Thomas Babington Macaulay

Macaulay, Thomas Babington, 1st Baron

Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron, 1800–1859, English historian and author, b. Leicestershire, educated at Cambridge. After the success of his essay on Milton in the Edinburgh Review (Aug., 1825), he contributed regularly to that journal. He was called to the bar in 1826 and, elected to Parliament in 1830, distinguished himself as a Whig orator. In India, 1834–38, as a member of the supreme council of the East India Company he reformed the Indian educational system and composed a legal code for the colony. On his return to England, Macaulay devoted himself to writing history, but returned to public office as secretary of war (1839–41), paymaster of the forces (1846–47), and member of Parliament (1839–47, 1852–56). In 1857 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Macaulay of Rothley. Macaulay's greatest work and one of the great works of the 19th cent. was The History of England from the Accession of James the Second (5 vol., 1849–61). Its brilliant narrative style and its vivid recreation of the social world of the 17th cent. made it an unprecedented success. The work has been criticized, however, for its failure to achieve objectivity, primarily because of Macaulay's Whig and Protestant bias. He also wrote several notable short biographical essays on Bacon, Johnson, Warren Hastings, and others. His poetical work, the Lays of Ancient Rome (1842), celebrated the great events of Roman history.

See his letters, ed. by T. Pinney (6 vol., 1974–77); Sir G. O. Trevelyan (his nephew), The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay (1876; repr., 2 vol., 1961); biographies by R. C. Beatty (1938, repr. 1971), J. Clive (1987), O. D. Edwards (1988), and R. E. Sullivan (2009).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Historians of India, Pakistan and Ceylon
C. H. Philips.
Oxford University Press, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 18 "Macaulay's Writing on India"
Ten Master Historians
L. M. Angus-Butterworth.
University Press, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VIII "Lord Macaulay (1800-1859)"
The Conservative Mind, from Burke to Santayana
Russell Kirk.
Henry Regnery Publishing, 1953
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "Liberal Conservatives: Macaulay, Cooper, Tocqueville"
A Commentary on Macaulay's History of England
Charles Firth.
MacMillan, 1938
FREE! The History of England from the Accession of James II
Thomas Babington Macaulay.
Lippincott, vol.1, 1884
FREE! The History of England from the Accession of James the Second
Thomas Babington Macaulay.
Lippincott, vol.2, 1884
FREE! The History of England from the Accession of James II
Thomas Babington Macaulay.
Lippincott, vol.3, 1884
FREE! The History of England, from the Accession of James II [Microform]
Thomas Babington Macaulay.
W. L. Allison, vol.4, 1885
Figures of Finance Capitalism: Writing, Class, and Capital in the Age of Dickens
Borislav Knezevic.
Routledge, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. One "A Historian in the Literary Marketplace: T. B. Macaulay, the English Constitution, and Finance Capitalism"
Domestic Biography: The Legacy of Evangelicalism in Four Nineteenth-Century Families
Christopher Tolley.
Oxford University, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "The Life of Macaulay"
Literary Copyright Reform in Early Victorian England: The Framing of the 1842 Copyright Act
Catherine Seville.
Cambridge University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Macaulay" begins on p. 60
British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization, 1773-1835
David Kopf.
University of California Press, 1969
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Thomas Babbington Macaulay begins on p. 243
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