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Robert Carter Nicholas

man reading bible
  • Born 1728
  • Graduate of College of William & Mary
  • Able lawyer
  • Served 10 years as burgess
  • Died 1780

Conservative Virginia patriot

Robert Carter Nicholas, like Speaker Peyton Randolph, Edmund Pendleton, and George Wythe, was one of Virginia's conservative patriots. A graduate of the College of William and Mary and an able lawyer, Nicholas served for 10 years as a burgess before becoming treasurer of the colony in 1766. Nicholas helped draft the resolutions of the House of Burgesses against the proposed Stamp Act in 1764, but opposed the "young hot, and giddy members" who supported Patrick Henry's Stamp Act resolves in May, 1765.

Introduced resolution for June 1 day of fasting and prayer

Nicholas introduced the resolution of May 23, 1774, setting aside June 1 as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer in sympathy with embargoed Boston. He is also remembered for trying to prevent premature violence in March, 1775, by opposing Patrick Henry's resolution to raise 10,000 regulars "for the duration." Although Nicholas was never an advocate of independence, his legal skill and unquestioned integrity led to his appointment to the Court of Chancery in January 1778.