| his visits there his people had cause to remember. After
thundering at the door for a while with his staff he finished
up shouting loudly, ''What? four o'clock! a summer morning,
and everyone asleep here yet!" Mr John Taylor was kirk
treasurer under William Carlyle at Prestonpans. John Taylor
greatly improved this farm at his own expense. His son Alexander,
and his daughter Isabella, resided for a time regularly at
West Seton. Isabella married Dr William Brown, son of the
famous divine, scholar, and author, Dr John Brown, of Haddington.
Dr William Brown was also an author. He revised his father's
" Dictionary of the Bible, " wrote the " History
of Missions, " and several other works. He was also author
of that charming little book for children, " Brown's
He had four sons, all talented. Dr John Taylor Brown, the
eldest, still survives. (He has died since this note was written.
) As an author he has written much in his day, and on various
themes. His style is refined and pleasing. His second son
was Mr William Brown above referred to. The younger brothers,
Dr Alexander Brown and Dr Robert Brown, were young men of
great promise in the medical profession, but both died at
an early age.
We may also here mention the name of James Banks, brother
to Mrs Alexander Taylor, of Prestonpans, because of his incessant
efforts in the "anti-slavery cause. " When young
he visited British Honduras and the Southern States of America,
and being deeply impressed by the horrors of slavery, he tried
by visiting these places to influence the public against the
traffic in human beings. He also took a deal of trouble to
ascertain if cotton could be grown by free labour on the west
of Africa and in the British Colonies.
Obtaining specimens of cotton there grown he tried to interest
the Manchester merchants in his plans, but the chief response
he got was, " We wish cheap cotton, and we do not care
how it is grown; " but when the war broke out between
the Northern and Southern States of America, and cotton rose
to a fearful price, it is said they expressed regret then
that they had not taken the advice of Mr Banks. James Banks
wrote a metrical version of the Psalms, which has not been
Alexander Taylor, the only surviving son of John Taylor, married
Miss Banks, whose kindness of heart and gentleness are still
well remembered in the district. He was a worthy son of a
worthy father, inheriting his deep religious feeling
and strict integrity. He was a kind master, friend, husband,
and father. He had five sons, and of these there are: —
John Banks Taylor, who retains the lands held by his father,
but resides at the farm of Seton West Mains, a good man and
true, and strongly in favour of temperance. He has conducted
the farm for well-nigh half a century, and a single glance
over the highly cultivated lands shows the untiring efforts
in welldoing of this long-time tenant of the Earl of Wemyss.
Alexander, always of a mercantile turn of mind, after being
in business for some years in Egypt returned to the home and
the haunts of his early days, interesting himself in the welfare
of those around him. He has done a little good literary work.
William, who was for many years in South Africa, and was happily
married there, now resides an esteemed townsman in Prestonpans,
from whence he has sent forth three sons, all of whom have
taken an active part in the Transvaal War.
James, the fourth son, had an honourable mercantile career,
and became the presiding partner of an eminent firm in Hong-Kong;
and as a member of its legislative council, he exerted himself
to put down the gambling practices which so evilly affected
more especially the natives of the place, and in this was
very successful. During his stay there he, along with the
other honourable members of the legislature had the honour
of welcoming Prince Alfred on his visit to Hong-Kong, which
was brilliantly illuminated for the occasion. On his return
to England he was one of the first to propose, and with other
friends to found, the Chair of Chinese Classics at Oxford.
His death took place at New York, 31st January 1884, causing
deep regret to a large circle of friends.
Robert, fifth son, " the youngest and most cared for
of all, " after a very bright but brief career now rests
in far off South Africa.
There are also two sisters, Misses Margaret and Mary, and
ladies more gentle in manner and kindly in disposition it
would be difficult to find. One of their chief aims in life
seems to be, how to do most for suffering humanity around
them. One of the sisters has published—for private circulation
only— a little volume of poetic gems, some of which deserve
to be better known, and will be. The other is author of "A
Noble Life, " a memoir of one of the brothers above referred
Lord Fountainhall at one time occupied that house now occupied
by Mr Bryce, bootmaker, east of Ayres Wynd.