Tag Archives: Anthony Ashley Cooper

“And so, by God’s blessing, my first effort has been for the advancement of human happiness”: Lord Shaftesbury, Social Reform, and Philanthropy

On 28 April this year, we celebrate what would have been Anthony Ashley-Cooper, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury’s 218th birthday. We mark this occasion by focusing this blog post on Lord Shaftesbury as a social reformer and a philanthropist, and his papers at Southampton.

Lord Shaftesbury [MS 62 SHA/MIS/55]

Lord Shaftesbury [MS 62 SHA/MIS/55]

Born on 28 April in 1801 in Grosvenor Square, London as Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury was the fourth and eldest child of Cropley Ashley-Cooper, who became sixth Earl of Shaftesbury in 1811, and Lady Anne Spencer-Churchill, daughter of the fourth Duke of Marlborough.

Poem written by Lord Shaftesbury’s sister for Lord Shaftesbury for his eight birthday [MS 62 SHA/MIS/62]

Poem written by Anthony Ashley-Cooper’s sister for Anthony’s eighth birthday [MS 62 SHA/MIS/62]

Shaftesbury begun his education at Harrow School from 1813-1816, and afterwards attended Christ Church College at the University of Oxford, graduating with a first-class degree in Classics in 1822, a Master’s Degree in 1832, and becoming a Doctor of Civil Law in 1841.

Lord Shaftesbury, October 1858 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/49]

Lord Shaftesbury, October 1858 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/49]

On 10 June 1830, Shaftesbury married Lady Emily Cowper, daughter of Emily, Countess Cowper, at St George’s Hanover Square in London. The marriage was a steady and ardent one, leading to the birth of sixth boys, which include (Anthony) Evelyn Melbourne Ashley, politician and biographer, for whom we hold papers, and four girls, born between 1831 and 1849.

Lady Emily Cowper, wife of Lord Shaftesbury [MS 62 SHA/MIS/61]

Lady Emily Cowper, wife of Lord Shaftesbury [MS 62 SHA/MIS/61]

Following his father’s footsteps, who was MP for Dorchester 1791-1811, and Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords from 1814-1851, Shaftesbury was first elected to Parliament in 1826 as MP for Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

A serious-minded and ambitious young man, Shaftesbury made his first notable speech supporting a Bill to amend the Lunacy Laws in 1828. This was a result of there being little legislation in place to regulate asylums and their treatment of the mentally ill. At this time, the safety of communities came first, and the role of asylums was to protect the public from the mentally ill and to keep the mentally ill secure, leading to abuse and neglect of the patients becoming normality.

In June 1827, Robert Gordon brought to the attention of the House of Commons the state of pauper lunatics, which led to a report issued by an appointed Committee of Inquiry, that revealed failings and cruelties. On 19 February 1928, Gordon brought in a Bill to amend the law for the regulation of lunatic asylums. He brought attention to cases of illegal confinement and intimidation of sane persons, as well as neglect and abuse to the mentally ill. He also pointed out how legislation prevented the College of Physicians of acting on discoveries they had made from the inspections on asylums that they were permitted to conduct. Shaftesbury supported Gordon’s motion, and made his first important speech in Parliament, emphasising the necessity that something should be done in relation to the treatment of the mentally ill, citing several instances that had come within his own awareness. Shaftesbury briefly refers to his first speech in his diary:

“Feb 20th-Last night I ventured to speak, and, God be praised, I did not utterly disgrace myself, though the exhibition was far from glorious; but the subject was upon Lunatic Asylums…Gordon had requested me to second his motion… I did not decline, more especially as I had heard that from certain circumstances my support in this affair would render some small service to the cause. And so, by God’s blessing, my first effort has been for the advancement of human happiness. May I improve hourly!” [MS 62 SHA/PD/1, p36]

Lord Shaftesbury's diary entry for February 20th 1828 [MS 62 SHA/PD/1, p.36]

Lord Shaftesbury’s diary entry for February 20th 1828 [MS 62 SHA/PD/1, p.36]

Following this speech, a Bill transferring powers of lunatic asylums from the College of Physicians to fifteen Metropolitan Commissioners appointed by the Home Secretary, and the condition of private patients having two medical certificates, was passed on 15 July 1828. Shaftesbury became one of these commissioners, and went on to become Chairman in 1833.

Taking over Michael Sadler’s seat in the parliamentary leadership for the campaign for factory reforms and shorter hours of work in January 1833, was where Shaftesbury made his greatest achievements.

During the 1820s and 1830s, factory work was prioritised over education for children. In some areas with populations of over 100,000, there was not a single public day school for poor children, leading to parents sending their children to work for more than 12 hours a day in factories and mills. These “apprentices” were worked cruelly in extremely hot conditions, and in the fumes of oil.

Shaftesbury placed great importance on education for moral and spiritual reasons, and so his first motive was to limit the time worked by children and young people in factories to ten hours a day. He was met with strong opposition, but following a Royal Commission completing investigations, the Factory Act of 1833 was passed on 17th July. In many ways, this new government measure represented a great improvement on previous legislation. The new Act applied to not just cotton mills, but to woollen worsted, hemp, flax, tow, linen, and silk mills unlike previous legislation. No person under the age of eighteen was to be employed for more than twelve hours a day, or sixty-nine a week. The regular factory day for all over twelve and under eighteen was fixed at thirteen and a half hours, and these hours were to be taken between 5.30am and 8.30pm. Children of the protected age were to attend school no less than two hours daily.

However, the legislation did not provide the higher limits and measures of regulation that Shaftesbury and the Ten Hours Movement had advocated, much to his disappointment. The shift system could not be adopted by several employers, and registration of births did not begin until 1837. In addition, the schooling element was not practical in many cases, due to there being no schools in many places. Shaftesbury achieved success in 1842 with the passing of the Mines Act. He continued to work tirelessly towards supporting legislation to protect children into the 1870s.

“24 January 1842-Have written twice to Peel to obtain his final decision respecting the Factory Bill. It is manifest how the tide is setting. I must persist, and we shall break asunder. But it is a formidable step. God alone can strengthen me.” [MS 62 SHA/PD/2, p.88]

Speech of the Earl of Shaftesbury on the second reading of the Factories Bill in the House of Lords, July 9th 1874 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/38]

Speech of the Earl of Shaftesbury on the second reading of the Factories Bill (health of women, etc.) in the House of Lords, July 9th 1874 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/38]

In August 1840, Shaftesbury advocated for a Commission to enquire into the employment of the children of the poorer classes in mines and collieries. The first report was issued in May 1842. Most workers underground were aged less than thirteen, with some as young as four or five. Children would work up to twelve or fourteen hours a day in damp, dark and hot conditions, often accompanied by rats, and other vermin. Numerous workers would develop heart and lung disease early on in life, and education was completely neglected. The discoveries voiced in the May 1842 report, which included illustrations, awakened the outrage of the whole country.

On June 7th 1842, Shaftesbury introduced a Bill to exclude all females, boys under thirteen, and all parish apprentices, and to forbid the employment of anyone as an engineman under the age of twenty-one or over fifty. The Mines and Collieries Act was passed on 14 July 1842, prohibiting all underground work for women and girls, and for boys under 10. Shaftesbury went on to secure legislation in 1845 to control the employment of children in cotton printworks.

Lord Shaftesbury’s diary, 1845-47 [MS 62 SHA/PD/4]

Lord Shaftesbury’s diary, 1845-47 [MS 62 SHA/PD/4]

Shaftesbury had also turned his attention to chimney-sweep children, known as “the climbing boys”. Children would be bought and sold to a life of grime and hardship, ending for many either from a form of cancer, or from suffocation in a flue. In 1840 Shaftesbury supported a Bill that prohibited the climbing of chimneys by any person under the age of twenty-one, and the apprenticeship to a sweep of any boy under sixteen. Penalties and fines were also proposed for those who broke these rules. Shaftesbury advocated the Bill in the House of Commons by reporting that the current chimney sweep system had resulted in more deprivation and impoverishment than existed in any other Christian country. He also emphasised that conditions for factory children were currently ten times better than that of chimney sweeps. The Bill was passed and the system was ordered to come into force in July 1842.

In the late 1840s, Shaftesbury soon became a leading figure in Irish church missions to Roman Catholics, and the British and Foreign Bible Society, as well as the Society for Improving the Condition of the Labouring Classes. He wished to continue to made a difference in improving education opportunities for children. Disappointed at his attempt to legislate for the provision of education in factories in 1843, he became the President of the Ragged School Union in 1844, a post that he was to hold for 39 years. This organisation enabled 300,000 destitute children to be educated for free at what were called ragged schools, or industrial feeding schools. In the late 1840s, Shaftesbury actively promoted schemes for supporting the emigration of young people whose prospects in Britain were poor.

The Ragged School Union Quarterly Record, January 1880 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/43]

The Ragged School Union Quarterly Record, January 1880 [MS 62 SHA/MIS/43]

In 1848 Shaftesbury was appointed as commissioner of the newly formed Board of Health. He used this position to campaign profusely to improve social conditions in Britain, advocating for the closure of overcrowded city burial grounds, and for the improvement of water supplies for the metropolis. In the late 1860s Lord Shaftesbury (of which he became in 1851), also took up the cause of mission to the costermongers (street traders) of London, and promoted the use of ships for housing and training homeless boys.

Lord Shaftesbury cartoon MS 62 BR69

Lord Shaftesbury cartoon [MS 62 BR69]

The Shaftesbury papers form part of the Broadlands Archives. They consist of correspondence, papers, diaries, journals, estate and legal papers, family history papers and various papers on religious reflections of Lord Shaftesbury (of which he became in 1851). Other papers of the 7th Earl remain with Ashley-Cooper family papers at St Giles House, Dorset.

Correspondence from Lord Shaftesbury to his wife Lady Emily Cowper

Correspondence from Lord Shaftesbury to his wife Lady Shaftesbury


The “small work” of compassion: philanthropic sources in the Special Collections

Next Wednesday (20 April) we’re hosting the next in our series of “Explore the Collections” afternoons: a display of philanthropic sources followed by a talk by Professor David Brown.

Educational Home for Young Ladies, Harrage Hall

Educational Home for Young Ladies, Harrage Hall

As one of Professor Brown’s specialisms is the history of social reform and philanthropy in nineteenth century Britain, he’s the perfect person to talk in more depth about these matters. Professor Brown is currently working on a project to publish the diaries of the great Victorian social reformer and philanthropist, Anthony Ashley Cooper, the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury which are held in the University’s archives.

Shaftesbury made the following diary entry on 7 April:

Engaged more than ever: small works compared with the political and financial movements of the day – a lodging house, a ragged school, a Vagrant Bill, a thieves refuge! No wonder that people think me as small as my work; and yet I would not change it. [SHA/PD]

Charitable giving runs as a thread through many of our collections. In fact, the University itself owes its very existence to a bequest of money in a will made over 150 years ago. The Hartley Institution, founded in 1862, is the legacy of Henry Robinson Hartley, the son of a Southampton wine merchant. Several of the major printed collections housed in the Hartley Library – the Cope Collection and Perkins Agricultural Library, for example – are thanks to philanthropic bequests by the collectors.

Known internationally for our Jewish collections, these records provide a particularly rich resource for the study of compassion and benevolence. In Judaism tzedakah – the Hebrew word for acts of charity: giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy or to other worthy causes – has a special significance. Derived from a root word meaning righteousness, justice or fairness, tzedakah is not viewed as a generous, magnanimous act; it is the performance of a duty, an act of justice and righteousness. We hold papers or organisations such as Jewish Care (an amalgamation of the Jewish Board of Guardians, Jewish Association for the Protection of Girls, Women and Children and the Jewish Blind Society) and Norwood (formerly the Jews’ Hospital and Jews’ Orphan Asylum) as well as individuals including Gladys Montague, Baroness Swaythling and Mrs George Joseph.


Letter books of the Jewish Board of Guardians, now part of the Jewish Care collection [MS 173]

A look at philanthropic collections can shine a light on the underrepresented role of women in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Two particular individuals spring to mind: Mary Mee (d. 1805), second wife of the second Viscount Palmerston who lived at Broadlands House. She did much to help the poor of Romsey including setting up soup kitchen and a school of industry.  The archives holds records of the school plus Mary’s charity account books.

Around one hundred years later, Mary’s great-great-great-granddaughter also gave much of her life to public service and the common good. While perhaps more famous as a socialite and for her scandalous love life, Louis Mountbatten’s wife Edwina, Lady Mountbatten actually devoted much of her time, energy and intelligence to the service of others. During the Second World War Joint War she proved a brilliant administrator for the Red Cross and the Order of St John. In the later 1940s she worked for the United Council of Relief and Welfare, co-ordinating all the major voluntary organisations, who struggled to help the peoples of the Indian subcontinent who suffered indescribably following the partition of India and Pakistan.  There are many files in the Archives which document Edwina’s service including an extensive photographic collection.

Edwina Mountbatten in Singapore

Edwina Mountbatten in Singapore [MB3/89]

Why not take a look at our Facebook page where each week we’re posting images from our philanthropic collections.  This is just a taster of the many fascinating manuscripts and rare books we’ll have out on display in our Reading Room so if you’ve not already done so please book your place for what promises to be a really enjoyable and interesting event.

End of the Crimean War

Today marks 160 years since the end of the Crimean War, the most important Great Power conflict fought between the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and the outbreak of World War One in 1914.

The war took place mainly on the Crimean Peninsula between an alliance of Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia on one side, and Russia on the other. Beginning in 1853, the immediate cause of the conflict resulted from religious tensions in the Middle East, including a dispute between Russia and France over the privileges of the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in the Holy Land. The Holy Land was then part of the Ottoman Empire ruled by Turkey and Tsar Nicholas I demanded that the Turks resolve the dispute in favour of the Orthodox Church. Nicholas’ demands, however, were not met, leading to the mobilisation of Russian forces against Turkey.

‘Siege of Sebastopol – General View’, Illustrated London News, 18 November 1854 [quarto per A]

‘Siege of Sebastopol – General View’, Illustrated London News, 18 November 1854 [quarto per A]

Turkey, by this time, was beginning to lose its grip on its empire and both Britain and France were concerned about Russian expansion and the potential danger posed to their trade routes. Turkey declared war on Russia on 5 October 1853, in response to initial Russian operations. The following month the Russian Black Sea fleet destroyed a Turkish squadron at Sinope, on Turkey’s Black Sea coast. The British and French responded by aligning themselves with Turkey and both declared war on Russia in March 1854.

An allied army of over 60,000 British, French and Turkish troops was initially stationed in Turkey, ready to defend Istanbul from attack. In a letter from Major Edward Wellesley to his wife, Annot, dated 4 May 1854, he complains of the inexperience of staff and attendant confusion of arrangements as the British and French forces set up their bases in the Bosphorus:

A number of our Artillery Transports are hourly arriving and are stationed about 4 miles from here, the bustle and confusion attendant on all these arrivals are immense more particularly as all the staff nearly are new and there is too much discussion and too little actual work. You can imagine I have had enough to do and undo.
[MS 63 A904/4/18]

In order to strengthen their naval supremacy, the allies adopted a plan to land in the Crimea and conduct an all-out attack on Russian forces in the region, with the aim of seizing the naval base at Sebastopol and destroying the fleet and dockyard. In mid-September 1854, the joint allied invasion force landed at Kalamatia Bay. In order to advance on Sebastopol, the allies first had to cross the River Alma and attack heavily defended Russian positions on higher ground. With the advantage of new rifled muskets, together with superior skill and numbers, the allies were able to conduct a powerful offensive and force the Russians to flee their positions.

However, they failed to pursue the Russians directly, losing an opportunity to easily capture Sebastopol. This provided time for the Russians to fortify the city and stage two flank attacks. The first of these took place on 25 October, with Russian forces moving towards the British position at Balaclava. The Battle of Balaclava is best remembered for the infamous ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ in which miscommunication in the chain of command led to the British Light Brigade conducting a frontal assault against well-fortified Russian artillery. The brigade suffered heavy casualties under a bombardment of direct fire. While criticised as a major blunder at the time, the charge also came to symbolise the valour and bravery of the British cavalry. The result of the battle was indecisive, with the Russians failing to break through the British lines. A further attempt was made to defeat the British with a surprise attack at Inkerman on 5 November 1854. The intense fighting resulted in massive losses, mostly on the Russian side, and ended with the allied troops continuing to hold their ground.

‘Charge of the Light Cavalry, at Balaclava’, Illustrated London News, 23 December 1854 [quarto per A]

‘Charge of the Light Cavalry, at Balaclava’, Illustrated London News, 23 December 1854 [quarto per A]

Soon after the Battle of Inkerman, winter set in. The winter of 1854 was a harrowing one for the troops. Not only were living conditions extremely poor, but medical supplies in the field were also inadequate. Media reporting from the front line highlighted the dreadful conditions and the level of maladministration in the army which led to widespread public outrage.

Even before the first significant battle of the war the allied forces found their numbers depleted by a wave of fever and cholera, as is noted by Major Edward Wellesley in a letter to his sister-in-law, Mary, on 25 August 1854:

The troops have suffered much from fever and cholera and the French army most dreadfully, we have lost many officers and soldiers and the fleet has also suffered materially… There is no doubt this is the most unhealthy place at this season of the year, in fact the Russians lost half their army when they besieged the town in 1828 and we are fortunate in escaping as we have…
[MS 63 A904/4/34]

Having twice acted as Foreign Secretary between 1830 and 1851, Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, was serving as Home Secretary when the Crimean War broke out. As such, he had limited control over British policy during the lead up to the war. In a memorandum, date 20 January 1855, Palmerston writes of the “present lamentable condition of our army in the Crimea” and places the blame on those in authority. He suggests that they should be removed with the exception of Lord Fitzroy James Henry Somerset, first Baron Raglan, despite his having shown himself to be “deficient” in caring for his officers and troops. Palmerston continues by declaring that if a remedy is not found, the reinforcements would be “victims sent to the slaughter” and that “defeat and disgrace must be the inevitable result”. He also criticises the decision to attack Sebastopol, believing that the “first thing then to be done is to put the army into a good condition”. [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR22(i)/1/96]

The public outcry eventually led to a number of organisations and individuals setting out for the war zone to minister to the troops. Among the nurses was Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. She emphasised the need for well trained nurses and clean hospitals to aid in the recovery of the sick and wounded. Following the war she continued to campaign tirelessly to improve health standards.

In the spring of 1855 the allies, now joined by the Sardinians, resumed their siege of Sebastopol. The siege continued until September 1855 when, having defended the city for almost a year, the Russians finally evacuated. By now Palmerston had become Prime Minister and was involved in negotiating the terms of peace. The Crimean War ended in the spring of 1856 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 30 March.

In his diary entry, dated 31 March 1856, Anthony Ashley Cooper, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, writes:

Yesterday Sunday. Peace was signed and the intelligence sent by electric telegraph. The guns announced it to the people. Let us bless the Lord who has brought us out of so many and great dangers, who has shown us such unspeakable and undeserved mercies, and who has taught us how and why to thank Him! May it be a true peace, a lasting peace, a fruitful peace. May it give double energy and double capacity to our thoughts, desires and efforts.
[MS 62 Broadlands Archives SHA/PD/7]

Alongside the Palmerston Papers, Special Collections houses a range of other material providing perspectives on the Crimean War. These include the diaries of Anthony Ashley Cooper, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury (MS 62); the letters of the Major Edward Wellesley (MS 63); a diary and notebook of General Sir John St. George, who served as an artillery officer in the Crimea (MS 59); and the Crimea journal of Henry Parnell, fourth Baron Congleton (MS 64). Parnell joined the Buffs or the Third Regiment of Foot in 1855 at the age of 16 years of age. He served with them in the Crimea after the fall of Sebastapol in 1856 and his journal presents a very different picture from the records of officers in a combat situation.

Reflections on war and warfare: Week 43 (22 – 28 December 2014)

As of March 2014, we are posting weekly extracts of writings on war and warfare drawn from our manuscript and printed collections. Ranging from items on the Maratha wars to the Second World War, the extracts will reflect opinions both from the battle front and from those at home. The quotes tie in with the exhibition ‘When “the days of conquest are passed”: reflections on war and warfare’, until recently on display at the Special Collections Gallery.

21 December 1854 Devastating losses at the battle of Balaclava
The battle of Balaclava was fought 24 October 1854.  The port of Balaclava was crucial to the allies to maintain supply lines for their siege of Sebastapol against the Russians. The most famous part of the battle, the infamous charge of the Light Brigade, resulted in devastating losses of men and horses.  It was such a traumatic event that the allies were incapable of further action that day.

“The mismanagement and stupidity, if not utter negligence, at Balaklava, have caused a great amount of loss of life, of property and health.  This was excusable at the outset; it is not excusable now, when the government knows all these things.

MS 62 Broadlands Archives SHA/PD/6  Diary of Anthony Ashley Cooper, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, 21 December 1854

23 December 1916 Trench foot
First described by French army surgeon Dominique Jean Larrey, trench foot is a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure of the feet to damp, unsanitary and cold conditions. If not treated, it can lead to a fungal infection, and eventually gangrene, which can result in amputation. Acts of prevention include keeping feet clean, warm and dry. During World War One, regular foot inspections acted as a key deterrent, as well as pairing soldiers up. Each soldier in the pair would be responsible for the feet of the other. The application of whale oil was also done to prevent this foot condition.

“It is all very quiet up here, but perfectly filthy as far as mud is concerned. The men all look jolly well. We have large quantity of socks – they have to put on clean ones every day and rub their feet and we have no frost bite. Every day clean socks all sent up for the men in the line and bad feet is a crime (that’s one for you).”

MS 336 A2097/7/2 Letter from Frederick Dudley Samuel to his fiancée and subsequent wife, Dorothy, 23 December 1916

28 December 1939  Rationing and the German-Soviet pact
Christmases for many years to come would be different following the introduction of rationing.  Following limits on the supply of petrol, food stuffs were the next items to be restricted: as from January 1940, sugar and meat were rationed for 14 and 15 years respectively.  Meanwhile, overseas, the Nazis had been given use of a submarine base near Murmansk, a city in northwest Russia, close to her borders with Norway and Finland.

“The news scanty – & of ominous sound.  The French finance minister spoke of millions of Germans in wait & their planes an hour away.  Here, they are to ration sugar and meat very soon.  Old Swinton dithered ab[ou]t howitzers & guns, & doesn’t believe the Russians will give the Germans a submarine base nr. Murmansk.”

MS 168 AJ 217/35  Diary of S.M.Rich, 28 December 1939 

User perspectives: Examining Palmerston and Shaftesbury through the Broadlands Archives

In the autumn of 2013 Bry Martin, a doctoral candidate at the University of Notre Dame, visited the Archives to conduct research for his dissertation, titled “The Power and the Country: The Earls of Shaftesbury, 1621-1885”. In the passage below he discusses his experience exploring the Broadlands Archives, including examining the relationship between Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, and Anthony Ashley-Cooper, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury.

Cartoon of the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, operating the vice extinguisher

Cartoon of the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, operating the vice extinguisher

“Regency and Victorian Britain, torn by the new money and social squalor of the Industrial Revolution, ascendant in the muscular imperialism of a renewed empire, and expansive in its commercial and financial power, rested in the uncertain grasp of a relatively small number of gentlemen and their families. Yet those same families, and particularly those of the South, withstood a political, economic and social assault on many of their traditional roles and values. As organizers of the militia for the maritime counties, their role as Britain’s first line of land defense against a Channel invasion strained beneath the weight of a flourishing professional army and navy. As landed families living close to ports, an ancient interdependence between the covetous energy of the merchant and the staid balance of the manor teetered under industrial pressures of factory and credit. As farmers, rentiers, and politicians, the families of the South gravitated in the season to London’s lure of civil society, political participation, and fashion, but recoiled at its corruption, its slums, and its violence. Looking outward at Europe, the Atlantic and the world, exercising a statesmanship that would leave a British footprint in all of the above, these families also embraced and worried over the immemorial landed England of the country estate.

There are few better windows into the lives and struggle of these families in the Nineteenth Century than the Broadlands Archives at the University of Southampton’s Hartley Library. Organized around the papers, relations and correspondents of Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, whose seat was the Broadlands Estate in nearby Romsey, the Broadlands Archives are a treasure of both the imperial and the intimate. At the highest level, Palmerston projected his conviction that every Briton should walk and sail the planet bound only by British laws wherever he or she went, and in domestic policy displayed a flexible liberalism, still rooted in the conservative politics of the early nineteenth century, but adaptable to changing times. In his personal letters to his correspondents and family, including his wife and her children, Palmerston’s letters in the Hartley Library display his sense of pragmatic dispatch, eagerness to do favors for friends, a tolerance for sleights and annoyances, and a moral humility always watchful of the world to do his best on its terms rather than imposing his own. His wife Emily, the organizer of polite society’s calendar, buttressed her husband’s political power with a general empathy and courtesy that extended even to political enemies, however much it pained her to see her husband subjected to the sleights accompanying political life.

I arrived at the Hartley Library, an American graduate student working on a dissertation about a different, but related family: the Ashley-Coopers, Earls of Shaftesbury. The Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, the “Poor Man’s Earl” commemorated in Piccadilly Circus by its famous statue of Eros, married Lady Palmerston’s daughter, and the Hartley Library has an extensive archive of their family correspondence. Shaftesbury strikes a remarkable contrast to Lord and Lady Palmerston. More saintlike than benign, he was chiliastic in holding unwavering convictions in the face of approaching end times, nostalgic in his longings for the Ancient Constitution and the dissolving harmony of the manor, and inflamed by a near-depressive compassion for the suffering of Britain’s many down-and-outs: lunatics, factory workers, indigent children and street pedlars. That Shaftesbury and Palmerston could not only tolerate but admire each other is a small wonder of British character with big implications for British history. Together they moderated the sharp ideological divisions by which the old divide of Whig and Tory was transforming into that of Liberal and Conservative.

Lord Shaftesbury’s diary for 29 December 1852

Lord Shaftesbury’s diary for 29 December 1852

The key to the personal chemistry, family affection, and political partnership of Palmerston and Shaftesbury lay in their papers at the Hartley Library. There, researchers may read of Palmerston’s continued, weary efforts to reward the cash-strapped Earl with lucrative offices, and the Earl’s refusal to take paid offices that could potentially force him to support even a friendly government against his own judgment. There, Palmerston consults Shaftesbury repeatedly and often decisively on matters ranging from whether Britain should pursue a Christian Zionist foreign policy with the Ottoman Empire to ecclesiastical appointments in the Church of England. In an age when duplicity and ladder-climbing was a given in politics, Palmerston seemed stunned into respect and trust by the selfless sincerity and naked emotion of Shaftesbury, just as Lady Palmerston had been when, as a bizarrely earnest and candid young man, he had courted her daughter. But also in the papers at the Hartley Library one can read Shaftesbury write his wife rebuking her mother’s worldliness and write his son bemoaning Palmerston’s placid flexibility and his religious ignorance. Later, he would grieve just as deeply for them, and never be quite so potent an influence on British political life in their absence as he had been when they had tempered his righteousness with their characteristic forbearance and tolerance for human frailty.

There is much else indispensable for the understanding of Shaftesbury at the Hartley Library. Just a few examples are: the extensive diaries he kept for most of his long life; a pained correspondence about electioneering in 1830s Dorset; letters registering the family heartbreak as they reeled from the premature deaths of children; and the affectionate humor of his surviving children at their intense, old-fashioned father. The Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury presents only the final generation of my study of a great British family, a study detailing the family’s central place in British “country” politics, opposing traditional local institutions to emerging modern pockets of power that threatened their independence and traditions. For most of two centuries, the Earls of Shaftesbury played a leading part in British “country” politics, Whig or Tory. The Hartley Library has been enormously helpful in providing an important archival basis to one of the most remarkable generations of the family.

One advantage of research at the Hartley Library ought not be omitted: the people. While the Hartley Library’s holdings are extensive, it is also a human-scale and personal archive. Perhaps as a result, I found that the archivists had a greater familiarity with the sources that I was using, and a greater depth of learning in the specific scholarship surrounding the manuscripts than is common elsewhere. In the course of academic research that is sometimes unavoidably lonely and stultifying, the Hartley Library offered the camaraderie of an intelligent, friendly staff that had already spent considerable time reading and thinking about many of the documents I was studying. I hope to return to the Hartley Library for a short visit in the Fall, revisiting its records of a remarkable family and the hardworking custodians of their legacy.”

Reflections on war and warfare: week 5 (31 March – 6 April 2014)

As of March 2014, we are posting weekly extracts of writings on war and warfare drawn from our manuscript and printed collections. Ranging from items on the Maratha wars to the Second World War, the extracts will reflect opinions both from the battle front and from those at home.

31 March 1856 End of Crimean War
The Treaty of Paris was signed on 30 March 1856, bringing an end to three years of warfare in the Crimea, in which an estimate 300,000 soldiers were killed. The politician and social reformer Lord Shaftesbury was very pious and many of his reflections in his diaries contain a strong moral and religious reflection on events.

“Yesterday Sunday. Peace was signed and the intelligence sent by electric telegraph. The guns announced it to the people. Let us bless the Lord who has brought us out of so many and great dangers, who has shown us such unspeakable and undeserved mercies, and who has taught us how and why to thank Him! May it be a true peace, a lasting peace, a fruitful peace. May it give double energy and double capacity to our thoughts, desires and efforts.”

MS 62 Broadlands Archives SHA/PD/7 Diary of Anthony Ashley Cooper, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, 31 March 1856

2 April 1918 The struggle for territory at the Western Front

Between March 21st and April 5th, the Ludendorff Offensive was put into full force, resulting in a huge German push in the west driving the British back 40 miles.

“The battle of course is not even over yet. The gain of territory which is perfectly useless and not a village nor house standing on it does not constitute a victory – indeed it can hardly have been worth the terrific price they have paid for it. Whether they have some surprise in store or whether they intend to go on pegging away in a pointless attempt to break through and roll up the line remains to be seen. Every man and every shell is needed by us, we shall certainly hold on and beat them in the end.”

MS 132 AJ 322 1/4 Letter from Basil Henriques to his mother, 2 April 1918

6 April 1812 Storming of Badajoz
Between May 1811 and September 1813 the Allied forces engaged in four major sieges. Siege operations proved one of the least satisfactory aspects of an otherwise successful campaign and resulted in some of the highest casualties suffered by Wellington’s forces during the Peninsular War. The storming of Badajoz took place on 6 April 1812. In the aftermath of the fighting, Wellington was said to have been deeply moved at the sight of the hundreds of bodies piled before the breaches. Much of the bloodshed stemmed from a lack of sufficient resources necessary to conduct a successful siege, such as heavy siege guns and entrenching tools.

“Our loss has been very great; but I send you a letter to Lord Liverpool which accounts for it. The truth is, that, equipped as we are, the British army are not capable of carrying on a regular siege.”

WP1/346 Copy of a letter from General Arthur Wellesley, first Earl of Wellington, camp at Badajoz, to Lieutenant Colonel Torrens, Military Secretary to His Royal Highness the Duke of York, the Commander in Chief, sending accounts of the siege and capture of Badajoz, 7 April 1812

Service as an air raid warden
When the Second World War began, there were fears that Britain would be attacked by air. An air raid was an attack by enemy planes dropping bombs. A warning would be issued when this was about to happen by sirens. When people heard the sirens’ wailing, they went instructed to enter into air raid shelters. It was the job of Air Raid Wardens to supervise the blackout, and report people to the police who continually ignored it. They had to sound the air raid sirens so that everybody knew that they had to get to the shelter, as well as supervising people getting in and out of the air raid shelters. They also had to check that everybody had their gas masks, and that they were all fitting properly, as well as sounding alerts if there was a gas attack. In addition to this, they also had to evacuate people away from unexploded bombs, and report the bombs and other damage to the warden control centre.

Below is a snippet from a pamphlet designed to instruct air raid wardens and the population on the kind of dangers they faced from an air raid and what they could expect.

“A concise, fully illustrated and practical guide for the householder and air-raid warden, ‘Methods of air attack:

1) High Explosive Attacks, involving the use of highly destructive bombs to cause destruction, injury and loss of life.

2) Incendiary Attacks, i.e., the use of fire bombs to cause widespread fires so as to create panic and disorganise essential services, especially the A.R.P. organisation.

3) Gas Attacks, involving the release, from bombs or as spray, of dangerous liquid gases, or poisonous smokes intended to injure or incapacitate the public, to nullify or hamper precautions taken against (1) and (2) and to make difficult the work of rescue and first aid’’.

MS 73 Papers of L. A. Burgess, relating to Burgess’ service as an air raid warden