Stanley, Edward Smith (DNB00)

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STANLEY, EDWARD SMITH, thirteenth Earl of Derby (1775–1851), eldest son of Edward, twelfth earl of Derby, by his first wife, Lady Elizabeth Hamilton, only daughter of James, sixth duke of Hamilton, was born on 21 April 1775. His great-grandfather, Edward, eleventh earl of Derby, was descended from a brother of Thomas, second earl of Derby, and succeeded to the earldom on the extinction of the direct line in 1736 [see under Stanley, James, seventh Earl of Derby]. His grandfather, James, lord Strange, took the additional name of Smith in accordance with the will of his wife's father, Hugh Smith (d. 1745) of Weald Hall, Essex.

The thirteenth earl, after spending some years at Eton, went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated M.A. in 1795. He was at once brought into parliament for one of the two Preston seats at the general election of 1796 as a member of the whig party. For the previous half-century a standing dispute had existed between the earls of Derby and the corporation of Preston as to the right to nominate the representatives of the borough. From 1768 to 1795 nominees of the Derby family had held both seats. In 1796 local feeling ran high. The corporation prepared to make a vigorous effort to secure one seat, and nominated, in the growing manufacturing interest, John Horrocks, head of the well-known Lancashire firm of Horrocks, Miller, & Co., local mill-owners. The poll was kept open for eleven days, and eventually Stanley and Horrocks were elected, the former leading by a majority of thirty. Scarlett (afterwards Lord Abinger) acted on this occasion as ‘assistant’ to the mayor, and received a fee of two hundred guineas (William Dobson, History of the Parliamentary Representation of Preston). At the next election in 1802 a compromise, much attacked at the time, was negotiated by T. B. Bayley of Hope, by which each party obtained one seat. Stanley and Horrocks were elected, and in 1806 Stanley and Horrocks the younger. In 1807, though opposed in politics, they had a joint committee, made a joint canvas, and were elected together. In spite of opposition by other candidates, this arrangement lasted even after Stanley had ceased to sit for Preston, and down to 1826, when his son successfully contested the seat. In 1812 Stanley ceased to sit for Preston, and was elected one of the members for the county of Lancaster. He continued to hold that seat till the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832. Throughout his parliamentary career he supported the whig party without ever taking a prominent place in it, and in the House of Commons spoke little.

In 1832 Lord Grey's ministry required further strength in the House of Lords, and Stanley was called up in his father's lifetime by the title of Baron Stanley of Bickerstaffe. Two years afterwards, on the death of his father on 21 Oct. 1834, he succeeded to the earldom, and on 17 April 1839 was created a knight of the Garter. From this time forward he made no figure in public life.

Lord Stanley early displayed great interest in the science of zoology. From 1828 to 1833 he was president of the Linnæan Society, and at the time of his death had for some years been president of the Zoological Society. Between 1834 and 1847 he contributed many papers to its proceedings and many specimens to its collections. He formed at Knowsley a private menagerie of a very extensive kind, and had also a fine museum of various classes of specimens. The maintenance of the menagerie alone cost 10,000l. to 15,000l. per annum; it occupied one hundred acres of land and seventy of water, and his agents collected specimens all over the world. He gave his own daily care to it, made copious notes and observations, and successfully crossed Brahmin with shorthorn cattle. The graceful Scops Paradisea was named by Dr. Lathom the ‘Stanley Crane’ after him. He had at his death 94 species and 345 head of mammalia, principally antelopes, 318 species and 1272 head of birds, not counting poultry, and his museum contained twenty sand specimens of quadrupeds, birds, eggs, reptiles, and fishes. The collection was dispersed on his death; the museum was given to the city of Liverpool, where the corporation now maintains it as the Derby Museum. Some of the living animals were given to the Zoological Society in Regent's Park, and the remainder were sold in October 1851, but realised only 7,000l.

Lord Derby was lord lieutenant of Lancashire, and passed much of his time at Knowsley, where he devoted himself to public charity and to private hospitality. He died there on 30 June 1851, and was buried in the family vault at Ormskirk on 8 July. He married, on 30 June 1798, his cousin, Charlotte Margaret, second daughter of his aunt, the Hon. Lucy Stanley, by her marriage with the Rev. Geoffrey Hornby. She predeceased him on 16 June 1817. By her he had a family of three sons and four daughters, the eldest of whom, Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley [q. v.], succeeded him in the title. There are portraits of him at Knowsley, viz. by Romney as a boy, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and by William Derby.

[Gent. Mag. 1851, ii. 190, 644; Pollard's Stanleys of Knowsley; Times, 3 July 1851; Gray's Gleanings from the Menagerie at Knowsley; Scharf's Cat. of Pictures at Knowsley; Baines's Hist. of Lancashire; Eton School Lists; Grad. Cantabr. 1656–1823.]

J. A. H.