Nelson's reputation has come under attack from Professor Antonio Gargano for his part in the suppression of a liberal uprising in southern Italy 200 years ago. Professor Gargano claims Nelson interfered in a legitimate public uprising.
The rebels, according to Professor Gargano, had successfully negotiated with King Ferdinand IV of Naples to end their insurrection peacefully but when Nelson's fleet arrived in the Bay of Naples, events took a bloodier turn. Instead of an amicable settlement, said Professor Gargano, the rebels were subjected to a bloody round of trials and hangings that earned Nelson the nickname the "Butcher of Naples".
That view was condemned last night by one of his biographers, Tom Pocock, who said: "He was defending Britain's interests against a rebellion which was pretty liberal but was seen as an extension of the regime of the guillotine."Reuse content