George Carteret : biography
Vice Admiral Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet (c. 1610 – 18 January 1680 N.S.), son of Elias de Carteret, 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, a town in New Jersey as well as Carteret County in North Carolina, both in the USA, are named after him.
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), and defended the island against the Parliamentarians, Elizabeth Castle being the last fortress that lowered the royal banner.
George Carteret also had Charles II proclaimed King in Saint Helier on 17 February 1649, after the execution of his father, Charles I. Charles II never forgot this gesture whereby Jersey became the first of his realms to recognise his claim to the throne. 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.
At the Restoration, having shared Charles's banishment, Sir George formed one of the immediate train of the restored monarch on his triumphant entry into London. The next day Carteret was sworn into the Privy Council, appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, and constituted Treasurer of the Navy. 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. 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 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.
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 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 Netherlands, which he promptly renamed New Jersey. 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, and the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey is named after his wife.DePalma, Anthony. , 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 ..."
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, Berkeley and Carteret.
- Sir Philip Carteret (1641–1672)
- Captain James Carteret R.N. (d. after 1679), married and had issue
- George Carteret (d.1656), unmarried
- and five daughters.
Carteret was the son of Elias de Carteret and Elizabeth Dumaresq of Jersey, who both died in 1640 (George dropped the "de" from his surname Carteret when he entered the English navy, concerned that it sounded too French). In the Chapel of Mont Orgueil Castle, May 1640, George married his cousin Elizabeth de Carteret, daughter of Philippe de Carteret II, 3rd Seigneur de Sark. Their eldest son was Philippe. 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.
In 1669, he faced expulsion from the House of Commons to which he had been elected in 1661 to represent Portsmouth, for misconduct as Vice Chamberlain, being accused of embezzlement.(see Andrew Marvell's Letters, pp. 125, 126) After an announcement from the king expressing his satisfaction with Carteret and an acquittal by the House of Lords, the inquiry against him lapsed. 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.
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