Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.
196
MACAW

which such speculation had influenced the progress of humanity. A large—the largest—part of ecclesiastical history lay outside his historical view. Of art he confessed himself ignorant, and even refused a request to furnish a critique on Swift's poetry to the Edinburgh Review. Lessing's Laocoon, or Goethe's criticism on Hamlet, “ filled ” him “ with wonder and despair.”

Of the marvellous discoveries of science which were succeeding each other day by day he took no note; his pages contain no reference to them. It has been told already how he recoiled from the mathematical studies of his university. These deductions made, the circuit of his knowledge still remains very wide—as extensive perhaps as any human brain is competent to embrace. His literary outfit was as complete as has ever been possessed by any English writer; and, if it wants the illumination of philosophy, it has an equivalent resource in a practical acquaintance with affairs, with administration, with the interior of cabinets, and the humour of popular assemblies. Nor was the knowledge merely stored in his memory; it was always at his command. Whatever his subject, he pours over it his stream of illustration, drawn from the records of all ages and countries. His Essays are not merely instructive as history; they are, like Milton's blank verse, freighted with the spoils of all the ages. As an historian Macaulay has not escaped the charge of partisanship. He was a Whig; and in writing the history of the rise and triumph of Whig principles in the latter half of the 17th century he identified himself with the cause. But the charge of partiality, as urged against Macaulay, means more than that he wrote the history of the Whig revolution from the point of view of those who made it. When he is describing the merits of friends and the faults of enemies his pen knows no moderation. He has a constant tendency to glaring colours, to strong effects, and will always be striking violent blows. He is not merely exuberant but excessive. There is an overweening confidence about his tone; he expresses himself in trenchant phrases, which are like challenges to an opponent to stand up and deny them. His propositions have no qualifications. Uninstructed readers like this assurance, as they like a physician who has no doubt about their case. But a sense of distrust grows upon the more circumspect reader as he follows page after page of Macaulay's categorical affirmations about matters which our own experience of life teaches us to be of a contingent nature. We inevitably think of a saying attributed to Lord Melbourne: “ I wish I were as cocksure of any one thing as Macaulay is of everything.” Macaulay's was the mind of the advocate, not of the philosopher; it was the mind of Bossuet, which admits no doubts or reserves itself and tolerates none in others, and as such was disqualihed from that equitable balancing of evidence which is the primary function of the historian.

Macaulay, the historian no less than the politician, is, however, always on the side of justice, fairness for the weak against the strong, the oppressed against the oppressor. But though a Liberal in practical politics, he had not the reformer's temperament. The world as it is was good enough for him. The glories of wealth, rank, honours, literary fame, the elements of vulgar happiness, made up his ideal of life. A successful man himself, every personage and every cause is judged by its success. “ The brilliant Macaulay,” says Emerson, “ who expresses the tone of the English governing classes of the day, explicitly teaches that ' good ' means good to eat, good to wear, material commodity.” Macaulay is in accord with the average sentiment of orthodox and stereotyped humanity on the relative values of the objects and motives of human endeavour. And this commonplace materialism is one of the secrets of his popularity, and one of the qualities which guarantee that that popularity will be enduring.  (M. P.) 

Macaulay's whole works were collected in 1866 by his sister, Lady Trevelyan, in 8 vols. The first four volumes are occupied by the History; the next three contain the Essays, and the Lives which he contributed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In vol. viii. are collected his Speeches, the Lays of Ancient Rome, and some miscellaneous pieces. The “ life " by Dean Milman, printed in vol. viii. of the edition of 1858–1862, is prefixed to the “ People's Edition " (4 vols., 1863–1864). Messrs. Longmans, Green & Co. published a complete edition, the “Albany, " in 12 vols., in 1898. There are numerous editions of the Critical and Historical Essays, separately and collectively; they were edited in 1903 by F. C. Montagu.

The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay (2 vols., 1876), by his nephew, Sir George Otto Trevelyan, is one of the best biographies in the English language. The life (1882) in the “ English Men of Letters ” series was written by J. Cotter Morison. For further criticism, see Hepworth Dixon, in his Life of Penn (1841); John Paget, The New Examen: Inquiry into Macaulay's History (1861) and Paradoxes and Puzzles (1874); Walter Bagehot, in the National Review (Jan. 1856), reprinted in his Literary Studies (1879); James Speddin, Evenings with a Reviewer (1881), discussing his essay on Bacon; Sir L. Stephen, Hours in a Library, vol. ii. (1892); Lord Morley, Critical Miscellanies (1877), vol. ii.; Lord Avebury, Essays and Addresses (1903); Thum, Anmerkungen zu Macaulay's History of England (Heilbronn, 1882). A bibliography of German criticism of Macaulay is given in G. Körting's Grd. der engl. Literatur (4th ed., Münster, 1905).


MACAW, or, as formerly spelt, Maccaw, the name given to some fifteen or more species of large, long-tailed birds of the parrot-family, natives of the neotropical region, and forming a very well-known and easily recognized genus Ara, and to the four species of Brazilian Hyacinthine macaws of the genera Anodorhynchus and Cyanopsittacus. Most of the macaws are remarkable for their gaudy plumage, which exhibits the brightest scarlet, yellow, blue and green in varying proportion and often in violent contrast, while a white visage often adds a very peculiar and expressive character.[1] With one exception the known species of Ara inhabit the mainland of America from Paraguay to Mexico, being especially abundant in Bolivia, where no fewer than seven of them (or nearly one half) have been found (Proc. Zool. Soc., 1879, p. 634). The single extra-continental species, A. tricolor, is one of the most brilliantly coloured, and is peculiar to Cuba, where, according to Gundlach (Ornitologia Cubana, p. 126), its numbers are rapidly decreasing so that there is every chance of its becoming extinct.[2]

Of the best known species of the group, the blue-and-yellow macaw, A. ararauna, has an extensive range in South America from Guiana in the east to Colombia in the West, and southwards to Paraguay. Of large size, it is to be seen in almost every zoological garden, and it is very frequently kept alive in private houses, for its temper is pretty good, and it will become strongly attached to those who tend it. Its richly coloured plumage, sufficiently indicated by its common English name, supplies feathers eagerly sought by salmon-fishers for the making of artificial flies. The red-and-blue macaw, A. macao, is even larger and more gorgeously clothed, for, besides the colors expressed in its ordinary appellation, yellow and green enter into its adornment. It inhabits Central as well as South America as far as Bolivia, and is also a common bird in captivity, though perhaps less often seen than the foregoing. The red-and-yellow species, A. chloroptera, ranging from Panama to Brazil, is smaller, or at least has a shorter tail, and is not quite so usually met with in menageries. The red-and-green, A. rnilitaris, smaller again than the last, is not infrequent in confinement, and presents the colours of the name it bears. This has the most northerly extension of habitat, occurring in Mexico and thence southwards to Bolivia. In A. manilata and A. nobles the prevailing colour is green and blue. The Hyacinthine macaws A. hyacinthinus, A. leari, A. glaucus and Cyanopsittacus spixi are almost entirely blue.

The macaws live well in captivity, either chained to a perch or kept in large aviaries in which their strong flight is noticeable. The note of these birds is harsh and screaming. The sexes are

  1. This serves to separate the macaws from the long-tailed parakeets of the New World (Conurus), to which they are very nearly allied.
  2. There is some reason to think that Jamaica may have formerly possessed a macaw (though no example is known to exist), and if so it was most likely a peculiar species. Sloane (Voyage, ii. 297), after describing what he calls the “ great maccaw ” (A. ararauna), which he had seen in captivity in that island, mentions the “small maccaw " as being very common in the woods there, and P. H. Gosse (Birds of Jamaica, p. 260) gives, on the authority of Robinson, a local naturalist of the last century, the description of a bird which cannot be reconciled with any species now known, though it must have evidently been allied to the Cuban A. tricolor.