STANLEY, Thomas (1749-1816), of Cross Hill, Lancs.
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Family and Education
b. 14 Sept. 1749, 1st s. of Rev. Thomas Stanley by Betty, da. and coh. of John Shaw of York. He was a distant cos. of Edward, Lord Stanley. educ. Manchester g.s. 1758-66; Trinity Hall, Camb. 1767. unm. suc. fa. 27 June 1764.
In February 1780, and at the general elections of 1780 and 1784, Stanley was returned unopposed for Lancashire. He consistently opposed North’s Administration till the end; voted against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. He was a member of the St. Alban’s Tavern group (January 1784), which tried to unite Pitt and Fox, and on its failure voted against Pitt’s Administration.
On 14 May 1781, Stanley, in his first reported speech, seconded Burke’s motion condemning the confiscation of private property in St. Eustatius; on 21 May he supported the proposition of his fellow Member, Sir Thomas Egerton, to give the same bounties to cotton as to linen; on 24 June 1783 he spoke at length on the cotton and linen industries and their growing importance to the country, which he claimed was being undermined by ‘foreign competition, heavy taxes, and high wages’.1 He proposed to assist them by removing duties on raw materials. No other speech by him is reported before March 1785, when he presented petitions from Lancashire manufacturers, and pressed for an inquiry into their grievances. On 20 Apr. 1785, after the removal of various duties, he expressed ‘extreme satisfaction at having attained the object he had taken so much pains to effect’, but still wished for more help for Manchester manufacturers, ‘the pride of this country and the envy of foreign nations’.2 He apparently supported Pitt’s commercial treaty with France: in a letter to William Walton, chairman of the committee of Manchester merchants (22 Feb. 1787) he said that though he had considerable doubts about the treaty he ‘did not hesitate a moment giving up my own opinions to the wishes