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It was a remarkable scene exhibited on the scaffold on which lord Capel fell : at the same time was executed the once gay, beautiful, gallant earl of Holland, whom neither the honours showered on him by his prince, nor his former more tender connexions with the queen, could preserve from betraying and engaging against both. He now appeared sunk beneath the indignities and cruelty he received from men to whom and from whom he had deserted—while the brave Capel, who, having shunned the splendour of Charles's fortunes, had stood forth to guard them on their decline, trod the fatal stage with all the dignity of valour and conscious integrity 3,
[So said the anonymous author of a poem in Vaticinium Votivum, entitled, “Obsequies on that unexemplar Champion of Chivalrie, and Pattern of true Prowess, Arthur, Lord Capel:
“The scaffold turn'd a stage: where, 't is confest,
“ A Book of Meditations,” published after his death ; to which are added a few of his letters 3.
(Lord Capel 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 ancestors, says Collins 4, was very eminent for
4 his hospitality to his neighbours, and great charities to the poor, which 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 advanced to a barony by Charles the first, with the title of lord Capel of Hadham.
Thy president, who after him art hurl'd
A fixed star, and wait on Charles his wain.”
• Fuller in Hertfordshire, p. 28.
3 His device was a sceptre and crown or, on a field azure, with this motto, Perfectissima Gubernatio. Vide Catal. of Coronet Devices in the Civil War, at the end of a thin pamphlet, called the Art of making Devices, done into English by T, Blount, 1648.
· Peerage, vol. iii. p. 30%.
Upon the breaking out of the civil war, he raised at his own charge, some troops of horse, in defence of the royal cause, fought valiantly in many battles and skirmishes, and continued to adbere loyally to his king, till his armies were dispersed, his garrisons lost, and his person imprisoned, when lord Capel compounded with the parliamentarians, and retired to his manor of Hadham. But perceiving the hard usage of his sovereign, 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, underwent the severest hardships in the defence of Colchesters, which after a siege of ten weeks was surrendered upon articles to general Fairfax. In direct breach, however, of those articles, sir Charles Lucas and sir George Lisle were shot, while lord Capel was sent prisoner to Windsor castle; and an act of attainder was ordered by the house of commons to be brought in against him. On the roth of November following the house voted, that
s The brave garrison were compelled to yield for want of provisions, having eaten all the horses, dogs, and cats, and whatever was most reluctant to nature. During the siege lord Capel is said to have wonderfully encouraged the soldiers by his own example, going with a halberd on his shoulder to the watch, and keeping guard in his turn; 'paying sixpence or a shilling a shot, for all the enemies bullets his men could pick up; and charging the first day of the sicge at Headgate, where the enemy was most pressing, with a pike, till the gate could be shut, which at last was but pinned with his cane.
Life of Lord Capel, prefixed to his Contemplations, &c.
he and some others should be banished out of the king dom; but that punishment not being thought severe enough, he was removed to the Tower. On the ist of February 1649, he escaped out of bis prison, but was discovered and apprehended, two days after, at Lambeth, and committed again to the Tower. On February Toth, 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, that he had conditions given him, and was to have fair quarter for his life; yet his plea was overruled. In three days afterwards he was brought again before the court, when the counsel moved that he should be hanged, drawn, and quartered. However, on the 6th of March he was condemned only to be beheaded, and the sentence was executed ? on the oth; his body being carried to Little Hadham in Herts 8.
6 Lord Clarendon is of opinion, that two or three sharp and bitter speeches which passed between Ireton and his lordship, cost the latter his life.
? A particular account of his lordship’s behaviour on the scaffold is printed at the end of his Contemplations.
* The following manuscript note is prefixed to a copy of lord Capel's Contemplations, &c. in the possession of Mr. Brand:
“ This loyal lord at the time of his death, ordered that his heart should be reserved and kept (presaging the restoration of king Charles the second, and presuming that then due obsequies would be paid to the memory of the royal martyr), to be buryed and laid at his royal master's feet: which accordingly was put into a silver box, inclosed in another with two locks,
Lord Clarendon gives him the noble character of a man in whom the malice of his enemies could discover but very few faults, and whom his friends could not wish better accomplished: whose memory all men loved and reverenced, though few followed his example. “In a word,” says the earl, “ he was a man that whoever shall, after him, deserve best of the English nation, he can never think himself undervalued when he shall hear that his courage, virtue, and fidelity, are laid in the balance with, and compared to, that of the lord Capel.” Dr. Smollett, speaking of his lordship’s execution, observes that he died a shining example of worth, valour, and fidelity 2: but Mrs. Macauley, on the contrary, has treated his memory with a democratic species of contempt, which reflects no credit upon her own 3; since, as Dr. Kippis can
and for the present reposited in the hands of the lord Beauchamp, who had the keeping of one key, as sir Thomas Corbet had of the other. The lord Beauchamp, finding his departure near, delivered the box to sir Thomas, who upon his deathbed delivered it to the earl of Essex, being then young. But after the restoration, there being (for come unknown reasons) no funeral rites performed to the body of the deceased king, this box was laid by in the evidence-room at ladham, the earl's seat in Hertfordshire, where it lay till after his decease; and being found there by the late earl's steward, his lordship not knowing what it contained, but enquiring of his mother, and understanding what it was, caused it to be reposited in the family-vault at Hadham.”
· Hist. of the Rebellion, vol. iii. part i. p. 273, 8vo. edit. · Hist. of England, vol. v. p. 276. • Hist, of Englapd, vol. v.
p. 6. ..