Macaulay, Thomas Babington, First Baron Macaulay of Rothley (1800–1859), an English author and statesman. His major literary work was A History of England from the Accession of James II (volumes 1 and 2, 1849; 3 and 4, 1855; 5, 1861). It was an immediate success; readers found it as engrossing as fiction. Macaulay had a formal and imposing style that was much admired in his time. His writing was clear, colorful, and impressive in its narrative power and wealth of detail. However, Macaulay was opinionated and his views were frequently influenced by his Whig and Protestant prejudices. He also had a tendency to overstate his point and sound pompous.
In 1823 Macaulay began his literary career with contributions to Knight's Quarterly Review. Soon he was asked to write articles for the Edinburgh Review. The first of his essays for the Edinburgh Review was on Milton (1825). Other figures he discussed included Oliver Goldsmith, James Boswell, Francis Bacon, and Lord Clive. The essays were full of errors and faulty judgment but Macaulay's urgent, declamatory style, self-confidence, and wit endeared him to the reading public. Macaulay's contributions to the Edinburgh Review over two decades were collected and published as Critical and Historical Essays (1843).
After a trip to Italy he wrote The Lays of Ancient Rome (1842), narrative poems of balladlike simplicity that dealt with episodes from Roman history. Of these, “Horatius” is probably the best known. (
Macaulay was born in Leicestershire, the son of a philanthropist and social reformer. Macaulay began reading at the age of three, and began writing history at seven. In 1818 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge. He was admitted to the bar in 1826 but never practiced.
Macaulay's essays brought him political advancement. In 1830 he entered the House of Commons; his speech in support of the Reform Bill of 1832 attracted wide attention. While a member of the Supreme Council of India (1834–38) Macaulay did valuable work in setting up an education system and creating a new criminal code. After his return to England he held various prestigious positions in the government and at the University of Glasgow. He was made a peer in 1857.
Macaulay was buried in the Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.