Temple family correspondence
Scope and Contents
Sir William Temple is represented in the collection by one translation of a highly complimentary letter written in the name of Gabriel Portello, "who taught her Spanish," to Lady Giffard; a 1680 letter to him from James Butler, Duke of Ormonde, who discusses his view of the Irish situation; and a letter in Italian of 10 December 1688 describing the flight of James II and his family from London and accusing Londoners of "poltroneria e infidelta a lor Principe."
Lady Giffard's correspondents include Lady Dorothy Dixwell, who in a letter dated January 1, 1671 describes preparations for Lady Strangeway's country house production of Etheridge's The Comical Revenge; or, Love in a Tub; Dorothy, Dowager Countess of Sunderland, who describes the dismissal of Ormonde as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and current Court gossip, including an incident between Lord Rochester and Thomas Killigrew, in an undated (1669) letter; and the Marquis de Marsay, who asks for news of Lady Portland and discusses his health and studies.
Other letters received by Lady Giffard are primarily condolence letters on the death of her brother, invitations, or thank you notes for presents of cherries or medicines.
The collection also includes a few letters pertaining to the Bacon family. Two from Sheppard Frere thank John Bacon for presents of venison. A 1690 letter from John Montagu, Rector of Trinity College, Cambridge, to his sister (Lady Catherine Bacon) regrets that he could not secure a fellowship for someone she had recommended to him.
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
0.21 Linear Feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE, 1628-1699
A protege of Henry Bennet (later Earl of Arlington), Temple received his baronetcy in 1666 and two years later negotiated the Triple Alliance among England, the Netherlands and Sweden. Most of his diplomatic career was focused on the Netherlands; in 1673 he published Observations on the United Provinces and in 1677 assisted in arranging the marriage of James II's daughter Mary to William of Orange.
Temple retired from politics in 1681 and devoted his time to his estate of Moor Park and to composing memoirs, essays and miscellaneous pieces, some of which were published during his lifetime and widely praised. In 1689, Temple hired Jonathan Swift, then 22, as his secretary. Swift remained with Temple until his death in 1699, and oversaw the publication of his posthumous Works in 1701.
Although the Temples had several children, none survived them. The only child to reach adulthood, John Temple, drowned himself in the Thames in April 1689. Lady Dorothy Temple died at Moor Park in 1695, and Sir William Temple also died there in 1699. He was buried in Westminster Abbey beside his wife; but his heart was buried under a sundial in the garden at Moor Park.
LADY MARTHA (TEMPLE) GIFFARD, 1638-1722
- Guide to the Temple Family Correspondence
- Under Revision
- by Beinecke Staff
- June 1996
- Description rules
- Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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