Earl James, a British statesman, born in 1673, died in London, Feb. 5, 1721. He was the son of Alexander Stanhope, a brother of the second carl of Chesterfield. Entering the military service at an early age, ho was in 1694 commissioned a captain in the foot guards. After serving in Flanders till the peace of Ryswick, he participated in the disastrous expeditions of 1702 and 1704 to the Spanish peninsula; and in 1705, being then a brigadier general, he shared in the earl of Peterborough's brilliant Spanish campaign. In 1706 he was sent by Queen Anne as envoy extraordinary to the king of Spain (the archduke Charles). In 1707 he was made major general, and in 1708 commander-in-chief of the British forces in Spain, and reduced Minorca and captured Port Mahon. After gaining further important successes in Spain, he was surprised by the duke of Vendome at Brihuega on Dec. 8, 1710, and forced to surrender next day with about 4,000 men. Returning to England, he took his seat as a whig in parliament, to which he had been regularly returned since 1702. George I. on his accession appointed him one of his principal secretaries of state, Viscount Townshend being the other.
In April, 1717, he was made first lord of the treasury, and a few months afterward raised to the peerage as Baron Stanhope of Elvaston and Viscount Stanhope of Mahon. In 1718 he resumed his office of secretary, Sunderland becoming first lord of the treasury, and was created Earl Stanhope. He went to Paris and Madrid to avert hostilities with Spain, but without success; and he was afterward employed in similar missions. On Feb. 4, 1721, while replying with much heat to an attack upon the ministry by the duke of Wharton, he burst a blood vessel.
Third Earl Charles, grandson of the preceding, born in August, 1753, died in December, 1816. Succeeding to his family honors in 1786, he became noted for his radical opinions, and in his discussions carried the principles of the whigs so far that none of them dared follow him; and in the latter years of his life he used to be called "the minority of one." He invented the printing press which bears his name, suggested improvements in canal locks, and contrived two calculating machines. He also studied electricity, and in 1779 published his theory of what is called the return stroke. His principal works are a reply to Burke's "Reflections on the French Revolution," and an "Essay on Juries".
Fifth Earl Philip Henry, an English author, grandson of the preceding, born at Walmer, Kent, Jan. 31, 1805, died at Bournemouth, Hampshire, Dec. 24, 1875. He graduated at Oxford in 1827, and from 1830 to 1852 was a member of parliament under his courtesy title of Lord Mahon. He held office during brief periods in the cabinets of the duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel, and he introduced and carried the copyright act of 1842. He has published "Life of Beli-sarius" (8vo, 1829); "History of the War of Succession in Spain" (Svo, 1832); "History of England from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of Versailles, 1713-'83" (7 vols., 1836-'54); "Spain under Charles II." (8vo, 1840); " Life of Louis, Prince of Conde " (18mo, 1845); " Historical Essays contributed to the Quarterly Review " (8vo, 1849); a "Life of Joan of Arc " (1853); a "Life of William Pitt" (4 vols. 8vo, 1801-2); and "History of England, comprising the Reign of Anne, until the Peace of Utrecht" (1870). He has edited "The Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield " (1845; 2d ed., 5 vols. 8vo, 1853), in conjunction with Mr. Cardwell, and "Memoirs by the Right Hon. Sir Robert Peel, Bart." (2 vols., 1856-7). Lord Stanhope succeeded to his title in 1855. Since 1846 he has been president of the society of antiquaries.
In 1858 he was elected lord rector of the university of Aberdeen, and in 1872 one of the six foreign members of the academy of moral and political sciences at Paris, in place of Mr. Grote.