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so various and incessant, he was strictly careful in the management of his own estate. He was exact in this to a surprising degree. He inspected all his accounts himself; and, as he had great skill in husbandry, he was as particular in his directions for the cultivation of his lands, as any country gentleman who had no other employment of his time or thoughts. He looked on the preservation of his estate as the best support of independency, and the best fund for his generosity, which many persons of worth and learning experienced, some by occasional, others by annual donations.

If any facts mentioned in the present performance are proved to be false, or unfairly stated, they will be readily retracted. This work is written only from the love of truth, and to the lovers of truth it is addressed.

35

CHAPTER I.

Account of Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper's birth, education,

marriage, and first entrance into parliament. ANTHONY Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, A.D. 1621. who was born July 22, 1621, descended from His Birth. very ancient and considerable families. His father was Sir John Cooper, Bart. of Rockborne, in the county of Hants. His mother was Anne, the only daughter and heiress of Sir Anthony Ashley, Bart. of Wimborne St. Giles's, in the county of Dorset.

The care of his education was first committed Education. to Mr. Guerdeau, a fellow of Queen's College in Cambridge, and afterwards doctor of physic in London, who was chosen by the grandfather for the strictness of his principles ;* Sir Anthony say. ing, “ Youth could not have too deep a dye of

* After his father's death, the care of a gentleman of Sir Anthony was four years Oriel College in Oxford, a. under the tuition of a Mr. master of arts. Fletcher, and one year under

A.D. 1621. religion ; for business and conversation in the

world would wear it to a just moderation.” A.D. 1631. By the death of Sir John Cooper, in 1631, he

succeeded to the title of baronet, and an estate of 80001. a year; the greatest part of which had been entailed on him by his grandfather, who

died in the year 1627. Early proof The vivacity of his genius was conspicuous in of his acti- his youth by the progress which he made in his vity.

studies; and the activity of his disposition soon found an opportunity of discovering itself in the following remarkable occasion. His father leaving his own estate charged with debts, some of his relations and neighbours, Sir Francis Ashley (his grandfather's brother), Mr. Tregonwell, Sir William Button, and others, formed a scheme for getting advantageous purchases, by procuring an immediate sale of great part of the estate. Sir

Francis was the king's serjeant-at-law. By his means, and under pretence of being creditors, they engaged Sir Walter Pye, attorney of the Court of Wards, a corrupt man, who then had great influence in that court, to get a decree for the sale ; and being with some of their friends made commissioners for this, they disposed of

the estate to one another. Sir Anthony's trus- A.D. 1631. tees, who were excluded from the commission, desired time to sell the lands at better rates, and that Sir Anthony (who had an estate from his mother's father, for which he was not in wardship) might be allowed to be a purchaser himself. This was pressed in open court, but refused, unless the purchasers would consent; which could not be expected, as they knew the value of their bargains, and had taken such irregular steps to gain them.

The trustees, upon this, refused to convey the lands, and were therefore committed by the Court of Wards to the Fleet, and kept in confinement till they consented. But, notwithstanding their forced conveyance, they preferred a bill in equity against Sir Francis Ashley and the others, upon consideration that they had before agreed with a purchaser for the lands, for Sir Anthony's use, at a much greater value. Sir Francis being sensible that the separate estate, which his brother left to his grandson, enabled the trustees to make this opposition, immediately projected the total ruin of his nephew's fortune; and desired to be heard in behalf of

A.D. 1631. the king, to show that the deed by which Sir

Anthony claimed that estate was not sufficient A.D. 1634. to preserve it from wardship. A day was ap

pointed for the hearing. Mr. Noy was then attorney-general, having been an intimate friend of old Sir Anthony. He had drawn his will; but it was imagined he would not undertake to support the cause against the crown, and without him it would be in imminent danger from the influence which the crown had in that court. Sir Anthony (then but thirteen years old) went alone to Mr. Noy, and acquainted him with the proceedings, saying he had no one to depend on but him, who had been the friend of his grandfather. Noy was pleased with his spirit and behaviour, and told him he would defend the cause, though he should lose his place; and accordingly performed his promise with success, and without taking any fees."

11 This gentleman has all the credit of having originated the claim of the crown to ship-money. The king's orders were imperative to discover some statutable mode of raising money; so, in the words of an old law writer of the period, “ Away goes the subtile engineer, and at length from old records bolts out an ancient president of raising a tax for setting out a navy in case of danger. The king, glad of the discovery as treature

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