- Derby, Edward George Geoffrey Smith Stanley, Fourteenth Earl of
- (1799–1869)Three times Conservative minority prime minister of the United Kingdom, Derby came from an old Whig family and served as a young man in the reforming administrations of Lord Grey, in which, in 1833, he oversaw the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire. In the mid-1830s, disenchanted with Lord Melbourne’s government, he moved toward the Conservative Party of Sir Robert Peel. His devotion to stability led him to break with Peel over Corn Law repeal, and he became a leading member of the Tory rump. Divisions among the Whig, Peelite, and Radical supporters of the governments of Russell and Palmerston allowed Tory minorities to hold office briefly in 1852, again in 1858–1859, and most significantly from 1866–1868.The latter ministry passed the Second Reform Act, with significant Liberal support, effectively doubling the size of the electorate. In imperial affairs, it oversaw Lord Robert Napier’s successful but expensive punitive expedition of 1867–1868 against Emperor Theodore of Abyssinia, who had kidnapped British personnel in reaction to an imagined diplomatic slight. Derby resigned the premiership in February 1868 and was succeeded by Benjamin Disraeli.FURTHER READING:Saintsbury, George. The Earl of Derby. London; J. M. Dent, 1906.MARK F. PROUDMAN
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.