Macaulay, Thomas Babington, Lord (18001859)

Macaulay, Thomas Babington, Lord, essayist and historian, born at Rothley Temple, Leicestershire, son of Zachary Macaulay the philanthropist, and so of Scottish descent; graduated at Cambridge 1822, proving a brilliant debater in the Union, and became Fellow of Trinity 1824; called to the bar 1826, he preferred to follow literature, having already gained a footing by some poems in Knight's Quarterly and by his essay on “Milton” in the Edinburgh Review (1825); in 1830 he entered Parliament for a pocket-borough, took an honourable part in the Reform debates, and in the new Parliament sat for Leeds; his family were now in straitened circumstances, and to be able to help them he went out to India as legal adviser to the Supreme Council; to his credit chiefly belongs the Indian Penal Code; returning in 1838, he represented Edinburgh in the Commons with five years' interval till 1856; the “Lays of Ancient Rome” appeared in 1842, his collected “Essays” in 1843, two years later he ceased writing for the Edinburgh; he was now working hard at his “History,” of which the first two volumes attained a quite unprecedented success in 1848; next year he was chosen Lord Rector of Glasgow University; 1855 saw the third and fourth volumes of his “History”; in 1857 he was made a peer, and many other honours were showered upon him; with a tendency to too much declamation in style, a point of view not free from bias, and a lack of depth and modesty in his thinking, he yet attained a remarkable amount and variety of knowledge, great intellectual energy, and unrivalled lucidity in narration (18001859).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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