Anthony Ashley Cooper, the first Earl of Shaftesbury, was arrested and confined to the Tower of London on Feb. 16, 1677. Cooper was the son of a large landowner and was elected to the House of Commons in 1640. During the Civil War in England, Cooper originally supported Charles I but soon changed sides because he felt the king’s policies were destructive to religion and state.
Cooper worked in the background until he was appointed as a member of a law reform commission and later joined the Council of State. He resigned from this position to protest Oliver Cromwell’s dictatorial methods.
General George Monck asked Cooper to join his campaign to restore the monarchy in 1659. After it was restored, he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. Because of his strong belief in religious tolerance, he clashed with the Earl of Clarendon. Even though he survived, King Charles II did not trust him and did not inform him about the Treaty of Dover. Nevertheless, Cooper still supported the king’s policies.
Because of this support, he was named the Earl of Shaftesbury and was made Lord Chancellor. When he expressed doubts about the king’s brother James and the role he was playing, he was fired from office.
After this, he wanted the king to call a new parliament to discuss this issue. His supporters, who started to wear green ribbons, called for the king to do so, too. This caused the king to become concerned about rebellion, and he had Cooper arrested and confined to the Tower of London on Feb. 16, 1677. A year later, the Earl of Shaftesbury was released, and the king’s brother was sent to live abroad.
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