Blackwood, Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple- (1826–1902), 1st marquess of Dufferin and Ava , diplomat and writer, was born in Florence on 21 June 1826, the only child of Price Blackwood, 4th Baron Dufferin and Clandeboye (in the Irish peerage), and his wife, Helen Selina (qv) (née Sheridan). After the death of his father in July 1841, he succeeded to the title. He was educated at Eton, and then went on to Christ Church, Oxford. He was president of the Oxford Union in 1847, but did not take a degree. While at university he produced his first publication, Narrative of a journey from Oxford to Skibbereen during the year of the Irish famine (1847). Co-written with George Fredrick Boyle, it provides a graphic account of conditions in Cork in 1847. His minority ended that year and he then concentrated on the management of his Irish estates at Clandeboye, Co. Down.
Having served as lord in waiting to the queen (1849–52 and 1854–8), he received his early diplomatic experience when he was attached to Lord Russell's mission to Vienna, which signalled the end of the Crimean war. He had taken his seat in the house of lords in 1850 as Baron Clandeboye in the United Kingdom peerage. As a diplomat he came to prominence following his successful Syrian mission of 1860–61. He rejected the offer of the governorship of Bombay, but went on to hold posts as under-secretary of state for India in 1864–6 and under-secretary of state for war in 1866, and as chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster and paymaster general from 1868 to 1872. During this period in office he also acted as government spokesman for Irish affairs in the house of lords.
In 1872 he was appointed viceroy of Canada, where he remained until 1878, energetically promoting Canadian identity at every opportunity. As viceroy he was a popular figure and assumed a very active role, consistently seeking to expand his appointment's brief. Having accepted the ambassadorship to St Petersburg in 1879 from a Conservative administration, he alienated his Liberal colleagues, particularly Gladstone, and as a result, when Gladstone was returned as prime minister in 1880, Blackwood was left with what he himself referred to as ‘another term of exile in an arctic climate’ (Nicolson, 167). In 1881 he was transferred to Constantinople, where he remained until 1884. Between 1882 and 1883 he also acted as special commissioner to Egypt, and produced a report instrumental in reforming the principles of the country's government. In 1884 he was made viceroy of India. His viceroyalty was marked by the settlement of the Afghan border, and the annexation of Burma, after which he added Ava, the name of the old Burmese capital, to his title. He was appointed ambassador to Rome (1888–91) and Paris (1891–6). During his years abroad he collected many curios and artefacts, which he later displayed in the halls of Clandeboye.
Throughout his career Blackwood strongly endorsed British imperialism and often opposed Gladstone's policy of reform in Ireland. His Irish emigration and the tenure of land in Ireland (1867) endorsed the role of the Irish landlord and argued that assisted emigration was a suitable means of diffusing social and political agitation. The following year he published Mr. Mill's plan for the pacification of Ireland examined which was critical of liberal proposals to govern Ireland. His subsequent pamphlets and letters to The Times on the same subject were strongly criticised by both John Stuart Mill and Gustavus Dalton. Blackwood opposed the Ulster custom (a tenant's right to a saleable interest in his tenancy), the practice of which he disputed on much of his own property, and at the 1897 landowners’ convention in Ireland was highly critical of recent land settlements. By 1870 he had sold most of his lands in Ireland, and in later years was opposed, though discreetly, to home rule.
An enthusiastic yachtsman all his life, his reputation as a man of letters rests primarily on his account of his voyage to Iceland, Letters from high latitudes (1856). He had also been a keen amateur watercolourist since his days at Eton, when he was taught by Gordon B. Bradley. He sporadically took lessons as an adult and was an associate of the artists William Callow and James Swinton; the latter drew him as a young man. Among his best-known efforts are his drawings of the Clandeboye estate, which had been landscaped under his direction by James Fraser, and his painting of his own wedding in 1862. His wife was Hariot Georgina Rowan-Hamilton (qv), with whom he had six sons and three daughters.
Over the years he received numerous honours and appointments. He was appointed to the Irish privy council in 1897 and, though he never received a cabinet position, was advanced in 1871 to the title of Viscount Clandeboye and earl of Dufferin, and in 1888 to be marquess of Dufferin and Ava. He was an active president of the Belfast School of Design. Chancellor of the RUI and lord rector of the University of Edinburgh, he received honorary degrees from, among others, the universities of Dublin, Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard. In 1878–9 he acted as president of the Royal Geographical Society. On his retirement in 1897 he became chairman of the London and Globe Finance Corporation, in which he and other investors later suffered severe financial losses, following its collapse in December 1900. This and the death of his eldest son, Archibald, in the South African war were serious blows in his last years. He died 12 February 1902 at Clandeboye, where he is buried.