TAYLOR, Philip Meadows. Liverpool 25.9.1808 — Menton, Southern France 13.5.1876. British Administrator and Author in India. Colonel. Son of a merchant, the elder Ph.M.T., and Jane Mitford. The business was not successful, the family moved pften and he went to school in Dublin. He came to India in the age of 15 in 1824 as a clerk to a Bombay merchant, but soon (still 1824) took the service under the Nizam, first military, but soon in a civil position. After a furlough in England in 1838-40 he was also the correspondent of The Times, 1840-53. From 1841-53 administered the small principality of Shorapur for the Nizam during the long minority of the local raja. Then until 1857 accepted by the British government as Deputy Commissioner of Western Ceded Districts, then again in Shorapur. Colonel. Retired in 1860 (now C.S.I.) and returned to the U.K. Lived 15 years in Dublin. Died on way back from a short visit to India. Married 1832 Mary Palmer (Eurasian, d. 1844), children.
Taylor was fluent in local languages and much interested in law, geology and antiquities, also in pre-historic archaeology (megaliths). Finkelstein emphasizes his liberal views and understanding on Indian people.
Publications: Historical novels: Confessions of a Thug. 1-3. London 1839, Ed. with introd. and glossary by C. W. Stewart. Oxford 1916; Tippoo Sultaun: The Tale of the Mysore War. 1849; Tara: A Maratha Tale. 1-3. Edinburgh & L. 1863; Ralph Darnell. 1-3. Edinburgh 1865; Seeta. L. 1872; A Noble Queen: A Romance of Indian History. L. 1878.
– “Ancient Remains at the Village of Jiwarji near Ferozabad on the Bhima”, JBRAS 3, 1851, 179-196; “Notices of Cromlechs, Cairns and Other Ancient Scytho-Druidical Remains in the Principality of Sorapur”, JBRAS 4, 1853, 380-429; on prehistory also in Transactions of R. Irish Academy; these were reprinted as The Megalithic Tombs and other Ancient Remains in the Deccan. 120 p. Hyderabad 1941.
– With J. Ferguson, photographs by W. H. Pigou, A. C. B. Neill & Th. Biggs: Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore. 9+12+76 p. 93 pl. L. 1866.
– A Students’ Manual of the History of India. 20+884 p. L. 1870, 2nd ed. 1871, again 1906.
– The Story of My Life. Edited by his daughter. L. 1877, new ed. 1920, again 1989 (with introduction by D. Walder).
Sources: Buckland, Dictionaey; D. Finkelstein, A Study of the Works of Ph.M.T. 370 p. Diss. Edinburgh 1990 (online, with full bibliography); *D. Finkelstein in victorianfictionresearchguides.org; R.G[arnett), D.N.B. 55, 1898, 452f. (*rev. by D. Washbrook in Oxford D.N.B.); JRAS Proc. 1876, vif.; Wikipedia with photo.
P. Cadell (ed.), Letters of Philip Meadows Taylor to Henry Reeve. L. 1947.
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