Caesar, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, born in Dover, Del., about 1730, died there in 1784. His grandfather, William Rodney, came from Bristol to Kent co., Del., soon after Penn became proprietary. Caesar inherited a large estate. He was sheriff of Kent co. in 1758, and soon after became a member of the provincial assembly, in which he served till 1774, being speaker in 1769 and thereafter. In 1765 he was sent to the stamp act congress at New York. In the colonial assembly he earnestly advocated a bill forbidding the importation of slaves, which failed by only two votes. The colonies entering into correspondence upon the subject of their common defence, he became chairman of the committee of safety for Delaware; and in 1774, meetings of the people having been held at New Castle and Dover to demand the assembling of a convention, he issued a call as speaker of the assembly, convoking the representatives of the people at New Castle on Aug. 1. He was made chairman of the convention, and was elected a delegate to the continental congress, in which he was a member of the general committee to draw up a recital of the rights and grievances of the colonies. In March, 1775, he was again elected to congress.
In May he was made colonel, and soon afterward brigadier general of the Delaware militia. In 1776 he was alternately in his seat in congress, and at work in Delaware stimulating the patriots and repressing the loyalists. In response to a special message, he rode with all speed to Philadelphia, just in time to give Delaware's vote for the declaration. After his retirement from congress he went to Trenton, where Gen. Stirling made him post commandant, and then to Morristown, whence by Washington's permission he returned home in February, 1777. He suppressed an insurrection in Sussex, and when in August the British advanced into Delaware, he took the field with what militia he could raise, and annoyed the flank of the enemy as they faced the American position on Red Clay creek. In September he was made major general of militia, and in December he was again elected to congress, but did not take his seat. A few days later he was elected president or executive officer of the state, which post he filled till January, 1782, when he declined reelection.
He was then chosen to congress, and again in 1783, but did not take his seat.
Caesar Augustus, an American statesman, nephew of the preceding, born in Dover, Del., Jan. 4, 1772, died in Buenos Ayres, June 10, 1824. He graduated at the university of Pennsylvania, and studied law. In 1802 he was elected to congress as a democrat, and was a member of the committee of ways and means, and one of the managers in the impeachment of Judge Chase. In 1807 he became attorney general of the United States, which place he resigned in 1811. During the war of 1812 he commanded an artillery company. In 1817 he was sent to South America by President Monroe as one of the commissioners to investigate and report upon the propriety of recognizing the independence of the Spanish-American republics, which he strongly advocated after his return. In 1820 he was again elected to the house of representatives, and in 1822 became a member of the United States senate, being the first democrat who ever sat in that chamber from Delaware. In 1823 Monroe appointed him minister plenipotentiary to the United Provinces of La Plata. With J. Graham he published "Reports on the Present State of the United Provinces of South America" (8vo, London, 1819).