George Cartwright (trader)

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For other people named George Cartwright, see George Cartwright (disambiguation).
"Captain Cartwright Visiting his Fox Traps." T. Medland's 1792 engraving of W. Hilton's ca. 1791 colour oil painting.[1]

George Cartwright (12 February 1739/40 – 19 May 1819), was an English army officer and a trader and explorer in Newfoundland and Labrador. His name is borne by Cartwright, a settlement at the entrance to Sandwich Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Early Life and Family[edit]

George Cartwright was born at Marnham in Nottinghamshire, England, an elder brother of Edmund Cartwright, clergyman and inventor of the power loom,[2] and of John Cartwright, naval officer and English parliamentary reformer.[3][4]

Army career[edit]

Cartwright became a gentleman cadet in the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, London when he was fifteen. He served in India as ensign in the 39th Foot. In 1759, he was promoted lieutenant while in Ireland. In 1760 he was aide-de-camp to the Marquess of Granby in Germany and a staff officer under Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. He was brevetted captain in 1762, returned to England and went on half pay from 1762 to 1766. In 1766, Cartwright was commissioned Captain in the 37th Foot, and went to Minorca during 1766 and 1767.[5][6][7]

Voyages to Newfoundland and Labrador[edit]

George Cartwright's brother John Cartwright was first Lieutenant on the HMS Guernsey. In the 1766 season, George Cartwright cruised the Newfoundland coast on this vessel with his brother.

In 1768, George Cartwright went to Newfoundland again and accompanied John Cartwright's voyage attempting to contact the Beothuk people on the Exploits river.

Between 1770 and 1786, Cartwright occupied a number of fishing and furring stations from Cape Charles to Sandwich Bay and developed connections with the Inuit and Innu people there. His financial successes was mixed at best, and his many setbacks included being thoroughly raided by American privateers in 1778.[8][9] This came about when his servant Dominick Kinnien defected to join the crew of the Bostonian John Grimes.[original research?]

In 1772, five Inuit people traveled with Cartwright to Ireland and England, where they were a sensation, drawing the attention of King George III, Joseph Banks, John Hunter, James Boswell, Samuel Johnson, and great crowds. Tragically, four of these people died of smallpox before returning home. The sole survivor was Caubvick, who is now the namesake of Mount Caubvick.[10][11]

Later life in England[edit]

In 1786, Cartwright returned to England. He published his diary in 1792 and continued to be interested in the politics and business of Labrador. He was barracks master of the Nottingham Militia from some time during the Napoleonic Wars until 1817. He died in 1819 in Mansfield, England.[12] He had an unparalleled love for Labrador until his death, writing:

Fish, Fowl and Ven'son, now our tables grace
Roast Beaver too, and e'ery Beast of Chase.
Luxurious living this! who'd wish for more?
Were QUIN alive, he'd haste to Labrador![13][original research?]

Sources[edit]

Primary Sources[edit]

  • Cartwright, George. A Journal of Transactions and Events during a Residence of nearly Sixteen Years on the Coast of Labrador. 3 vols. Newark [England] and London: Printed and sold by Allin and Ridge, sold also by G. G. J. and J. Robinson in Paternoster-Row, and J. Stockdale, Picadilly, London, 1792. Cartwright's journal, edited and published by Cartwright himself.
  • Stopp, Marianne, ed. The New Labrador Papers of Captain George Cartwright. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009. Previously unpublished materials by Cartwright, edited and introduced by Marianne Stopp.
  • Townsend, Charles Wendell. Captain Cartwright and his Labrador Journal. Boston: Dana Estes & Company, 1911. An abridged addition edited and introduced by Charles Wendell Townsend. This edition was reprinted most recently in 2000.

Biographies[edit]

Fiction[edit]

  • Steffler, John. The Afterlife of George Cartwright: A Novel. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1992. John Steffler's fictionalized account of Cartwright based on the Labrador journal.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stopp, Marianne (2009). The New Labrador Papers of Captain George Cartwright. Montreal and Kingston: MQUP. pp. Frontispiece, x. 
  2. ^ Hunt, David (2004). "Cartwright, Edmund (1743-1823)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 
  3. ^ Cornish, Rory, T. (2004). "Cartwright, John (1740–1824)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 
  4. ^ Story, G. M. (1983). "Cartwright, George". Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 5. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Story, G. M. (1983). "Cartwright, George". Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 5. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Stopp, Marianne (2009). "An Account of George Cartwright's Life". The New Labrador Papers of Captain George Cartwright. Montreal and Kingston: MQUP. p. 24. 
  7. ^ Cartwright, George (1792). A Journal of Transactions and Events. Newark: Allin and Ridge. pp. iv–vii. 
  8. ^ Stopp, Marianne (2009). "Cartwright's Life". New Labrador Papers. Montreal and Kingston: MQUP. p. 25. 
  9. ^ Story, G. M. (1983). "Cartwright, George". Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 5. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Thrush, Coll (2013). "The Iceberg and the Cathedral: Encounter, Entanglement, and Isuma in Inuit London". Journal of British Studies. 
  11. ^ Story, G. M. (1983). "Cartwright, George". Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 5. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  12. ^ Stopp, Marianne (2009). ""An Account of George Cartwright's Life"". In Stopp, Marianne. The New Labrador Papers of Captain George Cartwright. Montreal and Kingston: MQUP. pp. 32–33. 
  13. ^ Cartwright, George (1792). Poetical Epistle. Newark: Allin and Ridge. p. 10. 

External links[edit]