Madgett, Nicholas (d. 1813), French official and translator, was born in Co. Kerry, probably in the early 1740s. He went to France (in or before 1760), studied for the catholic priesthood at the Irish College, Toulouse (licence and doctorat, 1764), was ordained priest there (4 April 1767) and was a curé in provincial France until pressures of the Revolution made him change to a secular career. In Paris he attended the banquet at White's Hotel given by English-speaking revolutionaries (18 November 1792). He was employed in the mid 1790s under the Convention and Directory as a translator in the department of foreign affairs with the rank of sous-chef overseeing nearly everything relating to Ireland. It was he who advised Archibald Hamilton Rowan (qv) and Theobald Wolfe Tone (qv) when they arrived in Paris (1794 and 1796). Madgett was an active interpreter as well as an office-bound translator. In March 1796 he went on a mission recruiting Irish prisoners-of-war into a scratch force to join a French invasion of Ireland; in August 1798 he made some progress in raising for the same purpose a corps known officially as ‘Madgett's Legion’. Well regarded in French government circles, he was recommended by Thomas Paine to James Monroe when Monroe was about to depart for Paris to discuss the prospective American purchase of Louisiana (early 1803). Under the Empire he formed a close relationship with Richard Ferris (qv), which led to both being appointed to the Bureau de Surveillance of the Irish colleges in Paris (1808). Madgett played a part in getting John-Baptist Walshe (d. 1825) replaced as administrator-general by Ferris. Nicholas Madgett died 9 March 1813.
He is not to be confused with a contemporary of the same name, Nicholas Madgett , said by Hayes to be a cousin born in 1758 at Tralee, Co. Kerry. This Nicholas Madgett arrived in France in 1770 and was a student at Sainte-Barbe. Entering the catholic priesthood, he obtained, according to Alger (who confuses the two Madgetts) a benefice near Bordeaux, was chaplain to James Fanning of La Roche Talbot near Sablé (Sarthe) (1784–8) and then returned to the diocese of Bordeaux to became curé at Blaignan in the Médoc. On refusing to take the oath required by the civil constitution of the clergy (November 1790) he was expelled from his parish. In June 1793 he was in Ireland employed by Dublin Castle; a few months later, en route for Jamaica, he was taken prisoner-of-war by the French but soon escaped back to England; in June 1794 he was in France again, this time as a British agent, only to be arrested shortly after reaching Paris. Though his trial for espionage ended in acquittal (22 July), he was not released until 25 November 1795, when he made for England, from where he was sent to Ireland to report on the activities of the United Irishmen (1796). After the Revolution (Alger), or as late as the Restoration (Swords), he resumed his ministry in the diocese of Bordeaux, according to Alger as curé of Civrac until his death. His date of death has not been ascertained. Both Nicholas Madgetts were kinsmen of Nicholas Madgett (qv), president of Sainte-Barbe, c.1730, and later catholic bishop of Kerry.