Carteret, Sir George d. 1680

A prominent figure in seventeenth-century English political, naval, commercial, and colonial affairs, Sir George Carteret was a lifelong servant to the Stuart cause and a strong promoter of English imperial aims overseas. Although he was involved in several commercial and colonial ventures, the establishment of Carolina and New Jersey were his primary interests in North America. Born sometime between 1609 and 1617 in St. Ouen on Jersey, an island in the English Channel, George was the son of a leading landholding family. Joining the navy as a youth, he made lieutenant in 1632 and captain in 1633. In 1639, he was appointed comptroller of the navy. Following the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, he established a base at Saint-Malo in France, which supplied arms and munitions to royalist forces in the west of England. In 1643, George succeeded his deceased uncle, Sir Philip Carteret, as bailiff of Jersey, which had earlier succumbed to parliamentary forces. Later that year, George reconquered the island for the king and was appointed its lieutenant governor. In 1644, he received a royal commission as vice admiral over the region, and from there orchestrated an effective privateering war against English shipping for several years. Under his direction, Jersey’s natural resources were fully developed to provide a safe refuge for royalist refugees, including Charles, Prince of Wales (later King Charles II). In recognition of his loyal service to the Crown, Carteret was knighted and made a baronet. Jersey was the last royalist stronghold when Carteret surrendered to British Commonwealth forces in 1651. Exiled to France, he served as vice admiral in the French navy. Carteret’s allegiance to the king was rewarded after the restoration of the Stuarts in 1660. He was appointed a member of several official bodies, including the Privy Council, the Council of Trade, and the Council of Foreign Plantations. In 1661, he was elected a member of Parliament for Portsmouth and was named to the Tangiers committee. Appointed to the post of vice chamberlain of the household later in the decade, Carteret’s principal office was as treasurer of the navy from 1661 to 1667. Although credited with protecting the English fleet from the plague raging in the port of London in 1665, Carteret was later accused of gross mismanagement of naval accounts during the Second Dutch War. These charges forced an exchange of offices with Lord Anglesey in 1667, in which Carteret assumed the position of deputy treasurer of Ireland. Despite this setback and his suspension from the House of Commons on a misdemeanor charge in 1669, Carteret was appointed a commissioner of the Admiralty in 1673. During his tenure in government, Carteret became closely associated with a small, yet considerably influential, group of gentlemen and courtiers dedicated to expanding England’s trading and colonial empire. In 1660, he became a member of the Company of Royal Adventurers to Africa, which managed the slave trade to the American plantations. In 1663, he was appointed to a special committee to examine English interests in America, and he recommended that the Dutch be driven out of New Netherland. That same year, he became one of the eight original proprietors of Carolina. In 1664, James, duke of York, granted Carteret and Lord John Berkeley a tract of land lying between the Hudson and Delaware rivers, likely in return for their assistance in planning the English conquest of New Netherland. Carteret funded the first expedition to establish a settlement of the tract, named New Jersey in honor of his home island, in 1665. The tract was governed by his cousin Captain Philip Carteret. The Quintipartite Deed of 1676 divided the province into East and West New Jersey. The Carteret family governed the former until 1682, when it was sold to a group headed by William Penn. Carteret was involved in numerous other ventures. By 1664, he had acquired stock in the Royal Fishing Company of Great Britain and Ireland. The following year, he met with French fur traders intent on developing the fur trade in the north part of America and was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the eventual establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1670. He was also one of the proprietors of the Bahamas grant in 1670 and a leading stockholder of the newly formed Royal African Company in 1672. Sir George Carteret died in 1680 and was buried at Hawnes (Haynes), Bedfordshire, England. During his lifetime, his capital and connections were vital ingredients in establishing and nurturing various trading companies, as well as the colonies of Carolina and New Jersey, thereby promoting English imperial designs in North America. Michael F. Dove See also: Charles II; Fish and Fisheries; Furs. Bibliography Ogg, David. England in the Reign of Charles II. 2 vols. Oxford, UK: Clarendon, 1955. Pomfret, J. E. Colonial New Jersey: A History. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973. Rich, E. E. The History of the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1670 1870. Vol. 1. London: Hudson’s Bay Record Society, 1958. Sir George Carteret : London Remembers, Aiming to capture all … holidaymapq

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