A modern examination of Macaulay’s case for the civil emancipation of the Jews

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-59) arrived on the political scene on the morrow of the civil emancipation of the Roman Catholics. He had already made a name for himself in society and in political circles while at Cambridge by his advocacy of liberal causes. From the appearance in 1825 of his masterly essay on Milton, he was in the front rank of the scholarly proponents in England of unpenalized religious liberty.

On 5 April 1830 Sir Robert Grant sought leave in the House of Commons to introduce his Bill for the removal of the civil disabilities of the Jews. Following a debate, leave was given and the Bill received its First Reading. But not before Macaulay, sent to Parliament that year for the pocket borough of Calne, had made his famous maiden speech in favour of the measure. The Bill, which would have placed the Jews largely in the same legal

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