Horatio Nelson, HEICS Judge

Horatio Nelson HEICS Judge 1825-1862

It is not known where he was born, and his birth date is recorded as 1825 in LDS and 1822 in a newspaper death notice of 1862. Who his parents were is also unclear. What we do know is that in 1841, aged 16-19 he took part in the half-yearly examination of candidates at East India House between 22 and 24 August and as a result qualified for admission to the East India College at Haileybury for the term beginning 10 Sep 1841. (Asiatic Journal Vol 35 Mar-Aug 1841)

According to the rank of students leaving college on the 29 June 1843, in the Bengal first class – Nelson and another student Dunlop were “highly distinguished”. (AJ 3rd series May-Oct 1843) and consequently Horatio Nelson was among those nine students appointed to the Bengal Presidency civil service of the East India Company (Robert Henry Dunlop among them). (Allen’s Indian Mail Issue 1 May-Dec 1843 and AJ Vol 2 1843 p.124)

He probably sailed in “Windsor” to Bengal (AJ Vol 2 1843)

Once in Bengal, Nelson passed into Fort William College, Calcutta where he was in the second and third classes from 5 or 15 Feb 1844 and where he passed in Persian 1 Jul 1844, sitting examinations for Bengallee on 1 Aug and 2 Sep 1844. (AJ Vol 4 1844/45).

His first posting was at Moorshedabad, about 25 miles from Plassey, where Clive fought Surajah Dowlah and effectively established the rule of the East India company. In 1874 it consisted chiefly of mud buildings, but contained a splendid palace of dazzling whiteness, beautifully situated, and completed in 1840. It was once the capital of Bengal, and so prosperous that Clive used to compare it to the city of London. (The American Cyclopaedia", by George Ripley And Charles A. Dana 1874)

From 24 Jan 1844 he was assistant to the magistrate and collector of Moorshedabad, later vested with special powers described in clause 3, sec. 2, reg. 3 of 1821 in that district, and still there from 17 Sep 1844 (Allen Vol 3 1844 pp. 127, 650, 680)

From 1 Apr 1846 he was vested with the powers of joint magistrate and deputy collector of Moorshedabad (Allen Vol 4 1846 p. 333) and on 6 May 1846 he was assistant to the magistrate of Moorshedabad, stationed at Furakabad, and had (Allen Vol 8 1851 p.527) assumed charge of the subdivision of Furakabad.

(Allen Vol 12 1854 p.230) records him as magistrate of Dingapore on 10 Mar 1854.

(Allen Vol 13 1855 p.289) as magistrate of Jessore, to continue to officiate as joint magistrate and deputy collector of Bograh and p.321 – to be joint magistrate and deputy collector of Bograh.

(Allen 2 Jan 1856 p.5)  H. Nelson, joint magistrate and deputy collector of Bograh is charge of a subdivision, comprising the thannahs (police stations) Shumsheergunge, Sootee and Pulsa, in Moorshedabad and thannahs Furakabad, Kalkapoor, Foodkeepore and Rajmahal in Bhaugulpore. (p. 430)

(Allen Vol 5 1847 p.166) records he’s given three months leave of absence, which is shortly cancelled for him to be assistant to the magistrate at Moorshedabad.

(Allen Vol. 6 1848 p. 264) In accordance with the Straits Settlement replacements policy – he is sent to officiate for W.T. Lewis as assistant to the resident at Penang, during the temporary employment of Mr. Jackson as superintendent of Province Wellesley, across the water from Penang. So we read in the Bengal Hurkaru on 129 Apr 1848 that Mr. Church resident counselor at Singapore retires and will be replaced by one of the young Bengal civilians Mr. L.S Jackson or Mr. H. Nelson.

(Allen Vol 8 1850 p.351) reports that on 13 Mar 1850, Horatio Nelson, as superintendant of Province Wellesley, resumed charge of duty and in January 1856 reports that he's been given four months leave of absence from 5 Nov 1855 and he appears to have returned to England.

“Oriental” left Madras on 15 Feb 1856 via a stop in Bombay on 9 Mar 1856 en route for Marseilles with passengers H. Nelson, wife and child and H. Nelson, Bengal Civil Service. He arrived in England and reported at East India House on 19 Mar and 28 Mar 1856.

We don’t know if he was married, but (Allen Vol. 14 1856 p.307) reports the death of “the wife of H. Nelson of Madras” at Belgrave Terrace Brighton on 3 May 1856. This may well have been his wife. However to add to the confusion, the Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW: 1843 - 1893) (about) Sat 12 Sep 1857 records the marriages at St. John's Chapel, Edinburgh, on the 30 Jun 1857, of Horatio Nelson, Esq., Bengal Civil Service, to Sophia, third daughter of Robert Davidson, Esq., M.D., late Physician General at Madras, and niece of Gordon Forbes Davidson, Esq.

Horatio was back in India by 1859 and the India Register has him as joint magistrate and deputy collector at Maldah.

(Allen Vol 17 Jan-Jun 1859 p.315) has him as an additional judge of Tighoot and Sarun and on 26 Jul posted to officiate as commissioner of revenue and circuit of Bhaugulpore division and Sonthal Pergunnahs (84 villages constitute a pergunnah, or county).

(Allen Vol 17 Jul-Dec 1859) with the government of Bengal he’s officiating as magistrate of Dingapore during the absence of E.S. Pearson from 25 Feb.

(Allen Vol 18 Jul-Dec 1860) From 17 Aug he’s officiating Civil and Session Judge of Sarun, to be civil and session Judge of that district and from 3 Oct while Judge of Sarun, has leave for one month of the new revised absentee rules.

He died in 1862, and the Gentleman’s Magazine Vol 214 p.125 -, reports the death in Calcutta on 26 Oct 1862 Horatio Nelson Esq., of the Bengal Civil Service. He was aged 37/40. His burial is recorded on LDS B39595-6, Film no. 499008.

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