Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Carter, Richard

1382878Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 09 — Carter, Richard1887John Knox Laughton ‎

CARTER, RICHARD (d. 1692), rear-admiral, is said to have been lieutenant of the Cambridge in 1672, with Captain Herbert, afterwards Earl of Torrington, and to have been promoted from her by Prince Rupert to command the Success, from which, early in 1673, he was moved to the Crown of 42 guns. In April 1675 he was appointed to the Swan, and in January 1677–8 was moved into the Centurion, which was employed in the Mediterranean, more especially against the Barbary corsairs, till she was paid off 24 Oct. 1681. In August 1688 he was appointed to the Plymouth, a third-rate, continued in her during and after the revolution, and commanded her in the unfortunate battle of Beachy Head, 30 June 1690. During the summer of 1691 he commanded the Vanguard, a ship of the second rate, and early in the following year was promoted to be rear-admiral of the blue squadron. In April he was sent with a few ships to scour the coast of France, and returned to the fleet in time to take part in the battle of Barfleur on 19 May. At the beginning of the action the blue squadron was some distance to leeward, and hopelessly out of the fight; but towards the afternoon a shift of wind permitted it to lay up to the enemy, and eventually to get to windward of them, thus placing them between two fires. But in doing this there was for a short time some sharp fighting, in which Carter was killed. It was freely said by many, both before and after the battle, that Carter was in the interest of King James, that his taking service under William was a base pretence, and that he had received 10,000l. to take his division over to the French. In support of this statement not one single piece of evidence has ever been adduced. In the Macpherson State Papers there is no mention of it. In life Carter was a poor man, and he died poor; so far from attempting to hand his division over to the enemy, he fell while executing the manœuvre which insured their ruin, and as he died his last words were an exhortation to his men to fight bravely, fight to the last. The story may be pronounced a libel on a brave man. The body of the admiral was buried at Portsmouth with ceremonial honour. He had been lieutenant-governor of Southsea Castle since 1682.

[Charnock's Biog. Navalis, i. 389; Macaulay's Hist. iv. 222, 236, 242.]

J. K. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.56
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
i 3 Carter, Sir Richard: after 1681 insert He was lieutenant-governor of Southsea Castle from 1682 till his death
44 add to authorities Macaulay's History