Richard Temple

Birth: 1826


Sir Richard Temple (1826-1902) was an English administrator and a descendant in the female line of the Temples of Stowe. He was born on the 8th of March 1826, and after being educated at Rugby and Haileybury, joined the Bengal Civil Service. His industry and ready pen soon obtained appreciation, and after acting as private secretary for some years to John Lawrence in the Punjab, and gaining useful financial experience under James Wilson, he was appointed Resident at Haidarabad.

In 1867 he was made K.C.S.I. In 1868 he became a member of the supreme government, first as foreign secretary and then as nuance minister; and he did admirable work during the famine of 1874, in the course of which he was made lieutenant-governor of Bengal. His services were recognized by the bestowal of a baronetcy in 1876. In 1877 he was made governor of Bombay, and his activity during the Afghan War of 1878-80 was untiring.

In 1880 he left India to enter on a political career in England, but it was not till 1885 that he was returned as a conservative 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; but he was not otherwise a parliamentary success, and to the public he was best known by the 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, being in 1896 made a Privy Councillor. He 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 Hampstead on the 15th of March 1902. He was twice married, and left a daughter and three sons, all of the latter distinguishing themselves in the public service.


1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 26. pg. 601

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