Carne, John (DNB00)

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CARNE, JOHN (1789–1844), traveller and author, was born on 18 June 1789, probably at Truro. His father, William Carne, was a merchant and banker at Penzance, where he died on 4 July 1838; he married in 1780 Miss Anna Cock, who died on 8 Nov. 1822. His eldest brother was Joseph Carne [q.v.] . Carne was a member of Queens' College, Cambridge, at different times both before and after his journey to the East, but he never resided long enough for a degree. He was admitted in 1826 to deacon's orders by Dr. Michael Henry Thornhill Luscombe, the chaplain of the British embassy at Paris, and a bishop of the episcopal church of Scotland; but, except during a few months' residence at Vevey in Switzerland, he never officiated as a clergyman. His father, a strict man of business, desired that his son should follow in his footsteps, but after a short trial of business, during which his literary abilities showed themselves, his father allowed him to follow his own inclinations. His first literary production was brought out anonymously in 1820, and was called ‘Poems containing the Indian and Lazarus.’ Carne resolved to visit the holy places, and accordingly left England on 26 March 1821. He visited Constantinople, Greece, the Levant, Egypt, and Palestine. In the latter country, while returning from the convent of St. Catharine, he was taken prisoner by Bedouins, but, after being detained for some days, was released in safety. On coming back to England he commenced writing for the ‘New Monthly Magazine’ an account of his travels, under the title of ‘Letters from the East,’ receiving from Henry Colburn twenty guineas for each article. These ‘Letters’ were then reproduced in a volume, dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, which went to a third edition. This book is noticeable for the fact that there is not a single date to be found in it except that on the title-page. The publication of this work and his talents for society brought him into familiar intercourse with Scott, Southey, Campbell, Lockhart, Jerdan, and other distinguished men of letters. He next published ‘Tales of the West,’ 1828, 2 vols., treating of his native county. Among those who knew him his fame as a story-teller far exceeded his renown as a writer, and social company often gathered round him to be spellbound by some exciting or pathetic narration. During the latter part of his life he resided chiefly in Penzance. Oppressed by the infirmities of a premature old age, he had ceased for some years before his death to engage in any literary pursuits. While preparing to set out for the shores of the Mediterranean he was attacked with a sudden illness and died at Penzance on 19 April 1844, when his remains were buried in Gulval churchyard. At the age of twenty-five, namely in 1824, he married Ellen, daughter of Mr. Lane, a drawing-master of Worcester. Her brother, Theodore Lane, an artist of much promise and an exhibitioner at the Royal Academy, met with an untimely fate by falling through a skylight at the horse bazaar in Gray's Inn Lane on 21 May 1828, when his daughter Emma was adopted by her uncle. Mrs. Carne married, secondly, Mr. Henry Harrington Clay, and died at Penzance on 2 Feb. 1868, aged 67.

Besides the works already mentioned, Carne was the author of: 1. ‘Stratton Hill, a Tale of the Civil War,’ 1829, 3 vols. 2. ‘Recollections of Travels in the East,’ 1830. 3. ‘The Exiles of Palestine, a Tale,’ 1831, 3 vols. 4. ‘Lives of Eminent Missionaries,’ 1833, 3 vols. 5. ‘Letters from Switzerland and Italy,’ 1834. 6. ‘Lives of Eminent Missionaries,’ 1844. 7. ‘Lives of Eminent Missionaries,’ 1852, 3 vols. He was also a writer in the ‘New Monthly Magazine,’ the ‘Forget-me-not,’ the ‘Gem,’ the ‘Keepsake,’ and other works.

[Gent. Mag. June 1844, p. 656; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. i. 60, iii. 1113.]

G. C. B.