Horatio Nelson and the Murderous Cooper

By H.L. Cryer, published February 1974


James Carse, cooper of Nelson’s frigate Boreas, was accused of the drunken murder of a woman two days after the ship was paid off at Sheerness in November 1784. At the trial Nelson gave evidence (quoted extensively here) that Carse was of good character but that he had shown signs of insanity following hospitalisation with sunstroke while the ship was in the Leeward Islands. This influenced the judge’s summing up and, as the London Chronicle reported, led the jury, while convicting Carse of murder, also successfully to recommend clemency. This seems to be the first time Nelson’s name appeared in the public press.

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Filed under: Nelson | Other (Eighteenth C) | Health at Sea | Caribbean
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea

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