Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay
George Otto Trevelyan

Part 7 out of 9

Ever yours sincerely


From the Right Hon. Francis Jeffrey to Macvey Napier, Esq.

24, Moray Place
Saturday evening, December

My dear Napier,--I am very much obliged to you for the permission
to read this. It is to me, I will confess, a solemn and
melancholy announcement. I ought not, perhaps, so to consider it.
But I cannot help it. I was not prepared for six years, and I
must still hope that it will not be so much. At my age, and with
that climate for him, the chances of our ever meeting again are
terribly endangered by such a term. He does not know the extent
of the damage which his secession may be to the great cause of
Liberal government. His anticipations and offers about the Review
are generous and pleasing, and must be peculiarly gratifying to
you. I think, if you can, you should try to see him before he
goes, and I envy you the meeting.

Ever very faithfully yours


To Hannah M. Macaulay.

London: December 21, 1833.

My dear Sister,--Yesterday I dined at Boddington's. We had a very
agreeable party: Duncannon, Charles Grant, Sharp, Chantrey the
sculptor, Bobus Smith, and James Mill. Mill and I were extremely
friendly, and I found him a very pleasant companion, and a man of
more general information than I had imagined.

Bobus was very amusing. He is a great authority on Indian
matters. He was during several years Advocate-General in Bengal,
and made all his large fortune there. I asked him about the
climate. Nothing, he said, could be pleasanter, except in August
and September. He never ate or drank so much in his life. Indeed,
his looks do credit to Bengal; for a healthier man of his age I
never saw. We talked about expenses. "I cannot conceive," he
said, "how anybody at Calcutta can live on less than L3,000 a
year, or can contrive to spend more than L4,000." We talked of
the insects and snakes, and he said a thing which reminded me of
his brother Sydney: "Always, Sir, manage to have at your table
some fleshy, blooming, young writer or cadet, just come out; that
the musquitoes may stick to him, and leave the rest of the
company alone."

I have been with George Babington to the Asia. We saw her to
every disadvantage, all litter and confusion; but she is a fine
ship, and our cabins will be very good. The captain I like much.
He is an agreeable, intelligent, polished man of forty; and very
good-looking, considering what storms and changes of climate he
has gone through. He advised me strongly to put little furniture
into our cabins. I told him to have yours made as neat as
possible, without regard to expense. He has promised to have it
furnished simply, but prettily; and when you see it, if any
addition occurs to you, it shall be made. I shall spare nothing
to make a pretty little boudoir for you. You cannot think how my
friends here praise you. You are quite Sir James Graham's

To-day I breakfasted with Sharp, whose kindness is as warm as
possible. Indeed, all my friends seen to be in the most amiable
mood. I have twice as many invitations as I can accept; and I
have been frequently begged to name my own party. Empty as London
is, I never was so much beset with invitations. Sharp asked me
about you. I told him how much I regretted my never having had
any opportunity of showing you the best part of London society.
He said that he would take care that you should see what was best
worth seeing before your departure. He promises to give us a few
breakfast-parties and dinner-parties, where you will meet as many
as he can muster of the best set in town,--Rogers, Luttrell,
Rice, Tom Moore, Sydney Smith, Grant, and other great wits and
politicians. I am quite delighted at this; both because you will,
I am sure, be amused, and pleased, at a time when you ought to
have your mind occupied, and because even to have mixed a little
in a circle so brilliant will be of advantage to you in India.
You have neglected, and very rightly and sensibly, frivolous
accomplishments; you have not been at places of fashionable
diversion; and it is, therefore, the more desirable that you
should appear among the dancing, pianoforte-playing, opera-going,
damsels at Calcutta as one who has seen society better than any
that they ever approached. I hope that you will not disapprove of
what I have done. I accepted Sharp's offer for you eagerly.

Ever yours

T. B. M.

To Hannah M. Macaulay.

London: January 2, 1834.

My dear Sister,--I am busy with an article for Napier. [The first
article on Lord Chatham.] I cannot in the least tell at present
whether I shall like it or not. I proceed with great ease; and in
general I have found that the success of my writings has been in
proportion to the ease with which they have been written.

I had a most extraordinary scene with Lady Holland. If she had
been as young and handsome as she was thirty years ago, she would
have turned my head. She was quite hysterical about my going;
paid me such compliments as I cannot repeat; cried; raved; called
me dear, dear Macaulay. "You are sacrificed to your family. I see
it all. You are too good to them. They are always making a tool
of you; last Session about the slaves; and now sending you to
India!" I always do my best to keep my temper with Lady Holland
for three reasons; because she is a woman; because she is very
unhappy in her health, and in the circumstances of her position;
and because she has a real kindness for me. But at last she said
something about you. This was too much, and I was beginning to
answer her in a voice trembling with anger, when she broke out
again: "I beg your pardon. Pray forgive me, dear Macaulay. I was
very impertinent. I know you will forgive me. Nobody has such a
temper as you. I have said so a hundred times. I said so to Allen
only this morning. I am sure you will bear with my weakness. I
shall never see you again;" and she cried, and I cooled; for it
would have been to very little purpose to be angry with her. I
hear that it is not to me alone that she runs on in this way. She
storms at the Ministers for letting me go. I was told that at one
dinner she became so violent that even Lord Holland, whose temper,
whatever his wife may say, is much cooler than mine, could not
command himself, and broke out: "Don't talk such nonsense, my
Lady. What, the devil! Can we tell a gentleman who has a claim
upon us that he must lose his only chance of getting an
independence in order that he may come and talk to you in an

Good-bye, and take care not to become so fond of your own will as
my Lady. It is now my duty to omit no opportunity of giving you
wholesome advice. I am henceforward your sole guardian. I have
bought Gisborne's Duties of Women, Moore's Fables for the Female
Sex, Mrs. King's Female Scripture Characters, and Fordyce's
Sermons. With the help of these books I hope to keep my
responsibility in order on our voyage, and in India.

Ever yours

T. B. M.

To Hannah M. Macaulay.

London: January 4, 1834.

My dear Sister,--I am now buying books; not trashy books which
will only bear one reading; but good books for a library. I have
my eye on all the bookstalls; and I shall no longer suffer you,
when we walk together in London, to drag me past them as you used
to do. Pray make out a list of any which you would like to have.
The provision which I design for the voyage is Richardson,
Voltaire's works, Gibbon, Sismondi's History of the French,
Davila, the Orlando in Italian, Don Quixote in Spanish, Homer in
Greek, Horace in Latin. I must also have some books of
jurisprudence, and some to initiate me in Persian and
Hindostanee. Shall I buy "Dunallan" for you? I believe that in
your eyes it would stand in the place of all the rest together.
But, seriously, let me know what you would like me to procure.

Ellis is making a little collection of Greek classics for me.
Sharp has given me one or two very rare and pretty books, which I
much wanted. All the Edinburgh Reviews are being bound, so that
we shall have a complete set, up to the forth coming number,
which will contain an article of mine on Chatham. And this
reminds me that I must give over writing to you, and fall to my
article. I rather think that it will be a good one.

Ever yours

T. B. M.

London: February 13, 1834.

Dear Napier,--It is true that I have been severely tried by ill-
health during the last few weeks; but I am now rapidly
recovering, and am assured by all my medical advisers that a week
of the sea will make me better than ever I was in my life.

I have several subjects in my head. One is Mackintosh's History;
I mean the fragment of the large work. Another plan which I have
is a very fine one, if it could be well executed. I think that
the time is come when a fair estimate may be formed of the
intellectual and moral character of Voltaire. The extreme
veneration, with which he was regarded during his lifetime, has
passed away; the violent reaction, which followed, has spent
itself; and the world can now, I think, bear to hear the truth,
and to see the man exhibited as he was,--a strange mixture of
greatness and littleness, virtues and vices. I have all his
works, and shall take them in my cabin on the voyage. But my
library is not particularly rich in those books which illustrate
the literary history of his times. I have Rousseau, and
Marmontel's Memoirs, and Madame du Deffand's Letters, and perhaps
a few other works which would be of use. But Grimm's
Correspondence, and several other volumes of memoirs and letters,
would be necessary. If you would make a small collection of the
works which would be most useful in this point of view, and send
it after me as soon as possible, I will do my best to draw a good
Voltaire. I fear that the article must be enormously long,--
seventy pages perhaps;--but you know that I do not run into
unnecessary lengths.

I may perhaps try my hand on Miss Austen's novels. That is a
subject on which I shall require no assistance from books.

Whatever volumes you may send me ought to be half bound; or the
white ants will devour them before they have been three days on
shore. Besides the books which may be necessary for the Review, I
should like to have any work of very striking merit which may
appear during my absence. The particular department of literature
which interests me most is history; above all, English history.
Any valuable book on that subject I should wish to possess.
Sharp, Miss Berry, and some of my other friends, will perhaps,
now and then, suggest a book to you. But it is principally on
your own judgment that I must rely to keep me well supplied.

Yours most truly


On the 4th of February Macaulay bade farewell to his electors, in
an address which the Leeds Tories probably thought too high-flown
for the occasion. ["If, now that I have ceased to be your
servant, and am only your sincere and grateful friend, I may
presume to offer you advice which must, at least, be allowed to
be disinterested, I would say to you: Act towards your future
representatives as you have acted towards me. Choose them, as you
chose me, without canvassing and without expense. Encourage them,
as you encouraged me, always to speak to you fearlessly and
plainly. Reject, as you have hitherto rejected, the wages of
dishonour. Defy, as you have hitherto defied, the threats of
petty tyrants. Never forget that the worst and most degrading
species of corruption is the corruption which operates, not by
hopes, but by fears. Cherish those noble and virtuous principles
for which we have struggled and triumphed together--the principles
of liberty and toleration, of justice and order. Support, as you
have steadily supported, the cause of good government; and may
all the blessings which are the natural fruits of good government
descend upon you and be multiplied to you an hundredfold! May
your manufactures flourish; may your trade be extended; may your
riches increase! May the works of your skill, and the signs of
your prosperity, meet me in the furthest regions of the East, and
give me fresh cause to be proud of the intelligence, the
industry, and the spirit of my constituents!"] But he had not yet
done with the House of Commons. Parliament met on the first
Tuesday in the month; and, on the Wednesday, O'Connell, who had
already contrived to make two speeches since the Session began,
rose for a third time to call attention to words uttered during
the recess by Mr. Hill, the Member for Hull. That gentleman, for
want of something better to say to his constituents, had told
them that he happened to know "that an Irish Member, who spoke
with great violence against every part of the Coercion Bill, and
voted against every clause of it, went to Ministers and said:
'Don't bate a single atom of that Bill, or it will be impossible
for any man to live in Ireland."' O'Connell called upon Lord
Althorp, as the representative of the Government, to say what
truth there was in this statement. Lord Althorp, taken by
surprise, acted upon the impulse of the moment, which in his case
was a feeling of reluctance to throw over poor Mr. Hill to be
bullied by O'Connell and his redoubtable tail. After explaining
that no set and deliberate communication of the nature mentioned
had been made to the Ministers, his Lordship went on to say that
he "should not act properly if he did not declare that he had
good reason to believe that some Irish Members did, in private
conversation, use very different language" from what they had
employed in public.

It was chivalrously, but most unwisely, spoken. O'Connell at once
gave the cue by inquiring whether he himself was among the
Members referred to, and Lord Althorp assured him that such was
not the case. The Speaker tried to interfere; but the matter had
gone too far. One Irish representative after another jumped up to
repeat the same question with regard to his own case, and
received the same answer. At length Sheil rose, and asked whether
he was one of the Members to whole the Noble Lord had alluded.
Lord Althorp replied: "Yes. The honourable and learned gentleman
is one." Sheil, "in the face of his country, and the presence of
his God," asserted that the individual who had given any such
information to the Noble Lord was guilty of a "gross and
scandalous calumny," and added that he understood the Noble Lord
to have made himself responsible for the imputation. Then ensued
one of those scenes in which the House of Commons appears at its
very worst. All the busybodies, as their manner is, rushed to the
front; and hour after hour slipped away in an unseemly,
intricate, and apparently interminable wrangle. Sheil was duly
called upon to give an assurance that the affair should not be
carried beyond the walls of the House. He refused to comply, and
was committed to the charge of the Sergeant at Arms. The Speaker
then turned to Lord Althorp, who promised in Parliamentary
language not to send a challenge. Upon this, as is graphically
enough described in the conventional terms of Hansard, "Mr
O'Connell made some observation to the honourable Member sitting
next him which was not heard in the body of the House. Lord
Althorp immediately rose, and amid loud cheers, and with
considerable warmth, demanded to know what the honourable and
learned gentleman meant by his gesticulation;" and then, after an
explanation from O'Connell, his Lordship went on to use phrases
which very clearly signified that, though he had no cause for
sending a challenge, he had just as little intention of declining
one; upon which he likewise was made over to the Sergeant.
Before, however, honourable Members went to their dinners, they
had the relief of learning that their refractory colleagues had
submitted to the Speaker's authority, and had been discharged
from custody.

There was only one way out of the difficulty. On the 10th of
February a Committee of Investigation was appointed, composed of
Members who enjoyed a special reputation for discretion. Mr. Hill
called his witnesses. The first had nothing relevant to tell.
Macaulay was the second; and he forthwith cut the matter short by
declaring that, on principle, he refused to disclose what had
passed in private conversation; a sentiment which was actually
cheered by the Committee. One sentence of common sense brought
the absurd embroilment to a rational conclusion. Mr. Hill saw his
mistake; begged that no further evidence might be taken; and, at
the next sitting of the House, withdrew his charge in unqualified
terms of self-abasement and remorse. Lord Althorp readily
admitted that he had acted "imprudently as a man, and still more
imprudently as a Minister," and stated that he considered himself
bound to accept Sheil's denial; but he could not manage so to
frame his remarks as to convey to his hearers the idea that his
opinion of that honourable gentleman had been raised by the
transaction. Sheil acknowledged the two apologies with effusion
proportioned to their respective value; and so ended an affair
which, at the worst, had evoked a fresh proof of that ingrained
sincerity of character for the sake of which his party would have
followed Lord Althorp to the death. [In Macaulay's journal for
June 4, 1851, we read: "I went to breakfast with the Bishop of
Oxford, and there learned that Sheil was dead. Poor fellow! We
talked about Sheil, and I related my adventure of February 1834.
Odd that it should have been so little known or so completely

Gravesend: February 15, 1834.

Dear Lord Lansdowne,--I had hoped that it would have been in my
power to shake hands with you once more before my departure; but
this deplorably absurd affair in the House of Commons has
prevented me from calling on you. I lost a whole day while the
Committee were deciding whether I should, or should not, be
forced to repeat all the foolish, shabby, things that I had heard
Sheil say at Brooks's. Everybody thought me right, as I certainly

I cannot leave England without sending a few lines to you,--and
yet they are needless. It is unnecessary for me to say with what
feelings I shall always remember our connection, and with what
interest I shall always learn tidings of you and of your family.

Yours most sincerely




The outward voyage--Arrival at Madras--Macaulay is summoned to
join Lord William Bentinck in the Neilgherries--His journey up-
country--His native servant--Arcot--Bangalore--Seringapatam--
Ascent of the Neilgherries--First sight of the Governor-General--
Letters to Mr. Ellis, and the Miss Macaulays--A summer on the
Neilgherries--Native Christians--Clarissa--A tragi-comedy--
Macaulay leaves the Neilgherries, travels to Calcutta, and there
sets up house--Letters to Mr. Napier, and Mrs. Cropper--Mr.
Trevelyan--Marriage of Hannah Macaulay--Death of Mrs. Cropper--
Macaulay's work in India--His Minutes for Council--Freedom of the
Press--Literary gratitude--Second Minute on the Freedom of the
Press--The Black Act--A Calcutta public meeting--Macaulay's
defence of the policy of the Indian Government--His Minute on
Education--He becomes President of the Committee of Public
Instruction--His industry in discharging the functions of that
post--Specimens of his official writing--Results of his labours--
He is appointed President of the Law Commission, and recommends
the framing of a Criminal Code--Appearance of the Code--Comments
of Mr. Fitzjames Stephen--Macaulay's private life in India--
Oriental delicacies--Breakfast-parties--Macaulay's longing for
England--Calcutta and Dublin--Departure from India--Letters to
Mr. Ellis, Mr. Sharp, Mr. Napier, and Mr. Z. Macaulay.

FROM the moment that a deputation of Falmouth Whigs, headed by
their Mayor, came on board to wish Macaulay his health in India
and a happy return to England, nothing occurred that broke the
monotony of an easy and rapid voyage. "The catching of a shark;
the shooting of an albatross; a sailor tumbling down the hatchway
and breaking his head; a cadet getting drunk and swearing at the
captain," are incidents to which not even the highest literary
power can impart the charm of novelty in the eyes of the readers
of a seafaring nation. The company on the quarterdeck was much on
a level with the average society of an East Indiaman. "Hannah
will give you the histories of all these good people at length, I
dare say, for she was extremely social; danced with the gentlemen
in the evenings, and read novels and sermons with the ladies in
the mornings. I contented myself with being very civil whenever I
was with the other passengers, and took care to be with them as
little as I could. Except at meals, I hardly exchanged a word
with any human being. I never was left for so long a time so
completely to my own resources; and I am glad to say that I found
them quite sufficient to keep me cheerful and employed. During
the whole voyage I read with keen and increasing enjoyment. I
devoured Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian, French, and English;
folios, quartos, octavos, and duodecimos."

On the 10th of June the vessel lay to off Madras; and Macaulay
had his first introduction to the people for whom he was
appointed to legislate in the person of a boatman who pulled
through the surf on his raft. "He came on board with nothing on
him but a pointed yellow cap, and walked among us with a self-
possession and civility which, coupled with his colour and his
nakedness, nearly made me die of laughing." This gentleman was
soon followed by more responsible messengers, who brought tidings
the reverse of welcome. Lord William Bentinck, who was then
Governor-General, was detained by ill-health at Ootacamund in the
Neilgherry Hills; a place which, by name at least, is now as
familiar to Englishmen as Malvern; but which in 1834 was known to
Macaulay, by vague report, as situated somewhere "in the
mountains of Malabar, beyond Mysore." The state of public
business rendered it necessary that the Council should meet; and,
as the Governor-General had left one member of that body in
Bengal as his deputy, he was not able to make a quorum until his
new colleague arrived from England. A pressing summons to attend
his Lordship in the Hills placed Macaulay in some embarrassment
on account of his sister, who could not with safety commence her
Eastern experiences by a journey of four hundred miles up the
country in the middle of June. Happily the second letter which he
opened proved to be from Bishop Wilson, who insisted that the son
and daughter of so eminent an Evangelical as the Editor of the
Christian Observer, themselves part of his old congregation in
Bedford Row, should begin their Indian life nowhere except under
his roof. Hannah, accordingly, continued her voyage, and made her
appearance in Calcutta circles with the Bishop's Palace as a
home, and Lady William Bentinck as a kind, and soon an
affectionate, chaperon; while her brother remained on shore at
Madras, somewhat consoled for the separation by finding himself
in a country where so much was to be seen, and where, as far as
the English residents were concerned, he was regarded with a
curiosity at least equal to his own.

During the first few weeks nothing came amiss to him. "To be on
land after three months at sea is of itself a great change. But
to be in such a land! The dark faces, with white turbans, and
flowing robes; the trees not our trees; the very smell of the
atmosphere that of a hothouse, and the architecture as strange as
the vegetation." Every feature in that marvellous scene delighted
him both in itself, and for the sake of the innumerable
associations and images which it conjured up in his active and
well-stored mind. The salute of fifteen guns that greeted him, as
he set his foot on the beach, reminded him that he was in a
region where his countrymen could exist only on the condition of
their being warriors and rulers. When on a visit of ceremony to a
dispossessed Rajah or Nabob, he pleased himself with the
reflection that he was face to face with a prince who in old days
governed a province as large as a first-class European kingdom,
conceding to his Suzerain, the Mogul, no tribute beyond "a little
outward respect such as the great Dukes of Burgundy used to pay
to the Kings of France; and who now enjoyed the splendid and
luxurious insignificance of an abdicated prince which fell to the
lot of Charles the Fifth or Queen Christina of Sweden," with a
court that preserved the forms of royalty, the right of keeping
as many badly armed and worse paid ragamuffins as he could retain
under his tawdry standard, and the privilege of "occasionally
sending letters of condolence and congratulation to the King of
England, in which he calls himself his Majesty's good brother and

Macaulay set forth on his journey within a week from his landing,
travelling by night, and resting while the sun was at its
hottest. He has recorded his first impressions of Hindostan in a
series of journal letters addressed to his sister Margaret. The
fresh and vivid character of those impressions--the genuine and
multiform interest excited in him by all that met his ear or eye--
explain the secret of the charm which enabled him in after days
to overcome the distaste for Indian literature entertained by
that personage who, for want of a better, goes by the name of the
general reader. Macaulay reversed in his own case, the experience
of those countless writers on Indian themes who have successively
blunted their pens against the passive indifference of the
British public; for his faithful but brilliant studies of the
history of our Eastern Empire are to this day incomparably the
most popular of his works. [When published in a separate form the
articles on Lord Clive and Warren Hastings have sold nearly
twice as well as the articles on Lord Chatham, nearly thrice as
well as the article on Addison, and nearly five times as well as
the article on Byron. The great Sepoy mutiny, while it something
more than doubled the sale of the essay on Warren Hastings, all
but trebled the sale of the essay on Lord Clive; but, taking the
last twenty years together, there has been little to choose
between the pair. The steadiness and permanence of the favour
with which they are regarded may be estimated by the fact that,
during the five years between 1870 and 1874, as compared with the
five years between 1865 and 1869, the demand for them has been in
the proportion of seven to three; and, as compared with the five
years between 1860 and 1864, in the proportion of three to one.]
It may be possible, without injury to the fame of the author, to
present a few extracts from a correspondence, which is in some
sort the raw material of productions that have already secured
their place among our national classics:

"In the afternoon of the 17th June I left Madras. My train
consisted of thirty-eight persons. I was in one palanquin, and my
servant followed in another. He is a half-caste. On the day on
which we set out he told me he was a Catholic; and added,
crossing himself and turning up the whites of his eyes, that he
had recommended himself to the protection of his patron saint,
and that he was quite confident that we should perform our
journey in safety. I thought of Ambrose Llamela, Gil Blas's
devout valet, who arranges a scheme for robbing his master of his
portmanteau, and, when he comes back from meeting his
accomplices, pretends that he has been to the cathedral to
implore a blessing on their voyage. I did him, however, a great
injustice; for I have found him a very honest man, who knows the
native languages, and who can dispute a charge, bully a negligent
bearer, arrange a bed, and make a curry. But he is so fond of
giving advice that I fear he will some day or other, as the
Scotch say, raise my corruption, and provoke me to send him about
his business. His name, which I never hear without laughing, is
Peter Prim.

"Half my journey was by daylight, and all that I saw during that
time disappointed me grievously. It is amazing how small a part
of the country is under cultivation. Two-thirds at least, as it
seemed to me, was in the state of Wandsworth Common, or, to use
an illustration which you will understand better, of Chatmoss.
The people whom we met were as few as in the Highlands of
Scotland. But I have been told that in India the villages
generally lie at a distance from the roads, and that much of the
land, which when I passed through it looked like parched moor
that had never been cultivated, would after the rains be covered
with rice."

After traversing this landscape for fifteen hours he reached the
town of Arcot, which, under his handling, was to be celebrated
far and wide as the cradle of our greatness in the East.

"I was most hospitably received by Captain Smith, who commanded
the garrison. After dinner the palanquins went forward with my
servant, and the Captain and I took a ride to see the lions of
the neighbourhood. He mounted me on a very quiet Arab, and I had
a pleasant excursion. We passed through a garden which was
attached to the residence of the Nabob of the Carnatic, who
anciently held his court at Arcot. The garden has been suffered
to run to waste, and is only the more beautiful for having been
neglected. Garden, indeed, is hardly a proper word. In England it
would rank as one of our noblest parks, from which it differs
principally in this, that most of the fine trees are fruit trees.
From this we came to a mountain pass which reminded me strongly
of Borradaile, near Derwentwater, and through this defile we
struck into the road, and rejoined the bearers."

And so he went forward on his way, recalling at every step the
reminiscence of some place, or event, or person; and, thereby,
doubling for himself, and perhaps for his correspondent, the
pleasure which the reality was capable of affording. If he put up
at a collector's bungalow, he liked to think that his host ruled
more absolutely and over a larger population than "a Duke of
Saxe-Weimar or a Duke of Lucca;" and, when he came across a
military man with a turn for reading, he pronounced him "as
Dominic Sampson said of another Indian Colonel, 'a man of great
erudition, considering his imperfect opportunities.'"

On the 19th of June he crossed the frontier of Mysore; reached
Bangalore on the morning of the 20th and rested there for three
days in the house of the Commandant.

"On Monday, the 23rd, I took leave of Colonel Cubbon, who told
me, with a warmth which I was vain enough to think sincere, that
he had not passed three such pleasant days for thirty years. I
went on all night, sleeping soundly in my palanquin. At five I
was waked, and found that a carriage was waiting for me. I had
told Colonel Cubbon that I very much wished to see Seringapatam.
He had written to the British authorities at the town of Mysore,
and an officer had come from the Residency to show me all that
was to be seen. I must now digress into Indian politics; and let
me tell you that, if you read the little that I shall say about
them, you will know more on the subject than half the members of
the Cabinet."

After a few pages occupied by a sketch of the history of Mysore
during the preceding century, Macaulay proceeds

"Seringapatam has always been a place of peculiar interest to me.
It was the scene of the greatest events of Indian history. It was
the residence of the greatest of Indian princes. From a child, I
used to hear it talked of every day. Our uncle Colin was
imprisoned there for four years, and he was afterwards
distinguished at the siege. I remember that there was, in a shop-
window at Clapham, a daub of the taking of Seringapatam, which,
as a boy, I often used to stare at with the greatest interest. I
was delighted to have an opportunity of seeing the place; and,
though my expectations were high, they were not disappointed.

"The town is depopulated; but the fortress, which was one of the
strongest in India, remains entire. A river almost as broad as
the Thames at Chelsea breaks into two branches, and surrounds the
walls, above which are seen the white minarets of a mosque. We
entered, and found everything silent and desolate. The mosque,
indeed, is still kept up, and deserves to be so; but the palace
of Tippoo has fallen into utter ruin. I saw, however, with no
small interest, the airholes of the dungeon in which the English
prisoners were confined, and the water-gate leading down to the
river where the body of Tippoo was found still warm by the Duke
of Wellington, then Colonel Wellesley. The exact spot through
which the English soldiers fought their way against desperate
disadvantages into the fort is still perfectly discernible. But,
though only thirty-five years have elapsed since the fall of the
city, the palace is in the condition of Tintern Abbey and Melrose
Abbey. The courts, which bear a great resemblance to those of the
Oxford Colleges, are completely overrun with weeds and flowers.
The Hall of Audience, once considered the finest in India, still
retains some very faint traces of its old magnificence. It is
supported on a great number of light and lofty wooden pillars,
resting on pedestals of black granite. These pillars were
formerly covered with gilding, and here and there the glitter may
still be perceived. In a few more years not the smallest trace of
this superb chamber will remain. I am surprised that more care
was not taken by the English to preserve so splendid a memorial
of the greatness of him whom they had conquered. It was not like
Lord Wellesley's general mode of proceeding; and I soon saw a
proof of his taste and liberality. Tippoo raised a most sumptuous
mausoleum to his father, and attached to it a mosque which he
endowed. The buildings are carefully maintained at the expense of
our Government. You walk up from the fort through a narrow path,
bordered by flower beds and cypresses, to the front of the
mausoleum, which is very beautiful, and in general character
closely resembles the most richly carved of our small Gothic
chapels. Within are three tombs, all covered with magnificent
palls embroidered in gold with verses from the Koran. In the
centre lies Hyder; on his right the mother of Tippoo; and Tippoo
himself on the left."

During his stay at Mysore, Macaulay had an interview with the
deposed Rajah; whose appearance, conversation, palace, furniture,
jewels, soldiers, elephants, courtiers, and idols, he depicts in
a letter, intended for family perusal, with a minuteness that
would qualify him for an Anglo-Indian Richardson. By the evening
of the 24th June he was once more on the road; and, about noon on
the following day, he began to ascend the Neilgherries, through
scenery which, for the benefit of readers who had never seen the
Pyrenees or the Italian slopes of an Alpine pass, he likened to
"the vegetation of Windsor Forest, or Blenheim, spread over the
mountains of Cumberland." After reaching the summit of the table-
land, he passed through a wilderness where for eighteen miles
together he met nothing more human than a monkey, until a turn of
the road disclosed the pleasant surprise of an amphitheatre of
green hills encircling a small lake, whose banks were dotted with
red-tiled cottages surrounding a pretty Gothic church. The whole
station presented "very much the look of a rising English
watering-place. The largest house is occupied by the Governor-
General. It is a spacious and handsome building of stone. To this
I was carried, and immediately ushered into his Lordship's
presence. I found him sitting by a fire in a carpeted library. He
received me with the greatest kindness, frankness, and
hospitality. He is, as far as I can yet judge, all that I have
heard; that is to say, rectitude, openness, and good-nature,
personified." Many months of close friendship and common labours
did but confirm Macaulay in this first view of Lord William
Bentinck. His estimate of that singularly noble character
survives in the closing sentence of the essay on Lord Clive; and
is inscribed on the base of the statue which, standing in front
of the Town Hall may be seen far and wide over the great expanse
of grass that serves as the park, the parade-ground, and the
race-course of Calcutta.

To Thomas Flower Ellis.

Ootacamund: July 1, 1834.

Dear Ellis,--You need not get your map to see where Ootacamund
is; for it has not found its way into the maps. It is a new
discovery; a place to which Europeans resort for their health,
or, as it is called by the Company's servants--blessings on their
learning,--a _sanaterion_. It lies at the height of 7,000 feet
above the sea.

While London is a perfect gridiron, here am I, at 13 degrees North
from the equator, by a blazing wood fire, with my windows closed.
My bed is heaped with blankets, and my black servants are coughing
round me in all directions. One poor fellow in particular looks so
miserably cold that, unless the sun comes out, I am likely soon to
see under my own roof the spectacle which, according to
Shakespeare, is so interesting to the English,--a dead Indian.
[The Tempest, act ii. scene 2.]

I travelled the whole four hundred miles between this and Madras
on men's shoulders. I had an agreeable journey on the whole. I
was honoured by an interview with the Rajah of Mysore, who
insisted on showing me all his wardrobe, and his picture gallery.
He has six or seven coloured English prints, not much inferior to
those which I have seen in the sanded parlour of a country inn;
"Going to Cover," "The Death of the Fox," and so forth. But the
bijou of his gallery, of which he is as vain as the Grand Duke
can be of the Venus, or Lord Carlisle of the Three Maries, is a
head of the Duke of Wellington, which has, most certainly, been
on a sign-post in England.

Yet, after all, the Rajah was by no means the greatest fool whom
I found at Mysore. I alighted at a bungalow appertaining to the
British Residency. There I found an Englishman who, without any
preface, accosted me thus: "Pray, Mr. Macaulay, do not you think
that Buonaparte was the Beast?" "No, Sir, I cannot say that I
do." "Sir, he was the Beast. I can prove it. I have found the
number 666 in his name. Why, Sir, if he was not the Beast, who
was?" This was a puzzling question, and I am not a little vain of
my answer. "Sir," said I, "the House of Commons is the Beast.
There are 658 members of the House; and these, with their chief
officers,--the three clerks, the Sergeant and his deputy, the
Chaplain, the doorkeeper, and the librarian,--make 666." "Well,
Sir, that is strange. But I can assure you that, if you write
Napoleon Buonaparte in Arabic, leaving out only two letters, it
will give 666." "And pray, Sir, what right have you to leave out
two letters? And, as St. John was writing Greek, and to Greeks,
is it not likely that he would use the Greek rather than the
Arabic notation?" "But, Sir," said this learned divine,
"everybody knows that the Greek letters were never used to mark
numbers." I answered with the meekest look and voice possible: "I
do not think that everybody knows that. Indeed I have reason to
believe that a different opinion,--erroneous no doubt,--is
universally embraced by all the small minority who happen to know
any Greek." So ended the controversy. The man looked at me as if
he thought me a very wicked fellow; and, I dare say, has by this
time discovered that, if you write my name in Tamul, leaving out
T in Thomas, B in Babington, and M in Macaulay, it will give the
number of this unfortunate Beast.

I am very comfortable here. The Governor-General is the frankest
and best-natured of men. The chief functionaries, who have
attended him hither, are clever people, but not exactly on a par
as to general attainments with the society to which I belonged in
London. I thought, however, even at Madras, that I could have
formed a very agreeable circle of acquaintance; and I am assured
that at Calcutta I shall find things far better. After all, the
best rule in all parts of the world, as in London itself, is to
be independent of other men's minds. My power of finding
amusement without companions was pretty well tried on my voyage.
I read insatiably; the Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil, Horace,
Caesar's Commentaries, Bacon de Augmentis, Dante, Petrarch,
Ariosto, Tasso, Don Quixote, Gibbon's Rome, Mill's India, all the
seventy volumes of Voltaire, Sismondi's History of France, and
the seven thick folios of the Biographia Britannica. I found my
Greek and Latin in good condition enough. I liked the Iliad a
little less, and the Odyssey a great deal more than formerly.
Horace charmed me more than ever; Virgil not quite so much as he
used to do. The want of human character, the poverty of his
supernatural machinery, struck me very strongly. Can anything be
so bad as the living bush which bleeds and talks, or the Harpies
who befoul Aeneas's dinner? It is as extravagant as Ariosto, and
as dull as Wilkie's Epigoniad. The last six books, which Virgil
had not fully corrected, pleased me better than the first six. I
like him best on Italian ground. I like his localities; his
national enthusiasm; his frequent allusions to his country, its
history, its antiquities, and its greatness. In this respect he
often reminded me of Sir Walter Scott, with whom, in the general
character of his mind, he had very little affinity. The Georgics
pleased me better; the Eclogues best,--the second and tenth above
all. But I think the finest lines in the Latin language are those
five which begin,

"Sepibus in nostris parvam te roscida mala--"

[Eclogue viii. 37.]

I cannot tell you how they struck me. I was amused to find that
Voltaire pronounces that passage to be the finest in Virgil.

I liked the Jerusalem better than I used to do. I was enraptured
with Ariosto; and I still think of Dante, as I thought when I
first read him, that he is a superior poet to Milton, that he
runs neck and neck with Homer, and that none but Shakespeare has
gone decidedly beyond him.

As soon as I reach Calcutta I intend to read Herodotus again. By
the bye, why do not you translate him? You would do it
excellently; and a translation of Herodotus, well executed, would
rank with original compositions. A quarter of an hour a day would
finish the work in five years. The notes might be made the most
amusing in the world. I wish you would think of it. At all
events, I hope you will do something which may interest more than
seven or eight people. Your talents are too great, and your
leisure time too small, to be wasted in inquiries so frivolous,
(I must call them,) as those in which you have of late been too
much engaged; whether the Cherokees are of the same race with the
Chickasaws; whether Van Diemen's Land was peopled from New
Holland, or New Holland from Van Diemen's land; what is the
precise anode of appointing a headman in a village in Timbuctoo.
I would not give the worst page in Clarendon or Fra Paolo for all
that ever was, or ever will be, written about the migrations of
the Leleges and the laws of the Oscans.

I have already entered on my public functions, and I hope to do
some good. The very wigs of the judges in the Court of King's
Bench would stand on end if they knew how short a chapter my Law
of Evidence will form. I am not without many advisers. A native
of some fortune in Madras has sent me a paper on legislation.
"Your honour must know," says this judicious person, "that the
great evil is that men swear falsely in this country. No judge
knows what to believe. Surely if your honour can make men to
swear truly, your honour's fame will be great, and the Company
will flourish. Now, I know how men may be made to swear truly;
and I will tell your honour for your fame, and for the profit of
the Company. Let your honour cut off the great toe of the right
foot of every man who swears falsely, whereby your honour's fame
will be extended." Is not this an exquisite specimen of
legislative wisdom?

I must stop. When I begin to write to England, my pen runs as if
it would run on for ever.

Ever yours affectionately

T. B. M.

To Miss Fanny and Miss Selina Macaulay.

Ootacamund: August 10, 1834.

My dear Sisters,--I sent last month a full account of my journey
hither, and of the place, to Margaret, as the most stationary of
our family; desiring her to let you all see what I had written to
her. I think that I shall continue to take the same course. It is
better to write one full and connected narrative than a good many
imperfect fragments.

Money matters seem likely to go on capitally. My expenses, I
find, will be smaller than I anticipated. The Rate of Exchange,
if you know what that means, is very favourable indeed; and, if I
live, I shall get rich fast. I quite enjoy the thought of
appearing in the light of an old hunks who knows on which side
his bread is buttered; a warm man; a fellow who will cut up well.
This is not a character which the Macaulays have been much in the
habit of sustaining; but I can assure you that, after next
Christmas, I expect to lay up, on an average, about seven
thousand pounds a year, while I remain in India.

At Christmas I shall send home a thousand, or twelve hundred,
pounds for my father, and you all. I cannot tell you what a
comfort it is to me to find that I shall be able to do this. It
reconciles me to all the pains--acute enough, sometimes, God
knows,--of banishment. In a few years, if I live--probably in
less than five years from the time at which you will be reading
this letter--we shall be again together in a comfortable, though
a modest, home; certain of a good fire, a good joint of meat, and
a good glass of wine; without owing obligations to anybody; and
perfectly indifferent, at least as far as our pecuniary interest
is concerned, to the changes of the political world. Rely on it,
my dear girls, that there is no chance of my going back with my
heart cooled towards you. I came hither principally to save my
family, and I am not likely while here to forget them.

Ever yours

T. B. M.

The months of July and August Macaulay spent on the Neilgherries,
in a climate equable as Madeira and invigorating as Braemar;
where thickets of rhododendron fill the glades and clothe the
ridges; and where the air is heavy with the scent of rose-trees
of a size more fitted for an orchard than a flower-bed, and
bushes of heliotrope thirty paces round. The glories of the
forests and of the gardens touched him in spite of his profound
botanical ignorance, and he dilates more than once upon his
"cottage buried in laburnums, or something very like them, and
geraniums which grow in the open air." He had the more leisure
for the natural beauties of the place, as there was not much else
to interest even a traveller fresh from England.

"I have as yet seen little of the idolatry of India; and that
little, though excessively absurd, is not characterised by
atrocity or indecency. There is nothing of the sort at
Ootacamund. I have not, during the last six weeks, witnessed a
single circumstance from which you would have inferred that this
was a heathen country. The bulk of the natives here are a colony
from the plains below, who have come up hither to wait on the
European visitors, and who seem to trouble themselves very little
about caste or religion. The Todas, the aboriginal population of
these hills, are a very curious race. They had a grand funeral a
little while ago. I should have gone if it had not been a Council
day; but I found afterwards that I had lost nothing. The whole
ceremony consisted in sacrificing bullocks to the manes of the
defunct. The roaring of the poor victims was horrible. The people
stood talking and laughing till a particular signal was made, and
immediately all the ladies lifted up their voices and wept. I
have not lived three and thirty years in this world without
learning that a bullock roars when he is knocked down, and that a
woman can cry whenever she chooses.

"By all that I can learn, the Catholics are the most respectable
portion of the native Christians. As to Swartz's people in the
Tanjore, they are a perfect scandal to the religion which they
profess. It would have been thought something little short of
blasphemy to say this a year ago; but now it is considered
impious to say otherwise, for they have got into a violent
quarrel with the missionaries and the Bishop. The missionaries
refused to recognise the distinctions of caste in the
administration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and the
Bishop supported them in the refusal. I do not pretend to judge
whether this was right or wrong. Swartz and Bishop Heber
conceived that the distinction of caste, however objectionable
politically, was still only a distinction of rank; and that, as
in English churches the gentlefolks generally take the Sacrament
apart from the poor of the parish, so the high-caste natives
might be allowed to communicate apart from the Pariahs.

"But, whoever was first in the wrong, the Christians of Tanjore
took care to be most so. They called in the interposition of
Government, and sent up such petitions and memorials as I never
saw before or since; made up of lies, invectives, bragging, cant,
bad grammar of the most ludicrous kind, and texts of Scripture
quoted without the smallest application. I remember one passage
by heart, which is really only a fair specimen of the whole:
'These missionaries, my Lord, loving only filthy lucre, bid us to
eat Lord-supper with Pariahs as lives ugly, handling dead men,
drinking rack and toddy, sweeping the streets, mean fellows
altogether, base persons, contrary to that which Saint Paul
saith: I determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ
and Him crucified.'

"Was there ever a more appropriate quotation? I believe that
nobody on either side of the controversy found out a text so much
to the purpose as one which I cited to the Council of India, when
we were discussing this business: 'If this be a question of
words, and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be
no judge of such matters.' But though, like Gallio, I drove them
and their petitions from my judgment seat, I could not help
saying to one of the missionaries, who is here on the Hills, that
I thought it a pity to break up the Church of Tanjore on account
of a matter which such men as Swartz and Heber had not been
inclined to regard as essential. 'Sir,' said the reverend
gentleman, 'the sooner the Church of Tanjore is broken up the
better. You can form no notion of the worthlessness of the native
Christians there.' I could not dispute this point with him; but
neither could I help thinking, though I was too polite to say so,
that it was hardly worth the while of so many good men to come
fifteen thousand miles over sea and land in order to make
proselytes, who, their very instructors being judges, were more
children of hell than before."

Unfortunately Macaulay's stay on the Neilgherries coincided with
the monsoon. "The rain streamed down in floods. It was very
seldom that I could see a hundred yards in front of me. During a
month together I did not get two hours' walking." He began to be
bored, for the first and last time in his life; while his
companions, who had not his resources, were ready to hang
themselves for very dulness. The ordinary amusements with which,
in the more settled parts of India, our countrymen beguile the
rainy season, were wanting in a settlement that had only lately
been reclaimed from the desert; in the immediate vicinity of
which you still ran the chance of being "trod into the shape of
half a crown by a wild elephant, or eaten by the tigers, which
prefer this situation to the plains below for the same reason
that takes so many Europeans to India; they encounter an
uncongenial climate for the sake of what they can get." There
were no books in the place except those that Macaulay had brought
with him, among which, most luckily, was Clarissa Harlowe. Aided
by the rain outside, he soon talked his favourite romance into
general favour. The reader will consent to put up with one or two
slight inaccuracies in order to have the story told by Thackeray.

"I spoke to him once about Clarissa. 'Not read Clarissa!' he
cried out. 'If you have once read Clarissa, and are infected by
it, you can't leave it. When I was in India I passed one hot
season in the Hills; and there were the Governor-General, and the
Secretary of Government, and the Commander-in-Chief, and their
wives. I had Clarissa with me; and, as soon as they began to
read, the whole station was in a passion of excitement about Miss
Harlowe, and her misfortunes, and her scoundrelly Lovelace. The
Governor's wife seized the book; the Secretary waited for it; the
Chief justice could not read it for tears.' He acted the whole
scene; he paced up and down the Athenaeum library. I dare say he
could have spoken pages of the book; of that book, and of what
countless piles of others!"

An old Scotch doctor, a Jacobin and a free-thinker, who could
only be got to attend church by the positive orders of the
Governor-General, cried over the last volume until he was too ill
to appear at dinner. [Degenerate readers of our own day have
actually been provided with an abridgment of Clarissa, itself as
long as an ordinary novel. A wiser course than buying the
abridgment would be to commence the original at the Third volume.
In the same way, if anyone, after obtaining the outline of Lady
Clementina's story from a more adventurous friend, will read Sir
Charles Grandison, skipping all letters from Italians, to
Italians, and about Italians, he will find that he has got hold
of a delightful, and not unmanageable, book.] The Chief
Secretary,--afterwards, as Sir William Macnaghten, the hero and
the victim of the darkest episode in our Indian history,--
declared that reading this copy of Clarissa, under the
inspiration of its owner's enthusiasm, was nothing less than an
epoch in his life. After the lapse of thirty years, when
Ootacamund had long enjoyed the advantage of a book-club and a
circulating library, the tradition of Macaulay and his novel
still lingered on with a tenacity most unusual in the ever-
shifting society of an Indian station.

"At length Lord William gave me leave of absence. My bearers were
posted along the road; my palanquins were packed; and I was to
start next day; when an event took place which may give you some
insight into the state of the laws, morals, and manners among the

"My new servant, a Christian, but such a Christian as the
missionaries make in this part of the world, had been persecuted
most unmercifully for his religion by the servants of some other
gentlemen on the Hills. At last they contrived to excite against
him (whether justly or unjustly I am quite unable to say) the
jealousy of one of Lord William's under-cooks. We had accordingly
a most glorious tragi-comedy; the part of Othello by the cook
aforesaid; Desdemona by an ugly, impudent Pariah girl, his wife;
Iago by Colonel Casement's servant; and Michael Cassio by my
rascal. The place of the handkerchief was supplied by a small
piece of sugar-candy which Desdemona was detected in the act of
sucking, and which had found its way from my canisters to her
fingers. If I had any part in the piece, it was, I am afraid,
that of Roderigo, whom Shakespeare describes as a 'foolish
gentleman,' and who also appears to have had 'money in his

"On the evening before my departure my bungalow was besieged by a
mob of blackguards. The Native judge came with them. After a most
prodigious quantity of jabbering, of which I could not understand
one word, I called the judge, who spoke tolerable English, into
my room, and learned from him the nature of the case. I was, and
still am, in doubt as to the truth of the charge. I have a very
poor opinion of my man's morals, and a very poor opinion also of
the veracity of his accusers. It was, however, so very
inconvenient for me to be just then deprived of my servant that I
offered to settle the business at my own expense. Under ordinary
circumstances this would have been easy enough, for the Hindoos
of the lower castes have no delicacy on these subjects. The
husband would gladly have taken a few rupees, and walked away;
but the persecutors of my servant interfered, and insisted that
he should be brought to trial in order that they might have the
pleasure of smearing him with filth, giving him a flogging,
beating kettles before him, and carrying him round on an ass
with his face to the tail.

"As the matter could not be accommodated, I begged the Judge to
try the case instantly; but the rabble insisted that the trial
should not take place for some days. I argued the matter with
them very mildly, and told them that I must go next day, and
that, if my servant were detained, guilty or innocent, he must
lose his situation. The gentle and reasoning tone of my
expostulations only made them impudent. They are, in truth, a
race so accustomed to be trampled on by the strong that they
always consider humanity as a sign of weakness. The Judge told me
that he never heard a gentleman speak such sweet words to the
people. But I was now at an end of my sweet words. My blood was
beginning to boil at the undisguised display of rancorous hatred
and shameless injustice. I sate down, and wrote a line to the
Commandant of the station, begging him to give orders that the
case might be tried that very evening. The Court assembled, and
continued all night in violent contention. At last the judge
pronounced my servant not guilty. I did not then know, what I
learned some days after, that this respectable magistrate had
received twenty rupees on the occasion.

"The husband would now gladly have taken the money which he
refused the day before; but I would not give him a farthing. The
rascals who had raised the disturbance were furious. My servant
was to set out at eleven in the morning, and I was to follow at
two. He had scarcely left the door when I heard a noise. I looked
forth, and saw that the gang had pulled him out of his palanquin,
torn off his turban, stripped him almost naked, and were, as it
seemed, about to pull him to pieces. I snatched up a sword-stick,
and ran into the middle of them. It was all I could do to force
my way to him, and, for a moment, I thought my own person was in
danger as well as his. I supported the poor wretch in my arms;
for, like most of his countrymen, he is a chickenhearted fellow,
and was almost fainting away. My honest barber, a fine old
soldier in the Company's service, ran off for assistance, and
soon returned with some police officers. I ordered the bearers to
turn round, and proceeded instantly to the house of the
Commandant. I was not long detained here. Nothing can be well
imagined more expeditious than the administration of justice in
this country, when the judge is a Colonel, and the plaintiff a
Councillor. I told my story in three words. In three minutes the
rioters were marched off to prison, and my servant, with a sepoy
to guard him, was fairly on his road and out of danger."

Early next morning Macaulay began to descend the pass.

"After going down for about an hour we emerged from the clouds
and moisture, and the plain of Mysore lay before us--a vast ocean
of foliage on which the sun was shining gloriously. I am very
little given to cant about the beauties of nature, but I was
moved almost to tears. I jumped off the palanquin, and walked in
front of it down the immense declivity. In two hours we descended
about three thousand feet. Every turning in the road showed the
boundless forest below in some new point of view. I was greatly
struck with the resemblance which this prodigious jungle, as old
as the world and planted by nature, bears to the fine works of
the great English landscape gardeners. It was exactly a Wentworth
Park, as large as Devonshire. After reaching the foot of the
hills, we travelled through a succession of scenes which might
have been part of the garden of Eden. Such gigantic trees I never
saw. In a quarter of an hour I passed hundreds the smallest of
which would bear a comparison with any of those oaks which are
shown as prodigious in England. The grass, the weeds, and the
wild flowers grew as high as my head. The sun, almost a stranger
to me, was now shining brightly; and, when late in the afternoon
I again got out of my palanquin and looked back, I saw the large
mountain ridge from which I had descended twenty miles behind me,
still buried in the same mass of fog and rain in which I had been
living for weeks.

"On Tuesday, the 16th" (of September), "I went on board at
Madras. I amused myself on the voyage to Calcutta with learning
Portuguese, and made myself almost as well acquainted with it as
I care to be. I read the Lusiad, and am now reading it a second
time. I own that I am disappointed in Camoens; but I have so
often found my first impressions wrong on such subjects that I
still hope to be able to join my voice to that of the great body
of critics. I never read any famous foreign book, which did not,
in the first perusal, fall short of my expectations; except
Dante's poem, and Don Quixote, which were prodigiously superior
to what I had imagined. Yet in these cases I had not pitched my
expectations low."

He had not much time for his Portuguese studies. The run was
unusually fast, and the ship only spent a week in the Bay of
Bengal, and forty-eight hours in the Hooghly. He found his sister
comfortably installed in Government House, where he himself took
up his quarters during the next six weeks; Lady William Bentinck
having been prepared to welcome him as her guest by her
husband's letters, more than one of which ended with the words "e
un miracolo." Towards the middle of November, Macaulay began
housekeeping for himself; living, as he always loved to live,
rather more generously than the strict necessities of his
position demanded. His residence, then the best in Calcutta, has
long since been converted into the Bengal Club.

To Macvey Napier, Esq.

Calcutta: December 10, 1834.

Dear Napier,--First to business. At length I send you the article
on Mackintosh; an article which has the merit of length, whatever
it may be deficient in. As I wished to transmit it to England in
duplicate, if not in triplicate, I thought it best to have two or
three copies coarsely printed here under the seal of strict
secresy. The printers at Edinburgh will, therefore, have no
trouble in deciphering my manuscript, and the corrector of the
press will find his work done to his hands.

The disgraceful imbecility, and the still more disgraceful
malevolence, of the editor have, as you will see, moved my
indignation not a little. I hope that Longman's connection with
the Review will not prevent you from inserting what I have said
on this subject. Murray's copy writers are unsparingly abused by
Southey and Lockhart in the Quarterly; and it would be hard
indeed if we might not in the Edinburgh strike hard at an
assailant of Mackintosh.

I shall now begin another article. The subject I have not yet
fixed upon; perhaps the romantic poetry of Italy, for which there
is an excellent opportunity; Panizzi's reprint of Boiardo;
perhaps the little volume of Burnet's Characters edited by Bishop
Jebb. This reminds me that I have to acknowledge the receipt of a
box from Longman, containing this little book; and other books of
much greater value, Grimm's Correspondence, Jacquemont's Letters,
and several foreign works on jurisprudence. All that you have yet
sent have been excellently chosen. I will mention, while I am on
this subject, a few books which I want, and which I am not likely
to pick up here--Daru's Histoire de Venise; St. Real's
Conjuration de Venise; Fra Paolo's works; Monstrelet's Chronicle;
and Coxe's book on the Pelhams. I should also like to have a
really good edition of Lucian.

My sister desires me to send you her kind regards. She remembers
her visit to Edinburgh, and your hospitality, with the greatest
pleasure. Calcutta is called, and not without some reason, the
city of palaces; but I have seen nothing in the East like the
view from the Castle Rock, nor expect to see anything like it
till we stand there together again.

Kindest regards to Lord Jeffrey.

Yours most truly


To Mrs. Cropper.

Calcutta: December 7, 1834.

Dearest Margaret,--I rather suppose that some late letters from
Nancy may have prepared you to learn what I am now about to
communicate. She is going to be married, and with my fullest and
warmest approbation. I can truly say that, if I had to search
India for a husband for her, I could have found no man to whom I
could with equal confidence have entrusted her happiness.
Trevelyan is about eight and twenty. He was educated at the
Charter-house, and then went to Haileybury, and came out hither.
In this country he has distinguished himself beyond any man of
his standing by his great talent for business; by his liberal and
enlarged views of policy; and by literary merit, which, for his
opportunities, is considerable. He was at first placed at Delhi
under ---, a very powerful and a very popular man, but extremely
corrupt. This man tried to initiate Trevelyan in his own infamous
practices. But the young fellow's spirit was too noble for such
things. When only twenty-one years of age he publicly accused ---,
then almost at the head of the service, of receiving bribes
from the natives. A perfect storm was raised against the accuser.
He was almost everywhere abused, and very generally cut. But with
a firmness and ability scarcely ever seen in any man so young, he
brought his proofs forward, and, after an inquiry of some weeks,
fully made out his case. --- was dismissed in disgrace, and is
now living obscurely in England. The Government here and the
Directors at home applauded Trevelyan in the highest terms; and
from that tithe he has been considered as a man likely to rise to
the very top of the service. Lord William told him to ask for
anything that he wished for. Trevelyan begged that something
might be done for his elder brother, who is in the Company's
army. Lord William told him that he had richly earned that or
anything else, and gave Lieutenant Trevelyan a very good
diplomatic employment. Indeed Lord William, a man who makes no
favourites, has always given to Trevelyan the strongest marks,
not of a blind partiality, but of a thoroughly well-grounded and
discriminating esteem.

Not long ago Trevelyan was appointed by him to the Under
Secretaryship for foreign affairs, an office of a very important
and confidential nature. While holding the place he was
commissioned to report to Government on the operation of the
Internal Transit duties of India. About a year ago his Report was
completed. I shall send to England a copy or two of it by the
first safe conveyance; for nothing that I can say of his
abilities, or of his public spirit, will be half so satisfactory.
I have no hesitation in affirming that it is a perfect
masterpiece in its kind. Accustomed as I have been to public
affairs, I never read an abler State paper; and I do not believe
that there is, I will not say in India, but in England, another
man of twenty-seven who could have written it. Trevelyan is a
most stormy reformer. Lord William said to me, before anyone had
observed Trevelyan's attentions to Nancy: "That man is almost
always on the right side in every question; and it is well that
he is so, for he gives a most confounded deal of trouble when he
happens to take the wrong one." [Macaulay used to apply to his
future brother-in-law the remark which Julius Caesar made with
regard to his young friend Brutus: "Magni refert hic quid velit;
sed quidquid volet, valde volet."] He is quite at the head of
that active party among the younger servants of the Company who
take the side of improvement. In particular, he is the soul of
every scheme for diffusing education among the natives of this
country. His reading has been very confined; but to the little
that he has read he has brought a mind as active and restless as
Lord Brougham's, and much more judicious and honest.

As to his person, he always looks like a gentleman, particularly
on horseback. He is very active and athletic, and is renowned as
a great master in the most exciting and perilous of field sports,
the spearing of wild boars. His face has a most characteristic
expression of ardour and impetuosity, which makes his countenance
very interesting to me. Birth is a thing that I care nothing
about; but his family is one of the oldest and best in England.

During the important years of his life, from twenty to twenty-
five, or thereabouts, Trevelyan was in a remote province of
India, where his whole time was divided between public business
and field sports, and where he seldom saw a European gentleman
and never a European lady. He has no small talk. His mind is full
of schemes of moral and political improvement, and his zeal boils
over in his talk. His topics, even in courtship, are steam
navigation, the education of the natives, the equalisation of the
sugar duties, the substitution of the Roman for the Arabic
alphabet in the Oriental languages.

I saw the feeling growing from the first; for, though I generally
pay not the smallest attention to those matters, I had far too
deep an interest in Nancy's happiness not to watch her behaviour
to everybody who saw much of her. I knew it, I believe, before
she knew it herself; and I could most easily have prevented it by
merely treating Trevelyan with a little coldness, for he is a man
whom the smallest rebuff would completely discourage. But you
will believe, my dearest Margaret, that no thought of such base
selfishness ever passed through my mind. I would as soon have
locked my dear Nancy up in a nunnery as have put the smallest
obstacle in the way of her having a good husband. I therefore
gave every facility and encouragement to both of them. What I
have myself felt it is unnecessary to say. My parting from you
almost broke my heart. But when I parted from you I had Nancy; I
had all my other relations; I had my friends; I had my country.
Now I have nothing except the resources of my own mind, and the
consciousness of having acted not ungenerously. But I do not
repine. Whatever I suffer I have brought on myself. I have
neglected the plainest lessons of reason and experience. I have
staked my happiness without calculating the chances of the dice.
I have hewn out broken cisterns; I have leant on a reed; I have
built on the sand; and I have fared accordingly. I must bear my
punishment as I can; and, above all, I must take care that the
punishment does not extend beyond myself.

Nothing can be kinder than Nancy's conduct has been. She proposes
that we should form one family; and Trevelyan, (though, like most
lovers, he would, I imagine, prefer having his goddess to
himself,) consented with strong expressions of pleasure. The
arrangement is not so strange as it might seem at home. The thing
is often done here; and those quarrels between servants, which
would inevitably mar any such plan in England, are not to be
apprehended in an Indian establishment. One advantage there will
be in our living together of a most incontestable sort; we shall
both be able to save more money. Trevelyan will soon be entitled
to his furlough; but he proposes not to take it till I go home.

I shall write in a very different style from this to my father.
To him I shall represent the marriage as what it is, in every
respect except its effect on my own dreams of happiness--a most
honourable and happy event; prudent in a worldly point of view;
and promising all the felicity which strong mutual affection,
excellent principles on both sides, good temper, youth, health,
and the general approbation of friends can afford. As for myself,
it is a tragical denouement of an absurd plot. I remember quoting
some nursery rhymes, years ago, when you left me in London to
join Nancy at Rothley Temple or Leamington, I forget which. Those
foolish lines contain the history of my life.

"There were two birds that sat on a stone;
One flew away, and there was but one.
The other flew away, and then there was none;
And the poor stone was left all alone."

Ever, my dearest Margaret, yours


A passage from a second letter to the same person deserves to be
quoted, as an instance of how a good man may be unable to read
aright his own nature, and a wise man to forecast his own future.
"I feel a growing tendency to cynicism and suspicion. My
intellect remains; and is likely, I sometimes think, to absorb
the whole man. I still retain, (not only undiminished, but
strengthened by the very events which have deprived me of
everything else,) my thirst for knowledge; my passion for holding
converse with the greatest minds of all ages and nations; any
power of forgetting what surrounds me, and of living with the
past, the future, the distant, and the unreal. Books are
becoming everything to me. If I had at this moment my choice of
life, I would bury myself in one of those immense libraries that
we saw together at the universities, and never pass a waking hour
without a book before me." So little was Macaulay aware that,
during the years which were to come, his thoughts and cares would
be less than ever for himself, and more for others, and that his
existence would be passed amidst a bright atmosphere of
affectionate domestic happiness, which, until his own death
came, no accident was thenceforward destined to overcloud.

But, before his life assumed the equable and prosperous tenor in
which it continued to the end, one more trouble was in store for
him. Long before the last letters to his sister Margaret had been
written, the eyes which were to have read them had been closed
for ever. The fate of so young a wife and mother touched deeply
all who had known her, and some who knew her only by name.
[Moultrie made Mrs. Cropper's death the subject of some verses on
which her relatives set a high value. He acknowledges his little
poem to be the tribute of one who had been a stranger to her whom
it was written to commemorate:

"And yet methinks we are not strange: so many claims there be
Which seem to weave a viewless band between my soul and thee.
Sweet sister of my early friend, the kind, the singlehearted,
Than whose remembrance none more bright still gilds the days departed!
Beloved, with more than sister's love, by some whose love to me
Is now almost my brightest gem in this world's treasury."]

When the melancholy news arrived in India, the young couple were
spending their honeymoon in a lodge in the Governor-General's
park at Barrackpore. They immediately returned to Calcutta, and,
under the shadow of a great sorrow, began their sojourn in their
brother's house, who, for his part, did what he might to drown
his grief in floods of official work. ["April 8. Lichfield.
Easter Sunday. After the service was ended we went over the
Cathedral. When I stood before the famous children by Chantrey, I
could think only of one thing; that, when last I was there, in
1832, my dear sister Margaret was with me and that she was
greatly affected. I could not command my tears and was forced to
leave our party, and walk about by myself."--Macaulay's Journal
for the year 1849.]

The narrative of that work may well be the despair of Macaulay's
biographer. It would be inexcusable to slur over what in many
important respects was the most honourable chapter of his life;
while, on the other hand, the task of interesting Englishmen in
the details of Indian administration is an undertaking which has
baffled every pen except his own. In such a dilemma the safest
course is to allow that pen to tell the story for itself; or
rather so much of the story as, by concentrating the attention of
the reader upon matters akin to those which are in frequent
debate at home, may enable him to judge whether Macaulay, at the
council-board and the bureau, was the equal of Macaulay in the
senate and the library.

Examples of his Minute-writing may with some confidence be
submitted to the criticism of those whose experience of public
business has taught them in what a Minute should differ from a
Despatch, a Memorial, a Report, and a Decision. His method of
applying general principles to the circumstances of a special
case, and of illustrating those principles with just as much
literary ornament as would place his views in a pictorial form
before the minds of those whom it was his business to convince,
is strikingly exhibited in the series of papers by means of which
he reconciled his colleagues in the Council, and his masters in
Leadenhall Street, to the removal of the modified Censorship
which existed in India previously to the year 1835.

"It is difficult," he writes, "to conceive that any measures can
be more indefensible than those which I propose to repeal. It has
always been the practice of politic rulers to disguise their
arbitrary measures under popular forms and names. The conduct of
the Indian Government with respect to the Press has been
altogether at variance with this trite and obvious maxim. The
newspapers have for years been allowed as ample a measure of
practical liberty as that which they enjoy in England. If any
inconveniences arise from the liberty of political discussion, to
those inconveniences we are already subject. Yet while our policy
is thus liberal and indulgent, we are daily reproached and
taunted with the bondage in which we keep the Press. A strong
feeling on this subject appears to exist throughout the European
community here; and the loud complaints which have lately been
uttered are likely to produce a considerable effect on the
English people, who will see at a glance that the law is
oppressive, and who will not know how completely it is

"To impose strong restraints on political discussion is an
intelligible policy, and may possibly--though I greatly doubt it--
be in some countries a wise policy. But this is not the point at
issue. The question before us is not whether the Press shall be
free, but whether, being free, it shall be called free. It is
surely mere madness in a Government to make itself unpopular for
nothing; to be indulgent, and yet to disguise its indulgence
under such outward forms as bring on it the reproach of tyranny.
Yet this is now our policy. We are exposed to all the dangers--
dangers, I conceive, greatly over-rated--of a free Press; and at
the same time we contrive to incur all the opprobrium of a
censorship. It is universally allowed that the licensing system,
as at present administered, does not keep any man who can buy a
press from publishing the bitterest and most sarcastic
reflections on any public measure, or any public functionary. Yet
the very words 'license to print' have a sound hateful to the
ears of Englishmen in every part of the globe. It is unnecessary
to inquire whether this feeling be reasonable; whether the
petitioners who have so strongly pressed this matter on our
consideration would not have shown a better judgment if they had
been content with their practical liberty, and had reserved their
murmurs for practical grievances. The question for us is not what
they ought to do, but what we ought to do; not whether it be wise
in them to complain when they suffer no injury, but whether it be
wise in us to incur odium unaccompanied by the smallest accession
of security or of power.

"One argument only has been urged in defence of the present
system. It is admitted that the Press of Bengal has long been
suffered to enjoy practical liberty, and that nothing but an
extreme emergency could justify the Government in curtailing that
liberty. But, it is said, such an emergency may arise, and the
Government ought to retain in its hands the power of adopting,
in that event, the sharp, prompt, and decisive measures which may
be necessary for the preservation of the Empire. But when we
consider with what vast powers, extending over all classes of
people, Parliament has armed the Governor-General in Council,
and, in extreme cases, the Governor-General alone, we shall
probably be inclined to allow little weight to this argument. No
Government in the world is better provided with the means of
meeting extraordinary dangers by extraordinary precautions. Five
persons, who may be brought together in half an hour, whose
deliberations are secret, who are not shackled by any of those
forms which elsewhere delay legislative measures, can, in a
single sitting, make a law for stopping every press in India.
Possessing as we do the unquestionable power to interfere,
whenever the safety of the State array require it, with
overwhelming rapidity and energy, we surely ought not, in quiet
times, to be constantly keeping the offensive form and ceremonial
of despotism before the eyes of those whom, nevertheless, we
permit to enjoy the substance of freedom."

Eighteen months elapsed; during which the Calcutta Press found
occasion to attack Macaulay with a breadth and ferocity of
calumny such as few public men, in any age or country, have ever
endured, and none, perhaps, have ever forgiven. There were many
mornings when it was impossible for him to allow the newspapers
to lie about his sister's drawing-room.

The Editor of the Periodical which called itself, and had a right
to call itself, the "Friend of India," undertook to shame his
brethren by publishing a collection of their invectives; but it
was very soon evident that no decent journal could venture to
foul its pages by reprinting the epithets, and the anecdotes,
which constituted the daily greeting of the literary men of
Calcutta to their fellow-craftsman of the Edinburgh Review. But
Macaulay's cheery and robust common sense carried him safe and
sound through an ordeal which has broken down sterner natures
than his, and embittered as stainless lives. The allusions in his
correspondence, all the more surely because they are brief and
rare, indicate that the torrent of obloquy to which he was
exposed interfered neither with his temper nor with his
happiness; and how little he allowed it to disturb his judgment
or distort his public spirit is proved by the tone of a State
paper, addressed to the Court of Directors in September 1836, in
which he eagerly vindicates the freedom of the Calcutta Press, at
a time when the writers of that Press, on the days when they were
pleased to be decent, could find for him no milder appellations
than those of cheat, swindler, and charlatan.

"I regret that on this, or on any subject, my opinion should
differ from that of the Honourable Court. But I still
conscientiously think that we acted wisely when we passed the law
on the subject of the Press; and I am quite certain that we
should act most unwisely if we were now to repeal that law.

"I must, in the first place, venture to express an opinion that
the importance of that question is greatly over-rated by persons,
even the best informed and the most discerning, who are not
actually on the spot. It is most justly observed by the
Honourable Court that many of the arguments which may be urged in
favour of a free Press at home do not apply to this country. But
it is, I conceive, no less true that scarcely any of those
arguments which have been employed in Europe to defend
restrictions on the Press apply to a Press such as that of India.

"In Europe, and especially in England, the Press is an engine of
tremendous power, both for good and for evil. The most
enlightened men, after long experience both of its salutary and
of its pernicious operation, have come to the conclusion that the
good on the whole preponderates. But that there is no
inconsiderable amount of evil to be set off against the good has
never been disputed by the warmest friend to freedom of

"In India the Press is comparatively a very feeble engine. It
does far less good and far less harm than in Europe. It sometimes
renders useful services to the public. It sometimes brings to the
notice of the Government evils the existence of which would
otherwise have been unknown. It operates, to some extent, as a
salutary check on public functionaries. It does something towards
keeping the administration pure. On the other hand, by
misrepresenting public measures, and by flattering the prejudices
of those who support it, it sometimes produces a slight degree of
excitement in a very small portion of the community.

"How slight that excitement is, even when it reaches its greatest
height, and how little the Government has to fear from it, no
person whose observation has been confined to European societies
will readily believe. In this country the number of English
residents is very small, and, of that small number, a great
proportion are engaged in the service of the State, and are most
deeply interested in the maintenance of existing institutions.
Even those English settlers who are not in the service of the
Government have a strong interest in its stability. They are few;
they are thinly scattered among a vast population, with whom they
have neither language, nor religion, nor morals, nor manners, nor
colour in common; they feel that any convulsion which should
overthrow the existing order of things would be ruinous to
themselves. Particular acts of the Government--especially acts
which are mortifying to the pride of caste naturally felt by an
Englishman in India--are often angrily condemned by these persons.
But every indigo-planter in Tirhoot, and every shopkeeper in
Calcutta, is perfectly aware that the downfall of the Government
would be attended with the destruction of his fortune, and with
imminent hazard to his life.

"Thus, among the English inhabitants of India, there are no fit
subjects for that species of excitement which the Press sometimes
produces at home. There is no class among them analogous to that
vast body of English labourers and artisans whose minds are
rendered irritable by frequent distress and privation, and on
whom, therefore, the sophistry and rhetoric of bad men often
produce a tremendous effect. The English papers here might be
infinitely more seditious than the most seditious that were ever
printed in London without doing harm to anything but their own
circulation. The fire goes out for want of some combustible
material on which to seize. How little reason would there be to
apprehend danger to order and property in England from the most
inflammatory writings, if those writings were read only by
Ministers of State, Commissioners of the Customs and Excise,
Judges and Masters in Chancery, upper clerks in Government
offices, officers in the army, bankers, landed proprietors,
barristers, and master manufacturers! The most timid politician
would not anticipate the smallest evil from the most seditious
libels, if the circulation of those libels were confined to such
a class of readers; and it is to such a class of readers that the
circulation of the English newspapers in India is almost entirely

The motive for the scurrility with which Macaulay was assailed by
a handful of sorry scribblers was his advocacy of the Act
familiarly known as the Black Act, which withdrew from British
subjects resident in the provinces their so-called privilege of
bringing civil appeals before the Supreme Court at Calcutta. Such
appeals were thenceforward to be tried by the Sudder Court, which
was manned by the Company's judges, "all of them English
gentlemen of liberal education; as free as even the judges of the
Supreme Court from any imputation of personal corruption, and
selected by the Government from a body which abounds in men as
honourable and as intelligent as ever were employed in the
service of any state." The change embodied in the Act was one of
little practical moment; but it excited an opposition based upon
arguments and assertions of such a nature that the success or
failure of the proposed measure became a question of high and
undeniable importance.

"In my opinion," writes Macaulay, "the chief reason for
preferring the Sudder Court is this--that it is the court which
we have provided to administer justice, in the last resort, to
the great body of the people. If it is not fit for that purpose,
it ought to be made so. If it is fit to administer justice to the
great body of the people, why should we exempt a mere handful of
settlers from its jurisdiction? There certainly is, I will not
say the reality, but the semblance of partiality and tyranny in
the distinction made by the Charter Act of 1813. That distinction
seems to indicate a notion that the natives of India may well put
up with something less than justice, or that Englishmen in India
have a title to something more than justice. If we give our own
countrymen an appeal to the King's Courts, in cases in which all
others are forced to be contented with the Company's Courts, we
do in fact cry down the Company's Courts. We proclaim to the
Indian people that there are two sorts of justice--a coarse one,
which we think good enough for then, and another of superior
quality, which we keep for ourselves. If we take pains to show
that we distrust our highest courts, how can we expect that the
natives of the country will place confidence in them?

"The draft of the Act was published, and was, as I fully
expected, not unfavourably received by the British in the
Mofussil. [The term "Mofussil" is used to denote the provinces of
the Bengal Presidency, as opposed to the Capital.] Seven weeks
have elapsed since the notification took place. Time has been
allowed for petitions from the furthest corners of the
territories subject to this Presidency. But I have heard of only
one attempt in the Mofussil to get up a remonstrance; and the
Mofussil newspapers which I have seen, though generally disposed
to cavil at all the acts of the Government, have spoken
favourably of this measure.

"In Calcutta the case has been somewhat different; and this is a
remarkable fact. The British inhabitants of Calcutta are the only
British-born subjects in Bengal who will not be affected by the
proposed Act; and they are the only British subjects in Bengal
who have expressed the smallest objection to it. The clamour,
indeed, has proceeded from a very small portion of the society of
Calcutta. The objectors have not ventured to call a public
meeting, and their memorial has obtained very few signatures. But
they have attempted to make up by noise and virulence for what
has been wanting in strength. It may at first sight appear
strange that a law, which is not unwelcome to those who are to
live under it, should excite such acrimonious feelings among
people who are wholly exempted from its operation. But the
explanation is simple. Though nobody who resides at Calcutta will
be sued in the Mofussil courts, many people who reside at
Calcutta have, or wish to have, practice in the Supreme Court.
Great exertions have accordingly been made, though with little
success, to excite a feeling against this measure among the
English inhabitants of Calcutta.

"The political phraseology of the English in India is the same
with the political phraseology of our countrymen at home; but it
is never to be forgotten that the same words stand for very
different things at London and at Calcutta. We hear much about
public opinion, the love of liberty, the influence of the Press.
But we must remember that public opinion means the opinion of
five hundred persons who have no interest, feeling, or taste in
common with the fifty millions among whom they live; that the
love of liberty means the strong objection which the five hundred
feel to every measure which can prevent them from acting as they
choose towards the fifty millions, that the Press is altogether
supported by the five hundred, and has no motive to plead the
cause of the fifty millions.

"We know that India cannot have a free Government. But she may
have the next best thing--a firm and impartial despotism. The
worst state in which she can possibly be placed is that in which
the memorialists would place her. They call on us to recognise
them as a privileged order of freemen in the midst of slaves. it
was for the purpose of averting this great evil that Parliament,
at the same time at which it suffered Englishmen to settle in
India, armed us with those large powers which, in my opinion, we
ill deserve to possess, if we have, not the spirit to use them

Macaulay had made two mistakes. He had yielded to the temptation
of imputing motives, a habit which the Spectator newspaper has
pronounced to be his one intellectual vice, finely adding that it
is "the vice of rectitude;" and he had done worse still, for he
had challenged his opponents to a course of agitation. They
responded to the call. After preparing the way by a string of
communications to the public journals, in to which their
objections to the Act were set forth at enormous length, and with
as much point and dignity as can be obtained by a copious use of
italics and capital letters, they called a public meeting, the
proceedings at which were almost too ludicrous for description.
"I have seen," said one of the speakers, "at a Hindoo festival, a
naked dishevelled figure, his face painted with grotesque
colours, and his long hair besmeared with dirt and ashes. His
tongue was pierced with an iron bar, and his breast was scorched
by the fire from the burning altar which rested on his stomach.
This revolting figure, covered with ashes, dirt, and bleeding
voluntary wounds, may the next moment ascend the Sudder bench,
and in a suit between a Hindoo and an Englishman think it an act
of sanctity to decide against law in favour of the professor of
the true faith." Another gentleman, Mr. Longueville Clarke,
reminded "the tyrant" that

There yawns the sack, and yonder rolls the sea.

"Mr. Macaulay may treat this as an idle threat; but his knowledge
of history will supply him with many examples of what has
occurred when resistance has been provoked by milder instances of
despotism than the decimation of a people." This pretty explicit
recommendation to lynch a Member of Council was received with
rapturous applause.

At length arose a Captain Biden, who spoke as follows:
"Gentlemen, I come before you in the character of a British
seaman, and on that ground claim your attention for a few
moments. Gentlemen, there has been much talk during the evening
of laws, and regulations, and rights, and liberties; but you all
seem to have forgotten that this is the anniversary of the
glorious Battle of Waterloo. I beg to propose, and I call on the
statue of Lord Cornwallis and yourselves to join me in three
cheers for the Duke of Wellington and the Battle of Waterloo."
The audience, who by this time were pretty well convinced that no
grievance which could possibly result under the Black Act could
equal the horrors of a crowd in the Town Hall of Calcutta during
the latter half of June, gladly caught at the diversion, and made
noise enough to satisfy even the gallant orator. The business was
brought to a hurried close, and the meeting was adjourned till
the following week.

But the luck of Macaulay's adversaries pursued them still. One of
the leading speakers at the adjourned meeting, himself a
barrister, gave another barrister the lie, and a tumult ensued
which Captain Biden in vain endeavoured to calm by his favourite
remedy. "The opinion at Madras, Bombay, and Canton," said he,--
and in so saying he uttered the only sentence of wisdom which
either evening had produced,--"is that there is no public opinion
at Calcutta but the lawyers. And now,--who has the presumption to
call it a burlesque?--let's give three cheers for the Battle of
Waterloo, and then I'll propose an amendment which shall go into
the whole question." The Chairman, who certainly had earned the
vote of thanks for "his very extraordinary patience," which
Captain Biden was appropriately selected to move, contrived to
get resolutions passed in favour of petitioning Parliament and
the Home Government against the obnoxious Act.

The next few weeks were spent by the leaders of the movement in
squabbling over the preliminaries of duels that never came off,
and applying for criminal informations for libel against each
other, which their beloved Supreme Court very judiciously refused
to grant; but in the course of time the petitions were signed,
and an agent was selected, who undertook to convey them to
England. On the 22nd of March, 1838, a Committee of inquiry into
the operation of the Act was moved for in the House of Commons;
but there was nothing in the question which tempted Honourable
Members to lay aside their customary indifference with regard to
Indian controversies, and the motion fell through without a
division. The House allowed the Government to have its own way in
the matter; and any possible hesitation on the part of the
Ministers was borne down by the emphasis with which Macaulay
claimed their support. "I conceive," he wrote, "that the Act is
good in itself, and that the time for passing it has been well
chosen. The strongest reason, however, for passing it is the
nature of the opposition which it has experienced. The organs of
that opposition repeated every day that the English were the
conquerors, and the lords of the country, the dominant race; the
electors of the House of Commons, whose power extends both over
the Company at home, and over the Governor-General in Council
here. The constituents of the British Legislature, they told us,
were not to be bound by laws made by any inferior authority. The
firmness with which the Government withstood the idle outcry of
two or three hundred people, about a matter with which they had
nothing to do, was designated as insolent defiance of public
opinion. We were enemies of freedom, because we would not suffer
a small white aristocracy to domineer over millions. How utterly
at variance these principles are with reason, with justice, with
the honour of the British Government, and with the dearest
interests of the Indian people, it is unnecessary for me to point
out. For myself, I can only say that, if the Government is to be
conducted on such principles, I am utterly disqualified, by all
my feelings and opinions, from bearing any part in it, and cannot
too soon resign my place to some person better fitted to hold

It is fortunate for India that a man with the tastes, and the
training, of Macaulay came to her shores as one vested with
authority, and that he came at the moment when he did; for that
moment was the very turning-point of her intellectual progress.
All educational action had been at a stand for some time back, on
account of an irreconcilable difference of opinion in the
Committee of Public Instruction; which was divided, five against
five, on either side of a controversy,--vital, inevitable,
admitting of neither postponement nor compromise, and conducted
by both parties with a pertinacity and a warmth that was nothing
but honourable to those concerned. Half of the members were for
maintaining and extending the old scheme of encouraging Oriental
learning by stipends paid to students in Sanscrit, Persian, and
Arabic; and by liberal grants for the publication of works in
those languages. The other half were in favour of teaching the
elements of knowledge in the vernacular tongues, and the higher
branches in English. On his arrival, Macaulay was appointed
President of the Committee; but he declined to take any active
part in its proceedings until the Government had finally
pronounced on the question at issue. Later in January 1835 the
advocates of the two systems, than whom ten abler men could not
be found in the service, laid their opinions before the Supreme
Council; and, on the and of February, Macaulay, as a member of
that Council, produced a minute in which he adopted and defended
the views of the English section in the Committee.

"How stands the case? We have to educate a people who cannot at
present be educated by means of their mother-tongue. We must
teach them some foreign language. The claims of our own language
it is hardly necessary to recapitulate. It stands preeminent even
among the languages of the West. It abounds with works of
imagination not inferior to the noblest which Greece has
bequeathed to us; with models of every species of eloquence; with
historical compositions, which, considered merely as narratives,
have seldom been surpassed, and which, considered as vehicles of
ethical and political instruction, have never been equalled; with
just and lively representations of human life and human nature;
with the most profound speculations on metaphysics, morals,
government, jurisprudence, and trade; with full and correct
information respecting every experimental science which tends to
preserve the health, to increase the comfort, or to expand the
intellect of man. Whoever knows that language has ready access to
all the vast intellectual wealth which the the wisest nations of
the earth have created and hoarded in the course of ninety
generations. It may safely be said that the literature now extant
in that language is of far greater value than all the literature
which three hundred years ago was extant in all the languages of
the world together. Nor is this all. In India, English is the
language spoken by the ruling class. It is spoken by the higher
class of natives at the seats of government. It is likely to
become the language of commerce throughout the seas of the East.
It is the language of two great European communities which are
rising, the one in the south of Africa, the other in Australasia;
communities which are every year becoming more important, and
more closely connected with our Indian Empire. Whether we look at
the intrinsic value of our literature or at the particular
situation of this country, we shall see the strongest reason to
think that, of all foreign tongues, the English tongue is that
which would be the most useful to our native subjects.

"The question now before us is simply whether, when it is in our
power to teach this language, we shall teach languages in which,
by universal confession, there are no books on any subject which
deserve to be compared to our own; whether, when we can teach
European science, we shall teach systems which, by universal
confession, whenever they differ from those of Europe, differ for
the worse; and whether, when we can patronise sound philosophy
and true history, we shall countenance, at the public expense,
medical doctrines, which would disgrace an English furrier--
astronomy, which would move laughter in the girls at an English
boarding-school--history, abounding with kings thirty feet high,
and reigns thirty thousand years long--and geography made up of
seas of treacle and seas of butter.

"We are not without experience to guide us. History furnishes
several analogous cases, and they all teach the same lesson.
There are in modern times, to go no further, two memorable
instances of a great impulse given to the mind of a whole
society--of prejudice overthrown--of knowledge diffused--of taste
purified--of arts and sciences planted in countries which had
recently been ignorant and barbarous.

"The first instance to which I refer is the great revival of
letters among the western nations at the close of the fifteenth
and the beginning of the sixteenth century. At that time almost
everything that was worth reading was contained in the writings
of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Had our ancestors acted as the
Committee of Public Instruction has hitherto acted; had they
neglected the language of Cicero and Tacitus; had they confined
their attention to the old dialects of our own island; had they
printed nothing, and taught nothing at the universities, but
chronicles in Anglo-Saxon, and romances in Norman French, would
England have been what she now is? What the Greek and Latin were
to the contemporaries of More and Ascham, our tongue is to the
people of India. The literature of England is now more valuable
than that of classical antiquity. I doubt whether the Sanscrit
literature be as valuable as that of our Saxon and Norman
progenitors. In some departments--in history, for example--I am
certain that it is much less so.

"Another instance may be said to be still before our eyes. Within
the last hundred and twenty years a nation which had previously
been in a state as barbarous as that in which our ancestors were
before the Crusades has gradually emerged from the ignorance in
which it was sunk, and has taken its place among civilised
communities. I speak of Russia. There is now in that country a
large educated class, abounding with persons fit to serve the
state in the highest functions, and in no way inferior to the
most accomplished men who adorn the best circles of Paris and
London. There is reason to hope that this vast Empire, which in
the time of our grandfathers was probably behind the Punjab, may,
in the time of our grandchildren, be pressing close on France and
Britain in the career of improvement. And how was this change
effected? Not by flattering national prejudices; not by feeding
the mind of the young Muscovite with the old woman's stories
which his rude fathers had believed; not by filling his head with
lying legends about St. Nicholas; not by encouraging him to study
the great question, whether the world was or was not created on
the 13th of September; not by calling him 'a learned native,'
when he has mastered all these points of knowledge; but by
teaching him those foreign languages in which the greatest mass
of information had been laid up, and thus putting all that
information within his reach. The languages of western Europe
civilised Russia. I cannot doubt that they will do for the Hindoo
what they have done for the Tartar."

This Minute, which in its original shape is long enough for an
article in a quarterly review, and as businesslike as a Report of
a Royal Commission, set the question at rest at once and for
ever. On the 7th of March, 1835, Lord William Bentinck decided
that "the great object of the British Government ought to be the
promotion of European literature and science among the natives of
India;" two of the Orientalists retired from the Committee of
Public Instruction; several new members, both English and native,
were appointed; and Macaulay entered upon the functions of
President with an energy and assiduity which in his case was an
infallible proof that his work was to his mind.

The post was no sinecure. It was an arduous task to plan, found,
and construct, in all its grades, the education of such a country
as India. The means at Macaulay's disposal were utterly inadequate
for the undertaking on which he was engaged. Nothing resembling an
organised staff was as yet in existence. There were no Inspectors
of Schools. There were no training colleges for masters. There
were no boards of experienced managers. The machinery consisted of
voluntary committees acting on the spot, and corresponding
directly with the superintending body at Calcutta. Macaulay rose
to the occasion, and threw himself into the routine of
administration and control with zeal sustained by diligence and
tempered by tact. "We were hardly prepared," said a competent
critic, "for the amount of conciliation which he evinces in
dealing with irritable colleagues and subordinates, and for the
strong, sterling, practical common sense with which he sweeps away
rubbish, or cuts the knots of local and departmental problems."
The mastery which a man exercises over himself, and the patience
and forbearance displayed in his dealings with others, are
generally in proportion to the value which he sets upon the
objects of his pursuit. If we judge Macaulay by this standard, it
is plain that he cared a great deal more for providing our Eastern
Empire with an educational outfit that would work and wear than he
ever cared for keeping his own seat in Parliament or pushing his
own fortunes in Downing Street. Throughout his innumerable
Minutes, on all subjects from the broadest principle to the
narrowest detail, he is everywhere free from crotchets and
susceptibilities; and everywhere ready to humour any person who
will make himself useful, and to adopt any appliance which can be
turned to account.

"I think it highly probable that Mr. Nicholls may be to blame,
because I have seldom known a quarrel in which both parties were
not to blame. But I see no evidence that he is so. Nor do I see
any evidence which tends to prove that Mr. Nicholls leads the
Local Committee by the nose. The Local Committee appear to have
acted with perfect propriety, and I cannot consent to treat them
in the manner recommended by Mr. Sutherland. If we appoint the
Colonel to be a member of their body, we shall in effect pass a
most severe censure on their proceedings. I dislike the
suggestion of putting military men on the Committee as a check on
the civilians. Hitherto we have never, to the best of my belief,
been troubled by any such idle jealousies. I would appoint the
fittest men without caring to what branch of the service they
belonged, or whether they belonged to the service at all."
[This, and the following extracts, are taken from a volume of
Macaulay's Minutes, "now first collected from Records in the
Department of Public instruction, by H. Woodrow, Esq., M.A.,
Inspector of Schools at Calcutta, and formerly Fellow of Caius
College, Cambridge." The collection was published in India.]

Exception had been taken to an applicant for a mastership, on the
ground that he had been a preacher with a strong turn for

"Mr. --- seems to be so little concerned about proselytising,
that he does not even know how to spell the word; a circumstance
which, if I did not suppose it to be a slip of the pen, I should
think a more serious objection than the 'Reverend' which formerly
stood before his name. I am quite content with his assurances."

In default of better, Macaulay was always for employing the tools
which came to hand. A warm and consistent advocate of appointment
by competitive examination, wherever a field for competition
existed, he was no pedantic slave to a theory. In the dearth of
schoolmasters, which is a feature in every infant educational
system, he refused to reject a candidate who mistook "Argos for
Corinth," and backed the claims of aspirants of respectable
character who could "read, write, and work a sum."

"By all means accept the King of Oude's present; though, to be
sure, more detestable maps were never seen. One would think that
the revenues of Oude, and the treasures of Saadut Ali, might have
borne the expense of producing something better than a map in
which Sicily is joined on to the toe of Italy, and in which so
important an eastern island as Java does not appear at all."

"As to the corrupting influence of the zenana, of which Mr.
Trevelyan speaks, I may regret it; but I own that I cannot help
thinking that the dissolution of the tie between parent and child


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