Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Carey, Henry (1596-1661)

CAREY, HENRY, second Earl of Monmouth (1596–1661), translator, eldest son of Robert Carey, first earl [q. v.], by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Hugh Trevannion of Trigg Minor, Cornwall, and widow of Sir Henry Widdrinton of Swynburne Magna, Northumberland(?), was born at Denham, Buckinghamshire, in January 1595-6. He appears to have spent his childhood at the various places of residence which his father occupied from time to time on the boarders [see Carey, Robert, first Earl of Monmouth], but after the death of Queen Elizabeth he lived in the atmosphere of the court. He entered as a fellow commoner at Exeter College, Oxford, during Lent term 1611, and took the B.A. degree in February 1613. He spent the next three years in travelling on the continent and in acquiring that knowledge of foreign languages for which he became afterwards so distinguished. Returning to England during the autumn of 1616 he was one of twenty-six personages—and the only one of the number whose father was not a nobleman—who were made knights of the Bath in November of that year on the occasion of Charles being created prince of Wales. He showed no inclination for the life of a courtier, and his parents busied themselves during the next year or two in making for their son some advantageous alliance. After feebly objecting to more than one of the proposals, he was at last married in 1620 to Martha, eldest daughter of Sir Lionel Cranfield, who eventually became earl of Middlesex and lord treasurer of England. From this time he seems to have lived in retirement among his books in the country. His fathers death in 1639 and his consequent succession to the earldom made little change in his habits. Only once does he appear to have come forward to take part in the conflicts of the turbulent times, when he spoke in the House of Lords in June 1641 on the bill for depriving the bishops of their seats in parliament. When Charles I issued the famous declaration and profession in June 1642, Monmouth's name appears among the signatures, but from this time he retired from all political life, and henceforth till his death he was busily engaged in translating various works from the Italian and French, and letting the world go by him as if he had no interest in its concerns. The truth is that he had inherited none of the immense physical vigour and energy of his father and grandfather, and if he had any ambition there is no evidence to show that his abilities were at all more than respectable. Walpole's judgment upon him is probably correct: `Though there are several large volumes translated by him, we have scarce anything of his own composition, and are as little acquainted with his character as with his genius,' His earliest published work was "Romulus and Tarquin, or de Principe et Tyranno,' translated from the Italian of the Marquis Valezzi (12mo, 1637). His latest was the `History of Venice,' by Paul Paruta, folio, 1658. He was engaged in translating Giraldo Piorato's `History of France' at the time of his death, which occurred at Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, 13 June 1661.

He had a family of ten children, two sons and eight daughters. Of the sons, Lionel, the elder was slain at the battle of Marston Moor in 1644, and was unmarried; the younger Henry, fell a victim to the smallpox in 1649, leaving one son behind him, who died in May 1653, and who was the last heir to the earldom. His lordhip's only brother, Thomas, had died without male issue, 9 April 1634.

[Memoirs of Robert Carey, Earl of Monmouth, written by himself; Bank's Dormant and Extinct Baronage, 4to. 1509, iii. 519 seq.; Birch's Court and Times of James I, ii. 149, 156, &c.; Walpole's Royal and Noble Author!; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), (the last two works contain long lists of his lordship's printed works); Colonel Chester's Westminster Abbey Registers.]

A. J.

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

Page Col. Line  
70 ii 1-3 Carey, Henry, 2nd Earl of Monmouth: omit and the only one . . . . nobleman
14 after England insert He was M.P. for Camelford 1620, Beveriey 1624, Tregony 1625, St. Mawes 1626, and Grampound 1628