Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Temple, Henry (1673?-1757)

TEMPLE, HENRY, first Viscount Palmerston (1673?–1757), born about 1673, was the eldest surviving son of Sir John Temple, speaker of the Irish House of Commons [see under Temple, Sir John]. On 21 Sept. 1680, when about seven years old, he was appointed, with Luke King, chief remembrancer of the court of exchequer in Ireland, for their joint lives, and on King's death the grant was renewed to Temple and his son Henry for life (6 June 1716). It was then worth nearly 2,000l. per annum (Swift, Works, 1883 ed. vi. 416). Temple was created, on 12 March 1722–3, a peer of Ireland as Baron Temple of Mount Temple, co. Sligo, and Viscount Palmerston of Palmerston, co. Dublin. He sat in the English House of Commons for East Grinstead, Sussex, 1727–34, Bossiney, Cornwall, 1734–1741, and Weobly, Herefordshire, 1741–47, and was a supporter of Sir Robert Walpole's administration. In the interest of Walpole he offered Dr. William Webster in 1734 a crown pension of 300l. per annum if he would turn the ‘Weekly Miscellany’ into a ministerial paper (Nichols, Lit. Anecdotes, v. 162). Sir Charles Hanbury Williams wrote several skits upon ‘Little Broadbottom Palmerston’ (Works, i. 189, ii. 265, iii. 36). He was cured at Bath in 1736 of a severe illness (William Oliver, Practical Essay on Warm Bathing, 2nd edit. pp. 60–2). Palmerston added the garden front to the house at East Sheen (Lysons, Environs, i. 371), and greatly improved the mansion of Broadlands, near Romsey, Hampshire (Hist. MSS. Comm. 14th Rep. App. ix. 251). The volume of ‘Poems on several Occasions’ (1736) by Stephen Duck [q. v.], the ‘thresher,’ patronised by Queen Caroline, includes ‘A Journey to Marlborough, Bath,’ inscribed to Viscount Palmerston. Part of the poem describes a feast given by the peer annually on 30 June to the threshers of the village of Charlton, between Pewsey and Amesbury, Wiltshire, in honour of Duck, a native of that place. The dinner is still given every year, and its cost is partly provided from the rent of a piece of land given by Lord Palmerston.

Palmerston was a correspondent of the Duchess of Marlborough, and some angry letters passed between him and Swift in January 1725–6 (Works, 1883 edit. xvii. 23–29). He helped Bishop Berkeley in his scheme concerning the island of St. Christopher (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. p. 242), and he presented to Eton College in 1750 four large volumes on heraldry, which had been painted for Henry VIII by John Tirol (ib. 9th Rep. App. i. 357). He died at Chelsea on 10 June 1757, aged 84.

He married, first, Anne, only daughter of Abraham Houblon, governor of the Bank of England. She died on 8 Dec. 1735, having had issue, with other children, a son Henry, who married, on 18 June 1735, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Colonel Lee, whose widow, Lady Elizabeth, had become in May 1731 the wife of Edward Young the poet. Henry Temple's wife died of consumption at Montpellier, on her way to Nice, in October 1736. He was usually considered the Philander, and his wife was certainly the Narcissa, of Young's ‘Night Thoughts’ (Night iii.). As a protestant she was denied Christian burial at Montpellier, and was finally buried in the old protestant burial-ground of the Hôtel-Dieu at Lyons, 729 livres having been paid for permission to inter her remains there (Murray, Handbook to France, 1892, ii. 27). The widower married, on 12 Sept. 1738, Jane, youngest daughter of Sir John Barnard [q. v.], lord mayor of London, and left at his decease, on 18 Aug. 1740, Henry Temple, second viscount Palmerston [q. v.] The first Lord Palmerston married as his second wife, 11 May 1738, Isabella, daughter of Sir Francis Gerard, bart., and relict of Sir John Fryer, bart. She died on 10 Aug. 1762.

[Burke's Extinct Peerage; Lodge's Irish Peerage, ed. Archdall, v. 240–4; Chester's Westminster Abbey Registers, pp. 7, 382; Johnson's Poets, ed. Cunningham, iii. 330–2.]

W. P. C.