William Pitt, Earl Of Chatham by Thomas Babington Macaulay

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"Disease Of Admiration"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Macaulay was well prepared to review an 1827 History of the Right Honorable William Pitt, Earl of Chatham by the Reverend Francis Thackeray (1793–1842). Macaulay had long been interested in Parliamentary history and was sympathetic to the spirit of the eighteenth century dominated by Pitt (1708–1778). Like others, he believed Pitt's famous first administration the most glorious in Parliament's history. And so his essay on the Earl of Chatham is one of his best. He drew little upon the two volumes he was supposed to be reviewing. Even in his time, this biography was considered pompous and prolix. Much of his material came from Horace Walpole's Letters and his Memoirs of the Reign of King George the Second. As a critic, Macaulay speaks, in the very beginning of his essay, of Francis Thackeray's dullness in contrast to his talented nephew, William M. Thackeray (1811–1863), author of Vanity Fair. James Boswell (1740–1795)...

(The entire section is 297 words.)