Stanley, Edward John (DNB00)

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STANLEY, EDWARD JOHN, second Baron Stanley of Alderley (1802–1869), was the son of Sir John Thomas Stanley, seventh baronet, and nephew of Edward Stanley [q. v.], bishop of Norwich. Sir John, born in 1766, was a considerable magnate in Cheshire, where he was for more than twenty years chairman of quarter sessions. He was elected F.R.S. on 29 April 1790, and in the following year, having paid a visit to Iceland, wrote a short ‘Account of the Hot Spring’ (Edinburgh, 1791, 8vo). His only other literary effort was a translation of Bürger's ‘Leonora’ (1796). On 9 May 1839 he was created Baron Stanley of Alderley. Lord Stanley died at Alderley Park, Cheshire, on 23 Oct. 1850. He married, on 11 Oct. 1796, at Fletching, Sussex, Maria Josepha (1771–1863), daughter of John Baker Holroyd, first earl of Sheffield [q. v.], the friend and correspondent of Gibbon. Her early letters, some of them addressed from abroad, to her girlish friends and her aunt, ‘Serena’ Holroyd, were printed in 1896, under the editorship of Miss J. H. Adeane (London, 8vo, with portraits of her and her husband). They refer to the period 1786–96, and contain some highly interesting glimpses of Gibbon, the Comte Lally Tollendal, and the French exiles. Several of Lady Maria's vivacious letters to the great historian are printed in Gibbon's ‘Correspondence’ (ed. 1896, vol. ii. passim). After his death, of which in her ‘Letters’ she gives graphic details, she assisted her father and William Hayley in editing Gibbon's ‘Synoptic Memoirs’ for publication in 1796 (Autobiographies of Edward Gibbon, 1896, Introduction).

Edward John, the eldest son, born on 13, and baptised 14, Nov. 1802, at Alderley, was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated on 18 Jan. 1822, and graduated B.A. in 1825. He entered parliament as whig member for Hindon, Wiltshire, in 1831, and, when that borough was disfranchised, he represented North Cheshire from 1832 until 1841, when he lost the seat, to regain it in 1847. For a short time Stanley held the post of secretary to Lord Durham, one of the drafters of the Reform Bill; and he was under-secretary to the home department from July to November 1834. In Lord Melbourne's second administration he was patronage secretary to the treasury from 1835 to 1841, when he was admitted to the privy council; and from June to September held the lucrative office of paymaster-general. During this period ‘Mr. E. J. Stanley’ was best known as the principal whip of the whig party, or, if we may believe Lord Palmerston, ‘joint-whip with Mrs. Stanley.’ Palmerston indeed gave the lady priority when he described her to Guizot as ‘notre chef-d'état major.’ There is no doubt, however, that Stanley was a most efficient whip, warmly liked by his friends, in spite of the caustic tongue which gained from some of his opponents the sobriquet of ‘Ben’[jamin Backbite]. Melbourne handed over the seals to Sir Robert Peel at the close of 1841, but on the return of the whigs to office in 1846 Stanley was under-secretary for foreign affairs from that year to 1852, when Palmerston was his chief. On 12 May 1848 he was created Baron Eddisbury of Winnington; two years later he succeeded to the barony of Stanley. He was president of the board of trade 1855 to 1858, and Palmerston appointed him postmaster-general in 1860. He was subsequently offered a seat in the cabinet by Mr. Gladstone on the formation of his first ministry (December 1868), but refused it on the score of health. He died at his London house, 40 Dover Street, on 16 June 1869.

Stanley married, at Florence, on 7 Oct. 1826, Henrietta Maria, eldest daughter of Henry Augustus Dillon-Lee, thirteenth viscount Dillon.

Henrietta Maria Stanley, Lady Stanley of Alderley (1807–1895), born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 21 Dec. 1807, first came to England in 1814, and soon proceeded with her family to Florence, where she attended the weekly receptions of the Countess of Albany, widow of the young Pretender. She obtained popularity with the natives by refusing to dance with the Austrian officers, ‘though they danced much better than the Italians;’ but she admits that her own native Jacobinism was in some danger from the violent republicanism of her gouvernante. After her marriage in 1826 ‘Mrs. Stanley’ soon became a personage. In conversation she invariably expressed herself with uncompromising frankness, but, gifted with rare social qualities, and possessed with an ardent faith in the doctrines of liberalism as then understood, she rendered very real service to her husband's party. Though a warm admirer of Mr. Gladstone, she was unable to follow him in 1886 on the question of home rule, and was the moving spirit of the Woman's Liberal Unionist Association.

A friend of Carlyle from 1830, of F. Denison Maurice, and in later years of Jowett (who paid his first visit to Alderley in 1861), Lady Stanley of Alderley, as she was known from 1850, was no less prominent as a promoter of women's education. She was one of the original ‘lady visitors’ of Queen's College, London, in 1848; she was an active member of the committee for obtaining the admission of girls to the university local examinations, founded in October 1862; she was a promoter of Girton College in 1865, and was an active supporter of the Girls' Public Day-school Company, originated in the summer of 1872; she was, finally, a promoter of the ‘Medical College for Women,’ which was initiated in October 1874, to promote the opening of the medical profession to women (see Lady Stanley's ‘Personal Recollections of Women's Education’ in Nineteenth Century, August 1879).

Lady Stanley retained her faculties until her death, at the age of eighty-seven, at Dover Street on 16 Feb. 1895.

She left issue: Henry Edward John, the present peer; John Constantine, colonel of the grenadier guards, who died in 1878; Mr. Edward Lyulph Stanley; and the Rev. Algernon Charles, domestic prelate to the pope. Of her six daughters, Henrietta Blanche married, in 1851, the Earl of Airlie; Katharine Louisa married, in 1864, Viscount Amberley; and Rosalind Frances married, in 1864, George James Howard, ninth earl of Carlisle.

[G. E. C[okayne]'s Peerage; Burke's Peerage; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Ann. Reg. 1869 and 1895; Greville's Diary, iii. 112; Cooper's Register and Mag. of Biography, 1869; Abbott and Campbell's Life of Jowett; Times, 19 Feb. 1895; Guardian, 20 Feb. 1895; Spectator, 20 Feb. 1895.]

T. S.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.257
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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