Stanhope, Philip Dormer, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

Scope and Content

A holograph letter, 1746, from Stanhope to Thomas Prior, secretary of the Dublin Society.

Administrative / Biographical History

Philip Dormer Stanhope was born in London on 22 September 1694. Stanhope was educated at home by private tutors and at the age of eighteen he went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. After spending two years at university, Stanhope left England to visit Antwerp, The Hague and Paris. Later he was appointed Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales and entered the House of Commons as a Whig member for St. Germans, Cornwall. He was again elected to the Commons in 1722 as the member for Lostwithiel. On the death of his father in January 1726, Stanhope became the Fourth Earl of Chesterfield. In 1727, Chesterfield was appointed Ambassador to the Dutch Republic. As ambassador, Chesterfield negotiated Britain's way into the Treaty of Vienna in 1731. For his services, Chesterfield was appointed Lord Steward of the King's Household and made a knight of the garter in 1730. In the House of Lords Chesterfield spoke out against Walpole's administration. He also voiced his opposition by writing essays for opposition periodicals such as Fogs Journal and Common Sense . Chesterfield was appointed to the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, a post he held for eight months between 1745-1746. He left Ireland on 23 April 1746 to become the Secretary of State for the Northern Department on 29 October 1746. Chesterfield resigned his secretaryship in February 1748. On retiring Chesterfield spent much time and money building Chesterfield House in South Audley Street, Mayfair, London. Although Chesterfield made his last speech in the House of Lords in 1755 he continued to offer his skills as a negotiator to the king. He died at Chesterfield House on 24 March 1773.

Access Information

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Other Finding Aids

University of London Library, The Sterling library: a catalogue of the printed books and literary manuscripts collected by Sir Louis Sterling and presented by him to the University of London , Cambridge, (1954).

Archivist's Note

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Geographical Names