The First Earl of Shaftesbury

At one time a member of Charles II's notorious Cabal, Anthony Ashley Cooper later became the much maligned leader of the Protestant and Parliamentary opposition to the last two Stuart kings. By J.H. Plumb.

The career of Anthony Ashley Cooper, first Earl of Shaftesbury, has a singularly serpentine quality. He joined Charles I at the raising of his standard at Nottingham, but by 1644 he had come to terms with Parliament, and proceeded to lead their forces in Dorset with success. The war over, he discreetly withdrew from public affairs, and busied himself with local government and the cultivation of his estates. Once Cromwell was securely in the saddle, he emerged again to play his part. He was promoted to the Council of State, but he soon found himself in opposition to Cromwell. In the confusion which followed Cromwell’s death, his instinct led him to Monck, a wise judgment that was rewarded at the Restoration by a royal pardon for his past, a barony and a place in the Treasury.

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