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Edward Stanhope PC(24 September 1840 – 21 December 1893) was a British Conservative Party politician who was Secretary of State for War from 1887 to 1892.

Edward Stanhope
Edward Stanope.jpg
President of the Board of Trade
In office
19 August 1885 – 28 January 1886
Prime MinisterThe Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded byThe Duke of Richmond
Succeeded byA. J. Mundella
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
3 August 1886 – 14 January 1887
Prime MinisterThe Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded byThe Earl Granville
Succeeded bySir Henry Holland, Bt
Secretary of State for War
In office
14 January 1887 – 11 August 1892
Prime MinisterThe Marquess of Salisbury
Preceded byW. H. Smith
Succeeded bySir Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Personal details
Born(1840-09-24)24 September 1840
Died21 December 1893(1893-12-21) (aged 53)
Political partyConservative
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford


Background and educationEdit

Born in London, Stanhope was the second son of Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope, by his wife Emily Harriet, daughter of General Sir Edward Kerrison, 1st Baronet. Arthur Stanhope, 6th Earl Stanhope was his elder brother and Philip Stanhope, 1st Baron Weardale his younger brother. He was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford. Stanhope studied law, being called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1865. In 1861 he played three first-class cricket matches for Kent.

Political careerEdit

Caricature by Spy published in Vanity Fair in 1879.

In 1874 Stanhope was elected to the House of Commons for Mid Lincolnshire, a seat he held until 1885, and then represented Horncastle until his death. He soon rose to a position of prominence within the party. In 1875, he became Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, and in 1878 moved up to Under-Secretary of State for India, where he was a key assistant to India Secretary Lord Cranbrook.

After the Tories' fall from power in 1880, Stanhope supported Commons leader Sir Stafford Northcote against younger Tories led by Lord Randolph Churchill in internal Conservative party squabbling. When the Conservatives returned to the power, Stanhope became Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education, with a seat in the cabinet, and almost immediately thereafter President of the Board of Trade. He moved up to major cabinet office in Salisbury's second government, serving first as Colonial Secretary from 1886 to 1887 and then as Secretary of State for War from 1887 to 1892 following a cabinet reshuffle in January 1887.

As War Secretary, Stanhope fought for reform against the reactionary high officers – most notably the Duke of Cambridge, the Commander in Chief, and Sir Garnet Wolseley, the Adjutant-General. In spite of his own inexperience in military affairs and this formidable opposition, Stanhope achieved a fair amount, although it was his Liberal successor, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, who managed to push Cambridge into retirement.

Personal lifeEdit

In December 1893, Stanhope died suddenly of a heart attack, aged 53.

The school house 'Stanhope' at Alderwood School in the garrison town of Aldershot in Hampshire is named in his honour.


External linksEdit