Biography of César Caze (1641-1720)

Not a whole lot is known of the life of the French Huguenot César Caze, sieur d'Harmonville et du Vernay (Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries).

César Caze was born in Lyon, Rhone, in January, 1641, as the first child in the family of Jean Caze (1608-1700) and Marie Huguetan (1601-1677).

Jean Caze was a Lyon Huguenot (born in Montpellier)—a bourgeois, advisor and Maître d'hôtel du Roy (Butler of the French King). Marie Huguetan was a daughter of a Lyon bookseller and bookbinder Jean Antoine Huguetan and a sister of a known Lyon lawyer Jean Huguetan. Jean Caze and Marie Huguetan married on 4 April, 1640, in Lyon. Marie was a widow from 1630.

César Caze had a younger brother—Jean Jacques Caze (born November, 1644, in Lyon) and an elder brother (from the first marriage of his mother) Jean Antoine de La Motte.

On 3 April, 1677, César Caze married in Charenton to Catherine de Monginot (1660-04.09.1719), the daughter of Etienne de Monginot, fermier général (aristocrat who perceived in rent, the taxes for the account of the King). The family had a son—Jean Caze (1682-1751).

Since 1675 César Caze managed a Tobacco Farm, but in 1682 he was forced, as many other french Protestants, escaping from persecution (by the end of the 17th century, some 200000 Huguenots had been driven from France during a series of religious persecutions), to emigrate to Netherlands (together with his wife Catherine and his just born son Jean). During the European religious wars in 17th century, many people fled to the Dutch Republic and Amsterdam, where they sought refuge.

In 1683 Case settled in Hague, and the following year he went to Amsterdam. However, his former business partners in France initiated a trial, and Caze was sentenced to pay a sum demanded. Sure of his right, Caze refused to pay (although his father and stepfather were rich men), thus he was forced to serve in the prison of Leeuwarden for more than 12 years (from April 1688 to July 1700).

Caze worked in Amsterdam mainly as a maker of glasses, telescope maker and general technician, but remained known also for his calculating device (see New Arithmetical Machine of Caze), his scientific interests and busy correspondence with Leibnitz and Huygens, as well as for his dissertation on the use and improvement of arithmetic from the beginning of XVIII century (Amsterdam, August 1711, The invention of calculating machines and a dissertation on the use and improvement of arithmetic).

A report from 1696 says that Caze "excelled in mathematics and other studies". The Amsterdam burgomaster (mayor) Johannes Hude had employed Caze for many years for the city of Amsterdam.

It is known that as early as in 1671, Caze has done experiments in Amsterdam with a machine calculating the speed of a ship. A few years later he was involved in the design of clocks and in 1688 he published a tract on balances, De l'usage des staters, ou romaines balances.

César Caze lived in Netherlands until his death in 1720.