Sunday, February 10, 2013

Macaulay's Finances

This page provides some information about Macaulay's money situation.
Thus distinguished, and justifiably conscious of his great powers, Macaulay began to aspire to a political career. But the shadow of pecuniary trouble early began to fall upon his path. When he went to college his father believed himself to be worth £100,000. But commercial disaster overtook the house of Babington & Macaulay, and the son now saw himself compelled to work for his livelihood. His Trinity fellowship of £300 a year became of great consequence to him, but it expired in 1831; he could make at most £200 a year by writing; and a commissionership of bankruptcy, which was given him by Lord Lyndhurst in 1828, and which brought him in about £400 a year, was swept away, without compensation, by the ministry which came into power in 1830. Macaulay was reduced to such straits that he had to sell his Cambridge gold medal.
 .....Macaulay was thus prepared to accept the offer of a seat in the supreme council of India, created by the new India Act. The salary of the office was fixed at £10,000, out of which he calculated to be able to save £30,000 in five years. His sister Hannah accepted his proposal to accompany him, and in February 1834 the brother and sister sailed for Calcutta.
Macaulay's annual salary in India, £10,000, translates to 1 lakh of rupees, which is the precise amount that the Charter Act of 1813 required the British East India Company to promote education each year.

For purposes of comparison, via Google Books, one is told that around 1830, a typical British lower-middle class income was in the range of £60 to £200 per annum. (Religion in Victorian Britain: Traditions, edited by Parsons and Moore).   Bankey Bihari Misra tells us in The Central Administration of the East India Company, 1773-1834, that around 1830, the "average income of munsiffs in Patna Division amounted to only rupees 21 per month", i.e., about £25 per year.

In 1901, Lord Curzon said in a speech that the average Indian agricultural income was Rupees 20 a year - so after seven decades of wonderful British-wrought improvements that Niall Ferguson boasts about, this £2 a year is an upper bound on what the peasant's income was in 1830.

For further comparison, the Huffington Post points out in modern USA: Income inequality between CEOs and workers has consequently exploded, with CEOs last year {i.e., 2011} earning 209.4 times more than workers, compared to just 26.5 times more in 1978.

NNDB : NNDB is an intelligence aggregator that tracks the activities of people we have determined to be noteworthy, both living and dead. Superficially, it seems much like a "Who's Who" where a noted person's curriculum vitae is available (the usual information such as date of birth, a biography, and other essential facts.)

But it mostly exists to document the connections between people, many of which are not always obvious. A person's otherwise inexplicable behavior is often understood by examining the crowd that person has been associating with.