evidence to the Board of Inquiry which opened on 17 November to investigate the controversial Convention of Cintra, and which testimony proved to be beneficial to his friend, Wellesley.

In January 1809 Malcolm married, and he remained ashore for a couple of months whilst Captain Peter Heywood took the Donegal to sea. Following an interview at the Admiralty on 21 March, he left for Portsmouth and sailed three days later as a passenger aboard the fireship Mediator 44, Commander James Woolridge, to rejoin the Donegal in Admiral Lord Gambier’s fleet, which at the time was blockading a French fleet in the Basque Roads. Here he witnessed the debacle of the ‘battle’ on 11 April. Weeks later, he led a squadron of four 74-gun ships and a frigate in search of an escaped Lorient squadron of similar size, patrolling the mouth of the Channel without success prior to returning to Portsmouth on 12 May. Called as a witness in July to Admiral Lord Gambier’s court-martial relating to the Battle of the Basque Roads, he stated that he thought the fleet could have made an attack in support of Captain Lord Cochrane’s assault. During his absence at the trial and a subsequent visit to Scotland, Captain Edward Pelham Brenton acted for him aboard the Donegal, taking the Marquis Wellesley out to Cadiz in July, although by the time that she arrived at Portsmouth from Cadiz on 26 November with the returning Wellesley, Malcolm was at the helm.

He next assumed the command of the tedious blockade of Cherbourg, returning frequently to Portsmouth as winds or provisioning dictated. In July 1810 his squadron was in Weymouth where he attended a dinner for the son of Commodore George Johnstone on the former’s unopposed election to Parliament. During the autumn he was still off Cherbourg, and after capturing the St. Valéry-en-Caux privateer Surcouf 14 off Cape Barfleur on 6 November, he commanded at the destruction of the French frigate Elisa 40 on 13 November, although her consort, the Amazone 40, managed to escape.

The Donegal was paid off and decommissioned in February 1811, and Malcolm took the opportunity to visit Scotland before returning to the command of the blockading force off Cherbourg aboard the Royal Oak 74, which he had joined on 9 August. From 23 October until 3 December his command refitted at Portsmouth, allowing him to spend some time in London, and during the early part of 1812 his squadron was often to be found sheltering from stormy weather off St. Helens before resuming the blockade of Cherbourg.

On 1 March 1812 he accepted the position of captain of the fleet to Admiral Lord Keith, his kinsman by marriage, and he was presented to the Prince Regent at a levee shortly afterwards. Joining Keith at Plymouth, he and the admiral went aboard the San Josef 112 at Plymouth in June and sailed to join the Channel Fleet off Ushant. During August he was rewarded for his services by being nominated a colonel of marines, and in November he was ordered to raise a commodore’s broad pennant and command the squadron off Rochefort, although foul winds prevented the San Josef from reaching this station until 17 December. On 2 February 1813 he shifted into the Bulwark 74, Captain James Andrew Worth, and he returned to Plymouth on 14 March aboard the Barham 74, Captain John William Spranger.

Rejoining Keith as his captain of the Channel Fleet, they set off to blockade Brest in June 1813 aboard the new Queen Charlotte 100, Captain Robert Jackson, and when Keith returned home on 18 August, Malcolm remained in command of the squadron with a commodore’s broad pennant. Shortly after being promoted rear-admiral on 4 December 1813, he returned to Plymouth aboard the Dublin 74, Captain Thomas Elphinstone, to join his pregnant wife. A brief cruise with Keith was made from 15 February to 2 March, and following Napoleon’s abdication on 11 April he and Keith were despatched to Bordeaux to manage the embarkation of the Army.

In May 1814 Malcolm raised his flag at Bordeaux aboard the Royal Oak 74, Captain Edward Dix, and on 2 June he departed the Gironde with a convoy of a dozen troop transports conveying Major-General Sir Robert Ross and four thousand troops for North America, where the War of 1812 was raging. On 24 July the convoy reached Bermuda where it remained for some time whilst the Army made its preparations, and it was not until 14 August that it arrived off the Chesapeake. Here, as third in command to Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane and Rear-Admiral George Cockburn, Malcolm was responsible for the landing of the troops prior to the assault on Washington, and on 12 September he provided the same service for the assault on Baltimore. Following that disastrous expedition in which his friend Ross was killed, he remained in the Patuxent until 26 September, and prior to leaving the Chesapeake he organised an exchange of prisoners with Commodore Joshua Barney.

On 14 October 1814 Malcolm departed North America for Jamaica where arrangements were put in hand for an assault on New Orleans. Arriving off Louisiana on 11 December, he shifted his flag into the Seahorse 38, Captain James Alexaander Gordon, in order to manage the disembarkation and provisioning of the troops. This assault also proved to be disastrous, and it was his onerous duty to re-embark the defeated army and its many casualties, a task that took up so much of his time that it was not until 28 January 1815 that he rejoined the Royal Oak. A brief expedition was then undertaken against the town of Mobile, but it was curtailed on 14 February when news came through that peace with America had been agreed, leaving Malcolm to superintend the re-embarkation of the Army.

Returning to Europe with the troop transports and several other men-of-war, on 2 May the Royal Oak fell in with a merchant vessel which advised that Napoleon had returned to take power in France. Following his arrival at Portsmouth on 30 May, Malcolm was ordered to take command of the squadron in the Schelde at the specific request of the Duke of Wellington, who had gone to Brussels to take command of the Army. There followed a brief stay in London where he visited the Admiralty and his family, and having previously been created a K.C.B. on 2 January 1815, he was invested at a levee by the Prince Regent on 8 June. Four days later he raised his flag at Deal aboard the sloop Nightingale 16, Commander Christopher Nixon, and he sailed for the Schelde to transfer into the Tartarus 18, Commander Thomas Toker. On the 14th he arrived at Brussels and dined with Wellington, and he also attended the famous Duchess of Richmond’s Ball and was on the field of the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June before departing that morning for Ghent to advise King Louis XVIII of the Army’s proceedings. Reaching Dover on the 20th, he later returned to the Continent where in the weeks following the Battle of Waterloo he evacuated the British wounded and French prisoners of war from Ostend. At the end of July, he visited Paris before leaving for home on 22 August and departing the Schelde in the Tartarus to strike his flag at Sheerness.

Napoleon – he and Malcolm were on good terms during the former’s exile on St. Helena

In April 1816 Malcolm left London for Portsmouth and raised his flag aboard the Newcastle 50, Captain Henry Meynell as the commander-in-chief at the Cape, which role included responsibility for the island of St. Helena, to which Napoleon had been exiled. Arriving on 17 June, he and Lady Malcolm soon formed a rapport with the ex-emperor, and Malcolm proved to be a sympathetic ear in comparison to the intransigent governor, Sir Hudson Lowe, with whom he ultimately fell out. After sailing for the Cape on 22 September to visit the commissioner, Captain Sir Jahleel Brenton, Malcolm returned to St. Helena on 23 November, and he eventually sailed for home on 4 July 1817 to reach Spithead on 14 August.

For the next eleven years Malcolm remained out of employment, mainly dividing his time between his family and farming interests in Scotland, and clubs, the Court, and charitable causes in London. On 19 July 1821, on which day he attended King George IV’s coronation as a knight of the bath, he became a vice-admiral. Seeking employment and unafraid to use his friendship with the influential Duke of Wellington, Malcolm was mentioned in connection with the Mediterranean, East Indies, and Lisbon commands during the early 1820’s, but nothing was forthcoming.

He eventually returned to duty when he was announced as the commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean in the spring of 1828, replacing the recalled Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Codrington. On 26 June he sailed from Portsmouth with his flag aboard the Wellesley 74, Captain Frederick Maitland, to reach Malta on 25 July, and he exchanged with Codrington on 21 August off Navarino, where he transferred into the Asia 84, Captain William Hope Johnstone. Remaining in Greek waters, he oversaw the removal of Ibrahim Pasha’s Egyptian forces from the Morea and trod a delicate diplomatic path over the future of Crete whilst also maintaining a relationship with Russia, which was both at war with Turkey, and allied to Britain in France in resolving the question of Greek independence. During October he spent over a week in Constantinople where he had an audience with the Sultan. He was created a G.C.M.G. on 21 January 1829, and in May 1830 he transferred with Captain Johnstone into the Britannia 120, by which time his prime concerns were the withdrawal of the Russian fleet from the Mediterranean and French designs on Algeria. Less critically, he established a steam packet link from Falmouth to India where two of his brothers held important positions. He eventually returned home aboard the Britannia, departing Malta on 24 June 1831.

On 10 August 1831 he attended a levee with King William IV, following which he departed for Ireland on family business. He nevertheless remained active in naval affairs, attending the launching of experimental rockets off the Sussex coast, and then visiting Falmouth at the end of the year to examine the mail packet service.

On 2 July 1832 Malcolm raised his flag at Portsmouth aboard the Donegal 76, Captain John Dick, in command of an ‘Experimental Squadron’ which undertook sea trials off Lowestoft. By the end of the month the squadron was at Cork, from where it cruised off the Irish coast at a time of turbulence in the politics of that country, and on 23 August it entered Plymouth, where it was inspected by the Board of Admiralty. A brief return to Cork followed in September, prior to the squadron returning to Portsmouth. Malcolm then spent some time in London receiving instructions from the Admiralty, following which his small squadron, together with an inferior, troublesome French squadron under his control, patrolled the Dutch coasts during the dispute over Belgium. This mission continued into the early months of 1833, although for the most part Malcolm and the Donegal remained in the Downs whilst his smaller vessels paraded off the Dutch coast.

He was invested with the G.C.B. by the King at St. James Place on 1 May 1833, and shortly afterwards it was announced that he was to resume the role of commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean following the death of his successor, Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Hotham. After attending a levee with the King, he proceeded to Portsmouth on 12 May to raise his flag aboard a paddle steamer, the Dee, to take passage out to Lisbon where four days later he went aboard his flagship, the Britannia 120, Captain Peter Rainier. On 7 June they reached Malta, from where they sailed for Dardanelles to monitor the situation in Turkey, which was both at risk from the Egyptian army and undue Russian influence. Malcolm briefly visited Constantinople in July to confer with the British ambassador before returning to cruise with his squadron off the island of Tenedos, and although the Russian fleet soon departed, he still felt it necessary to base his force of five sail of the line, including three three-deckers, near Smyrna in case it was necessary to re-enter the Dardanelles. At the end of the year he departed for Malta, and upon being relieved by Vice-Admiral Sir Josias Rowley, he sailed for home aboard the Barham 74, Captain Hugh Pigot, reaching Gibraltar on 3 April 1834 and Portsmouth sixteen days later, whereupon he struck his flag for the last time and reported to London.

In retirement Malcolm remained active, attending many social events in London whilst spending time in his Scottish properties and undertaking a tour of England. In July 1835 he received an honorary MA at Cambridge University, and he was promoted to the rank of admiral on 10 January 1837. Three months later, on 13 April, he was named in the House of Commons by an old adversary, Admiral Sir Edward Codrington, as having used salvage money from the recovery of Turkish cannons sunk at the Battle of Navarino to be distributed as prize money, and of using a man-of-war to transport building materials for a controversial house he was building in Greece. Malcolm’s friend and ex-first lord of the Admiralty, Sir James Graham, rubbished the vastly exaggerated claims, and Codrington ultimately retracted his remarks.

In July 1837 Malcolm learned of the death of his eldest son, George, in Constantinople from the plague, and after attending a levee with Queen Victoria in January 1838 his own health saw a decline. He died at Langholm in Dumfriesshire on 20 July, and was buried beside his wife in St. Marylebone Parish Church, London.

He was married at St. Marylebone, London, on 18 January 1809 to Clementina Elphinstone, the eldest daughter of an East India Company director, and the niece of Admiral Lord Keith and cousin of Admiral Hon. Charles Elphinstone Fleeming. She died of cancer on 19 November 1830.The couple had two sons, George, who joined the Army, and William, who briefly served in the Navy before taking an ecclesiastical degree. He was a long-term leaseholder of Irvine House at Canonbie on the River Esk in Dumfriesshire until purchasing the nearby Burnfoot in the mid-1830’s.

Malcolm was an excellent French linguist. He was an acquaintance of both Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington and was well regarded both within and outside the service. A tall, handsome man with an imposing presence who spoke emphatically in a strong Scottish accent, he was energetic, charismatic, confident, and zealous. He allowed his crew a great deal of attitude if he was happy with the general state of his ship, as was certainly the case with the Donegal. A Tory by preference as opposed to his liberally inclined wife, he had an aversion to slavery. Napoleon said of him that he had ‘never yet beheld a man of whom I so immediately formed a good opinion as of that fine, soldier-like old man,’ and that Malcolm had a countenance that was ‘pleasing, open, intelligent, frank, sincere’.

For a full biography of this exceptional officer I would thoroughly recommend Paul Martinovich’s excellent work ‘The Sea is My Element – the Eventful Life of Admiral Sir Pulteney Malcolm 1766 – 1838.’