William Temple

Sir William Temple (1628 – 1699), statesman and essayist, son of Sir John Temple, was born in London, and educated at Cambridge. He travelled across Europe, and was for some time a member of the Irish Parliament, employed on various diplomatic missions. During his time as a diplomat, Temple successfully negotiated the marriage of the Prince of Orange and Princess Mary of England, and the Triple Alliance of 1668. On his return he was much consulted by Charles II, but disapproving of the courses adopted, retired to his house at Sheen.

Temple later left Sheen and purchased Moor Park, where Jonathan Swift was for a time his secretary. He took no part in the Glorious Revolution, but acquiesced to the new regime, and was offered, but refused, a role as Secretary of State.

His literary works consist for the most part of short essays, which were collected under the title Miscellanea. However, he did write some longer pieces such as Observations upon the United Provinces, and Essay on the Original and Nature of Government.

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