Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Short Fat Kid

He was a short and chubby youth with no athletic talent, a dedication to reading, and insufferably precocious – traits as certain to attract bullying in English public schools 200 years ago as today. He read, spoke and thought like an adult from the earliest ages. Naturally, school was utterly miserable for him. His mother was raised a quaker and his father was a strict and unsmiling evangelical.

University was a new world. There he quickly attracted a crowd of intellectually minded admirers and became a debater of formidable skill. He was admitted to the bar, but quickly turned to politics, shifting his radically utilitarian politics to Whig. There he became a key advocate of radical political reform, championing the rights of Catholics, Jews, and the middle class, none of whom had the right to vote in those times. Like his father, he was ardently anti-slavery.

He never married, but was utterly devoted to his younger sisters, especially two of them. Macaulay, by Zareer Masani (15% mark)