SLOANE STANLEY, William (?1780-1860), of Paultons, Romney, Hants and 21 Curzon Street, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Constituency

Dates

27 July 1807 - 1812
1830 - 1831

Family and Education

b. ?1780,1 1st and o. surv. s. of Hans Sloane† of South Stoneham, Hants and his cos. Sarah, da. and coh. of Stephen Fuller, merchant and agent for Jamaica, of Clement’s Lane, Lombard Street, London. educ. Eton 1791; St. Andrews Univ. 1798-9; Belvedere Coll. Weimar (M. Mounier) 1799-1800. m. 23 June 1806, Lady Gertrude Howard, da. of Frederick, 5th earl of Carlisle, 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1824, having taken additional name of Stanley with him 28 Dec. 1821. d. 11 Apr. 1860.

Offices Held

Cornet 10 Drag. 1800, lt. 1801, ret. 1802.

Sheriff, Hants 1828-9.

Capt. St. James’s, Westminster vols. 1803, S. Hants yeomanry 1803, Romsey yeoman cav. 1831.

Biography

Sloane Stanley’s relationship with his father went from bad to worse during his early manhood. Money was at the bottom of their squabbles, which were exacerbated by the gulf in years and temperament between them. There were hints of trouble to come during Sloane Stanley’s education in Scotland and Germany, when he ran up debts and was accused of gambling. His father envisaged a career in the diplomatic service for him, but he was set on joining the army. Hans Sloane, who had bought a 1,500-acre estate with his future in mind, and assured him that ‘there will be few things you will not have a right to command’, gave way and, after an initial setback, secured him a commission in the Prince of Wales’s Hussars. Yet in little more than a year Sloane Stanley, complaining both of the expense and of ‘the caprices of a most whimsical commanding officer, whose whole endeavour seems [to be] to run me into debt and to make me miserable’, was begging to be released. Though slightly mollified by promotion to lieutenant as the prince’s gift, he continued to moan, and incurred his father’s displeasure by revealing new debts. The conclusion of peace gave him the chance to extricate himself from the army.2

He subsequently rebelled against the regime of academic study and foreign travel which his father sought to impose on him, preferring the field sports to which he was addicted. His outburst of resentment at being treated like ‘a common gamekeeper’ and his mounting debts so enraged his father that his uncle William Dickinson had to intervene as a peacemaker in November 1802. He was ordered to London for a showdown and advised to go abroad, in which case his father was prepared to increase his allowance from £700 to £1,000. There was another major row in the spring of 1805, when Sloane Stanley tried to get his hands on some of the substantial trust funds which his maternal grandfather had left between himself and his younger brother Stephen. (The latter, a clergyman, had also tested their father’s patience by marrying an unstable widow at the age of 18.) Hans Sloane, who had been given the final say in the distribution of this money, which was subject to good behaviour, would not hear of it, though he accepted William’s later apology and offered to settle his debts if he made a clean breast of them. At the end of that year Sloane Stanley entreated his father to resume negotiations with Lord Carlisle, who had refused his earlier offer of marriage to his daughter, and to overcome Carlisle’s objections by making a partial entail of his estates on any son of such a union. Hans Sloane, sceptical of William’s ‘easily discarding the parade of expense and bustle of large societies’, for all his promises to mend his ways, refused to go cap in hand to Carlisle, and threatened to impose the strictest entail on his son’s inheritance if he continued to misbehave. In the end, however, he relented, and sanctioned a settlement guaranteeing his daughter-in-law a widow’s jointure of £1,200 a year, to be charged on certain estates which were entailed on the eldest son of the marriage.3 These included property in county Down, where the Sloanes had come to prominence in the seventeenth century, and the Isle of Wight, as well as the potentially lucrative estate of Chelsea Park, Middlesex, bought by Hans Sloane’s grandfather William Sloane (1651-1728) in 1717. (This should not be confused with the moiety of the nearby and even more valuable manor of Chelsea left by Hans Sloane’s great-uncle Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) to his daughter Sarah, who married George Stanley of Paultons. Their son Hans Stanley (1720-80) left Paultons, subject to his two sisters’ life interest, to Hans Sloane. He devised the reversion of the moiety of Chelsea manor not, as stated in some sources, to Sloane, but to the Cadogan family, who already owned the other moiety through the marriage of Sir Hans Sloane’s other daughter.)4

Thereafter relations between father and son seem to have improved. Sloane Stanley, who made no mark as a Member of the 1807 Parliament, continued to devote most of his time to hunting and the turf. His brother, whose sinecure living of Gidney was the price extracted by his father for surrendering his seat in Parliament to suit the Grenville ministry, died in 1812. In his declining years Hans Sloane revelled in ‘a scrambling life’ divided between Paultons and his London house in Upper Harley Street, which was noted for its vile food and slovenly servants.5 He died, aged 84, in the summer of 1824.6 By his will, dated 9 Feb. 1824, he gave Lady Gertrude Sloane Stanley £500, provided generously for his domestic staff, and made William the residuary legatee of his personal estate, which was worth about £90,000.7 In September 1827 Sloane Stanley visited northern Italy with his two sons, leaving his wife in Switzerland. He saw many ‘fine things’, but deemed the Milanese ‘nasty’ and ‘horridly filthy’, and was revolted by their water closets, which were ‘like the French, abominable’.8

At the 1830 general election he was put up for Stockbridge by the 2nd Earl Grosvenor. His sister Maria’s waggish husband Joseph Jekyll† noted that he ‘canvassed and kissed the voters’ wives with a bottle of wine in his pocket, which, being poured plentifully into the female stomach, had a great effect in winning the female heart’.9 He was returned after a contest and, according to his Hampshire neighbour and friend Lord Palmerston*, afterwards entertained at Paultons with ‘all the grandeur of an MP.’10 His Whig brother-in-law, the 6th earl of Carlisle, reported that he was ‘disposed to support government’, who duly listed him among their ‘friends’, and he was in their minority on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830.11 In opposition to the Grey ministry, he divided against the second reading of their reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. In his only known contribution to debate, 28 Mar. 1831, he spoke, as ‘a large proprietor of British timber’, on the comparative merits of oak and teak as shipbuilding material, and asked whether ministers intended to supply the dockyards with British or African timber. He retired from Stockbridge at the 1831 dissolution, when Grosvenor abandoned control of the borough.12

Although he was never again in Parliament Sloane Stanley, a personal friend of Sir Robert Peel*, was an active and zealous supporter of the Conservative interest in the southern division of Hampshire. Palmerston, smarting after his defeat there in 1835, found it hard to forgive his ‘particular friend’ for ‘his offensive attack upon my personal character as a public man on the day of nomination’. He turned down Sloane Stanley’s subsequent offer of a written public explanation, ‘begged him to leave bad alone’, and reflected that ‘the only thing that can be said in his excuse is that he is a regular ass’.13 Sloane Stanley capitalized on his Chelsea estate by turning parts of it over to urban development. The area of Camera Square was built up in the 1830s, and Paultons Terrace was erected in 1843. He died a reputed though probably not an actual millionaire in April 1860, ‘aged 79’, from ‘an attack in the nature of apoplexy’. By his will, dated 20 May 1853, he left Lady Gertrude £10,000, plus an annuity of £400 to supplement her entitlement under their marriage settlement. He bequeathed £10,000 to make additional provision for his younger son George and two unmarried daughters, and devised Paultons to his elder son William Hans Sloane Stanley (1809-79), the residuary legatee. By a codicil of 13 Dec. 1855 he left George a freehold property with coal and mineral rights at Cadoxton-juxta-Neath, Glamorgan. He was credited by an obituarist with ‘affability ... candour, and earnestness’.14

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher

Notes

  • 1. Burke LG gives 1781, but his father commented that he had reached ‘the mature age of 25’ by 4 May 1805 (Hants RO, Paultons mss 28M57/67/26).
  • 2. Ibid. 65/1-15; 66/1-65; 67/1-19.
  • 3. Ibid. 66/63, 64; 67/20-32; 48M48/477; PROB 11/1063/160; 1330/653; Palmerston-Sulivan Letters, 116.
  • 4. E. St. John Brooke, Sir Hans Sloane, 13, 35-36, 215-16; T. Faulkner, Hist. Chelsea (1829), i. 148, 150, 153-4, 373; Survey of London, iv. 48; A. Beaver, Mems. Old Chelsea, 117-18; PROB 11/1651/651.
  • 5. Add. 40605, f. 464; Gent. Mag. (1812), i. 491; P