Thomas Carte

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Thomas or John Carte (1686 – 2 April 1754) was an English historian.


Carte was born near Clifton upon Dunsmore (itself near Rugby). He matriculated at University College, Oxford in 1698, and took his degree from Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1702, and an MA from King's College, Cambridge in 1706.[1]

He first became well known for his controversy with Dr Henry Chandler regarding the Irish massacre of 1641, during the English Civil War, in which he defended the late King Charles I. His attachment to the Stuarts also caused him to remain a non-juror. He was ordained around 1714, and in that year refused to take the Oath of Allegiance. On the discovery of the plot of Francis Atterbury, whose secretary he was, he was accused of high treason in 1722 and was forced to flee to France adopting the name of Philips.

There he collected materials for an English edition of the works of Jacques August de Thou and Nicolas Rigault, which were purchased and published by Dr Mead. He was recalled to England in 1728 through the influence of Queen Caroline.

Carte held the rectory in Yattendon during the later part of his life, working on part of his "General History of England" while living there. He was buried in the church at Yattendon.


  • Life of James Duke of Ormonde (3 vols., 1735–1736; new ed., in 6 vols., Oxford, 1851)
  • A General Account of the Necessary Materials for a History of England (1738)
  • History of the Revolutions of Portugal, with letters of Sir Robert Southwell during his embassy there (London, 1740)

The first volume of his General History of England, which contains a vast and careful collection of facts, was published in 1747. By including in it the statement that the "King's Evil" had been cured by the Pretender, Carte lost the favour of most of his patrons. He, however, continued to publish; and the 2nd volume appeared in 1750, the 3rd in 1752, the 4th in 1755.

He collected a large quantity of historical papers during his life. They became the property of the University of Oxford, and were deposited in the Bodleian Library, where they are known as the Carte Manuscripts.



  1. ^ "Carte, Thomas (CRT706T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 


  • Napoleon Bonaparte, "Thomas Carte," Napoleon’s Notes on English History made on the Eve of the French Revolution, illustrated from Contemporary Historians and referenced from the findings of Later Research by Henry Foljambe Hall. New Yorl: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1905, xxv-xxvii.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Carte, Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • Ireland and the Jacobite Cause, 1685–1766:A fatal attachment, p. 172, 215, 216, Éamonn Ó Ciardha, Four Courts Press, 2001, 2004. ISBN 1-85182-805-2.