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and soon afterwards, worn out in the service of his country, he retired from the navy and established himself at Denbury, in Devonshire. His family consisted of two sons : Thomas, who lost his life in the foundering of a frigate in the Gulf of Lyons; and Joseph, the younger of the two, who married the daughter and heiress of a Mr. Whitrow, of Dartmouth, became a member of Parliament, and on his father's death succeeded him at Denbury.
Not more than a mile from Denbury stands West Ogwell House. It is a large, square, comfortable-looking place, surrounded by trees, and snugly situated in a narrow valley, along which runs the river Og. History relates that the labourers who built it in the first instance were prisoners from the Spanish Armada, and that two centuries or more later, when part of the old house was pulled down to make room for modern improvements, the work was done by French prisoners of war from Dartmoor gaol.
West Ogwell was one of the many estates owned by the Reynell family, all of which have passed with heiresses into other hands. When Joseph Taylor established himself at Denbury, Richard Reynell, the last of the elder branch of the family, and M.P. for many years for Ashburton, was living at Ogwell
. He had several daughters, with whom, it appears, he did not agree; but he had no son, and when he died, in 1735, he left his estates to his niece, the wife of the younger Joseph Taylor ; and thus it happened that the Reynell and the Taylor properties became united.
I must leave Denbury and Ogwell for the present, and, passing over three generations, come at once to the greatgrandson of Joseph and Rebecca Taylor-the father of the man whose life forms the subject of this volume. His name will be often mentioned in these pages, and it is well, therefore, we should see what manner of man he was.
Thomas William Taylor, after completing his education at Eton and St. John's, Cambridge, entered the army, in 1804, as cornet in the 6th Dragoon Guards. He was then twenty-two years of age, and, after serving with Sir James Craig in the Mediterranean, was, in 1807, promoted to a captaincy in the 24th Light Dragoons. With this regiment he remained but a short time, for in the following year he was appointed military secretary to Lord Minto, Governor-General of India.
In India, Taylor became acquainted with Ann Harvey Petrie, a member of an old Perthshire family, who was then staying with her uncle, William Petrie, acting Governor of Madras. Her father had seen something of the vicissitudes of fortune, and from having been a rich man had become a very poor one. He began life in the army in India, and made money there. On his return home he purchased Gatton, in Surrey, and that being a close borough, returned himself to Parliament. One curious fact about his life was this, that, being possessed of land in the island of Tobago, he sat as deputy for it in the French Assembly, and thus was a member of the English and French parliaments at one and the same time. But these days of prosperity did not last long. John Petrie, through heavy losses, became a poor man, and, in 1803, retired with his family to France. Here he had the ill-fortune to fall into Buonaparte's hands, and though he was allowed to leave Paris on parole, he was not permitted to quit the country. His affairs in England meanwhile went from bad to worse, and being now unable
to look after thein himself, he determined to send his wife and daughters over to see what could be done. After many adventures they reached England, to find matters as bad as they could be: the mother accordingly returned to France, and the daughters, accepting an invitation from their uncle in Madras, sailed forthwith for India. They had not been long in India when Lord Minto happened to pass through Madras in company with his staff. The Governor-General had been interested in the Miss Petries by a friend, so they very soon received an invitation to Calcutta. The rest is easily told : Taylor fell in love with the second of the three sisters, and on January 14, 1810, Ann Harvey Petrie became his wife.
In 1811 Taylor accompanied Lord Minto to Java, where he evidently gained golden opinions, for in a letter now lying before me Lord Minto writes :— Taylor has distinguished himself by courage, activity and intelligence. He was Gillespie's right arm, and Gillespie himself the hero of the war. Taylor has miraculously escaped a thousand deaths that he deserved, and has suffered only in flesh.'
At the close of the Java expedition Taylor returned to India, and in 1812, when Lord Minto was superseded in the government, his Staff appointment came to an end. He now turned his face homewards in company with his wife and two sons' who had been born to him at Calcutta, and soon after his arrival in England he was appointed Major in the 10th Hussars.
· Pierce Gilbert Edward, afterwards for thirty-six years in the East India Company's service ; and Arthur Joseph, who entered Woolwich at fourteen, fought in the Crimea, became Inspector of Artillery in Canada, Commandant of Shoeburyness, and afterwards Inspector-General of Artillery in England. Died December 23, 1873.
In 1815 came the closing scene of Europe's great struggle with France, and with the roth Hussars Taylor saw service under Wellington at Waterloo. He detained in France for some time with the Army of Occupation, and the same year he became a Lieutenant-Colonel, after only eleven years' service. On his return home he led the unsettled life which is the lot of every soldier, going from one garrison to another in England, Scotland, and Ireland. His family continued to increase, and as I shall have to refer to Reynell Taylor's brothers and sisters in the course of my narrative I give their names below.
And what kind of a father was Thomas William Taylor ? His children were all devoted to him, and one 2 of these writes :—He was no ordinary father. His appearance I can only describe as that of a handsome man with a particularly benevolent expression.
He was a humble, sincere, and manly Christian, with an endless fund of genial humour and a poetic mind. He went to Eton and Cambridge before entering the army, and retained his classical knowledge in a wonderful manner, as you may suppose when I tell you that he educated my two elder brothers till one went to Eton and the other to Woolwich, and my brother Reynell and myself till I went to Oxford
| After the two sons I have already mentioned came :--Ann Frances, who married Sir Walter Carew, Bart., of Haccombe, and died in 1861 ; Fitzwilliam John, now Rector of East and West Ogwell and Haccombe ; Harriet Maria, who married William Blundell Fortescue, of Fallapit, Devon ; Reynell George ; Georgina Jane, who married Robert, Lord Willoughby de Broke;
Amelia Mary, who married Colonel William Morris, of Fishleigh, North Devon, and late of the 17th Lancers; and Eliza Charlotte, who married Colonel Robert Portal, of Ashe Park, in the county of Hants.
· The Rev. Fitzwilliam Taylor.
and he to India; and when you consider that this was done chiefly while he was a Major and Lieutenant-Colonel in the 10th Hussars and Commandant of the Riding Establishment at St. John's Wood, you will agree that he was no ordinary man or father. With all this he was, when in India, an energetic pigsticker and tiger-shooter, a good horseman, and a sportsman in every way. When he was appointed to Sandhurst I believe no LieutenantGovernor was ever more respected or more beloved by the youths under him.'
Such, then, was Thomas William Taylor. It is time I turned to his youngest son.
REYNELL GEORGE TAYLOR was born at Brighton on January 25, 1822. When he was four years old his father was appointed Commandant of the Riding Establishment at St. John's Wood, and for the next six years the family made their home in Grove End Road. He was never sent to school, and consequently his early days lack any reminiscences of school life. In after years he was inclined to think that he laboured under a disadvantage in never having had any training at a public school, but that he fell short of other men in manliness, or in any of those qualities which school life gives, those who knew Reynell Taylor best entirely deny. School life, apart altogether from knowledge acquired, no doubt brings out the best qualities in a boy, and often makes the man visible in the child ; and it is frequently the case that the leader of boys comes to be the leader of men. But the world affords many an instance that the converse is equally true, and we can look back and recall figures who were leaders in school