James Taylor was, in a sense, fairly typical of the countless number of young Scots who sought their fortunes in the British Empire and beyond throughout the nineteenth century. Yet his particular career merits special attention for his efforts helped to create the foundations for the transformation of the country’s economy which helped to shape the world’s drinking habits. The introduction sets the scene for the book and outlines the diverse sources – including Taylor’s private and published correspondence and photographs – which have made this ‘subaltern biography’ possible.
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