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incessant, and assuredly not more edifying political talk if he had been brought up in Downing Street. The future advocate and interpreter of Whig principles was not reared in the Whig faith. Attached friends of Pitt, who in personal conduct and habits of life certainly came nearer to their standard than his great rival, and warmly in favor of a war which to their imagination never entirely lost its early character of an internecine contest with atheism, the Evangelicals in the House of Commons for the most part acted with the Tories. But it may be doubted whether in the long run their party would not have been better without them. By the zeal,” the munificence, the laborious activity with which they pursued their religious and semi-religious enterprises, they did more to teach the world how to get rid of existing institutions than by their votes and speeches at Westminster they contributed to preserve them. With their May meetings, and African institutions, and antislavery reporters, and their subscriptions of tens of thousands of pounds, and their petitions bristling with hundreds of thousands of signatures, and all the machinery for informing opinion and bringing it to bear on ministers and legislators which they did so much to perfect and even to invent, they can be regarded as nothing short of the pioneers and fuglemen of that system of popular agitation which forms a leading feature in our internal history during the past halfcentury. At an epoch when the Cabinet which they supported was so averse to manifestations of political sentiment that a Reformer who spoke his mind in England was seldom long out of prison, and in Scotland ran a very serious risk of transportation, Toryism sat oddly enough on men who spent their days in the committee-room and their evenings on the plat. form, and each of whom belonged to more associations com. bined for the purpose of influencing Parliament than he could count on the fingers of both his hands. There was something incongruous in their position, and as time went on they began to perceive the incongruity. They gradually learned that measures dear to philanthropy might be expected to result from the advent to power of their opponents, while their own chief too often failed them at a pinch out of what appeared to them an excessive and humiliating deference to interests powerfully represented on the benches behind him. Their eyes were first opened by Pitt's change of attitude with regard to the object that was next all their hearts. There is something almost pathetic in the contrast between two entries in Wilberforce's diary, of which the first has become classical, but the second is not so generally known. In 1787, referring to the movement against the slave-trade, he says: “Pitt recommended me to undertake its conduct, as a subject suited to my character and talents. At length, I well remember, after a conversation in the open air at the root of an old tree at Holwood, just above the vale of Keston, I reSolved to give notice on a fit occasion in the House of Commons of my intention to bring the subject forward.” Twelve years later, Mr. Henry Thornton had brought in a bill for confining the trade within certain limits upon the coast of Africa. “Upon the second reading of this bill,” writes Wilberforce, “Pitt coolly put off the debate when I had manifested a design of answering P−'s speech, and so left misrepresentations without a word. William Smith's anger, Henry Thornton's coolness, made a deep impression on me, but conquered, I hope, in a Christian way.” * Besides instructing their successors in the art of carrying on a popular movement, Wilberforce and his followers had a lesson to teach, the value of which not so many, perhaps, will be disposed to question. In public life, as in private, they habitually had the fear of God before their eyes. A mere handful as to number, and in average talent very much on a level with the mass of their colleagues; counting in their ranks no Orator, or minister, or borough-monger; they commanded the ear of the House, and exerted on its proceedings an influence, the secret of which those who have studied the Parliamentary history of the period find it only too easy to understand. To refrain from gambling and ball-giving, to go much to church and never to the theatre, was not more at variance with the social customs of the day than it was the exception in the political world to meet with men who looked to the facts of the case, and not to the wishes of the minister, and who, before going into the lobby, required to be obliged with a reason instead of with a job. Confidence and respect, and (what in the House of Commons is their unvarying accompaniment), power, were gradually, and to a great extent involuntarily, accorded to this group of members. They were not addicted to crotchets, nor to the obtrusive and unseasonable assertion of conscientious scruples. The occasions on which they made proof of independence and impartiality were such as justified and dignified their temporary renunciation of party ties. They interfered with decisive effect in the debates on the great scandals of Lord Melville and the Duke of York, and in more than one financial or commercial controversy that deeply concerned the national interests, of which the question of the retaining the Orders in Council was a conspicuous instance. A boy who, like young Macaulay, was admitted to the intimacy of politicians such as these, and was accustomed to hear matters of state discussed exclusively from a public point of view without any after-thought of ambition, or jealousy, or self-seeking, could hardly fail to grow up a patriotic and disinterested man. “What is far better and more important than all is this, that I believe Macaulay to be incorruptible. You might lay ribbons, stars, garters, wealth, titles before him in vain. He has an honest, genuine love of his country, and the world would not bribe him to neglect her interests.” Thus said Sydney Smith, who of all his real friends was the least inclined to overpraise him. The memory of Thornton and Babington, and the other worthies of their day and set, is growing dim, and their names already mean little in our ears. Part of their work was so thoroughly done that the world, as its wont is, has long ago taken the credit of that work to itself. Others of their undertakings, in weaker hands than theirs, seem out of date among the ideas and beliefs which now are prevalent. At Clapham, as elsewhere, the old order is changing, and not always in a direction which to them would be acceptable or even tolerable. What was once the home of Zachary Macaulay stands almost within the swing of the bells of a stately and elegant Roman Catholic chapel; and the pleasant mansion of Lord Teignmouth, the cradle of the Bible Society, is now turned into a convent of monks. But, in one shape or another, honest performance always lives, and the gains that accrued from the labors of these men are still on the right side of the national ledger. Among the most permanent of those gains is their undoubted share in the improvement of our political integrity by direct, and still more by indirect, example. It would be ungrateful to forget in how large a measure it is due to them that one whose judgments upon the statesmen of many ages and countries have been delivered to an audience vast beyond all precedent should have framed his decisions in accordance with the dictates of honor and humanity, of ardent public spirit and lofty public virtue.
* Macaulay, writing to one of his sisters in 1844, says: “I think Stephen's article on the Clapham sect the best thing he ever did. I do not think with you that the Claphamites were men too obscure for such delineation. The truth is that from that little knot of men emanated all the Bible societies and almost all the missionary societies in the world. The whole organization of the Evangelical party was their work. The share which they had in providing means for the education of the people was great. They were really the destroyers of the slave-trade and of slavery. Many of those whom Stephen describes were public men of the greatest weight. Lord Teignmouth governed India at Calcutta. Grant governed India in Leadenhall Street. Stephen's father was Perceval's right-hand man in the House of Commons. It is needless to speak of Wilberforce. As to Simeon, if you knew what his authority and influence were, and how they extended from Cambridge to the most remote corners of England, you would allow that his real sway in the Church was far greater than that of any primate. Thornton, to my surprise, thinks the passage about my father unfriendly. I defended Stephen. The truth is that he asked my permission to draw a portrait of my father for the Edinburgh Review. I told him that I had only to beg that he would not give it the air of a puff: a thing which, for mySelf and for my friends, I dread far more than any attack. My influence over the Review is so well known that a mere eulogy of my father appearing in that work would only call forth derision. I therefore am really glad that Stephen has introduced into his sketch some little characteristic traits which, in themselves, were not beauties.”
Macaulay goes to the University.—His Love for Trinity College.—His Contemporaries at Cambridge.—Charles Austin.-The Union Debating Society.—University Studies, Successes, and Failures.—The Mathematical Tripos.-The Trinity Fellowship.–William the Third.—Letters.Prize Poems.-Peterloo.—Novel-reading.—The Queen's Trial,—Macaulay's Feeling toward his Mother.—A Reading-party.—Hoaxing an Editor.—Macaulay takes Pupils.
IN October, 1818, Macaulay went into residence at Trinity College, Cambridge. Mr. Henry Sykes Thornton, the eldest son of the member for Southwark, was his companion throughout his university career. The young men lived in the same lodgings, and began by reading with the same tutor: a plan which promised well, because, in addition to what was his own by right, each had the benefit of the period of instruction paid for by the other. But two hours were much the same as one to Macaulay, in whose eyes algebra and geometry were so much additional material for lively and interminable argument. Thornton reluctantly broke through the arrangement, and eventually stood highest among the Trinity wranglers of his year: an elevation which he could hardly have attained if he had pursued his studies in company with one who regarded every successive mathematical proposition as an open question. A Parliamentary election took place while the two friends were still quartered in Jesus Lane. A tumult in the neighboring street announced that the citizens were expressing their sentiments by the only channel which was open to them before the days of Reform: and Macaulay, to whom any excitement of a political nature was absolutely irresistible, dragged Thornton to the scene of action, and found the mob breaking the windows of the Hoop Hotel, the head-quarters of the