Sir Richard Temple, 1st Baronet

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"Burra Dick"
Temple as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, January 1881

Sir Richard Temple, 1st Baronet, GCSI, CIE, PC, FRS (8 March 1826 – 15 March 1902) was an administrator in British India and a British politician.


  • It is commonly said that it was the Mahomedans whom the British displaced as rulers in India. This is true only in a restricted sense. It would be nearer the truth to say that it was the Mahrattas in the main, whom we displaced.
    • Sir Richard Temple quoted in Vikram Sampath - Savarkar, Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883–1924 (2019)
  • Now, India presents the greatest of all fields for missionary exertion, greater even than China.
  • I shall conclude by reminding you that, as patriotic people, you may be confident that the missions in India are doing a work which strengthens the imperial foundations of British power, and raises our national repute in the eyes of the many millions of people committed to our charge. You may be also confident that the results are fully commensurate with the expenditure.
    • [Speech delivered beore the Baptist Missionary Society in London, April 1883.] in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994 [1]
  • I cannot give you an exact idea of the vicious orgies which occur constantly in the Hindu temples. There is a considerable amount of immorality, which is practically the outcome of the religion ;though, on the other hand, there are many domestic virtues practised by the people, showing how much of goodness would be produced, if the religion were purer.
  • But for a long time to come the prime movers in these operations must continue to be European. And we hope that a great Christian, and if we may use the term, ecclesiastical army will be raised, the rank and file consisting of natives, while the captains and generals are highly qualified Europeans.
    • "Oriental experience; a selection of essays and addresses delivered in various occasions" in Shourie, Arun (1994). Missionaries in India: Continuities, changes, dilemmas. New Delhi : Rupa & Co, 1994 [2]

Quotes about Sir Richard Temple, 1st Baronet[edit]

  • The missionaries who accompanied the colonial rulers decided to use this idea to further their own proselytizing activities by branding the tribals as followers of “aboriginal” religions distinct from the “Hinduism” allegedly brought in by the theoretically postulated Aryan invaders. In 1866, Sir Richard Temple edited a book “Papers Related to the Aboriginal Tribes of the Central Provinces”, based primarily on the writings of, and of those inspired by, the missionary Reverend Stephen Hislop (1817-1863), which set the trend in “scholarly” writings on the subject. This rapidly became a matter of colonial policy.

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