William Francis Cowper Temple 1st Baron Mount Temple (1811-1888)

William Francis Cowper Temple, 1st Baron Mount Temple (1811-1888)William Francis Cowper Temple 1st Baron Mount Temple (1811-1888) ‘… PC known as William Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”) before 1869 and as William Cowper Temple between 1869 and 1880, was a British Liberal Party politician and statesman…’ William was renowned for his amendment to the Education Act of 1870.

William was the 2nd son of Peter Leopold Louis Francis Nassau Clavering-Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper (1778–1837), though he was rumoured to be the actual son of Henry John Temple Viscount Palmerston. His mother was Emily Mary Lamb (1767-1869) who later married Henry John Temple 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865). Emily was a close friend of Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington. William was a close friend and travelling companion of the daughters of Henry William Paget 1st Marquess of Anglesey 1768 – 1854, and he was also a close friends of Walter Scott 1st Baronet 1771 – 1832. William was aide de camp for Richard Colley Wesley 1st Marquess Wellesley (1760-1842), the brother of Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington, who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1833. William was also a close friend of Edward Bulwer Lytton 1803 – 1873. As an MP, William was close to Mary Augusta Fox Holland 1812 – 1889 and part of the Holland House set, the fashionable gathering place for the Whigs. Notably, his other close confidentes, friends and colleagues included Marguerite Power Farmer Gardiner, Countess of Blessington 1789 – 1849Elizabeth Duchess of Devonshire 1759 – 1824 (William was a favourite of her husband’s), Benjamin Disraeli 1st Earl of Beaconsfield 1804 – 1881,  Ralph Waldo EmersonRichard Monckton Milnes 1st Baron Houghton 1809 – 1885Florence Nightingale 1820 – 1910Queen Victoria 1819 – 1901, (James Gregory, Reformers, Patrons and Philanthropists, (Taurus Academic Studies, 2010). Multiple pages).

William’s first wife Harriet Alicia Gurney (1825-1843) was a niece of Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), and related to Henry Edmund Gurney 1821 – 1905.

Just before his death on 16th October 1888, William Francis Cowper Temple, 1st Baron Mount Temple wrote to James John Garth Wilkinson from Broadlands in Romsey: ‘… We shall be too happy to see you whenever you can come and your daughter also… We shall think it a particular compliment of you will appear dressing gowned… as we make now only a nightcap and slippers [present?] but we are all now younger that ever inside are we not?… (Swedenborg Archive K125 [36] letter from Baron Mount Temple to James John Garth Wilkinson 16.10.1888. Unfortunately, James John Garth Wilkinson never got to see his old friends again, simply marking on the invitation ‘… died 16th October 1888…’)

Lady Georgiana Tollemache Mount Temple is listed in both of James John Garth Wilkinson‘s address books at 9 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea (Swedenborg Archive Address Book of James John Garth Wilkinson dated 1895. See also Swedenborg Archive A183r Address Book of James John Garth Wilkinson ‘Where is it’ dated 1.10.1892).

 

Lady Georgiana Tollemache Mount Temple (?1822-1901) was an English noblewoman, who was a friend of John Ruskin (through their joint interest in spiritualism) (John Ruskin, William Francis Cowper Temple Mount Temple (1st Baron), William Francis Cowper Temple Baron Mount Temple, Baroness Georgina Cowper Temple Mount Temple, The Letters of John Ruskin to Lord and Lady Mount Temple, (Ohio State University Press, 1964). Page 9). Georgiana was also a friend of Marguerite Power Farmer Gardiner, Countess of Blessington 1789 – 1849 (James Gregory, Reformers, Patrons and Philanthropists, (Taurus Academic Studies, 2010). Page 57),

Lady Georgiana Tollemache Mount Temple and Comtesse Helena de Noailles (?1826-1908), were founders of the Ladies Sanitary Association, and both women were responsible for converting James John Garth Wilkinson to the Anti Compulsory Vaccination League in 1865 (http://www.whale.to/vaccines/smallpox19.html James John Garth Wilkinson, Letter to The Vaccination Inquirer Volume 5, from 76, Wimpole Street, London, 4th September 1883. See also William White, The Story of a great delusion in a series of matter-of-fact chapters, (E.W. Allen, 1885). Page 546-549. See also Stanley Williamson, The Vaccination Controversy: The Rise, Reign, and Fall of Compulsory Vaccination for Smallpox, (Liverpool University Press, 2007). Page 185 (but also note that Stanley Williamson has conflated Comtesse Helena de Noailles and Lady Georgiana Tollemache Mount Temple into one personage)).

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Cowper-Temple,_1st_Baron_Mount_Temple ‘… Born at Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, Cowper was the second son of Peter Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper, and the Hon. Emily Mary, daughter of Peniston Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne (since his mother had several lovers there is some doubt about hid true paternity). He was the younger brother of George Cowper, 6th Earl Cowper and nephew of Prime Minister Lord Melbourne.

His father died in 1837 and in 1839 his mother married another Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, who became Cowper’s stepfather. He was educated at Eton. After entering the Royal Horse Guards in 1830, he was promoted Captain five years later, eventually attaining the rank of Major in 1852. 

In 1835, Cowper was elected Liberal Member of Parliament for Hertford, a seat he held for the next thirty-three years, and became private secretary to his uncle Prime Minister Lord Melbourne. He was appointed a Groom in Waiting in 1837, and in 1841 served for three months as a Lord of the Treasury under Melbourne, only resuming office five years later as aLord of the Admiralty when the Whigs returned to power under Lord John Russell. He again held this post under Lord Aberdeen from 1852 to 1855, and in the latter year was made Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department by his stepfather Lord Palmerston when he became Prime Minister.

In August that same year he was appointed President of the Board of Health, and sworn of the Privy Council. Four years later he became Vice-President of the Board of Trade and Paymaster General, only serving for a year before Palmerston appointed him First Commissioner of Works. In 1866, on the fall of Lord Russell’s government, Cowper left office for good. Two years later he was returned to Parliament for Hampshire South, and held this seat until 1880.

He was involved in the 1870 Education Act which set up Board Schools throughout England. He was responsible for the Cowper-Temple clause, an amendment to the Act that allowed parents to withdraw their children from Religious Education. The British rock band Cooper Temple Clause were named after the clause. His mother having died in 1869, he inherited a number of estates under his stepfather’s will, and so took that year under Royal licence the additional surname of Temple. In 1880 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Mount Temple, of Mount Temple in the County of Sligo. This was a revival of the junior title held by the Viscounts Palmerston, which had become extinct along with the viscountcy on his stepfather’s death in 1865. 

Apart from his political career Lord Mount Temple organized ecumenical conferences at Broadlands. One of the regular speakers there was George MacDonald. Lord Mount Temple was twice married. He married firstly Harriet Alicia, daughter of Daniel Gurney, in 1843. After her early death the same year he married secondly Georgiana, daughter of Admiral John Richard Delap Tollemache, in 1848. Both marriages were childless. He died in October 1888, aged 76, at his home of Broadlands, Hampshire, and was buried at nearby Romsey. His peerage became extinct on his death. Lady Mount Temple died in October 1901...’

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