Thomas Babington Macaulay


“Nothing is so galling to a people not broken in from the birth as a paternal, or, in other words, a meddling government, a government which tells them what to read, and say, and eat, and drink and wear.”
– Macaulay

b. 1800 CE – d. 1859 CE

The English historian, essayist and politician was born at Rothley Temple in Leicestershire. Macauley was called to the bar and joined the Northern circuit, be he soon gave up even the pretense of reading law, and spent many more hours under the gallery of the house of commons than in the court.

His first attempt at a public speech, made at an anti-slavery meeting in 1824, was described by the Edinburg Review as “a display of eloquence of rare and matured excellence.” The first two volumes of the History of England appeared in December 1848. Within a generation of its first appearance upwards of 140,000 copies of the History were printed and sold in the United Kingdom alone, and in the United States the stales were on a corresponding large scale. The History was translated into German, Polish, Danish, Swedish, Hungarian, Russian, Bohemian, Italian, French, Dutch, and Spanish.

Macaulay’s was the mind of the advocate, not of the philosopher. The historian, no less than the politician was however, always on the side of justice – fairness for the weak against the strong, oppressed against the oppressor. But through a liberal practice in practical politics, he had not the reformer’s temperament. The world as it was at the time was good enough for him. The glories of wealth, rank, honors, literary fame, the elements of vulgar happiness made up his ideal of life.