TAYLOR, William. Madras 1800? — Madras 1878/79. Rev. British Missionary and Indologist in India. He went to India in the service of E.I.C., but soon resigned, studied theology and returned to India in the service of London Missionary Society in 1824. Ordained priest 1839. In 1937-45 in Vepery, then left the society, but continued in ecclesiastic offices (1854-67 in Vallaveram). From 1867 in half-retirement in Madras.
In 1834 Taylor was nominated by government to examine the Mackenzie manuscripts in Madras. While his catalogue, including works in Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil, Kannaḍa, Malayālam and Oṛiyā, is important, his scholarship is rather questionable.His openly racist opinions (quoted by Zysk 256) of the supposed missing intellectual capasities and excessive emotionality and sensuality of Indian are rare even in the 19th century Indological publications. According to Trautman (2009), he “produced voluminous catalogues and translations that indulged pseudo-scholarship and produced little historical, cultural, or textual understanding”.
Publications: “Examination and analysis of the Mackenzie Manuscripts deposited in the Madras College Library”, JASB 7:1, 105-131, 173-192, 317-414 & 469-521 (also as book, 144 p. Calcutta 1838); reports of progress made in the examination of the Mackenzie Mss., MJLS 7, 1838, 277-378; 8, 1838, 1-86; 9, 1839, 1-52; 10, 1839, 1-42; 13, 1844-45, 57-115.
– Oriental Historical Manuscripts in the Tamil Language, translated and annotated. 1-2. 600 p. Madras 1835 (cf. MJLS 4, 1836, 146-151).
– With Vencatachala Moodelly prepared the rev. ed. of Rottler’s Tamil Dictionary, Madras 1834-41.
– Memoir of the First Centenary of the Earliest Protestant Mission at Madras. 370 p. Madras 1847.
– On the supposed early Celtic or Scythian vestiges, remaining in various parts of the Carnatic”, MJLS 14, 1847, 78-97.
– On the Elliot Marbles: Being a Report by the Reverend W.T. 94 p. Madras 1856 (on Amarāvatī).
– Catalogue raisonné of Oriental Manuscripts in the Library of the College Fort Saint George, now in charge of the Board of Examiners. 1-3. Madras 1857-62.
Sources: Briefly in JRAS Proc. 1879, xviif.; K. G. Zysk, “The use of manuscript catalogues as sources of regional intellectual history in India’s early modern period”, S. Rath (ed.), Aspects of Manuscript Culture in South India. Leiden 2012, 253–287; http://spuddybike.org.uk/familyhistory/madras/priests/detail/priest_3068.html.
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