Philip de Carteret (1639-1683)
Philip de Carteret became the first governor of New Jersey following the English conquest of the previous Dutch administration of New Netherland and the subsequent renaming of the territory. In 1665 he was appointed by John, Lord Berkeley and his cousin Sir George de Carteret, the two proprietors of New Caesaria or New Jersey, to take possession and assume the position of governor.
He found the province inhabited by "a few hundred Dutchmen and English Puritans, who had settled in Woodbridge and Newark". During his governorship, more towns sprung up in New Jersey.
Philip Carteret and Berkeley issued the Concessions and Agreements of the Proprietors of New Jersey, the "most liberal grant of political privileges made by any English colonial proprietor to the people". Freedom of conscience was guaranteed and generous land grants were promised.
Carteret issued many grants of lands to settlers and landowners, partly with the purpose of increasing the worth of the colony. The pair "expected to profit from sales of their rich North American land holdings, and they were not disappointed".
Carteret designated Elizabethtown (named after the wife of George Carteret) as the capital of New Jersey, where a representative assembly first met in 1668.
Two townships refused to send representatives to this New Jersey Assembly and declared their independence, electing James Carteret as their leader. Philip Carteret became angry and left for England, and had the English government force the New Jersey settlers to pay quitrents.
After the death of George Carteret, Governor Edmund Andros of New York attempted to seize power in East Jersey. When Carteret refused to give up his position as governor, Andros sent a raiding party to Carteret's home and had him beaten and arrested to New York. Carteret was placed on trial, but was acquitted by the jury. The attack caused permanent injuries and he died in 1682.
From This Country of Ours:The Story of the United States
by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret
- Out of New York another state had been carved. For before New York had been taken from the Dutch, before Nicholls had so much as reached the shores of America, James, Duke of York, had already given part of the land which he did not yet possess to two of his friends, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret.
- Sir George had been Governor of the Island of Jersey in the English Channel. When the Revolution broke out in England he had defended the island stoutly against the soldiers of the Parliament, and had kept the King's flag flying on British soil longer than any other man. So now that the Stuarts were restored King Charles remembered Carteret's loyalty, and he called this tract of land New Jersey in his honour. For this great estate Sir George and Lord Berkeley had to pay only ten shillings a year and a peppercorn.
- Nicholls of course knew nothing about these grants, and when he heard of them he was grieved that the Duke should have given away so much valuable land. He had besides allowed some Puritans from New England and others to settle on the land after making agreements with the natives. And this led to trouble later on.
How Governor Carteret landed 1665
- Meanwhile Sir George lost no time in settling his land in his own way. He at once sent out some colonists and Philip Carteret, a cousin of his own, as Governor.
- On a summer day in 1665 Philip Carteret landed. He set up no crosses, and made no prayers, but with a hoe over his shoulder he marched at the head of his men, as a sign that he meant to live and work among them. A little way inland he chose a spot on which to build his town and called it Elizabeth, in honour of Sir George Carteret's wife.
- Things went well enough until the time came for rents to be paid. Then many of the settlers, who had been there before Carteret came, refused to pay. For they said they had bought their land from the Indians, and owed nothing to Sir George. But as the Governor insisted on his right they rose in rebellion.
The settlers rebel
- They held a meeting at Elizabethtown, deposed Philip Carteret, and chose James Carteret a weak and bad son of Sir George, as their Governor. Seeing nothing else for it Philip went home and laid his case before Sir George and the Duke. They both supported him, so the rebels submitted, James Carteret went off to New York, and Philip again became Governor of New Jersey.
Lord Berkeley sells his land
- Meanwhile Lord Berkeley had grown tired of all the trouble, and he sold his part of New Jersey to some Quakers. So henceforth New Jersey was divided into two, East Jersey and West Jersey, East Jersey belonging to Carteret, West Jersey to the Quakers.
- In 1680 Sir George Carteret died, and his part of New Jersey was also sold to Quakers, one of whom was William Penn, afterwards to become famous in American history. Soon after this New Jersey fell on very troublous times, of which it would take too long to tell. But at length the two Jerseys were again made into one, and in the time of Anne the colony became a Royal Province. Then for 36 years it was united to New York, but in 1738 was again divided and has remained a separate state ever since.