Biography of Lord Macaulay


THOMAS BABINGTON, LORD MACAULAY, was born at Rothley Temple, Leicestershire, October 25th, 1800. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, at the age of eighteen, where he acquired a brilliant reputation, both as a scholar and a debater. In 1825, he took the degree of M.A., and in the same year made his appearance in the columns of the Edinburgh Review, by his famous essay on Milton, the learning, eloquence, penetration, brilliancy of fancy, and generous enthusiasm of which quite fascinated the educated portion of the public. In 1830, he entered parliament for the pocket-borough of Calne. When the first reformed parliament assembled in 1832, Macaulay sat as member for Leeds, and at once took a prominent position in the House. He was now made Secretary of the Board of Control for India, and in the following year, went out to India as a member of the Supreme Council. In 1840, he was appointed War-Secretary. While holding this office, he composed, appropriately enough, those magnificent martial ballads, the Lays of Ancient Rome (1842); and in the following year published a collected series of his Essays, in three volumes. In 1848, appeared the first two volumes of his "History of England from the accession of James II," the popularity of which must have made even successful novelists envious; next year, he was chosen Lord-Rector of the university of Glasgow, on which occasion he received the freedom of the city. When the third and fourth volumes of his History were published in 1855, they occasioned a furor of excitement among publishers and readers, "to which," it is said, "the annals of Paternoster Row hardly furnish any parallel." In 1857, the French Academy of Moral and Political Science made him a foreign associate"; and in the course of the same year he was raised to the peerage of Great Britain, under the title of Baron Macaulay of Rothley. His health, however, had long been failing, and in the 28th of December, 1859, he expired somewhat suddenly at his residence, Holly Lodge, Campden Hill, Kensington, London. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.