Biddle, Nicholas,1750–78, American naval officer, b. Philadelphia. Biddle left the British navy in 1773. In the American Revolution he became captain in the patriot navy and daringly raided British shipping off the American coast. After receiving command (1777) of the ship Randolph, Biddle was killed and his ship destroyed in an encounter (1778) with the British warship Yarmouth off the coast of Barbados.
Biddle, Nicholas,1786–1844, American financier, b. Philadelphia. After holding important posts in the American legations in France and England, he returned to the United States in 1807 and became one of the leading lights of Port-Folio, a literary magazine, which he edited after 1812. He was also commissioned to write the history of the Lewis and Clark expeditionLewis and Clark expedition,
1803–6, U.S. expedition that explored the territory of the Louisiana Purchase and the country beyond as far as the Pacific Ocean. Purpose
..... Click the link for more information. , but turned over the job to Paul Allen, a Philadelphia journalist, when he was elected (1810) to the state house of representatives, where he served a single term. In 1819, President Monroe appointed him one of the government directors of the Bank of the United StatesBank of the United States,
name for two national banks established by the U.S. Congress to serve as government fiscal agents and as depositories for federal funds; the first bank was in existence from 1791 to 1811 and the second from 1816 to 1836.
..... Click the link for more information. . He became its president in 1823, and his administration illustrated his belief in the necessity of a central banking institution to stabilize the currency and curb the inflationary tendencies of the era. He became the leading target of the Jacksonians in their war against the bank. After the bank failed of recharter, Biddle operated it as a private bank until it collapsed (1841) as an aftermath of the Panic of 1837. He was charged with fraud but was subsequently acquitted. Biddle's public correspondence dealing with national affairs (1817–44) was edited by Reginald McGrane (1919).
See biography by T. P. Govan (1959); study by G. R. Taylor (1949); B. Hammond, Banks and Politics in America (1957, repr. 1967); R. V. Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Bank War (1967).