Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Carew, John (d.1660)

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CAREW, JOHN (d. 1660), regicide, was the eldest son of Richard Carew of Antony in Cornwall, by his second wife, of the family of Rolle of Hesnton in Devonshire, and was consequently the half-brother of Sir Alexander Carew [q. v.] He is said to have been educated at one of the univenities, and to have been a student at the inns of court. When the royalist members of the Cornish borough of Tregony in the Long parliament were disabled from sitting, Cerew, who had ‘a plentiful estate’ in the county, was elected into one of the vacant seats, and he was one of the commissioners who received Charles I at Holdenby in 1646. He was appointed one of the king’s judges, sat every day in the court, and signed the warrant for the execution of Charles. His name is found among the members of the third council of state in December 1661; he was reappointed in the succeeding council, and was one of the civilians serving in the larger body in 1653. In the parliament of 1664 he again had a place, but as his opinions were against a temporal monarchy and he disapproved of Cromwell's seizing the throne, Carew was, early in 1655, summoned before the council of state and imprisoned in St. Mawes Castle on the ground that he would not pledge himself to abstain from taking part against Cromwell and his government. After a short stay in confinement he was released, but he remained in retirement on his estates, and even his slanderers after the Restoration acknowledged that he made no attempt at any period in his life to obtain an pecuniary advantage for himself. In 1658 he was again put under restraint for a brief period, and in the following year was summoned to the restored house of Parliament, but on 30 Sept. 1659 he was subjected to a fine of 100l., presumably for non-attendance during its deliberations. At the Restoration he left Cornwall for London in obedience to the order of parliament that all the king's judges should surrender within fourteen days, and was arrested on his way, though the officer refused to detain him in consequence of an error in the description. In his progress to London Carew was often insulted, by the mob, some of whom cried out, ‘This is the rogue who will have no king but Jesus,' and as he was especially obnoxious to parliament on account of the fervour with which he held the religious opinion of the fifth monarchists, he was, by eighty votes to seventy, excluded from the Indemnity Bill. While in London be was afforded many opportunities of escape, but he refused to avail himself of them. His trial took place at the Old Bailey on 12 Oct. 1660. When asked, 'Are you guilty or not guilty?' answered, 'Saving to our Lord Jesus Christ his right to the government of these kingdoms.' He endeavoured to prove that his acts were done under the authority of parliament, and asserted that he did his part ‘in the fear of the holy and righteous Lord, the judge of the earth.’ The jury of course found him guilty, and on 15 Oct. he was drawn on a hurdle from Newgate to Charing Cross. Then, as during his trial, Carow exulted in his courage, and suffered death with great composure of mind. After he had been quartered and his bowels burnt, his head and quarters were drawn naked and bare through the streets back to Newgate. His quarters should have been exposed on the city gates, but the were ‘by a great favour' granted to his brother by the king, and in ‘the same night obscurely buried.' Carew was a republican without guile and reproach.

[Cobbett's State Trials, v. 1004, 1048-58, 1237-67; Noble's Regicides, i. 124-35; Geo. Bate's Lives of Actors of Murder of Charles I; Masson's Milton, vols. iv. v. vi.; Ludlow's Memoirs (1771), pp. 207, 238, 394, 402-5; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. ii. 470-2, iii. 1110.]

W. P. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.54
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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33 Carew, John (d. 1660): for at one of the universities read at Gloucester Hall, Oxford
13-12 f.e. for In the parliament of 1654 he again had a place read In the parliament of 1653 he sat for Devon