Open main menu

John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville, 7th Seigneur of Sark, KG, PC (/kɑːrtəˈrɛt/; 22 April 1690 – 2 January 1763), commonly known by his earlier title Lord Carteret, was a British statesman and Lord President of the Council from 1751 to 1763; he worked extremely closely with the Prime Minister of the country, Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington, in order to manage the various factions of the Government.[1][2] He was Seigneur of Sark from 1715 to 1720 when he sold the fief. He held (in absentia) the office of Bailiff of Jersey from 1715 to 1763.[citation needed]


The Earl Granville

The Earl Granville
The Earl Granville by William Hoare
Lord President of the Council
In office
17 June 1751 – 2 January 1763
MonarchGeorge II
George III
Prime MinisterHenry Pelham
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle
William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire
Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle
Earl John Stuart of Bute
Preceded byLionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset
Succeeded byJohn Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford
Secretary of State for the Northern Department
In office
12 February 1742 – 24 November 1744
MonarchGeorge II
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Wilmingtom
Henry Pelham
Preceded byThe Lord Harrington
Succeeded byThe Earl of Harrington
In office
5 February 1721 – 21 February 1721
MonarchGeorge I
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Sunderland
as First Lord of the Treasury
Preceded byThe Earl Stanhope
Succeeded byThe Viscount Townshend
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
In office
6 May 1724 – 23 June 1730
MonarchGeorge I
George II
Prime MinisterRobert Walpole
Preceded byCharles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton
Succeeded byLionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset
Secretary of State for the Southern Department
In office
4 March 1721 – 31 March 1724
MonarchGeorge I
Prime MinisterRobert Walpole
Preceded byJames Craggs the Younger
Succeeded byThomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle
Personal details
Born
John Carteret

(1690-04-22)22 April 1690
Westminster, Middlesex, England
Died2 January 1763(1763-01-02) (aged 72)
Westminster, Middlesex, Great Britain
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)
Frances Worsley
(m. 1710; her death 1743)

Sophia Fermor
(m. 1744; her death 1745)
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Coat of arms of John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville, KG, of 18 quarters, the 1st and 18th being Granville quartering Carteret

Contents

OriginsEdit

He was the son and heir of George Carteret, 1st Baron Carteret (1667–1695), by his wife Lady Grace Granville (c. 1677–1744), suo jure 1st Countess Granville, 3rd daughter of John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath (1628–1701)[3] of Stowe House in the parish of Kilkhampton in Cornwall. The progeny of this marriage, Barons Carteret, Earls Granville, and Marquesses of Bath (Thynne), were co-heirs to her childless nephew William Granville, 3rd Earl of Bath (1692–1711). The family of Carteret was settled in the Channel Islands, and was of Norman descent.[4]

Early lifeEdit

John Carteret was educated at Westminster School, and at Christ Church, Oxford. Jonathan Swift said that "with a singularity scarce to be justified he carried away more Greek, Latin and philosophy than properly became a person of his rank". Throughout his life Carteret not only showed a keen love of the classics, but a taste for and knowledge of modern languages and literature. He was almost the only English nobleman of his time who spoke German,[4] which allowed him to talk with and gain the trust of[5] King George I, who spoke no English. Walter Harte, the author of the Life of Gustavus Adolphus, acknowledged the aid which Carteret had given him.[6]

On 17 October 1710 Carteret married Lady Frances Worsley at Longleat House. She was the granddaughter of the first Viscount Weymouth. One of their daughters, Georgiana Caroline Carteret Spencer, became the grandmother of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.

Upon reaching his majority of 21, Lord Carteret took his seat in the House of Lords on 25 May 1711. Although his family, on both sides, had been devoted to the Jacobite cause, Carteret was a steady adherent of the Hanoverian dynasty which supplanted them. He was a friend of the Whig leaders Stanhope and Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland and supported the passing of the Septennial Act.[7]

DiplomatEdit

Carteret's interests were in foreign, not domestic, policy. His serious work in public life began with his appointment, early in 1719, as Ambassador to Sweden. During this and the following year he was employed in saving Sweden from the attacks of Peter the Great, and in arranging the pacification of the north. His efforts were finally successful.[7]

During this period of diplomatic work he acquired an exceptional knowledge of the affairs of Europe, and in particular of Germany, and displayed great tact and temper in dealing with the Swedish senate, with Queen Ulrica, with King Frederik IV of Denmark and King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia. But he was not qualified to hold his own in the intrigues of Court and Parliament in London. Appointed as Secretary of State for the Southern Department on his return home, he soon came into conflict with the intrigues of Townshend and Sir Robert Walpole.[7]

Rivalry with WalpoleEdit

To Walpole, who looked upon every able colleague or subordinate as an enemy to be removed, Carteret was exceptionally odious. His capacity to speak German with the King would alone have made Sir Robert detest him. When, therefore, the violent agitation in Ireland against Wood's halfpence made it necessary to replace the Duke of Grafton as Lord Lieutenant, Carteret was sent to Dublin, where he landed on 23 October 1724 and remained until 1730. In the first months of his tenure of office he had to deal with the furious opposition to Wood's halfpence, and to counteract the effect of Swift's Drapier's Letters. Carteret had a strong personal liking for Swift, who was also a friend of his wife's family. It is highly doubtful whether Carteret could have reconciled his duty to the crown with his private friendships, if government had persisted in endeavouring to force the detested coinage on the Irish people. Wood's patent was however withdrawn, and Ireland settled down. Carteret was a profuse and popular Lord Lieutenant who pleased both the English interest and the native Irish. He was at all times addicted to lavish hospitality and, according to the testimony of contemporaries, was "too fond of burgundy".[7][8]

AmericasEdit

Carteret had inherited a one-eighth share in the Province of Carolina through his great-grandfather Sir George Carteret. In 1727 and 1728 John learned that the owners of the remaining shares were planning to sell them back to the crown. Carteret declined to join them. In 1729 the others surrendered their claims, but in 1730 Carteret, in order to keep ownership of his stake, agreed to give up any participation in government. His share was later defined as a 60-mile wide strip of land in North Carolina adjoining the Virginia boundary, and became known as the Granville District. The lands of the Granville District remained a possession of the Carteret family until the death of Carteret's son Robert in 1776. Following the American War of Independence, Robert's heirs were compensated in part by the Crown for the loss of the lands.[citation needed]

Queen CarolineEdit

When Carteret returned to London in 1730, Walpole was firmly in charge of the House of Commons and as the trusted Minister of King George II. Walpole also had the full confidence of Queen Caroline, whom he prejudiced against Carteret. Until the fall of Walpole in 1742, Carteret could take no share in public affairs except as a leader of opposition in the House of Lords. His brilliant parts were somewhat obscured by his rather erratic conduct, and a certain contempt, partly aristocratic and partly intellectual, for commonplace men and ways. He endeavoured to please Queen Caroline, who loved literature, and he has the credit of having paid the expenses of the first handsome edition of Don Quixote to please her.[7] He also involved himself in the establishment of the Foundling Hospital, a charity championed by the Queen, for which he became a founding governor.[citation needed] But he reluctantly, and most unwisely, allowed himself to be entangled in the scandalous family quarrel between Frederick, Prince of Wales and his parents. Queen Caroline was provoked into classing Carteret and Bolingbroke as "the two most worthless men of parts in the country".[7]

Secretary of StateEdit

Carteret took the popular side in the outcry against Walpole for not declaring war on Spain. When the War of the Austrian Succession approached, his sympathies were entirely with Maria Theresa of Austria, mainly on the ground that the fall of the house of Austria would dangerously increase the power of France, even if she gained no accession of territory. These views made him welcome to George II, who gladly accepted him as Secretary of State in 1742. In 1743 he accompanied the King to Germany, and was present at the Battle of Dettingen on 27 June 1743. He held the secretary-ship until November 1744.[7]

Carteret succeeded in promoting an agreement between Maria Theresa and Frederick II of Prussia. He understood the relations of the European states, and the interests of Great Britain among them. But the defects which had rendered him unable to baffle the intrigues of Walpole made him equally unable to contend with the Pelhams (Henry Pelham and his elder brother Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, successive Prime Ministers). His support of the King's policy was denounced as subservience to Hanover. Pitt called him "an execrable, a sole minister who had renounced the British nation". A few years later Pitt adopted an identical policy, and professed that whatever he knew he had learnt from Carteret.[7]

Earl GranvilleEdit

On 18 October 1744 Carteret became 2nd Earl Granville on the death of his mother. His first wife Lady Frances Worsley died on 20 June 1743 at Hanover, and in April 1744 he married Lady Sophia Fermor, a daughter of Thomas Fermor, 1st Earl of Pomfret, a fashionable beauty and "reigning toast" of London society, who was younger than his daughters. Granville's ostentatious performance of the part of lover was ridiculed by Horace Walpole as "The nuptials of our great Quixote and the fair Sophia"[7] and "My lord stayed with her there till four in the morning. They are all fondness—walk together, and stop every five steps to kiss."

The Countess Granville died on 7 October 1745, leaving one daughter Sophia Carteret, who married William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, later 1st Marquess of Lansdowne. Granville's second marriage may have done something to increase his reputation for eccentricity. In February 1746 he allowed himself to be entrapped by the intrigues of the Pelhams into accepting the secretaryship, but resigned within forty-eight hours. In June 1751 he became President of the Council, and was still liked and trusted by the King, but his share in government did not go beyond giving advice, and endeavouring to forward ministerial arrangements. In 1756 he was asked by Newcastle to become Prime Minister as the alternative to Pitt, but having perfectly understood why the offer was made, declined and supported Pitt. When in October 1761 Pitt, who had information of the signing of the "Family Compact" wished to declare war on Spain, and declared his intention to resign unless his advice was accepted, Granville replied that "the opinion of the majority (of the Cabinet) must decide". He spoke in complimentary terms of Pitt but resisted his claim to be considered as a "sole minister" or Prime Minister.[7]

Whether he used the words attributed to him in the Annual Register for 1761 is more than doubtful, but the minutes of Council show that they express his meaning.[7]

Marriages and progenyEdit

He married twice:

Death and burialEdit

He remained in office as President of the Privy Council until his death on 2 January 1763. His last act was to listen while on his death bed to the reading of the preliminaries of the Treaty of Paris (1763) by the Under-Secretary to the Secretary of State, Robert Wood, author of an essay on The Original Genius and Writings of Homer, who would have postponed the business, but Granville said that it "could not prolong his life to neglect his duty", and quoted in ancient Greek the speech of Sarpedon from the Iliad xii. 322–328,[7][9] repeating the last word ἴομεν ("iomen") (the first word of verse 328) meaning "let us go forward".[10] Wood recalled the event as follows:[11]

"However, in the course of that active period, the duties of my situation engaged me in an occasional attendance upon a nobleman, who, while he presided at his Majesty’s councils, reserved some moments for literary amusement. His Lordship was very partial to this subject; and I seldom had the honour of receiving his commands on business, that he did not lead the conversation to Greece and Homer. Being directed to wait upon his Lordship, a few days before he died, with the preliminary articles of the Treaty of Paris, I found him so languid, that I proposed postponing my business for another time: but he insisted that I should stay, saying, it could not prolong his life, to neglect his duty; and repeating the following passage, out of Sarpedon’s speech, he dwelled with particular emphasis on the third line, which recalled to his mind the distinguishing part, he had taken in public affairs. His Lordship repeated the last word several times with a calm and determinate resignation: and after a serious pause of some minutes, he desired to hear the Treaty read; to which he listened with great attention: and recovered spirits enough to declare the approbation of a dying Statesman (I use his own words) on the most glorious War, and most honourable Peace, this nation ever saw."

He died in his house in Arlington Street, London, on 2 January 1763. His remains were interred at Westminster Abbey.

SuccessionEdit

The title of Earl Granville descended to his son Robert, who died without issue in 1776, when the earldom of this creation became extinct.

Popular cultureEdit

John Carteret is depicted in the 2011 film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides by Anton Lesser.

LegacyEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Carteret, John (1690–1763)" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  2. ^ G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910–1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, UK: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume XII/1, p. 153.
  3. ^ Record for John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville on www.thepeerage.com
  4. ^ a b Chisholm 1911, p. 362.
  5. ^ Browning p.117
  6. ^ Chisholm 1911, pp. 362-363.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Chisholm 1911, p. 363.
  8. ^ Rachel Wilson, ‘The Vicereines of Ireland and the Transformation of the Dublin Court, c. 1703–1737’ in The Court Historian, xix, no. 1 (2014).
  9. ^ "Homer, Iliad, Book 12, line 277". www.perseus.tufts.edu. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  10. ^ "In the Iliad, what is the meaning of 'or glory give'? – Quora". www.quora.com. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  11. ^ Wood, Robert (1769). An Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer. https://archive.org/details/essayonoriginalg00wood. pp. To the reader, vii.

BibliographyEdit

  • Ballantyne, Archibald. Lord Carteret: A Political Biography 1690 to 1763 (1887) online
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Carteret, John, 2nd Earl Granville". Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 362–363.
  • Coxe, William, Memoirs of the administration of the Right Honourable Henry Pelham, collected from the family papers, and other authentic documents (2 vol. 1829) online
  • Marshall, Dorothy. Eighteenth Century England (2nd ed. 1974) political history 1714–1784,
  • Nichols, R.H. and F A. Wray, The History of the Foundling Hospital (London: Oxford University Press, 1935).
  • Wilkes, John William. A Whig in power: the political career of Henry Pelham (Northwestern University Press, 1964).
  • Williams, Basil. Carteret and Newcastle (reprint . Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  • Williams, Basil. The Whig Supremacy: 1714–1760 (2nd ed. 1962).

External linksEdit