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Thomas B. Macaulay
by [?]

Thus by laying hold on the forces of the Universe, you are strong with them. And when you realize this, all else is easy, for in your arteries course red corpuscles, and in your heart there is the will to do and be. Carry your chin in, and the crown of your head high. We are gods in the chrysalis.

* * * * *

Thomas B. Macauley was small in stature; but he always carried his chin well in and the crown of his head high.

It was said of Rubens that throughout his lifetime he kept success tied to the leg of his easel with a blue ribbon. If ever a writing man had success tied to the leg of his easy chair, that man was Macaulay. In the characters and careers of Rubens and Macaulay there is a marked resemblance.

When Macaulay was twenty-two he was at Cambridge, and the tidings arrived that a dire financial storm had wrecked the family fortune. The young man had ever been led to suppose that his father was rich–rich beyond all danger from loss–and that he himself would never have a concern beyond amusing himself, and the cultivation of his intellect. And so in practical affairs his education had been sadly neglected. But when the news of calamity came, instead of being depressed, he was elated to think that now he could make himself positively useful.

Responsibility gravitates to the man who can shoulder it. Strong men who can wisely direct the efforts of others are always needed–they were needed in Eighteen Hundred Twenty-two, when Tom Macaulay received word of his father’s trouble–they are needed today more than then–men who meet calamity with a smile and are pleased at sight of obstacles, knowing they can overcome them. Augustine Birrell has written, “Macaulay always went his sublime way rejoicing like a strong man to run a race, knowing full well that he could give anybody five yards in fifty and win easily.”

Macaulay took up the burden that his father was not able to bear, mastered every detail of the business, studied out the weak points, and then explained to the creditors just what they had better do.

And they did it.

We always trust the man who has courage plus, enthusiasm to spare, and who shows by his manner that he is master of the situation.

In a few years Macaulay saved from the wreck enough to secure his father, mother and sisters against want for the rest of their days, and eventually he paid every creditor in full with interest. Had he run away from the difficulty, as his father was on the point of doing, the family would have been turned homeless into the streets.

Moral–Things are never so bad as they seem; and all difficulties sneak away when you look them squarely in the eye.

At this time the family, consisting of the father, mother, three sisters and a brother, lived at Fifty Great Ormond Street, not far from the British Museum. The house is still standing, but I recently discovered that the occupants know nothing, and care less, about Thomas Macaulay.

Tom was the child of his mother. In temperament, disposition and physique he was as much unlike his father as two men can well be. Old Zachary Macaulay was a strong, earnest man who took himself seriously. In latter years he grew morose, puritanic and was full of dread of the Unseen. He preached long sermons to his family, cautioned them against frivolity, forbade music, tabued games, and constantly spoke of the tongue as “the unruly member.”

He, of course, was not aware of it, but he was teaching his children by antithesis.

“When I meet Macaulay I always imagine I am in Holland,” once said Sydney Smith.

“Why so!” asked a friend.

“Because he is such a windmill,” was the reply.