Carew, George (d.1612) (DNB00)

CAREW, Sir GEORGE (d. 1612), lawyer and diplomatist, was the second son of Thomas Carew of Antony, and the younger brother of Richard Carew, the historian of Cornwall [q.v.] ‘In his younger years,’ says his brother, ‘he gathered his fruit as the university, the inns of court, and foreign travel could yield him.’ After his return from abroad he was called to the bar, obtaining the post of secretary to Lord-chancellor Hatton, and on Hatton’s decease held the same office, ‘by special recommendation from Queen Elizabeth,’ under Sir John Puckering and Sir Thomas Egerton keepers of the great seal. Through the same royal favour Carew was made a prothonotary in chancery, and in 1598 was despatched on an embassy to Brunswick, Sweden, Poland, and Danzig. While on this mission, ‘through unexpected accidents, he underwent extraordinary perils, but freed him from them, and he performed his duty in acceptable manner.' On 21 Dec. 1599 he was appointed a master in chancery and held that preferment until his death in 1612. As the younger son of an influential Cornish family and a leading courtier he had little difficulty in obtaining a seat in parliament for one of the numerous boroughs in Cornwall. He sat for St. Germans in 1584, for Saltash in 1586, 1588, 1593, and for St. Germans in 1597 and 1601. The honour of knighthood was conferred upon him at Whitehall 23 July 1603, on the eve of the coronation of James I and in the following year he was nominated to a place in the commission to arrange the affairs of the union of the two countries of England and Scotland. At the close of 1605 Carew was sent as ambassador to the court of France, where he remained until July 1609, when the French ministers, who regarded him as a friend to the Spanish interests, were not displeased at his return to England. After considerable competition from other seekers after office he secured in June 1612 the high and lucrative place of master of the court of wards, which was vacant by the death of Lord Salisbury. The reason for this great promotion was assigned by some to his wife’s influence with the queen, by others to the favour of Lord Rochester, and on his death he was currently reported to have paid dear for the place. Among the Latin epigrams of John Owen is one (bk. vi. No. 20) to the effect that while the king committed to Carew the care of the wards, he showed himself to have a care for Carew's merits. In August 1612 he was a member of the commission for raising money for our soldiers in Denmark, and with that appointment his official life was over. On Friday, 13 Nov. 1612, he died, ‘in reasonable case, worth 10,000l.,' and was buried in St. Margaret's, Westminster. His wife was Thomasine, daughter of Sir Francis Godolphin, by Margaret Killigrew. Scaliger, in a letter to Casaubon, styled Carew ‘vir amplissimus et sapientia et eruditione, et pietate præstantissimus.’ De Thou or Thuanus esteemed him highly and made use in book cxxi. of the history of his own times of Carew’s narrative of events in Poland. Carew's intimacy with Cassubon is further shown in the fact that in November 1612 his wife was godmother to Casaubon's child. On Carew’s return home from the French embassy in 1609 he drew up and addressed to James I ‘a relation of the state of France,' which has been much commended for its simple and unaffected style. This tract remained in manuscript for nearly a hundred and fifty years, when it was communicated by Lord Hardwicke to Dr. Birch and published in 1749. From the labours of Lambarde there was collected by Carew a volume of ‘Reports on Causes in Chancery,' which was printed in 1650, 1665, and 1820. Many of his letters to the principal politicians of his time are preserved in the public and private libraries of particulars of them will be found in Boase and Courtney's 'Bibliotheca Cornubiensis,' vol. iii. Two of them are printed in Brewer's edition of Bishop Goodman's ‘Court of King James I,' ii. 97-103. Carew's autograph is included in J.G. Nicho1s's ‘Collections of Autographs’ (1829), sheet 8 D.

[Herald and Genæalogist, vii. 93, 575-6; Birch's Court and Times of James I, i. 174-6, 194, 202, 208, 210; Visitation of Cornwall (ed. 1811), p. 174; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser., vi. 436 (1858).]

W. P. C.