earl of shaftesbury

Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury

Lord Shaftesbury was a prominent English politician during the Interregnum and during the reign of King Charles II.

Shaftesbury was an outspoken supporter of the Exclusion Bill, although he also endorsed other proposals that would have prevented the Duke of York from becoming king, such as Charles II’s remarrying a Protestant princess and producing a Protestant heir to the throne, or legitimizing Charles II’s illegitimate Protestant son the Duke of Monmouth. The Whig party was born during the Exclusion Crisis, and Shaftesbury was one of the party’s most prominent leaders.

In 1681, during the Tory reaction following the failure of the Exclusion Bill, Shaftesbury was arrested for high treason, although the prosecution was dropped several months later. In 1682, after the Tories had gained the ability to pack London juries with their supporters, Shaftesbury, fearing a second prosecution, fled the country. Upon arriving in Amsterdam, he fell ill, and soon died, in January 1683.