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The following Memoirs of the past generation of 
the Taylor family of Norwich form a part of a 
larger work relating to my own life. 

This will explain why my own personality takes 
a rather too prominent position in this record of 
our forefathers, which has been printed apart for 
the members of the family. 

P. M. T. 

Le Mas d'Azil: 

August 20, 188C. 




My name is Philip Meadows Taylor ; I was born in 
the second decade of the century ; I belong to that 
old Presbyterian and Whig family, the Taylors of 

I will only glance at a family legend of our 
ancestors coming to England with Wilham the 
Conqueror. Quilleboeuf is near a dangerous part 
of the river Seine, where the shifting sands caused 
boats to be delayed or wrecked, within reach of the 
castle of Robert le Diable, and from this town our 
legendary progenitor came. Be that as it may, 
our family were living in Lancashire in the seven- 
teenth century, and it was in that county, in the 
5'ear 1G94, that Dr. John Taylor, my historical 
ancestor, was born. 



He was well known as a nonconformist divine, 
as the author of the Hebrew Concordance and a 
treatise on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Eomans, 
as well as of other theological works. 

His son Eichard married Margaret, daughter 
and coheiress of Mr. Philip Meadows, who was 
Mayor of Norwich in 1734. This gentleman, though 
a staunch Presbyterian, was a somewhat lax non- 
conformist ; a statute of George I. passed in 1718 
allowed dissenters to aspire to municipal honours, 
and in 1721 we find him Sheriff of Norwich. He 
was a man of good natural parts, a useful member 
of society, and an accomplished mathematician, 
spending much thought on the vexed problem of 
the longitude. 

Mr. Philip Meadows embarked a large part of 
his fortune in the South Sea scheme, of course only 
to lose it ; and his son-in-law, Richard Taylor, who 
was in the wool trade, lost the greater part of his 
fortune in the great earthquake of Lisbon in 1755. 

Philip Meadows was a son of John Meadows of 
Ousdon, a nonconformist minister who was ejected 
in 1662. 

A younger brother of the ejected minister was 
so remarkable a man that I must give a short 
sketch of his career. Sh- Philip Meadows was a 


younger son with little or no fortune, but nature 
had endowed him with great intellectual gifts and 
great tenacity of purpose, and he received a good 
education. Through the patronage of Thurloe he 
was appointed joint Latin secretary to the Council 
of State under the Commonwealth, with John Mil- 
ton, and in 1655 I find him translating the Swedish 
Treaty negotiated by Whitelock. In 1057 he was 
sent on a delicate mission of pacification between 
Denmark and Sweden, and Sweden and Poland, and 
he brought to a conclusion the Treaty of Oliva ; 
subsequently he had to conduct negotiations at 
some of the German courts. Frederic III. of Den- 
mark gave him the order of Knighthood of the 
Elephant as a signal mark of favour. 

Sir Philip Meadows served under the brief pro- 
tectorate of Richard Cromwell, and later on was so 
acceptable to Charles 11. that he was appointed 
Knight Marshal and Comptroller of the Army Ac- 
counts. These important posts he held under 
Charles II., James II., William and Mary, and 
Queen Anne, dying at the age of ninety-three in 
1718. The Meadows family were a long-lived race. 

The son and grandson bore the same title and 
held the same i^osts. His great-nephew, Admiral 
Charles Meadows, took his mother's name of Pierre- 

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pont, and was raised to the peerage by the title of 
Baron Pierrepont and Viscount Newark in 1796, 
and advanced to the dignity of Earl Man vers in 

I now return to Eichard Taylor, who married 
Margaret Meadows. This lady's mother was Mar- 
garet, daughter of John Hall of Norwich and Mar- 
garet Lombe, cousin to Sir Thomas Lombe, Sheriff 
of London in 1728. His name, with that of his 
brother John Lombe, is noteworthy in connection 
with the introduction of silk manufactures into 

In those days the laws of Piedmont inflicted the 
penalty of death on any person who should attempt 
to carry out of the khigdom drawings or models of 
the organsin, or silk-twisting machinery, which was 
a special industry in Piedmont. John Lombe 
mastered the rough dialect of the country, assumed 
the dress of a peasant, and obtained employment in 
the silk mills. Cautiously and slowly during the 
night watches he cut tiny paper models of each 
part of the machinery protected by such stern 
enactments. These precious bits of paper were 
placed in his snuff-box and hidden under a layer of 
tobacco ; this was in 1718. I well remember, some 
sixty years ago, being taken by my father to the 

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Tower of London and shown the two first organsin 
mills built by John Lombe after his return. Are 
they still in existence ? 

Curiously enough, in the years 1830-40 my 
father took an active part in introducing new 
machinery for silk in Piedmont, making known the 
system of treating the cocoons by steam. 

To return to John Meadows. He was three 
times married ; his second wife, the mother of his 
children, was Sarah Fairfax — the Lord-General 
Fairfax of Parliamentary renown was of the same 
stock. To Sarah Fairfax we are indebted for a 
series of admirable reflections on the education of' 
her children. 

The Fairfaxes are an old Yorkshire family, of 
which a younger branch settled in Norfolk and 
Suffolk. Li 1G62 Benjamin and his sons, John and 
Nathaniel Fairfax, were among the ejected non- 
conformist ministers, for the Fairfaxes — like the 
Lombes, the 'Meadowses, and the Taylors — were 
Presbyterians in religion and Whigs in politics. I 
pride myself oti being descended from such a stock. 

Another daughter of Philip Meadows, Sarah, 
married Mr. David Martineau, grandson of Gaston 
Martineau, who fled from France at the time of the 
revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Mrs. Eichard 

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Taylor and Mrs. David Martineau had eight children 
each ; they were left widows at an early age ; they 
lived near one another, devoting their lives to the 
careful training of their children, for which they 
were well fitted by their strong intelligence and 
high culture. I find record of five sons of Sarah 
Martineau ; of these the eldest, Philip Meadows, was 
a celebrated surgeon, known to be a very skilful 
operator. Thomas, the youngest, is remarkable 
as the father of Dr. James Martineau, the distin- 
guished writer and preacher, and of Harriet Mar- 
tineau, whose works are popular in the United States 
as well as in the old country. David and Peter 
were sugar-refiners in London. John, the fourth 
son, was an eminent brewer, and became a partner 
in the house of Whitbread & Co. 

A brother of these two ladies, another Philip 
Meadows, was a much-respected lawyer at Diss ; he 
left no children, but was succeeded in his practice by 
a nephew, Mr. Meadows Taylor, fourth son of Mr. 
and Mrs. Richard Taylor. Mr.' Meadows Taylor 
and his uncle carried on their practice for a period 
of ninety-eight years, from 1740 to 1838, when Mr. 
Meadows Taylor died esteemed and respected by all 
who knew him. 

Mr. Meadows Taylor married Miss Dyson, a 

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member of a much-respected Norfolk family ; their 
son, Thomas Lombe Taylor, presented to his native 
town a very handsome building, called the Corn 
Hall, but with assembly-rooms and library forming 
part of the building. One of his sons, Francis, who 
married his cousin Susan, daughter of Dr. lligby, 
is now (188G) member for South Norfolk. He is 
well known to yachtsmen as the owner of the 
' Tar a.' 

Mr. John Rigby of Lancaster married Sarah, 
daughter of Dr. John Taylor ; their daughter 
married Dr. Caleb Hillier Parry, a physician of 
celebrity at Bath, and was mother of the great 
Arctic explorer, Sh' William Edward Parry, born 
1790, died at Ems, 1855. 

An anecdote preserved in the Dyson family is 
deserving of record. About 1755 the Marquis de 
Lafayette, father of the celebrated general, applied 
to his English friends to obtain for him the services 
of a competeiijt tutor to teach his son agriculture 
as practised in England. Mr. John Dyson was the 
person chosen, and he lived for some years with 
the Lafayette family on the most agreeable footing. 
But no peaceful career was that of his pupiF, and in 
1792 the young revolutionary General Lafayette, 
after playing a conspicuous part in the American 

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and French revolutions, was captured by the Aus- 
trians and imprisoned in the fortress of Olmiitz. 
His devoted wife used all possible means to obtain 
his release, and at last bethought her of help from 
General Washington. There was the greatest dif- 
ficulty in communicating with the United States, 
and she appealed to Mr. John Dyson to assist 
her. He succeeded in sending her two letters to the 
President. General Washington replied to the first 
letter only ; copies of these two touching appeals 
are in the possession of the Dyson family. 

I must allow myself to mention that my wife is 
a goddaughter of General Lafayette, and that part 
of my honeymoon was spent in his family. 

We will now return to Mr. and Mrs. Richard Tay- 
lor's eight children. Philip, the eldest, was, with his 
cousin Eigby, put to a school at Nantwich under the 
care of Mr. Priestly, afterwards celebrated as author 
and chemist, and known as Dr. Priestly. Philip be- 
came a Presbyterian minister, and in 1774 was ap- 
pointed minister of the Eustace Street congregation, 
and settled at Harold's Cross, near Dublin ; he 
married Miss Weld, and died in 1831, greatly loved 
and resf^ected. He was the grandfather of Colonel 
Philip Meadows Taylor, the author of ' Confessions 
of a Thug,' ' Tara,' &c. His Autobiography narrates 

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the events of a very remarkable life, but it does not 
contain the following anecdote. Colonel Taylor 
was engaged to a daughter of Mr. Palmer, head of 
the great banking-house of Calcutta and Hyderabad. 
AVlien every tiling was settled for the marriage, a 
sudden and tremendous change came over the 
fortunes of the firm, and Mr. Palmer told Colonel 
Taylor he had his full permission to relinquish the 
marriage now that his daughter was portionless. 
My true-hearted cousin refused to sacrifice his love, 
and the marriage took place. Colonel Taylor was 
selected to administer the Shorapoor State during 
the minority of the Rajah, from 1843 to 1853. In 
1869 Her Majesty was pleased to appoint Colonel 
Taylor Companion of the Star of India. His health, 
sorely tried by Indian work and climate, gave way, 
and he died in 1876. 

John, the second son of Richard Taylor, born 
in 1750, was my grandfather. He married in 1777 
Susannah, daughter of Mr. John Cook of Norwich. 
Mr. John Taylor was strongly attached to the faith 
of his forefathers, and he was a staunch supporter 
of the T^^iig party ; but although in those days 
party feeling ran high and religious prejudices were 
strong, he was of so kind and genial a temper, that 
eminent persons of different opinions came with 

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pleasure to his house— Sir James Macintosh, Sir 
James Smith, Mr. Crabbe Eobinson, Dr. Southey 
(brother of the laureate), Mr. Windham, Sir Thomas 
Beevor, Mrs. Fry, and the Gurney family, Mrs. 
Opie, Mrs. Barbauld (who wrote those touching 
lines on the death of Mrs. Martineau), and other 
Norwich worthies. 

My grandmother united strength of will and 
great acquirements to a kindly nature and a loving 
heart, and she contributed to making her husband's 
house a favourite gathering-place for his numerous 
friends. My grandfather was no contemptible poet ; 
some of his hymns are beautiful. 

Exulting, rejoicing, hail the happy morning, 
The morn of the day when our Clnist was born, 

adapted to the air of ' Adeste Fideles,' ought to 
take its place in every hymn-book. 

He was no less hajDpy in his political songs — 

The trumpet of hberty sounds through the world. 
And the Universe starts at the sound. 

He is said to have written this spirit-stirring lyric 
on the back of a letter which announced the fall of 
the Bastile, July 1789. For my part, I prefer it to 
Eouget de I'lsle's lines, 

Qu'un sang impur arrose vos sillons ; 


but those who have heard the Marseillaise sung 
amidst the gloom and turmoil of revolutionary war 
may well deem its words hateful. 

The ' Trumpet of Liberty ' was not, however, ac- 
ceptable to the Tory ministers of the day, as its author 
knew, though it was first sung by him at a dinner 
presided over by a royal Duke. At another dinner, 
also presided over by that liberal and independent 
prince the Duke of Sussex, with Lord Albemarle, Sir 
Francis Burdett, and Mr. Coke of Holkham among 
the guests, the Duke called on Mr. Taylor for the 
« Trumpet of Liberty.' ' No, please your Royal 
Highness,' answered my grandfather, * you know I 
got into trouble before.' 'Never fear,' said the 
burly prince, ' my back is broad enough to protect 

The Taylor and Martineau families were at the 
head of the Whig party in Norwich, and the county 
magnates, the Earl of Albemarle and the Squire of 
Holkham, la-^ge-hearted men, gave their help in re- 
turning Whig members for the borough. Mr. William 
Smith sat for Norwich, I believe, forty years, and 
this of course before the Reform Bill, though as 
early as 1822 reform had many stout adherents in 

I love to dwell on my childish days passed 

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under my gi-andfather's roof, and still remember 
some of the stories told of his friends and acquaint- 

It appeared that county members had in those 
days the right to present themselves at levees and 
drawing-rooms in top-boots and breeches. This 
privilege Mr. Coke declined to forego, much to 
the disgust of that fine gentleman, the Prince 

Of one of the great bankers at Norwich they 
told this story : He was at my grandfather's, 
playing a quiet rubber, when an officious clerk 
rushed in and whispered that the London mail had 
just brought the news of the failure of a large 
banking establishment by which his firm would sus- 
tain a considerable loss. The great banker took 
no notice, but went on with his whist. When the 
game had ended, he turned round to the clerk, and 
said, ' What did you mean by interrupting me ? You 
have made me lose tlie trick.' The stakes were two 
pence, be it knovm, and of course it was long whist. 

Then there was the adventure of the apron. A 
learned divine, very absent and rather short- 
sighted, found himself at a dinner-table seated 
next to a young lady, or rather a lady who had 
been young, and who kept up the fashion of 


embroidered muslin aprons. The divine's dress 
was also that of the period, a period when napkins 
had not come into use. After doing justice to the 
good things on the table, his eyes were attracted by 
something wrong — some strange patch of white, 
where all should have been black. He muttered, 
' Been careless in dressing, dear, dear ! ' then he 
began to impound the waif or stray, rather astonished 
at the amount of tugging it required. Mean- 
while the lady became more and more uneasy, till 
the brilliant idea of unhooking her apron occurred. 
The doctor pocketed the whole, and only wondered, 
when he divested himself of his black knee-breeches 
at night, how that mysterious muslin got there. 

In 1784 my grandfather, in concert with his 
cousin, Mr. P. M. Martineau, gave active support 
in establishing that excehent institution, the Norwich 
Public Library. 

Though a very abstemious man, my gi-andfather 
was in his later years a sufferer from severe fits of 
gout, and it .was somewhat of an effort when in 
June, 1826, he determined to pay my father a visit 
at Corngreaves in Staffordshire. Father and son 
met at Birmingham on a Sunday morn — well do I 
remember the fatal day. They attended divine 
service, and then started in my father's car, which 


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opened behind. At the steep descent of Halesowen, 
' York,' the horse, became unmanageable. Turner, 
the coachman, was thrown from the box ; my father, 
in attempting to reach the box and recover the 
reins, was jerked out, falling on his head ; and my 
grandfather in attempting to get out behind caught 
his foot in the step, and fell heavily on the ground. 
When my father recovered his senses and went to 
his assistance, he was insensible. He was lifted up 
and carried to the house of a kind old Quaker hard 
by, and never left that house alive. Well do I 
remember standing with my mother and sister at 
the gate waiting the arrival of the travellers, but the 
carriage which drove down the hill at headlong speed 
was not theirs ; it was that of the good old Quaker, 
Mr. Brewen. He gently led my mother inside, and 
then they reappeared and drove off to Halesowen, 
where he installed my mother ; and telling his 
daughter and his niece to pack up clothes for a 
short absence, had the horses put to his carriage, 
and left the house, writing a short note to explain 
that as rooins would be required for the doctor and 
the relations, he had thought it desirable to advance 
by a few days an intended journey, and he placed 
his house entirely at the disposal of the Taylor 
family. My grandfather breathed his last on the 

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23rd June, his sons standing around him, and I, a 
lad, among them. It was my first experience of 
death. How many dear ones have I watched 
breathe their hast since ! 

I should mention that the death of my grand- 
mother took place in 1823. 

The eldest son, born in 1779, was called John 
after his father. His mother encouraged his boyish 
taste for mechanical pursuits by giving him mathe- 
matical instruments and a turning lathe, thus de- 
termining his career. At the early age of nineteen, 
after a training as land surveyor, friends who wer^ 
shareholders in the ' Wheal Friendship ' mine near 
Tavistock, struck by his intelligence, judgment, 
and integrity, placed that important concern under 
his management, and sent him to Tavistock. This 
was the beginning of the career in which he attained 
such eminence as a mining engineer. 

In Cornwall he became acquainted with A. 
Woolfe, a self-taught engineer ; they worked together 
with others in producing that splendid mechanical 
invention, the Cornish pumping engine. It is much 
to be regretted that Mr. Taylor did not continue 
the publication of his * Records of Mining.' Only one 
volume appeared (1829) ; had it been continued, we 
should have had accounts of the i^rogress of mining 

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in Cormvall, and of his own labours. Though no 
mention of Woolfe and Taylor is found in English 
mechanical and industrial dictionaries, in the 
French.' Annales des Mines' Mr. Taylor is named 
as a high authority, and he was held in much 
esteem by MM. Elie de Beaumont, Dufresnoy, 
and by the celebrated Baron von Humboldt. 

Mr. Woolfe was the inventor of high-pressure 
steam worked expansively. 

The first tunnel executed in England for the 
Tavistock canal through Morwel Down in 1806 was 
made under the direction of Mr. Taylor. 

He wrote little ; a few articles in the * Philoso- 
phical Magazine ' are all that I can mention. 

In 1805 John Taylor married a sister of Captain 
Daniel Bring, R.N., whose family resided at Ivedon 
Pen, near Honiton. This proved a most happy union 
for himself, and a source of happiness to the whole 
Taylor family. My uncles and kinsmen held strong 
opinions, but were not very tolerant of others doing 
the same ; the serene temper and supreme goodness 
of Mrs. Taylor softened all asperities, and for long 
years she was the peacemaker, the gentle adviser of 
her numerous relations. 

In 1812 John Taylor quitted Cornwall and 
joined his brother Philip in establishing large 

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chemical works at Stratford near Bow, London. 
Both brothers were good practical chemists, and 
they contributed to raise the character of that 
branch of manufactures, then in a very rude state. , 
The firm subsequently added mechanical engineering 
to their other pursuits, but as competent judges 
considered John Taylor the best metallurgist in the 
country, and as he was strongly attached to his 
first profession, mining, he left his brother and 
devoted himself exclusively to that. 

The ' Consolidated Mines ' near Redruth, and 
many others in Cornwall and Devonshire, wore 
placed under his direction ; in 1820 and following 
years he undertook the management of the vast 
mineral property of the Duke of Devonshire, of 
Earl Grosvenor hi North Wales, and of Greenwich 
Hospital in Cumberland. 

In 18'24 his frequent friendly intercourse with 
Baron von Humboldt led him to form a sanguine 
opinion of the mineral wealth to l)e found in 
Mexico. A company was formed for the purpose 
of working the mines of Real del Monte, the property 
of the Conde de Regla. Immense expectations were 
raised; the shares ran up to an unjustifiable height 
in spite of the warnings of Mr. Taylor. 

Here I must mention a line trait in John Taylor's 


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character. He was often urged by kind friends to 
make use of his special knowledge so as to profit by 
the fluctuations of the market, and to realise a 
fortune ; these friends even offered to act for him, 
that his name might not appear. * I am an agent, 
not a speculator,' was his invariable answer. Pity 
that his unostentatious rectitude has so few followers ! 
To return to Mexico. The Board of Directors 
soon found the difficulty of working mines in a 
foreign, a distant, an uncivilised country. Agents, 
engineers, Cornish captains had to be sent out ; no 
control could be exercised over them, and they soon 
got to loggerheads. The roads were scarcely 
practicable, the Mexican officials did their part 
in promoting disorder, and finally the English 
company gave up the undertakuig, which subse- 
quently, in the hands of other parties managing it 
on the spot, had great success. I well remember 
as a boy seeing the engines, pumps, and boilers at 
my father's works, all made in detached pieces, not 
one of which was to exceed a mule's load. All these 
had to be abandoned after the costly journey , but 
orders from head-quarters were months on their 
way in those days, before steam and electricity had 
conquered distance, and very gi-eat losses must have 
been the result. 

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This untoward termination was a sore grief to 
Mr. Ta3^1or ; his efforts, however, were not unappre- 
ciated by the shareholders, as they made him a 
present of the vahiable collection of minerals 
brought together by Dr. Babington at a cost of six 
hundred guineas, and home business had mean- 
while been successful. 

In 1823 an odd adventure befell my uncle. He 
was going down to Exeter by the mail coach, 
bowling along merrily at ten miles an hour, when 
at midnight a tremendous roar was heard, and 
some huge creature sprang on the leaders of the 
team ; this proved to be nothing less than a royal 
Bengal tiger escaped from a wild beast show. The 
red-coated guard unslung his blunderbuss, not quite 
sure how to use it, when the keepers made their 
appearance, and with nets and tackle secured the 
ferocious but valuable animal. I was at my uncle's 
house when he came home and thrilled us by his 
description of the scene. 

This same year Mr. Taylor was erecting some 
splendid water wheels for the Mold mines in I'lint- 
shire, of which he w^as manager ; and he took a 
delightful house, Coed Du, in the neighbourhood. 
Many foreigners and many Englishmen of the by- 
gone generation long remembered the genial and 

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unaffected hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. 
Here is a letter from one of their guests, whose 
striking features and charming manner I well 
remember : — 

35 Bury Street, St. James's. 

' My dear Sir, — At my departure from Coed Du 
I was not able fully to express to you and to Mrs. 
Taylor my gratitude for all the kindness you were 
pleased to show me during the happy time I passed 
in your house, and I thought to bury in silence 
those feelings for which I could find but insufficient 
expression. However, being returned to this town, 
and recapitulating in my memory every hour I en- 
joyed since my absence from London, the recollec- 
tion of your house and family must again and again 
occur to my mind, and prevails upon me to address 
you once more on this subject, though I am aware 
of how little moment my thanks may be to you. 
For you are accustomed to see everybody around 
you happy, and indebted to you for their happiness 
— the peasants, whose barren ground you have 
changed into a fruitful garden, as well as your 
happy children ; i^nd accordingly you do not want 
to hear repeated by a stranger the same feelings 
which they may better and more properly express to 
you. But I myself cannot forbear uttering what 


SO strongly and most heartily I feel : restrained 
since long within the rules of ceremony, deprived of 
a familiarity to ^Yhich I was accustomed before this 
journey, in short, after having been a stranger 
amongst strangers, I was received in your house 
like a friend. Absent for the first time from 
home and from my family, I had at least the 
pleasure of witnessing a happiness which at a 
former period of my life I shared myself. Those 
are the enjoyments which I owe to your and 
l\Irs. Taylor's kindness, and I never shall forget 

'If I should be so happy as to meet in my 
native land with you and your sons, or with any of 
your friends, I sincerely hope to find an opportunity 
of proving how much I feel indebted to you. 
' Believe me, my dear sir, 

' Yours very truly, 
« Felix Mendelssohn Bartuoldy.' 

Always anxious to help his fellow-workers, my 
uncle was actively employed in 18'29 in the promo- 
tion of a mining school in Cornwall ; this institution, 
the Polytechnic Society, I am glad to say, still con- 
tinues. In 1825 Mr. Taylor had been elected 
a member of the Royal Society ; he was one of the 

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earliest members of the Geological Society, and its 
treasurer, 181G- 44. 

The first council of the British Association for 
the Promotion of Science was held at his house 
in Bedford Bow in 1832. Babbage, Brunei, 
Davis Gilbert, Forbes, Vigors, Dr. Buckland, the 
Rev. William Vernon Harcourt were among those 
present, and Mr. Taj'lor was at once chosen trea- 
surer, a post he occupied till 1860, when advancing 
years compelled him to retire from his honourable 
labours. His descendants cherish the noble testi- 
monial then given him by the council of the British 

A full-length portrait of Mr. Taylor was painted 
by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and presented to him by 
seventy friends, shareholders in his various under- 
takings ; this picture was unfortunately destroyed 
l)y fire in his son's house. 

He was an active promoter of the London 
University, and for many years its treasurer. 

His love of mechanical inventions never abated. 
He took great interest in Jordan's wood-carving ma- 
chinery ; but though that invention was charming, 
witness the splendid carvings in the House of Lords, 
the financial results were such that the company 
had to be wounji up. Mr. Trollope recently told me 


he had the plant in his workshops in Pimlico. My 
uncle was himself a very skilful worker in wood ; he 
always had a supply of beautiful tools, and his 
dexterity with the turning lathe was very remark- 

In 1863, at the age of 83, his honourable and 
useful life ended. I have attempted to sketch his 
public career, and to note his high moral standard. 

He was succeeded in his business by his two 
sons John and Eichard, both now dead. The firm 
is still carried on, under the old-established name of 
John Taylor & Sons, by the grandchildren of its 

Of Mr. Taylor's daughters, Anne, the eldest, 
married Philip Worsley, an active partner in Whit- 
bread's brewery ; his i)hilanthropy and rectitude are 
well known. Their eldest son is a large chemical 
manufacturer near Bristol ; another son has taken 
his father's place in Whitbread's brewery, and one 
daughter married a lioscoe, a member of the family 
which is known both in the world of letters and of 

Susan, the second daughter, married Edward 
Eigby, M.D., a highly successful physician in 
London, and brother of the accomplished Lady 

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Honora, the third daughter, became the wife o 
Edward Enfield, for many years an officer of the 
Eoyal Mint. 

These live children of my uncle John, the play- 
mates of my boyhood, are all gone. I, the wayworn 
hermit of the Mas d'Azil, remain behind, finding 
some pleasure in retracing their lives, at the risk even 
of being called garrulous. I hold, too — is it a mere 
hobby ? — that records of the beginnings of middle - 
class families from which our bankers, traders, 
manufacturers, engineers have sprung, our men of 
letters and of arts, must be of interest not only to 
their descendants, but to the future historian, who 
desires to relate how the * arts of peace ' grew, and 
by what individual efforts that growth was stimu- 

The second son of Mr. John Taylor, Eichard, was 
born in 1781. He settled in London as a printer, 
and was the friend and patron of Koenig, of printing- 
press fame. Richard was a man of literary and 
scientific attainments, and he was largely employed 
in printius works in the dead languages and on 
scientific subjects, and as editor of the 'Philoso- 
phical Magazine ' he became known to most of the 
scientific men in Europe. He was a Liberal — 
almost a Radical— in politics; he had a love of 

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being in opposition ; he was, however, a very useful 
member of the City of London Common Council 
for many years, and was held in high esteem. 

"^ He was a fine portly gentleman, and was thus 
alluded to in ' Punch ' : — 

When Corporal Taylor stalks the street 
A walking corporation. 

He had some difficulty in sitting through the 
tedious civic banquet and still more tedious 
speeches, but at last he acquired the art of taking 
a nap during the most trying periods. This habit 
he carried into private life, and I well remember, 
at a dinner party at one of my aunts', her saying, 
'Eichard, will you take tart or pudding?' and then 
a tremendous rap on the table, and a stentorian 
voice saying ' Chair, chair ! order, order,' as he 
woke up from his slumber. 

He lived to be threescore and ten. 

Edward, the third son, born in 1784, was a 
remarkably fine-looking man, with a deep bass voice 
and an ardent love of music ; he was deeply versed 
in the history of music, and as Gresham Professor 
he achieved great success. An unflinching Liberal, 
an advocate of Parliamentary reform, he attended 
meetings in Norfolk and Suffolk to uphold his 

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views, speaking well and boldly. The Government 
of the day had their eye on him. Once at a public 
meeting he pointed to a man, and said : * That is a 
spy sent down by Lords Sidmoutb and Castlereagh ; 
he is welcome to tell them all 1 say.' He was 
spoken of in Parhament as ' a dangerous man,' but 
n the House of Lords Lord Albemarle, in the 
Commons ^Ir. Coke and Mr. William Smith, stood 
forth as his defenders, asking for proof of the 
assertions made, and declaring their intimacy with 
him. Some time later the informer Fayerman 
quarrelled with his employers, and published a 
letter, with a complete account' of the transaction. 
My uncle was constantly holding intercourse with 
the leading \Vhigs, Sir Francis Burdett, Whitbread, 
Cobbett, and others. He dined with the Earl of 
Albemarle, meeting H.K.H. the Duke of Sussex, the 
Duke of Norfolk, Sir F. Burdett, Mr. Coke, &c. He 
dined with the Duke of Sussex in London, and on 
one occasion being seated in front of a blazing fire 
fainted away. The Tory papers got hold of the 
incident and attributed it to the Duke's wine. 

In 182-4 Mr. Taylor took a prominent part 'in 
promoting and organising the Norwich festivals. 
For the first festival he made the entire selection, 
he engaged all the performers, he chose the band, 


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and trained the choral society. Every oratorio 
brought out at these festivals till 1847 was trans- 
lated and prepared by him. Among the number 
will be found Spohr's ' Last Judgment,' * The Cru- 
cifixion,' * The Fall of Babylon,' Mozart's * Redemp 
tion,' Schneider's ' Deluge,' and many others. 

My uncle made the acquaintance of Spohr on 
the occasion of a visit to Mendelssohn and his 
family at Diisseldorf, and became his intimate 
friend. He held him in high esteem, and placed 
him in the foremost rank of great musicians. 
When I looked at his stolid German countenance 
and burly frame, I felt some difficulty in believing 
him to be a great composer, but my uncle placed 
Spohr in the first rank of great musical writers. It 
was in 1830 that Taylor persuaded his friend to 
write ' The Fall of Babylon.' 

Besides the Norwich festivals, my uncle was 
present at t^liose held at Oxford, Salisbury, Derby, 
Liverpool, and York. 

He joined his brother Philip in London in 1827 
in the engineering factory in the City Eoad ; but 
not relinquishing his musical pursuits, was elected 
Gresham Professor of Music in 1837, and held that 
post till 1863, when he died at Brentwood on the 
12th of March. 

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Mr. E. Taylor married, in 1808, Miss Deborah 
Newson, of Norwich. By her he was the father of 
three children : John Edward, Kate, Margaret. 
John Edward had a highly cultivated mind and 
strong literary tastes. He died comparatively 
young, leaving a family of four children. His wife, 
Meta Dochow, has published translations from the 
German. Their son, Fairfax Taylor, is one of the 
clerks in the House of Lords ; he, too, writes well 
on various subjects. 

Lucy, the eldest daughter, married Mr. Markby, 
a judge of the' High Court at Calcutta for twelve 
years, and now holding a distinguished position at 
Oxford. Kate married Alfred Currey, grandson of 
Mr. Benjamin Currey, Clerk of the Parliaments in 
1848, but for one day only, as he died shortly after 
his appointment. 

The fourth son of Mr. Taylor of Norwich was 
my father, Philip, born in 1786. His life and 
career, with which mine is so mingled, I shall 
narrate later, and I therefore pass on to the fifth 
son, Arthur, also born at Norwich in 1790. In 
his early life he was in partnership with his brother 
Richard, but they soon separated. Arthur set up 
on his own account, and became printer to the 
City of London. His favourite study was archa^o- 

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logy. He was a member of the Society of Anti- 
quaries, and among the results of his studies was 
the pubheatiou of ' The Glory of Piegality.' He 
married, in 1824, Miss Emily Lane. 

The following anecdote illustrates the ardour of 
his taste and temper. On his way to Italy he paid 
a visit to my parents at Marseilles. On his way he 
strayed hito Autun, the ancient Augustodunum, 
founded by the Phoinicians, seat of the Druids, 
capital of the /Edui— what a Held of exploration for 
an anti(piarian ! so no sooner arrived at Marseilles 
than with no word of explanation he disappeared 
for three weeks, to our great anxiety. However, 
back he came from this trip one morning, and 
finding my father going out to look at a field just 
purchased, Arthur went with him. Workmen were 
turning the ground, to prepare for irrigation pipes, 
when they came on some broken bits of tiles. My 
uncle pounced on these, scraped them, tasted them, 
declared them to be of the Roman period, and 
placed them in safety to await further investigation. 
He begged my father to have further excavations 
made, and then continued his journey to Italy. 
Meanwhile my father ascertained from an old 
peasant that the spot was formerly a brick-held, and 
as the irrigation works went on, this became more 



certain, and the hoard of tiles was dismissed to the^ 
rubbish-heap. But the first visit of my uncle on 
his return was to the ' Roman tiles.' He asked my 
father in sharp tones what had become of these 
precious relics ; and before the answer had ex- 
plained why they were thrown away, he burst out 
with * You're a Goth, sir,' walked back to the 
house, packed his portmanteau, and leaving a note 
to say he would send for it, went to Marseilles, and 
started for England, whilst we were waiting break- 
fast for him. It required long letters of apology, 
and the gentle influence of mother, with whom he 
was a great favourite, to calm down this irascible 
* Monkbarns.' 

Besides five sons, Mr. John Taylor had two 
daughters. The eldest, Susan, born in 1788, was 
married in 1807 to Henry Reeve, Esq. M.D. His 
death at the early age of thirty-four was thus 
alluded to by Dr. Sayers in the ' Norwich Mercury ' : 
' Besides his acquirements in classical and other 
literature, Dr. Reeve became well versed in the 
primary object of his pursuit, and was no mean 
proficient in the collateral studies of chemistry and 
natural history.' His duties in private life were no 
less happily discharged than those of his profession ; 
his mind was open, generous, lively, simple, and 

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affectionate ; and those to whom he was united, as 
a relation or a friend, will ever turn with melan- 
choly complacence to the remembrance of his faith- 
ful and active attachment, of his cheering conversa- 
tion, and of his valuable accomplishments. 

Two children of the marriage, Susan and 
Wallace, died in their infancy. Henry, born in 
1813, was henceforth the sole object of his widowed 
mother's care. She went to reside at Geneva for 
his education ; there she found friends of her hus- 
band, and there- her son came to know the De la 
Rives, the Candolles, Sismondis, De Roches, the 
families Lombard, Binet, Ilentsch, Maunoir, Roget. 

Mrs. Reeve was loved and valued by her 
Genevese friends as she deserved to be. Courage, 
good sense, refined tastes, and simple habits were 
her most marked characteristics. To her last hour 
she preserved undiminished the love for her husband 
so early taken from her, whilst proud of the career 
of his son. She died in 18G4, aged 70. 

Early in life Mr. Henry Reeve began his career 
as a man of letters. His natural gifts, aided by an 
education carried on at Geneva, Munich, and Paris, 
seemed to point in this direction. His lirst work 
was a translation of ' Democracy in America ' from 
the French, and he became the close friend of its 


authors, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de 
Beaumont. Then came translations of Guizot's 

The Marquis of Lansdowne, whose acquaint- 
ance he made through his aunt, Mrs. Austin, was 
struck by Henry Reeve, and gave him a place in the 
office of the Privy Council, and for fifty years he 
has held the office of Registrar of the Judicial Com- 
mittee. On the retirement of Sir George Cornewall 
Lewis, who was appointed Chancellor of the Exche- 
quer in 1855, Mr. Reeve was appointed to the 
editorship of the 'Edinburgh Review,' to which his 
father had been, in 1802, one of the earliest contri- 

Sarah, the youngest daughter and last child of 
John Taylor, was born in 1793. She married John 
Austin, the well-known writer on jurisprudence. 

Sarah Austin was a well-known figure among 
the cultivated women of the first half of this century. 
She was endowed with great intellectual powers, 
which her education had developed ; she. had rare 
social talents, great beauty, and astonishing industry. 
Her first important work was a translation of Prince 
Puclvler Muskau's ' Book of Travels in England ; ' 
then came a translation of Ranke's ' History of the 
Popes.' When the author received Mrs. Austin's 



translation, he wrote to her that, after reading it, 
he felt obliged to retranslate his own work into 
German — a rare tribute of approbation, coming from 
such a man. She wrote various books on Germany, 
yet always found time to help her husband in his 
learned and abstruse labours. She was a frequent 
guest at Bowood and at Lansdowne House. She 
had many friends in Germany, whilst in her salon 
in Paris she received the leading men of the day 
— Guizot, ]\[ignet, Barthtlemy St.-Hilaire, the 
poet Auguste Barbier, Victor Cousin, Count and 
Countess de Circourt, the Say family, Madame 
de Peyronnet, Auguste Comte, and others. 

Of Victor Cousin, the philosopher, I must relate 
an anecdote. We had been with my aunt to ?^,fcte at 
St. -Cloud, and on our way home M. Cousin under- 
took to sing a ballad describing a visit of a Parisian 
to this popular fair. With expressive gesture and 
hands clasped over his breast, he carolled forth— 

Et mon coeur 6tait pris aux filets de St. -Cloud. 

Though a boy when I heard this, I still see his 
saturnine countenance, and hear his chuckles at 
the joke implied ; for the nets are also those of the 
police stretched across the Seine to catch the unfor- 
tunates who seek to commit suicide. 


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In each of her residences, London, Bonn, Dres- 
den, and Paris, Mrs. Austin succeeded, though with 
very Hmited pecuniary means, in attracting the 
most cultivated society to her house. 

She was honoured by the friendship of Helena, 
Duchess of Orleans, and the sons of that admu-able 
princess, the Comte de Paris and the Due de 
Chartres, inspired her with the deepest interest and 

In 1834 Mr. Cornewall Lewis and Mr. John 
Austin were sent as Royal Commissioners to exa- 
mine into the state of Malta. Mrs. Austin accom- 
panied her husband, and the trio passed a few days 
at my father's at Marseilles, waiting the arrival of 
the ' Vernon.' That ship, then the crack frigate of 
n.M. navy, had to work up against contrary winds, 
and when she arrived was in quarantine ; so the 
captain requested the Royal Commissioners to em- 
bark without delay. All was in confusion at this 
sudden departure, and the washerwoman had not 
sent back the linen. Mr. Austin, who rarely 
smiled, and issued his mandates in stern and brief 
sentences, stood in the hall, and in a stentorian 
voice thundered forth : ' What does the woman 
mean ? Go and icrcst the things from her.' Well 
I remember the scene. 

'^^fy~',f If. 




I cannot tell what were the labonrs of the two 
clever commissioners, but I know that thirty years 
after, when I had to transact some complicated in- 
surance business with the agent in Malta, I casually 
asked the lawyer if he recollected my uncle Mr. John 
Austin. ' ^^^lat ! ' he replied, ' are you the nephew of 
Mrs. Sarah Austin, whose name is so honoured and 
revered in Malta, and who has left such marks of 
her presence amongst us '? You her nephew, and 
not at once say so ! ' ' 2347378 

My business was transacted with the greatest 
facility, and I passed some pleasant days with the 
old friends of my aunt. 

Curiously enough, I renewed acquaintance with 
H.M.S. • Vernon ' the other day (1884) at Ports- 
mouth, when I was the guest of my old friend 
Captain Drury of the 'Excellent.' The ' Vernon ' is 
now the torpedo school ship, and was commanded 
by another old friend. Captain Markham, of Arctic 

Mr. Austin suffered from attacks of hypochon- 
driasis, which interfered with his completing his 
writings on law and jurisprudence. His lectures 
were, however, very remarkable, and he was much 
occupied with the reform of legal procedure. At 
, Mr. Austin's death, his papers, including the 

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preparatory notes, were in sad confusion ; bis 
willow undertook the task of arranging and 
putting them into shape for pubhcation, and, as the 
' Times ' said in a review of the work, never did wife 
raise a nobler monument to the memory of her 
husband— it may be added, nor show her- own re- 
markable literary power. 

Mr. Austin's brother Charles was the celebrated 
parliamentary counsel. 

John Austin died in 18G5, and my aunt in 1867 
at the age of 73. Their only child, Lucy, beautiful 
and accomphshed, was well known in society as the 
wife of Sir Alexander Duff Gordon, Bart. She too 
translated and wrote. ' The Amber Witch,' ' Letters 
from the Cape,' and ' Letters from Egypt ' are 
favourite books with all who have read them. 
Failing health took her to Africa, and among strange 
races and stranger ways she showed her sym- 
pathetic nature, learning theii- language, studying 
their manners, helping them in their troubles. 
Poor Prevost-Paradol speaks of her conduct when 
a pestilence broke out on the banks of the Nile : ill 
as she was herself, she stood forth among the terror- 
stricken population as doctor, nurse, consoler, and 
her noble self-sacrifice was repaid by the devotion of 
the Arab tribes. 

Lady Duff Gordon died at Thebes in 18G9, 

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Sir Alexander in 1872. lie was succeeded by 
their son Maurice, born 1849. Janet, the eldest 
daughter, married Henry Ross 18(30, and lives in 
Italy, where, like her mother, she loves to study and 
describe the habits and dialects of the peasantry. 
Urania, the youngest child, who was brought up by 
her great-aunt, Miss Charlotte Austin, died in her 
sixteenth year. 

I now revert to the children of Eichard and 
Margaret Taylor (born Meadows). The fourth son, 
Meadows, lived at Diss, and succeeded his uncle, 
Philip Meadows, as a solicitor. His grandson, 
Francis Taylor, was elected in 1885 to represent 
the Diss division of the county of Norfolk in the 
House of Commons. 

The lifth son, Samuel, lived at New Buckenham, 
in Norfolk, and devoted himself to agriculture. His 
neighbours looked up to him as a practical farmer, 
and his journals of farming operations are quoted 
with high praise in the ' British Farmer's Magazine.' 
It is interesting to note some of his facte. In 1779 
the Norfolk labourer received a shilling a day and a 
pint of beer. In 1770 it was usual to sow six 
pecks of wheat per acre ; now on Lord Leicester's 
and Lord Western's land at least three bushels are 
sown or drilled. In the disastrous year 1800 
wheat fetched 6/. 10s. per quarter ; in 1803 an 

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abundant harvest sent down the price to 21. lis. ; 
in 1818 the tod (28 lbs.) of wool sold for 4/. 4s., 
that is, 3s. a pound. 

Mr. Samuel Taylor lost his wife in 1795. 
Though only thirty-four, she was the mother of 
seven children ; and his sisters Margaret and Sarah 
henceforth took charge of their education and the 
management of his household. Small of stature, 
but full of energy, were those prim ladies, with their 
precise ideas and modes of life, and rigid views on 
the education of children. "Well do I remember 
their enforcing them on my juvenile mind when I 
was staying at Buckenham, perched up in my small 
chair at table. I was given a piece of plum-cake ; 
1 pulled out the plums, and made a little heap, to 
be able to eat them all together as a honne louche, 
and was going on with the dough, when a voice 
was heard to say, ' Children must not be greedy,' 
and invading my platter with her spoon, my aunt 
conveyed the plums to her own mouth. I may 
have been wrong, but was she right ? 

Samuel Taylor's eldest son — also a Samuel, and 
a farmer - took great interest in local politics, wrote 
squibs and songs, and was active at elections, of 
course on the Whig side. He became manager of 
Whitbread's malting establishment, near Thetford. 

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Mr. S. Taylor married Miss Newson, but of this 
raarriage there was no issue. 

The third son, Eiehard CowUng Taylor, born in 
1789, was brought up to be a land surveyor. He 
was a first-rate geologist, and constantly associated 
with Mr. William Smith, the father of English 
geology. But before railroad enterjirise existed, 
there was little employment for a man like him ; 
and just before Stephenson's genius opened up a 
career for civil engineers, E. C. Taylor accepted a 
mining post in the United States. Pity he should 
have quitted England, for, besides his professional 
acquirements, he was no mean antiquarian. His 
' Index Monasticus of the Diocese of Norwich and 
the Kingdom of East Anglia ' is a work of great 
research, and was thus acknowledged by Sir Walter 

Edinburgh, 16th April, 1821. 

' Without such a work the study of history is a 
labyrinth without a clue ; while, on the contrary, 
the guidance which your work affords facilitates at 
once the acquisition of truth and the detection of 
error." I remain, with a deep sense of obligation, 
' Sir, 
' Your very obedient servant, 

' Walter Scott.' 


In 1848, Mr. E. C. Taylor, then living at 
Philadelphia, published his important work on the 
statistics of coal. He collected and classified all 
the information from all parts of the world on this 
subject, reducing the various weights and measures 
to English standards. To proprietors of mines and 
collieries this work is essential for reference and in- 
formation, whilst to the general reader it is full of 
interest as giving an account of what forms the 
basis of the industrial prosperity of each country. 
He was a member of various learned societies in 
Europe and America. His death took place 
whilst carrying out some surveying operations near 

Mr. R. C. Taylor married, in 1820, Miss 
Errington, of Great Yarmouth. There were four 
daughters of this marriage. 

Thomas, the fourth son of Samuel Taylor, was 
a sufferer from poor health, and sought the climate 
of the south of France and then of Pisa, where he 
died in 1838. 

Edgar, the fifth son, was a lawyer. I quote 
from the ' Legal Observer,' 1839, the following 
eulogium : — 

' To his professional talents it is not easy to do 
justice. He was a man of a very acute mind, and 


/remarkable for his foresight and generalship. His 
o^Yn personal practice was principally in the equity 
courts. In the early stages of the most complicated 
suit he dehghted to look for^Yard and to provide for 
contingencies which could not occur till the cause 
had advanced to stages requiring years to arrive at. 
His memory was such that, on the contingency 
taking place, he had the whole previous arrangement 
in his mind. Though latterly the suits under his 
charge were very numerous, yet he always bore 
the particulars of each in his mind : the object of 
the suit, the parties to it, and the state in which it 
was. He rarely had to give two readings to any 
cause, however long its duration. Altogether, a 
man better fitted to the management of the most 
extensive business, even in its minutest details, can 
scarcely be conceived.' 

To this notice of his professional talents I must 
add my tribute to his generous nature and his true 
friendship. When my father was attacked by a 
company ready to sacrifice an honest man to their 
greed, Edgar came to his help, unravelled the web 
they sought to spin round their victim, and finally 
triumphed over his assailants, and showed my dear 
father's character to be unl^lemished. 

Mr. Edgar Taylor's professional labours, heavy 


as they were, did not preclude his indulging his 
strong hterary tastes. In 1833 he published ' The 
Book of Plights,' a digest of constitutional law from 
Magna Charta downwards. He was an accomplished- 
antiquarian and a fine Greek scholar ; in his will 
he leaves to his widow his manuscript translation 
of Griesbach's edition of the New Testament. He 
was a great lover of German literature. Children 
delighted in his ' German Popular Tales,' older 
readers in his ' German Minnesingers,' his transla- 
tion of Master Wace's Chronicles of the Norman 
Conquest, from the * Eoman de Ron,' His anony- 
mous contributions to periodical literature, legal, 
theological, literary, were very numerous. I here 
break off to give another letter from Sir Walter 

' I have to return my best thanks for the very 
acceptable present your goodness has made me in 
your interesting volume of German tales and tra- 
ditions. I have often wished to see such a work 
undertaken by a gentleman of taste sufficient to 
adapt the simplicity of the German narrative to our 
own, which you have done so successfully.' 

I have heard my father say that Lord Brougham, 
then Chancellor, tried to induce Edgar Taylor to 
enter public life. Several reasons were given for his 

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refusal ; that he gave my father was, he did not 
wish to he tied to the tail of a comet. 

Edgar Ta3dor married in 1823 Anne, daughter 
of S. Christie, Esq., a wealthy merchant. It was 
said that, after the engagement was declared, Mr. 
Christie sustained great losses from speculations 
in indigo, and friends of Mr. E. Taylor suggested 
he should throw over the lady; Edgar's answer was, 
' I marry the lady, not her fortune.' 

Mr. Edgar Taylor's health, always infirm, gave 
serious cause for anxiety in 1832, and in 1839 he 
died. His industry was never checked, whatever 
his hodily sufferings miglit he. His memory is held 
in honour by all who knew him. His widow sur- 
vived him, and there was one daughter. 

A sister, Jane, married Mr. John Martineau, 
later on a partner of my father. Another sister, 
Emily, was herself an authoress and a poet. 
Her ' England and its People,' for children, a 
volume of poems selected with great taste, as welj 
as some of her own composition, are well known, 
and in her correspondence with my mother I find 
proofs of her reading, her taste, and her judgment 
of literary subjects. Emily Taylor died in 1873. 


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PART 11. 

My father, Philip Taylor, the fourth son of John 
and Susannah Taylor of Norwich, was born in 1786, 
and received his earliest training under the eye of ■ 
his excellent mother. He was, after due considera- 
tion, educated for the medical profession, and at 
fifteen he was sent down to live with his brother 
John at Tavistock, and to study surgery and 
medicine under Dr. Harness, a relation of Mrs. 
John Taylor. From London, where he stopped on 
his way to Cornwall, he writes to his mother that 
he had breakfasted with Mr. Denman, had been to 
the theatre, but disapproved of the play, which was 
one of Lewis's, and that Mrs. Jordan had not a 
proper part assigned to her. I do not understand 
why my father was not articled to one of his 
kinsmen, distinguished surgeons in Norwich ; his 
medical education under Dr. Harness was very 
desultory, and he took more interest in the mineral 
and engineering works of Taylor and Wolffe than in 
Dr. Harness's surgery, and after, a few years re- 
turned to Norwich. There he joined Mr. Fitch in 
a large business as chemist and druggist, and set 

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up a factory for making ^YOoden pill-boxes by 
machinery ; and in 181'2, in concert with his brother, 
he started chemical works at Stratford in Essex. 
Some capitalists were associated with the Taylor 
brothers : 1 infer from letters now in my possession 
that the Eicardos were among them. 

A fine field seemed opened to practical chemists, 
for the manufacture of ' chemicals ' was in a very 
rudimentary state. John Taylor gave his attention 
chiefly to metallurgical chemistry, Philip to the 
mechanical side, notably to the reorganisation of 
apparatus. The inventive spirit of these young 
men was sometimes held in check by their moneyed 
partners, as may be inferred from a note at the 
foot of an elaborate notice on the manufacture of 
oil of vitriol (now called sulphuric acid) in 1815 : — 

184G. — These experiments were made by me imme- 
diately after Davy had published his theory of the 
formation of sulphuric acid. My reasoning on the 
subject was better than the apparatus at my command, 
and yet my apparatus was better than the partners I 
had then to deal with ; they not encouraging me, I let 
the things drop, and many years after others reaped the 
profit and the credit of the process herein suggested. 

These checks did not, however, arrest the inven- 
tive efforts of the brothers; in 1810 and 1818 my 

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father took out his patent for the apphcation of 
high-pressure steam to the purpose of evaporation ; 
and about the same time, in concert with his 
brother, he Launched the idea and project of using 
oil for the production of gas. These inventions 
were independent of the chemical factory. 

In 1813 my father married Sarah, only daughter 
of Eobert Fitch, a surgeon at Ipswich. The Fytche 
family in the sixteenth century were owners of 
Little Canfield Hall. At the coronation of George II. 
William Fytche, lord of the manor of Fingreth, 
Essex, claimed the office of Chamberlain to the 
Queen on the coronation day, with H.M.'s bed and 
furniture as a fee, but this claim was not allowed. 
My grandmother's name was Borett. Her brother 
had a mechanical genius, and was the inventor of 
that apparatus which has become a necessity in the 
houses of all civilised countries. It is recorded in 
the family that Borett was Artificer to the Royal 
Palaces, and that George III. was very fond of 
watching him adjust the valves and traps. One night 
at the play, the king was in his royal box, Borett 
in the pit, when a man sitting next to him started 
to his feet and levelled a pistol at the monarch's 
head. Borett, seeing the movement, struck up the 
madman's arm, and the ball went through the ceil- 


ing. A great uproar ensued ; then His Majesty 
came forward, bo^Yed to the excited audience, and 
in a loud voice said, ' Tliank you, Borett ; thank ye, 
thank ye.' In France a decoration and a coat of 
arms would have been given Borett, with heraldic 
pistols, pistons and pans, * armes parlantes,' as the 
phrase goes. 

In the year 1815 my father settled at Bromley 
near Bow, and soon after I was born, a sister being 
the first child. 

Three events marked the four years of my 
infancy : the first misadventure was near akin to 
sacrilege ; the second well-nigh sent me to an early 
grave ; the third was a charge of murder and the 
loss of a fortune. Number one was at my christen- 
ing, which took place in our drawing-room on 
account of my mother's health being delicate. 
After the service there was to be 'a tea.' The 
servant brought in an urn with boiling water, but 
the pastor, who was seated near my mother, and 
who was very near-sighted, jumped up, said, * Ah ! 
here comes the dear child again,' and threw his 
arms round the scalding urn — a loud howl was the 
result. The second was my being taken out driving 
by my cousins ; they were discussing what road they 
should take, but not minding that on which they 


1 V 


were driving — result, an upset, and little Phil being 
pitched ou his head on the sharp angle of a broken 
stone step. It was touch and go with little Phil, 
and who knows whether the * arraignee dans son 
plafond ' does not date from that day ? 

My third adventure was indeed tragical. There 
dwelt in Abingdon Street an old aunt of my mother, 
the widow of an Indian colonel. Mrs. Robertson 
had ample means, was very fond of her niece, and 
very kind to her little • great-nephew.' I often 
was taken to the house and allowed to sit up at the 
dinner-table. Mrs. Robertson's hall was adorned 
with Indian trophies ; there were tigers' heads with 
real eyes, there were skins of all manner of ferocious 
beasts ; but among these dead creatures, slain by 
the defunct Colonel, there was one living creature, 
the favourite of his mistress. Now either Poll was 
jealous of me, or he had a special love of my small 
white legs ; for one day as I toddled upstah-s chng- 
ing to my mother, and trembling at the big game, 
Poll, without one warning croak, sprang at my 
uncovered calf. Frantic with pain and fright, I 
clutched his neck, and over we rolled to the foot of 
the stairs. I was picked up and taken to the kitchen, 
where my tears were dried, my hands washed, and 
many caresses were lavished. No caresses could 


bring Poll to life, but as the noise had not reached 
the dining-room I took my seat as if nothing had 
occurred. Now my great-aunt's butler * Smart ' 
was a surly fellow, not approving small boys and 
their ways. On this particular day Smart's shoes 
creaked, his mistress complained, he growled out 
he * couldn't help new shoes creaking,' and there 
was a tilf, then a silence, and Mrs. Eobertson asked 
to have ' her pretty Poll ' brought in. No answer. 
Then she turned to Smart. ' Where is Poll ? ' 'Ask 
young master,' the fellow cried, with a hideous 
grin, and the murder was out. The old lady looked 
aghast for a moment, then collecting her ideas she 
said, ' CaU a coach.' The coach came, she pointed 
to the door, and in solemn tones gave sentence : 
* Madam, I allow no murderers in my house,' My 
frightened mother hauled me away, and she left, 
never to re-enter the house. Mrs. Eobertson de- 
clined all overtures, and, dying, left her large fortune 
to some people named Garlic : they did not come 
forward to claim it, and the Crown stepped in. 

I return to my father's schemes for gas made 
from oils. In 1739, Clayton first drew attention to 
the fact that gas for Hghting purposes was to be 
obtained from coal; in 1792, Murdoch, who was 
Watt's right-hand man, made great advance in 


the practical application, and lit up his house at 
liedruth with gas. The Cornish miners told a 
story that Murdoch, who was in the hahit of 
carrying a bladder of gas as his lantern, was 
waylaid one dark night, on his way to his lonely 
house, by highwaymen. He gave the bladder a 
squeeze, sent a jet of flame on thek faces, which 
singed their whiskers, and then exploded, and 
before they could recover from the fright Murdoch 
had made good his escape. He had a curious gift 
of estimating work, and would say to Mr. Watt, 
• Now, sir, you please to see what it comes to with 
your figures ; I'll just step down and chalk it out on 
a bit of board.' When the results were compared a 
discrepancy would appear. ' Ah ! ' paid Murdoch, 
' you have figured too fine, sir, you have not taken 
into account casualties.' 

I must pause here to observe that eighty years 
ago the mechanical engineer had none of the 
splendid self-acting machines or tools which now 
exist. Whitworth, Maudslay, Fox, Nasmyth, had 
not yet arisen ; the hammer, the chisel, the file, were 
the only implements ; the very lathes were in their 
infancy, the slide rest was hardly thought of ; yet 
from these rude beginnings sprang the splendid 
science of mechanical engineering. I will now 


quote from Mr. Frederic Acciim's work on coal-gas, 
of which he was a strong partisan, the following 
report (published 1819) : — 

Messrs. J. and P. Taylor are the first persons who 
have resorted to oil as a substance from which gas lor 
illumination can be easily and cheaply prepared. The 
apparatus for the purpose is much smaller, much simpler, 
and yet equally effectual with the best coal-gas appara- 
tus. The retort is a bent cast-iron tube, which is heated 
red by a small convenient furnace, and into which oil is 
allowed to drop by a very ingenious apparatus ; the oil 
is immediately volatilised, and the vapour in traversing 
the tube becomes perfectly decomposed ; a mixture of 
inflammable gases which contains a great proportion of 
defiant gas passes off; it is washed by being passed 
through a vessel of water (which dissolves a little sebacic 
acid, and which seldom requires changing), and is then 
conducted into the gasometer. The facihty and clean- 
liness with which gas is prepared from oil in the above 
manner may be conceived fi'om the description of the 
process. A small furnace is lighted, and a sufficient 
quantity of the commonest oil is put into a small iron 
vessel; a cock is turned, and the gas, after passing through 
water in the washing vessel, goes into the gasholder. 
The operation may be stopped by shutting oft' the oil, or 
to a certain extent hastened by letting it move freely on ; 
the small quantity of charcoal deposited in the retort is 
drawn out by a small rake, and the water in the washer 
is very rarely changed. 

E 2 

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This new process attracted public notice, and 
my father visited many towns to plan and erect the 
necessary apparatus. Covent Garden Theatre and 
several large factories and breweries were lit by this 

The Emperor of Russia ordered the Taylor 
apparatus to be used in the Imperial Library at 
St. Petersburg, and for a few years its triumph 
seemed secure. 

Meanwhile, the coal-gas makers saw their 
danger, and set to work to improve the process of 
manufacture and the system of purifying. They sold 
their gas for fifteen shillings the thousand cubic 
feet, the oil-gas was charged fifty shillings the 
thousand cubic feet, whereas only thii'ty-four 
shillings should have been the price, and it should 
have been made clear to the public that five 
hundred cubic feet of oil-gas gave as much light as 
a thousand feet of coal-gas. Five years after the 
discovery, in 1823, the battle of the gases took place ; 
but the combat was unequal, large companies had 
been formed, large sums subscribed to manufactm-e 
coal-gas ; applications were made to the House of 
Commons for charters, committees of investigation 
were formed, the Taylors had to stand alone 
against the combination of the wealthy promoters 

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of these companies, and the engineers and managers 
to whom they held out hope of employment, and 
they were heaten. 

The evidence given on behalf of coal-gas was 
hardly honest, but my father accei:)ted the decision 
and gave up his plans, consoled to a certain extent 
by the sympathy of such men as Brand, Charles 
Macintosh, Eicardo, Clement Desormes, the French 
chemist, and others. 

Now I revert to the patents for the application 
of high-pressure steam for evaporating processes, 
taken out in 1818. It became desirable to con- 
struct the apparatus on their own premises, and 
for this purpose the brothers acquired some buildings 
in White Cross Street formerly occupied by Koenig. 
My father had a high opinion of his printing- 
press inventions, and vindicated poor Koenig's 
claims in a paper contributed to the ' Philosophical 
Magazine ' in October 18-17. John Taylor's real 
interest was mining engineering, and, as I have 
stated in the sketch of his life, he separated from 
my father in 1820. 

Up to this period the only known application of 
steam to boiling or evaporating purposes was by apply- 
ing the vapour to the external surfaces of the vessel 
contaming the hquid ; this led to an enormous 

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waste of caloric. Philip Taylor introduced the steam 
in coils of pipes into the body of the liquid. Messrs. 
Whitbread at once adopted this plan for their 
brewery ; sugar refiners at home, sugar planters 
in the West Indies, beetroot sugar growers in 
France, applied for the apparatus, recognising its 
great superiority to the old processes. 

The soap-works of Messrs. B. Hawes were the 
scene of a difficulty and a triumph. The curd 
completely stopped the passage of the heat by 
coagulating round the steam coil. My father was 
awake one night turning the matter over ; next 
morning he sought the soap-makers, told them the 
mode of dealing with the problem, and, with a 
promise of secrecy on their part, allowed them to 
purchase his invention — a very simple one when 
put in practice — a small pipe wdth minute perfora- 
tions to allow the escape of steam was introduced 
when the soap-curd became too consistent, a jet of 
high-pressure steam was injected by the means of 
these perforations, and the coil was cleared. That 
Messrs. Hawes thought the secret well worth keeping 
I had an opportunity for judging in 1833. I called 
at the works ; the reception was courteous, but I was 
not allowed to see the boilers. Mr. Hawes, however, 
asked mo to breakfast with him next day, a pleasure 

■'•■I ■" 

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which was not to be mine, as it turned out. On 
Saturday evening I went to Mr. Babbage's conver- 
sazione, where, after watching him grind his 
calculating machine and explain its functions to 
two old maids, I was carried off to speak French 
with Lady Morgan, by whose side I took my place, 
having Lady King (Lord Byron's daughter) on my 
left. Mr. Hawes sauntered past us, and as soon 
as it was decorous to move, I followed him ; then 
Michael Faraday seized me to ask news of his old 
friend, my father. On my return home (that is, to 
uncle John's), I found a note from Mr. Hawes 
expressing his regret at not being able to receive 
me, as he had to leave town suddenly. 

A year before uncle John retired a new partner 
joined the firm, John, son of John Martineau, one 
of the partners in ■\Vhitbread'8 Brewery. My father 
writes of this arrangement : ' I can truly say I engage 
in my new partnership with every desire to be 
happy, and to contribute to the happiness and 
prosperity of my comrades, but I may be excused if 
I have doubts and fears.' Partners and patents 
rarely brought luck to my father. 

The premises in White Cross Street were not 
large enough for the constantly increasing J^usiness, 
and the large factory in the City Eoad was opened. 

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Bromley House became a centre of attraction for 
men of science of all nations ; it was lit with oil-gas, 
the laboratory was admirably equipped, and steam 
power was at hand for experiments and demonstra- 
tions. There were gardens and paddocks, whilst 
access to London was made easy by a stage-coach 
twice a day. True, there was an Irish colony in 
the lanes near, turbulent neighbours, but the 
venerable priest who had charge of them was a 
French emigre of noble birth, and from him I 
learned the rudiments of the language I have 
spoken for sixty years ; and I see now his silver 
locks as he sat with my mother and heard her read 
French, which she too was destined to use in her 
daily intercourse for many a long year. 

I see, too, the hatchet face of MacAdam, the 
road maker ; the cheery countenance of Captain 
Mac Arthur, who first introduced sheep into Australia 
(Botany Bay in those days) ; and pleasant Charles 
Macintosh, my father's chemical crony ; ]\Iichael 
Faraday, always modest and retiring, whose Cornish 
blood was recognised as well as his genius ; Dr. 
Wollaston, who cut jokes at my father's expense, 
' a man who pretends to persuade gas to walk 
through pipes ; ' Brunei of block-making fame, the 
future tunneiler, then struggling with the Admu'alty ; 

, •? 

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■i ■■ ■■■■>: ■ 'v.. ■ 


Professor Clement Desormes, one of the most 
eminent iiractical chemists France has produced ; 
Biot the biologist ; Gay Lussac ; Mallet of the Fonts 
et Chaussees, afterwards Chief Inspector, who was so 
fond of England — he always began his lectm'es with 
* Nos voisins d'outremer ; ' Paul Seguin, who made 
the first railway in France (Lyon et St.-Etienne), 
Baron von Humboldt, and many German professors. 
Then there were chance visitors who came to 
ask technical advice. On one occasion my father 
and a few friends were making experiments with 
protoxide of azote, otherwise laughing gas, and a 
bladder full with a quid attached was just got ready 
when one of these visitors, a future Chief Baron, 
came in. He was so interested in the explanation of 
its properties that he insisted on trying in person 
what were its effects. He took a pull at the bladder, 
imbibed a tremendous dose, dropped on all- fours 
and careered round the laboratory table. My mother 
and I were in the garden, and, hearing a hubbub, 
went to see what had happened. My father and bis 
friends were frantically pursuing the lawyer, who 
was still running round and round on all-fours, 
barking like a dog. At last the bladder was wrenched 
from his mouth, but hours elapsed before the effects 
of the dangerous dose ceased. 

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Many a tale of those days and those men linger 
in my memory. Here is one of Maudslay. In his 
youth he was a private in an infantry regiment. 
His colonel had scientific tastes and scientific 
instruments ; one of these was given hy the nurse 
to little master, who dashed it out of the window, 
and it fell in pieces before the colonel's eyes, to his 
unutterable dismay. The stalwart sentry looked at 
the bits, and, saluting, said, ' Weel, colonel, I think I 
could set it to rights.' ' You ? ' * Oh yes, colonel, if 
you will let me try.' The colonel ordered the 
sentry to be relieved, entrusted him with the broken 
instrument, and rewarded his skill by obtaining the 
soldier's discharge and starting him on that path of 
life in which he obtained such eminence. 

I must not omit an anecdote of Eennie. He, like 
Michael Faraday, was a blacksmith in his youth. 
Wlien a successful engineer he was invited by a great 
Scotch noble to visit him at his Highland castle. 
Mr. Eennie set forth from Edinburgh in a post- 
chaise, and was struggling along over the bad roads 
of those pre- ]\Iac Adamite days, when he perceived 
a carriage which had broken down ; he courteously 
invited the two travellers (they also were bound for 
the castle) to share his chaise, and on they went. A 
rougher road and a deeper rut caused such a jolt that 



one of the tires broke. Lucidly a Highland black- 
smith was at hand. ' I could mend it, but I have no 
one to strike to me.' ' Is that all '? ' said Eennie. 
' Come on ; ' and in a minute he had taken off his 
coat, tucked up his shirt-sleeves, and with a ' Now, 
my man, set on,' was at work. The fastidious young 
dandies looked with disgust at their fellow-traveller 
blowing the bellows and then lifting the ponderous 
hammer and dealing well-directed blows on the red- 
hot metal. * 'Gad, man, but ye know ye'r trade,' 
quoth the Highland smith. The work was done, on 
went the chaise, but no longer did the dandies 
converse affably ; indeed, their demeanour became 
hardly civil. At length the chaise drew up at the 
castle, and out rushed the Duke with both hands ex- 
tended, * Ah, Mr. Rennie, how glad I am to see you ! ' 
The young swells shook their curly heads, and 
uttered that society and the constitution were 
going to the dogs. 

There are stories, too, of French friends. My 
mother had sitting on each side at her dinner-table 
a great French chemist, when one of her sneezing fits 
set in ; up rose each gallant Gaul with his hand on 
his heart : ' Dieu vous benisse, madame ! ' and then 
a profound bow, further sneezing, ' a vos souhaits, 
madame,' and deeper bows, and so on, whilst my 


father stared at his over-courteous guests, and I, 
seated on his knee, made free use of the glass of 
port just poured out. Then burly Clement Desormes 
would show his friendly feelings by taking my 
father in his arms and kissing him on both cheeks. 
It was Desormes who, with Brunei, and J, B. Say, the 
French ambassador, a frequent visitor to the City 
Eoad wor.ks, urged my father to visit France, hold- 
ing out hopes that the Government might adopt 
oil-gas for public buildings. So in April 1822 my 
parents made their first visit to Paris, where 
Desormes, Breguet, Arago, Firmin Didot, J. B. Say, 
and their wives did everything to make their stay a 
pleasant one. My mother spoke French, my father 
at the end of fifty years in the country had not 
mastered the language. ' Je n'ai jamais connu 
personne qui eut eu le don de massacrer le fran9ais 
du Roi comme votre bon pere,' said Admiral 
Charles Baudin to me one day. 

Whilst my father was in Paris he received some 
letters from ]\Iarc Brunei, which I shall now give. 
They show the friendship as well as the business 
relations which existed between the two men. 

Chelsea : April 19, 1822. 
My dear Friend, — You have, I have no doubt, found 
plenty of employment besides your business in the great 


capital ; if the weather has been fine, you must see 
everything in the first order, and in the most striking 
colour, for nothing can be so delightful as the first green 
of spring, which in Paris must be the more beautiful as 
the atmosphere is free from that foggy tinge which spoils 
everything here, and even at Bromley or Chelsea. 

I have not troubled you with anything of my own, 
because it is well to be silent until something is done 
here. The French are not so very enterprising in these 
matters as we are here, therefore if a thing is not taken 
up at once it is likely to retrograde rather than advance. 
I shall be glad to know how you have succeeded. In 
case you wish to introduce your printhig-press there, 
the best channel I think is that of M. Firmin Didot. 
He was here the week before last, he called on me with 
the view of seeing my stereotype, but I would not gratify 
him, nor was it likely to be interesting to him, for what- 
ever may be the ultimate degree of perfection it may 
reach, it is now' limited to one object only. 

My son Isambard, who, I am told, is much grown, 
wrote me he had seen you ; I hope you will bring me a 
good account of him. 

The coal-trough has not yet come to Chelsea ; it may 
reach it to-day, however. I am impatient to see it put 
up. I am busy preparing two bridges for the French 
Government. All is going pretty well. The press is 
getting on. Best regards to Mrs. Taylor. 

Yours very truly, 

M^ I. Bkunel. 

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April 26, 1822. 

My dear Sir, — I have received your letter about 
M. Laiue, wlio was rflready provided with leave to see 
the dockyards, with good recommendations from the 
Admiral and the Commissioners at Portsmouth, where 
he is gone by this time. 

I am very much pleased with the account you give 
me of your intercourse with the scientific men ; I don't 
know hoAV far you are master of the Fi'ench language, 
without which you must lose a great deal of the enter- 
tainment which such society must afford. Our worthy 
M. Breguet is a man whom one must regi'et not to be 
able to exchange sentiments with. 

I do hope Mrs. Taylor is able to enter into the diver- 
sions which the capital abounds with. The eyes may 
find extensive range though the ears may prove but 
helpless interpreters. 

My son regretted as much as you m^ have done in 
not being of the party at M. Br^guet's when you dined 
there. I learn through my son that gas, such as it is 
established in Paris, is not only very bad, but is ex- 
tremely offensive. I do hope they mil have sense 
enough to be convinced of what I have strenuously re- 
commended, which is oil-gas. It was my opinion, and 
that opinion was conveyed by the late French ambassa- 
dor, but some folks only looked to the job, without 
minding the consequence under the specious mark of" 

By the bye, M. Laine had a letter from his uncle, the 
late Minister, to me, with whom I have had much to do in 




relation to the waterworks. He expresses his regret 
that the negotiation should not have been brought to a 
favourable issue. I found him well disposed to have 
countenanced the enterprise, and if he was still in power 
you might have found an able administrator in him, 
and with hberal views. 

The coal-trough is just up, but the rack and pinions 
I had ordered from Maudslay are not'yet come. Patience 
is necessary in all schemes. If you can sell some of the 
machines in Paris they had better be sent. The direc- 
tions could be translated there. I imagine Isambard 
will do it well. How do you find him ? I so long to 
have him back. Best regards to Mrs. Taylor. 

Yours very sincerely, 

M". BnuNEL. 

P.S. — What do they do in the steam-engme line ? 
Would it answer to bring anytliing forward in that way ? 
If you have any copying presses with you I hope they 
won't omit the directions and the dampers. 

In a memoii* of the life of Sir M. I. Brunei, pub- 
lished in 1862, my father made a note, expressing 
his surprise at finding no mention of their joint 
labours or their friendly relations. He hints that 
it might have been remembered that in the cata- 
strophe of 1821 he was one oi the first to come to 
his friend's aid. He states that in 1822 he to 
out a patent of an improved press (referred to by 
Mr. Brunei in the above letters), and finally he 

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writes, * Not only has my name been omitted in 
connection with my old friend, but at page 209 of 
the book the writer gives my brother John's name 
instead of mine at the first general meeting of 
the Thames Tunnel. That I was director, and I 
may add the most active one, up to 1825, the fol- 
lowing document shows : — 

Thames Tunnel Office, Walbrook Buildings. 

Extract from the minutes and resolutions of the 
Court of Directors, held April 26, 1825. 

' No. 10. A letter having been read from Philip 
Taylor, Esq., expressing a wish to resign his appoint- 
ment of director in this company, on account of his 
numerous professional engagements and his expected 
residence chiefly at a distance from London : 

' No. 11. Resolved that Mr. Taylor's resignation be 
accepted, and that the clerk do write him a letter ex- 
pressive of the regret which the court feels in being 
deprived of his valuable services as director of this com- 
pany during the progress of the works of the tunnel.' 

(Extracted by Chas. Butler, clerk to the Company.) 

I believe there still survive two watermen (in 
sugar) who took part in the banquet given on the 
occasion of laying the first stone of the tunnel by 
W. Smith, Esq., M.P. ; a*complete model in sugar 
of the tunnel decorated the table, and my father 
brought home the two figures. 

■L H 

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In 1830 I visited Mr. M. Brunei at the Thames 
Tunnel, and his kind reception of me dwells in my 
memory. It was soon alter one of the great erup- 
tions of water, I was taken to the workings, and 
when I reached the shield, and some of the old hands 
found out that I was my father's son, they hoisted 
me up into one of the cells, and I had the honour of 
doing a hit of excavation. 

Isamhard Brunei was at school with Alfred Say 
(son of J. B. Say, and uncle of my wife) at the 
Institution Massin, Place de I'Estrapade, Paris. 
After the custom of French schools the hoys were 
taken for a walk on Thursdays ; they passed a long 
deep tub set out to water the cab-horses, when a 
mischievous schoolfellow jerked up the horse's nose; 
he threw up his heels, hit Isamhard on the seat of 
honour, and sent him head foremost in the dirty 
water, from which his comrades dragged him half 
choked, after wasting a minute or two in laughing 
at the catastrophe. 

Before leaving Mr. M. Brunei, I wish to note the 
constant aid and friendship shown him h}' Sir 
Samuel Bentham during those vexatious disputes 
with the Admiralty when he was emjjloycd in 
erecting his bluuk-making machinery. Sir Samuel 
was one of my father's correspondents, and I give 

■ ) -- '.n: 

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■: ii 


an extract from one of his letters showing his active 
mind on various subjects : — 

Montpellier: Sept. 19, 1822. 

I understand that grafted are to be preferred to un- 
grafted mulberry trees. My mulberry trees succeed 
exceedingly well, not having sufi'ered from the great 
drought of the year ; so that I shall, if possible, plant 
another thousand of large trees in a state not to suffer 
by the sheep, and perhaps twenty thousand young 
ones in places from which the sheep will be excluded. 
It will be two years at least before we shall have leaves 
enough to feed a sufficiency of silkworms for it to be 
worth while to engage any one for the management of 
them, and then Ave must erect a building for that pur- 
pose. The squash or vegetable marrow which we have 
cultivated these two years, besides being good food for 
ourselves and others, we find so very prolific that we 
propose cultivating them in great quantity next year for 
pigs. The two boars we brought have arrived safe. Not- 
withstanding the general prediction of their failure, they 
are in good health, but as yet rather too young to be of 
any use. All our men, as well as our money, have been 
so extensively employed in planting and breaking up 
new ground for cultivation, besides the necessary repairs 
and additions to buildings, that we have not as yet been 
able to erect the pumping machinery from England ; we 
hope, however, to begin it in about a month, and I am 
determined to provide means of working the pump by 
wiiKl, in such a manner as to work night and day 
without attendance. 

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Then comes a long disquisition on self-regu- 
lating windmills, a request for my father's opinion, 
and a promise to send the ounce of Chinese silk- 
worm eggs, already announced. I can only guess 
that my father was to make experiments with the 
leaves of a large old red mulherry tree growing in 
the Bromley garden, and said to have heen planted 
by James I. to supply silk for the Royal hose— a 
mistake to plant the red sort, it should have been 
the white mulberry. 

Sir S. Bentham's ounce of seed ought to have 
given 42,000 worms, and they would require 400 or 
500 square feet of space, and in the fifth period 
about three tons of leaves per diem. 

I return to my parents' stay at Paris, where my 
mother hstened to the silvery tones of Mademoiselle 
Mars and the splendid declamation of Talma. My 
father's business, however, made no progress ; here 
again coal-gas had enlisted the support of important 
men, and when it was suggested that some opposition 
might be overcome by the present of an Indian 
shawl to a ballet-dancer, my father's Puritan 
principles were roused, he took his wife by the arm, 
and left Paris and the Parisians to their darkness, 
their dirt, and their evil ways. But one incident 
which befell my father I must not leave out. One 

F 2 

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t *. .. 


day in the Tuileries Gardens he spied a vacant 
chair and sat down. Now when a French lady takes 
her ease she requires two chairs ; one to sit on, the 
other as a rampart and a footstooh My father had 
not ohserved that two dainty feet rested on the chair 
he had appropriated, and he could not understand 
the loud tones and fierce gestures of ' le mari de 
madame.' Fortunately John Bull was not in one of 
his irascible moods, still he kept possession of his 
seat. ' Monsieur ' produced his card, and mischief 
might have ensued, but for the intervention of an 
officer who understood English and soothed the 
wounded feehngs of his countryman. After a few 
minutes' conversation it turned out the young officer 
was a near relation of General de Bardelin, who 
when an emigre at Norwich had given French 
lessons to my aunt. 

My parents travelled home by the Rhine and 
Holland. No Damirfshiff existed in those days, 
a boat had to be hired, and, moving slowly on by day, 
travellers slept on shore. One evening the hostelry 
my parents stopped at had a sinister look, and in 
the middle of the night* my mother was awakened 
by a noise at the window ; she looked and saw a 
man trying to open the casement. Without disturb- 
ing her sleeping husband, my mother got out of 


bed, seized a log of wood from the hearth, and 
hurled it at the German invader ; down he went, and 
with him went the window. 

My father's efforts to interest the Dutch in oil- 
gas had been no more successful than at Paris ; they 
sailed to Harwich, and thence came to Ipswich, 
where I was staying with my grandfather Fitch. Of 
course the first thing my parents were asked was if 
they had eaten frogs. 

I now pass on to my father and his friend 
Charles Macintosh's experiments in the preparation 
of waterproof textures, the dithculty being to find a 
cheap solvent of the india-rubber. Mr. Macintosh 
had for years been occupied with the subject. I 
will give extracts from his letters : — 

Cragsbasket Ju]y 21, 1822. 

Our friend ^Ir. Pi. has informed me of your return to 
England. During your Continental tour you must have 
amassed much valuable as well as much amusing matter, 
and I am convinced you could favour the world with 
sketches of a very different and infinitely more amusing 
kind than any that have yet appeared ; perhaps you 
have something of the kind in view, a comparative view 
of the arts, &c., as at present in actual practice in France 
and Britain. I hope this is the case. 

I have not yet proceeded in taking out the patent for 
my coal-oil caoutchouc varnish — not from any doubt as 


to its importance, or the many"valuable purposes it is 
applicable for, but because patents form a sort of pro- 
perty I confess I am by no means partial to, having 
often reflected with disgust on the great trouble and 
vexation as well as loss of time and expenses our bleach- 
ing liquid (oxymuriate of lime) patent cost me, which I 
justly considered an original and valuable invention, yet 
the patent was set aside. Now I could not lay claim to 
the discovery of caoutchouc being soluble in coal-oil, 
because it is on record to be so, and possibly it may be 
concluded to follow from inference, at least, that it must 
have been tried as a varnish before I did so : although if 
such is the case, the success must have been very trifling, 
else the thing would have been persevered in, and we 
should have heard of it. 

I can with all confidence assure you that coal-oil, 
when properly rectified, dissolves caoutchouc vastly more 
rapidly than ether does, employing about two pounds 
of caoutchouc cut in shreds to four gallons of coal-oil, 
by which means, and employing frequent agitation, it is 
soon brought into a pulpy gelatinous state, to be after- 
wards diluted to any degree of consistency required. It 
then forms an admirable elastic varnish for cloth of all 
sorts, as well as for metals, &c., which dries almost im- 
mediately, leaving the caoutchouc altogether unchanged, 
possessing all its original properties. For umbrella cloths 
alone it will prove of ^eat importance. 

In a box I despatch this day will be found addressed 
to you two quart bottles, one filled with naphthalic var- 
nish, the other with coal-oil for diluting the former to 

,'l ''■ 


the proper state for use. I shall certainly feel very 
greatly obliged by your making at once some trials, and 
reporting as early as possible your opinion of them. I 
need hardly add to you that rectified coal-oil dissolves 
common resin, camphor, and many other resinous bodies 
with the greatest facility. I pray you to write niu soon, 
and with my best regards to Mrs. Taylor, in which Mrs. 
Macintosh most cordially joins, 

I remain, truly and faithfully yours, 

Chakles Macintosh. 

This letter gives not only an account of the 
progress of an invention which has been of universal 
benefit, it shows Mr. Macintosh's opinion of patent 
rights ; later on a patent was well-nigh his ruin. 
About 1830 Messrs. Neilson and Macintosh dis- 
covered that great improvement in the manufacture 
of iron, the application of the hot blast — ^my father 
joining them ; and on the same day and hour 
patents were taken out in London by Neilson and 
Macintosh, in Paris by Philip Taylor. This in- 
vention brought large fortunes to the ironmasters, 
whilst to the patentees it brought years of toil and 
anxiety, and two formidable lawsuits ; I shall speak 
of that in the French courts later on. I have Uved 
with and among inventors, have watched them 
wprk out their ideas with painful labour and self- 
sacrifice ; at last the moment of triumph is at 

.. . •( ■ ■ YA 


hand, fame and competence in view ; they draw up 
their specifications and apply for a patent, pay the 
fees, and receive the precious document. Meanwhile 
their specifications are being overhauled by dishonest 
rivals, who either treat the invention as futile or 
seize on it for themselves. Then begin struggles in 
law courts with judges and juries to whom chemistry 
and engineering are mysteries. Not every suitor 
could command the services of such a counsel as 
Edward Sugden, who, when he had to defend a 
patent for a great chemical invention, went to a 
laboratory, worked out each process himself, was 
a complete master of the subject, and making a 
speech which was a splendid lecture on chemistry, 
won his cause. But too often the inventor's work 
is filched, and the jury, who could understand if your 
purse were stolen, are utterly unable to understand 
' infringement of patent.' 

I will give another extract from Mr. Macintosh's 

correspondence with my father : — 

Feb. 20, 1824. 
Dear Sir, — I saw your cousin, Mr. Fitch, the other 
day when I called at your works, and had some conver- 
sation with him about preparing the waterproof varnish 
for me to be produced fi'om the tar spirit we may contract 
for from the London Chartered Gas Company, and which 
may probably be only 300 gallons a week. ... It would 

J.r; ir n 

^ t ' ; ii^ 


be very gratifying to me if you would examine and rectify 

the samples I send you ; . . . possiljly you may devise 

means of diminishing the smell, which would be a great 

desideratum. . . . 

Chaeles Macintosh. 

It was whilst my father was intent on these 
experiments that he met with an accident which 
was nearly fatal. The real name of the rectified 
coal-oil was naphtha, one of the most volatile and 
inflammable substances known. Late one night, 
having rectified the oil, he was going on with his 
experiment, and, in so doing, he decanted the liquid 
into a Florence flask which he very imprudently had 
laid on a warm sand bath. The naphtha was instantly 
volatilised. An unfortunate gas-burner was alight 
near ; the inflammable vapour ignited, the flask 
exploded, and every particle of hair and skin on my 
poor father's head was destroyed — that his eyes did 
not suffer was a miracle ; he was a dreadful sufferer 
for some days. His friend Macintosh was full of 
sympathy, and he ought to have been consoled by 
thinking of the millions who would be kept dry and 
warm by his discovery. 

Professor Cleanent Desormes sent a specimen of 
petroleum about this time to my father, with the 
suggestion that it might be of use for making oil-gas, 

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but the supply was, he went on to say, hmited— 
thmgs have changed now that Eussia and the 
United States can furnish any quantity of petroleum. 

The 3'ears 1823 and 1824 were a very busy time 
for Philip Taylor. First comes his application of 
high-pressure steam to sugar-filtering— this was 
largely used by foreign sugar-refiners and beet-sugar- 
makers. French writers give it high praise for its 
compact yet enormous filtering surface; English 
writers seem silent on the subject. The other filter 
used in France is that by Dumont, a very clever 
construction ; it is used alternately with the filter 
' Taylor ' ; often have I heard the foreman issue the 
order, ' Charge the Taylor,' ' Empty the Dumont.' 

About this time my father made his experiments, 
and pubhshed his tables on the elastic force of 
steam. Mr. Dalton had compiled his table from 
32 degrees of temperature to 212 degrees, and from 
0-200 force in inches of mercury to 30 inches. 
Phihp Taylor started from Mr. Dalton 's finishing 
point, and carried the experiments from 212 degrees 
to 320 degrees, and from 30 inches of mercury to 

MM. Arago*and Dulong repeated these experi- 
ments, and I had the pleasure of hearmg from M. 
Ai-ag^, that only a slight difference existed between 

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their results and my father's ; their experiments were 
carried higher than my father's, but the three 
tables are published in France in juxtaposition. It 
is somewhat strange that Fairbairn, in his ' Useful J 
Information for Engineers ' publislied in 1856, does J 
not notice Philip Taylor's tables, though he does 
those of Dalton, Arago, Dulong, Eegnault, and De ' . 

The apparatus used by my father was a clever 
combination : the boiler was heated by oil-gas jets, 
the lofty manometer went through the floor of our 
nursery, as well as I remember. The quantity of gas 
consumed was noted down with the other results. 

A new subject of study was the water suj^ply of 
London. My father proposed starting from a point 
between Brentford and Richmond, constructing a 
tunnel or waterway of six feet diameter and about 
nine miles length, to the foot of Hampstead Hill ; 
from thence the water was to be raised by a per- 
pendicular lift to the reservoirs, and the splendid 
working of the Cornish pumping engines would have 
been brought into play. By this project the great 
loss occasioned by forcing water through a long range 
of pipes would have been avoided ; it was calculated 
that a saving of three-fourths of the coal used in the 
working of the steam engines would be effected. 

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The estimates for the tunnel, the engines, and 
the reservoirs, were put down at 180,000/. For this 
sum London might have had good and cheap water ; 
hut the scheme fell through — I know not why. 

A Swiss engineer, M. Bodmer, a man of inven- 
tive if not practical genius, came to England and 
claimed my father's good offices to extricate from 
the clutches of the Custom House authorities the 
drawings and instruments he had brought from 
Ziirich and Aarau, then famed for these things. 
Through the help of Sir Samuel Bentham, M. Bod- 
mer got back his property. He settled at Manchester, 
and was very intimate with my father. Another 
engineer with whom my father corresponded was 
Fawcett of Liverpool. He wished my father to join 
his house ; perhaps it is to be regretted that he 
refused. Subsequently my brother Piobert was a 
pupil and a favourite of Mr. Fawcett. It may be 
remembered that the engines of the ' President,' lost 
in 1841, were built by Fawcett. 

Well, besides experiments in the realm of science 
there were experiments in education, and I was sent 
to a school at Bromley kept by Mr. Deane. Even now 
I see the long room, in each corner a high desk, at 
these desks masters for separate subjects, Latin and 
\Freiich, &c. ; at the end a throne, where was installed 

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the pedagogue himself. Eachmoi'iiing at eight o'clock 
he opened the doors of a big stand which was part 
of his throne, and displayed an assortment of canes ; 
then he blew his nose, and in a stentorian voice read 
the reports of the masters, the names of the culprits, 
and proceeded to inflict punishment ■ the more 
numerous the culprits, the better pleased he seemed, 
retiring to his breakfast rather sadly if the canes 
had not been used. There were whippings at home 
also. M}' father always rode to and from London, 
and entered the house with his riding-whip under 
his arm. ' Oh, my love,' said my dear mother, 
* Phil has been so naughty ; ' then I found myself 
athw^art my father's knee, down came the whip, and, 
howling, aM'ay I went to the nursery to meditate 
some future misdemeanour. 

Dear old father ! when he had passed eighty and 
I w^as near sixty we had a talk over those days. 

Fatlier. ' Yes, you were an unruly child ! what 
trouble you did give ! ' 

Son. ' No doubt, sir, but you should not have 
used that riding-whip so lavishl}' on my hide.' 

FatJicr. ' You don't mean to say, 3'ou — you re- 
collect that '? ' 

Son. ' Don't I ! Why, those lashes for years 
rankled in my mind ; I believe each stripe made me 

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worse than before. It is my misfortune to appear 
to forget, but ahva5^8 to recollect.' 

Father. ' ^Yell, you are a perverse sample of 
human nature. Now, you can't say that you did 
not merit punishment.' 

Son. ' Not always.' 

Father. ' Now, now, for instance, I recollect when 
you behaved so ill about that glass of rhubarb and 
magnesia. You were sick, stomach out of order, 
and I prepared a nice little dose to set you right. 
What did you do '? Why, sir, you upset it. I mixed 
another. What did you do, you young imp ? You 
threw it at me, all over my shirt front and waist- 
coat. Did you deserve no whipping then ? ' 

I am unable to discover when, or with whom, my 
father went to Newcastle to see and report on the 
first locomotive of George Stephenson, though his 
description of the first attempts is still vividly 
before my mind. 

My father's examination before a committee of 
the House of Commons is to be found in the Blue- 

In 1823 he took out the patent for his horizontal 
steam engine. He had dared to take the steam 
cylinder out of its vertical position, and put it in a 
horizontal position, and was for this assailed by the 


jokes and gibes of his brother engineers. Brunei 
suggested various ditiiculties, customers dc-cHned 
new-fangled notions. Maudslay, however, ui 1824 or 
1825, erected an engine for pumping water out of the 
Thames Tunnel, of wliich the cylinders were at an 
angle of 45° (the pumps were made by Taylor and 
Martuieau). My father's specifications being for 
horizontal cylinders, the patent was easily infringed 
by keeping a little clear of the horizontal. The 
wording should have been ' for all cylinders not 
vertical ; ' as it was, though Taylor and Martineau 
made a considerable number of these machines, my 
father received no direct benefit from his invention. 
In the year 1824 we left Bromley House for 
Abercarn House (hi South "Wales), the property of 
Sir Benjamin Hall, afterwards Lord Llanover. The 
house stood in a lonely vahey ; oi^posite were the 
wooded chffs of Craig Darren ; the gardens sloped 
down to the rushing waters of the Ebbw. There was 
a village green, one quaint old pubhc-house, a chapel 
in which a Welsh parson preached in his native 
tongue, and I had a Welsh pony called 'Ross,' on 
which I scampered about, and was occasionally 
greeted as a young dog of a Sassenach by the sur- 
, rounding Celts. We were joined here by young 
Alfred Say, son of the Professor of Political Economy, 


Jean Baptiste Say, and destined to be my uncle 
by marriage. We had very kind neighbours in Mr. 
and Mrs. Hanbury Leigh, of Pontypool Park. But 
our stay was not to be long in this peaceful spot ; my 
father had come there in connection Nvith the works 
of the British Iron Company, and he had to move to 
Corngreaves for the same reasons. I forbear to enter 
into any particulars of this company, and its dis- 
astrous influence on my father's affairs ; enough to 
say his character was vindicated by Lord Lynd- 
hurst's decision in 1832. 

In 1827 my father discovered that his own 
business, which he had left thriving, had got into 
difficuhies, and it required all his courage to look 
matters in the face. Amongst other incidents Mr. 
John Martineau, his partner, had hstened to a 
German chemist who professed to convert pig-iron 
at once into steel ; yet the scheme, which then was 
a failure, was an anticipation of that which in 
Bessemer's hands became a splendid success. 

A few months before the catastrophe, Marc 
Seguin, the well-known French engineer who made 
the first railway in France (that from Lyons to 
St. Etienne), came over to England to consult my 
father on the form of the rail to be adopted. In 
the correspondence which ensued on the fish-belly 


rail, Seguin writes of * your parallel rail,' and I 
possess a wooden model of a parallel rail which my 
father always kept, though I am unahle to verify his 
claim to be the originator of this form, now in 
universal use. 

M. Seguin learned through this correspondence 
the position in which my father found himself, and 
he wrote asking him to come at once to France to 
organise a large iron factory to he erected near 
Lyons. At the same time my father's staunch 
friends, Clement Desormes and J. B. Say, urged 
him to come to Paris ; the Duke Decazes, Louis 
XVIII. 's minister, wanted to start iron works in his 
department, the Aveyron, whilst M. Berard wished 
to form a company for the same purpose at Alais 
near Nismes. By the desire of Clement Desormes 
a complete model of the Abersychan works had 
been made and sent to the museum of the Conser- 
vatoire des Arts et Metiers. This model established 
my father's reputation as an iron-maker in France. 

Whilst friends in France pressed him to come 
among them, one of my father's truest friends at 
home, Edgar Taylor, advised him to leave the care 
of his defence in his hands, and in 1828 my parents 
withdrew from the strain and anxieties which beset 
^ them, and began life again in France. 



On my father's arrival in Paris he looked into 
the various offers made him by companies, and 
decided not to accept any of them. He found good 
and remunerative occupation in importing Enghsh 
machinery. He fitted up several large sugar 
refineries and beet-sugar factories, amongst others 
that belonging to the son and grandsons of Santerre 
the Sansculotte. The first ball I ever went to was 
given by M. Santerre at his splendid mansion in 
the Marais, once belongmg to a great French noble. 

He had much to do at Chatillon, formerly the 
property of Marshal Marmont, Duke of Eagusa, 
then the marriage portion given to his daughter by 
Ouvrard, the army contractor and speculator. He 
put up a large beet-sugar manufactory there, and 
many others for people without historical names. 

In 1831 my father took his old pupil and young 
friend Alfred Say into partnership, and another 
person, who proved so unsatisfactory that the firm 
was dissolved. 

In 1829, Neilson and Charles Macintosh's inven- 
tion of the hot blast for iron-making caused a revo- 
lution in Great Britain, and I may say the world. 
Mr. Philip Taylor was interested in the French 
patent, which was taken out in his name, whilst 
that in England was in the name of Macintosh; 

;i ■ I -u it- / . I iji b 


this was in 1830. The French iron-makers were 
slow in recognising the value of this invention. 

A short time after the Revolution of July 1830, 
Mr. Macintosh asked Philip Taylor to take as a 
partner a young Frenchman whose career as an 
officer in the Guards had come to an end by the 
exile of his king. He had, I believe, married a 
connection of Mr. Macintosh. "Whilst Mr. Taylor 
was engaged in plans and arrangements for the ap- 
paratus, the young partner, active, intelligent, and 
agreeable, though not always discreet, travelled all 
over France to rouse the attention of the ironmasters. 
The new process gained ground, and as the patentees 
took a royalty on every ton of iron made, the in- 
vention became lucrative. Some of the smaller 
ironmasters, however, could not see the justice of 
paying for ' warming their wind,' and a squabble 
between the French partner and a customer 
coming to reinforce the discontent, an attack on the 
hot-blast patent was set on foot. The French 
patent law declared that if an invention had been 
made public in print in a foreign land, a patent 
could not be obtained, or at least be valid in France. 
The paragraph which followed escaped the observa- 
tion of the enemy, who sent agents to Scotland in 
search of printed matter. After a minute search 

o 2 


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at Glasgow, they found an obscure working men's 
paper which contained a short notice of an improved 
process for making iron, due to Mr. Neilson. It 
was stated that he used warm air for the blast. 
Back to Franco came the agents with this precious 
document, and legal proceedings were at once begun. 
The cause came before the Tribunal of First 
Instance at Paris in April 1836. The judge, aware 
that the suit would go into appeal, and unwilling to 
go into scientific evidence, declared the patent void 
and unduly obtamed. The cause was then heard 
by the Court of Appeal in Paris in the following 
month of August ; again Taylor et Cie. were beaten, 
the patent was declared abusive, and the decision of 
the lower tribunal was upheld; but the *juge rappor- 
teur,' in framing the decree, put in a phrase of his 
own, stating that the court found the invention of 
too great national importance to be left in the hands 
of an individual, and that individual a foreigner. 
The patentees now submitted their case to the High 
Court of Cassation. That supreme French court of 
justice quashed the previous judgments, first because 
the Court of Appeal had no mission to decide on the 
merits of an invention, but merely to decide if the 
law on patents had been complied with ; and secondly, 
because the proof proffered in the shape of the 

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Glasgow paper was not sufficient, the law in one of 
its clauses stating that the mention of an invention 
must be worded so as to enable any one to be able 
to put it into use. The simple enunciation of a new 
theory was not sufficient, details as to the applica- 
tion must follow ; and the Court of Cassation sent 
the case to be tried before the Court of Appeal of 
Amiens. On May 18, 1839, that court gave judg- 
ment in favour of Taylor et Cie. 

But by this time the patent was within a few 
months of ex^Diring, whilst the long years of litiga- 
tion had enabled ironmasters to use the process 
free of royalty, only a few high-minded men send- 
ing in statements and paying what was due ; even 
those sums in the management of the young 
guardsman seem to have been lost. 

I must not omit to state that in 1834 my father 
received the large gold medal for his apparatus, 
which was m the great exhibition of that year. 

At the request of MM. Arago and J. B. Say, 
Philip Taylor prepared a scheme for the supply of 
water to Paris ; few cities stood in greater need, as 
those who remember the Auvergnat water-carriers 
in the streets and staircases of Paris will admit. 

The project was to bring the waters of the 
Marne, a tributary of the Seme, by a tunnel under. 



the centre of the hill of Ivry, which stands on the 
left bank of the Seine high above the city, then to 
sink shafts, and raise it to the top of the hill by 
means of Cornish pumping-engines. This plan was 
simple and easy of execution, and the Marne could 
furnish a large body of water, though, as the name 
implies, not quite clear. To remedy this, large 
filtering beds were to be formed on the crest of the 
hill. These projected filters were on a new system ; 
they were to be low arches of rubble stone, covered 
over with layers of coarse gravel and fine sand : 
the water introduced underneath would have risen 
through the gravel like natural springs. 

One remarkable point was the facility of cleans- 
ing the filters by reversing the operation. The 
complete plans, after much trouble spent in pre- 
paring them, were submitted to the Council of the 
city of Paris ]by the two members Arago and J. B. 
Say ; but the Government corps of engineers had a 
voice in the matter, and they objected to the scheme 
of an outsider and a foreigner. 

His Majesty Louis Philippe, having heard of the 
proposal, expressed a wish to see the plans, and my 
father was received at an audience in the palace of 
the Tuileries. In the course of conversation the 
King showed my father the price at which wine for 


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the royal navy was supplied, calculated the cost 
of water to the poorer classes in Paris, and pointed 
out that wine was cheaper than water. His Majesty 
appeared to approve highly of Mr. Taylor's views, 
and went on to converse on other topics — the difiQ- 
culty of making the Palace comfortable, above all 
of introducing modern sanitary arrangements (my 
great-uncle Borett should have been present). 

The King spoke of the lamented Mr. Huskisson 
and the great esteem he felt for him, adding, ,' When 
he was last in Paris he came to see me at Neuilly, 
and I asked him if he thought that the French 
nation had improved. "Well, yes," replied Mr. 
Huskisson, "yes. You don't wear such shocking 
bad hats as you did." ' 

Altogether a gratifying interview with Royalty ; 
but it was all the reward my father had for weeks 
of labour and boxes full of drawings and plans. 

Another topic of interest to Mr. Philip Taylor 
was the projected Canal des Pyrenees, to unite 
Bayonne with Toulouse and the Mediterranean; 
but the new railway system put canals out of 
favour — a mistake, as in England, with much heavy 
traffic, people are finding out. 

In 1833 my mother's health gave some cause 
for anxiety, a warmer climate than that of Paris 

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was recommended, and my parents determined to 
move southwards. For many years my father's 
attention had been directed to the future of the 
^lediterranean Sea as the promised waters of 
steam navigation, and towards, if not to, Marseilles 
be directed his steps. Of course timid persons 
tried to deter him ; but, as if to ensure decision, the 
owners of large corn-mills at Marseilles for whom 
he had erected two powerful steam-engines offered 
him the management of the concern and a share in 
the profits. In those days Marseilles had the 
privilege of grinding wheat in bond for exportation, 
and the offer made my father sounded very advan- 
tageous. Shortly before accepting the offer, he 
had been in Italy studying both in Piedmont 
and Lombardy silk-spinning and winding (an 
industry to which his correspondence with Sir S. 
Bentham when he was at Bromley refers), and 
making friends with whom he could easily negotiate 
from Marseilles. 

In 1833, therefore, my father joined MM. 
Marliani and Labbey at Marseilles, and for the 
first year the corn-mills ground merrily ; then the 
landed proprietors found out that grinding foreign 
wheat in bond and exporting the flour was the de- 
struction of wheat-growing in France, and agitated 

: ' *. 


against the mills. The deputies did not understand 
the question, but they did understand that their 
elections depended on destroying the bonding 
system. The Ministers tried to resist the pressure 
put on them, in vain ; such stringent measures were 
carried that the manufacture of flour had to be 
abandoned, with the result that the United States 
took it up. 

And so once again Mr. Philip Taylor experienced 
the vicissitudes caused by Government interference, 
and possibly the difficulty of partnership ; but he 
was not discouraged, and reverting to his real 
vocation, mechanical engineering, he determined to 
test the question of making Marseilles the starting- 
place of steam navigation. His two eldest sons 
were now of an age to help him, a piece of land was 
purchased, and in the last month of the year 1836, 
Philip Taylor, with his sons Philip Meadows and 
Robert, laid the first stone of the works which 
became the important and extensive Compagnie des 
Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranee. In 1845 
the large shipbuilding establishment of La Seyne 
opposite Toulon was opened. 

Five men sufficed for the business when first 
started, now it gave employment to more than two 
thousand, and the Government was so well aware of 


the benefit to Marseilles and to France of my father's 
efforts that in 1846 he was made a Knight of the 
I^egion of Honour. 

It was in this year that my father, influenced by 
the wishes of M. de Cavour and M. d'Azeglio, went 
to Genoa, leaving the management of the works at 
Marseilles to his sons, where he planned and erected 
a splendid engineermg establishment at San Pier 
d'Arena. Then came the storms of 1848, the battle 
of Novara was fought and lost, the Piedmontese 
treasury was empty, and the subsidies promised by 
the unfortunate King Carlo Alberto were not forth- 
coming. I shall not now enter into the complications 
and troubles, some of them political, which ensued ; 
enough to say that in 1850 Mr. Philip Taylor 
returned to his peaceful home at St. Marguerite 
near Marseilles, receiving before he left Genoa, at 
the hands of General La Marmora, the cross of 
St. Maurice and St. Lazarus, which King Victor 
Emmanuel conferred on him. 

But now came a blow of quite a different kind, 
and one under which my father's heart indeed sank. 
In the short space of two years four of his much- 
loved children were taken from him by sudden 
deaths, three sons and one daughter. ... My 
brother Robert, his father's pride, my other self. 

'■ <'L <[ ' M.flJ 


only so far above me, died at Pau, of consumption. 
Even now, when thirty years have elapsed, I cannot 
bear to dwell on the sorrow that his death caused. 

The weight of responsibility was now all on my 
shoulders. With my father's consent I went to Paris ; 
and, by the help of the Say family, a company was 
formed to take over the concern, and so ensure ease 
and comfort to ray father. 

Here I will break off, as my own life had become 
so mingled with that of my father and his under- 
taking that I must be more conspicuous, and give 
some account of the education and the training 
which was to fit me for my career. 


sroTriftWonUE and co., new-btiskit sqi'aus 


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