Sir George Carteret, Bt
Saint Helier, Jersey
|Died||19 January 1680|
|Allegiance||Kingdom of England|
|Commands held||Treasurer of the Navy|
Comptroller of the Navy
HMS Mary Rose
Vice Admiral Sir George Carteret, 1st Baronet (c.1610—18 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.
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 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.
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), 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. 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. 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 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.
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. 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, as is Elizabethtown, North Carolina.
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, a document published in 1667 which led to the expansion of the Royal Africa Company.
In 1669, he faced expulsion from the House of Commons for misconduct as Vice Chamberlain, being accused of embezzlement. 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.
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.
In the Chapel of Mont Orgueil Castle, 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. They had three sons:
- Philip (1641–1672), their eldest son, married Lady Jemima Monague, daughter of the Earl of Sandwich, and had four children: his eldest son George was raised to the peerage. Philip was killed in action at the Battle of Sole Bay, along with his father-in-law; Jemima had died in childbirth in November of the previous year.
- James (died after 1679), served as a captain in the Royal Navy, and married and had children
- George (died 1656), who died unmarried.
- - and five daughters:
- Elizabeth (who never married)
- Louisa-Margaret, who married Sir Robert Atkyns of Sapperton, only son of Sir Robert Atkyns, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer; her family nickname was "Louisonne", according to Samuel Pepys
- Anne (died 1668), "a pious and sweet-tempered lady", who married Sir Nicholas Slanning, 1st Baronet, no issue
- Caroline, who married Sir Thomas Scott of Scot's Hall, son of Edward Scott and Lady Catherine Goring, daughter of George Goring, 1st Earl of Norwich.
In June 2020, following the murder of George Floyd and the widespread removal and destruction of monuments of those involved in slave trading around the world, the Carteret statue in Saint Peter was defaced with white paint due to his involvement with the Royal Africa Company. One historian called the company "the single most prolific trader of slaves". After calls from some residents of Jersey to move it to a museum were ignored, the statue was defaced again in August with red paint and chains.
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- Whitehead, William Adee, East Jersey under the proprietary governments. New York, New-Jersey historical society, 1846, page 104.
- O'Callaghan, ed., Documents relating to the Colonial history of the State of New York, 1849–1851. Volume 2, page 410.
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- Firth, C. H.; Knighton, C.S. (reviewer) (January 2008) . "Carteret, Sir George, first baronet (1610?–1680)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/4803. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) The first edition of this text is available at Wikisource: . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Henning, Basil Duke (1983). The House of Commons, 1660–1690. III. London: Secker&Warburg. p. 30. ISBN 0-436-19274-8.
- "Sir George Carteret, Baronet | British politician". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
- Victoria County History, Bedford, Volume 2, William Page (editor), 1908, pp.338–344, Parishes: Hawnes or Haynes 
- Firth & Knighton 2008.
- Jansso, Maija (10 September 2015). Art and Diplomacy: Seventeenth-Century English Decorated Royal Letters to Russia and the Far East. BRILL, 2015. p. 204. ISBN 9789004300453.
- "CARTERET, Sir George, 1st Bt. (c.1610-80), of Whitehall and Hawnes, Beds". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
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- DePalma, Anthony. "If You're Thinking of Living in: Elizabeth", The New York Times, 28 August 1983. Retrieved 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 ..."
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 116.
- Davies, K. G. (Kenneth Gordon) (1999). The Royal African Company. London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press. ISBN 0-415-19072-X. OCLC 42746420.
- 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: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Firth, C.H. (3 January 2008). "Carteret, Sir George, first baronet". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- (see Andrew Marvell's Letters, pp. 125, 126)
- Henning 1983, p. 30.
- Firth, C.H. (3 January 2008). "Carteret, Sir George, first baronet". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- 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.
- "Wednesday 12 July 1665". The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- Express, Bailiwick (6 July 2020). "Over £36k public money spent on slave trader statue". Bailiwick Express. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- "Slave trader's statue is targeted by protesters". jerseyeveningpost.com. 9 June 2020. Archived from the original on 11 June 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- "Jersey statue of slave trader defaced with paint". BBC News. 11 June 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- "Carteret statue 'should be put in museum'". jerseyeveningpost.com. 11 June 2020. Archived from the original on 5 June 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- Express, Bailiwick (14 August 2020). "'Blood and chains' thrown over Carteret statue". Bailiwick Express. Archived from the original on 1 October 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
- "George Carteret statue vandalised for second time in Jersey". ITV News. 14 August 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.