Anthony Ashley Cooper 7th earl of Shaftesbury

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Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of (1621–83) British statesman. Shaftesbury was a member of the Commonwealth council of state under Oliver Cromwell. Dismayed by the autocracy of the Protectorate, he supported the Restoration of Charles II (1660), and was rewarded with the chancellorship. Opposed to the Earl of Clarendon, Shaftesbury became lord chancellor (1672) but was soon dismissed. His determination to prevent the succession of the Catholic James II drove him to found (1673) the Whigs in opposition to the Earl of Danby. Shaftesbury's support for the Duke of Monmouth led to his exile (1682) in Holland.

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Shaftesbury, Antony Ashley Cooper, 7th earl of (1801–85). Philanthropist and social reformer. Lord Ashley (as he was styled until 1851 when he succeeded his father) was a strict evangelical who devoted his whole life to promoting, both in and out of Parliament, a succession of reform causes: the Ten Hour Bill; the 1842 Mines Act; reform of the lunacy laws; abolition of child chimney-sweeping; public health and slum housing; ragged schools; the plight of agricultural labourers; training for destitute children (the Shaftesbury homes). He was motivated by a deep religious faith which was simple, rigid, and exclusive. He believed in the literal truth of every word in the Bible. Shaftesbury was the most active champion of Victorian evangelicalism as applied to all aspects of public life. He was chairman of the Lord's Day Observance Society and the Working Men's Lord's Day Rest Association; and was influential (through his family connection with Palmerston, the prime minister) in the appointment of evangelicals to bishoprics. Politically he was a Tory and opposed all forms of popular democracy.

John F. C. Harrison

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Anthony Ashley Cooper Shaftesbury, 7th earl of, 1801–85, English social reformer. He was known as Lord Ashley until 1851, when he succeeded his father as earl. Entering the House of Commons in 1826, he became a leading advocate of government action to alleviate the injustices caused by the Industrial Revolution. Notable legislation introduced by him included acts prohibiting employment of women and children in coal mines (1842), providing for care of the insane (1845), and establishing a 10-hr day for factory workers (1847). He promoted the building of model tenements and the "ragged schools" for waifs.

See biographies by J. L. Hammond and B. Hammond (4th ed. 1936), G. F. Best (1964), and G. Battiscombe (1975).