Letters from Sir Thomas Temple to Secretary Lord Arlington, Charles II

“Sir Thomas Temple, in letters to Secretary Lord Arlington describes in detail his purchase of Nova Scotia for the sum of 16,260 l., of which he was for some years the resident Governor, but was, in August 1669, commanded by Charles II. forthwith to restore to the French King, in pursuance of the Treaty of Breda, and he hopes God may inspire his Lordship’s heart to do a charitable deed to a friendless person in distress, “a rare thing, I confess, at Court.”

In a letter to the King, written 18 months later, he recounts “the whole truth of his heart” and his own sad condition consequent upon the King’s commands to surrender his country to the French, which he says is annexed to the Crown of Scotland, as the records in Edinburgh Castle show, and is of infinite more value than St. Christopher’s. He beseeches the King to take his 12 years’ faithful services into consideration, and points out his reason for first coming to Nova Scotia, which he says George Kirke, the Master of the King’s House, can testify.

Sir Thomas Temple describes his design more fully in his letter to Secretary Lord Arlington, written two years before his said letter to the King, wherein he says that the true reason of his coming into those parts was to fly Cromwell’s fury for having laid a design for his late Majesty’s escape when he was at his trial, which Mr. Kirke, if he be alive, will inform his Lordship, Sir Thomas, had very nearly effected, having made a brother of his, Colonel Edmund Temple, for one night, Captain of the guard of the King’s person.

This coming to Cromwell’s ears, Sir Thomas was privately advised by his kinsman, the then Lord Fienes (in great favour with Cromwell), to absent himself till the times might be more propitious, and his good friend and uncle, old Lord Say, then advised and assisted him to purchase Nova Scotia. This “design” for the escape of Charles 1st, which it will be remembered is graphically depicted in a popular novel of the present day, is undoubtedly an historical fact, otherwise it is scarcely probable that Sir Thomas Temple would relate the circumstance to Charles II. and to his Secretary of State.”

“America and West Indies: Preface.” Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 7, 1669-1674. Ed. W Noel Sainsbury. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1889. vii-xl. British History Online. Web. 2 April 2020. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/colonial/america-west-indies/vol7/vii-xl#p15