Capel, Arthur, Lord

was the only son and heir of sir Henry Capel, who died in the flower of his age. He succeeded to the family estate on the death of his grandfather, sir Arthur, and following the example of his virtuous ancestors, was very eminent for his hospitality to his neighbours, while his great charities to the poor endeared him to the hearts of the people, who chose him to serve in parliament for the county of Hertford, in 1639 and 1640. In the following year he was made a peer by Charles I. with the title of lord Capel, of Hadham. Upon the breaking out of the rebellion, he raised at his own charge some troops of horse, in defence of the royal cause, although he hud at first sided with the parliament; and did not attach himself particularly to the court, until he sawthat the designs of the republicans were no longer conducted with moderation or justice. He fought valiantly in many battles and skirmishes, and continued to adhere loyally to his king, till his majesty’s armies were dispersed, his garrisons lost, and his“person imprisoned, when lord Capel compounded with the parliamentarians, and retired to his manor of Hadham. Perceiving, some time after, the hard treatment his sovereign met with, he resolutely ventured again, with all the force he could raise, to rescue the king from his enemies; and joining his troops with those of lord Goring and sir Charles Lucas, underxvent the severest hardships in the memorable siege of Colchester, which was at length surrendered to general Fairfax upon articles which were immediately broke; for sir Charles Lucas and sir George Lisle were shot, and lord Capel sent prisoner to Windsor-castle. An act of attainder being ordered by the house of commons to be brought in against him, the house voted, Nov. 10, 1648, that he and some others should be banished, but that punishment not being thought severe enough, he was removed to the Tower. Lord Clarendon is of opinion that two or three sharp and bitter speeches which passed between Ireton and lord Capel, cost the latter his life. In the mean time, how* tver, he contrived to escape out of his prison, but being | discovered and apprehended at Lambeth, on Feb. 10, 1649, he was brought before a pretended high court of justice in Westminster- hall, to be tried for treason and other high crimes and though he strenuously insisted that he was a prisoner to the lord general Fairfax, that he had conditions given him, and was to have fair quarter for his life; yet his plea was over-ruled. In three days after he was brought again before the court, when the counsel moved that he should be hanged, drawn, and quartered. This, however, was changed for beheading, and the sentence was executed March 9. He trod the fatal stage, says lord Orford, with all the dignity of valour and conscious integrity. In these qualities all historians are agreed, if we except Mrs. Macaulay, whose hostility to the loyalists is rather a compliment. His literary remains were published in 1654, with the title” Daily observations or meditations; divine, moral, written by a person of honour and piety;“to which are added” Certain letters written to several persons,’ 7 4to; and the whole were reprinted afterwards in 12mo, with the title of “Excellent Contemplations, &c.” and some account of his life. Some “Stanzas,” by lord Capel, written when he was a prisoner in the Tower, were inserted in the Gentleman’s Magazine for 1757. His heart, which he had ordered to be kept, and deposited near the remains of his royal master, was afterwards placed in the family-vault at Hadham, as appears by a letter from the late incumbent of that parish, Dr. Anthony Hamilton, published in the fifteenth volume of the Archaeologia. 1


Biog. Brit.—Park’s Royal and Noble Authors.