John Babington MacAulay had a heritage before he was born with talent pool contributions from ancestors from the celtic (though mixed with Norse) clan MacAulay's of Lewis -- known as the "intellectual clan". The earliest written records go back to 1610 refering to a Donald MacAulay of Lewis, and indeed, history would later play a prominent role in this descendent. John's father, Zachary, whose direct observance of British Emperial slavery in Jamaica and Sierra Leon, while governor, made him abhor and work to end it with his involvement in the Anti-Slavery Society and editing the Christian Observer. Zachary's father, a Calvinist minister, would eventually become very proud to see his grandson become a historical essayist of the highest caliber. Ironically the Protestant Whig bias in his work was the only chink in his most luminous armour from the critics.