George Carteret

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Sir George Carteret, Bt
Sir George Carteret
Died19 January 1680
AllegianceFlag of England.svg  Kingdom of England
Service/branchEnglish Red Ensign 1620.svg  Royal Navy
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held Treasurer of the Navy
Comptroller of the Navy
HMS Mary Rose
Arms of Carteret: Gules, four fusils in fess argent CarteretArms.png
Arms of Carteret: Gules, four fusils in fess argent

Vice Admiral Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet (c.161018 January 1680 N.S.) was a royalist statesman in Jersey and England, who served in the Clarendon Ministry as Treasurer of the Navy. He was also one of the original lords proprietor of the former British colony of Carolina and New Jersey. Carteret, New Jersey, as well as Carteret County, North Carolina, both in the United States, are named after him. He acquired the manor of Haynes, Bedfordshire, (alias Hawnes) in about 1667. [1]


Early life

Carteret was the son of Elias de Carteret and Elizabeth Dumaresq of Jersey, who both died in 1640 [ citation needed ] (George dropped the "de" from his surname when he entered the English navy, concerned that it sounded too French). He was "bred for the sea" and served as an officer in various naval ships in the 1630s and commanded the Mary Rose before becoming Comptroller of the Navy in 1641. [2]

As a result of his early life at sea, he received little or no formal education, and his embarrassing ignorance was a source of much ridicule in later life. Andrew Marvell mocked his poor command of English, and Samuel Pepys remarked that his ignorance of even the most basic Latin phrases would cause a schoolboy to be whipped. "Such ignorance is not to be borne in a Privy Councillor', wrote Pepys severely.

Civil War and Commonwealth

On the commencement of the Civil War he retired from the navy, and withdrew with his family to Jersey, but subsequently returned to aid the projects of the royalists. He afterwards, on the ruin of the royal cause, afforded an asylum to the Prince of Wales (Charles Stuart) and other refugees of distinction within his government of Jersey, where he served as Bailiff (1643–1651), [2] and defended Jersey against the Parliamentarians: the island in October and then Elizabeth Castle, finally surrendering in December 1651.

George Carteret also had Charles II proclaimed King in Saint Helier on 17 February 1649, after the execution of his father, Charles I. [3] Charles II never forgot this gesture. However, he had to surrender Jersey to the Commonwealth of England. He then went into exile in France, where he was imprisoned in 1657 and then exiled from there, after which he went to Venice. The warmth and kindness with which he received the refugees earned him a permanent place in the King's affections, and also the friendship of Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, the King's chief adviser during his exile and for the first few years after the Restoration.


Carteret was sworn into the Privy Council, appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, and constituted Treasurer of the Navy. [2] His career for the next decade is documented in the diary of Samuel Pepys, who joined him as Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board in 1660. In 1667, he exchanged his office as Vice-Chamberlain with Lord Anglesey for that of Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, an office which he sold in 1669 for £11,000. [2] His influence seems to have been at its height in 1665, when he boasted to Pepys that the King did nothing without his knowledge; however, as the naval war dragged on, the Treasurer of the Navy was an obvious target of the opposition, and Pepys noted that by the spring of 1666 Carteret was being attacked on all sides. By the autumn of 1667, he confessed to Pepys that he was longing for the quiet of retirement. As Treasurer he was hard working and free from any suspicion of corruption, although his colleagues at the Navy Board complained that they found his accounts difficult to follow.

From 1661 to 1679 he represented Portsmouth, sponsored by the Admiralty, in the Cavalier Parliament. Although sitting on a number of committees he was a fairly inactive member of the house. [4]

American colonies

The fidelity with which Carteret, like John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton, had clung to the royal cause, gave him also great influence at court: he was close to Clarendon, and to the Earl of Sandwich, whose daughter married Carteret's eldest son. He had, at an early date, taken a warm interest in the colonization of America. In recognition of all the help given to him during his exile in Jersey in the 1640s, Charles II gave Carteret a large grant of land previously named New Netherland, which was promptly renamed New Jersey under his charge. [5] With Berkeley, he became one of the proprietors of the Province of Carolina prior to their becoming jointly interested in East Jersey. Carteret County, North Carolina and town of Carteret, New Jersey are named after him, [2] and the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is named after his wife, [6] as is Elizabethtown, North Carolina. [7]

In 1665, Carteret was one of the drafters of the Concession and Agreement , a document that provided freedom of religion in the colony of New Jersey. It was issued as a proclamation for the structure of the government for the colony written by the two proprietors, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret.

Carteret was a signatory to “The Several Declarations of The Company of Royal Adventurers of England Trading into Africa.” This document was published in 1667 by the Royal African Company, a corporation which attempted to monopolize the slave trade in England starting in the late 1660s. [8] Though there is a possibility that someone signed on Carteret’s behalf, the signature is evidence that he both consciously supported and funded England’s slave industry. [9] Carteret's associations with America means that he was no stranger to the transatlantic slave trade; therefore, his monetary contributions to the institution are not surprising but should also not be ignored. [10]

Later life

In 1669, he faced expulsion from the House of Commons for misconduct as Vice Chamberlain, being accused of embezzlement. [11] After a statement from the king expressing his satisfaction with Carteret and an acquittal by the House of Lords, the inquiry against him lapsed. He was, in fact, generally regarded as an honest man. [12]

In 1673, he was appointed one of the Lords of the Admiralty, and continued in the public service until his death on 14 January 1680.

Shortly before Carteret's death, the king proposed to give him the title Baron Carteret, but Carteret died too soon, so the honour was granted to his grandson George.


In the Chapel of Mont Orgueil Castle,[ citation needed ] May 1640, George Carteret married his cousin Elizabeth de Carteret, daughter of Philippe de Carteret II, 3rd Seigneur de Sark and his wife Anne Dowse. [2] They had three sons-

- and five daughters:

Samuel Pepys liked and admired Lady Carteret "the most kind lady in the world."

See also

Further reading


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  1. Victoria County History, Bedford, Volume 2, William Page (editor), 1908, pp.338–344, Parishes: Hawnes or Haynes
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Firth & Knighton 2008.
  3. Jansso, Maija. Art and Diplomacy: Seventeenth-Century English Decorated Royal Letters to Russia and the Far East. BRILL, 2015. p. 204. ISBN   9789004300453.
  4. "CARTERET, Sir George, 1st Bt. (c.1610-80), of Whitehall and Hawnes, Beds". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  5. "A Short History of New Jersey". State of New Jersey. State of New Jersey. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  6. DePalma, Anthony. "If You're Thinking of Living in: Elizabeth", The New York Times , 28 August 1983. Accessed 21 December 2011. "Elizabethtown, as it was originally called, missed the Elizabethan era by just 60 years and, in any event, the Elizabeth for whom it was named was not the queen but the wife of Sir George Carteret ..."
  7. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp.  116.
  8. Davies, K. G. (Kenneth Gordon) (1999). The Royal African Company. London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press. ISBN   0-415-19072-X. OCLC   42746420.
  9. Pettigrew, William A. (William Andrew), 1978-. Freedom's debt : the Royal African Company and the politics of the Atlantic slave trade, 1672-1752. Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture,. Chapel Hill [North Carolina]. ISBN   978-1-4696-1183-9. OCLC   879306121.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. Firth, C.H. (3 January 2008). "Carteret, Sir George, first baronet". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  11. (see Andrew Marvell's Letters, pp. 125, 126)
  12. Henning 1983, p. 30.
  13. Edward Scott for many years denied that he was the father of any of Catherine's children, on the ground that he and his wife had lived apart almost throughout their married life, but ultimately acknowledged Thomas as his son.
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Henry Whithed
Sir Andrew Henley, Bt
Member of Parliament for Portsmouth
With: Richard Norton
Succeeded by
Sir John Kempthorne
George Legge
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir William Russell, Bt
Treasurer of the Navy
Succeeded by
The Earl of Anglesey
Title last held by
The Earl of Norwich
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
Succeeded by
Henry Savile
Legal offices
Preceded by
Philippe de Carteret II
Bailiff of Jersey
Succeeded by
Michel Lemprière
Preceded by
Michel Lemprière
Bailiff of Jersey
Succeeded by
Philippe de Carteret III
Baronetage of England
New creation Baronet
(of Melesches)
Succeeded by
George Carteret