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Norwood Mass. U.S.A.
LIFE OF MACAULAY
MACAULAY in one of his letters quotes the Spectator as observing, “We never read an author with much zest, unless we are acquainted with his surroundings.” Many writers seem forced to give us their “circumstances ” in their writings. Macaulay does not. He was never limited by his environment. In all the volumes given to the public by this most versatile writer, we can scarcely find a hint of his own character and surroundings. It is in his private letters and diary only that he freely gives us his personal life. From these we may trace the growth of the man. Never was there a life more completely self-directed than Macaulay's, nor a success more surely earned.
A short biography can do little more than refer to the logical growth of his greatness: his enthusiastic literary work; the high character that gave him entrance to Parliament, the quick grasp of public questions, and the far-seeing, honorable stand that made
him so powerful while there and led to his appointment in India; the unremitting application and clear strength of mind that made his criminal code for India a blessing to millions of people. Still less can it tell how, during the twenty years of his busy life as a leader in Parliament and in the midst of his endless administration of duties in India, he always found time to entertain his friends, to read the classics of many lands in the native tongues, and to write thousands of pages of essays, poetry, and history. This sketch aims merely at giving an impression of some of the characteristics of the man and an outline of the most important events of his career. One desiring to study more fully his admirable life and character will enjoy Macaulay's Life and Letters, a collection of his letters, extracts from his diary, and letters to him, edited by Otto Trevelyan, the son of his sister Hannah.
Thomas Babington Macaulay was born at Rothley Temple, Leicestershire, October 25, 1800. His greatgrandfather and grandfather were Scotch ministers. From them he seems to have inherited, among other honest opinions, their personal creed that they “ had no notion of people being in earnest in good professions if their practice belied them.”
His father, Zachary Macaulay, was a quiet, stern man of very strong political convictions and absolutely disinter