Sir Richard Temple, 1st Baronet

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For other people named Richard Temple, see Richard Temple (disambiguation).
"Burra Dick"
Temple as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, January 1881

Sir Richard Temple, 1st Baronet, GCSICIEPCFRS (8 March 1826 – 15 March 1902) was an administrator in British India and a British politician.

Early life[edit]

Temple was the son of Richard Temple (1800-1874) and his first wife Louisa Anne Rivett-Carnac (d. 1837), a daughter of James Rivett-Carnac. His paternal ancestor, William Dickon, of Shenton, Salop, married in the middle of the 18th century the daughter and co-heiress of Sir William Temple, 5th Baronet (1694-1760), of the Temple of Stowe baronets. Their son assumed the surname Temple in 1796, and inherited the Temple manor-house and estate of The Nash, in Worcestershire. Richard Temple (born 1826) inherited the estate on his father´s death in 1874.[1]

Career[edit]

After being educated at Rugby and the East India Company College at Haileybury, Temple joined the Bengal Civil Service in 1846. His hard work and literary skill were soon recognised; he was private secretary for some years to John Lawrence in the Punjab, and gained useful financial experience under James Wilson. He served as Chief Commissioner for the Central Provinces until 1867, when he was appointed Resident at Hyderabad. In 1867 he was made Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India (KCSI). In 1868 he became a member of the supreme government,[which?] first as foreign secretary and then as finance minister.

He was made lieutenant-governor of Bengal Presidency in 1874, and did admirable work during the famine of 1874, importing half a million tons of rice from Burma to bring substantial relief to the starving.[2]:36 The British government, dogmatically committed to a laissez-faire economic policy, castigated Temple for interfering in the workings of the market. He was appointed by the Viceroy as a plenipotentiary famine delegate to Madras during the famine of 1877 there. Seeing this appointment as an opportunity to "retrieve his reputation for extravagance in the last famine"[2]:37 Temple implemented relief policies that resulted in the starvation and death of millions.

His services were recognized with a baronetcy in 1876. In 1877 he was made governor of Bombay Presidency, and his activity during the Afghan War of 1878-80 was untiring.

In 1880 he left India for a political career in England, and in 1885 he was returned as a Conservative MP for the Evesham division of Worcestershire. Meanwhile he produced several books on Indian subjects. In parliament he was assiduous in his attendance, and he spoke on Indian subjects with admitted authority. He was not otherwise a parliamentary success, and to the public he was best known from caricatures in Punch, which exaggerated his physical peculiarities and made him look like a lean and hungry tiger. In 1885 he became vice-chairman of the London School Board, and as chairman of its finance committee he did useful and congenial work. In 1892 he changed his constituency for the Kingston division, but in 1895 he retired from parliament. In 1896 he was appointed a Privy Councillor.

Temple had kept a careful journal of his parliamentary experiences, intended for posthumous publication; and he himself published a short volume of reminiscences. He died at his residence at Hampstead on 15 March 1902, from a heart failure.[1]

Publications[1][edit]

  • India in 1880
  • Men and Events of my Time in India
  • Oriental Experience
  • Essays and Addresses
  • Journal at Hyderabad
  • Palestine Ilustrated
  • John Lawrence, a monoraph on John Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence
  • James Thomason, a monograph on James Thomason

Family[edit]

Temple was twice married. First, in 1849, to Charlotte Frances Martindale, daughter of Benjamin Martindale. She died in 1855, leaving him with two young sons and a daughter:[1]

He remarried, in 1871, Mary Augusta Lindsay, daughter of Charles Robert Lindsay, of the Indian Civil Service , and a member of the family of the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres.[1] Lady Temple was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Crown of India (CI) on its institution in 1878.[3] She died in 1924, and they had a son from the marriage:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Death of Sir Richard Temple" The Times (London). Tuesday, 18 March 1902. (36718), p. 4.
  2. ^ a b Davis, Mike, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World, 2001. ISBN 978-1-85984-382-6
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24539. p. 113. 4 January 1878.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
George Campbell
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal
1874–1877
Succeeded by
Sir Ashley Eden
Preceded by
Sir Philip Wodehouse
Governor of Bombay
1877–1880
Succeeded by
Sir James Fergusson, Bt.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Frederick Dixon-Hartland
Member of Parliament for Evesham
18851892
Succeeded by
Sir Edmund Lechmere, Bt.
Preceded by
Sir John Ellis, Bt.
Member of Parliament for Kingston
18921895
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Skewes-Cox
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Kempsey)
1876–1902
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Carnac Temple, 2nd Baronet