William Cooke Taylor

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Taylor, William Cooke, LL.D., a voluminous writer, was born at Youghal, 16th April 1800. When little more than sixteen he entered Trinity College, Dublin, where he obtained many prizes, graduating B.A. in 1825, and LL.D. in 1835. His first work was a classical geography for the use of Youghal school. His connexion with literature in London commenced in 1828, when he contributed to Pinnock's series a Catechism of the Christian Religion. Thenceforward a constant succession of works, chiefly historical and biographical, flowed from his pen. In Allibone's list they number twenty-six, the last being Memoirs of the House of Orleans, 3 vols., 1849. He was a strenuous advocate for the repeal of the Corn Laws and of the introduction of the system of National Education in Ireland. In politics he was a Whig, "without bitterness or asperity." He was employed by Government in the preparation of several important reports, and was enrolled in Lord Clarendon's Irish administration as Statistician, in which capacity his services were of infinite value.

He edited the Evening Post, the Government organ in Ireland. He died of cholera in Dublin, 12th September 1849, aged 49, leaving a widow and family, for whose benefit a public subscription was made. The Gentleman's Magazine, in noticing his death, says: "In the fields of miscellaneous literature, he was, for constancy of application, fertility of thought, and variety of subject, quite unrivalled. He did not affect to climb the heights of science, or penetrate the depths of a profound philosophy. Neither his habits nor his inclinations would have led him to any secluded or exclusive application of his powers, even if the exigencies of his position did not require of him a compliance with the demands of the publisher in the line, whatever it was, to interest 'the reading public' He was literally a writer for his daily bread; and the calls upon him, multiplied and various as they were, never found him unprepared... His style was equable and unpretending; always clearly expressive of the thought which it conveyed... On proper occasions he could be touching and pathetic in a very high degree."

Sources

16. Authors, Dictionary of British and American: S. Austin Allibone. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1859-'71.

146. Gentleman's Magazine. London, 1731-1868.
Gilbert, John T., see Nos. 110, 335.

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