Archive for the ‘Anthony Ashley Cooper’ Tag

Feast of Caroline Chisholm (May 3)   Leave a comment

Colonial Flag of Australia

Above:  The Colonial Flag of Australia

Image in the Public Domain



English Humanitarian and Social Reformer

Caroline Chisholm helped tens of thousands of people via her work, which did not pay very well.  She was a philanthropist by means of time and work more than money.

Helping others defined Chisholm’s life.  She, born Caroline Jones at Northampton, England, on May 30, 1808, grew up in The Church of England, which has defined her feast day as May 16.  Our saint’s parents, Caroline Jones and William Jones, farmers, modeled caring for others–even taking people into the home.  Our saint was the youngest of her father’s 16 children and a daughter of the last of his four wives.  Our saint, aged 22 years, married Captain Archibald Chisholm, who was 13 years her senior.  He was also in the military service of the East India Company.  The new bride converted to her husband’s faith, Roman Catholicism.

Husband and wife spent years separated by long distances because of their work as well as long periods of time together.  They had eight children, six of whom survived them.  In the 1830s and 1840s our saint and her husband were both in India.  There, at Madras, she founded the Female School of Industry for the Daughters of European Soldiers, to protect the virtue of young women from soldiers.

In 1838 the first Australian phase of our saint’s life began.  Archibald was on leave from active duty.  The family relocated to the area of Sydney, New South Wales.  There our saint noticed the problem of unemployment in the colony.  Immigrants were arriving in droves, but the government had no plan for dispersing them to the countryside, where there was great demand for labor.  Chisholm, who remained in Australia with her children after her husband returned to active duty in 1840, met every ship of immigrants in Sydney.  She also found positions for girls and took some into her home.  During the following year Chisholm obtained permission from the government to establish a home for immigrant girls at Sydney.  Then she acted on it.  Our saint also developed a plan to resettle immigrants in the countryside.  She supervised the establishment of rest stations and employment agencies toward this end.  She also planned to resettle 23 families on donated land at Shellharbour, but some wealthy landowners in the area blocked that plan.  Archibald retired in 1845 and returned to Australia.  The Chisholms traveled across Australia to raise funds for their humanitarian work, for no financial support was forthcoming from the government.

The Chisholm family relocated to England in 1846 and continued to work on the issue of emigration from the mother country to Australia.  Our saint lobbied the Parliament successfully to permit free passage for the wives and children of freed convicts and to ensure suitable conditions aboard the ships.  In 1849, with the support of Anthony Ashley Cooper (1801-1885), Chisholm founded the Family Colonization Loan Association, with branches in the British Isles and Australia.  The Society facilitated emigration to Australia, functioned as an employment agency, and offered lower interest rates than other lenders.  Archibald returned to Australia in 1851 to work as an agent of the Society.  The family reunited there–this time in the colony of Victoria–three years later.

The Chisholms continued to commit good works in Australia in the 1850s and 1860s.  Our saint lobbied successfully for government funding for the construction of shelter sheds for miners.  Archibald and children operated a store while Chisholm traveled across Australia, speaking on behalf of small farmers.  In the early 1860s she opened a school for girls at Newtown (near Sydney).  Later our saint moved the school to Tempe (also near Sydney).

Our saint was, by the standards of the day, a radical.  She worked for the dignity of women and girls in the rough-and-tumble setting of colonial Australia, favored the secret ballot, and supported women’s suffrage.  Furthermore, she not only thought that someone ought to do something, but acted to address those issues she was able to influence.

All the Chisholms had returned to England by 1866, living first in Liverpool then in Highgate, London.  Our saint died on March 25, 1877, aged 68 years.  Archibald died in August that same year.  Both husband and wife had lived their Roman Catholic faith, uniting faith and works. offers three works germane to our saint:

  1. The A.B.C. of Colonization; in a Series of Letters by Mrs. Chisholm (1850);
  2. Memoirs of Mrs. Caroline Chisholm, with an Account of Her Philanthropic Labours, in India, Australia, and England; To Which is Added a History of the Family Colonization Loan Society; Also the Question, Who Ought to Emigrate?, Answered by Eneas Mackenzie (1852); and
  3. An profile in The Illustrated Magazine of Art (1854).


Above:  Caroline Chisholm’s Image on Money

Image Subject to Fair Use

Legacies of Caroline Chisholm include the Caroline Chisholm Society, Victoria, Australia, and her image on the back of the Australian $5 bill from the late 1960s to the early 1990s.  There is also a cause for the canonization of our saint in the Roman Catholic Church.








O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served,

and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom

the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60


Feast of Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, and British Humanitarian (October 1)   2 comments

Houses of Parliament, London, England, United Kingdom

An Image in the Public Domain



Lord Shaftesbury

Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury

Member of Parliament


Social Reformer

Anthony Ashley Cooper, born in London on April 28, 180, was a son of Cropley Cooper, brother of the Fifth Earl of Shaftesbury.  Cooper’s mother, Anne, was daughter of the Fourth Earl of Marlborough.  The Fifth Earl of Shaftesbury died in 1811, so Cooper’s father became the Sixth Earl and Cooper became Lord Shaftesbury.  Our hero succeeded his father as Earl of Shaftesbury in 1851.

Born into nobility and educated at Oxford, Lord Shaftesbury represented successive constituencies most of the years from 1826 to 1851, when he transferred to the House of Lords.  While in the House of Commons, he began his work of improving the lives of vulnerable people.  For example, residents of lunatic asylums, as people called them at the time, were social outcasts subject to notorious abuses.  Cooper, however, was able to remove most of the worst abuses.  Lunatics, he said, were ill, therefore in need of treatment, not abuse and ostracism.  He took up this cause in 1828 and continued it for many years.

Other vulnerable people Lord Shaftesbury helped included factory and mine workers.  He secured government regulation of working hours, reducing the workday to ten hours.  This happened in 1847, after years of negotiation and strong opposition.  And mine owners opposed the Mines Act of 1842, which outlawed  the employment of all women and girls plus all boys younger than thirteen years in such conditions.

Lord Shaftesbury also lobbied for public health after an 1841 tour of the East End of London.  He believed that all people should have access to proper housing, clean water, and what the 1968 Encyclopedia Britannica called politely “the disposal of nuisances.”  From this portion of Cooper’s career came a series of public health laws, including the building and annual inspection of clean, safe, and sanitary housing for members of the working class.

Cooper continued the good work as a member of the House of Lords, for he worked on housing issues (just to offer one example) until the end of his life.  He also took an interest in free public schools for poor children.  These were the “rugged schools” and, for four decades, Lord Shaftesbury served as President of the Rugged School Union.

Why did Lord Shaftesbury engage in these works?  He said it best in 1828, in the context of his effort to reform asylums:  “By God’s blessing, my first effort has been for the advancement of human happiness.”  And, as he told his biographer many years later, while speaking of a man’s religion, “if it is worth anything, [it] should enter into every sphere of life, and rule his conduct in every relation.”

The Episcopal Church added Lord Shaftesbury to its calendar of saints in 2009, pairing him with William Wilberforce on July 30.  Wilberforce, of course, worked long and hard for the abolition of the slave trade and slavery within the British Empire.  So this is a logical pairing, for Cooper, like Wilberforce a member of the Evangelical wing of The Church of England, also opposed slavery strongly.  Yet I think it appropriate to give Lord Shaftesbury, who died on October 1, 1885, his own feast day.

Lord Shaftesbury was able at least to ease the burdens and suffering of many vulnerable people.  He could not outlaw all child labor, for example, but he could and did ban much of it.  To do something positive is better than doing nothing for others.   It matters that we do what we can–play our part–and pass the baton to others, who will continue our work.  What will your contribution be?  How will you leave your corner of the world better than you found it?

By way of giving credit where it is due, I acknowledge my great debt of gratitude to the 1968 Encyclopedia Britannica and the 1962 Encyclopedia Americana.  (I knew that keeping them was a good idea!)  The collect and choice of readings, however, originate with me.


Loving God, who sent a succession of prophets to remind people, potentates, and societies of the obligation to care for the poor, the vulnerable, and the marginalized, thank  you for the holy example of Anthony Ashley Cooper, Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury.  May we also persist in seeking to help others, and may we succeed, by grace, for the benefit of others, and for the glory of your holy Name.  Amen.

Isaiah 1:1-31

Psalm 8

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Luke 8:26-39