Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston collection (1817-1864)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Meg Hixon, January 2013
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston collection
Creator: Clements, William L. (William Lawrence), 1861-1934
Inclusive dates: 1817-1864
Extent: 40 items
This collection is made up of 40 letters and documents related to Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston. The material concerns financial compensation for military units, parliamentary politics and legislation, and other British political affairs.
Language: The material is in English and French
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

1934. M-234.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation

Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically.


Henry John Temple was born in Westminster, London, England, on October 20, 1784, the eldest son of Henry Temple, 2nd Viscount Palmerston (1739-1802), and Mary Mee (1754-1805). He attended Harrow School (1795-1800), Edinburgh University (1800-1803), and St. John's College, Cambridge (1803-1806). He inherited the title of viscount upon his father's death in 1802. Palmerston was elected to Parliament in 1806 and became a lord of the Admiralty in 1807. He served as secretary of war and foreign secretary and was prime minister from 1855-1858 and 1859-1865. Palmerston had many mistresses, with whom he is thought to have fathered several children, including William Francis Cowper-Temple (1811-1888), the son of Emily Mary Lamb (1787-1869). Palmerston married Lamb on December 16, 1839. Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, died on October 18, 1865.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of 34 letters and 6 documents related to Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston. The collection includes 8 items regarding financial compensation for British army units and individuals; 9 letters from Palmerston to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, and 1 letter from Benjamin Haydon to Palmerston about Talleyrand. The collection also includes 22 letters that Palmerston wrote to various acquaintances, including 1 to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord about British political affairs.

The first 8 items pertain to financial compensation for the British Army. From October 4, 1817-April 9, 1827, Palmerston signed 6 partially printed documents from the War Office and its Department of Arrear Accompts, regarding pay warrants for services rendered from 1798-1809 and in 1825. Palmerston also wrote manuscript letters to "Lt. Odiardi" (July 11, 1822) and Major General Sir Frederick Robinson (February 27, 1825) in response to their inquiries about back pay and travel expenses, respectively. Robinson had traveled from Canada to Great Britain to participate in George Prevost's 1816 court martial, which was canceled after Prevost's death.

The next series of 10 letters (March 26, 1834-July 21, 1834) includes 9 brief letters in French, written by Palmerston to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord. Palmerston often discussed his schedule and possible meetings, and once referred to the possibility of a treaty between warring Spanish factions during the First Carlist War (June 1, 1834). On June 13, 1834, painter Benjamin Haydon wrote Palmerston to request an audience with Talleyrand; Palmerston's subsequent letter to Talleyrand (June 14, 1834) concerns Haydon's recent painting of the Reform Parliament, for Lord Grey.

The final 22 items are personal letters written by Palmerston (September 17, 1835-October 12, 1864, and undated), of which 6 are in French. These include at least 3 letters to Christopher Hughes, an American diplomat, in which Palmerston discussed recent sessions of Parliament and expressed his desire for close relations between the United Kingdom and the United States; he also mentioned an attempt to reform election procedures for the House of Commons (November 22, 1837). In letters to other correspondents, Palmerston commented on British party politics, the Reform Act of 1832, the Spanish succession controversy, and treasury clerkships. He also wrote about the Mexican Navy and California's recently-declared independence (August 6, 1846) and suggested a reduction in formal church services in the parish of Romsey (October 12, 1864).

Subject Terms

  • Great Britain. Army--Pay, allowances, etc.
  • Great Britain--Foreign relations--United States.
  • Great Britain. Parliament.
  • Great Britain--Politics and government--1830-1837.
  • Great Britain--Politics and government--1837-1901.
  • Hughes, Christopher, 1786-1849.
  • Prevost, George, Sir, 1767-1816.
  • Spain--History--Carlist War, 1833-1840.
  • Talleyrand-Périgord, Charles Maurice de, prince de Bénévent, 1754-1838.
  • United States--Foreign relations--Great Britain.
  • Haydon, Benjamin Robert, 1786-1846.
  • Palmerston, Henry John Temple, Viscount, 1784-1865.
Genre Terms:
  • Documents.
  • Letters (correspondence)

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Box   51, Small Collections  
Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston collection [series]
Folder   33  
 October 4, 1817-April 9, 1827
Folder   34  
 March 26, 1834-July 21, 1834
Folder   35  
 September 17, 1835-August 14, 1841
Folder   36  
 August 6, 1846-October 12, 1864, and  undated

Additional Descriptive Data

Related Materials

The William L. Clements Library has many additional materials related to Henry John Temple, including engravings and books. Search the library's online catalog for more information.

Additional manuscripts by Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, may be found in the other manuscript collections at the Clements Library, including:


Reynolds, K. D. "Temple, Emily Mary, Viscountess Palmerston (1787-1869)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online edition. Oxford University Press, 2008. DOI: 10.1093/ref:odnb/40959

Steele, David. "Temple, Henry John, third Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online edition. Oxford University Press, 2009. DOI: 10.1093/ref:odnb/27112