Temple, Sir William

views updated May 21 2018

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