TAYLOR, Clement (c.1745-1804), of Tovil Place, Maidstone, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. c.1745, 2nd s. of Clement Taylor, papermaker, of Basted, Wrotham by Sarah (d.1796, aged 76), da. of William Quelch, papermaker, of Dartford. unm.
Taylor, a leading local papermaker, retained his seat on the independent interest at Maidstone, at the top of the poll, in 1790. A member of the Whig Club since 26 June 1784, he remained in silent political opposition to Pitt. His attendance was not regular: he was absent or paired with opposition on the Oczakov question, 12 Apr. 1791, in which month he was listed favourable to repeal of the Test Act in Scotland, and next emerged on 18 Feb. 1793 as an opponent of war with France. Fox enlisted his support against the war. On 8 Mar. 1793 he was ordered into custody as a defaulter, but he voted for parliamentary reform, 7 May. He also voted critically of the conduct of the war, 18 Feb., 17 Mar. and 10 Apr. 1794, and in favour of a peace bid, 30 Dec. 1794 and 26 Jan. 1795. He supported Fox’s amendment to the address, 29 Oct. 1795, and on 25 Nov. opposed the seditious meetings bill. When the radical John Gale Jones visited him at his paper factory in February 1796, he found him to be ‘a worthy and sensible man, and a strenuous friend to reform. He intimated that administration threatened to put him to considerable trouble and expense at the next election.’ He declined a contest in 1796.
Taylor’s later years were beset by business difficulties. A patent for a bleaching agent granted to him and his brother George in 1792 had been resented in the trade, particularly in Scotland where the process was already in use. The patent was not voided, but does not seem to have much benefited the Taylors. In 1793 Taylor entered a partnership to manufacture paper in Ireland, but brought bankruptcy on himself in 1797, when his five-vat mill at Tovil was offered for sale. He died in Dublin in April 1804, presumably during an attempt to salvage his business interests. Fox replied sympathetically on 9 Apr. to a letter from the ailing Taylor for some unspecified favour. Perhaps he did not live to receive it.
D. C. Coleman, British Paper Industry, 156; T. Balston, J. Whatman, Father and Son, 129; A. H. Shorter, Paper Mills and Paper Makers in England 1495-1800, pp. 62, 191; J. Gale Jones, Sketch of a Pol. Tour (1796), 80; Gent. Mag. (1804), ii. 977 (cf. Gent. Mag. (1813), i. 288 for the obituary of his kinsman Clement Taylor, erroneously described as MP); Add. 47569, ff. 10, 170.