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the jurisdiction of the Court of Wards, | divers of the activest of the lower rank with over which it had no legal control. The giving them leave to eat, when in distress, upon design was thwarted by the courage and my expense, it being no small honour among address of the intended victim. Young those sort of men that my name in the butteryCooper went to Noy, the Attorney-Gen- book willingly bore twice the expense of any in eral, who had drawn the deed of his the University. This expense, my quality, proficiency in learning, and natural affability, easily mother's settlement, and succeeded in pernot only obtained the good-will of the wiser and suading that powerful lawyer to be his advocate in the Court of Wards. The issue of this application is thus narrated in Shaftesbury's own words,
elder sort, but made me the leader even of all the rough young men of that college, famous for the courage and strength of tall raw-boned Cornish and Devonshire gentlemen, which in great number yearly come to that college, and did then maintain in the schools coursing against Christ-Church, the largest and most numerous college in the University." *
My Lord Cottington was then Master of the Wards, who, sitting with his hat over his eyes, and having heard Sir Francis make a long and elegant speech for the overthrowing of my deed, said openly, Sir Francis, you have spoke like a good uncle.' Mr. Attorney Noy argued for me, and my uncle rising up to reply (I being then present in Court), before he could speak
two words, he was taken with a sudden convulsion fit, his mouth drawn to his ear, was carried out of the Court, and never spoke more.
After all, as Mr. Christie estimates, Ashley lost about 1600l. a year, and still remained rich. He had, as he himself relates, "hawks and hounds" of his own. After spending his boyhood in the families of relatives and trustees, and under the care of three successive tutors, he was sent to Oxford at the age of sixteen, where he entered at Exeter College. It was his boast that he had "learned the world faster than his book," and his own account of his
"a foolish custom of great antiquity, that one of the seniors in the evening called the freshmen (which are such as came since that time twelvemonth) to the fire, and made them hold out their chin, and then with the nail of their right thumb, left long for that purpose, grate off all the skin from the lip to the chin, and then cause them to drink a beer-glass of water and salt. The time approaching when I should be thus used, I considered that it had happened in that year, more and lustier young gentlemen had come to the college than had done in several years before, so that the freshmen was a very strong body. Upon this I concollege days justifies the boast. The fol- sulted my two cousin-germans, the Tookers, my lowing extract from his autobiographical aunt's sons, both freshmen, both stout and very fragment testifies equally to the ease of strong, and several others, and at last the whole his circumstances and his self-compla-party were cheerfully engaged to stand stoutly to defence of their chins. We all appeared at the fires in the hall, and my Lord of Pembroke's son calling me first, as we knew by custom it would begin with me, I, according to agreement, gave the signal, striking him a box on the ear, and immediately the freshmen fell on, and we easily cleared the buttery and the hall; but bachelors and young masters coming in to assist the seniors, we were compelled to retreat to a ground chamber in the quadrangle. They pressing at the door, some of the stoutest and strongest of our freshmen, giant-like boys, opened the doors, let in as many as they pleased, and shut the door by main strength against the rest; those let in they fell upon, and had beaten very severely, but that my authority with them
What schoolboys they were in those days the more thoughtful and serious students of modern Oxford may gather from the following extract. It was at that
"Fragment of Autobiography."
"I kept both horses and servants in Oxford, and was allowed what expense or recreation I desired, which liberty I never much abused; but it gave me the opportunity of obliging by entertainments the better sort, and supporting
* "Sir Richard Baker notes Sir F. Ashley's death by the will of God,' November 20, 1635. (Chronicle. p. 417, ed. 1684.) Noy, who was made Attorney-General in January 1634, died August 9, 1635. (Howel's Letters, i. 241; Notes and Queries, 1st Ser. i. 211.) There must therefore be a mistake in Baker's date of Sir F. Ashley's death. Sir F. Ashley was a conspicuous defender of the arbitrary system of Charles I., and was committed to custody by the House of Lords in 1628, on account of the violence with which he argued at the bar of that House for the Crown against the Petition of Right."
stopped them, some of them being considerable
cess, not sparing the bitterest retorts I could make him, which his way in the world afforded matter for, that I had a perfect victory over him. This gained the townsmen's hearts, and their wives' to boot; I was made free of the town, and the next parliament, though absent, without a penny charge, was chosen burgess by an unanimous vote."
He was elected in 1640, before he had completed his nineteenth year. The illegality of this early election, as Mr. Chris"At tie points out, was shared by others. one time in James's reign there were counted fourteen members under age." Some of these were under sixteen. The was only poet Waller sat when he "Monk's son is said to have sixteen.
"All the wo Coventries their generals chose,
After his marriage he lived with his father-in-law in the Strand and at Islington, whence he made excursions to his native place, Wimborne St. Giles, and there cultivated the friendship of his Dorset shire neighbours. His connexion with the This Parliament was convoked under Coventrys combined with his own birth and momentous circumstances. grave and position to ingratiate him with the leading families; and the advantages Eleven years had now passed since the which he had acquired from fortune were last Parliament was summoned. The infurther improved by his cheerfulness and terval had witnessed many memorable pluck. He was even in his youth far from events: the death of Sir John Eliot in strong, and therefore unable to prosecute prison; the imposition of ship money; those hardy exercises in which his tempera- Hampden's resistance; Laud's Popish inment led him to indulge. But his natural novations in the English Church; and a readiness enabled him to turn this physical religious revolt in Scotland. Naturally, infirmity to good account. Having accom- the new House insisted on the redress of panied his brother-in-law on a visit into grievances before granting supplies. It Worcestershire, he went out hunting. A was equally natural on the part of Charles spasm of pain came on and prevented him to dissolve it in three weeks. Its existence from keeping up with the rest of the was too short to admit of any display on field. He lagged behind, and found the part of Anthony Ashley Cooper, and that the Bailiffs of Tewkesbury were the it is not clear on which side he voted. It companions of his ride. This acquaint- does not seem unreasonable to suppose ance laid the foundation of his political that if he took any part at all, it was on How it did this may be best told the King's side; and this assumption is rendered more probable, if Mr. Christie's conjecture be true, that the voters of Tewkesbury favoured the Puritan party, for, at the next election, which took place
in his own words:
behind us; and the more, it being in the face of
Harry began the dinner with all the affronts six months later, he was not re-elected for
been only fourteen when he took part in a debate on Lord Clarendon's impeachment."
liament at all. When the great conflict erty of the kingdom. In numbers and in between the King and the Parliament be- earnestness it excelled its nominal rival gan, Cooper was a spectator of Charles's which the King summoned to his aid at camp at Nottingham. In the spring of Oxford. At its hands Cooper now re1643 he attached himself openly to the ceived a commission to command a brigKing's side, and received from the Mar- ade of horse and foot, with the grandiose quis of Hertford commissions as colonel title of "Field-Marshal General!" His of a foot regiment and captain of a troop first military exploit was to take Wareof cavalry in the Royal Army. He also ham, defended by Colonel O'Brien. Next, received his commission as prospective he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of Governor of Weymouth and Portland as the Parliamentary forces in Dorsetshire, soon as they should fall into the King's in which capacity he stormed the Cavalier hands. Prince Maurice, who succeeded garrison at Abbotsbury, and afterwards Hertford in the command of the Western drove the Royalists out of Sturminster Army, was disposed to annul his predeces- and Shaftesbury. Thence he proceeded sor's nomination; but on the intervention to the relief of Blake at Taunton, and of the King, confirmed, or rather allowed compelled the besiegers to raise the seige. it. The fact seems to have been that both After 1644 his military services seem to the King and the Prince considered Cooper have become fewer and less important, too young for the office, and that both be- and in 1615 they came to an end, just as gan to recognize the disadvantage of en- the command of the army passed from trusting military commands to country Presbyterian to Independent officers. He gentlemen who made no pretensions to now repeated his attempt to secure his military skill and experience. Cooper did seat for Downton. A motion was made not long retain either his commission as in the House, and Sir W. Erle was ordered Governor, or his office of Sheriff. Whether to report on his petition. But no report he was, as Lord Clarendon suggests, seems to have been made upon it, and piqued by the slight which Prince Maurice Cooper remained out of Parliament. The had put on him, or foresaw the unhappy seven or eight years which ensued were fate of the Royal arms, or as he states signalized by the most momentous events himself-perceived the King's aim to be in the history of England. They wit"destructive to religion and the State," nessed the triumph of the Parliament over may be open questions. He certainly re- the Crown, and of the Army over the Parsigned all his commissions, and presented liament, the execution of the King, and himself before the Committee of both the elevation of Cromwell. Yet Cooper Kingdoms in the early part of 1644. Mr. remained inactive all this time, and of Christie, who is inspired by true biographi- the events which were passing around him cal zeal, is anxious to defend him from the not a hint is to be found in his diary. It imputation of interested motives by re- certainly is a curious peculiarity of charminding us that he left much of his proper- acter that a man who always took a great ty at the King's mercy. To this it may interest in the political questions of the be replied, that Cooper never lacked day, and had, while very young, taken a shrewdness, and that even at this stage of prominent part in a most grave political the conflict he may have discerned the conflict, should keep a diary in which he probability of the Parliamentary success. recorded the gossip of the neighbourhood, It is likely that he was actuated, not solely the sentences at the Assizes, the prescripby selfish views, but by mixed motives, tions for his own and his wife's ailments, equally compounded of self-interest, pique, and did not record any of the stirring inpatriotism, and ambition. cidents of the most momentous crisis in the constitutional history of England. We hope Mr. Christie will acquit us of malevolence, but we can hardly resist the suspicion that Cooper wrote his diary for the perusal of others than his own family, and that his natural shrewdness forbade the expression of opinions the publication of which might provoke the premature hostility of any of the contending factions against himself. In July of 1619 this diary records the death of his wife, with a most tender eulogium on her character; and one of the last entries in it, nine months
The Parliament to which Cooper gave his support was very different from that of 1640, which Charles had so rashly dissolved. It had excluded the Bishops from the House of Lords; it had conferred the privilege of perpetuity on itself; it had assumed some high military prerogatives of the Crown to itself; it had tried to grasp others; it had concluded the "Solemn League and Covenant ". with the Scotch Parliament. It represented not only the constitutional and religious feeling, but also much of the wealth and prop
resembled enthusiasm, was displayed in political, rather than religious heats.
The dissolution of the Parliament was followed by the Instrument of Government, which made Cromwell Lord High Protector, reformed the constitution of Parliament on the basis which was imitated in our own day, and established a Council of State, of which Cooper was made a member, and wherein John Milton was one of his colleagues. Many moderate men wished to see the Crown conferred on Cromwell, and among these was Cooper; but the name of "King" stunk in the nostrils of the root-and-branch men of the Army, and Cromwell could do nothing against its will. Mr. Christie quotes a curious passage from Bishop Burnet, to the effect that Cromwell offered to make Cooper King. Probably the origin of the story was some grim piece of humour on the Protector's part when Cooper tried to persuade him to assume the Crown, or, more probably even, a piece of mystification played off by Cooper on Burnet. But there is not one single reason for believ ing that such a proposal was ever seriously made by Cromwell to Cooper.
later, relates his marriage to Lady F. Cecil, sister of the royalist Earl of Exeter. At this time that remnant of the Long Parliament which survived the execution of the King-vulgarly called the Rump -was drawing to a close. Its ultimate extinction was hastened by its own discussion as to the time and mode of its termination. It was, indeed, strange that a fragment of an Assembly, which owed its existence to the toleration of a dominant Army, should have lasted so long. Now its hour was come. While it was, in April, 1653, passing a Bill for the regulation of its own successors, the Lord General entered with two files of musketeers, and bade the members all be gone. The Speaker, according to one account, was "plucked out" by two soldiers; according to another, was "sweetly and kindly" taken by the hand and "led out of the Chair." The House was dissolved, and, in June, was succeeded by an Assembly of one hundred and forty-two persons, nicknamed Barebone's Parliament. In this odd and heterogenous gathering Sir A. A. Cooper sat as one of the ten Members for Wiltshire. He was also added to the thirty persons who now composed the In the Parliament convoked under the Council of State. On the 10th Decem- Instrument of Government, Cooper sat ber the new Parliament, after a session of again for Wiltshire. This House, from its squabbles and prayers, resigned its powers beginning gave trouble to the Protector. into the hands of Cromwell. What part After his opening speech, the members Cooper had in the discussion which pre- began to discuss the very principle of the. ceded this resignation does not appear, existing government. The debate lasted neither what part he took in its general four days in "Grand Committee;" and proceedings. Mr. Christie is probably when the Committee broke up, there right when he defends his hero from the seemed every likelihood of its passing a charge of having participated in the spirit- resolution declaring the Government to be ual exercises of the fanatical mechanics" in a single person limited and restrained who conferred on this Parliament its spe- as the Parliament should think fit." The cial notoriety. Dryden, it is true, virulently firmness of the Protector was sufficient for assailed him in later years as a hypo- the emergency. The next morning memcrite, bers found the doors of the House locked, and were ordered to meet the Protector in the Painted Chamber. When he came, he read them a lecture on their insubordination in venturing to upset the personal government of the country, and warned them that he should exact from them a. But had he really prayed or groaned with promise not to repeat the offence. On: the Stand-in-the-faith Nathaniels, or the their return they found the doors still. Saved-from-the-fire Nehemiahs of the Con- locked, and an officer standing with a deventicle, it would surely have been gen- claration of obedience, which each memerally remembered to his discredit at aber was to sign. In the end, the declaralater period when he took an active and tion was signed as required. But the ingeconspicuous part as a Parliamentary leader nuity of the members managed to override on the great questions of civil and relig- this barrier. The Instrument of Governious liberty. Impulsiveness, rather than ment was debated in the whole House. hypocrisy, was, at all times of his life the The first clause, which placed the chief leading feature of Cooper's character; government in the hands of a single perand his ardent temperament, which often son, was left untouched, according to the
"Bartering his venal wit for sums of gold,
He cast himself into the saint-like mould; Groaned, sighed, and prayed while godlines was gain,
The loudest bagpipe of the squeaking train."
terms of the declaration; but the others | two main objects of which were to confer were amended in a sense offensive to the Crown on Cromwell, and to restore Cromwell's pride and adverse to his pow- a House of Lords. Cromwell refused the Cromwell was not to be thus thwart- Crown and remained Protector, but the ed. The Parliament was, by its constitu- House of Peers was re-established. tion, not to be dissolved under five months. Mr, Christie says that Sir A. A. Cooper's Cromwell chose to construe this as mean- name was not in Cromwell's list and that ing lunar months. The Parliament had the Protector had now no hope of gaining sat five months of twenty-eight days, and him. It does not appear to us that there he dissolved it. A month before its dis- was any very strong motive why Cromsolution, Sir A. Ashley Cooper retired well should be anxious to gain him. He from the Council or was ejected from it. does not appear to have been either so The causes of either contingency are un- useful in Council or so formidable out known. Among those which are conjec- of Council that he should be specially tured is one of a domestic nature. Cooper soothed or courted. He was not in Parhad again become a widower, and was liament. His opposition was not of a very said to have unsuccessfully aspired to the powerful kind, and his partizanship, on hand of the "Lady Mary," Cromwell's whatever side he ranged himself, was lidaughter, who married Lord Faucon- able to vary with his caprices or his fears. bridge. This explanation is not impos- Cooper was a baronet with 8000l. a year, sible, but it wants confirmation. It is more and such inen, however vain or ambitious probable that Cooper, who throughout life they may be, do not stake their all, in exhibited such a quick perception of pop- troublous times, on the fortunes of a facular feeling, had detected a growing dis- tion or of a man. Cromwell's position like to Cromwell's government, and feared was too strong to be resolutely attacked to hazard his own safety or popularity by by such a force as Cooper could bring adhering to it. Whatever may have been against it; and it was not strong enough to the disappointments of his courtship, he fire his enthusiasm or enlist his devotion repaired or consoled them by a third mar-in its behalf. riage. His next wife was the daughter of In January of the next year, 1658, Coopthe second Lord Spencer of Wormleigh-er took his seat with the other excluded ton. She bore him no children, but lav-members. At the opening of the Session ished the affection of a mother on Cooper's the ears of the audience were struck with son by his second wife, and again watched over the infancy of that stepson's child, who became celebrated in after years as the author of "Characteristics," and whom a popular author of our day has oddly confounded with his grandfather, the subject of this work.
On the meeting of the new Parliament, Cooper was again elected for Wiltshire, but Cromwell would not allow him to take his seat. The Instrument of Government had made the approbation of the Council a condition precedent to admission into Parliament. Cooper, who had ceased to be a member of the former body, was now excluded by it from the latter. He then, in conjunction with others in the same position, addressed a remonstrance to the Speaker. The upshot was a contumelious reply on the part of the Council, that they had not refused certificates to such as "were persons of known integrity, fearing God, and of good conversation." Sir A. A. Cooper and many others were compelled to submit to this reply and to their exclusion from Parliament. This House proved more manageable than some of its predecessors. It presented the "Humble Petition and Advice," the
the disused words, "My Lords and Gentlemen." The Commons began to take exception to the restoration of the Upper House on the arrival of a message from the Lords. In vain Cromwell sent for them and exhorted them to union. They continued to debate this innovation on the constitution of the Government till they were dissolved. In these debates Cooper took a prominent part. He was for having a "Grand Committee on the powers and privileges of the other House. His speeches are very meagrely reported. The extracts read like the random notes of an illiterate pressman. Whatever Cooper's views were with respect to the new Peers, they were not now so strongly expressed as they were in the following year. But the opposition offered by himself and others irritated Cromwell so that he dissolved the Parliament within a month after he had convoked it. Cromwell never convoked another, for he died seven months after its dissolution. Richard, his son, whom he had named as his successor, and who was recognized by the Council, called a new Parliament in January, 1659. The constitution of the lower House reverted to the form which existed previous