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British Industrial History

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Francis Carleton

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Francis Carleton (c1800-c1848)


1849 Obituary [1]

Mr. Francis Carleton a native of the city of Dublin, began his career in the service of the Bank of Ireland, where he soon distinguished himself, as possessing superior business habits, with a peculiar aptitude for official correspondence and financial details, combined with remarkable steadiness and attention.

These qualifications induced his being entrusted, at an early age, with the management of the Branch Banks department of that establishment, which he continued to conduct with satisfaction, during his connexion with it.

A natural delicacy of constitution, combined with the decease of some of his family from consumption, warned Mr. Carleton, that his frame was not likely long to resist that close attention to official hours, which the important position he held so unremittingly demanded. Under these circumstances he abandoned the flattering prospects before him, and retired from duties, which his state of health rendered at once irksome and dangerous.

Mr. Carleton’s peculiar habits of business then recommended him to Mr. C. Wye Williams (Assoc.Inst.C.E.), the Founder and Managing Director of the Dublin Steam Packet Co, to which enterprise he was appointed Secretary in the year 1826. Thus introduced to the business of steam navigation, he soon became conversant with the peculiarities of that branch of what, from its importance, may be called the public service.

He was in time elected one of the Directors of the Company, on its being incorporated by Act of Parliament, was shortly after appointed Assistant Managing Director, and continued one of its Directors to the period of his lamented death.

On the Transatlantic Steam-ship Company being established, under the auspices of the Dublin Steam Packet Company, Mr. Carleton took an active part in its formation and management, while it continued to maintain an intercourse between Liverpool and New York. The experience of three years, however, having satisfied its Directors, that the expense of equipping and maintaining a transatlantic intercourse by steam vessels, without the aid of a Government contract, was incompatible with a successful pursuit of their object, and a prospect of a more profitable employment for their vessels presenting itself, in consequence of a proposal from the proprietors of the Peninsular Steam Packet Company to join that enterprise, their two vessels, the Great Liverpool and the Oriental, were transferred to the latter Company, which was then under contract for the conveyance of the mails to Lisbon, Cadiz, and Gibraltar, preparatory to the formation of the existing Peninsular and Oriental Steam-navigation Company, of which new Company Mr. Carleton became one of the three Managing Directors.

In the subsequent negotiations with Her Majesty’s Government, for a royal charter, and obtaining a contract for the conveyance of the Mediterranean mails, Mr. Carleton took an active part, in conjunction with the other Managers, Mr. Willcox and Mr. Anderson, and the successful prosecution of that enterprise, is the best test of the efficiency of its management.

Mr. Carleton became an Associate of the Institution in 1845. His decease, at the early age of forty-eight years, deprives the Peninsular and Oriental Company of a most efficient Director, and causes a feeling of regret among a large circle of friends.


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Sources of Information

  1. 1849 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries