Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Stanley as Colonial Secretary to the ex governor of Van Diemans Land (Tasmania) Sir John Franklin.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley was born on 29 March 1799 at Knowsley Park, Lancashire, the eldest son of Edward Smith Stanley, thirteenth earl of Derby. He was educated at Eton College and Christ College, Oxford. His parliamentary career began in 1820 when he became Whig Member of Parliament for Stockbridge, entering government as under-secretary of the colonies in 1827.

Between 1830 and 1833, he served as chief secretary for Ireland, introducing the Irish Education Act in 1831 which created the Irish board of national education. In 1833, he accepted the post of colonial secretary, securing the abolition of slavery but resigning over the government's policy in Ireland in 1834.

In 1837, Stanley joined the Tory Party and was appointed colonial secretary under Robert Peel in 1841. In 1844, he was elevated to the House of Lords as Lord Stanley of Bickerstaffe, resigning from government because he opposed repeal of the Corn Laws and reluctantly becoming leader of the Protectionist Party. On the death of his father in 1851, Stanley inherited the title of fourteenth earl of Derby and the following year he headed his first administration, forming a second ministry between 1858 and 1859. In 1866, Stanley formed his third ministry, with Benjamin Disraeli as Chancellor of the Exchequer and leader in the House of Commons, introducing the Reform Act of 1867 which extended voting rights to male adult householders living in borough constituencies. Retiring in 1868 due to deteriorating health, he died on 23 October 1869 at Knowsley Park.


The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Dictionary of National Biography volume 54, Smith, Elder & Co. London (1898) and A Web of English History and The Columbia Encyclopaedia

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible.

Related Material

The Institute holds extensive archival collections for Sir John Franklin