S. C. Hall, editor of The Art Journal, briefly describes his one meeting with Macaulay in A Book of Memories of Great Men and Women of the Age, from Personal Acquaintance, emphasizing his graciousness and ability to absorb factual information:

My intercourse with the great critic and historian was limited to one visit while he resided at the Albany, Piccadilly. I had tendered to him some information concerning the scene of the Battle of the Boyne; and he wrote to me a gracious letter asking me to call upon him. During a long conversation that ensued I was impressed — as were all who ever saw him — by his marvellous power to obtain, that he might communicate, facts. Although his scrutiny of the Boyne Water had been but for a few hours, he seemed to know really more of it than I did, and could have imparted on the subject more to me than I could have given to him. I said as much, and deemed an apology necessary for my offered help. I do not forget the exceeding earnestness and courtesy with which he thanked me, making reference to one incident that had not been previously within his knowledge. [361]

Hall then describes him as "a man of middle size and robust, 'stout on his limbs;' his features were not remarkable for any peculiar or strong expression; his head was good, but not intellectually grand. No doubt he owed much to the retentive memory he is said to have possessed" (362). This brief reminiscence concludes by quoting Harriet Martineau:

Harriet Martineau writes: — "Before his retirement from the House of Commons in 1856" (he was elevated to the peerage in 1857), "he was the mere wreck of his former self; his eye was deep sunk and often dim, his full face was wrinkled and haggard, his fatigue in utterance was obviously very great, and the tremulousness of limb and feature melancholy to behold." [362]

References

Hall, S. C. A Book of Memories of Great Men and Women of the Age, from Personal Acquaintance. 3rd ed. London: J. S. Virtue, n.d. The first edition appeared in 1871, and this expanded version indicates no date of publication.


Victorian Web Overview T. B. Macaulay Biography

Last modified 1 December 2008