Capel, Arthur

, eldest son and heir of the preceding, became his successor, and notwithstanding the sufferings of his father, his estate was under sequestration; but at the restoration, he was, by Charles II. advanced to the title and dignity of viscount Maiden, and earl of Essex, on April 20, 1661. He also was constituted lord lieutenant and custos rotulorum of the county of Hertford, on July 7, 1660; and lord lieutenant of the county of Wilts, during the minority of the duke of Somerset, on April 2, 1668. In the year 1670, he was sent ambassador to Christian V. king of Denmark, whence he returned with high, favour for having vindicated the honour of the British flag: and upon testimonies of his courage, prudence, and | abilities, was sworn of the privy- council in 1672, and made lord-lieutenant of the kingdom of Ireland which high office he exercised in that kingdom to the general satisfaction of the people. After his return, he, in 1678, with Halifax, and the duke of Buckingham, had the chief political influence among the lords; yet, when they moved an address to the king to send the duke of York from court, the majority was against them. In 1679, he was appointed first and chief commissioner of the treasury: and his majesty choosing a new council, he ordered sir William Temple to propose it to the lord chancellor Finch, the earl of Sunderland, and the earl of Essex, but to one after another; on which, when he communicated it to the earl of Essex, he said, “It would leave the parliament and nation in the dispositions to the king, that he found at his coming in.” Accordingly he was sworn of that privycouncil on April 21, 1679, being then first lord commissioner of the treasury; and his majesty valued himself on it so, that the next day he communicated it by a speech to the parliament, which was agreeable to both houses: but not concurring with the duke of York in his measures, his majesty, on November 19 following, declared in council, that he had given leave to the earl of Essex to resign his place of first commissioner of the treasury; yet intended that he should continue of his privy-council. Nevertheless, soon after, being a great opposer of the court measures, and on Jan. 25, 1680-1, delivering a petition against the parliament’s sitting at Oxford, he was accused, with the lord Russel, of the fanatic plot, and sent prisoner to the Tower in the beginning of July, 1683. Bishop Burnet says, that a party of horse was sent to bring him up from his seat in Hertfordshire, where he had been for some time, and seemed so little apprehensive of danger, that his lady did not imagine he had any concern on his mind. He' was offered to be conveyed away, but he would not stir: his tenderness for lord Russel was the cause of this, thinking his disappearing might incline the jury to believe the evidence the more. Soon after his commitment, he was found with his throat cut, on July 13, 1683. The cause of this is variously represented, some imputing it to himself in a fit of despondency, and some to the contrivance of his enemies. From the evidence examined in the Biog. Britannica, a decision seems | difficult. See “Bp. Burnet’s late History charged with great partiality,” by Mr. Braddon, 1725, 8vo.

Sir Henry Chauncy, in his Antiquities of Hertfordshire, says, he was a person of an agreeable stature, slender in body, adorned with a comely countenance, mixed with gravity and sweetness, and was easy of access; his mind was sedate, but his discourses were generally free and pleasant, and his demeanour very complaisant; his promises were real and sincere; his reprimands smart and ingenious, having a quick apprehension, good elocution, sound judgment, great courage, and resolution unalterable: he was always wary and circumspect in council, where he endeavoured to obstruct all arbitrary power, and the increase of the Popish interest, having a particular regard for the established religion of his country; he was very temperate in his diet, strict in his justice, tender of his honour, and constant to his friend; he delighted much in his library, which enabled him to speak on all occasions with great applause, and would spend his vacant hours in the viewing of records, and learning of the mathematics. These were his diversions, together with recreating himself in his fine gardens and pleasant groves at Cashiobury, which were of his own plantation. 1


Collins’s Peerage.—Biog. Brit.—Burnet’s Hist. of his own Times.