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Temple, Sir William

Sir William Temple, 1628–99, English diplomat and author. He was married in 1655 to Dorothy Osborne. They settled in Ireland, and in 1661 Temple entered the Irish parliament. He moved (1663) to England, served on various diplomatic missions, and was made a baronet (1666). In 1668 he negotiated with great skill and speed a triple alliance with the Netherlands and Sweden to check the power of France. He became (1668) ambassador to The Hague but was secretly recalled (1670) after Charles II had concluded the secret Treaty of Dover with Louis XIV. He was reappointed (1674) at the conclusion of the unpopular English-Dutch war and negotiated the marriage (1677) of William of Orange to Princess Mary of England. Temple several times refused to become secretary of state, but he did promote a reorganization (1679) of the privy council. After this proved a failure, he retired (1681) to his estate, Moor Park, in Surrey, and devoted his time to writing. He produced a number of political works and essays. Jonathan Swift, who was Temple's secretary for various periods in the 1690s, helped prepare his letters (1700–1703) and memoirs for publication (parts of both had earlier unauthorized publication). Temple's essay, Of Ancient and Modern Learning (1690), precipitated the famous "ancients versus moderns" controversy, which caused Swift to write The Battle of the Books (1697). Temple's style in his personal essays was long considered a model of balanced and polished prose.

See his life and works (1814); biographies by H. Woodbridge (1940, repr. 1966) and R. C. Steensma (1970).

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"Temple, Sir William." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Temple, Sir William." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/temple-sir-william

Temple, Sir William

Temple, Sir William (1628–99). Diplomat and author. Educated at Cambridge and eventually successful in his patient courtship of Dorothy Osborne, Temple moved from Ireland to England in 1663 and became Arlington's protégé. Accredited envoy at Brussels (1665), with a baronetcy the following year, he negotiated the Triple Alliance as ambassador at The Hague (1668), but judiciously retired to England and his orangery at Sheen as relations deteriorated; pro-Dutch, he was recalled to negotiate the 1674 treaty which ended the Dutch War, and then, with Danby, successfully arranged the alliance between Charles's niece Mary and William of Orange (1677). Although undertaking reorganization of the Privy Council, disillusion increased, and he retired from politics (1681) to pursue gardening, fruit-growing, and writing at Moor Park, where his secretary 1689–99 was Jonathan Swift. Temple's literary reputation rests on his essays, despite Swift's satire of his style in The Battle of the Books.

A. S. Hargreaves

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"Temple, Sir William." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Temple, Sir William." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/temple-sir-william

"Temple, Sir William." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved May 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/temple-sir-william