HMS Boreas in the 1780s

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    Charlotte E

    Hello Everyone
    I’m completely new here, so please excuse me if I’m looking at a topic that’s been done before!
    I am just starting out on research for my master’s dissertation, and I’m trying to find any surviving records from, or about, HMS Boreas between 1784 and 1787. My focus is actually upon the ship’s cooper, James Carse, who was arrested and indicted for murder within days of the ship paying off at Sheerness in November/December 1787. I am particularly keen to know if there are any records surviving from the ship’s surgeon, or the Hospital at Antigua at the time, but I’m not having much luck, and I wondered if anyone here might be able to help at all?
    I realise this is a bit of a long shot! So far I’ve only been able to track down Boreas’ logbook, and this catalogue entry from the University of Michigan, which looks good but unfortunately is on the wrong continent!;view=text;q1=Hussey
    I have also discovered via the Old Bailey Online that the cooper Carse, having been in prison for a number of years, returned to the Navy in 1795 – there’s a record of him being put aboard a tender, but no more details. I wondered if anyone here might be able to advise on other places I might find information? I realise this is a long shot as I say, but I thought it might be worth asking!

    Thanks so much – I’m really pleased to have found this forum! It’s great to have a chance to connect with other people who are also interested!
    Thanks again

    David Hepper

    Antigua Naval Hospital records do not seem to have survived – certainly not in any archives listing on line

    The Pay and Muster Books for Boreas are at the National Archives: these should indicate when Carse joined and left the ship

    If Carse was discharged from prison to a tender in 1795, it was probably the Enterprize, which was stationed at the Tower at this time. He may feature in their Muster Books
    see TNA: ADM 36/15426 and TNA: ADM 102/218

    Other References found in The National Archives ( I suspect you are already aware of them):
    HO 47/15 folio 90 – Nelson’s character reference for Carse
    – see
    – HO 47/9/21 July 1789 – a letter from James Adair enclosing a list of capital respites, in Newgate on 24 June, to whom no pardon has yet been granted, and on which his recommendations are noted against each name. Adair mentions that he is at a loss as to what to suggest for James Carse, convicted of murder, but periodically insane.
    – HO 47/15/6 February 1792 – Memorial of John William Rose, Recorder of London, on respited prisoners – There is mention that the case of James Carse, of the December Sessions 1787, requires further enquiry
    – HO 47/19/16 April 1795 – Certificate/memorial of John William Rose, Recorder of London, on prisoners convicted at the Old Bailey: among those Recommended to serve as seamen in HM. Navy is James Carse

    Letters from Nelson whilst Captain of the Boreas at this time may be found in Volume 1 of The Dispatches and Letters of Lord Nelson by Sir Nicolas Nicolas (first pub.1844; republished London 1997 Chatham Publishing) …. although there seems to be no mention of Carse

    As to the case itself, see Mariners Mirror vol.60 no.1 (February 1974) for an article Horatio Nelson and the Murderous Cooper by H L Cryer.
    Mr Cryer cites as his sources: Old Bailey Session Papers 1788; various contemporary newspapers (mainly the London Chronicle) and the Gentleman’s Magazine

    Charlotte E

    That is fabulous, thank you! I was aware of a few of the National Archives records, but there are a couple there I haven’t seen, which is great! Thank you so much!

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