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KELSEY, THOMAS (d. 1680?), soldier, was originally, according to Wood, ‘a mean trader in Birchin Lane in London, a godly button-maker’ (Wood, Fasti, ed. Bliss, iii. 111). He appears in the first list of the new model army as major in the foot regiment of Colonel Edward Montague, and in that capacity signed the articles for the surrender of Langford House to Cromwell on 17 Oct. 1645 (Lords' Journals, vii. 279; Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. p. 81). Before the close of 1646 Kelsey was transferred to Colonel Ingoldsby's regiment as lieutenant-colonel, and on the surrender of Oxford to Fairfax became deputy-governor of that city (Peacock, Army Lists, p. 105, ed. 1874). He took a prominent part in supporting the authority of the puritan visitors of the university (Wood, Annales, pp. 556, 560, 597, 604, 640). In 1648 he detected and frustrated a royalist plot for the surprise of the city (ib. p. 602; Lords' Journals, x. 407). On 14 April 1648 he was created M.A. (Wood, Fasti, ed. Bliss, ii. 111). On 15 May 1651 parliament empowered the council of state to commission Kelsey to be lieutenant of Dover Castle (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1651, pp. 201, 209). Under the protectorate Kelsey was appointed, on 8 Nov. 1655, one of the commissioners for the management of the navy, and made major-general of the militia for the counties of Kent and Surrey, October 1655 (ib. 1655 p. 275, 1655–6 p. 10). The salary of the first of these offices was 500l. a year; of the second 666l. 13s. 4d. (Harleian Miscellany, iii. 456, ed. Park). Kelsey represented Sandwich in the parliament of 1654, and Dover in that of 1656 and in Richard Cromwell's parliament. He was extremely zealous in returning supporters of the Protector to the parliament, and pressed him to require a recognition of his authority from all members elected. He promised to stand by Cromwell with his life and fortune, and urged him to remember that ‘the interest of God's people’ was ‘to be preferred to 1,000 parliaments.’ ‘If parliaments will not do it,’ he concluded, ‘take to your assistance such as will stand by you in the work,’ 26 Aug. 1656 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1656–7, p. 87; Thurloe, v. 384). The proposal to make Cromwell king seems to have cooled his zeal, and he told the parliament of 1659 ‘the Petition and Advice is a thing I never was for; I never gave my vote for it’ (Burton, Diary, iii. 407). He spoke in 1657 in favour of the bill for the permanent establishment of the major-generals, defended in the parliament of 1659 the oppressive acts of Major-general Butler, and moved the rejection of the petitions of the cavaliers who had been transported to Barbadoes. It had been impossible, he asserted, ‘to have preserved us from blood and confusion if in all proceedings his late highness and his council had been guided according to the strict rules of law’ (ib. i. 242, iv. 266, 405). In the debates on foreign policy he showed great hostility to the Dutch, and pressed for the ‘sending of a fleet to support the King of Sweden’ (ib. iii. 440, 457). Kelsey belonged to the party in the army which followed the lead of Fleetwood and Lambert (Ludlow, Memoirs, p. 240, ed. 1751, folio). He was one of the officers who presented the army petition of 13 May 1659 to the restored Long parliament (Mercurius Politicus, May 1659, p. 437). That body appointed him one of the commissioners of the admiralty (30 May 1659), and confirmed him as captain of Dover Castle, 18 July 1659 (Commons' Journals, vii. 669, 723). On the royalist rising in August of that year Kelsey was empowered to raise a regiment of a thousand men in Kent, and was employed in arresting Kentish conspirators (ib. vii. 749; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1659–60, pp. 50, 68, 84). On 12 Oct. 1659 he was deprived of his commission by parliament for his share in the army petition, and supported Lambert in his expulsion of parliament (Commons' Journals, vii. 796). On the triumph of parliament Kelsey was consequently deprived of the government of Dover and of his regiment, and ordered to repair to his house in the country furthest from London under threat of arrest, 9 Jan. 1660. In March 1660 he engaged himself to the council of state not to do anything prejudicial to the then government (ib. vii. 806, 812; Mercurius Politicus, 19 March 1660). On the Restoration he thought necessary to fly to the continent, and lived at Arnheim, Rotterdam, and other places in Holland (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1663–4, pp. 88, 257, 266, 279). On 21 April 1666 the English government published a proclamation ordering Kelsey and others to return to England on penalty of incurring the punishment of high treason (ib. 1665–6, pp. 342, 358). A letter to Sir Robert Paston in February 1672 states that Kelsey and Desborough had obtained by the intercession of Mr. Blood the king's permission to return to England (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. p. 368; cf. 7th Rep. p. 464). Wood states that Kelsey ‘took upon him the trade of brewing in London,’ lived ‘at least twenty years’ after the Restoration, and ‘died but in a mean condition’ (Fasti, ed. Bliss, ii. 111). Kelsey married the sister of John Graunt [q. v.] (Wood, Life, ed. Clarke, i. 433).

[Authorities cited in the text.]

C. H. F.