SMITH STANLEY, Edward George Geoffrey (1799-1869).

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



30 July 1822 - 1826
1826 - Nov. 1830
10 Feb. 1831 - 1832
1832 - 5 Sept. 1844

Family and Education

b. 29 Mar. 1799, 1st s. of Edward Smith Stanley, Lord Stanley* (later 13th earl of Derby), and Charlotte Margaret, da. of Rev. Geoffrey Hornby, rect. of Winwick, Lancs. educ. Eton 1811; Christ Church, Oxf. 1817, DCL 1852; continental tour 1821-2, N. American tour 1824-5. m. 31 May 1825, Emma Caroline, da. of Edward Bootle Wilbraham*, 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 2da. (1 d.v.p.). styled Lord Stanley 1834-44; summ. to Lords in his fa.’s barony as Lord Stanley of Bickerstaffe 4 Nov. 1844; suc. fa. as 14th earl of Derby 30 June 1851; KG 28 June 1859; GCMG 25 Mar. 1869. d. 23 Oct. 1869.

Offices Held

Under-sec. of state for war and colonies Sept. 1827-Jan. 1828; PC 22 Nov. 1830, PC [I] 10 Jan. 1831; chief sec. to ld. lt. [I] Nov. 1830-Mar. 1833, with seat in cabinet June 1831; sec. of state for war and colonies Apr. 1833-May 1834, Sept. 1841-Dec. 1845; first ld. of treasury 27 Feb.-28 Dec. 1852, 26 Feb. 1858-18 June 1859, 6 July 1866-29 Feb. 1868.

Ld. rect. Glasgow Univ. 1834-6; Sloane trustee, Brit. Mus. 1835-66; chan. Oxf. Univ. 1852-d.; elder bro. Trinity House 1852-d.


‘Young Stanley’, of whom it was reported in an apt but inaccurate overstatement that he was ‘the only brilliant eldest son produced by the British peerage for a hundred years’, proved himself one of the most gifted parliamentary debutants of his generation and a cabinet minister of considerable promise and distinction in this period.1 Brought up at the family seat of Knowsley, near Liverpool, to cherish the vigorous Foxite Whiggery of his grandfather, the 12th earl of Derby, whose actress wife Elizabeth Farren apparently taught him how to make the most of his tenor voice, Smith Stanley escaped the dogged mediocrity of his father, Member for Preston and Lancashire, and the cloying piety of his mother (though his children’s edition of the Parables attested to a youthful Evangelical streak) to become an accomplished classicist and a devoted sportsman.2 Dashing, boyish and witty when seeking to charm, his many detractors would, however, invariably find fault with his overbearing superciliousness - Sydney Smith wrote of him, when fresh from Oxford, that ‘a more unmannerly, ungracious person I never saw’ - and not a few commentators, his grandfather apparently among them, were later to doubt whether he could scale the heights of statesmanship that seemed to await him.3

Smith Stanley, who joined Brooks’s in 1819, was still just under age at the general election early the following year, when he was in Preston to assist in the return of his uncle Edmund Hornby, who thus continued to hold the family seat there as his locum.4 Delighted by his travels in the early 1820s in Italy, where he was briefly incarcerated, he was equally pleased to be brought in quietly by Lord Grosvenor for his newly acquired borough of Stockbridge in the summer of 1822, although he insisted that he would not necessarily feel bound to vote as his Whig patron would wish on reform or any other issue.5 He spoke with great effect on the hustings, but, perhaps at the behest of Derby, who hoped he would not be in a hurry to perform, he at first remained silent in the Commons.6 Instead, ambitious of making a profession for himself in public life, he, for the second time, turned that autumn to Lord Lansdowne for a guide to the best historical and legal literature; thanking him for the daunting reading list which he received in reply, he expressed his relief at escaping the albeit alluring prospect of contesting Liverpool, where his grandfather’s county influence might have led to him being put up in place of Canning, the new foreign secretary.7 It was from the sober and moderate Lansdowne that he absorbed the political philosophy of broadminded Whiggism which he would retain throughout his career: a conception of the primacy of parliamentary politics as governed by the privileged position of aristocratic leadership and mediated through the workings of party connection.8

His first known votes were given against the military and naval pensions bill, 14 Apr., and for repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr. 1823. Like his father, who presumably took him under his wing, he was in the majorities for inquiry into the legal proceedings against the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr., and against another into the currency, 12 June. He divided for parliamentary reform, 24 Apr. 1823, and alteration of the representation of Edinburgh, 26 Feb. 1824, 13 Apr. 1826. He voted for inquiry prior to the introduction of the Irish insurrection bill, 12 May, and to condemn the conduct of the lord advocate in the Borthwick case, 3 June 1823, and the lord chancellor over a breach of privilege, 1 Mar. 1824. He may sometimes have been confused in the parliamentary reports with Lord Stanley, who was more assiduous on local business, but on 25 Mar. he brought up several Lancashire anti-slavery petitions and one from Preston against the combination laws; having reverted to the latter the following day, he accepted the congratulations offered afterwards by Canning, who wrote to his wife on the 28th that ‘they tell me he is by no means violently hostile’.9 He made an admirable maiden speech, defending his father’s handling of the Manchester gas light bill, 30 Mar., when Sir James Mackintosh publicly praised him and Hudson Gurney* privately recorded that he was ‘the most promising practical beginner I have heard’.10 To his grandfather’s distress, he spoke and voted against Hume’s motion attacking the Irish church establishment, 6 May, after which Charles Williams Wynn*, president of the India board, commented that it was ‘the fashion of the opposition to bemoan the hard fate of poor Lord Derby in seeing his grandson act for himself and profess so much attachment to the church; his speech was really first rate’.11 He slightly qualified his remarks, 11 May, when he was named to the select committee on the state of Ireland, and that month it was stated that George Tierney*, the former Whig leader, ‘raves of his cleverness and promise’.12 He voted with opposition to condemn the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824.

In what was politely considered a wild scheme, Smith Stanley and the other young ‘fashionables’ John Evelyn Denison*, Henry Labouchere* and John Stuart Wortley* left England in June 1824 for an extensive and reflective tour of the United States and Canada.13 He returned early the following year with a marked aversion to slavery and a sense of regret that, unlike the potential solution available of establishing a Catholic church in Canada, no such arrangement could be made in Ireland without endangering the Protestant religion there.14 Anxious to be back before any possible dissolution, he was present to vote for Catholic relief, 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. According to his notebook of parliamentary proceedings, he divided to raise the elective franchise in Ireland, of which he wrote that he ‘would have voted for it independently of the Catholic question’, 26 Apr., and for paying Catholic priests, the other proposed ‘wing’, 29 Apr.15 He was in the minority against the grant for the duke of Cumberland, 27 May 1825. Derby having waived any objections to his taking the daughter of a Tory neighbour in wedlock, he married on the 31st and for a time resided on the family estate at Ballykisteen, county Tipperary, where he rebuilt the mansion house. Although living in isolation there, he further developed his interests in Irish affairs, especially about the parlous state of the poor and the iniquities of tithe-holders and non-resident landlords, which he hoped could be partially alleviated through schemes of assisted emigration. Intending to remain at his father-in-law’s till after the start of the new session, he doubted there would be much to dispute in Parliament.16 Apart from moving the unsuccessful wrecking amendment against the Liverpool and Manchester railway bill, 6 Apr., his only significant speech that year was on 8 May, in support of the ministerial plan for the emergency admission of foreign corn, to which he briefly urged a minor amendment, 11, 12 May 1826.

Offering in lieu of Hornby for Preston as a supporter of Catholic claims and moderate reform at the general election of 1826, he made the best of a severe contest and was returned in first place with the advanced radical Whig John Wood, against the Tory Robert Barrie, whom (in line with the collapse of Derby’s coalition with the corporation) he was obliged to disavow, and the radical William Cobbett†, who made him the butt of numerous offensive epithets (such as ‘the honourable spitting box’).17 He seconded the motion for leave for the bill to authorize the sale of Canadian clergy reserves, arguing that this would help agricultural improvement without jeopardizing the stability of the Protestant church, 20 Feb. 1827. Noting the bitterness generated by the debate, he gave a silent vote for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. He was in opposition minorities for inquiry into the allegations against the corporation of Leicester, 15 Mar., information on the Orange procession and Lisburn magistrates, 29 Mar., and for referring the Irish miscellaneous estimates to a select committee, 5 Apr. He divided for Newport’s unsuccessful amendment for a higher duty on flour, 19 Mar., but against Hume’s for gradually lowering the duty on wheat to 10s., 27 Mar., and for the second reading of the ministerial corn bill, 2 Apr. He voted for Tierney’s motion to postpone the committee of supply, 30 Mar., and against the newly installed Canning administration in favour of disfranchising Penryn, 28 May, 6 June.18 Observing that there was no one who could obviously succeed as prime minister in the event of Canning’s death, 19 May, Edward Littleton, Member for Staffordshire, added his regret that ‘Mr. Stanley, a young man, competent to any post, is not brought into office’.19 However, Smith Stanley divided with government for the Coventry magistracy bill, 11, 18 June, when he replied to the former home secretary Peel, the grant for water communications in Canada, 12 June, and the temporary corn bill, 18 June.20 Under Lansdowne’s aegis, he received an offer of a place at the treasury that month, but, although the family gave in its adherence to ministers, this was declined, partly because he required assurances that he would rise higher and partly, as with the suggestion of a peerage for his father, because of Derby’s reluctance to sanction by-elections in Preston and Lancashire, where it was understood that he would eventually inherit a seat.21 Following the death of Canning in early August 1827, it was suspected that he might be given an under-secretaryship at the foreign office, but, as a key element in the demands made by the Lansdowne Whigs in negotiating with the new premier Lord Goderich, he was offered one at the colonial department under Canning’s political heir William Huskisson* the following month, apparently with the reversion of the office of Irish secretary whenever it was vacated by William Lamb*. He took up the work immediately and, despite his inexperience, was expected to shine as a man of business; Robert Wilmot Horton*, whom he refused to oblige by transferring to the board of trade, did not immediately resign the salary which came with the post and his appointment was not in fact gazetted.22

Tipped to be chancellor of the exchequer if the ailing Goderich administration gave way to a Whig one, in January 1828 Smith Stanley was witnessed by Countess Gower displaying ‘negligence and apathy’ towards the grave ministerial prospects. Lord Palmerston*, the secretary at war, reported to Lady Cowper on the 14th that ‘Stanley, they say, considers himself now as attached to Huskisson and will at all events remain’, but, Smith Stanley wrote to Lord Sandon* on the 17th that ‘I hope, but hardly expect such a mixed government as I imagine you and I would both wish to see’ and ‘am quite ready to go out or stay in as things may turn out’.23 On the duke of Wellington’s appointment as premier later that month he seceded with the other Lansdowne Whigs, though Huskisson, who stayed at the colonial office, offered to retain him; his supporter Lady Holland, who considered him ‘very ambitious’ but ‘far from popular with his young colleagues’, observed that he ‘was pleased with the business of the office and liked Mr. Huskisson personally very much’ but had ‘properly given in his resignation’.24 Considered by Wellington as likely to be hostile on the finance committee, to which he was named on 15 Feb., he spoke in vindication of his conduct, 18 Feb. 1828, when he expressed his displeasure at Huskisson’s abandonment of Canning’s principles and his conviction that, nevertheless, ‘the old and stubborn streak of Toryism is at last yielding to the increasing liberality of the age’.25 His speech, which astonished Charles Baring Wall* was described by Charles Percy* as being ‘offensive in so young a man, of no great talent and with more than fitting personality to Huskisson, considering that he held his late appointment by his kindness only’.26

Smith Stanley voted for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and Catholic relief, 12 May 1828. In early March he and Wood gave up their Preston poll bill, first introduced the previous year, which was opposed by the corporation.27 Maintaining his interest in colonial affairs, he supported the passengers regulation bill several times that month and opposed the production of information on the Canada Company, 27 Mar. He divided against extending East Retford into the hundred of Bassetlaw, 21 Mar., and for transferring Penryn’s seats to Manchester, 24 Feb. He argued that Huskisson’s corn bill betrayed the principles of Canning’s resolutions of the previous year, 22 Apr., when he acted as teller for John Calcraft’s unsuccessful amendment for a lower pivot price, and voted against Henry Bankes and Edward Portman’s unsuccessful amendments, 25 Apr., and again, 20 May, when he divided for information on civil list pensions. He welcomed Huskisson’s appointment of a select committee on Canada, of which he became a member, 2 May, and, speaking ‘very well and handsomely’ according to Lord Seaford, vindicated Canning’s memory in the debate on making provision for his family, 13 May.28 He spoke, including in answer to Peel, now reinstated as home secretary, and voted for giving East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 19 May, when he declared that ‘I am no theoretic reformer, but whenever a case occurs when reform is necessary and practicable I will adopt it’. Following the subsequent dismissal of the Huskissonites, there was some thought that the bait of the Irish secretaryship might secure him to government, but nothing came of this and, as he carried all before him in the Commons, the cabinet minister Lord Ellenborough feared that ‘now Stanley will lead the opposition and terrify Peel’; however, his attempt to organize a concerted assault on ministers was quashed by the Whig leadership.29 Again speaking and voting against sluicing East Retford, 2 June, he noted in his journal that there was a ‘great muster by government and threats of a dissolution, which is prevented by their satisfactory majority’. He presented and endorsed a Liverpool petition for its franchise to be confined to respectable householders only, 9 June. He intervened and divided (sometimes as a teller) for economies in relation to the archbishop of Canterbury’s bill, 16 June, Buckingham House, 23 June, the salary of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 4 July, and the ordnance survey and North American fortifications, 7 July. He, at this stage at least, backed Nicolson Calvert’s bill to disfranchise certain Retford electors, 24 June, when he was a minority teller for inquiry into abuses in the Irish church, and on again forlornly supporting the borough’s disfranchisement, 27 June 1828, he attacked Peel and said that there had been ‘a diminution of the small hope I had, that liberal and constitutional measures would proceed from this administration’.30

In July 1828 the Whig stalwart Sir James Graham* of Netherby, with whom his name was so often to be linked in the coming years, wrote to Smith Stanley, who now aspired to Canning’s mantle, to urge him to hazard the leadership of a broad-based opposition, independently of Grey, Lansdowne and Henry Brougham*:

I hope you will take the field in force and I think you will find a strong and respectful body willing to act under you. Much of course must depend on the events which may occur before Parliament reassembles, but the aspect of affairs is so clouded by difficulties that the chances are some capital blunder may be committed and there will arrive the golden opportunity of forming a party in the House of Commons in some broad and intelligible principle ... You are the person on whom I raise my hopes. You contain all the great requisites. You may reunite a scattered tribe which it is the interest of the country to see consolidated.31

According to Lady Jersey, he was ‘very desirous of leading in the House of Commons’ and that autumn he agreed with Lord John Russell* ‘in the advantage of making the Catholic question a much more leading point of party than it has been made yet, and also of obtaining any points of union by which to consolidate a party of steady opposition’.32 His rank and talents were recognized, but his frivolity and inexperience, compared for instance to Brougham or Lord Althorp*, told against him and he was distrusted. James Abercromby*, alluding to his endeavours earlier that year to gather his like-minded friends in support of the liberal part of the ministry, ruled him out, writing to Lord Holland:

I never find Stanley’s name associated with the formation of a young party in the House of Commons without recollecting his move of last spring ... It is not agreeable to go into details in a matter that is so personal, but my impression is now strong that Stanley would not be a safe leader ... It may be that he has seen his error and is now inclined to a better issue, but I always recollect a golden rule that I learned from you - a man will commit a fault a second time, which he has committed once, because it is in his character. At any rate even the most charitable will agree that he should have a season of probation.33

Encouraged by Lansdowne, he intended to participate in what he hoped would be a concerted and decisive onslaught on ministers at the start of the 1829 session, over the disintegrating state of Ireland and the consequent necessity of granting Catholic emancipation, though he doubted whether the attempted exploitation of other topics would yield any advantage.34

In a detailed correspondence on this at the turn of the year with his Canningite friend Denison, to whom he lamented that ‘you and I have happened hitherto to find ourselves in two different parties, between which, upon my conscience, I cannot, if put to the question, find any conceivable practical difference’, he concurred that if Wellington was ‘disposed to carry this question, even to a moderate extent, even requiring unnecessary securities against imaginary dangers ... I for one say with you that he ought to be cordially supported’, but otherwise that their combined friends should unite in the middle ground, ‘supporting no government which would not carry it and supporting any government in carrying it’.35 The revelation of the ministerial concession of emancipation rendered an opposition assault pointless; welcoming it on expressing his approval of the suppression of the Catholic Association, 10 Feb. 1829, he however poisoned the atmosphere by condemning the Brunswickers with unnecessary asperity.36 Thereafter he apparently left London for the rest of the month.37 He voted for the emancipation bill, 6, 30 Mar., presented Preston and Lancashire petitions in its favour, 10, 18 Mar., and intervened on its details, 23, 24, 26 Mar. He went away on 19 Mar. before the unanticipated division on the related Irish franchise bill, about which he now had qualms and only approved of on the ‘ground of expediency and compromise’.38 He divided for transferring East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May, and urged alteration of the civil government of Canada, 14 May, 5 June. Nothing came of speculation in June that he would accept the offer of a place, but, as the best of the rising men in the House, Smith Stanley, who on a visit to Liverpool in August announced his future candidacy for Lancashire, continued to be thought a great catch.39 In October the Ultra leader Sir Richard Vyvyan* described him as ‘a man that should be obtained’ for any potential administration, not least as ‘a good decoy for the Whigs’; Palmerston privately thought him likely to ‘jump at any offer that put him in into the cabinet with a seemly mixture of liberals’.40 In November 1829 Thomas Creevey* recounted how he was at Knowsley when a letter arrived reporting that Huskisson had spoken of ‘his return to office as a thing quite certain, and of Edward Stanley doing so too. Indeed he spoke of the latter as quite the Hope of the Nation!’; Creevey added that as ‘the Hope of the Nation was present when this was read, it would not have been decent to laugh, but the little earl gave me a look which was quite enough’.41

Declaring himself to be ‘very idle and very indifferent’, on 13 Jan. 1830 Smith Stanley asked Brougham if he might be allowed to stay away from the opening of the session, but he was present to vote in the minority for Knatchbull’s amendment to the address on agricultural distress, 4 Feb.42 He was appointed to the select committee on the affairs of the East India Company, 9 Feb. As he had in the two preceding sessions, he obtained leave for his Irish ecclesiastical leases bill, 16 Feb., but he again failed to secure its passage. He spoke briefly for the principle of parliamentary reform, 18 Feb., but divided that day in the ministerial majority against Lord Blandford’s proposals, and he voted for enfranchising Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., transferring East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5, 15 Mar., and Russell’s reform motion, 28 May. He gave government credit for the economies it had made, 19 Feb., and opposed Edward Davenport’s motion for inquiry into the state of the nation as unnecessary and impracticable, 23 Mar., but he generally joined in the opposition’s revived campaign for retrenchment and lower taxation that year. In early March he, like his father, pleaded pressure of business to excuse himself from the Whig meeting which chose Althorp as the new Commons leader.43 On 6 Apr. Grey’s heir Lord Howick*, noting that Smith Stanley had left without securing a pair on Daniel Whittle Harvey’s motion about the management of crown land revenues, 30 Mar., recorded in his diary that ‘I am afraid he is not quite what I would wish’; when talking about a possible Whig government, 13 May, Howick described his father as objecting to Althorp’s suggestion of giving him a seat in the cabinet from the outset.44 He divided for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May, and to abolish capital punishment for forgery, 24 May, 7 June. He was in minorities for Daniel O’Connell’s bill to alter Irish vestry laws, 27 Apr., the abolition of the Irish lord lieutenancy, 11 May, and repeal of the Irish coal duties, 13 May. He spoke and voted to condemn ministers over Terceira, 28 Apr., and divided with opposition on Canada, 25 May. By late June and early July 1830, when ministers, Peel among them, were again contemplating an overture to him, he was closely involved with Whig operations, including a plan to disrupt the estimates, which was dished by Hume.45

Smith Stanley, whose father would have made way for him in Lancashire if he had been forced to a poll there, was again returned with Wood for Preston at the general election of 1830, when, having vindicated his parliamentary votes on the hustings and spent heavily on drink, he defeated the popular candidate Henry Hunt* in another violent contest.46 In September Huskisson’s fatal accident created a vacancy at Liverpool, for which he was briefly considered, partly to counter the potential candidacy of Peel; however, Derby’s death, which would have removed him to the county seat, was thought to be imminent and, in any case, he was considered to be ‘too decidedly anti-slavery’.47 The loss of the leader of the former Canningites increased Smith Stanley’s value to ministers: for example, Ellenborough that month urged his introduction, with Palmerston, ‘to prevent the junction of the Whig aristocracy with the Radicals’.48 On 1 Nov. Arbuthnot informed Peel of Wellington’s negotiations with Palmerston and the Huskissonites, whom it was thought could be purchased at the cost of a commitment to limited reform, along with Graham and Smith Stanley. He added:

I observed to Stanley that they would be exposed to all Brougham’s attacks, but for this he did not care at all. He felt that by joining with Palmerston and the Grants he should be sufficiently covered, and Sir J. Graham had the same feeling. He did not know that Stanley wanted high office, or office at all at present, but he should say it would be wise to put him in office, as he would be most useful to Peel as an every-day man.49

Yet Wellington’s declaration against reform, 2 Nov., killed the negotiation, and Smith Stanley, who early the previous month had been advocating a stronger Whig union under Grey, at once became involved in the opposition preparations for Brougham’s reform motion (on the 16th), which was expected to decide the duke’s fate.50 He raised the expense of the Rideau Canal, 5 Nov., and the salary of the clerk of the council, 15 Nov. 1830, when, having been listed earlier by ministers among their ‘foes’, he divided in the majority on the civil list, which precipitated their resignation.

Smith Stanley, of whom Abercromby snidely remarked to Holland that he ‘is really a poor thing, that is with reference to the higher and nobler qualities of a man’, 19 Nov. 1830, was named chief secretary to the lord lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Anglesey, on the formation of the Grey coalition ministry that month.51 His predecessor Sir Henry Hardinge* welcomed his appointment ‘as a man of ability and business’, and Brougham, now lord chancellor, flattered him on his oratory and declared that ‘you are the person I above all others look to as the powerful, eloquent and judicious champion of the good causes’ in the Commons.52 He initially expected an easy run at Preston, where he was obliged to offer himself for re-election, but the delay of the writ and Hunt’s organized campaign led to his defeat, to the dismay of his ministerial colleagues, in December 1830.53 He blamed his downfall on ‘the stupidity or ill-will of the returning officer’ who, by opening the poll to all comers, turned a sharp contest into a triumph for what he called ‘mob law’; but his refusal to spend or to pledge for the ballot and alteration of the corn laws rendered him even more unpopular, while one observer commented that the radicals would never have tried their hand again but for his ‘imprudent and offensive hauteur’.54 Abandoning both the scrutiny he had promised and a petition, evidently because of the insurmountable legal difficulties of justifying his rightful election, he gratefully accepted the king’s offer of a seat at Windsor, which would become available once the incumbent Sir Richard Hussey Vivian had been provided for.55 This was considered a mark of royal favour towards ministers and Smith Stanley, who was duly returned unopposed at the by-election early the following year, used his speech there to hint at William IV’s confidence in the government’s moderate reform credentials.56

He was already embroiled in the affairs of Ireland, where mounting economic distress and growing calls for repeal of the Union, whipped up by O’Connell, had produced almost a state of insurrection. Writing to Holland from Dublin Castle, 2 Jan. 1831, he confided his hope that ‘with cool heads and steady hands we may be too much for him at last’, and at a shrieval dinner in the city on the 11th, when he portrayed himself as a resident Irish landlord, he expressed his ambitions for assisting in the development of the country.57 Yet, as one observer wrote later that year:

It was with some surprise that the people of Dublin saw in their new chief secretary an exceedingly juvenile and boyish looking functionary, with a demeanour which his shrewdness rescued from puerility, but in which a more than ordinary carelessness and a sort of harsh levity, not quite consistent with good breeding and alien from the nature of his duties, was observed.58

Certainly O’Connell, who, nicknamed him (as he did other inexperienced chief secretaries) a ‘shave beggar’ and was at some point to provoke him into an (unanswered) challenge, found him unacceptable and, particularly after his arrest on 19 Jan. for breaching the proclamation against the holding of seditious meetings, their mutual antagonism, which was frequently evident in their bad-tempered parliamentary encounters, influenced every aspect of Smith Stanley’s tenure as Irish secretary.59 Engrossed with numerous schemes of improvement, he took his seat, 11 Feb., when, as he was often to do, he dead-batted a query about Irish distress and unrest as being unfortunate but lying outside government’s immediate remit; the following day he informed Anglesey that ‘the temper of the House of Commons is excellent upon Irish matters and we shall be able to carry our affairs there with a high hand’. He indignantly denied that government had held out any secret political compromise in exchange for O’Connell pleading guilty to the charges against him, 14, 16 Feb., and, privately boasting that he had ‘got the stock of him with the House’, he attacked O’Connell for acting as a demagogue outside Parliament, 21 Feb., and kept the upper hand by insisting that it was he, not ministers, who had sued for terms over his trial, 28 Feb. 1831.60

Already deemed, in Holland’s words, ‘one of the main props of the government’ in the Commons that month, he was anxious about the poor performance of his colleagues and confided to Anglesey, in relation to the as yet undisclosed parliamentary reform plan, that ‘entre nous, I much doubt its success’.61 Althorp, the chancellor of the exchequer, showed him the extensive proposals just before Russell made his introductory statement, 1 Mar. 1831, so that he would be prepared to speak on it: he ‘was so surprised that he burst into an incredulous laugh, but recovered himself by degrees and agreed to do as he was bid’.62 Quietly optimistic about the bill’s chances, he duly performed brilliantly in replying to Peel, 4 Mar., when his speech, which Sir Henry Bunbury, Member for Suffolk, described as ‘statesmanlike, clear, pointed and effective’, induced Grey to comment to Anglesey, who concurred, that he ‘is evidently to be, in due time, the leader of the House of Commons, and I am anxious to have him in the cabinet now’.63 Aware of the absurdity of the Irish secretary being in the cabinet while his chief, the lord lieutenant, remained necessarily outside it, Smith Stanley, who declined to move to a different department and to incur a further £1,500 of expenses at Windsor, suggested that his duties should instead be transferred to the new office of a fourth secretary of state in charge of Ireland, but nothing came of this.64 Among minor contributions on other government business, he derailed Sir John Newport’s motion on Irish first fruits revenues, 14 Mar., explained the provisions of the Irish reform bill, 24 Mar., and defended his measures for relieving Irish distress, 30 Mar. Fearful of the Castle being left without immediate recourse to greater legislative powers, he strenuously opposed the option of a dissolution and even let it be known that he would resign rather than remain responsible for maintaining the peace in Ireland in such circumstances.65 To the admiration of the Ultra duke of Newcastle, who thought him uniquely promising, he made another excellent speech, cautioning Members that the fate of the bill hung on the outcome, against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr., though Thomas Gladstone* commented that he ‘lost his temper sadly and spoke something like a desperate man’.66 Having rebuffed approaches from Dublin, Preston and (slightly later) Liverpool at the ensuing general election, he made a major speech at Windsor in justification of the ministerial policies of peace, retrenchment and reform (in answer to which Wellington prepared a lengthy memorandum) and was returned unopposed.67 On 14 May 1831 he reported to Grey from Dublin that the Irish elections, in which he was closely involved, were ‘going on very well’, and a week later he concluded that they would end ‘about 66 to 34, or perhaps one more in our favour’.68

Reportedly furious that the Irish law officers had ruled that the prosecution of O’Connell should lapse with the life of the Parliament, Smith Stanley was forced to bow to Grey’s decision that this was probably for the best, although bound to lead to unpleasant proceedings in the House.69 Having been brought into the cabinet, somewhat against Anglesey’s better judgement, to give him what Grey termed ‘greater authority and efficiency in the House of Commons’, he duly denied any compromise with O’Connell in the debate on the address, 21 June 1831, when he declared his belief that the state of Ireland was gradually improving, but hinted at the introduction of a system of poor laws to deal with the desperate levels of distress.70 As he was often forced to do, he defended the yeomanry in relation to the Castle Pollard affair, 27 June, and repeated that justice was impartially administered despite occasional outrages like the one at Newtownbarry, 30 June; he made an ‘inimitable’ speech against Goulburn about official salaries that day, when he also presented statements on the reintroduced Irish reform bill and the issuing of £500,000 of exchequer bills to fund public works.71 However, he blundered badly on introducing the Irish arms bill, 1 July, for his proposal to make the possession of unregistered arms in a proclaimed district an offence punishable by transportation, which had not been put before the cabinet, was pounced on by O’Connell; Althorp, who listened in astonishment and privately described it as ‘one of the most tyrannical measures I ever heard proposed’, informed his father Lord Spencer that ‘we must stand by Stanley, but we must soften down his measure; it is at any rate a great scrape, for O’Connell will have the credit for forcing upon us any modification’.72 He duly backtracked on the matter, 8 July, and although he was still considered a master in debate and a possible replacement as leader if Spencer’s death removed Althorp to the Lords, O’Connell, whose juries bill was seconded by him on the 19th as an earnest of government intentions, noted that ‘Stanley is much less self-conceited since I knocked up his arms bill’.73 Now more confident about the viability of ministerial business, Smith Stanley, who the previous month had put off the tithes issue because it would ‘afford the Tories the cry of revolution in the church following up revolution in the state’, briefly objected to the repeated motions for adjourning proceedings on the reintroduced reform bill, 12 July, and opposed postponing the disfranchisement clauses, 13 July.74 Thereafter, he made frequent interventions, some of them substantial, on its details in the committee, where, although not as active as Althorp or Russell, he seems to have had a quasi-superintending role. On the 28th he wrote to Anglesey that

at the present moment we can hear nothing but reform day and night. If this hot weather lasts we must die off fast - from 5 o’clock every night till 2 or 3 in the morning without interval, added to all the [Irish] office and government business in the day is more than flesh and blood can stand through August and September, and I see no hope of being through before Christmas. Our friends however are very staunch, and only very much annoyed when we give way on the fullest case being made out. Saltash was an instance the night before last, and they were some of them very sulky yesterday, but were reconciled by our defending strenuously a very bad case [on the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham] last night in which I believe we have done gross injustice, which was sanctioned by a large majority.75

He defended schedule B and denied that the representation of agricultural areas would suffer by it, 2 Aug. 1831.

Having, on 9 Aug. met, with petulance, criticisms that he was neglecting Irish business in the Commons, Smith Stanley also came under fire from a frustrated Anglesey, who protested to Grey on the 14th:

I have urged Stanley, over and over again, to press forward all his measures for the advantage of Ireland - that, at least, he would give notice of motions and thus take the initiative away from O’Connell, and from any of the factious Irish Members, the credit of originating measures. Unhappily, little, if any, of this has been done: and, by a strange fatality, every thing that has yet been announced has had the character of coercion, or of restriction or of taxation.76

Holland, who as a cabinet minister was privy to the lack of progress in formulating Irish policy, recorded in his diary that there was something ‘in the complaints of Mr. Stanley’s manner and the want of concert and consultation’ with the Irish Members. Ironically, when Smith Stanley and Althorp met those favourable to administration, 18 Aug., Anglesey’s plan for making the yeomanry a permanent establishment were totally rejected and the lord lieutenant was afterwards informed by his secretary, who conceded that the idea would have to be dropped, that ‘their object is not to turn us out (which they will however do) but to force us into their measures, which I cannot allow them to do’.77 At least Anglesey, who wrote to him from Dublin on the 20th that ‘the on dit here is that you are dismissed for having opposed O’Connell about the yeomanry and that [the former viceroy Lord] Talbot is to relieve me from my labours’, was delighted by his ‘most brilliant display’ in triumphantly defeating Robert Gordon’s motion censuring the Irish government for exerting undue interference in the Dublin election, 23 Aug.78 Although he concurred in opposing Sadler’s motion on Irish poverty, in the hope of being able to bring in better proposals the following year, 29 Aug., he entered into a flurry of remedial legislation that autumn.79 He obtained leave for a successful bill to improve the control of magistrates by establishing lord lieutenants in Irish counties, 15 Aug.; explained his plan for educating Protestants and Catholics together, in all subjects except religious instruction, at national schools that would be funded by an initial grant of £30,000, 9 Sept.; and published a (later abandoned) measure to alter Irish grand jury laws in order to end widespread financial abuses, 29 Sept. On 3 Sept. 1831 Anglesey, who understood Smith Stanley would transfer to the exchequer, deemed him ‘too high and rough’ for the Irish Members, but on the 23rd the latter, who feared the Irish reform bill would cause problems in debate, reported that they ‘are at present in very good humour [and] I hope I may be able to keep them so’.80

Early that month, when his resignation was spoken of, he aligned himself with the duke of Richmond and the moderate reformers in the cabinet against asking the king for a creation of peers in order to ensure the reform bill’s passage in the Lords.81 Yet, he continued to give the measure his full support in the Commons, where on 20 Sept. 1831 he answered Croker by arguing that its defeat in the Upper House would increase not diminish the chances of revolution. He condemned as an outrageous slur Sir Charles Wetherell’s suggestion that ministers had connived at the wave of public unrest which greeted the loss of the bill in the Lords, 12 Oct. He was warned against allowing the public appetite for reform to escalate out of control in a letter that day from Sandon, whose father Lord Harrowby, a leading ‘Waverer’, he visited early the following month, with Grey’s approval, to confer about possible alterations to the bill.82 Sympathetic to the sensitivities of the leading moderate Palmerston, who counted him among those of his colleagues who would be ‘for modifications’, his position lay somewhere between the advanced reformers, who favoured an even stronger bill, and Palmerston, to whom he wrote on 28 Oct.:

The whole subject is fairly before us for reconsideration, and ... all we are pledged to as a government is to bring forward no measure which shall not go the full length of removing the grievances complained of, as effectually as the late bill did. I do not despair of our being able to agree on a measure ... which the peers may acquiesce in, and may satisfy our reasonable friends. But, I own, I think it would be more consistent of us to bring forward a measure even something larger than might go through both Houses, and which the peers might modify, than to run the risk of an imputation of insincerity, by so far reducing our proposals, as to leave it doubtful whether more might not have been obtained.83

After another row that month over the suggested appointment of O’Connell as an Irish law officer, which prompted Brougham and Holland to ruminate about moving him to a safer ministerial berth, he threw himself back into the affairs of Ireland, where, damned by Lord Donoughmore as an ignorant and dangerous ‘puppy’, he continued to be extremely unpopular.84 He was reported by the patronage secretary Edward Ellice* to have said that ‘the Irish hated him as much as he hated the Irish’, while O’Connell condemned him as ‘the snappish, impertinent, overbearing high church Mr. Stanley’, who ‘has rendered himself personally odious to every Irish Member’ and ‘is the supporter of all existing abuses in Ireland’, adding that he and his friends would support government if only their protagonist was ‘promoted off’.85

Smith Stanley was infuriated by the decisions, made at the cabinet meeting which he missed on 19 Nov. 1831, to adopt a broadly similar reform bill and to recall Parliament before Christmas, not least because he would be hard pressed to have his legislative proposals ready for the beginning of the session.86 However, he got his tithes plan approved, despite some resistance, at other meetings and Holland subsequently commented to Anglesey that ‘I like Stanley’s views and measures much, infinitely better than his language and tone’.87 He responded to Croker at the start of the debate on the address, 6 Dec., by arguing that altering tithes would fortify the Irish church just as reform would strengthen Parliament. Announcing the appointment of a select committee on Irish tithes, of which he became chairman, 15 Dec., he explained that changes had become essential because of the massive campaign of non-payment since the previous summer and indicated a two-fold strategy: first, in line with his strongly stated commitment to the established church, in enforcing payments; and second, as a concomitant concession, in removing the Catholics’ genuine grievances. Charles Baring Wall reported that he ‘gave great satisfaction’ by his speech, though O’Connell predictably damned it by remarking that it had united all the Irish - both Protestants, who feared for the well being of their establishment, and Catholics, who wished him to go further - ‘in unanimous execration of his plan’.88 Speaking for once from a carefully prepared text, which his friends feared might make him less effective, he vindicated government’s conduct on reform and its proposals in the revised bill, 17 Dec. 1831, when, primed by John Cam Hobhouse*, who was pleased with ‘the genuine English spirit which breathed through all he said’, he eloquently demolished Croker, whose comparison of the early 1830s with the disastrous 1640s was exposed as a tangle of historical inaccuracies. He was loudly cheered throughout, and Denis Le Marchant† recorded that many of the older Members thought that ‘if not the best, it was one of the most effective speeches they had ever heard’. According to Greville, ‘Grey said it placed him at the very top of the H. of C., without a rival’ (though he added that, in his own view, this was perhaps ‘jumping to rather too hasty a conclusion’). Sir John Benn Walsh* exclaimed in his journal of the author of this ‘brilliant’ speech: ‘How much he is advancing, and how his powers of oratory and debate are expanding’.89

Optimistic about the prospects for reform, Smith Stanley, who was considered by Greville to hold the balance of power in the cabinet on the issue, sided with the moderates against asking the king for the immediate creation of 15 peers, 2 Jan. 1832.90 Rightly believed that month to be at loggerheads with a resentful Anglesey and to be willing to resign rather than to allow the spoliation of the Irish church, Ellenborough speculated that he might join a ‘Waverer’ administration and that ‘if he would lead the House of Commons, they would make a very strong government and put Peel aside’.91 However, he again advocated reform on reintroducing the Irish bill, 19 Jan., when he explained the reasons for the additional five seats and the use of the ‘beneficial interest’ test, among other alterations, and insisted that the Protestant interest would not be overwhelmed by the increased Catholic electorate.92 Exercising a strict control over the proceedings in the committee on tithes, the subject which earned him the sobriquet ‘scorpion Stanley’ that year, he defended the decision to exclude Catholic Members from it against O’Connell’s objections, 24 Jan.93 He dealt with complaints about the fees levied on Irish magistrates for renewing their commissions that day and again on 7 Feb., when Holland recorded that he showed his usual ‘acuteness, self-possession, judgement and authority’.94 According to Littleton’s account of the debate on Portugal, 9 Feb.

Stanley, who had been writing his report on Irish tithes on his knee, as he sat, all the evening, put by his paper when Peel began, and followed him in a very clever speech, full of high tone and animation - and considerable power. Peel winced under it.95

He emphasized that his tithes policy would embrace both enforcement and redress of grievances, 14 Feb., and, amid a welter of minor Irish business, he carried his Subletting Act amendment bill through the committee, 20 Feb., and repeated the principles behind the ministerial plan of national education, 6 Mar. In March he apparently declined leaving Ireland to become chancellor and leader of the Commons, as part of the potential rearrangement whereby Althorp would have been allowed to move to the Lords to supervise the reform bill there; in any case, Ellice doubted whether even he could make a success of it, such was his unpopularity among his fellow Whigs.96 Again answering Peel, he closed the debate on the third reading of the reform bill, 22 Mar. 1832, with what Greville described as a ‘good and dexterous speech’, praised by all.97 Holland’s son Charles Fox*, who called his eloquence ‘quite thrilling and splendid’, was afterwards moved to exclaim, ‘Stanley is a great man’.98

Smith Stanley, who had brought up his first report from the tithes committee on 17 Feb. 1832, was prevented from introducing his resolutions on it, 8 Mar., when Charles Brownlow, Member for county Armagh, sidetracked the debate with his unsuccessful amendment (defeated by 314-31) to postpone the discussion until the completion of the committee’s deliberations. On the 13th he argued that the distress suffered by many clergymen necessitated swift action, but despite his pledge to counterbalance the initial coercive elements of his policy with future concessions, he again had to listen to the apprehensions of Irish radicals that he meant to subjugate their country. When proceedings were resumed, 27 Mar., he defeated Edward Ruthven’s amendment for appropriation of the revenues of the Irish church (by 123-27) and secured his first three resolutions: to recognize the extent of resistance to payment; to advance £60,000 to distressed clergy; and to pay such advances in proportion to the value of each living. The next day he again encountered fierce opposition, so it was not until the 30th, when Henry Lambert’s hostile amendment was rejected (by 130-25), that the final two resolutions were agreed: for enforcing the collection of the arrears (in order to repay government advances) and for the ‘extinction’ of tithes by commutation. These propositions formed the basis of his Irish tithes (arrears) bill, which he introduced, 2 Apr. He secured its second reading (by 119-21), 6 Apr., ensured its passage against further challenges in committee, 9 Apr., and had it agreed at third reading (by 52-10), 16 Apr., when, replying to a blistering attack by Richard Sheil, he reprobated the constant harassment he met with in endeavouring to ameliorate the condition of Ireland. It was enacted on 1 June. Having on 25 May complained that a draft of his second report had been printed in the Dublin Evening Mail, he on the 30th and 31st pursued the editor Thomas Sheehan, who was admonished by the Speaker, 1 June. He presented this final report, 4 June, and on its being read, 5 July, he clarified his use of the word ‘extinction’, which had raised unrealistic expectations in Ireland, by stating that he really meant compulsory and permanent commutation; in other words, that ‘the object I have in view ... is to impose the burden, not upon the miserable occupying tenant of the soil, but upon the solvent and responsible landlord’. He defeated an O’Connellite amendment to abolish tithes (by 149-25) that day, and obtained leave for the subsequent Irish tithes (composition) bill (by 124-32) on the 13th. Having secured its second reading, 18 July, he spoke at length in favour of the dual principles of enforcement and concession in order to ensure its committal, 24 July, when a radical motion to add inquiry into other aspects of the church to the committee’s brief was defeated (by 77-16), and made frequent interventions during its committee stage, 31 July-2 Aug. The third reading was uneventful, 6 Aug., and it was given royal assent, 16 Aug. 1832.99

Smith Stanley, who reported to Anglesey, 10 May 1832, that ‘the king was much affected, and was in tears repeatedly’ on ministers’ resignation over the reform crisis early that month, signalled that he would also quickly relinquish his seat at Windsor.100 At a party meeting at Brooks’s, 13 May, he, according to Le Marchant, ‘jumped on the table, and in a most stirring and eloquent speech attacked the new ministers and the Tory aristocracy most unsparingly’, but, despite his violence, he in the end supported Althorp’s successful resolution to back any reform measure that Wellington might propose. By the 16th, when he was quoted as saying that ‘it was all settled and they had not been too hard upon the king’, he and his colleagues had been reinstated.101 Yet the following day a former Tory minister noted that ‘Stanley says they are riding the king too hard in the matter of this creation of peers’, and on 20 May he wrote to Sir Thomas Acland*:

My chief satisfaction, while you seem to think that all is so smooth before us, is that the House of Lords will never forgive us the [illegible] violence which they have compelled us to use, and will take the earliest opportunity of turning us out as soon as the reform bill shall have passed and shall have brought in, as it will, an aristocratic, agricultural House of Commons.102

Whatever his personal reservations, he spoke twice for the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May, and defended the use of the royal prerogative of creating peers, 5 June. Immersed in the details of the Irish measure, he repelled O’Connell’s attempts to restore the county qualification to 40s. or at least lower it to £5 freeholders, 13, 18 June, and clashed with him over the leaseholder and freeman franchises, 25 June, 2 July. He provoked Protestant Tory opposition to his Irish party processions bill, 14, 25 June, but after announcing its postponement, 29 June, managed to carry it against last ditch resistance in the committee, 8 Aug. He expressed his sympathy for Sadler’s motion to make provision for the Irish poor by a tax on absentees, but carried the previous question against it, 19 June. He attacked Peel for introducing party political considerations into the debate on the Ascot attack on the king, 20 June. O’Connell having threatened to have him impeached in the reformed Parliament, he made a lengthy rejoinder on his conduct towards Ireland during his speech vindicating government over the Russian-Dutch loan, 20 July, and reacted angrily to the Preston anti-tithes petition, got up by Hunt and presented by Sheil, which called for his removal from office, 3 Aug. 1832.

Smith Stanley, who in June announced that he would leave Windsor to offer in place of his father, while his brother Henry came in for Preston, was returned unopposed for Lancashire North at the general election in December 1832, when he stated that the Reform Act was intended to be a final measure but advocated other liberal changes.103 Reckoned by then to be second only to Peel as a parliamentary performer, James Grant recollected that ‘all was anxiety and attention whenever he rose’. He dominated despite his faults, notably the ‘spirit of mockery’ in which he listened, the rancour which he displayed in speaking and the unashamed glee with which he exulted over his opponents; and he did so largely because, as the duke of Argyll wrote, ‘the voice was beautiful, the sentences perfect in construction, the delivery easy and graceful. There was fire and fun and raillery, whilst occasionally Stanley rose to passages of great dignity and power’.104 Tom Macaulay* was surprised to overhear him once say that ‘my throat and lips ... when I am going to speak are as dry as those of a man who is going to be hanged’, for he felt that ‘nothing can be more composed and cool than Stanley’s manner ... [he] speaks like a man who never knew what fear or even modesty was’.105 Another colleague, Russell, later observed that during the reform debates it was he, rather than Althorp and other speakers, who

by his animated appeals to the liberal majority, by his readiness in answering the sophisms of his opponents, by the precision and boldness of his language, by his display of all the great qualities of a parliamentary orator and an able statesman, successfully vindicated the authority of the government and satisfied their supporters in the House of Commons.106

Indeed, it was for his supreme brilliance in this respect that he later became well known as the ‘Rupert of Debate’, in the phrase from Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer’s* ‘The New Timon’ (1845). Yet Russell was also aware of how, even on his first appointment as Irish secretary, ‘his declarations in favour of the established church of Ireland, and his temper, little tolerant of opposition, gave warning of storms’.107 These were frequent in his first two years in office, during which he not only often seemed to be flippant and arrogant in his relations with Irish Members and usually displayed a temperamental bias towards authoritarian policies, but was also at times hardly on speaking terms with Anglesey about official business, so that in Holland’s words he became ‘almost an obstacle to our government in Ireland’.108 As the ‘great authority’ for Grey on Irish affairs, his position was not seriously challenged until the autumn of 1832, when disputes arose about his overly conservative proposals for reform of the Irish church, notably with Russell and Durham. However, at Grey’s request, powerfully reinforced by Graham, he agreed not to insist on a pledge of unequivocal cabinet backing which risked endangering the administration, and, as the result of a promise made before the dissolution, in early 1833 he was finally transferred to another cabinet position.109 As colonial secretary he carried the emancipation of slaves in British colonies, but his objections to Russell’s opinions in favour of lay appropriation of Irish church revenues provoked his resignation the following year and by the end of the decade he had joined his old rival Peel in opposition.110

In October 1832 the young William Gladstone† wrote, with what turned out to be a double irony, that ‘when I heard Stanley in the House of Commons, I thought him the cleverest man I had ever seen - he seemed quicker than thought itself - he is too good for them: I wish he were with us’. This sentiment was later echoed by Brougham in commenting that ‘when Stanley came out in public life, and at the age of 30, he was by far the cleverest young man of the day: and at 60 he would be the same, still by far the cleverest young man of the day’.111 Of course, by then, pained by gout and entering the last decade of his life, he had, as the 14th earl of Derby, been transmogrified into the long-serving leader of the Conservative party. Nonetheless, he was in some respects governed by the instincts that he had imbibed during his political apprenticeship, notably in his ultimately limited attitude to alteration of the corn laws; his paradoxically daring way of advancing the cause of parliamentary reform; and his obstinate, but neither unthinking nor uncharitable opposition to lay appropriation, the subject of one of his last, as it had been of one of his first, parliamentary speeches. Remembered as the prime minister who led three short-lived minority Conservative governments and presided over the passage of the second Reform Act in 1867, it could be argued that it was well before he inherited his peerage that he obtained the achievements recorded in the celebrated phrase formulated by Benjamin Disraeli†, who has long overshadowed him in the historiography of their party, that ‘he abolished slavery, he educated Ireland, he reformed Parliament’.112 According to Sir Herbert Taylor*, Derby

was greatly admired by a large party in the country - perhaps by the country generally - throughout a long life; and it was customary to call him ‘chivalrous’. I think he was not chivalrous. He was a very able and capable man; he had force, energy and vivacity, and he was an effective speaker, always clear and strong, sometimes commonplace, but not seldom brilliant. He was not a man of genius; nor could it be said that he had a great intellect. He had the gifts of a party politician, such as eminent party politicians were in the generations immediately preceding his own rather than in his own - subsisting throughout his life, so far as literature is concerned, mainly upon the scholarship and academical accomplishments with which he began it and playing the game of politics with more of party than of public spirit, and without much perhaps of personal friendliness.113

On his death in October 1869 he was succeeded in his title and estates by his eldest son Edward Henry (1826-93), who served under him and Disraeli as foreign secretary, but joined the Liberals in 1879 before ending his days a Unionist.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Stephen Farrell


Apart from short lives by T. E. Kebbel (1890) and G. Saintsbury (1892), for many years the only study was W.D. Jones, Lord Derby and Victorian Conservatism (1956). However, there is now The Forgotten Prime Minister: The 14th Earl of Derby, i Ascent: 1799-1851 (2007) by Angus Hawkins, in addition to his article on ‘Lord Derby’ in Lords of Parl. ed. R.W. Davis, 134-62, and his entry on Derby in Oxford DNB.

  • 1. The Times, 25 Oct. 1869.
  • 2. Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 5-18, 46-48; Disraeli, Derby and Conservative Party ed. J. Vincent, 184; Conversations on Parables of New Testament (1828); B. Hilton, Age of Atonement, 237-8.
  • 3. Add. 51645, Smith to Lady Holland, 21 Oct. [1832]; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 71; Greville Mems. iii. 53.
  • 4. Manchester Mercury, 29 Feb. 1820; Lancs. RO, Whittaker of Simonstone mss DDWh/4/99; W. Dobson, Hist. Parl. Rep. Preston (1868), 70.
  • 5. Nottingham Univ. Lib. Ossington mss OsC 10; Bucks. RO, Fremantle mss D/FR/46/10/46; Derby mss 920 Der (13) 1/161/21; Grosvenor mss 9/13/20-25; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 28-31.
  • 6. Salisbury and Winchester Jnl. 5 Aug. 1822; Creevey Pprs. ii. 40.
  • 7. Lansdowne mss, Smith Stanley to Lansdowne, 29 Aug., 20 Sept.; Derby mss (14) 115/1, Lansdowne to Smith Stanley, 12 Sept. 1822.
  • 8. A. Hawkins, ‘Lord Derby and Victorian Conservatism: A Reappraisal’, PH, vi (1987), 281-5; ‘Lord Derby’, 136-40, and Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 22-28.
  • 9. The Times, 26, 27 Mar. 1824; Harewood mss WYL 250/8/27.
  • 10. Gurney diary.
  • 11. Creevey Pprs. ii. 76; Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, ii. 73-74.
  • 12. Countess Granville Letters, i. 294.
  • 13. ‘Pope’ of Holland House ed. Lady Seymour, 250-1.
  • 14. E. Stanley, Jnl. of Tour in America (1930); Jones, 8-10; Hawkins, ‘Lord Derby’, 141, and Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 33-43.
  • 15. Lansdowne mss, Smith Stanley to Lansdowne, 11 Dec. 1824, 10 Feb. 1825; Derby mss (14) 2/3.
  • 16. Ossington mss OsC 19, 25; Derby mss (14) 115/4, Smith Stanley to Forster, 14 Nov. 1825.
  • 17. The Times, 3 May, 8, 13, 17, 24, 28 June; Lancs. RO, Disputed elections QDE/12, bdle. 1, Horrocks to Derby, 19 June, reply, 23 June, Smith Stanley to Horrocks, 21 June 1826; Preston Election 1826, pp. 3, 47, 121-3; T. Aspden, Hist. Sketches of House of Stanley, 49-57.
  • 18. Derby mss (14) 2/3.
  • 19. A. Aspinall, Lord Brougham and Whig Party, 280.
  • 20. Derby mss (14) 2/3.
  • 21. Ibid. (12), Stanley to Derby [June, July]; (14) Canning to Smith Stanley, 26, 27 June; Add. 51566, Derby to Holland, 14 July 1827; Canning’s Ministry, 337; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 55-56.
  • 22. NLW, Coedymaen mss 202, 715; Chatsworth mss 6DD/GP1/1577; Add. 38750, ff. 22, 180, 231, 270; 38751, f. 325; 51687, Lansdowne to Holland, 2, 5 Sept.; 52011, Stuart Wortley to Fox, 17 Nov.; Lansdowne mss, Abercromby to Lansdowne [Sept.], Goderich to same, 3, 13 Sept., Macdonald to same, 21 Oct. 1827.
  • 23. HMC Bathurst, 651; Howard Sisters, 98; Southampton Univ. Lib. Broadlands mss BR23AA/5/1; Harrowby mss.
  • 24. Add. 38754, f. 221; Lady Holland to Son, 67, 75, 149.
  • 25. Add. 40307, f. 50.
  • 26. Keele Univ. Lib. Sneyd mss SC12/86; 17/178.
  • 27. Derby mss (14) 62, Palmer to Smith Stanley, 22 Feb., 8 Mar.; Lancs. RO DDPr 130/13, reply, 2 Mar. 1828.
  • 28. Derby mss (14) 2/3; TNA 30/29/9/5/67.
  • 29. Ellenborough Diary, i. 113, 128, 139; Lady Holland to Son, 86.
  • 30. Derby mss (14) 2/3.
  • 31. Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 58-61; Sir James Graham mss (IHR microfilm XR 80), 1, bdle. 2, Graham to Smith Stanley, 15 July 1828; Parker, Graham, i. 71.
  • 32. Ellenborough Diary, i. 230; Russell Early Corresp. i. 282.
  • 33. NLS mss 24770, f. 29; Add. 51834, Davenport to Holland, 18 Nov.; 51574, Abercromby to same, 19, 26 Nov. 1828; A. Mitchell, Whigs in Opposition, 211-12.
  • 34. Brougham mss, Russell to Brougham, 15 Dec., Lansdowne to same, 26 Dec.; Lansdowne mss, Smith Stanley to Lansdowne, 31 Dec. 1828; Add. 51687, Lansdowne to Holland, 4 Jan. [1829]; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 62-63.
  • 35. Ossington mss OsC 63, 79.
  • 36. Grey mss, Howick jnl.; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 240.
  • 37. Derby mss (14) 63, Denison to Smith Stanley [Feb.], Lord Stanley to same [?20 Feb. 1829].
  • 38. Ibid. Derby to Smith Stanley, 8 Mar.; Brougham mss, latter to Brougham, 20 Mar. 1829.
  • 39. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 60; NLW mss 10804 D/3, Williams Wynn to Bentinck, 16 June; Albion, 24 Aug. 1829; Countess Granville Letters, ii. 56.
  • 40. Palmerston-Sulivan Letters, 234-5; Broadlands mss BR23AA/5/6.
  • 41. Creevey Pprs. ii. 203.
  • 42. Brougham mss.
  • 43. Castle Howard mss, Graham to Morpeth [3 Mar. 1830].
  • 44. Howick jnl.
  • 45. Ibid. 11 July; Derby mss (14) 117/3, Althorp to Smith Stanley, 5 July 1830; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 290, 297, 299, 301-2, 316; Mitchell, 229-30.
  • 46. The Times, 2, 3, 9 Aug. 1830; Aspden, 63-64.
  • 47. Derby mss (14) 116/1, Brougham to Smith Stanley [Sept.]; St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 196, T. to J. Gladstone, 17 Sept.; 243, Grant to same, 17 Sept. 1830.
  • 48. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 347, 362-3.
  • 49. Parker, Peel, ii. 163-6; J. R. M. Butler, Passing of the Great Reform Bill, 96.
  • 50. Brougham mss, Smith Stanley to Brougham, 2 Oct.; Grey mss, Durham to Grey, 4 Oct.; Howick jnl. 7 Nov.; Add. 51564, Brougham to Holland [8 Nov.] 1830; 56555, ff. 42, 46; Hants RO, Carnarvon mss 75M91/E4/82; Mitchell, 244.
  • 51. Add. 51575.
  • 52. Derby mss (14) 116/8, Hardinge to Smith Stanley, 22 Nov.; 116/1, Brougham to same [Nov., Dec.] 1830.
  • 53. Ibid. 116/6, Winstanley to Smith Stanley, 18, 22, 28 Nov.; 117/5, Grey to same, 10, 14 Dec.; The Times, 11, 13, 16, 18 Dec. 1830; CJ, lxxxvi. 119, 134-5.
  • 54. Greville Mems. ii. 94; Broughton, Recollections, iv. 77; PRO NI, Anglesey mss D619/31D/6; Brougham mss, Shepherd to Brougham, 8 Feb. 1831.
  • 55. The Times, 21, 27, 28 Dec. 1830; Aspden, 66-67; William IV-Grey Corresp. i. 20-21, 32-33, 45-46.
  • 56. Windsor and Eton Express, 12 Feb. 1831.
  • 57. Add. 51566; Anglesey mss 29B, pp. 37-38; Dublin Evening Post, 13 Jan. 1831.
  • 58. New Monthly Mag. xxxii (1831), 112.
  • 59. T.M. Torrens, Life and Times of Sir James Graham, i. 321-2; Disraeli, Derby and Conservative Party, 223-4; Jones, 19-21; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 77-79, 90-91.
  • 60. Anglesey mss 31D/13-23, 27.
  • 61. Ibid. 27A/104; 31D/23-25; Creevey Pprs. ii. 219; Three Diaries, 56, 60.
  • 62. Broughton, iv. 93.
  • 63. Anglesey mss 28A-B/47; 28C, pp. 81-82; 31D/28-30; Bunbury Mem. 160; Three Diaries, 63, 65-66; Greville Mems. ii. 125; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 81-82.
  • 64. Brougham mss, Smith Stanley to Brougham, 5 Mar.; Grey mss, to Grey [10 Mar.] 1831; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 82.
  • 65. Anglesey mss 31D/35-37; Three Diaries, 80; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 85-86.
  • 66. Unrepentant Tory ed. R.A. Gaunt, pp. xxi, 38, 139, 148; Add. 51573, Rice to Holland [19 Apr.]; Glynne-Gladstone mss 198, T. to J. Gladstone, 20 Apr. 1831.
  • 67. Derby mss (14) 121/2, Gosset to Smith Stanley, 25 Apr.; 116/9, Hodgson to same, 9 May; Preston Chron. 30 Apr.; Windsor and Eton Express, 30 Apr. 1831; New Windsor Election 1831, pp. 4-5, 9-10, 16-28; Wellington mss WP1/1207/1.
  • 68. Grey mss; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 86-87.
  • 69. Derby mss (14) 117/5, Grey to Smith Stanley, 27 May 1831; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 425; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 86, 88.
  • 70. Anglesey mss 28A-B/62, 63; 31D/42, 43; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 88.
  • 71. Hatherton diary.
  • 72. Le Marchant, Althorp, 326.
  • 73. Anglesey mss 27A/120, 122; TNA, Granville mss, Holland to Granville, 19 July [1831]; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1825.
  • 74. Anglesey mss 31D/42, 46.
  • 75. Ibid. 31D/50.
  • 76. Ibid. 28C, pp. 159-63; Add. 56555, f. 176.
  • 77. Anglesey mss 31D/55; Holland House Diaries, 14, 26-27, 29, 33; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 92-93.
  • 78. Derby mss (14) 119/1/2, Anglesey to Smith Stanley, 20, 26 Aug. 1831; Anglesey mss 31D/57.
  • 79. Anglesey mss 31D/59; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 93-95.
  • 80. Anglesey mss 27B, pp. 47-53; 31D/68.
  • 81. Coedymaen mss 218; Holland House Diaries, 44-46; M. Brock, Great Reform Act, 236; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 96.
  • 82. Derby mss (14) 127/3; Brock, 246-7; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 97-98.
  • 83. Sir James Graham mss 1, bdle. 7, Smith Stanley to Graham, 27 Oct. 1831; Broadlands mss PP/GC/DE/61; RI/11.
  • 84. Holland House Diaries, 68; Brougham mss, Holland to Brougham, 27 Oct.; Grey mss, Smith Stanley to Grey, 23 Oct. 1831; TCD, Donoughmore mss.
  • 85. Broughton, iv. 151; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1853-4.
  • 86. Holland House Diaries, 81-82; Grey mss, Smith Stanley to Grey, 22 Nov. 1831; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 98.
  • 87. Holland House Diaries, 88, 90-91, 95; Anglesey mss 27A/139; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 99-101.
  • 88. Howard Sisters, 228; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1861.
  • 89. Three Diaries, 169-72; Greville Mems. ii. 230-1; Broughton, iv. 156; Life of Campbell, i. 526; ii. 3; Holland House Diaries, 97, 99; Le Marchant, 383; Baring Jnls. i. 91; NLW, Ormathwaite mss FG1/5, p. 242; M. D. George, Cat. of Pol. and Personal Satires, xi. 16834.
  • 90. Anglesey mss 31D/77; Parker, Graham, i. 134-5; Greville Mems. ii. 234, 240.
  • 91. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 440; Personal Recollections of Lord Cloncurry, 438; Three Diaries, 178, 186; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 105-6, 109.
  • 92. K.T. Hoppen, ‘Politics, the law, and nature of Irish electorate’, EHR, xcii (1977), 746, 757-8, 761, 772.
  • 93. W.J. Fitzpatrick, Life, Times and Corresp. of Dr. Doyle, ii. 394, 404-5; A.D. Kriegel, ‘Irish Policy of Lord Grey’s Government’, EHR, lxxxvi (1971), 29-30.
  • 94. Holland House Diaries, 126.
  • 95. Hatherton diary.
  • 96. Add. 75941, Althorp to Spencer, 17 Mar. 1832; Three Diaries, 211; Baring Jnls. i. 93.
  • 97. Greville Mems. ii. 272; Three Diaries, 215.
  • 98. Add. 52058, C.R. to H.E. Fox, 11 Mar., n.d. [Mar.] 1832.
  • 99. CJ, lxxxvii. 122, 175, 185, 227, 232, 237, 242-4, 254, 260, 279, 352, 360, 362, 363, 374, 462-3, 488, 491, 502, 519, 541, 544, 552, 560, 591; PP (1831-2), xxi. 1-540; Kriegel, 30-31; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 106-8, 113-14.
  • 100. P. Ziegler, King William IV, 197; Derby mss (14) 100/2/1, p. 113.
  • 101. Le Marchant, 429; Raikes Jnl. i. 31; Three Diaries, 251, 261; Disraeli, Derby and Conservative Party, 4-5.
  • 102. Arbuthnot Corresp. 166; Devon RO, Acland mss 1148M/21 (iv) 25.
  • 103. The Times, 3, 20 Dec. 1832.
  • 104. Greville Mems. ii. 374; [J. Grant], Random Recollections of Commons (1837), 158-63; New Monthly Mag. xxxii (1831), 113-14; Argyll Mems. i. 153.
  • 105. Macaulay Letters, ii. 90.
  • 106. Russell, Recollections, 91, 92.
  • 107. Ibid. 68.
  • 108. Holland House Diaries, 198, 200, 202; Greville Mems. ii. 310; Creevey Pprs. ii. 265; Mq. of Anglesey, One-Leg, 259-70, 277; Kriegel, 31-33; Hawkins, ‘Lord Derby’, 139-40, 143-5, and Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 75-76, 91-92, 104-6, 114-16.
  • 109. Le Marchant, 452; Parker, Graham, i. 174-81; Greville Mems. ii. 366; Kriegel, 33-40; E.A. Smith, Lord Grey, 294-302; Hawkins, Forgotten Prime Minister, i. 114-27.
  • 110. R. Stewart, Foundation of Conservative Party, 111-17, 223.
  • 111. Gladstone Autobiog. Memoranda ed. J. Brooke and M. Sorenson, 25, 102.
  • 112. The Times, 25 Oct. 1869; Ann. Reg. (1869), Chron. pp. 158-61; DNB; Oxford DNB; J.J. Bagley, Earls of Derby, 164-91.
  • 113. Taylor Autobiog. i. 131.