Stanhope, Philip Henry (DNB00)
STANHOPE, PHILIP HENRY, fifth Earl Stanhope (1805–1875), historian, born at Walmer on 30 Jan. 1805, was the elder and only surviving son of Philip Henry Stanhope, fourth earl Stanhope, by his wife Catherine Lucy, fourth daughter of Robert Smith, first baron Carrington [q. v.] Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope [q. v.] was his aunt. His father, eldest son of Charles Stanhope, third earl Stanhope [q. v.], was born on 7 Dec. 1781, sat in parliament for Wendover in 1806–7, Hull in 1807–12, and Midhurst from 1812 till his succession to the peerage on 15 Dec. 1816. He was elected F.R.S. on 8 Jan. 1807, was a president of the Medico-Botanical Society, and a vice-president of the Society of Arts; he died on 2 March 1855 (cf. Notes and Queries, 5th ser. vi. 229, 279, 295, 417). He inherited his father's eccentricities, and his adoption of the mysterious 'wild boy' of Bavaria, Kaspar Hauser, in 1832 gave him great notoriety (cf. Duchess of Cleveland, True Story of Kaspar Hauler, 1893). His daughter, Catherine Lucy Wilhelmina, duchess of Cleveland, is mother of the present Earl of Rosebery.
The son, who was styled Viscount Mahon from 1816 till his succession to the peerage, was educated privately and at Christ Church, Oxford, matriculating on 19 April 1823, and graduating B.A. in 1827. In the same year he was elected F.R.S. On 30 Aug. 1830 he was elected M.P. for Wootton Bassett in the conservative interest; he was re-elected on 30 April 1831, but by the Reform Act of 1832 that constituency was disfranchised, and on 12 Dec. of that year he was returned for Hertford. He was, however, unseated on petition, but was again successful on 7 Jan. 1835. He sat continuously for that borough until 1852, being re-elected in 1837, 1841, and 1847. On 22 March 1831 he was appointed deputy lieutenant of Kent. On the same day he delivered his maiden speech in parliament, complaining of the misrepresentation to which the opponents of the Reform Bill were subjected, and offering a strenuous opposition to the second reading of that measure (Hansard, 3rd ser. iii. 719-727). Mahon continued his opposition in the new parliament which met in June; on the 21st of that month he denounced ministers for appealing to the country, and on 1 July presented a petition of 770 resident bachelors and undergraduates at Oxford against the bill. On 11 June 1834 he was created D.C.L. by the university. During Peel's brief first administration—December 1834 to April 1835—Mahon was under-secretary for foreign affairs under the Duke of Wellington, and in this capacity he had to face the attacks of Palmerston in the House of Commons. The fall of the ministry in April left Mahon once more at liberty to pursue his literary and historical work. On 28 Jan. 1841 he was elected F.S.A., of which he served as president from 23 April 1846 until his death.
When Peel returned to office in 1841 Mahon was not included in the ministry, and he now took up with energy Serjeant Talfourd's scheme for amending the law of copyright [seeTalfourd, Sir Thomas Noon]. The law then protected an author's work either during his lifetime or during a period of twenty-eight years. In 1841 Talfourd proposed to extend the period to sixty years, but Macaulay procured the rejection of this proposal by forty-five to thirty-eight votes. After Talfourd's death Mahon, on 6 April 1842, in a speech rich in literary illustration (Hansard, 3rd ser. lxi. 1348-63), introduced a bill extending the period to twenty-five years after the author's death. Macaulay, who followed him, proposed a period of forty- two years, or the time of the author's life, whichever should prove the longer. Eventually a compromise was arranged, by which protection was given either for forty-two years or for seven years after the author's death, whichever period might prove the longer. With this proviso the bill became law in the same session (5 & 6 Vict. ch. xlv.; see Annual Register, 1842, pp. 399-404).
On 4 May 1844 Mahon was appointed a commissioner for promoting the fine arts, and on 5 Aug. 1845 he became secretary to the board of control for India. He followed Peel, with whom he was on intimate terms privately, in his conversion to free-trade principles, voted for the repeal of the corn laws, and left office on Peel's overthrow in July 1846. Nevertheless he voted with the protectionists against the repeal of the navigation laws in June 1849, and was perhaps in consequence defeated when he sought re-election for Hertford in 1852.
From this time Mahon took little part in politics. On 23 April 1846 he had been appointed a trustee of the British Museum, and from July 1850 he was occupied with Cardwell in arranging the papers of Sir Robert Peel, who had made them his literary executors. On 2 March 1855 he succeeded his father as fifth Earl Stanhope; in the same year he became honorary antiquary of the Royal Academy of Arts, acted as examiner in the new school of jurisprudence and modern history at Oxford, and founded there the Stanhope prize for undergraduates who have not completed sixteen terms from matriculation. It is of the annual value of 20l., to be given in books for an essay on some point of modern history, English or foreign, within the period 1300-1815; in the award 'merit of style was to be considered, no less than the clearness of the reasoning and the accuracy of the facts' (Oxford Univ. Cal. 1896, p. 63).
A more important scheme occupied him during the following year. On 26 Feb. 1856 he gave notice of a motion in the House of Lords, inviting public attention to the importance of forming a British national portrait gallery. On the following day he wrote to the prince consort, who heartily endorsed the project. The motion came on on 4 March, and was carried through both houses of parliament. On 6 June following a grant of 2,000l. was voted for the purpose. On 2 Dec. a board of trustees was formed, of which Stanhope was elected chairman on 9 Feb. following. Temporary premises were provided at 29 Great George Street, Westminster, and opened on 15 Jan. 1859. In 1869, when the collection numbered 288 pictures, it was removed to the eastern portion of the long building at South Kensington. A fire in the neighbouring exhibition in 1885 caused its removal to Bethnal Green Museum on loan. In May 1889 Mr. William Alexander of Shipton, Andover, offered to build a gallery at his own expense, if the government would provide a site. This was found at the back of the National Gallery, where the present National Portrait Gallery, erected at a cost of 96,000l., was opened on 4 April 1896. Sir George Scharf [q. v.] was first keeper, and the collection now (1898) includes over a thousand pictures, exclusive of engravings (Cat. Nat. Portrait Gallery, 1897, pref. pp. iii. et seq.)
On 1 March 1858 Stanhope was elected lord rector of Marischal College, Aberdeen University, and in the same year he carried a motion through parliament removing from the prayer-book the three state services. On 3 June 1864 he was created LL.D. of Cambridge, and on 30 Oct. 1867 he was appointed first commissioner to inquire into the state of the established church in Ireland. In 1869 it was mainly due to his exertions that the historical manuscripts commission was formed, and he was one of the first commissioners. He also, at the instance of the Society of Antiquaries, proposed a parliamentary grant for excavations on the site of Troy. This laid him open to Robert Lowe's sarcasm, but Schliemann's discoveries gave Stanhope ample revenge. Another of his proposals was that an order of merit should be established for men of letters. On 11 May 1872 Stanhope was made foreign associate of the Institute of France, and on 22 Sept. 1875 he was appointed chairman of the royal copyright commission ; he was also president of the royal literary fund from 1863 till his death. He died on 24 Dec. 1875 from an attack of pleurisy, at his eldest son's house, Merivale, Bournemouth. A marble bust of Stanhope was executed at Home in 1854 by Lawrence Macdonald; the original is at the family seat, Chevening, Kent. A copy was presented to the National Portrait Gallery in 1878 by the present Earl Stanhope, and a medallion in plaster, on a reduced scale, presented by Sir George Scharf, was placed over the entrance doorway. An engraving of a portrait painted by Lucas in 1836 is given in Doyle's 'Official Baronage.'
Stanhope married, on 10 July 1834, Emily Harriet, second daughter of General Sir Edward Kerrison, bart., and by her, who died on 31 Dec. 1873, had issue one daughter Mary Catherine, who married, on 18 Feb. 1868, Frederick Lygon, sixth earl Beauchamp and four sons, of whom Arthur Philip is the present Earl Stanhope; Edward Stanhope, the second son, is separately noticed.
Few men have deserved better of the world of letters and art than Stanhope. The Copyright Act, the National Portrait Gallery, and the historical manuscripts commission bear witness alike to the culture and liberality of his tastes, and to the energy and success with which he gave them effect. As a speaker he was clear, but not eloquent, and his literary and critical tastes probably militated against his success in politics. But he possessed great tact, and on committees generally got his way without provoking opposition.
As an historian the capacity in which he was best known he was honest and industrious, and, though without any pretensions to genius, he wrote in a clear and readable style. The value of his works consists largely in the use he made of valuable manuscript sources inaccessible to others. His first important contribution to English history was 'The History of the War of Suc- cession in Spain, 1702-1714,' 1832, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1836. It is based largely on the papers of Mahon's ancestor, James Stanhope, first earl Stanhope [q. v.] Macaulay reviewed it in the 'Edinburgh,' Ivi. 499-542, and praised Mahon's 'great diligence in examining authorities, great judgment in weighing testimony, and great impartiality in estimating characters.' This was followed by 'The History of England from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of Versailles, 1713-1783' (7 vols. 1836-1853; an American edition of vols. i.-iv. appeared in 1849, and the portions in the early volumes relating to India were separately issued in 1838 as 'The Rise of our Indian Empire'). The work was praised by Sismondi (Hist, des Franqais, xxviii. 385), and still remains the best narrative of English history during the eighteenth century. In it Mahon develops the somewhat far-fetched theory that the whigs and tories interchanged principles and policy between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (cf. Lecky, Hist, of England, vol. i.) Mahon's remarks on Washington involved him in a prolonged controversy with Jared Sparks, Palfrey, and other American writers (cf. his Letter to Jared Sparks, 1852, and replies to it in Brit. Mus. Library). Perhaps his most important work was 'The Life of the Right Hon. William Pitt, with Extracts from his unpublished Correspondence and Manuscript Papers' (4 vols. 1861-2 ; 2nd edit. 1862-3; 4th edit. 1867; new edit. 3 vols. 1879; translated into French 1862-3, and Italian, 1863). This still remains the standard life of Pitt, and an indispensable authority on the history of the period. Stanhope's last considerable work was 'The History of England, comprising the Reign of Queen Anne until the Peace of Utrecht' (1870; 2nd edit, same year; 4th edit. 1872). This was intended to cover the period between the close of Macaulay's 'History' and the commencement of Stanhope's own 'History of England, 1713-83.' It is careful, but its style compares unfavourably with Macaulay's.
Stanhope's other works are: 1. 'The Life of Belisarius,' 1829, 8vo, 2nd edit. 1848: one of the most noticeable contributions made by Englishmen to the history of the Byzantine Empire. 2. 'Lord John Russell and Mr. Macaulay on the French Revolution,' 1833, 8vo. 3. 'Spain under Charles II; or Extracts from the Correspondence of the Hon. Alexander Stanhope, British Minister at Madrid, 1690-1700; selected from Originals at Chevening,' 1840, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1845. 4. 'Essai sur la vie du grand Condé,' London, 1842, 8vo, written in French, and only one hundred copies printed for private circulation (cf. J. W. Croker in Quarterly Rev. lxxi. 106-69); an English edition was published in 1845, and reprinted in 1847 and 1848. 5. 'Historical Essays contributed to the "Quarterly Review,'" 1849. 6. 'The Forty-five; being a Narrative of the Rebellion in Scotland of 1745,' 1851, 8vo. 7. 'Essay on Joan of Arc,' 1853, 12mo. 8. 'Lord Chatham at Chevening, 1769,' 1855, 8vo. 9. 'Memoirs of Sir Robert Peel, bart., M.P., published by the Trustees of his Papers,' in 2 vols. and 3 parts, 1856-7, 8vo [cf. art. Peel, Sir Robert, 1788-1850]. 10. 'Addresses delivered at Manchester, Leeds, and Birmingham,' 1856, 8vo. 11 'Miscellanies,' 1863, 2nd ed. same year. 12. 'Miscellanies, 2nd ser.,' 1872. 13. 'The French Retreat from Moscow and other Historical Essays, collected from the "Quarterly Review" and "Fraser's Magazine,"' 1876, 8vo. 14. 'Notes of Conversations with Wellington,' 1888, 8vo. Stanhope also edited 'Letters to General Stanhope in Spain,' 1834; 'Correspondence between William Pitt and Charles, Duke of Rutland,' 1842; 'Extracts from Despatches of the British Envoy at Florence, relative to the Motions and Behaviour of Charles Edward' (1843, Roxburghe Club); 'Letters of Philip Dormer, Earl of Chesterfield' (4 vols. 1845, vol. v. 1853); and 'Secret Correspondence connected with Mr. Pitt's return to office in 1804' (1852).[Works in British Mus. Library; Hansard's Parl. Debates; Official Return of Members of Parl.; Journals of the House of Lords and Commons; Times, 25 Dec. 1875; Athenseum, 1875, i. 24; Academy, 1875, i. 9-10; Spectator, 1875, i. 3; Annual Register, 1875, pp. 156-7; Greville's Journals; Trevelyan's Life of Macaulay; Doyle, Burke, and Gr. E. C[okayne]'s Peerages; Allibone's Dict, of English Lit., s.vv. 'Mahon' and 'Stanhope.']