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MORE than a year ago I was asked to write your Father's life. The work is now finished, and, before long, will be placed in your hands. Nobody could be better aware of its many shortcomings than I am, and though I have striven to make the picture a true one, I feel it would be well-nigh impossible for a stranger to do justice to your father's memory.
*If you are able,' writes one of his most distinguished friends,'to publish only a true picture of what Reynell Taylor's character really was, many, if not most, of your readers, except those who were personally acquainted with him, will probably wonder, and, I think, be justified in wondering, whether such perfection in mortal ever existed. But those who knew him well will tell you that it would be impossible to speak too highly of him. He feared God, but nothing on earth. Not only in battle, and in any bodily exposure, was he a hero, absolutely fearless, but in every daily occupation of life; and whether in public or private work, his character always appeared to me to stand out as a thing apart from the generality of men.'
TO REYNELL TAYLOR'S CHILDREN
Nobody,' says Johnson, can write the life of a man but those who have ate and drank, and lived in social intercourse with him.'
How, then, was I, as a stranger who never knew your father, and who only saw him once, to write his life? Only by obtaining the assistance of his many friends. His literary remains were lamentably scanty, and there were only diaries for two years, viz. from May 1847 to April 1849, and consequently my only chance was to write to all those whom I thought most likely to give help. This I have endeą. voured to do, and I would ask you, therefore, as you read the story of your father's life, most of which I am aware will be new to you, to remember, that it is to your father's friends that the following pages are indebted for the interest they possess, and not to me, who even now, when my work is finished, remain, through physical infirmity, a stranger to you.
I am unable to give the names of all with whom I have corresponded, for they are many ; but while I thank them collectively for the help they have given me, there are some among them whom I feel bound to mention individually,
To Lady Willoughby de Broke and Mrs. Fortescue I am particularly indebted, and to Colonel A. H. Bamfield, who has been ever ready to assist me in any way he could, I have to return my warmest thanks; but there is one who needs special mention-one of whom your father was wont to speak as his 'dear and valued friend. A constant companion and fellow-worker in the same field, General
Holled Coxe put together, soon after your father died, some Notes' or Memoranda,' as he calls them, of his life.
On hearing that I had undertaken the work, General Coxe at once placed what he had written unreservedly at my disposal. Out of love for the memory of your father he had worked up the reminiscences of the years they spent together; and out of love, and wishing only that his friend's work in the world should be recorded, he handed over to me the result of his labours. I thank him sincerely, and I ask him to forgive this public recognition of the assistance he has rendered me. I can only hope that the following pages, full of blots as they are, may yet recall to him, as well as to others, the events of years long gone by, and that, in reading the story of his friend's life, it may be some satisfaction to him to feel that he aided materially in placing that story before the world.
But as regards yourselves. It was your father's wish that you
should know something of the many stirring incidents of his life. He felt that you knew little about them, but his natural modesty and extreme reticence, where his own actions were concerned, caused him to maintain a strict silence regarding them; and thus he never talked, much less wrote, about his own experiences, though he was often pressed to do so. I trust that the following pages may, at least, put you in possession of the leading facts; that they might do so has been the aim I have had before me throughout the past happy months of hard work
TO REYNELL TAYLOR'S CHILDREN
In tracing the course of your father's life from childhood to youth and manhood, through battles, toilings, joys, and sorrows, and through all those uncertainties and vicissitudes which go to make up the lives of all of us, I have hoped that the story might be a pleasure to you, and that it might show you something of the man your father really was. That it can be altogether without a tinge of sorrow, even to the youngest among you, I can hardly expect; but that the book, as years go on, may prove a comfort to you, is my most earnest wish.
In writing to you as Reynell Taylor's children, I must not omit to mention one who was your father's constant companion, both abroad and at home, during thirty-two years of his life.
I mean your mother. I thank her for the assistance she has rendered me. I have endeavoured to write her husband's life truly, without exaggeration, and, though a stranger, with the loving care of a personal friend ; and while I can well believe that in looking back the following pages may seem to have more sorrow than joy in them, perhaps the sorrow may not be without the gleam of a bright hope, and there may be a ray of peaceful satisfaction in the thought that 'the ways of a good man are ordered by the Lord,' and that the works of such live after
E. G. P.
HIGHNAM, GLOUCESTER : 1888.
As regards the spelling of Indian names, the orthography adopted has been that used by Reynell Taylor.