TEMPLE, Sir THOMAS, baronet, governor of Acadia; b. January 1613/14 at Stowe, Buckinghamshire, England; d. 27 March 1674 at Ealing, Middlesex. He was the second son of Sir John Temple of Stanton Bury and his first wife Dorothy, daughter of Edmund Lee, and a grandson of Sir Thomas Temple, of Stowe.
Nothing is recorded of Thomas Temple until the year 1656 when he entered into partnership with Col. William Crowne to buy most of Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour’s interest in Nova Scotia. Lord Fiennes, an uncle of Thomas Temple and a member of Cromwell’s council, advised his nephew, who was suspected of Royalist leanings, to take this opportunity to leave England. On 29 May 1656, the Council of State approved the joint petition of La Tour, Temple, and Crowne, and ordered a patent to be granted; on 14 July, articles of agreement were drawn up and a month later on 9 or 10 August, the patent was granted. La Tour gave up his title to Temple and Crowne on 20 Sept. 1656, in return for which Temple undertook to pay the cost of the English troops which had earlier captured the fort on the Saint John River [see Sedgwick] – £1,800 according to Temple’s petition of 1660 – and Crowne and Temple, La Tour’s debt to Maj.-Gen. Edward Gibbons of Boston.
At the same time, Cromwell ordered the commander of Acadia, Leverett, to surrender the forts of Saint John and “Pentacoit” (Pentagouet) to Temple. This Leverett did 1 May 1657 after Temple arrived with a party of settlers.
On 12 Sept. 1657 an agreement was made between Temple and Crowne for a division of their property. Temple’s share extended from what is now Lunenburg in Nova Scotia to the River St. George in Maine, including the whole coast of the Bay of Fundy (Baie Française) on both sides and a hundred leagues inland. Crowne and Temple had many disputes over their property in Nova Scotia. In 1659, Col. Crowne leased his share of the grant to Thomas Temple for four years. The rent from Temple was secured by a bond of £440. Another challenge to Temple’s assertion of authority over Acadia was Alexander Le Borgne de Belle-Isle’s seizure of La Hève (now La Have) in May 1658. Belle-Isle acted under his father’s concession in Acadia from the Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France. He was captured by Temple, taken to Boston, and there held prisoner for several years.
In a letter to Lord Fiennes dated 6 Sept. 1659 pleading for a new patent to Nova Scotia “with his name only on it,” Temple describes some of his work in this colony. He says he repaired the fort at Saint John as much as he was able, built a trading house 150 miles up the river (this refers to Jemseg although the distance is incorrect), and built another in the bottom of the bay [of Fundy]. After the restoration of Charles II in 1660 petitions for a grant of Acadia were placed before the king by Thomas Elliott, a groom of the bed-chamber, Sir Lewis Kirke, the heirs of Sir William Alexander, the French ambassador on behalf of Le Borgne, and others. In 1662 Temple was created a baronet of Nova Scotia and given the governorship for which he paid Elliott £600 per year.
Temple’s possession of Acadia was short-lived. By the Treaty of Breda in 1667, Charles II ceded Acadia to Louis XIV and ordered Temple on 31 Dec. 1667 to surrender the five Acadian forts to Morillon Du Bourg. In October 1668, Temple, having been told in August to “forbear delivery” until further notice, showed Du Bourg the king’s order and raised several objections to immediate surrender. Du Bourg accepted Temple’s argument that the island of St. Christopher was to be surrendered to the English before Acadia was returned to the French and wrote Le Borgne de Belle-Isle accordingly. Charles II renewed his command to Temple to surrender Acadia on 8 March 1668/69 and 6 Aug. 1669. The transfer was effected in the summer of 1670 by Temple’s deputy-governor, Capt. Richard Walker, after Temple and Andigné de Grandfontaine had signed an agreement in Boston.
During the uncertain period from 1667 to 1670 Temple lived in Boston and continued to petition the king for recompense for his expenses and losses in Nova Scotia. He claimed that Acadia yielded only £900, of which (for seven years) he had to pay Elliott £600 and Boston merchants £180 to remit it to England, leaving him an annual income of £120, with which he had “supported our pigmy war with the French, and preserved the King’s country. . . .” It is unlikely that he received the £16,000 he requested to cover his losses and debts of £7,000.
Temple seems to have prospered after he settled in Boston. He had begun to acquire property there while still living in Nova Scotia and he was very active in commerce, particularly real estate. He was prominent among those who attempted to develop some of the islands in Boston Harbour.
Temple had moved to London shortly before his death on 27 March 1674. He was buried at Ealing, Middlesex. His will bequeathed the bulk of his estate to his nephew, John Nelson*, of Boston.
AE, Corr. pol., Angleterre, 91, 93, 94, 96; Mém. et doc., Amérique, 5, ff.2, 6, 7, 277–79. AN, Col., C11D, I, ff.126, 135–36, 139; Marine, B2, 9, ff.233–42; 10, ff.38–39. BM, Egerton ms 2395. “Mass. Archives.” Suffolk County Court House (Boston, Mass.), Registry of Probate, VI, 102; XII, 165, 166.
Coll. de manuscrits relatifs à la Nouv.-France, I. Maine Hist. Soc. Coll., I (1831), 301, IV, V, VI, VIII; Documentary history of Maine, IV, VI, VII, IX, X. Mémoires des commissaires, I, xiv-xv, xix, xxii, xxv, xliv, 49–51, 94–98, 106, 161, 179; II, 279–80, 286, 290–91, 298–99, 302–10, 313–18, 325–26, 332, 511, 527; IV, 31, 95, 126, 280–81, 288, 291, 304–5, 307, 310–11, 329, 350, 361, 362ff., 384ff., 392, 451, 520–21, 534; and Memorials of the English and French commissaries, I, 18–23, 25, 27, 31, 49, 120–22, 165–69, 176, 215, 230, 403, 411, 413, 417, 421, 449, 451, 571, 580, 588–97, 601, 606, 613, 618, 727, 743. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX. PRO, CSP, Col., 1574–1660, 1661–68, 1669–74. Records of the Massachusetts Bay (Shurtleff), IV, pts. 1 and 2.
J. B. Brebner, New England’s outpost: Acadia before the conquest of Canada (New York, 1927), 32–36. DNB. Ganong, “Historic sites in New Brunswick,” 274–75. Thomas Hutchinson, The history of the colony and province of Massachusetts Bay, ed. Lawrence S. Mayo (new ed., 3v., Cambridge, Mass., 1936), I. Murdoch, History of Nova-Scotia, I, 134, 141–48.
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Cite This Article
In collaboration with Huia Ryder, “TEMPLE, SIR THOMAS,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 8, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/temple_thomas_1E.html.
The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:
|Author of Article:||In collaboration with Huia Ryder|
|Title of Article:||TEMPLE, SIR THOMAS|
|Publication Name:||Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1|
|Publisher:||University of Toronto/Université Laval|
|Year of publication:||1966|
|Year of revision:||1979|
|Access Date:||June 8, 2023|