TEMPLE NUGENT BRYDGES CHANDOS GRENVILLE, Richard Plantagenet, Earl Temple (1797-1861).
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Family and Education
b. 11 Feb. 1797, o.s. of Richard Temple Nugent Grenville*, 2nd Mq. of Buckingham, by Lady Anne Elizabeth Brydges, da. and h. of James Brydges†, 3rd Duke of Chandos. educ. Eton 1808; Oriel, Oxf. 1815. m. 13 May 1819, Lady Mary Campbell (div. 19 Jan. 1850), da. of John, 4th Earl of Breadalbane [S], 1s. 1da. Styled Earl Temple 1813-22, Mq. of Chandos 1822-39; GCH 1835; suc. fa. as 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos 17 Jan. 1839; KG 11 Apr. 1842.
Ld. privy seal Sept. 1841-Feb. 1842; PC 3 Sept. 1841.
High steward, Winchester.
Col. Bucks. yeomanry 1839.
Temple inherited a full measure of his father’s egotism and at the age of 19 caused outrage in his family by trying to elope, probably with the woman whom Creevey saw on a visit to Bedlam in 1824, when he wrote that she had been driven mad by the Grenvilles’ forcible recovery of the promissory bond of marriage which Temple had given her. His great-uncle Thomas Grenville commented:
Nothing can equal the infatuation of the young man, or the degree of misconduct produced by it, except the vehement and ungoverned feelings of Lord Buckingham ... [who] is naturally anxious to send him abroad immediately. I wish he may go, but I cannot feel sanguine in the persuasion that he will; the low company that he has been living in seems to have debauched his mind as well as body for the time, and there is no salvation for him but in his being torn away from these disgraceful scenes, to which however he returns almost as often as he promises to renounce them.
A few days later he was able to tell Lord Grenville of ‘the first signs of a returning sense of duty’ indicated by Temple’s ‘deep regret and contrition’. The young man was sent abroad early in 1817, but Henry Wellesley, who met him in Madrid, was critical of his leash-holders, Messrs Hughes and Chase, as a pedant and a vulgarian respectively: ‘I think Lord Temple a remarkably fine young man, but somebody should be with him, whose opinions he would follow, and in whom he would have confidence’.1
Lord Buckingham decided not to accept an invitation for Temple to stand for Winchester on a vacancy in March 1818, but sent him there ‘to make his excuses in person’. He ‘managed so well’ that, to his father’s delight, he revived the Chandos interest, in abeyance since 1812. Before Temple was returned for the family’s county seat at the general election, Buckingham told Charles Williams Wynn that, as he no longer saw any prospect of the formation of a genuine ‘third party’, he would impress on his son ‘and those who in the next Parliament will act with him’, the ‘prudence of pledging themselves to as few opinions as possible, and consequently of keeping themselves quite free to act as circumstances may require’. After the election he informed his lieutenant William Fremantle that ‘Temple’s politics are quite right, and he seems inclined to make the question of triennial parliaments his debut’.2
At the outset of his political career he proved a model of filial obedience. In accordance with his father’s wishes, he voted against government in support of Tierney’s motion on the resumption of cash payments, 2 Feb., but abstained from the division of 8 Feb. on the motion to add Brougham to the committee of inquiry. He agreed with his father that the Duke of York’s allowance should be supported and divided against Tierney’s amendment to reduce it, 22 Feb. Williams Wynn, who voted with opposition, reported to Buckingham:
The reason why I did not previously discuss the matter with Temple, you will easily conceive, since you must know that, in my view, no advantage arising from union of friends could be worth the hazard of inducing him to give a vote (especially at this early part of his parliamentary career) in which you do not fully concur. He appears to me, in every conversation which we have yet had, to have exactly the feeling which is the surest presage of good, an extreme anxiety to do what is right, accompanied with a disposition to allow their full weight to the opinions of others.
Apart from pairing in favour of inquiry into Scottish burgh reform, 1 Apr. 1819, when he acted with most of the other Grenvillites, Temple cast no further recorded votes against government in this period. He conformed to the line laid down by his father in abstaining from the division on Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819. He took no part in the debate on parliamentary reform, 1 July, and delivered his maiden speech in support of the address, 24 Nov. 1819, when he called for stern measures ‘to put down the spirit of insubordination which prevailed’. Williams Wynn wrote that the ‘few words’ he uttered were ‘not enough to form any opinion one way or another as to his future performance’.3 Unlike his father and uncles, Temple was hostile to Catholic relief, but the discord which arose from this and other causes lay in the future.
He died in reduced circumstances, having completed the financial ruin of his family through extravagance and folly, 29 July 1861.4
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: David R. Fisher
- 1. HMC Fortescue, x. 408, 416-17; Creevey’s Life and Times, 198; Add. 34715, f. 266.
- 2. Buckingham, Regency, ii. 237; Fremantle mss, Buckingham to Fremantle, 12 Mar., 30 July; NLW, Coedymaen mss 20, Buckingham to Williams Wynn [Apr. 1818].
- 3. Fremantle mss, Buckingham to Fremantle, , 27 Jan., 10 Feb. 1819; Buckingham, ii. 300, 303-4, 322-3; Coedymaen mss 12, f. 930.
- 4. F. M. L. Thompson, Econ. Hist. Rev. (ser. 2), viii (1955), 36-52; D. and E. Spring, Huntington Lib. Quarterly, xxix (1956), 165-90.