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The LIFE OF
Anthony A. Cooper.
NTHONY Ashley Cooper, earl of
Shaftsbury, a moft able person and great politician, was son of Sir John Cooper, of Rockborn, in the county of Southampton, bart. by Anne, daughter and sole heiress of Sir Anthony Ashley, of Winborne' St. Giles, in the county of Dorset, bart. where he was born, upon the twenty-second of July, 1621.
Being a boy of uncommon parts, he was sent to Oxford at the age of fifteen, and became a fellow commoner of Exeter college, under the tuition of the famous Dr. John Prideaux, who was then rector of it. He is, said to have studied hard there for about two years, and then removed to Lincoln's-inn, where he applied himself, with great vigour, to the study of the law, and especially that part of it which gave him a perfect infight into the canftitution of this kingdom In
n the nineteenth year of his age, he was eleted for Tewksbury, in Glouceferihire, in that parliament which met at Weltminster on the thirteenth of April, 1640, but was soon dissolved.
He seems to have been well affected to the king's service at the beginning of the civil war, for he repaired to the king at Oxford, offered his affistance, and projected a scheme, not for subduing or conquering his country, but for reducing such as had either deserted er miltaken their duty, to his majesty's obedience.
Being at Oxford in the "beginning of the civil-war, for he was on that lide so long as he had any hopes to serve his country there, he was brought to king Charles I. by the lord Falkland, his friend, then secretary of state, and presented to him, as having something to offer to his majesty worthy confideration. At this audience he told the king, that she could put an end to the war, if his majesty
pleased and would aflift him in it. The king answered, That he was a very young man for so great an undertaking. “ Sire," replied he, “ that will not be the worse for
af. fairs, provided I do the business.".. Whereupon the king Thewing a willingness to hear him, he discoursed to him to this purpose :
" The gentlemen, and men of eftates, who , firft engaged in this war, feeing now, after a year or two, that it seems to be no nearer an end than it was at first, and beginning to be
veary of it, I am very well fatisked, would be glad to be in quiet an home again, if they could be assured of redress of their grievances, and have their rights and liberties Tecured to
them. This, I am fatisfied, is the prefent temper generally throughout England, and particularly in those parts where my estate and concerns lie. If therefore your majesty will impower me to treat with the parliament garrifons, to grant them a full and general par-. don, with an aflurance that a general amnefly, arms being laid down on both sides, fouid. reinftate all things in the fame poftare they were before the war, and then a free parliament should do what more remained to be done for the fetelement of the nation."
He added farther, That he would begin and try the experiment in his own country, and doubted not but the good success he should have there, would open him the gates of other adjoining garrisons, by bringing them the news of peace and fecurity in laying down their arms,.
Being fürnished with full power, according to his defire, away he goes to Dorsetshire, where he managed a treaty with the garrisons of Pool, Weymouth, Dorchester, and others; and was so fuccessful in it, that one of them was actually put into his hands, as the others were to have been in a few days : bat prince Maarice, who commanded some of the king's forces, being with his army then in those parts, no sooner heard that the town was fur. rendered, but he presently marched into it, and gave the pillage of it to the foldiers.
This Sir Anthony faw with the utmost difpleasure, and could not forbear his resentments
to the prince, so that there passed some pretty hot words between them ; but the violence was committed, and thereby his design broken. All that he could do, was, that he sent to the other garrisons he was in treaty with, to stand upon their guard, for that he could not secure his articles to them: and so this design proved abortive, and died in filence.
Sir Anthony was afterwards invited to Oxford by a letter from his majesty ; but perceiving that he was not confided in, that his behaviour was disliked, and his person in danger, he retired into the parliament quarters, and soon after went up to London, where he was well received by that party, to which he gave himself up body and soul. He accepted a commiflion from the parliament, and railing forces,, took. Wareham by storm, in October, 1644; and soon after reduced all the adjacent parts of Dorsetthije.
Towards the end of the year 1645, he was chosen sheriff of Norfolk, and approved by the parliament. The next year he was theriff of Wiltfire. In 1651, he was of the com: mittee of twenty, appointed to consider of ways and means for reforming the law. He was also one of the members of that conven: tion that met after general Cromwell had turned out the long parliament.
He was again member of parliament in 1654, and one of the principal persons who figned that famous protestation, charging the protector with tyranny and arbitrary govern
ment; and he always opposed the illegal measure of that arbitrary usurper to the use moft,
When the protector Richard was deposed, and the Rump came again into power, they nominated Sir Anthony one of their council of state, and a commissioner for managing the army. He was at that very time engaged in a secret correspondence with the friends of king Charles II. and was greatly instrumental in promoting his restoration ; which brought him into peril of his life with the powers then in being
The wisest of kings tells us, That, in the multitude of councellors there is frength: and how much it is the interest of princes to advance men of the highest qualifications into, such trust, the experience of all ages testifieth. The affairs of the public receive their exalta. tion, or their detriment, from their advices ; and, according to the qualifications and incli. nations of those great minifters, may be calculated the fate of kingdoms. This hath obliged monarchs to take to their councils men of the largest prospect, 'the greatest eloquence, and steadiest principle to the interest of the government; persons knowing in the laws and conftitutions of the kingdom whereof they are members, that espouse the interest of their country with an inviolable resolution of adhereing to it, with the hazard of their dearest lives and liberties ; such as prefer the concern of the public above their own private