Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope

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The Right Honourable
The Earl Stanhope
Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope by Sir George Hayter.jpg
Lord Stanhope by Sir George Hayter
Under-Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs
In office
17 December 1834 – 8 April 1835
Monarch William IV
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by Viscount Fordwich
Succeeded by Hon. William Fox-Strangways
Personal details
Born 30 January 1805 (1805-01-30)
Walmer, Kent
Died 24 December 1875 (1875-12-25) (aged 70)
Merivale, Bournemouth, Hampshire
Nationality British
Political party Tory
Spouse(s) Emily Kerrison (d. 1873)
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

Philip Henry Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope FRS (30 January 1805 – 24 December 1875), styled Viscount Mahon between 1816 and 1855, was a British politician and historian. He held political office under Sir Robert Peel in the 1830s and 1840s but is best remembered for his contributions to cultural causes and for his historical writings.

Background and education

Born at Walmer, Kent,[1] Stanhope was the son of Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl Stanhope, and the Hon. Catherine Stanhope, daughter of Robert Smith, 1st Baron Carrington.[2] He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, graduating in 1827.

Political career

Stanhope entered Parliament in 1830, representing the rotten borough of Wootton Basset until the seat was disenfranchised in 1832.[3] He was then re-elected to Parliament representing Hertford.[4] He served under Sir Robert Peel as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs between December 1834 and April 1835, and Secretary to the Board of Control in 1845, but though he remained in the House of Commons till 1852, he made no special mark in politics.[5]

Contributions to culture

Stanhope's chief achievements were in the fields of literature and antiquities. In 1842 took a prominent part in passing the Literary Copyright Act 1842. From the House of Lords he was mainly responsible for proposing and organising the foundation of the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1856. A sculpted bust of Stanhope holds the central place over the entrance of the building, flanked by fellow historians and supporters Thomas Carlyle and Lord Macaulay.[6] It was mainly due to him that in 1869 the Historical Manuscripts Commission was started. As president of the Society of Antiquaries (from 1846 onwards), he called attention in England to the need of supporting the excavations at Troy. He was also president of the Royal Literary Fund from 1863 until his death, a trustee of the British Museum and founded the Stanhope essay prize at Oxford in 1855.[5] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1827.[1]


Of Lord Stanhope's own works, the most important were:[5]

A further little work was The Forty-Five a narrative of the Jacobite rising of 1745 extracted from his "History of England." A new edition of this work was published in London by John Murray, Albemarle St., in 1869, which includes some letters of Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

The two histories and the Life of William Pitt were considered of great importance on account of Stanhope's unique access to manuscript authorities on Pitt the Elder's life.[5] His records of the Duke of Wellington's remarks during his frequent visits were also considered of great use to the historian as a substitute for Wellington's never-written memoirs. They were secretly transcribed because of Wellington's famous antagonism to the "truth" of recollected history. He also edited the letters that Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield had written to his natural son, Philip. They were published between 1845 and 1853.

Stanhope's position as an historian was already established when he succeeded to the earldom in 1855, and in 1872 he was made an honorary associate of the Institute of France.[5]

Styles of address

Lord Mahon, 1846
  • 1805-1816: The Honourable Philip Henry Stanhope
  • 1816-1827: Viscount Mahon
  • 1827-1830: Viscount Mahon FRS
  • 1830-1832: Viscount Mahon MP FRS
  • 1832-1835: Viscount Mahon FRS
  • 1835-1852: Viscount Mahon MP FRS
  • 1852-1855: Viscount Mahon FRS
  • 1855-1875: The Right Honourable The Earl Stanhope FRS


Lord Stanhope married Emily Harriet, daughter of General Sir Edward Kerrison, 1st Baronet, in 1834.[13] She died in December 1873.[2] Stanhope survived her by two years and died at Merivale, Bournemouth, Hampshire,[1] in December 1875, aged 70. He was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest son, Arthur.[5] Stanhope's second son, Edward Stanhope (1840–1893), was a well-known Conservative politician, while another son, Philip (1847–1923), was a Liberal politician who was elevated to the peerage as Baron Weardale in 1906[14]




  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911), [ "Stanhope, Earls" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help), Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 (11th ed.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 774–775CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Horace Twiss
Sir George Philips, Bt
Member of Parliament for Wootton Bassett
With: Thomas Hyde Villiers 1830–1831
Viscount Porchester 1831–1832
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
John Currie
Thomas Slingsby Duncombe
Member of Parliament for Hertford
With: Viscount Ingestrie 1832–1835
Hon. William Cowper 1835–1852
Succeeded by
Hon. William Cowper
Thomas Chambers
Political offices
Preceded by
Viscount Fordwich
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Hon. William Fox-Strangways
Preceded by
James Emerson Tennent
Viscount Jocelyn
Joint Secretary to the Board of Control
with Viscount Jocelyn

Succeeded by
Hon. George Byng
Thomas Wyse
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Philip Henry Stanhope
Earl Stanhope
Succeeded by
Arthur Philip Stanhope