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[364] a collection of Macaulay's writings?1 Very well. I thought otherwise at first. There is a sameness in his style,—balance and counterbalance, gun answering gun, parterre casting the shadow of parterre,—so that I at first feared that a volume of his composition would not have the same relish that we find in an article. But I am now convinced that there is withal so much thought and generalization, and historical argument and illustration, in all that he has written, that it must challenge and fix the attention. I Think of your idea seriously. When I get back to town I will sound Macaulay upon it, if I am so fortunate as to find him there. He has promised me a book; and I doubt not I shall meet him. I have heard much that is good about him; and he is one of the few men who have risen as I have entered the sphere in which they move. Who could be a better judge of one like Macaulay than Lord Jeffrey?—Jeffrey, a critic of thought and composition for years; a speaker, and a student of the proprieties of Parliament. He told me that no man spoke like Macaulay in the Commons; and that the great proof of this was to be found in the remarkable fact that, during the discussions on the Reform Bill, the views of Macaulay, advanced perhaps at the fifth or sixth day's debate, formed the topic of discussion for the remainder of the time that the subject was under consideration. The Tories were occupied, each and all of them, in the endeavor to answer some view that he had launched. Macaulay went to India with a view to gain an independence that should enable him to be, not simply above party subservience, but above the imputation of it. He wished to be able to support his sisters. He has happily accomplished his objects, and is now undoubtedly worth some thirty thousand pounds. He declines to return to Parliament, and avows a determination to surrender himself to literary pursuits. He has already commenced a history of England from the Revolution of 1688 to the passage of the Reform Bill;2 and this, I understand, he is pledged to complete. Lord Jeffrey thought he would be persuaded to return to Parliament. If you should edit a collection of his writings, do not forget his speeches, which form some of his most striking productions. His article on Bacon is a masterpiece.3

I observed to Lord Jeffrey that I thought Carlyle had changed his style very much since he wrote the article on Burns. ‘Not at all,’ said he; ‘I will tell you why that is different from his other articles: I altered it.’ Carlyle was quite vexed at this interference. Could you not publish one or two volumes of the articles of Sydney Smith? I have a list of them all, given me by himself; and he said when he gave it to me, ‘If you wish to read liberal sentiments expressed always with some humor, look at these.’ They would make a volume of infinite fun.


1 The American edition of Macaulay's essays first led him to consider the expediency of an English edition. See his letter to Napier, Aug. 25, 1842,—Trevelyan's ‘Life of Lord Macaulay,’ Vol. II. p. 100.

2 Macaulay, in his letter to Napier of July 20, 1838, first mentions his project of a history. From his journal it appears that he wrote a portion of the introduction on March 9, 1839. The first two volumes were published late in 1848. Trevelyan's ‘Life of Lord Macaulay,’ Vol. II. pp. 19, 215.

3 Written in India, and published in the ‘Edinburgh Review,’ July, 1837.

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