George Cartwright (trader)

George Cartwright (12 February 1739/40 19 May 1819) was an English army officer and a trader and explorer in Newfoundland and Labrador. His name is borne by Cartwright, a settlement at the entrance to Sandwich Bay.

Early Life and Family

George Cartwright was born at Marnham in Nottinghamshire, England, an elder brother of Edmund Cartwright, clergyman and inventor of the power loom,[2] and of John Cartwright, naval officer and English parliamentary reformer.[3][4]

Army career

Cartwright became a gentleman cadet in the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, London when he was fifteen. He served in India as ensign in the 39th Foot. In 1759, he was promoted lieutenant while in Ireland. In 1760 he was aide-de-camp to the Marquess of Granby in Germany and a staff officer under Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. He was brevetted captain in 1762, returned to England and went on half pay from 1762 to 1766. In 1766, Cartwright was commissioned Captain in the 37th Foot, and went to Minorca during 1766 and 1767.[5][6][7]

Voyages to Newfoundland and Labrador

George Cartwright's brother John Cartwright was first lieutenant on HMS Guernsey. In the 1766 season, George Cartwright cruised the Newfoundland coast on this vessel with his brother.

In 1768, George Cartwright went to Newfoundland again and accompanied John Cartwright's voyage attempting to contact the Beothuk people on the Exploits river.

Between 1770 and 1786, Cartwright occupied a number of fishing and furring stations from Cape Charles to Sandwich Bay and developed connections with the Inuit and Innu people there. His financial successes was mixed at best, and his many setbacks included being thoroughly raided by American privateers in 1778.[8][9] This came about when his servant Dominick Kinnien defected to join the crew of the Bostonian John Grimes.[10]

In 1772, Cartwright brought five Inuit individuals from what was then called Labrador.[11] However, it is ambiguous to whether or not this was done forcefully or in collaboration with the chosen individuals. Traveling on this ship to England was Atajug, his youngest wife Ikkanguaq and their toddler daughter Ikiunaq. Joining Atajug’s family was Atajug’s younger brother Tuglavingaaq and his wife Qavvik, also known as Caubvick.[12] They traveled with Cartwright to Ireland and England, where they were a sensation, drawing the attention of King George III, Joseph Banks, John Hunter, James Boswell, Samuel Johnson, and great crowds. Similar to other Indigenous travellers to London in the past, this Inuit family was “subjected to the spectacle of Georgian London.”[11] The intention was both to show off the Imperial city and to show off them, the Inuit family, to the curious and consumer eyes of London society.

In May, 1773, Cartwright and Atajug’s family started the journey home. However, before they had even left the Thames, Qavvik fell ill with smallpox. Three weeks later Atajuq, Ikkanguaq, Ikiunaq and Tuglavingaaq had all died. Qavvik lived, returning to Labrador. Nearly a year later, Cartwright noted the devastation that followed Qavvik’s return. “The Inuit of southern Labrador were almost entirely wiped out by the disease.”[11]

Later life in England

In 1786, Cartwright returned to England. He published his diary in 1792 and continued to be interested in the politics and business of Labrador. He was barracks master of the Nottingham Militia from some time during the Napoleonic Wars until 1817. He died in 1819 in Mansfield, England.[13] He had an unparalleled love for Labrador until his death — as is shown, for example, in his lengthy and somewhat tedious piece of verse, of which this is a small extract:

Fish, Fowl and Ven’son now our tables grace:
Roast Beaver too, and ev’ry Beast of Chase.
Luxurious living this! who'd wish for more?
Were Quin alive, he'd haste to Labrador![14]

Cartwright died at Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. At Cartwright, Labrador, there is a substantial monument commemorating him and his brother John. Part of the inscription reads: "In Memory of George Cartwright, Captain in his Majesty's 37th Regiment of Foot ... who in March 1770 made a settlement on the coast of Labrador ... also of John Cartwright, Lieutenant of the Guernsey ...".[15]

Sources

Primary Sources

  • Cartwright, George. A Journal of Transactions and Events during a Residence of nearly Sixteen Years on the Coast of Labrador. 3 vols. Newark [England] and London: Printed and sold by Allin and Ridge, sold also by G. G. J. and J. Robinson in Paternoster-Row, and J. Stockdale, Picadilly, London, 1792. Cartwright's journal, edited and published by Cartwright himself.
  • Stopp, Marianne, ed. The New Labrador Papers of Captain George Cartwright. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009. Previously unpublished materials by Cartwright, edited and introduced by Marianne Stopp.
  • Townsend, Charles Wendell. Captain Cartwright and his Labrador Journal. Boston: Dana Estes & Company, 1911. An abridged addition edited and introduced by Charles Wendell Townsend. This edition was reprinted most recently in 2000.

Biographies

Fiction

  • Steffler, John. The Afterlife of George Cartwright: A Novel. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1992. John Steffler's fictionalized account of Cartwright based on the Labrador journal.

See also

References

  1. Stopp, Marianne (2009). The New Labrador Papers of Captain George Cartwright. Montreal and Kingston: MQUP. pp. Frontispiece, x.
  2. Hunt, David (2004). "Cartwright, Edmund (1743-1823)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
  3. Cornish, Rory, T. (2004). "Cartwright, John (1740–1824)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
  4. Story, G. M. (1983). "Cartwright, George". Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 5. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  5. Story, G. M. (1983). "Cartwright, George". Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 5. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  6. Stopp, Marianne (2009). "An Account of George Cartwright's Life". The New Labrador Papers of Captain George Cartwright. Montreal and Kingston: MQUP. p. 24.
  7. Cartwright, George (1792). A Journal of Transactions and Events. Newark: Allin and Ridge. pp. iv–vii.
  8. Stopp, Marianne (2009). "Cartwright's Life". New Labrador Papers. Montreal and Kingston: MQUP. p. 25.
  9. Story, G. M. (1983). "Cartwright, George". Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 5. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  10. D. W. Prowse, A history of Newfoundland from the English, colonial, and foreign records, p. 600. London: 1895. Accessed 18 August 2016.
  11. Thrush, Coll (2016). Indigenous London. Yale University Press. p. 131.
  12. Thrush, Coll (2016). Indigenous London. Yale University Press. p. 114.
  13. Stopp, Marianne (2009). ""An Account of George Cartwright's Life"". In Stopp, Marianne (ed.). The New Labrador Papers of Captain George Cartwright. Montreal and Kingston: MQUP. pp. 32–33.
  14. George Cartwright, Labrador: A Poetical Epistle, page 19. Allin and Ridge, 1792: Newark. 28 pages (microform). Accessed 18 August 2016.
  15. Buckle, Francis (2003) Labrador Diary, 1915-1925: the Gordon journals. Cartwright: Anglican Parish ISBN 0-9733448-0-6; pp. 2-3
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.