Anthony Ashley-Cooper | History of SC Slide Collection

Anthony Ashley-Cooper
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Anthony Ashley-Cooper (1621-1683), First Earl of Shaftesbury, was the leader of an influential group of men who, after serving in Parliament during the Puritan Civil War, became disillusioned with Cromwell and worked to restore Charles II to the throne (see King Charles II). Raised to the peerage in reward after the Restoration, he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord of the Treasury. His role as one of the most powerful men in England led to Charles II's decision to grant him, and the other seven Proprietors, the ownership of the vast extent of land between 31 and 36 degrees north latitude from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, known as Carolina (see Proprietary Grant). Shaftesbury and the other investors hoped to make their fortunes, but the new colony drained them of more revenues than it produced, and it was in an effort to promote stability that would encourage settlement that Shaftesbury asked his young secretary, John Locke (see image 90 in "Portraits of Noted Carolinians"), to draw up a governmental system known as the "Fundamental Constitutions for Carolina." Shaftesbury himself never visited his new province; involved in political intrigues in England, he was committed to the Tower of London and tried for high treason unsuccessfully in 1672. He fled to Holland to avoid further prosecution, and died there a year later.

Courtesy of the Thomas Cooper Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina.

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