John Temple (diplomat)

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For other people named John Temple, see John Temple (disambiguation).
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.


John Temple was born in Boston. His father, Robert Temple, was a captain in the English army, and his mother was Mehibatel Nelson of Boston. In 1762 he was appointed lieutenant governor of the Province of New Hampshire and surveyor general of customs.[1] In 1767, he married Elizabeth Bowdoin, daughter of James Bowdoin, who later became governor of Massachusetts. 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.

A daughter of Temple's, Elizabeth Bowdoin Temple, married Thomas L. Winthrop, who later became the 13th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts.

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,[3] 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.[4]

His eldest son Grenville succeeded to his claim to the baronetcy.


  1. ^ The Memorial History of New York City, p. 124
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 12625. p. 109. 26 February 1785.
  3. ^ "Temple of Stowe, co. Buckingham (E Baronet, 1611 - 1786)". Cracroft's Peerage. 
  4. ^ John Burke (1832). Burke's Peerage. Vol. II (fourth ed.). London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley. p. 530. 

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