Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Taylor, Thomas Edward

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658526Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 55 — Taylor, Thomas Edward1898Gerald le Grys Norgate

TAYLOR, THOMAS EDWARD (1811–1883), politician, of Ardgillan Castle, Dublin, born in March 1811, was the eldest son of the Rev. Edward Taylor, fourth son of Thomas Taylor, first earl of Bective. His mother was Marianne, daughter of the Hon. Richard St. Leger. Thomas Edward was educated at Eton, and in 1829 obtained a commission in the 6th dragoon guards. He attained the rank of captain on 2 Nov. 1838, and retired in 1846. From 1847 to 1874 he was lieutenant-colonel of the royal Meath militia, and afterwards filled the post of honorary colonel. In 1841 he was elected as a conservative to represent Dublin county, and continued to sit for the constituency till his death. He acted as whip of the opposition during the Palmerston administration of 1855–8, and Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff states that he was instrumental in bringing about the downfall of the government in February 1858. He had brought up the tories to support Palmerston against Sir Thomas Milner Gibson's vote of censure, but at the last moment, by the direction of Lord Derby, he instructed them to vote against the government (Grant Duff, Notes from a Diary, 1851–72, i. 99). In 1858–9 he was a lord of the treasury in the second Derby administration, and when the conservatives returned to office in 1866 was appointed patronage secretary. On 7 Nov. 1868 he became chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster and was sworn of the privy council. His services as whip during the reform debates of 1867–8 were so considerable that Disraeli was wont to say that Taylor was the real author of household suffrage. He acted as whip for seventeen years in all, during which he exhibited in a high degree the requisite combination of energy and conciliation. When Disraeli became premier in March 1874 Taylor was again appointed to the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster, though many thought that his services should have been recompensed by a more responsible office. On this occasion his re-election for Dublin county was opposed by Charles Stewart Parnell, whom he defeated by a considerable majority. He seldom spoke, but his advice was greatly valued by the conservative leaders; and he was popular with all parties in Ireland.

Taylor died at his sister's house in Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin, on 3 Feb. 1883, and was buried in the family vault at Balbriggan.

On 11 Nov. 1862 he married Louisa, second daughter of Hugh Francis Tollemache, rector of Harrington, and granddaughter of Louisa Tollemache, countess of Dysart. By her he had three sons and two daughters.

[Times, Freeman's Journal, and Irish Times, 5 Feb. 1883; Ann. Reg. 1883, ii. 124, 125; Army Lists; Burke's Landed Gentry.]

G. Le G. N.