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Frederick Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby

Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby KG, GCB, GCVO, PC (15 January 1841 – 14 June 1908), known as Frederick Stanley until 1886 and as Lord Stanley of Preston between 1886 and 1893, was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom who served as Colonial Secretary from 1885 to 1886 and the sixth Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. An avid sportsman, he built Stanley House Stables, and is most famous for presenting the Stanley Cup. Stanley was a Freemason.[1]


Background and education

Derby was the second son of Prime Minister Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, and the Hon. Emma Caroline, daughter of Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Baron Skelmersdale, and was educated at Eton and Sandhurst. He received a commission in the Grenadier Guards, rising to the rank of Captain.[2]

Political career

Derby left the army for politics, serving as a Conservative Member of Parliament (for Preston from 1865 to 1868, North Lancashire from 1868 to 1885 and Blackpool from 1885 to 1886). In government, he served as a Civil Lord of the Admiralty (1868), Financial Secretary to the War Office (1874-1878), Secretary to the Treasury (1878), War Secretary (1878-1880) and Colonial Secretary (1885-1886).[2] In 1886 he was created Baron Stanley of Preston, in the County Palatine of Lancaster. He served as President of the Board of Trade (1886-1888), remaining in that office until he was appointed Governor General of Canada.[2]

Governor General of Canada

Stanley was appointed Governor General of Canada and Commander in Chief of Prince Edward Island on May 1, 1888.[2] During his term as Governor General, he travelled often and widely throughout the country. His visit to western Canada in 1889 gave him a lasting appreciation of the region's great natural beauty as well as permitting him to meet the people of Canada's First Nations and many western ranchers and farmers. During his visit he dedicated Stanley Park, which is named after him. He also experienced the joys of fishing and avidly pursued the sport whenever his busy schedule allowed. As Governor General, Derby was the third holder of that office to whom Queen Victoria granted the power of granting pardons to offenders or remitting sentences and fines and the power of mitigating capital or any other sentence.[2]

When Sir John A. Macdonald died in office of heart failure on 6 June 1891, Derby lost the close friendship he had enjoyed with the Prime Minister. He asked Sir John Abbott to take over as Prime Minister. Once the government was in place, Abbott resigned due to illness and turned the government over to Sir John Thompson. Derby helped cement the non-political role of the Governor General when, in 1891, he refused to agree to a controversial motion in the House of Commons. The motion called on him as Governor General to disallow the government of Quebec's Jesuit Estates Bill, which authorized paying $400,000 as compensation for land granted to the Jesuits by the King of France.[2] The opposition to the bill was introduced by the other provinces who were motivated by mistrust of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec. Derby declined to interfere, citing the proposed disallowal as unconstitutional. In holding to this decision, he gained popularity by refusing to compromise the vice-regal position of political neutrality.

Derby's wife, whom Sir Wilfrid Laurier described as "an able and witty woman", made a lasting contribution during her husband's term of office. In 1891, she founded the Lady Stanley Institute for Trained Nurses on Rideau Street, the first nursing school in Ottawa. She was also an enthusiastic fan of hockey games at the Rideau Rink.

Stanley Cup

File:Buberel Lord Stanley statue.jpg
A statue of Lord Derby stands in Stanley Park, Vancouver.

Derby's sons became avid ice hockey players in Canada, playing in amateur leagues in Ottawa, and in consequence Lord and Lady Derby became staunch hockey fans. In 1892, Derby gave Canada a treasured national icon — the Stanley Cup. He originally donated the trophy as a challenge cup for Canada's best amateur hockey club but in 1909 it became contested by professional teams exclusively. Since 1926, only teams of the National Hockey League have competed for the trophy. This now famous cup bears Derby's name as tribute to his encouragement and love of outdoor life and sport in Canada. In recognition of this, Derby was inducted into the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945 in the "Honoured Builders" category. The original size of the Stanley Cup was 7 inches (180 mm) and now is around 36 inches (910 mm) and 35 pounds.

Later years

Derby's term as Governor General of Canada was due to end in September 1893. However, in April of that year, his elder brother, the 15th Earl of Derby, died. Stanley succeeded him as the 16th Earl of Derby. As a result, he left Canada on 15 July 1893 and returned to England. An administrator was appointed to fulfil his duties until Lord Aberdeen was sworn in that September.

Also in 1893, Toronto's "New Fort York" (built in 1841) was renamed The Stanley Barracks in Honour of Lord Stanley. Back with his family in England, he soon became the Lord Mayor of Liverpool and the first Chancellor of the University of Liverpool. During the last years of his life, he increasingly dedicated himself to philanthropic work. Lord Derby died on 14 June 1908, and Lady Derby died on 17 April 1922. After Edward Whymper made the first ascent of Stanley Peak in 1901, he named the mountain after Lord Derby. Vancouver's Stanley Park and Stanley Theatre were also named after him [3] as was Stanley Park, Blackpool. With the possible exception of recordings of Thomas Alva Edison's own voice, a recording of Lord Stanley in 1888 may be the oldest known recording of a human voice to still exist.[citation needed]


File:Lord Stanley of Preston.jpg
The Earl of Derby in May 1889.

Lord Derby married Lady Constance Villiers, daughter of George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon, on 31 May 1864.[2] They had eight sons and two daughters (of whom one son and one daughter died as children). Their second son the Hon. Sir Victor Stanley (1867-1934) was an Admiral in the Royal Navy while their third son the Hon. Sir Arthur Stanley and sixth son the Hon. Sir George Frederick Stanley were both politicians. Lord Derby was Mayor of Preston for the 1902 Preston Guild. Lord Derby died in June 1908, aged 67, and was succeeded by his eldest son Edward, who also became a distinguished politician. Lady Derby died in April 1922.


The Preston Squadron of cadets at the Royal Military College Saint-Jean was named in his honour.

Honorary degrees

Honorific eponyms

  • Stanley, New Brunswick
  • Stanley, Nova Scotia



External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom

[[Category:UK MPs 1865


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