Carr, John (1772-1832) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

CARR, Sir JOHN (1772–1832), writer of ‘tours,’ a native of Devonshire, was born in 1772. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple, but from reasons of health found it advisable to travel, and published accounts of his journeys in different European countries, which, though without much intrinsic merit, obtained a wide circulation on account of their light, gossipy style, and the fact that in this species of literature there was then comparatively little competition. In 1803 he published ‘The Stranger in France, a Tour from Devonshire to Paris,’ which, meeting with immediate success, was followed in 1805 by ‘A Northern Summer, or Travels round the Baltic, through Denmark, Sweden, Russia, part of Poland, and Prussia, in 1804;’ in 1806 by ‘The Stranger in Ireland, or a Tour in the Southern and Western parts of that country in 1805,’ soon after which he was knighted by the Duke of Bedford, then viceroy of Ireland; and in 1807 by ‘A Tour through Holland, along the right and left banks of the Rhine, to the south of Germany, in 1806.’ In 1807 his ‘Tour in Ireland’ was made the subject of a clever jeu d'esprit by Edward Dubois, entitled ‘My Pocket Book, or Hints for a Ryghte Merrie and Conceited Tour in 4to, to be called “The Stranger in Ireland in 1805, by a Knight Errant,” and dedicated to the paper-makers.’ For this satire the publishers, Messrs. Vernor, Hood, & Sharpe, were prosecuted in 1809, but Carr was nonsuited. In 1808 there appeared ‘Caledonian Sketches, or a Tour through Scotland in 1807,’ which was made the subject of a witty review by Sir Walter Scott in the ‘Quarterly Review;’ and in 1811 ‘Descriptive Travels in the Southern and Eastern parts of Spain and the Balearic Isles [Majorca and Minorca] in the year 1809.’ Lord Byron—who had met Carr at Cadiz, and had begged ‘not to be put down in black and white’—refers to him in some suppressed stanzas of ‘Childe Harold’ as ‘Green Erin's knight and Europe's wandering star.’ Besides his books of travels Carr was the author of ‘The Fury of Discord, a poem,’ 1803; ‘The Seaside Hero, a drama in three acts,’ 1804 (on the supposed repulse of an anticipated invasion, the scene being laid on the coast of Sussex); and a volume of ‘Poems,’ 1809, to which his portrait was prefixed. He died in New Norfolk Street, London, on 17 July 1832.

[Gent. Mag. cii. pt. ii. 182–3; Annual Register, lxxiv. 211.]

T. F. H.