Was this speech was delivered by Macaulay in British parliament? Got many articles saying that this speech was not delivered by Macaulay. Is it true? What are the facts behind this speech?

I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.

And got the quote from here and also reference here.


It is concluded that the above speech mentioned in first in question was not delivered by Macaulay, reasons supporting this conclusion are quite convincing by TED's answer and also the ngrams by Felix also point to the same.

As I got another controversial version of the speech from the links mentioned by T.E.D I thought of doing ngram searches on this version too. The other version of the speech from the links is:

I accept catholic beyond the across and across of India and I accept not apparent one getting who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such abundance I accept apparent in this country, such top moral values, humans of such caliber, that I do not anticipate we would anytime beat this country, unless we breach the actual courage of this nation, which is her airy and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I adduce that we alter her old and age-old apprenticeship system, her culture, for if the Indians anticipate that all that is adopted and English is acceptable and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their built-in self-culture and they will become what we ambition them, a absolutely bedeviled nation.

The results are interesting anyway. Those 1830s and 1840s are really confusing and now I wonder about the source of this one... apprenticeship system self-culture top moral airy

  • it's not true Macaulay not delivered this speech on parlament
    – user2793
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 11:17
  • 2
    Please post this as a new question.
    – Apoorv
    Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 8:03
  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a new question that should be a separate question. Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 10:53
  • 2
    FWIW: cultural heritage is yet another phrase that was unknown in the 1800's, and peaked in use right around 1998.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 13:57
  • The second "quote" is in gibberish English, and whatever else Macaulay was, he was a suberb wordsmith!
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Dec 8, 2019 at 14:14

3 Answers 3


It looks fairly likely this story was invented around the turn of the 21'st Century.

The hits against it are:

  • No reference to it has ever been found any older than 1998 (reportedly from a American neo-gnostic publication).
  • Lord Macauly is known to have been in the middle of a stint in India (halfway around the world) in 1835 when this was supposedly delivered to Parliment.
  • It does not appear in the Hansard for that date, as everything else said in Parliment then does.
  • He did produce a minute for his employers while he was in India around that date, but it did not contain this text.
  • The language is too modern for the 1830's.
  • The cynicism displayed is completely out of character for Macaulay, who believed strongly in British Empire's "high moral purpose".

Note that none of this is my own research, but rather a compilation of others' I found at the following places:

  • 1
    About that first bullet: Gnostics were a traditionally reviled Christian mystic cult that has had a very minor revance lately. It would be hard to imagine a much less trustworthy source.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 18:57
  • @T.E.D:Thanks for these links and answer, gives useful information. Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 4:19
  • Also it is interesting to find another version of the speech. From 'Wikiquite Discussion page' and 'Akin Blog'. Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 4:44
  • 1
    "It does not appear in the Hansard for that date." The references actually claim it does not appear in Hansard for any date around that time. In fact, I don't think there is any Hansard at all for that date, because as far as I can tell, Parliament was not sitting. I'll add another answer noting this. Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 20:11

I think @T.E.D.'s answer makes a very convincing case for the speech being a modern forgery, like the Protocols or the Dulles Plan.

It's also, imho, a very inept forgery. As T.E.D. has pointed out the language is too modern. As one who has read some works by Macaulay, I must also add that the style does not seem to be his and is very much inferior.

To illustrate this point, I've made some Google Ngram searches for words in the text:

education system, high moral values

enter image description here

cultural heritage

As you can see, all these expressions were absolutely not in vogue in Macaulay's time and only begin to be used extensively much much later. So I think it's not likely the person who wrote this text ever troubled himself to read a page of Macaulay. Which presumably rules out Macaulay himself...

  • 3
    Interestingly, if you extend those three Ngrams to 2008 (the latest Google will let you do), You'll see all three happened to peak in popularity right around 1998, and are currently in decline. That's coincidentally the same date as the first known appearance of this supposed speech in print. If you are the kind of person that believes in coincidences that is...
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 18:52
  • +1 Ngrams make it conclusive that the speech is a forgery IMHO.
    – Apoorv
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 3:06
  • You can zoom in at around 1830-1840, and see that the few references tend to be from books whose print year has been entered incorrectly. :-) Only "system of education" seem to actually have been used before 1900 at all, and even then only rarely. I do think this is not proof, though, but it helps pinpoint when the false text appeared. Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 7:52

Another point against the authenticity of the quote: The date of the speech is given as 2 February 1835. However, there was in fact no Parliament on that date; it had been dissolved on 29 December 1834, triggering the 1835 General Election, and was not summoned again until 19 February 1835. Here is the relevant page of Hansard.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.