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Macaulay

Macaulay, Thomas Babington, Lord (1800-59), politician, essayist, and historian, born at Rothley Temple, Leicestershire, was son of Zachary Macaulay, a prominent member of the "Clapham Sect" (q.v.), who was governor of Sierra Leone from 1792-9. His son Thomas spent his early years at Clapham, and in 1818 entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a fellowship. He began his literary career early, being a contributor to Knight's Quarterly Magazine and to the Edinburgh Review before he was called to the bar (1826). In 1830 he entered Parliament as Lord Lansdowne's nominee for Calne. He at once distinguished himself, especially as an advocate of the abolition of slavery and of reform. The African trading firm of Babington and Macaulay (his father) having failed, he was glad to accept the position of member of the Supreme Council of India in 1832. His sister Hannah, afterwards Lady Trevelyan, accompanied him to India, where he greatly distinguished himself as president of the commission for drawing up a code of jurisprudence. In 1838 he returned to England, having saved a fair fortune, and again entered Parliament, as member for Edinburgh. He was Secretary for War from 1839 to 1841, and in 1847 became paymaster of the forces. In 1842 he published the Lays of Ancient Rome. In 1848 appeared the first two volumes of his History of England, beginning at the accession of James II. Two more volumes, reaching to the Peace of Ryswick (1697), appeared in 1855, when it was evident that failing health would prevent the prosecution of his design even to the end of Queen Anne's reign; but the splendid fragment, with all its faults, achieved an unrivalled success and enriched the author. He was raised to the peerage in 1857, and died at Kensington, never having married. His Life by his nephew, Sir George Trevelyan, is one of "our best biographies. His "Essays" and the "Lives" originally written for the Encyclopmdia Britannica are of lasting interest and value.

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