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The Working Man's Friend

LORD SHAFTESBURY, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the
        Seventh Earl, was born in 1801, at 24 Grosvenor
Square, London.   His early recollections are of the
saddest, and his after years seemed to be permeated with
that melancholy which overshadowed his childhood.
But those sorrows had a great part in urging him to the
work with which his name is ever associated--the care
and succour of the oppressed.
   The sweetest memory of his early days lingered round
Maria Millis, the housekeeper.   This incomparable woman
had been maid to his mother when his mother was a girl,
and had been promoted to the position of housekeeper.
She was devoted to the litttle boy, and being a true and
faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, she often took
the child on her lap and told him stories from the Bible,
especially the story of Him who came to save the lost, to
comfort the sorrowing, and who said, "Suffer the little
children to come unto [M]e"
([Mark 10. 14; See] Matt. 19. 14).   She taught
him a simple prayer which he always used; even in his
old age and sickness those simple words would come to
his lips.   It was to this good woman, he says, he was
indebted for that saving knowledge of the Son of God
which came to him at the age of seven, and which was
such a joy and strength to him through all the difficulties
and trials of his long life.
   Young Ashley was sent to school soon after he was seven
years of age--a school at the thought of which he always
shuddered.   "The place was bad, wicked, filthy; and the
treatment was starvation and cruelty."
  At home, too,
he was unhappy, for in those days parents ruled by fear,
not love, and it is evident from his diary when he had

reached manhood's estate, that his parents (the mother
in particular) were almost cruel.   He remembered weary
nights of bitter cold, and days of insufficient food.
   The crowning trouble as this time was the death of his
beloved friend, Maria Millis.   He mourned deeply, for she
was--and no wonder--more to him than anyone else.   In
her will she left him her handsome gold watch, and he
never wore any other.   "This watch was given to me by the
best friend I have ever had,"
he would say.
   The spirit in which he entered upon his career is given
in his journal of April 28th, 1829, his 28th birthday:
"Now let me consider my future career.   The first principle,
God's honour; the second, man's happiness; the means,
prayer and unremitting diligence; all petty love of ex-
cellence must be put aside, the matter must be studied,
the motives refined, and one's best done for the remain-
  To this he steadfastly adhered all his life.
   His own happiness did not make him callous as regards
those less fortunately placed.   The memory of his sad and
neglected childhood urged him to help forward any work
which could alleviate the suffering of others.   He was
early known as the Working Man's Friend, but especially
was he the friend of the children.
   Not only unfortunate adults and children received his
attention, but the ill-fed, badly treated costers' donkeys
came under his notice.   He bought a fine coster's barrow,
called himself "K.G. and Coster," and let the barrow out,
till the coster could procure one for himself.   He so won
their esteem that at an annual meeting of costers, his
lordship was surprised to see a sleek donkey, which the
costers had unitedly purchased, led to the front and
presented to him.   It would be difficult to say which were
most delighted, the K.G. Coster or the Pearly Costers.

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