The breaking out of the Popish Terror in 1678 marks the worst part of Shaftesbury's career.
He makes an interesting addition to our conception of Shaftesbury's place in English politics, by insisting on his position as the first great party leader in the modern sense, and as the founder of modern parliamentary oratory.
Much of Shaftesbury's career, increasingly so as it came near its close, is incapable of defence; but it has escaped most of his critics that his life up to the Restoration, apparently full of inconsistencies, was evidently guided by one leading principle, the determination to uphold the supremacy of parliament, a principle which, however obscured by self-interest, appears also to have underlain his whole political career.
And, above all, it should not be forgotten, in justice to Shaftesbury's memory, that "during his long political career, in an age of general corruption, he was ever incorrupt, and never grasped either money or land."
Evidence was given by an informer that, while at Shaftesbury's hiding-place in Wapping, Russell had joined in the proposal to seize the king's guard, a charge indignantly denied by him in his farewell paper, and that he was one of a committee of six appointed to prepare the scheme for an insurrection.
Showed his appreciation of Shaftesbury's services on this latter occasion by offering him a secretaryship of state, which, however, his declining health compelled him to decline.
Had the king's life continued, Shaftesbury's influence at court would probably have been considerable.
The declining state of Shaftesbury's health rendered it necessary for him to seek a warmer climate, and in July 1711 he set out for Italy.
The events preceding the peace of Utrecht, which he regarded as preparing the way for a base desertion of our allies, greatly troubled the last months of Shaftesbury's life.
Shaftesbury's amiability of character seems to have been one of his principal characteristics.
These evil tendencies in the popular presentation of Christianity undoubtedly begot in Shaftesbury's mind a certain amount of repugnance and contempt to some of the doctrines of Christianity itself; and, cultivating, almost of set purpose, his sense of the ridiculous, he was too apt to assume towards such doctrines and their teachers a tone of raillery.
Most of Shaftesbury's writings have been already mentioned.
Shaftesbury's philosophical importance (see Ethics) is due mainly to his ethical speculations, in which his motive was primarily the ref utaticn of Hobbes's egoistic doctrine.
Shaftesbury's philosophical activity was confined to ethics, aesthetics and religion.
The articles of Shaftesbury's religious creed were few and simple, but these he entertained with a conviction amounting to enthusiasm.
This brief notice of Shaftesbury's scheme of natural religion would be conspicuously imperfect unless it were added that it is popularized in Pope's Essay on Man, several lines of which, especially of the first epistle, are simply statements from the Moralists done into verse.
The influence of Shaftesbury's writings was considerable both at home and abroad.
In 1769 a French translation of the whole of Shaftesbury's works, including the Letters, was published at Geneva.
For a description and criticism of Shaftesbury's philosophy reference may also be made to James Mackintosh's Progress of Ethical Philosophy, W.
At Shaftesbury's instance he was placed in command of the army employed in 1675 against the Scottish Covenanters, and was present at Bothwell Bridge (June 22, 1679).
Still acting under Shaftesbury's advice, Monmouth now went upon the first of his progresses in the west of England, visiting the chief members of the country party, and gaining by his open and engaging manner much popularity among the people.
He was ostentatiously feasted by the city, the stronghold of Shaftesbury's influence; and it was observed as he drove to dinner that the mark of illegitimacy had been removed from the arms on his coach.
Berkeley attacked it in the second dialogue of the Alciphron (1732) and John Brown criticized him in his Essay upon Shaftesbury's Characteristics (1751).
Charles dissolved the parliament in January 1681, declaring that he would never give his consent to the Exclusion Bill, and summoned another at Oxford, which met there on the 21st of March 1681, Shaftesbury's faction arriving accompanied by armed bands.