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lord shaftesbury

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1 lord shaftesbury on Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:47 pm

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Anthony Ashley Cooper, the eldest son of the 6th Earl of Shaftesbury, was born on 28th April, 1801. At the age of seven he was sent to boarding school and five years later he was transferred to Harrow. At the age of ten, Anthony was given the courtesy title of Lord Ashley. Harrow was followed by Christ College, Oxford and at the age of twenty-five he was elected as M.P. for Woodstock, a pocket borough under the control of the Shaftesbury family.

Lord Ashley's early political career was undistinguished and political reporters of the time complained that his speeches in the House of Commons were inaudible. Lord Ashley began to take an interest in social issues after reading reports in The Times about the accounts given to Michael Sadler's Committee investigating child labour. Lord Ashley wrote to Michael Sadler offering his help in his campaign for factory reform. When Michael Sadler was defeated in the 1832 General Election, the Rev. George Bull, the Evangelical curate of Bierly near Bradford, asked Lord Ashley to become the new leader of the factory reform movement in the House of Commons. Ashley's critics claimed that he took up the factory question "as much from a dislike of the millowners as from sympathy with the mill-workers."

Lord Ashley agreed to George Bull's request and in March 1833, he proposed a bill that would restrict children to a maximum ten hour day. On 18th July, 1833, Ashley's bill was defeated in the House of Commonsby 238 votes to 93. Although the government opposed Ashley's bill it accepted that children did need protecting and decided to put forward its own proposals. The government's 1833 Factory Actwas passed by Parliament on 29th August.

Under the terms of the new act, it became illegal for children under nine to work in textile factories, whereas children aged between nine and thirteen could not be employed for more than eight hours a day. The main disappointment of the reformers was that children over thirteen were allowed to work for up to twelve hours a day. They also complained that with the employment of only four inspectors to monitor this legislation, factory owners would continue to employ very young children.
In 1840 Lord Ashley helped set up the Children's Employment Commission. Its first report on mines and collieries was published in 1842. The report caused a sensation when it was published. The majority of people in Britain were unaware that women and children were employed as miners. Later that year Lord Ashley piloted the Coal Mines Act through the House of Commons. As a result of this legislation women and children were prohibited from working underground.

Lord Ashley also continued to lead the campaign for a reduction in the hours that children worked in factories. In 1841 Ashley received a manuscript from William Dodd about his experiences as a child worker. Lord Ashley, arranged for it to be published as A Narrative of the Experience and Sufferings of William Dodd a Factory Cripple. Lord Ashley decided to employ Dodd to collect information about the treatment of children in textile factories. William Dodd's research was published as The Factory System: Illustrated in 1842. William Dodd's books created a great deal of controversy. William Dodd was attacked in the House of Commons as an unreliable source of information. Attempts were made to smear his character. When one M.P. accused Dodd of "gross immorality of conduct", Lord Ashley decided to sack him.

In 1851 Anthony Ashley Cooper's father died and he now became the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. He continued to campaign for effective factory legislation. In 1863 the Earl of Shaftesbury published a report that revealed that children as young as four and five were still working from six in the morning to ten at night in some British factories.

Other social issues that interested the Earl of Shaftesbury included the provision of working class education and was chairman of the Ragged Schools Union for over forty years. By 1850 the organisation had established over a hundred schools for poor children. Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, died on 1st October, 1885.

2 Re: lord shaftesbury on Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:06 pm

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he is considered a moral spokesman of the age because he devoted himseld to studying moral philosophy in addition to intellectual pursuit.. he said that the natural state of man was born good

3 Re: lord shaftesbury on Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:07 pm

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Lord Shaftesbury fought for better children's rights and to help the homeless children living on the streets of London, after Dr Thomas John Barnardo, showed him at least 73 children sleeping behind a large canvas cover in East End.

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