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number Mr. Capell and one other gentleman appear to have been subscribers to the amount of 1000l. each, Mr. Hampden 500l., Sir John Culpepper and four others together made up 20001., &c. &c.; and with 20001. from the town of Newcastle a sum of 10,000l. was raised. On the 5th of August Mr. Capell, with twelve other gentlemen, offered their security for money ; on the same day he was named one of the Committee to prepare heads for a conference with the Lords concerning the disbanding the armies, and thus closed his career in the House of Commons. On the 6th of August (four days only before the King's departure for Scotland) he was created a peer by the title of Baron Capell of Hadham ; on the 7th he was introduced into the House of Lords between the Lord Paget and the Lord Kymbolton. However meagre the information gathered from the journals of Parliament, it is sufficient to show that Mr. Capell had taken an active part in the business of the House of Commons, and that his name was to be found in those Committees on whom fell the duty of investigating and reporting the most glaring abuses of that period.
The elevation of Lord Capell to the peerage appears to have given rise to the supposition that the honour was conferred upon him as the price or the reward of some sudden change in his political views. There is nothing, however, to be found in the journals of Parliament to bear out this opinion. In
Com. Journ., vol. ii. p. 222.
2 Ibid., p. 238. 3 See Clutterbuck's “ Ierts,' Lodge's · Biographia Britannica,' and other biographical works,
later times the creation of a peer has been generally regarded as an honour conferred by the Sovereign as the reward of merit, a mark of personal favour, or on grounds of policy, and it is under this impression that Lord Capell's promotion has been treated as the recompence or the condition of a change in his political principles, which is supposed to have converted him at once from the steady reformer of prerogative encroachments into the zealous supporter of kingly power. No change in his political views is indicated by the minutes of the journals of the House of Commons,' and the fact of his being introduced into the House of Lords by Lord Kymbolton and Lord Paget, the very Hampden and Pym of the Lords, would seem to contradict such a supposition. The difficulty, therefore, is to understand the motives that led the King to select for such a distinction a person who had been actively engaged with those whose political views and measures were decidedly opposed to the exercise of his power. It must, however, be remembered that in those days it was often the Sovereign who was paid, and not the subject who was purchased by a peerage ; and when the King was in difficulty for money, the rich commoner might, without any sense of degradation either to the Crown or to himself, pay the gratuity which would purchase the rank that thus became but nominally the gift of grace.”
For further account of Lord Capell's attendance in Parliamentary Committees, see Appendix A.
? A curious account is given by Lord Clarendon of the mortification experienced by the Duke of Richmond at Mr. Ashburnham's influence having been preferred to his own in obtaining a peerage for Sir John Lucas. Sir Edward Hyde (then Chancellor of the Exchequer) endeavoured to soothe
That some such sale of honours took place just about the period of Lord Capell's elevation is plainly stated in a letter of Sir Edward Nicholas' to a friend, where is to be found the following passage:
“There are great store of baronets made; the price " is come to 3501. as I am tould ; there are noe new “ barons made as yet, but there is great expectation “ that there shal be four made before it be long.” Lord Clarendon distinctly says that Lord Capell had “ no other obligations to the Crown than those which “ his own honour and conscience suggested to him.” This could hardly have been said had he received a peerage as the spontaneous gift from the “fountain of honour." It is probable that his abandonment of the Parliament for the service of the King was with him, as with Lord Falkland, Culpepper, Hyde, and many others, the natural result of seeing the excess of power reversed rather than redressed in its balance. Lord Capell's activity in serving on committees was not
his irritation by saying that Mr. Ashburnham “ was preferred as the “ better marketman ; and that he ought not to believe that the King's ." affection swayed him to that preference, but an opinion that the other “ would make the better bargain. He replied, that his Majesty was de“ ceived in that, for he had told him what the other meant to give, with“ out the least thought of reserving anything for himself; whereas his “ Majesty had now received 5001. less, and his marketman had gotten so “ much for his pains.”>Life of Earl of Clarendon,' vol. i. p. 188.
Sir Francis Newport, “who was then recently married to the daughter “ of the late Earl of Bedford,” gave 60001. for his peerage.-Clarendon's Hist. of the Rebellion, vol. iii. p. 258.
Mr. Hallam states that James I. sold several peerages for considerable sums.—Const. Hist., vol. i. p. 461.
See a letter from Sir Edward Nicholas to Admiral Sir John Pennington, dated Westminster, July 15th, 1641 (State Paper Office).
9 Hist, of the Reb., vol. vi. p. 265,
diminished by his having changed the stage on which he was to act, and for a time his name generally appears in company with one or both of those peers who had served as his supporters on entering the House of Lords. Ten days after his taking his seat he with Lord Paget and six others were added to the Committee for composing the differences between the Lord Mayor and the commonalty, and the following day he was added to the Committee for the free importation and free making of gunpowder and saltpetre.
CHAPTER I I.
Lord Capell concurs in an Address to the King on a Breach of Privilege
– He joins the Royalist party — His motives for the change — Lord Capell is impeached by the Commons — He assists in collecting Money for the King – The King wishes to confer an office on Lord Capell — He is made Lieutenant-General for Shropshire and other Counties Measures for sequestrating his Estate — The King wishes to create him an Earl.
From the 6th of September to the 20th of October a recess of Parliament was agreed on between the two Houses, and on the 1st of November Parliament again
On the 14th of December Charles appeared in person in the House of Lords, and desired the House of Commons to be sent for. He then addressed the two Houses upon the subject of the rebellion in Ireland and upon “ the Bill for pressing of soldiers,” which, so long as it did not trench upon his prerogative, he promised, in the following words, to pass :-“Seeing there is a “ dispute raised (I being little beholden to him whosoever “ at this time began it) concerning the bounds of this “ ancient and undoubted prerogative, to avoid further “ debate at this time I offer that the Bill may pass, with “ a salvo jure both for King and people, leaving such “ debates to a time that may better bear it; if this be “not accepted the fault is not mine that this Bill pass