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It is said that the Longmans, his publishers, paid him, for one portion, no less than 20,0001. His fame was so great, that the American Ambassador, weary of introducing his fellow-citizens to the wonderful man, hired some one to represent him, and thus got off by palming a false Macaulay on his suppliants—a truly American trick.
Macaulay succeeded fully as a historian. Many people object to his ‘History' as partial, or as too pictorial; but everyone freely gives him the first place among modern historians. Macaulay did his utmost, did his best, and if he had not done so, his History' would not have been so highly prized. He passed the last years of his life in preparing it, but, like all his predecessors, died without completing it. The highest honours were freely offered to such a man. He was made Rector of the University of Glasgow, President of the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution, and Professor of Ancient History in the Royal Academy. He died on December 21, 1859.
He is an instance of a man with great abilities, mistaking his career for many years. posed himself a poet, an essayist, and an orator. He did his best in each line. You and I still read his poems with great pleasure; you and I still read his essays; you and I still might read-if speeches
— were meant to be read - his orations; but you and I will remember him best in his real sphere— that of bistorian. The History of England, by Thomas Babington Macaulay,' will live and be read when this book and many a better book is totally forgotten.
He had sup
LABOUR OVERCOMES EVERYTHING;'
THE STORY OF WILLIAM GIFFORD.
IN , the wide
world, and told he must do' for himself.
6 He was an orphan; for his father, a worthless, dissipated, good-for-nothing fellow — by trade a plumber and glazier-had died in want and difficulties; whilst his mother soon followed him, a wretched broken-hearted woman, leaving behind her two boys, at the mercy of anyone good enough to befriend them.
The eldest, William, afterwards so well known, was first taken up, for a short time, by his godfather, as an object of charity; and then sent to sea, for which service he was, at first, rejected as 'too small,' and then bound as an apprentice on board a smuggling skiff, where he went through every kind of hardship, being made to perform the very commonest menial offices into the bargain.
Could life begin more wretchedly for any lad of fourteen? Most boys think going to sea great fun, and a passion for the ocean is a very common feature in a lad's character; but Gifford, having had all the rough,' and very little of the smooth,' of a
“ naval career, always remembered that small coasting bark with horror. Probably he would never have
been extricated from such a life, had not one of his godfather's fellow-townsmen, from Ashburton, in Devonshire, Gifford's birthplace, having occasion to visit Dartmouth, after he had been a sailor about a year, seen him on board the skiff, and been moved with pity at the squalid, half-starved condition of the luckless boy.
When this man went back again to Ashburton, he gossiped about Gifford; and many censures having been passed on his godfather, for sending him to sea, on account of the boy's condition, such comments, luckily, reached that worthy's ears.
He did not care if the boy starved or not; but he did mind being called cruel,' for such treatment of an orphan; so Gifford was sent for home again.
Well, boy; what do you want to do now?' gruffly enquired his only protector, on his return.
Go to school, and learn to read,' was the answer. So, after a little grumbling at the expense, he was sent to school in the town.
• He will be a dunce, had remarked the schoolmaster, on first seeing a small, puny, sickly-looking child; in appearance eleven, though then nearly fifteen years of age ; but it turned out very differently. At the expiration of a year, such had been his diligence, and so great his determination to learn, that Will Gifford was always at the top of his class.
This preeminence had the same effect at this school, as superiority ever exercises in a wider sphere. Jealous of him, his companions roughly taunted him with his parents' misfortunes, and were not always over-particular in the names they called him. Nature had made him retiring and sensitive ; and this treatment made him morbid. He avoided
the playground; and learnt his lessons, whilst the others played at foot-ball or cricket.
The lessons they hated, he loved; and arithmetic was his darling pursuit,' as he himself called it; and that served to develope his almost more than extraordinary memory; the faculty by which he may be said to have chiefly risen in life.
Be that as it may, his application was rewarded ; and in a year's time from his going to school, he was competent to assist his master in hearing the younger classes; the trifle which he earned occasionally in this way was always laid out in books, or pens, ink, and paper. He hoped to be, in time, sufficiently proficient to aspire to the post of schoolmaster itself, on his master's retirement or death. Silently looking forward to what seemed to him, then, the limit to his ambition, he worked steadily on, and became headboy of the school.
His views, however, were not those of the godfather on whom he was dependent. That man ap
. prenticed him to a cobbler ; and told him to hold his tongue, when William ventured to remonstrate, and would not hear a word against that step.
You are a most fortunate boy,' said he; 'your mother died in the workhouse; your little brother, too. So, hoity-toity, do n't let me have any objections against being a cobbler-for a cobbler you shall be.
Remonstrance was in vain. All the hapless youth could falter out was useless. To add to his misfortunes, he was bound apprentice to a cobbler, who would swear at and rate him as if he were a dog ; and not only that, but beat him when he was able to find any excuse for so doing.
The cobbler, however, had a son who was better educated than himself, and, in a lazy, idle kind of way liked reading, and had a smattering of knowledge.
This boy was a selfish fellow; and this bad trait in his master's son had a very curious effcet on Gifford's destiny. I shall call him Henry, by way of distinction. Henry was able to spare a little pocketmoney, now and then, to buy a book with ; and one day, in a fit of generosity, he gave his father's apprentice a treatise on algebra that he had picked
at a book-stall for an old song.
The treasure was eagerly accepted—but alas! unintelligible; as Gifford had no knowledge of simple equations, and so could not understand it. What was to be done? When Henry was asked his opinion, the generous fit was past, and he was not then disposed to be friendly in the matter.
* Pooh,' said he contemptuously, in reply to Gifford's questions ; leave learning alone. What's the good of a workhouse brat like you studying algebra ?' Henry said this coarsely and vulgarly, yet, all the while, respecting the lad's yearning desire to learn.'
Some few days later, his master sent Gifford out to take a pair of boots home. Passing a book-stall, he lingers to gaze on the treasures he yet may not even hope to possess. Amongst them is Fenning's 'Introduction to Algebra,' and he notices, with a sigh of regret for his poverty, that it is marked up at a shilling
There was no use coveting it, as he had not a shilling in the world; but on his return home, he persuaded Henry to purchase it, and lend it to him. That selfish boy, all the more eager to have something that another could not obtain, bought it, but