Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby
Edward Henry Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby KG
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, PC
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 (21 July 1826 – 21 April 1893), known as Lord Stanley from 1844 to 1869, was a British statesman. He served as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

 twice, from 1866 to 1868 and from 1874 to 1878.

Background and education

He was born to Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
Edward George Geoffrey Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, KG, PC was an English statesman, three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and to date the longest serving leader of the Conservative Party. He was known before 1834 as Edward Stanley, and from 1834 to 1851 as Lord Stanley...

 and Emma Caroline Bootle-Wilbraham, daughter of Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Baron Skelmersdale
Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Baron Skelmersdale
Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Baron Skelmersdale , was a British politician.Bootle-Wilbraham was the son of Richard Bootle-Wilbraham and his wife Mary, daughter of Robert Bootle...

, and was the older brother of Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby
Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby
Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby KG, GCB, GCVO, PC , known as Frederick Stanley until 1886 and as Lord Stanley of Preston between 1886 and 1893, was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom who served as Colonial Secretary from 1885 to 1886 and the sixth Governor General...

. The Stanleys were one of the richest landowning families in England. Lord Stanley, as he was styled before acceding to the earldom, was educated at Eton
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

, Rugby
Rugby School
Rugby School is a co-educational day and boarding school located in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, England. It is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain.-History:...

 and Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

, where he took a first in classics and became a member of the society known as the Cambridge Apostles
Cambridge Apostles
The Cambridge Apostles, also known as the Cambridge Conversazione Society, is an intellectual secret society at the University of Cambridge founded in 1820 by George Tomlinson, a Cambridge student who went on to become the first Bishop of Gibraltar....


Political career

In March 1848 he unsuccessfully contested the borough
A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely....

 of Lancaster, and then made a long tour in the West Indies, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. During his absence he was elected member for King's Lynn
King's Lynn (UK Parliament constituency)
King's Lynn was a constituency in Norfolk, known as Lynn or Bishop's Lynn prior to 1537, which returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom until 1885, and one member thereafter. Until 1918 it was a parliamentary borough, after which the name...

, which he represented till October 1869, when he succeeded to the peerage. He took his place, as a matter of course, among the Conservatives
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

, and delivered his maiden speech
Maiden speech
A maiden speech is the first speech given by a newly elected or appointed member of a legislature or parliament.Traditions surrounding maiden speeches vary from country to country...

 in May 1850 on the sugar duties. Just before, he had made a very brief tour in Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. In 1852 he went to India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, and while travelling in that country he was appointed under-secretary for foreign affairs in his father's first administration.

From the outset of his career he was known to be more politically sympathetic to the Liberal
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

s rather than the Conservatives, and in 1855 Lord Palmerston offered him the post of Secretary of State for the Colonies
Secretary of State for the Colonies
The Secretary of State for the Colonies or Colonial Secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies....

. He was much tempted by the proposal, and hurried down to Knowsley to consult his father, who called out when he entered the room, "Halo, Stanley! what brings you here? — Has Dizzy cut his throat, or are you going to be married?" When the object of his sudden appearance had been explained, the Conservative chief received the courteous suggestion of the prime minister with anything but favour, and the offer was declined. In his father's second administration Lord Stanley held, at first, the office of Secretary of State for the Colonies (1858), but became President of the Board of Control
President of the Board of Control
The President of the Board of Control was a British government official in the late 18th and early 19th century responsible for overseeing the British East India Company and generally serving as the chief official in London responsible for Indian affairs. The position was frequently a cabinet...

 on the resignation of Lord Ellenborough. He had the charge of the India Bill of 1858 in the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

, became the first Secretary of State for India
Secretary of State for India
The Secretary of State for India, or India Secretary, was the British Cabinet minister responsible for the government of India and the political head of the India Office...

, and left behind him in the India Office an excellent reputation as a man of business.

After the revolution in Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and the disappearance of King Otto
Otto of Greece
Otto, Prince of Bavaria, then Othon, King of Greece was made the first modern King of Greece in 1832 under the Convention of London, whereby Greece became a new independent kingdom under the protection of the Great Powers .The second son of the philhellene King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Otto ascended...

, the people most earnestly desired to have Queen Victoria's
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

 second son, Prince Alfred
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the third Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and reigned from 1893 to 1900. He was also a member of the British Royal Family, the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha...

, for their king. He declined the honour, and they then took up the idea that the next best thing they could do would be to elect some great and wealthy English noble, not concealing the hope that although they might have to offer him a Civil List
Civil list
-United Kingdom:In the United Kingdom, the Civil List is the name given to the annual grant that covers some expenses associated with the Sovereign performing their official duties, including those for staff salaries, State Visits, public engagements, ceremonial functions and the upkeep of the...

 he would decline to receive it. Lord Stanley was the prime favourite as an occupant of this bed of thorns, and it has been said that he was actually offered the crown. That, however, is not true; the offer was never formally made.

After the fall of the Russell
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, KG, GCMG, PC , known as Lord John Russell before 1861, was an English Whig and Liberal politician who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the mid-19th century....

 government in 1866 he became Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in his father's third administration. He compared his conduct in that great post to that of a man floating down a river and fending off from his vessel, as well as he could, the various obstacles it encountered. He thought that that should be the normal attitude of an English foreign minister, and probably in the circumstances of the years 1866-1868 it was the right one. He arranged the collective guarantee of the neutrality of Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 in 1867, negotiated a convention about the Alabama, which, however, was not ratified, and most wisely refused to take any part in the Cretan
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 troubles. In 1874 he again became Foreign Secretary in Disraeli's government. He acquiesced in the purchase of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 shares, a measure then considered dangerous by many people, but ultimately most successful; he accepted the Andrassy Note, but declined to accede to the Berlin Memorandum. Derby's conduct during the Eastern Crisis was mysterious to many of his contemporaries and for some time thereafter. The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica could still state that Derby's "part in the later phases of the Russo-Turkish struggle has never been fully explained, for with equal wisdom and generosity he declined to gratify public curiosity at the cost of some of his colleagues. A later generation will know better than his contemporaries what were the precise developments of policy which obliged him to resign. He kept himself ready to explain in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 the course he had taken if those whom he had left challenged him to do so, but from that course they consistently refrained."

The fact of the matter was that Derby's hope for peace with Russia led him (and his wife) to share Cabinet secrets with the Russian ambassador, Pyotr Shuvalov, in hopes of averting war with Russia. Robert Blake
Robert Blake
Robert Blake may refer to:*Bob Blake , American professional ice hockey player*Robert Blake , English naval commander*Robert Blake , pioneering Irish dentist...

 commented that "Derby surely must be the only Foreign Secretary in British history to reveal the innermost secrets of the Cabinet to the ambassador of a foreign power in order to frustrate the presumed intentions of his own Prime Minister." Derby resigned in January 1878 when the Cabinet resolved to send the British fleet through the Dardanelles, but when that action soon proved unnecessary, Derby was allowed to withdraw his resignation. However, he resigned again and finally in the same year when the Cabinet agreed to call up the reserve.

By October 1879 it was clear enough that he had thrown in his lot with the Liberal Party
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

, but it was not till March 1880 that he publicly announced this change of allegiance. He did not at first take office in the second Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four separate times , more than any other person. Gladstone was also Britain's oldest Prime Minister, 84 years old when he resigned for the last time...

 government, but became Colonial Secretary in December 1882, holding this position till the fall of that government in the summer of 1885. In 1886 the old Liberal party was run on the rocks and went to pieces. Lord Derby became a Liberal Unionist, and took an active part in the general management of that party, leading it in the House of Lords till 1891, when Lord Hartington became Duke of Devonshire. In 1892 he presided over the Labour Commission.
He served as President of the first day of the 1881 Co-operative Congress
Co-operative Congress
The Co-operative Congress is the national conference of the UK Co-operative Movement. The first of the modern congresses took place in 1869 following a series of meetings called the "Owenite Congress" in the 1830s...


Personal life

Lord Derby married Lady Mary, daughter of George Sackville-West, 5th Earl De La Warr
George Sackville-West, 5th Earl De La Warr
George John Sackville-West, 5th Earl de la Warr PC , styled Viscount Cantelupe until 1795, was a British courtier and Tory politician.-Background:...

 and widow of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Salisbury
James Gascoyne-Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Salisbury
James Brownlow William Gascoyne-Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Salisbury, KG, PC , styled Viscount Cranborne until 1823, was a British Conservative politician. He held office under the Earl of Derby as Lord Privy Seal in 1852 and Lord President of the Council between 1858 and 1859...

, in 1870. They had no children. Derby's health never recovered an attack of influenza which he had in 1891, and he died at Knowsley
Knowsley Hall
Knowsley Hall is a stately home near Liverpool within the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley, in Merseyside, England. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building, and is the ancestral home of the Stanley family, the Earls of Derby. The hall is surrounded by of...

 on 21 April 1893, aged 66. He was succeeded in the earldom by his younger brother, Frederick
Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby
Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby KG, GCB, GCVO, PC , known as Frederick Stanley until 1886 and as Lord Stanley of Preston between 1886 and 1893, was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom who served as Colonial Secretary from 1885 to 1886 and the sixth Governor General...

. Lady Derby died in December 1900.

External links

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