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Philip Meadows Taylor

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Taylor, Philip Meadows I Mr. Meadows Taylor l, 1808–1876, officer and administrator in India, novelist. Born in Liverpool. Received a few years' schooling – "no education so to speak" (Story of My Life, chap. xviii]. In 1824 sent to Bombay [Mumbai] to enter employ of mercantile house. In same year obtained service with Nizam of Hyderabad; as military officer and civil administrator, remained in service of Nizams for more than thirty years. Administered state of Shorapur during Rajah's minority; had charge of certain ceded districts of the Deccan; kept peace in North Berar during the "Mutiny"; thereafter administrator of Shorapur and Raichur district. Was trusted and loved by native inhabitants of India. C.S.I. 1869. Wrote for Indian periodicals; was The Times correspondent in India, 1841–53; sent occasional contributions to Athenaeum. After his retirement, contributed articles to Edin. Rev. and a novel to Indian Mail. As author of Confessions of a Thug, 1839, and five historical novels, stands as first important English novelist of Indian life. Wrote also letterpress for various volumes of sketches and photographs of Indian scenes, temples, etc.; a history of India, 1870; The Story of My Life, published posthumously.


      Weld Taylor, who lithographed a portrait of Dickens; recorded: "Mr. Dickens one day was pleased to desire me to say to my brother ... that he had read his work, Confessions of a Thug, with great interest, at which my brother was very much gratified. My brother was then in India, but, I think, afterwards made Mr. Dickens's acquaintance" (Kitten, Charles Dickens by Pen and Pencil, suppl., p. 6). In his autobiography, Taylor does not mention Dickens; Edgar Johnson (Charles Dickens, II, 112.1) states that the two writers were acquainted.
      Dickens wrote to Taylor, May I, 1850, thanking him for his "obliging note" and stating that he would be happy to retain his H.W. contribution, for which payment would be made on the usual terms, by post. Dickens's letter was sent, presumably, to the address recorded for Taylor in the Office Book – "Harold X Dublin," i.e., Old Court, Harold's Cross, the Taylor family home. According to his autobiography, Taylor was not in Dublin in 1850, but in Shorapur. Taylor had titled his contribution "The Mischief Maker"; in its H.W. publication it appeared as "The Great Cat and Dog Question" [I, 172–75. May 18, 1850].
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           D.N.B.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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