Richard Grenville-Temple, 2nd Earl Temple
The eldest son of Richard Grenville (1678–1727) of
Wotton Underwood, Buckinghamshireand of Hester, later Countess Temple, he was educated at Eton College, and in 1734 was returned to Parliament as member for the borough of Buckingham. In 1752, on the death of his mother, he inherited her titles together with the rich estates of Stowe and Wootton; and he then took the name of Temple in addition to his original surname of Grenville. The turning point in his political fortunes was the marriage of his sister Hester in 1754 to William Pitt, later Earl of Chatham. Although Lord Temple had no outstanding qualities, his political career became linked with that of his brother-in-law. In November 1756 Temple became First Lord of the Admiraltyin the ministry of Devonshire and Pitt. He was intensely disliked by George II, who dismissed both him and Pitt from office in April 1757. But when the memorable coalition cabinet of Newcastle and Pitt was formed in June of the same year, Temple received the office of privy seal. He was the only member of the cabinet who supported Pitt's proposal to declare war with Spain in 1761, and they resigned together on October 5.
From this time Temple became one of the most violent and factious of politicians, and it is difficult to account for the influence he exerted over his illustrious brother-in-law. He himself is said to have avowed that "he loved faction, and had a great deal of money to spare." He was on bad terms with his younger brother,
George Grenville, when the latter became first lord of the treasury in April 1763, and he had no place in that ministry; but the brothers were reconciled before 1765, when Temple refused to join the government and persuaded Pitt to refuse likewise. A few weeks later the king offered the most liberal terms to induce Pitt to form or join an administration; and "a ministry directed by that great statesman," says Lecky, " would have been beyond all comparison the most advantageous to the country; it had no serious difficulty to encounter, and Pitt himself was now ready to undertake the task, but the evil genius of Lord Temple again prevailed. Without his co-operation Pitt could not, or would not proceed, and Temple absolutely refused to take office even in the foremost place." Pitt's continued refusal to join the first Rockingham administration was no doubt partly due to the same disastrous influence, though before the close of 1765 the old friendship between the brothers-in-law was dissolving; and when at last in July 1766 Pitt agreed to form a government, Temple refused to join; being bitterly offended because, although offered the Treasury, he was not to be allowed an equal share with Pitt in nominating to other offices. Temple then began to libel Pitt; and in conjunction with his brother George he concentrated the whole Grenville connexion in hostility to the government. After George Grenville's death in 1770 Lord Temple retired almost completely from public life.
Lord Temple was a great intriguer, and is said to have been the author of several anonymous libels, and the inspirer of many more. Macaulay's well-known comparison of him with a mole working below "in some foul, crooked labyrinth whenever a heap of dirt was flung up," which perpetuates the spleen of
Horace Walpole, perhaps exceeds the justice of the case; but his character was rated very low by his contemporaries. In private life he used his great wealth with generosity to his relations, friends and dependents. Pitt was under pecuniary obligation to him. He was the principle backer behind " The North Briton" weekly newspaper, [cite book | last = Cash | first = Arthur | title = John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty | publisher = Yale University Press | date = 2006 | location = New Haven and London | pages = p. 69 | url = http://books.google.com/books?isbn=0300123639 | isbn = 0300123639 ] and he paid the costs incurred by John Wilkesin litigation. He also provided Wilkes with the freehold qualification which enabled him to stand for Middlesexin the famous election of 1768.
Although known as a man given to confrontation and strife, Earl Temple did get involved with one of London's most fashionable charities of his time. He served as a vice president for the
Foundling Hospitalfrom 1760 to 1768, which was dedicated to the salvation of the large amount of children abandoned by their parents in London each day. It cannot be ruled out that his involvement in this charity was motivated purely by compassion. However, it is possible that it also had to do with the achievement of status and access to other notable supporters, such as the Duke of Bedford, Lord Vere Beauclerk, and the Earl of Dartmouth, among others.
In addition to the estates he inherited, Temple gained a considerable fortune by his marriage in 1737 with Anne, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Chambers of Hanworth, Middlesex; a volume of poems by her was printed at the
Strawberry Hillpress in 1764. The only issue of the marriage being a daughter who died in infancy, Temple was succeeded in the earldom by his nephew George Nugent-Temple-Grenville.
*See "The Grenville Papers" (London, 1852), a considerable portion of which consists of Earl Temple's correspondence; Horace Walpole, "Memoirs of the Reign of George II.", 3 vols. (London, 1847); "Memoirs of the Reign of George III.", 4 vols. (London, 1845 and 1894); Earl Waldegrave, "Memoirs 1754-8" (London, 1821); Sir NW Wraxall, "Historical Memoirs", edited by HB Wheatley, 5 vols. (London, 1884); "Correspondence of Chatham", edited by WS Taylor and JH Pringle, 4 vols. (London, 1838-40); WEH Lecky, "History of England in the Eighteenth Century", vols. ii. and iii. (7 vols., London, 1892).
*R.H. Nichols and F A. Wray, "The History of the Foundling Hospital" (London: Oxford University Press, 1935).
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Richard Grenville (disambiguation) — Richard Grenville may refer to: *Sir Richard Grenville, English sailor and soldier, d.1591 *Sir Richard Grenville, 1st Baronet, d. 1658, Royalist leader in the English Civil War * Richard Grenville Verney, 19th Baron Willoughby de Broke, d.1923… … Wikipedia
Charles Berkeley, 2nd Earl of Berkeley — PC KB FRS (8 April 1649 – 24 September 1710), was a British nobleman and diplomat, known as Sir Charles Berkeley from 1661 to 1679 and styled Viscount Dursley from 1679 to 1698. The son of George Berkeley, 1st Earl of Berkeley, he was educated at … Wikipedia
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey — The Right Honourable The Earl Grey KG PC Prime Minister of the United Kingdom … Wikipedia
Grenville — may refer to: People* Bevil ** Bevil Grenville (1596–1643), Cornish Royalist military leader in the Civil War* George ** George Grenville (1712 1770), Whig, Prime Minister of Great Britain ** George Nugent Temple Grenville, 1st Marquess of… … Wikipedia
Earl Temple of Stowe — Earl Temple of Stowe, in the County of Buckingham, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1822 for the 2nd Marquess of Buckingham. He was created Marquess of Chandos and Duke of Buckingham and Chandos at the same… … Wikipedia
Earl Nugent — The titles of Viscount Clare and Baron Nugent, of Carlanstown in the county of Westmeath, in the Peerage of Ireland, were conferred upon The Right Honourable Robert Craggs Nugent, the First Lord of Trade, on 19 January 1767. On 21 July 1776, he… … Wikipedia
Richard Temple-Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos — Richard Temple Nugent Brydges Chandos Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos KG, PC (20 March 1776 ndash; 17 January 1839), was the son and successor of George Nugent Temple Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham and the grandson of prime… … Wikipedia
Richard Temple-Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos — Richard Plantagenet Campbell Temple Nugent Brydges Chandos Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, GCSI, PC (10 September 1823 ndash;26 March 1889) was a British statesman of the 19th century, and a close friend and subordinate of Benjamin … Wikipedia
George Grenville — Infobox Prime Minister honorific prefix = The Right Honourable name=George Grenville order=Prime Minister of Great Britain term start =16 April 1763 term end =13 July 1765 monarch =George III predecessor =The Earl of Bute successor =The Marquess… … Wikipedia
Hester Grenville, 1st Countess Temple — Hester Temple, 1st Countess Temple, 2nd Viscountess Cobham (c. 1690 ndash;1752) was an English noblewoman.The daughter and eventual heiress of Sir Richard Temple, 3rd Bt., (1634 ndash;1697), of Stowe, Buckinghamshire, she married Richard… … Wikipedia