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Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby KG, GCB, GCVO, PC (15 January 1841 – 14 June 1908), known as Frederick Stanley until 1886 and as The Lord Stanley of Preston between 1886 and 1893, was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdommarker who served as Colonial Secretary from 1885 to 1886 and Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. An avid sportsman, he built Stanley House Stablesmarker, and is most famous for presenting the Stanley Cup. Stanley was a Freemason.

Background and education

Derby was the second son of Prime Minister Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, and the Hon. Emma Caroline, daughter of Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Baron Skelmersdale, and was educated at Etonmarker and Sandhurstmarker. He received a commission in the Grenadier Guards, rising to the rank of Captain.

Political career

Derby left the army for politics, serving as a Conservative Member of Parliament (for Preston from 1865 to 1868, North Lancashire from 1868 to 1885 and Blackpool from 1885 to 1886). In government, he served as a Civil Lord of the Admiralty (1868), Financial Secretary to the War Office (1874-1878), Secretary to the Treasury (1878), War Secretary (1878-1880) and Colonial Secretary (1885-1886). In 1886 he was created Baron Stanley of Preston, in the County Palatine of Lancaster. He served as President of the Board of Trade (1886-1888), remaining in that office until he was appointed Governor General of Canada.

Governor General of Canada

Stanley was appointed Governor General of Canada and Commander in Chief of Prince Edwards Island on May 1, 1888. During his term as Governor General, he travelled often and widely throughout the country. His visit to western Canadamarker in 1889 gave him a lasting appreciation of the region's great natural beauty as well as permitting him to meet the people of Canada's First Nations and many western ranchers and farmers. During his visit he dedicated Stanley Parkmarker, which is named after him. He also experienced the joys of fishing and avidly pursued the sport whenever his busy schedule allowed. As Governor General, Derby was the third holder of that office to whom Queen Victoria granted the power of granting pardons to offenders or remitting sentences and fines and the power of mitigating capital or any other sentence.

When Sir John A. Macdonald died in office of heart failure on 6 June 1891, Derby lost the close friendship he had enjoyed with the Prime Minister. He asked Sir John Abbott to take over as Prime Minister. Once the government was in place, Abbott resigned due to illness and turned the government over to Sir John Thompson. Derby helped cement the non-political role of the Governor General when, in 1891, he refused to agree to a controversial motion in the House of Commons. The motion called on him as Governor General to disallow the government of Quebecmarker's Jesuit Estates Bill, which authorized paying $400,000 as compensation for land granted to the Jesuits by the King of France. The opposition to the bill was introduced by the other provinces who were motivated by mistrust of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec. Derby declined to interfere, citing the proposed disallowal as unconstitutional. In holding to this decision, he gained popularity by refusing to compromise the vice-regal position of political neutrality.

Derby's wife, whom Sir Wilfrid Laurier described as "an able and witty woman", made a lasting contribution during her husband's term of office. In 1891, she founded the Lady Stanley Institute for Trained Nurses on Rideau Street, the first nursing school in Ottawamarker. She was also an enthusiastic fan of hockey games at the Rideau Rinkmarker.

Stanley Cup

Derby's sons became avid ice hockey players in Canada, playing in amateur leagues in Ottawa, and in consequence Lord and Lady Derby became staunch hockey fans. In 1892, Derby gave Canada a treasured national icon — the Stanley Cup. He originally donated the trophy as a challenge cup for Canada's best amateur hockey club but in 1909 it became contested by professional teams exclusively. Since 1926, only teams of the National Hockey League have competed for the trophy. This now famous cup bears Derby's name as tribute to his encouragement and love of outdoor life and sport in Canada. In recognition of this, Derby was inducted into the Canadian Hockey Hall of Famemarker in 1945 in the "Honoured Builders" category. The original size of the Stanley Cup was and now is around and 35 pounds. Unlike other sport trophies, the Cup is not remade every year.

Later years

Derby's term as Governor General of Canada was due to end in September 1893. However, in April of that year, his elder brother, the 15th Earl of Derby, died. Stanley succeeded him as the 16th Earl of Derby. As a result, he left Canada on 15 July 1893 and returned to England. An administrator was appointed to fulfil his duties until Lord Aberdeen was sworn in that September.

Also in 1893, Torontomarker's "New Fort York" (built in 1841) was renamed The Stanley Barracks in Honour of Lord Stanley. Back with his family in England, he soon became the Lord Mayor of Liverpoolmarker and the first Chancellor of the University of Liverpoolmarker. During the last years of his life, he increasingly dedicated himself to philanthropic work. Lord Derby died on 14 June 1908, and Lady Derby died on 17 April 1922. After Edward Whymper made the first ascent of Stanley Peakmarker in 1901, he named the mountain after Lord Derby. Vancouvermarker's Stanley Parkmarker and Stanley Theatremarker were also named after him as was Stanley Park, Blackpoolmarker. With the possible exception of recordings of Thomas Alva Edison's own voice, a recording of Lord Stanley in 1888 may be the oldest known recording of a human voice to still exist.


The Earl of Derby in May 1889.
Lord Derby married Lady Constance Villiers, daughter of George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon, on 31 May 1864. They had eight sons and two daughters (of whom one son and one daughter died as children). Their second son the Hon. Sir Victor Stanley (1867-1934) was an Admiral in the Royal Navy while their third son the Hon. Sir Arthur Stanley and sixth son the Hon. Sir George Frederick Stanley were both politicians. Lord Derby was Mayor of Preston for the 1902 Preston Guild. Lord Derby died in June 1908, aged 67, and was succeeded by his eldest son Edward, who also became a distinguished politician. Lady Derby died in April 1922.

Honorary Degrees

Honorific eponyms


  1. Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon: A few famous freemasons.
  2. "Canada's Executive Head; Power and Emoluments of the Governor General. Almost Unlimited Authority Granted to Him -- An Expensive Luxury for Canadians Who Want to Choose Their Own Governor," New York Times. November 5, 1891.
  3. Mathison, Emily. "Things That Go Bump in the Night: Unearthly spirit sightings at a local landmark" Retrieved on 2008-05-09.


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