Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury
Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

 (28 April 1801 – 1 October 1885), styled Lord Ashley from 1811 to 1851, was an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and philanthropist
A philanthropist is someone who engages in philanthropy; that is, someone who donates his or her time, money, and/or reputation to charitable causes...

, one of the best-known of the Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 and one of the main proponents of Christian Zionism
Christian Zionism
Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy. It overlaps with, but is distinct from, the nineteenth century movement for the Restoration of the Jews...



He was born in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and known informally as Lord Ashley until his father's death, he was educated at Harrow School
Harrow School
Harrow School, commonly known simply as "Harrow", is an English independent school for boys situated in the town of Harrow, in north-west London.. The school is of worldwide renown. There is some evidence that there has been a school on the site since 1243 but the Harrow School we know today was...

 + Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church or house of Christ, and thus sometimes known as The House), is one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England...

. Ashley's early 'family life' had a Loveless, an aim common amongst the British upper classes, similar to the fictional childhood of Esther Summerson vividly narrated in the early chapters of Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

' novel Bleak House
Bleak House
Bleak House is the ninth novel by Charles Dickens, published in twenty monthly installments between March 1852 and September 1853. It is held to be one of Dickens's finest novels, containing one of the most vast, complex and engaging arrays of minor characters and sub-plots in his entire canon...

. G.F.A Best in his biography Shaftesbury accounts for this arrangement: "Ashley grew up without any experience of parental love. He saw little of his parents, and when duty or necessity compelled them to take notice of him they were formal and frightening." This difficult childhood was softened by the affection he received from his housekeeper Maria Millis, and his sisters. Millis provided for Ashley a model of Christian love that would form the basis for much of his later social activism and philanthropic work, as Best explains: "What did touch him was the reality, and the homely practicality, of the love which her Christianity made her feel towards the unhappy child. She told him bible stories, she taught him a prayer." Despite this powerful reprieve, school became another source of misery for the young Ashley, whose education at Manor House from 1808 to 1813 introduced a "more disgusting range of horrors". Shaftesbury himself shuddered to recall those years, "The place was bad, wicked, filthy; and the treatment was starvation and cruelty."


He became a Tory
Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada...

 MP (Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

) in 1826, and almost immediately became a leader of the movement for factory
A factory or manufacturing plant is an industrial building where laborers manufacture goods or supervise machines processing one product into another. Most modern factories have large warehouses or warehouse-like facilities that contain heavy equipment used for assembly line production...

 reform. He was responsible for promoting a plethora of reform causes, including the Factory Acts
Factory Acts
The Factory Acts were a series of Acts passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom to limit the number of hours worked by women and children first in the textile industry, then later in all industries....

 of 1847 and 1853, the Ten Hour Bill, as well as the Mines and Collieries Act 1842 and the Lunacy Act 1845. One of his chief interests was the welfare of children, and he was chairman of the Ragged Schools Union
Ragged school
Ragged Schools were charitable schools dedicated to the free education of destitute children in 19th century England. The schools were developed in working class districts of the rapidly expanding industrial towns...

 and a keen supporter of Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale OM, RRC was a celebrated English nurse, writer and statistician. She came to prominence for her pioneering work in nursing during the Crimean War, where she tended to wounded soldiers. She was dubbed "The Lady with the Lamp" after her habit of making rounds at night...

. He was also involved as patron and president in the field of model dwellings companies, which sought to improve the housing of working classes in England.

Support for the Restoration of the Jews

Shaftesbury was a proponent of the Restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land
Restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land
Christian Restorationism, the Restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land was a nineteenth-century, Christian movement with both political and religious motivations.-Secular motivations:...

. Muhammad Ali’s
Muhammad Ali of Egypt
Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha was a commander in the Ottoman army, who became Wāli, and self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan...

 conquest of Greater Syria
Greater Syria
Greater Syria , also known simply as Syria, is a term that denotes a region in the Near East bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea or the Levant....

 (1831) changed the conditions under which European power politics operated in the Near East. As a consequence of that shift, Shaftesbury was able to help persuade Foreign Minister Palmerston
Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, KG, GCB, PC , known popularly as Lord Palmerston, was a British statesman who served twice as Prime Minister in the mid-19th century...

 to send a British consul to Jerusalem in 1838. A committed Christian and a loyal Englishman, Shaftesbury argued for a Jewish return because of what he saw as the political and economic advantages to England and because he believed that it was God's will.

In January 1839, Shaftesbury published an article in the Quarterly Review
Quarterly Review
The Quarterly Review was a literary and political periodical founded in March 1809 by the well known London publishing house John Murray. It ceased publication in 1967.-Early years:...

, which although initially commenting on the 1838 Letters on Egypt, Edom and the Holy Land (1838) by Lord Lindsay
Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford
Alexander William Crawford Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford, 8th Earl of Balcarres , was a Scottish peer, art historian and collector. He was also known as Lord Lindsay....

, provided the first proposal by a major politician to resettle Jews in Palestine:

The soil and climate of Palestine are singularly adapted to the growth of produce required for the exigencies of Great Britain; the finest cotton may be obtained in almost unlimited abundance; silk and madder are the staple of the country, and olive oil is now, as it ever was, the very fatness of the land. Capital and skill are alone required: the presence of a British officer, and the increased security of property which his presence will confer, may invite them from these islands to the cultivation of Palestine; and the Jews', who will betake themselves to agriculture in no other land, having found, in the English consul, a mediator between their people and the Pacha, will probably return in yet greater numbers, and become once more the husbandmen of Judaea and Galilee.


Napoleon knew well the value of an Hebrew alliance; and endeavoured to reproduce, in the capital of France, the spectacle of the ancient Sanhedrin, which, basking in the sunshine of imperial favour, might give laws to the whole body of the Jews throughout the habitable world, and aid him, no doubt, in his audacious plans against Poland and the East. His scheme, it is true, proved abortive; for the mass of the Israelites were by no means inclined to merge their hopes in the destinies of the Empire—exchange Zion for Montmartre, and Jerusalem for Paris. The few liberal unbelievers whom he attracted to his views ruined his projects with the people by their impious flattery; and averted the whole body of the nation by blending, on the 15th of August, the cipher of Napoleon and Josephine with the unutterable name of Jehovah, and elevating the imperial eagle above the representation of the Ark of the Covenant. A misconception, in fact of the character of the people has vitiated all the attempts of various Sovereigns to better their condition ; they have sought to amalgamate them with the body of their subjects, not knowing, or not regarding the temper of the Hebrews, and the plain language of Scripture, that ' the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.' That which Napoleon designed in his violence and ambition, thinking ' to destroy nations not a few,' we may wisely and legitimately undertake for the maintenance of our Empire.

Later in 1839 he published an article in the Times under the title «The State and the rebirth of the Jews». In it he urged the Jews to return to Palestine in order, according to him, to seize the lands of Galilee and Judea.

The lead-up to the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 (1854), like the military expansionism of Muhammad Ali two decades earlier, signaled an opening for realignments in the Near East. In July 1853, Shaftesbury wrote to Prime Minister Aberdeen
George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen
George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen KG, KT, FRS, PC , styled Lord Haddo from 1791 to 1801, was a Scottish politician, successively a Tory, Conservative and Peelite, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1852 until 1855.-Early life:Born in Edinburgh on 28 January 1784, he...

 that Greater Syria was “a country without a nation” in need of “a nation without a country... Is there such a thing? To be sure there is, the ancient and rightful lords of the soil, the Jews!"

In his diary that year he wrote “these vast and fertile regions will soon be without a ruler, without a known and acknowledged power to claim dominion. The territory must be assigned to some one or other... There is a country without a nation; and God now in his wisdom and mercy, directs us to a nation without a country." This is commonly cited as an early use of the phrase, "A land without a people for a people without a land
A land without a people for a people without a land
"A land without a people for a people without a land" is a widely-cited phrase associated with the reintroduction of a Jewish state in Palestine....

" by which Shaftesbury was echoing another British proponent of the restoration of the Jews to Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Dr Keith (Alexander Keith, D.D.)

President of the British & Foreign Bible Society

He was President of the BFBS from 1851 until his death in 1885. He wrote of the Bible Society "Of all Societies this is nearest to my heart... Bible Society has always been a watchword in our house."

Shaftesbury Memorial

The Shaftesbury Memorial in Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is a road junction and public space of London's West End in the City of Westminster, built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly...

, London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, erected in 1893, was designed to commemorate his philanthropic works. The Memorial is crowned by Alfred Gilbert
Alfred Gilbert
Sir Alfred Gilbert was an English sculptor and goldsmith who enthusiastically experimented with metallurgical innovations...

's aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 statue of Anteros
In Greek mythology, Anteros was the god of requited love, literally "love returned" or "counter-love" and also the punisher of those who scorn love and the advances of others, or the avenger of unrequited love....

 as a nude, butterfly-winged archer. This is officially titled The Angel of Christian Charity, but has become popularly, if mistakenly, known as Eros. The use of a nude
Nudity is the state of wearing no clothing. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic. The amount of clothing worn depends on functional considerations and social considerations...

 figure on a public monument was controversial at the time, but the statue has become a London icon and appears on the masthead of the Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...



Lord Shaftesbury is honored together with William Wilberforce
William Wilberforce
William Wilberforce was a British politician, a philanthropist and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780, eventually becoming the independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire...

 on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA)
Calendar of saints (Episcopal Church in the United States of America)
The veneration of saints in the Episcopal Church is a continuation of an ancient tradition from the early Church which honors important people of the Christian faith. The usage of the term "saint" is similar to Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Those in the Anglo-Catholic tradition may...

 on July 30.


Lord Shaftesbury, then Lord Ashley, married Lady Emily Caroline Catherine Frances Cowper (d. 15 October 1872), daughter of Peter Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper
Earl Cowper
Earl Cowper was a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1718 by George I for William Cowper, 1st Baron Cowper, his first Lord Chancellor, with remainder in default of male issue of his own to his younger brother, Spencer Cowper...

 and more likely natural daughter of Lord Palmerston (later her official stepfather), on 10 June 1830. This marriage, which proved a happy and fruitful one, produced ten children as cited in "The Seventh Earl" by Grace Irwin. It also provided invaluable political connections for Ashley; his wife's maternal uncle was Lord Melbourne
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, PC, FRS was a British Whig statesman who served as Home Secretary and Prime Minister . He is best known for his intense and successful mentoring of Queen Victoria, at ages 18-21, in the ways of politics...

 and her stepfather (and apparent father) Lord Palmerston, both Prime Ministers.

The children, who mostly suffered various degrees of ill-health, were:
  1. Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 8th Earl of Shaftesbury
    Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 8th Earl of Shaftesbury
    Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 8th Earl of Shaftesbury , styled Lord Ashley between 1851 and 1885, was a British peer, the son of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury....

     (27 June 1831 – 13 April 1886), ancestor of all subsequent earls. He proved to be a disappointing heir apparent, constantly running up debts with his extravagant wife Harriet, born Lady Harriet Chichester.
  2. Hon. (Anthony) Francis Henry Ashley-Cooper, second son (b. 13 March 1833 - 13 May 1849
  3. Hon. (Anthony) Maurice William Ashley-Cooper, third son (22 July 1835-19 August 1855), died aged 20, after several years of illness.
  4. Rt. Hon. Evelyn Melbourne Ashley
    Evelyn Ashley
    Evelyn Melbourne Ashley PC , was British barrister and Liberal politician. He was private secretary to Lord Palmerston and later published a biography of him...

     (24 July 1836–15 November 1907), married 1stly 28 July 1866 Sybella Charlotte Farquhar (ca. 1846 - 31 August 1886), daughter of Sir Walter Rockcliffe Farquhar, 3rd Bt.
    Farquhar Baronets
    There have been three Baronetcies created for members of the Farquhar family, one in the Baronetage of Great Britain and two in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom...

     by his wife Lady Mary Octavia Somerset, a daughter of the Duke of Beaufort
    Duke of Beaufort
    Duke of Beaufort is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created by Charles II in 1682 for Henry Somerset, 3rd Marquess of Worcester, a descendant of Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester, illegitimate son of Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset, a Lancastrian leader in the Wars of the...

     and had issue, one son and one daughter. His granddaughter was Hon. Edwina Ashley
    Edwina Mountbatten, Countess Mountbatten of Burma
    Edwina Cynthia Annette Mountbatten, Countess Mountbatten of Burma,, GBE, DCVO, CI, DStJ was an English heiress, socialite, relief-worker, wife of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and last Vicereine of India.- Lineage and wealth :Edwina Mountbatten, Countess Mountbatten of Burma...

    , later Lady Mountbatten (1901–1960), whose two daughters Patricia, Countess Mountbatten of Burma
    Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma
    Patricia Edwina Victoria Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, is a British peeress and former lady-in-waiting to her third cousin, Queen Elizabeth II. She was the elder daughter of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma and his wife, the heiress Edwina Ashley, a patrilineal...

     (b. 1924) and Lady Pamela Hicks
    Lady Pamela Hicks
    Lady Pamela Carmen Louise Hicks, née Mountbatten is a British aristocrat. She is the younger daughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma by his wife, the former Edwina Ashley. Through her father, Lady Hicks is a first cousin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.- Family background :Hicks was...

     (b. 1929) are still living as of 2010. Evelyn Ashley left several other descendants via his daughter and Edwina's younger sister. Evelyn Ashley married 2ndly 30 June 1891 Lady Alice Elizabeth Cole (4 February 1853 - 25 August 1931), daughter of William Willoughby Cole, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen
    William Willoughby Cole, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen
    William Willoughby Cole, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen FRS , known by his courtesy title of Viscount Cole from 1807 to 1840, was a British palaeontologist and Conservative Member of Parliament....

     by his 1st wife Jane Casamajor, no issue. The Rt Hon Evelyn Melbourne Ashley died 15 November 1907.
  5. Lady Victoria Elizabeth Ashley, later Lady Templemore (23 September 1837 - 15 February 1927), married 8 January 1873 (aged 35) St George's, Hanover Square, London Harry Chichester, 2nd Baron Templemore
    Baron Templemore
    Baron Templemore, of Templemore in the County of Donegal, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, since 1975 a subsidiary title of the marquessate of Donegall. It was created on 10 September 1831 for Arthur Chichester, Member of Parliament for Milborne Port and County Wexford...

     (4 June 1821 - 10 June 1906), son of Arthur Chichester, 1st Baron Templemore and Lady Augusta Paget, and had issue.
  6. Hon (Anthony) Lionel George Ashley-Cooper (b. 7 September 1838 - 1914). He md 12 December 1868 Frances Elizabeth Leigh "Fanny (d. 12 August 1875), daughter of Capel Hanbury Leigh; apparently had no issue.
  7. Lady Mary Charlotte Ashley-Cooper, second daughter (25 July 1842 - 3 September 1861.
  8. Lady Constance Emily Ashley-Cooper, third daughter, or "Conty" (29 November 1845 - 16 December 1872 or 1871 of lung disease )
  9. Lady Edith Florence Ashley-Cooper, fourth daughter (1 February 1847 - 25 November 1913)
  10. Hon. (Anthony) Cecil Ashley-Cooper, sixth son and tenth and youngest child (8 August 1849 - 23 September 1932); apparently died unmarried.

See also

  • London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews —Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury was president of this society.
  • A land without a people for a people without a land
    A land without a people for a people without a land
    "A land without a people for a people without a land" is a widely-cited phrase associated with the reintroduction of a Jewish state in Palestine....

  • Christian Zionism
    Christian Zionism
    Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy. It overlaps with, but is distinct from, the nineteenth century movement for the Restoration of the Jews...

External links

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