STANLEY, Edward, Lord Stanley (1752-1834).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1774 - 22 Feb. 1776

Family and Education

b. 12 Sept. 1752, 1st s. of James Smith Stanley, Lord Strange, and bro. of Hon. Thomas Stanley.  educ. Eton 1764; Trinity, Camb. 1771.  m. (1) 23 June 1774, Lady Elizabeth Hamilton (d. 14 Mar. 1797) da. of James, 6th Duke of Hamilton [S], 1s. 2da.; (2) 1 May 1797, Elizabeth Farran, actress, da. of George Farran, surgeon and apothecary, of Cork, 1s. 2da.  suc. gd.-fa. as 12th Earl of Derby 22 Feb. 1776.

Offices Held

Ld. lt. Lancs. 1776- d.; P.C. 29 Aug. 1783; chancellor of duchy of Lancaster Aug.-Dec. 1783, 1806-7.


Stanley was returned unopposed for Lancashire in 1774. On 24 Jan. 1775 Horace Walpole wrote to Lady Upper Ossory about a debate on America the previous evening: ‘Lord Stanley spoke for the first time and pleased by his manner: his matter, they say, would have pleased as well on any other day.’ He was a strong supporter of British rights over America, and on 20 Feb. 1775 voted against North’s conciliation proposals.1 Three other speeches by him in the Commons are reported: 2 Feb. 1775 on America, and 26 Oct. and 1 Dec. on Lancashire affairs.

In 1778, under the influence of his uncle John Burgoyne, he went into opposition, and said in the Lords on 26 Nov. that he now saw the impracticability of carrying on the American war.2 He had long been connected socially with Charles James Fox, and henceforth adhered to him in politics.

Derby died 21 Oct. 1834. ‘It was ... in the character of a sportsman that the late Earl made himself most conspicuous’, wrote the Gentleman’s Magazine (1834, ii. 644) ‘and a passion for horse racing and cock fighting was the absorbing one of his life.’ It is as the co-founder (with Sir Thomas Charles Bunbury) of the Derby and the Oaks that he is best remembered.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Pol. Mem. Francis, 5th Duke of Leeds, ed. Browning 4.
  • 2. Walpole, Last Jnls. ii. 207.