Taylor, John (1781-1864) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 55
Taylor, John (1781-1864)

by William Albert Samuel Hewins
1904 Errata appended.
Contains subarticle James Taylor (1788–1863)

TAYLOR, JOHN (1781–1864), publisher, was born at East Retford, Nottinghamshire, on 31 July 1781. Moving to London about 1806, he became a partner in the publishing firm, Taylor & Hessey, of 93 Fleet Street, subsequently Taylor & Walton, publishers to the university of London. In 1813 he published ‘A Discovery of the Author of the Letters of Junius,’ 8vo, afterwards expanded into ‘The Identity of Junius with a distinguished living character [Sir Philip Francis] established,’ 1816, 8vo (2nd ed. corrected and enlarged, London, 1818, 8vo), and ‘A Supplement to Junius Identified,’ 1817, 8vo. The authorship of the work was attributed by Lord Campbell (Lives of the Chancellors) and others to Edward Dubois [q. v.], but Taylor declared that he ‘never received the slightest assistance from Dubois or any other person either in collecting or arranging the evidence, or in the composition and correction of the work.’ Taylor was thus the first publicly to identify Junius with Francis. His conclusion, which was widely although not universally accepted, was expounded in fuller detail by Messrs. Parkes and Merivale in 1867 [see art. Francis, Sir Philip; cf. Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 27781, pp. 7, 14, 23, 71, 75, 173 (letters to George Woodfall on the Junius question)].

When Taylor & Hessey became proprietors of the ‘London Magazine’ in 1821, Taylor acted as editor until the end of 1824, engaging Thomas Hood the elder as sub-editor. Taylor & Hessey removed from Fleet Street to Waterloo Place, where they used to entertain their contributors, and Charles Lamb, Coleridge, Keats, and Talfourd were among Taylor's literary friends. Opposed to Sir Robert Peel's currency measures, he published several books and pamphlets on that subject, and his house in Gower Street is said to have been a rallying point of currency reformers. He died at 7 Leonard Place, Kensington, on 5 July 1864, and was buried at Gamston, near Retford.

In addition to the works mentioned, Taylor published:

  1. ‘The Restoration of National Prosperity shewn to be immediately practicable,’ London, 1821, 8vo.
  2. ‘An Essay on Money, its Origin and Use,’ 1830, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1833, 8vo; 3rd ed. London, 1844, 8vo.
  3. ‘An Essay on the Standard and Measure of Value,’ 2nd ed. revised and corrected, 1832, 8vo.
  4. ‘Currency Fallacies refuted and Paper Money vindicated,’ London, 1833, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1844, 8vo.
  5. ‘A Catechism of the Currency,’ London, 1835, 8vo.
  6. ‘A Catechism of Foreign Exchanges,’ London, 1835, 8vo; 5 and 6 were republished with the title ‘Catechisms of the Currency and Exchanges. A new edition enlarged, to which is prefixed The Case of the Industrious Classes briefly stated,’ London, 1836, 16mo.
  7. ‘Who Pays the Taxes?’ 1841, 8vo.
  8. ‘The Monetary Policy of England and America,’ 1843, 8vo.
  9. ‘The Minister Mistaken; or the Question of Depreciation erroneously stated by Mr. Huskisson,’ 1843, 8vo.
  10. ‘The Emphatic New Testament, with an introductory Essay on Greek Emphasis,’ 1852, &c., 8vo.
  11. ‘The Great Pyramid: Why was it built?’ London, 1859, 8vo.
  12. ‘The Battle of the Standards,’ London, 1864, 12mo.
  13. ‘Light shed on Scripture Truth by a more uniform Translation,’ London, 1864, 12mo, and articles on antiquarian subjects in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ and ‘Macmillan's Magazine.’

James Taylor (1788–1863), John Taylor's brother, born at East Retford in 1788, removed in 1801 to Bakewell, where he resided for the rest of his life. Engaging in the business of banker, he was led by the bullion report of 1810 to the systematic study of monetary problems. He opposed the act for the resumption of cash payments in 1817 on the ground that it abolished silver as a legal tender above forty shillings, and throughout his life agitated for a restoration of a bimetallic system. In 1826, in a pamphlet entitled ‘No Trust, No Trade,’ he defended the bankers from the charges made against them during the financial crisis of 1825. He died at Bakewell on 27 Aug. 1863. He published:

  1. ‘A Review of the Money System of England from the Conquest …,’ 1828, 8vo.
  2. ‘A Letter to … the Duke of Wellington on the Currency,’ 1830, 8vo.
  3. ‘The Art of False Reasoning exemplified in some Extracts from the Report of Sir R. Peel's Speech … of July 7, 1849,’ 1850, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1857, 8vo.
  4. ‘Armageddon: or Thoughts on Popery, Protestantism, and Puseyism,’ 1851, 8vo.
  5. ‘Political Economy illustrated by Sacred History,’ 1852, 8vo.
  6. ‘What is Truth? or Remarks on the Power in the Human Soul of discerning Truth and detecting Error,’ 1857, 8vo (Works in Brit. Mus. Library; Bankers' Magazine, October 1863, xxiii. 750–4; Times, 29 Aug. 1863).

[Gent. Mag. 1864, ii. 393, 652–4; Memorials of Thomas Hood, i. 5; Canon Ainger's Life, Letters, and Writings of Charles Lamb, passim; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. ii. 103, 258, 5th ser. ii. 438, 7th ser. xii. 409.]

W. A. S. H.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.262
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
447 i 8 Taylor, John (1781-1864): for Parker read Parkes