Cartier first arrived in India as a writer in the service of the British East India Company. He was expelled from Dacca in 1756 while serving there as an assistant. After fleeing with other fugitives to Fulta, he joined Clive of India and helped in the retaking of Bengal, for which he was praised by the Court of Directors of the British East India Company. Cartier's career accelerated after the Battle of Plassey. In 1761 Cartier became chief of the Dacca factory. By 1767 he was Second in the Calcutta Council.
Governor of Bengal
On 26 December 1769 Cartier succeeded Henry Vansittart as Governor of Bengal. Cartier was governor at time of the Bengal famine of 1770, during which one-third of the populace died. Cartier was blamed for ignoring warnings about the impending disaster but was able to use a magazine of grain to feed fifteen thousand people every day for some months. In response to the crisis, the Court of Directors sent a three-person commission to Bengal to assess the situation. En route, however, the ship carrying the three members foundered at sea. The Court of Directors did not send a replacement and recalled Cartier. Warren Hastings was selected as his replacement; he took office on 13 April 1772.
Cartier died in Bedgbury, Kent on 25 January 1802. He was eulogized by Edmund Burke for his government of Bengal. His wife, Stephana, survived him and died aged 80 also in Bedgbury on 22 August 1825.
- Buckland, 75.
- Islam, "Cartier, John".
- Bernstein, Jeremy (2000-06-11). ""Dawning of the Raj: The Life and Trials of Warren Hastings" - Chapter One". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-13.
- Malleson, pp. 95-96.
- British History on line accessed 17 November 2007
- The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Miscellany, 1825, p373 accessed 15 November 2007
- Buckland, C. (1906). Charles Edward Buckland, ed. Dictionary of Indian Biography. Harvard University, Digitized 8 July 2005: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Lim: London. pp. page 75.
- Malleson, George Bruce (1894). Life of Warren Hastings, First Governor-general of India. New York Public Library, Digitized 18 July 2007: Chapman and Hall, Id.: London. pp. 563 pages.
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