Illustrations of John Nicholson

Various Western portraits of John Nicholson

John Nicholson of India. Nicholson quickly realized he wanted to move into the elite role of political officer which required knowing multiple languages, customs, and history of the Northwest Punjab which was the hot frontier. Nicholson was not successful in a traditional military environment even within the EIC which ran a parallel miltiary army apart from HM’s Army. ‘John Company’ Army would say ‘Jack! hitch up that tent!’ while HM’s Army would say “Jones! Hitch that tent!’. ‘John Company’ promoted based on merit but promotion to top ranks was very slow so old men were generals which was idotic when they were often senile idiots. But for a social misfit ‘John Company’ Army was more flexible and rewarded merit. ‘John Company” Army also hired based on merit while HM’s Army expected raw officers to buy commissions and so boasted snobbish younger sons who may show merit or only money. The best goal for Nicholson to aim for was the nascent Corp of Guides which was evolving courtesy of Henry Lawrence. Henrry’s Boys were the bright young political officers of the future. Khaki was the color of the future. Nicholson aimed for the future.

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