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verses printed upon this occasion, as Mr. Chalmers observes, show him to have been among those who ridiculed the institution of the Royal Society, of which the enemies were for some time very numerous and very acrimonious—for what reason, it is hard to conceive; since the philosophers professed not to advance doctrines, but to produce facts, and the most zealous enemy of innovation must admit the gradual progress of experience, however he may oppose hypothetical temerity.
Of Mr. William Longueville it is recorded, on competent authority, that he was a conveyancing lawyer and a Bencher of the Inner Temple, and had raised himself from a low beginning to very great eminence in that profession; that he was eloquent and learned, and of spotless integrity; that he maintained an aged father, who had wasted his fortune by extravagance, and by his industry and application reedified a ruined family; and that having supported Butler (who, but for him, must literally have starved) he received from him, as a recompence, the papers called his Remains. Of these the original copy was, at one time, in the hands of the Rev. Dr. Richard Farmer.
ANTONY ASHLEY COOPER was the only son of Sir John Cooper, Bart. of Rockborn in the county of Southampton, by Anne daughter and sole heiress of Sir Antony Ashley, Bart. of Winborne St. Giles in the county of Dorset, where he was born in the year 1621.
By the death of his father he succeeded, before he was ten years of age, to an estate of 8000l. per ann. Being a boy of uncommon parts, he was sent at fifteen to Oxford, where he became a Fellow Commoner of Exeter College under the tuition of Dr. John Prideaux, then Rector of that society. Here he is said to have remained about two years, and fully supported his character of an extraordinary genius. He subsequently removed to Lincoln's Inn, and applied himself with great vigour to the study of the law, especially to that part of it, which
* AUTHORITIES. Biographia Britannica, Wood's Athena Oxonienses, and Hume's History of England.
gave him an insight into the constitution of his native country
At nineteen, he was elected representative for Tewksbury, in the parliament which met at Westminster in April, 1640.
The outlines of an able politician were discovered very early in his Lordship's character, by an amiable instance of loyalty to his King and of regard for the public tranquillity: for, at the beginning of the civil war, he repaired to Charles I. at Oxford with a project, not for subduing or conquering his country, but for reducing such as had either deserted or mistaken their duty to their allegiance. Being introduced by his friend Lord Falkland, then Secretary of State,
having something to propose worthy of consideration,” he told the King, that he could immediately put an end to the war, if his Majesty would graciously please to assist him in it. Charles answering, “That he was a very young man for so great an undertaking;' “ Sire,” replied he, “ that will not be the worse for your affairs, provided I do the business.” Upon which, the King showing a willingness to hear him, he proceeded as follows:
“ The gentlemen and men of estates who first engaged in this war, seeing now after a year or two that it seems to be no nearer an end than it was at first, and beginning to be weary of it, would be glad to be in quiet at home again, if they could be assured of redress of their grievances, and have their rights and liberties secured to them. This, I am satisfied, is the present temper generally throughout England, and particularly in those parts where my estate and concerns lie. If therefore your Majesty will empower me to treat with the parliament-garrisons, to grant them a full and general pardon, with an assurance that “a general amnesty (arms being laid down on both sides) shall reinstate all things in the same posture they were before the war, and that then a free parliament shall do what more remains to be done for the settlement of the nation ;' in that case, I will begin and try the experiment in my own country: and I doubt not but the good success, I shall have there, will open the gates of other adjoining garrisons, by bringing them the news of peace and security on laying down their arms.” The Monarch appearing to accede to these propositions, and Sir Antony according to his desire being furnished with full powers, he repaired to Dorsetshire, and there negotiated with the garrisons of Poole, Weymouth, Dorchester, and others so successfully, that one of them was actually put into his hands; when Prince Maurice, who commanded some of the royal forces in those parts, took immediate possession of the place, and gave the pillage of it to his soldiers.
Upon this, hot words passed between Sir Antony and the offending General : but the violence was committed, and the design in consequence rendered abortive. All that he could now do was, to warn the other garrisons with whom he had been in treaty, to stand upon their guard, as he could not insure the performance of the articles stipulated.''
He soon afterward, it is said, in conjunction with. Serjeant Fountain projected another scheme to terminate the war; which was, that the country-gentlemen throughout England should arm the peasantry with a view to suppress both parties. This plan,
being imperfectly carried into execution, gave rise to a third army called the Club-men, who' struck so much terror into the followers both of the King and of the parliament, that the former never forgave him. If all the leaders had been true to their engagements, and had risen at the appointed time, it is supposed they would have accomplished their object; but some of them failing, it miscarried.
Sir Antony was subsequently invited to Oxford by a letter from his Majesty ; but perceiving that he had lost the royal confidence, and that his person was in danger, he retired to the parliament-quarters; and soon afterward accepting a commission from that party,* and raising forces in Dorsetshire, took Wareham by storm in 1644, which was speedily followed : by the reduction of all the adjacent districts.
In 1646, he was appointed Sheriff of Wiltshire; and in 1651, one of the Committee of Twenty, appointed to consider of ways and means for reforming the law. He was, also, one of the members of the Convention, which met after Cromwell had expelled the Long Parliament in 1653. He was again returned to parliament in 1654, and was one of the principal persons who signed the celebrated Protestation, charging the Protector with tyranny and arbitrary government.
When Richard was deposed, and the Rump came again into power, Sir Antony was nominated one of their Council of State, and a Commissioner for managing the army. But at that very time he had engaged in a secret correspondence with the friends of
* He“ gave himself up” to them, indeed, says the royalist historian of the rebellion, “ body and soul ;” and “ became an implacable enemy to the royal family."