CAESAR, Henry (1630-68), of Bennington, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. 2 Oct. 1630, 2nd s. of Sir Charles Caesar†, master of the rolls 1639-42, by 2nd w. Jane, da. of Sir Edward Barkham, ld. mayor of London 1621-2, of Southacre, Norf. educ. Jesus, Camb. 1646; I. Temple 1647. m. 6 Nov. 1649, Elizabeth (bur. 30 Aug. 1670), da. and h. of Robert Angel, merchant, of London, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da. suc. bro. 1642; kntd. 7 July 1660.1
Asst. Society of Mineral and Battery Works 1649-51; commr. for militia, Herts. Mar. 1660; j.p. Herts. Mar. 1660-d., St. Albans July 1660-d.; dep. lt. Herts. c. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d.2
Caesar was descended from an Italian physician, Cesare Adelmare, who came to England about 1550, acquired property in Hertfordshire by marriage, and became medical adviser to Mary Tudor and Elizabeth. His grandfather, Sir Julius Caesar†, who sat in every Parliament from 1589 to 1621, acquired Bennington and became master of the rolls in 1614. Caesar was ‘a true assertor of the reformed religion’, which probably implies Presbyterian sympathies, and held no local office until the eve of the Restoration. He was the first of his family to sit for Hertfordshire, for which he was returned at the general election of 1660. Though he made no recorded speeches in the Convention, and was rewarded for his loyalty with a knighthood, it is said that he was ‘active ... to suppress the court of wards and liveries and to ease the people of hardships and charges which accrue to them by the tenures of knight service, and from the compositions which were yearly paid for corn and victual’. A moderately active committeeman, he was appointed to 16 committees, including those for the cancellation of grants, for inquiring into the state of the queen mother’s jointure, for settling the militia, and for the supplementary poll bill.3
It is not known whether Caesar stood for re-election in 1661, but he regained his seat at a by-election in April 1666 in spite of the furious opposition of Thomas Fanshawe, an Exchequer official, who declared that he would ‘make all those gentlemen sheriffs successively that gave their voices for Sir Henry Caesar’. A very active Member, he served on 38 committees in two sessions, though most were of secondary importance. He served on the parliamentary delegation ordered to attend the King with the resolutions against French imports. He was also appointed to consider the bills for establishing a public accounts commission, for receiving information on the increase in Popery, and for the relief of poor prisoners. He may have welcomed the fall of Clarendon, who had warned him through Sir Harbottle Grimston against appearing to favour conventicles. He was among those appointed to inquire into the miscarriages of the war, to report on the proceedings in Mordaunt’s impeachment, and to consider the public accounts bill. He died of smallpox, like his father and elder brother before him, on 6 Jan. 1668, and was buried at Bennington. The county historian described him as a man ‘endowed with good learning ... and a clear and discerning judgment. He was very loyal to the King, faithful to his trust, always ready to ease the subjects of their grievances.’4