Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Giffard, Stanley Lees

GIFFARD, STANLEY LEES (1788–1858), editor of the ‘Standard’ newspaper, youngest son of John Giffard of Dromartin, co. Dublin, and brother of Sir Ambrose Hardinge Giffard [q. v.], was born in Dublin 4 Aug. 1788. He was first educated by Thomas White, the schoolmaster of Sheridan the politician and Moore the poet. He then studied at Trinity College, Dublin, where he proceeded B.A. 1807, M.A. 1811. He afterwards took the degree of LL.D., entered at the Middle Temple, and was called to the bar by that society in 1811. Making no way as a barrister, he soon turned his attention to literature. After some anonymous hack-work in classics and Hebrew he began his journalistic career by an engagement on the ‘St. James's Chronicle,’ of which paper he was editor for some years. He was chosen editor of the ‘Standard’ when that paper was founded in 1827, and this post he filled for more than a quarter of a century. During this period he opposed catholic emancipation, championed the cause of the Irish state church, and defended the corn and navigation laws (being attacked by name in Mr. Bright's speech at the famous repeal meeting in Covent Garden Theatre in 1845). Giffard died at Folkestone, Kent, 6 Nov. 1858. His first wife was Susannah Meares Moran, and his third son by her, Hardinge Stanley, was raised to the peerage as Lord Halsbury in 1885 on first becoming lord chancellor, and was promoted to an earldom in 1898, during his third tenure of the chancellorship, which he retained till 1905. His second wife was Mary Anne, daughter of Henry Giffard, R.N.

Giffard's life is almost entirely bound up with that of the paper he edited. He was once candidate for the representation in parliament of Trinity College, Dublin, but withdrew before the poll. He contributed articles to the ‘Quarterly’ and ‘Blackwood,’ and began a ‘Life of the Great Duke of Ormonde,’ and ‘Vindiciæ Anglicanæ,’ being an account of the ‘English in Ireland.’ No part of this was published. Giffard was thus described in the ‘Standard’ obituary notice: ‘In the obduracy of his sympathies and antipathies in politics he was a man after Dr. Johnson's own heart; and with him departed perhaps the last of the school of Georgian political writers, who brought so great a fund of learning to the pursuit of the press.’ The story told in Grant's ‘History of the Press’ and elsewhere, that in the early days of the ‘Standard’ the Duke of Newcastle sent the editor 1,200l. as a mark of admiration of the article against catholic emancipation which had appeared on the previous day, is an entire fiction.

[Standard, 9 Nov. 1858, p. 5; Catalogue of Dublin Graduates, p. 221; Grant's Hist. of the Newspaper Press, ii. chap. iv.; Gent. Mag. December 1858, p. 652; Burke's Peerage, s. v. ‘Halsbury.’]

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