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Essex, Arthur Capel, 1st earl of

Essex, Arthur Capel, 1st earl of (1631–83). Capel succeeded his father as baron when he was executed in 1649 as a royalist and at the Restoration was made earl of Essex. In 1670 he was sent to Denmark on a diplomatic mission and from 1672 to 1677 was lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Two years later, after the Popish plot, he was treasurer for six months, working uneasily with Shaftesbury. He resigned in November 1679, gave strong support to the Exclusion Bill and moved closer to Monmouth. In 1683 Essex was arrested in connection with the Rye House plot but was reported to have cut his throat in the Tower while awaiting trial, dying in the same room in which his father had been confined. The most recent scholarly inquiry suggests that he may well have been murdered.

J. A. Cannon

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