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LIFE AND LETTERS
L O R D M A C A U L A Y.
Plan and Scope of the Work.-History of the Macaulay Family.—Aulay.— Kenneth. –Johnson and Boswell.—John Macaulay and his Children.— Zachary Macaulay.—His Career in the West Indies and in Africa.--His Character.—Wisit of the French Squadron to Sierra Leone.—Zachary Macaulay's Marriage.—Birth of his Eldest Son.—Lord Macaulay's Early Years.-His Childish Productions.—Mrs. Hannah More.—General Macaulay.—Choice of a School.—Shelford.—Dean Milner.—Macaulay's Early Letters.--Aspenden Hall.—The Boy's Habits and Mental Endowments.-His Home.—The Clapham Set.—The Boy's Relations with his Father.—The Political Ideas among which he was brought up, and their Influence on the Work of his Life.
HE who undertakes to publish the memoirs of a distinguished man may find a ready apology in the custom of the age. If we measure the effective demand for biography by the supply, the person commemorated need possess but a very moderate reputation, and have played no exceptional part, in order to carry the reader through many hundred pages of anecdote, dissertation, and correspondence. To judge from the advertisements of our circulating libraries, the public curiosity is keen with regard to some who did nothing worthy of
special note, and others who acted so continuously in the face Vol. I.-2.
of the world that, when their course was run, there was little left for the world to learn about them. It may, therefore, be taken for granted that a desire exists to hear something authentic about the life of a man who has produced works which are universally known, but which bear little or no indication of the private history and the personal qualities of the author. . This was in a marked degree the case with Lord Macaulay. His two famous contemporaries in English literature have, consciously or unconsciously, told their own story in their books. Those who could see between the lines in “David Copperfield” were aware that they had before them the most delightful of autobiographies: and all who knew how to read Thackeray could trace him in his novels through every stage in his course, on from the day when as a little boy, consigned to the care of English relatives and school-masters, he left his mother on the steps of the landing-place at Calcutta. The dates and names were wanting: but the man was there; while the most ardent admirers of Macaulay will admit that a minute study of his literary productions left them, as far as any but an intellectual knowledge of the writer himself was concerned, very much as it found them. A consummate master of his craft, he turned out works which bore the unmistakable marks of the artificer's hand, but which did not reflect his features. It would be almost as hard to compose a picture of the author from his “History,” his “Essays,” and his “Lays,” as to evolve an idea of Shakspeare from “Henry the Fifth.” and “Measure for Measure.” But, besides being a man of letters, Lord Macaulay was a statesman, a jurist, and a brilliant ornament of society, at a time when to shine in society was a distinction which a man of eminence and ability might justly value. In these several capacities, it will be said, he was known well, and known widely. But in the first place, as these pages will show, there was one side of his life (to him, at any rate, the most important) of which even the persons with whom he mixed most freely and confidentially in London drawing-rooms, in the Indian council - chamber, and in the lobbies and on the benches