(January 10, 1810 – July 12, 1872)
was a North Carolina politician and orator who represented the
southeastern portion of the State in the U.S. House for five terms.
In 1857, Stanly ran for Governor
but lost to John B.
. Politicians of the
mid-nineteenth century remarked that Stanly bore a strong physical
resemblance to William H. Seward
, though this resemblance lessened
born in New Bern,
North Carolina, on January 10, 1810.
He was a son of U.S.
Rep. John Stanly
of New Bern and a
cousin of U.S. Senator George E.
. Stanly attended New Bern
Academy and graduated from the American Literary, Scientific and
Military Academy, Norwich
in 1829. He then studied law and was admitted to the
bar in 1832. He settled in Beaufort County and began to practice
Four years later, he successfully ran for a seat in the United States House of
on the Whig
ticket. He served in
Twenty-fifth, Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh congresses from March
4, 1837 to March 3, 1843. Stanly earned his reputation as North
Carolina's greatest orator of his generation during his first term
in Congress. Throughout his service in Congress, Stanly was a
leader of the Southerners who emphasized the Union over states'
rights. He won the nickname the 'Conqueror' during his re-election
campaign of 1839.
After an unsuccessful bid for re-election in 1843 due to
unfavorable redistricting, Stanly returned to North Carolina, where
he served as a member of the House of Commons from 1844 to 1846 and
again in 1848. He was speaker of the State House from 1844 to 1846,
and his impartial presiding was hailed by Commoners of both parties
as returning dignity to the chamber in the place of the former
political rancor. Stanly served briefly as attorney general
of North Carolina in
In 1849, Stanly was again elected to the U.S. House, serving two
terms from March 4, 1849 to March 3, 1853. He declined to run for
a sixth term in the elections of 1853 and instead moved to California and practiced law in San Francisco.
He was the Republican Party
unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1857.
military governor of eastern North Carolina with the rank of
brigadier general on May 26, 1862. Stanly resigned this office less
than a year later on March 2, 1863, in a dispute with President
Lincoln over the Emancipation
He returned to California and resumed his law practice. He died in
San Francisco on July 12, 1872. He is buried in the Stanly family
plot at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.
Stanly had a very colorful nephew who fought on the Confederate
side during the Civil War, Brigadier General Lewis Addison Armistead
led the Boys in Grey at Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of
Stanly and Armistead were born in the same
house in New Bern, North Carolina. The home stands today, a
pilgrimage stop for both the Blue and the Grey.