plates, 4to, 1829. 5. ‘Hunterian Oration,’ London, 1839.
[Alfred Willett's account of Edward Stanley, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Journal, 1894, i. 147; Robinson's Register of Merchant Taylors' School.]
STANLEY, EDWARD GEORGE GEOFFREY SMITH, fourteenth Earl of Derby (1799–1869), son of Edward Smith Stanley, thirteenth earl [q. v.], by Charlotte Margaret, his cousin, second daughter of the Rev. Geoffrey Hornby, was born at Knowsley Park, Lancashire, on 29 March 1799. He was sent to Eton, where he was in the fifth form in lower division in 1811 and upper division in 1814 (Eton School Lists, pp. 69, 77). Proceeding to Christ Church, Oxford, and matriculating on 17 Oct. 1817, he won the Chancellor's Latin verse prize in 1819 with a spirited poem on ‘Syracuse;’ he took no degree, but on 19 Oct. 1852 was created D.C.L. On leaving Oxford he was brought into parliament for Stockbridge in the whig interest on 6 March 1822. The borough had been in the hands of a West Indian proprietor, Joseph Foster Barham, who, being in difficulties, sold it to a whig peer, Earl Grosvenor, and, on a successor being found by the purchaser in the person of young Stanley, at once vacated the seat himself, introducing him to the electors. Stanley made no speech in the House of Commons till 30 March 1824, when he spoke with considerable success on the Manchester Gas-light Bill, having in the previous year been appointed a member of the committee on the subject. On 6 May he answered Joseph Hume in the debate on the latter's motion for an inquiry into the Irish church establishment. He opposed any design to interfere with church property, and proved himself to be by instinct a powerful debater. He did not, however, follow up this success for some time. In the autumn of 1824 he travelled in Canada and the United States, and, in May 1825, married Emma Caroline, second daughter of Edward Bootle Wilbraham (afterwards Lord Skelmersdale). During that session he was silent in the House of Commons, and hardly spoke at all in 1826. He ceased to be member for Stockbridge, and was elected for Preston on 26 June 1826, where the local franchise was a popular one, and the representation had long been divided between a nominee of the Derby family and a nominee of the corporation. Though opposed by Cobbett and others, he was returned at the head of the poll by a very large majority.
The views of Canning approximated so closely to the opinions that Stanley then held that he, with other whigs, gave his support to Canning's ministry in 1827, and accepted the under-secretaryship of the colonies. He retained it under Lord Goderich, [see Robinson, Frederick John, first Earl of Ripon], but declined to be a member of the Duke of Wellington's administration, pointing to the divergence of the old tories from the freer spirit of the Canningites, and hinting that the older toryism was a thing of the past. Still he foresaw as little as others the near triumph of the whigs. In 1828 he supported the transference to Birmingham of the East Retford seat, in opposition to the government; he voted in silence for the Catholic Emancipation Bill in 1829, and spoke guardedly in favour of parliamentary reform in 1830. At the general election on the death of George IV he was re-elected for Preston on 30 July, but, having accepted office in Lord Grey's administration as chief secretary for Ireland and having been sworn of the privy council, he was defeated in August by ‘Orator’ Hunt at the by-election for Preston in December, and was mobbed and ran some risk of his life [see Hunt, Henry, (1773–1835)]. Eventually a vacancy was made at Windsor, and Stanley was elected there on 10 Feb. 1831.
O'Connell's indignation when the new ministry refused to give him the silk gown he had had reason to expect at their hands vented itself particularly in attacks on the new chief secretary. Stanley was not slow to retaliate, and eventually allowed himself to be irritated into challenging O'Connell: the challenge was refused, but the attacks continued. O'Connell was then prosecuted in January 1831 for a breach of the Association Act; he pleaded guilty, and was bound over to come up for judgment in the following term; but before he was in fact required to come up parliament was dissolved. The Association Act expired with the dissolution, and further proceedings were impossible. It was currently believed that the ministry had arranged for this abortive result in order to secure O'Connell's support at the approaching election, and that Stanley had been active in carrying out the plan. Fortunate, however, as the issue was for the ministry at the moment, it seems that the result was purely accidental (see State Trials, new ser. ii. 629–58); at any rate, Stanley point blank denied that there had been any arrangement (Hansard, 13 Feb. 1831, p. 610), and O'Connell's antagonism towards him continued unabated.
During the reform struggle Stanley's speeches, though brilliant (Russell, Recollections, p. 92), showed that he scarcely appreciated how great a constitutional change