Carleton, Sir Guy

, late lord Dorchester, descended from an ancient northern family, which removed to Ireland, was the third son of Christopher Carleton, of Newry, co. Down, esq. who died in Ireland about 1738, leaving a widow who became the third wife of the rev. Thomas Skelton, brother to the late rev. Philip Skelton, and died in 1757. Mr. Carleton was born at Strabane, in Ireland, Sept. 3, 1724, and, according to the biographer of Philip Skelton, owed his futureeminence in a great degree to the care which his step-father took of his education. Having embraced a military life, he entered into the guards, in which corps he continued until the year 1748, when he was promoted to be lieutenant-colonel of the 72d regiment. In 1758 he embarked with general Amherst for the siege of Louisburg, where, and at the siege of Quebec, in the following year, he was distinguished for his bravery and good conduct. He was afterwards wounded for the first time, at the siege of Belleisle, where he acted as brigadier- general. In Feb. 1762, he was promoted to the rank of colonel in the army, and soon after embarked for the siege of the Havannah, where he was likewise distinguished for his bravery, and was wounded in investing the Moro castle. In Nov. 1766 he was appointed colonel of the 47th regiment of foot. In April 1772 he arrived at the rank of major-general, and in May following was appointed governor of Quebec, and was supposed to have been instrumental in passing the celebrated Quebec bill, for the government of that settlement.

In 1775, when the American war broke out, general Carleton had an ample field for the display of his military talents. The American congress, having resolved to resort | to arms, began soon to turn their eyes to Canada, where they knew the late acts were very unpopular, not only among the British settlers, but the French Canadians themsi-lvrs, who having experienced the difference between a French and British constitution, gave the preference to the latter. To co-operate with the disaffected in Canada, and to anticipate the probable and suspected designs of general Carleton, the congress formed the bold project of invading this province. General Montgomery, their commander, headed the expedition, and proceeded with such vigour, that he compelled the fort of St. John’s to surrender at discretion on the 2d of November. Hence, crossing St. Laurence, he proceeded to Montreal, which being incapable of defence against the American force, general Carleton evacuated ir, and retired to" Quebec. Having taken possession of Montreal, Montgomery made dispositions for advancing to besiege the capital of Canada, and there were several circumstances favourable to his hopes of success. The works of the town had been neglected for a long time of peace; the garrison did not exceed 1100, of which few were regulars, and the majority of the inhabitants were disaffected to the framers of their new constitution, and particularly to general Carleton, who was supposed to have had a chief hand in that measure. While he was endeavouring to defend Quebec amidst all these disadvantages, the American generals Montgomery and Arnold summoned him to surrender, which he treated with contempt, and refused to hold any correspondence with rebels. The inhabitants too, displeased as they were with their new constitution, joined the British troops with cordial unanimity, and the American commander, unprepared for a regular siege, endeavoured to take the place by storm. In this attempt Montgomery fell at the head of his troops, whom the garrison, after an obstinate resistance, drove from the town with great loss; and although Arnold encamped on the heights of Abraham, where he fortified himself, and continued the siege of Quebec in the following year, 1776, he thought proper to retire on the arrival of an English squadron. General Carleton being now reinforced by troops, which, added to what he had, formed a body of 13,Ooo, prepared for offensive operations, and the Amer cans evacuated their conquests, stationing themselves at Crown Point, whither the British commander did not follow them for the present. | An armament was now prepared for crossing Lake Champlain, in order to besiege Crown Point and Ticonderago. The Americans had a considerable fleet on Lake Champlain, whereas the British had not a single vessel. The general, therefore, used every effort to procure the requisite naval force; but October was begun before this was ready to oppose the enemy. On Oct. 11, the British fleet, commanded by capt. Pringle, and under the general direction of Carleton, discovered the American armament; and engaging them, the conflict continued on both sides for several hours with great intrepidity, but a contrary wind preventing the chief British ships from taking a part, and night coming on, it was thought prudent to discontinue the action, and Arnold took advantage of the night to retreat. The British pursued them the next day and the following, and overtook them a few leagues from Crown Point; where, after a furious battle of two hours, they yielded to our superior force and skill. General Carleton remained at Crown Point till Nov. 3, and as the winter was commencing, did not think proper to besiege Ticonderago. He returned therefore to St. John’s, whence he distributed his army into winter quarters.

In the following year, 1777, an expedition being planned from Canada, to effect a co-operation with the principal British force, the command of the armament was conferred on general Burgoyne. Sir Guy Carleton (for he had been made knight of the Bath in July 1776), from his official situation in Canada, his conduct, and especially his defence of Quebec, might have reasonably expected this appointment; he was an older general, of more military experience, and better acquainted with the country, its inhabitants, and resources. His character commanded greater authority than Burgoyne’s had hitherto established, and as no military grounds could be alleged for superseding Carleton to make room for Burgoyne, his promotion was imputed to parliamentary influence more than to his official talents. Carleton, disgusted with a preference by no means merited, as soon as he heard- of the appointment, resigned his government, in which he was succeeded by general Haldimand, but before he departed, exerted himself to the utmost to enable Burgoyne to take the field with advantage.

In August 1777, sir Guy was made a lieutenant-general in the army, and in 1781 was appointed to succeed sir | Henry Clinton as commander in chief in America, where he remained until the termination of the contest, when, after an interview with general Washington, he evacuated New-York, and returned to England. In April 176, he was once more appointed governor of Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and, as a reward for his long services, was in August following raised to the peerage, by the title of lord Dorchester, of Dorchester in the county of Oxford. His lordship remained in this extensive government for several years; and returning at length to England, passed his old age in the bosom of his family; first at Kempshot, near Basingstoke, in Hampshire, and afterwards at his seat near Maidenhead. He died Nov. 10, 1808, aged eightyfive, at which time he was colonel of the fourth regiment of dragoons, and a general in the army. In 1772 his lordship married lady Maria, third daughter of Thomas Howard earl of Effingham, by whom he had a numerous issue, and was succeeded in titles and estate by his grandson Arthur Henry Carleton, a minor. 1


Sir E. Brydges’s edition of Collins’s Peniage. Burdy’s Life of Skelton, p. 42.