Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham

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The Viscount Cobham
Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham by Jean Baptiste van Loo.jpg
Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham
Born 24 October 1675
Died 14 September 1749 (aged 73)
Stowe Park
Buried at Stowe Park
Allegiance  Kingdom of England
 Kingdom of Great Britain
Service/branch  English Army
 British Army
Years of service 1685 – 1749
Rank Field Marshal
Battles/wars Williamite War in Ireland
Nine Years' War
War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Quadruple Alliance

Field Marshal Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham BtPC (24 October 1675 – 14 September 1749) was a British soldier and Whig politician. After serving as a junior officer under William III during the Williamite War in Ireland and during the Nine Years' War, he fought under John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough during the War of the Spanish Succession. During the War of the Quadruple Alliance Temple led a force of 4,000 troops on a raid on the Spanish coastline which captured Vigo and occupied it for ten days before withdrawing. In Parliament he generally supported the Whigs but fell out with Sir Robert Walpole in 1733. He was known for his ownership of and modifications to the estate at Stowe Park and for serving as a political mentor to the young William Pitt.

Military career[edit]

Born the son of Sir Richard Temple, 3rd Baronet and his wife Mary Temple (née Knapp, daughter of Thomas Knapp), Temple was educated at Eton College and Christ's College, Cambridge and was commissioned as an ensign in Prince George of Denmark's Regiment on 30 June 1685.[1] After becoming a captain in Babington's Regiment in 1689, he fought under William III during the Williamite War in Ireland and then at the Siege of Namur in July 1695 during the Nine Years' War.[2]

The Temple estate at Stowe Park.

Temple succeeded his father as 4th Baronet in May 1697 and as Whig Member of Parliament for Buckingham later that year: he continued to represent either Buckingham or Buckinghamshire for the next 16 years.[2] Promoted to lieutenant colonel on 10 February 1702, he was given his own regiment to command.[2] He fought under John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough at the Battle of Venlo in September 1702 and at the Battle of Roermond in October 1702 during the War of the Spanish Succession.[2] He also took part in the Battle of Oudenarde in July 1708 and the Siege of Lille in Autumn 1708.[2] For his good conduct at Lille he was sent home to present the despatches to Queen Anne.[2] In Parliament he supported the Whigs and voted for the Foreign Protestants Naturalization Act 1708 which allowed Protestants fleeing from the continent to enter Great Britain.[1] Promoted to major-general on 1 January 1709, he fought again at the Battle of Malplaquet in September 1709 and was promoted to lieutenant general on 1 January 1710.[2] In Parliament, in accordance with Whig party policy, he voted for the impeachment of Henry Sacheverell, a clergyman who had criticised the party, in March 1710.[1]

In recognition of his service in the field, Temple was appointed colonel of the Princess Anne of Denmark's Regiment of Dragoons in April 1710.[2] From 1711, he made dramatic changes to his family estate at Stowe Park; the work was carried out under the guidance of John Vanbrugh, a skilled architect, and the future royal gardener, Charles Bridgeman.[1]

In 1713 the Harley Ministry stripped Temple of his colonelcy for voting against the Treaty of Utrecht.[2] However, after George I ascended the throne, Temple became ambassador to Vienna and was created Baron Cobham in October 1714.[2] He also became colonel of The Royal Regiment of Dragoons in 1715 and Constable of Windsor Castle in 1716.[1] He was made a Privy Councillor in July 1716[3] and created Viscount Cobham in April 1718.[4]

Temple was a mentor and Patron to a number of young Whigs, the most notable being William Pitt. Collectively they became known as Cobham's Cubs. Two of them, Pitt and Temple's nephew George Grenville went on to be Prime Minister.

In September 1719 during the War of the Quadruple Alliance Temple led a force of 4,000 troops on a raid on the Spanish coastline which captured Vigo and occupied it for ten days before withdrawing.[5][6] Temple generally supported the government of Sir Robert Walpole once it came to power in April 1721 and was rewarded with the colonelcy of the King's Own Regiment of Horse later that year.[1] He became Governor of Jersey in May 1723[7] and Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire in March 1728.[8]

Later life[edit]

Temple fell out with Prime Minister Robert Walpole in 1733 and formed a faction in the Whig Party to oppose the Excise Bill which resulted in him being stripped of his colonelcy again.[1] He was promoted to full general on 27 October 1735.[2]

Temple provided patronage to the rising star of the Whig Party, William Pitt, securing him a cornet's commission in his regiment. The group of Temple's young supporters were known as Cobham's Cubs and included Richard Grenville, George Grenville and George Lyttelton, as well as Pitt. After Walpole's fall as Prime Minister in 1742, they turned their attacks on his replacement – a government led by Lord Wilmington and Lord Carteret.[1]

Temple's signature and seal on a marriage settlement of 1734

Promoted to field marshal on 10 July 1742,[9] Temple became colonel of the 1st Troop of Horse Grenadier Guards that same day,[9] colonel of Viscount Cobham's Regiment of Horse in 1744 and colonel of Viscount Cobham's Regiment of Dragoons in June 1745.[10] He died at Stowe Park on 13 September 1749 and was also buried there.[11]

Family[edit]

In September 1715 Temple married Anne Halsey, daughter of Edmund Halsey who had owned the Anchor Brewery: her inheritance allowed Temple to maintain Stowe Park; they had no children.[11]

Legacy[edit]

Temple was admired by Alexander Pope, and Temple's gardens were praised by Pope in his Epistle to Burlington as a wonder. Pope wrote a "moral epistle" to Temple in 1733 and published it in the same year as An Epistle to the Right Honourable Richard Lord Visct. Cobham. Pope praises Temple as a practical man of the world whose "ruling passion" was service to his country, whatever the cost. Basil Williams said Temple "had all the coarse, roystering bluffness of the hardened old campaigners of that time".[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kilburn, Matthew. "Richard Temple, first Viscount Cobham (1675–1749)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Heathcote, p. 272
  3. ^ Hoppit, p. 274
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 5631. p. 2. 5 April 1718. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  5. ^ Rodger, p. 229
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 5792. p. 1. 20 October 1719. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 6168. p. 1. 28 May 1723. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 6662. p. 1. 26 March 1728. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  9. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 8134. p. 2. 6 July 1742. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 8438. p. 3. 4 June 1745. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  11. ^ a b Heathcote, p. 273
  12. ^ Williams, p. 40.

Sources[edit]

  • Heathcote, Tony (1999). The British Field Marshals 1736-1997. Pen & Sword Books Ltd. ISBN 0-85052-696-5. 
  • Hoppit, Julian (2000). A Land of Liberty? England 1689–1727. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0198228424. 
  • Rodger, N. A. M. (2006). Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649–1815. Penguin Books. 
  • Williams, Basil (1914). The Life of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Beckett, J. V. (1994). The Rise and Fall of the Grenvilles: Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos, 1710 to 1921. Manchester University Press. 
  • Bevington, Michael (2002). Stowe: The Garden and the Park. Paul Holberton. 
  • Gerrard, Christine (1994). The Patriot Opposition to Walpole: Politics, Poetry, and National Myth, 1725–1742. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 
  • Temple, Albert R. (1976). Lord Cobham: The Life of Sir Richard Temple, Viscount (1765–1749). The Temple Family Association. 
  • Wiggin, L. M. (1958). The Faction of Cousins: A Political Account of the Grenvilles, 1733–1763. Yale University Press. 
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Richard Temple, Bt
Alexander Denton
Member of Parliament for Buckingham
1697–1702
With: Alexander Denton 1697–1698
Sir Edmund Denton, Bt 1698–1702
Succeeded by
Sir Edmund Denton, Bt
Roger Price
Preceded by
The Viscount Newhaven
Goodwin Egerton
Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire
1704–1707
With: The Viscount Newhaven 1704–1705
Robert Dormer 1705–1706
William Egerton 1706–1707
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir Edmund Denton, Bt
Roger Price
Member of Parliament for Buckingham
May – December 1705
With: Sir Edmund Denton, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Edmund Denton, Bt
Browne Willis
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire
17071708
With: William Egerton
Succeeded by
Sir Edmund Denton, Bt
Richard Hampden
Preceded by
Sir Edmund Denton, Bt
Browne Willis
Member of Parliament for Buckingham
17081713
With: Alexander Denton 1708–1710
Thomas Chapman 1710–1713
Succeeded by
Thomas Chapman
John Radcliffe
Military offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Essex
Colonel of the Princess Anne of Denmark's Regiment of Dragoons
1710–1713
Succeeded by
William Evans
Preceded by
The Earl of Strafford
Colonel of The Royal Regiment of Dragoons
1715–1721
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Hotham, Bt
Preceded by
The Viscount of Irvine
Colonel of The King's Own Regiment of Horse
1721–1733
Succeeded by
The Earl of Pembroke
Preceded by
James Dormer
Captain and Colonel of the
1st Troop of Horse Grenadier Guards

1742–1745
Succeeded by
Richard Onslow
Preceded by
Clement Neville
Colonel of Viscount Cobham's Regiment of Horse
1744–1745
Succeeded by
Thomas Wentworth
Preceded by
Charles Churchill
Colonel of Viscount Cobham's Regiment of Dragoons
1745–1749
Succeeded by
Sir John Mordaunt
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Duke of Northumberland
Constable of Windsor Castle
1716–1723
Succeeded by
The Earl of Carlisle
Preceded by
The Duke of Bridgwater
Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire
1728–1738
Succeeded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Viscount Cobham
1718–1749
Succeeded by
Hester Temple
Baron Cobham
1714–1749
Baronetage of England
Preceded by
Richard Temple
Baronet
(of Stow)
1697–1749
Succeeded by
William Temple