the pressure of parliamentary business compelled him to devote all the leisure he could obtain to history alone. He told Napier that he could write no more articles for the ‘Edinburgh’ until he had finished his first two volumes. In the event he never contributed again.
On the fall of Peel, at the end of 1845, Macaulay was consulted during the fruitless attempts to construct a new cabinet. He declared that although he would support, he would not join a coalition ministry, and that he would not join any ministry not pledged to a total repeal of the corn laws. The attempts, however, to form a government failed, as Macaulay wrote to one of his constituents, a Mr. Macfarlan, in consequence of Lord Grey's refusal to join a ministry in which Lord Palmerston should be foreign minister. Macfarlan published the letter, with the censure of Grey, in spite of Macaulay's expressed objection. Macaulay's indignation was great and lasting.
Macaulay was appointed paymaster-general in Lord John Russell's administration, and re-elected for Edinburgh in 1846 by a triumphant majority over Sir Culling Eardley [q. v.] He had preferred the office as one which would leave him most leisure for his ‘History.’ He only spoke five times during the sessions of 1846 and 1847, his chief speech being in favour of the Ten Hours Bill. He was always received in a way which proved his great popularity in the house.
On the general dissolution of 1847 Macaulay again stood for Edinburgh. There alone he had lost much popularity. He was too independent and outspoken to please such of his constituents as desired to make use of their representative for the promotion of their own interests. Though generous to excess in money matters, he declined subscriptions to races and charities. He was too thorough a whig to please the radicals. His approval of church establishments was offensive to the enthusiasts who had recently founded the free church. A combination of these elements gave strength to the cry that ‘Christian men should be represented by Christian men,’ which was also supported by the spirit dealers, whose plan for altering the excise duties was rejected by Macaulay. Mr. Cowan, a radical opponent of church establishment, received many second votes from the tories, and was elected by 2,063 votes, with Mr. Craig, who received 1,854 as his colleague. Macaulay received 1,477, and Blackburn 980. Macaulay on the same evening wrote an eloquent copy of verses, showing how literature had been his consolation under all the trials (of which it was rather difficult to make a respectable list) of his life.
Though asked to stand for other places, Macaulay wisely determined to devote himself to the service of literature. He was now a valued member of the most cultivated society in London, and found a more infinite source of happiness in his affectionate relations to his family. He withdrew by degrees from the wider circle to devote himself to his books, though he left even the books to amuse his sister's children. During 1848 the first two volumes of the ‘History’ were passing through the press, and on their appearance in November made a success to which the only parallels in English literary history are the novels of Scott and Dickens, and possibly Byron's poems. Thirteen thousand copies were sold in four months. His old friends, from Jeffrey downwards, were enthusiastic in their congratulations, and the attack of his old enemy, Croker, in the ‘Quarterly Review,’ probably rather gave additional flavour to the chorus of praise.
On 21 March 1849 he delivered his address as lord rector of the university of Glasgow, having been elected in the previous November, and afterwards visited Jeffrey for the last time. The professorship of modern history at Cambridge was offered to him in June, but he naturally declined a post of little value which would have interfered with his historical work. He continued to write steadily, making occasional tours to the scenes of some of the chief events to be described. He read in the British Museum, where he also assiduously discharged his duties as trustee. In January 1852, after the fall of Palmerston, he was strongly pressed by Lord John Russell (ib. p. 556) to join the cabinet, but declined to give up his literary pursuits for duties to which his health was now unequal. On the general election in July 1852 he was proposed for Edinburgh. He declined to give any pledges, or in any way to present himself as a candidate. He was returned spontaneously at the head of the poll by 1,872 votes on 14 July. Almost at the same time his health broke down. The heart's action was deranged, and he was forbidden to address his constituents. Although the immediate attack passed off, he was henceforward weaker, and he soon had to resign himself to the life of an invalid. He had, he said, ‘become twenty years older in a week.’ In October 1852, however, he was able to speak to his constituents, and he attended the House of Commons during the following winter. He had announced at Edinburgh that he would not again take office, and was not personally interested, although he was consulted, in the arrangements for a new ministry in the winter. He