John Temple (diplomat)

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Sir John Temple from Wall Street in History

John Temple (1731 – 17 November 1798) was the first British consul-general to the United States and the only British diplomat to have been born in what later became the United States. He was sometimes known as (but not universally acknowledged to be) Sir John Temple, 8th Baronet.

Early life[edit]

Gilbert Stuart, Elizabeth Bowdoin, oil on wood, 1806

John Temple was born in Boston in 1731. His father, Robert Temple (1694–1754), was a captain in the English army, and his mother was Mehibatel Nelson (1691–1775) of Boston.


In 1762, he was appointed lieutenant governor of the Province of New Hampshire and surveyor general of customs.[1]

Temple was politically aligned with the populist faction in Massachusetts politics, and strongly opposed to the domination of colonial rule by Thomas Hutchinson and the Oliver family. Temple may have played a role in the Hutchinson Letters Affair of 1773 that inflamed political tensions in Massachusetts and led to the recall of Hutchinson, who was then governor of the province.

In 1785, he was appointed consul-general to the United States,[2] and remained in this post in New York until his death.[3]


Following the death of Sir Richard Temple, 7th Baronet in 1786, John Temple claimed the Temple Baronetcy of Stowe on the basis of a declaration by George Nugent-Temple-Grenville, 1st Marquess of Buckingham, but his claim is disputed. It is not recognized, for instance, by Cracroft's Peerage,[4] which considers the baronetcy to be dormant. However, his claim seems to have been generally recognized during his lifetime and his son's, for example by Burke's Peerage.[5]

His eldest son Grenville succeeded to his claim to the baronetcy.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Sir Grenville Temple, 9th Baronet, 1812

In 1767, he married Elizabeth Bowdoin (1750–1809), daughter of James Bowdoin, who later became Governor of Massachusetts.[6] Together, they were the parents of:[7]

Templed died 17 November 1798.


Through his eldest son Sir Grenville Temple, he was the grandfather of Sir Grenville Temple, the 10th Baronet (1799-1847),[9] who published "Travels in Greece and Turkey and the Mediterranean", in 1843.[10]


  1. ^ Wilson, James Grant (1893). The Memorial History of the City of New-York: From Its First Settlement to the Year 1892. New York History Company. p. 124. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  2. ^ "No. 12625". The London Gazette. 26 February 1785. p. 109. 
  3. ^ Vile, John R.; Pierce, William (2015). The Wisest Council in the World: Restoring the Character Sketches by William Pierce of Georgia of the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. University of Georgia Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780820347721. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  4. ^ "Temple of Stowe, co. Buckingham (E Baronet, 1611–1786)". Cracroft's Peerage. 
  5. ^ a b John Burke (1832). Burke's Peerage. II (fourth ed.). London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley. p. 530. 
  6. ^ a b c North, Louise V. (2014). The Travel Journals of Henrietta Marchant Liston: North America and Lower Canada, 1796–1800. Lexington Books. p. 13. ISBN 9780739195512. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  7. ^ Burke, Bernard (1869). A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. London: Harrison. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  8. ^ "Augusta Grenville Temple (1779-1852) (Replica), (painting)". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Stuart, Gilbert (1806). "Lady John Temple (Elizabeth Bowdoin)". The Frick Art Reference Library. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  10. ^

External links[edit]

Baronetage of England
Preceded by
Richard Temple
Temple baronets
(of Stowe)
Succeeded by
Grenville Temple