It was offered there three times, each time with a reducing Buy-It-Now price, and turned out to be a case of being third time lucky for this collection and a very interesting group of portraits to research.
The previous owner had inherited them from a great aunt who had lived in Ontario, Canada, along with a Buchanan crest, and a Buchanan Skindoo (a knife they used to wear with their kilts). The group of four portraits are all members of the Buchanan family. The tartan ribbon is understood not to be that of the Buchanan clan, as the Buchanan Tartan is mainly orange, navy blue and hunter green. There is a hunting version of that tartan and a formal dress version.
The family lived in Ireland and their ancestors had emigrated to Ireland from Scotland in 1674.
The first miniature portrait was painted by the Irish artist Charles Robertson (1760-1821) who was born and died in Dublin, but also worked in London where he exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1790 and 1810.
Charles Robertson executed miniatures of high quality and often used blue or grey shading on the sitter's face. This is helpful in identifying his work, as he did not sign his miniatures.
Showing here for comparative purposes, is a miniature Charles painted of his brother, Walter Robertson, who was also a painter of miniature portraits who worked in Ireland, London, and America, before going to India, where he died c1801. The original miniature portrait is in the National Gallery of Ireland. The style and blue colouring are very similar.
Also showing is another slightly later miniature by Charles Robertson of an unknown man which is also in this Artists and Ancestors Collection. For more about it see View Charles Robertson also had a connection to Canada as Thomas Jaffray Robertson, the first Head Master of the Toronto Normal School, was born in Dublin, Ireland, in March, 1805, and was the youngest son of Charles Robertson.
The first Buchanan miniature has the initials "JB" on the reverse which are believed to be for John Buchanan, of Omagh, who was born in 1736. He married, first, Jane Long, who died without issue and, secondly, in 1770, Sarah, daughter of James Sproule, of Granan, near Dromore, Co. Tyrone, and sister of Oliver Sproule, Esq., M.D. He was a Commissioner to value the glebe house upon a death. He died at Omagh, on the 13th October, 1820, aged 84 years. His wife died there on the 30th April, 1822, in her 71st year. They were buried in Donaghanie Church Yard, near Omagh. They had issue:
It is interesting to compare the hairstyle of the miniature with that of Walter Robertson. The hair on the left of the James Buchanan portrait seems to have been altered, likely adjusted by the artist upon the request of the sitter, as hair/wig styles had altered, since the wig was first painted in the same style as the miniature of Walter Robertson.
The case is very fine, and the glass and engraving on the reverse can be seen as the type of casework that inspired the American casework that became popular from c1810. Even so, the American case-makers went one stage further to specialise in front-opening cases.
The second miniature is of his eldest son, James Buchanan who was born February 1, 1772 in Strathroy, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, and died October 10, 1851 near Montreal, Quebec, Canada, from apoplexy brought on by a severe cold caught traveling by coach from Boston. He married Elizabeth Clarke December 28, 1798 in Aston Quay, Dublin, Ireland, daughter of James Clarke and Elizabeth Stockdale.
The miniature is inscribed on the reverse, "James Buchanan Esq Aetat 28 Born in Omagh, Ireland, January 1774 Died in Montreal October 1851, British Consulate New York from 1816-1842". A kind researcher advises a photo of his grave can be seen on Findagrave at Buchanan, James
James Buchanan was connected, directly or indirectly, to two famous revolutions. The first was the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The Rebellion of 1798 having widely spread, James Buchanan was introduced by Mr. Alexander to Mr. Hamilton, Under Secretary of State, who consulted him as to what should be done to counteract the efforts of the disaffected in the County of Tyrone, and as a result he was vested with authority to take such steps as circumstances might call forth. He relates at some length the part which he played in the Rebellion, including passing through rebel lines.
"I proceeded," he says, "on horseback to Omagh (from Dublin), with my hair up under my hat without powder, as croppies were the most of the Rebels. ... The next day I sent for several influential men and the Presbyterian clergy, and held a meeting and prepared an address to the Lord Lieutenant. At this meeting I was enabled to state that forthwith in the district 5000 loyal men would be enrolled and place themselves under the orders of officers appointed by His Majesty, and would serve for the preservation of the County without pay, so that the regular troops might be withdrawn. The next morning I proceeded to Dublin with this address to the Lord Lieutenant, and it so happened that an express the same morning reached the Castle of the Rebellion in the North, and that Lord O'Neill was killed and the whole North was in rebellion. Most opportune my address, coming at the same hour. Placards were posted through the city of my arrival with the address referred to, and it was deemed of great importance, and my reception was gratifying. Bringing up this address opened to me the doors of the Castle, and I was frequently informed of matters to see if I could be of any service. Mr. Pelham, afterwards Duke of Newcastle, having succeeded Lord Castlereagh, was very communicative to me, and preferred referring to me than to the usual channels of information."
It was as a result of the services rendered here and contacts that he made here that he was later appointed Consul in New York. That was then an important post, covering an extended period after the war of 1812.
The second was the American War of Independence. Major John André was executed as a spy by the Americans in 1780. He appealed to General Washington to be executed as a man of honor—shot by firing squad — but Washington held firm and did to André what the British had done to 21 year old Nathan Hale four years before; had him hanged. James Buchanan later arranged for the removal and transfer of Andre's remains to London, England.
In the nave of Westminster Abbey there is a monument to Andre. Designed by Robert Adam and carried out by Peter Mathias Van Gelder it was erected in 1782 at the expense of King George III. It shows a mourning figure of Britannia with a lion, seated on the top of a sarcophagus. On the front of this is a relief showing George Washington in a tent receiving a petition and Major André being led away to execution. The inscription reads:
"SACRED to the MEMORY of MAJOR JOHN ANDRÉ, who raised by his Merit at an early period of Life to the rank of Adjutant General of the British Forces in America, and employed in an important but hazardous Enterprise fell a Sacrifice to his Zeal for his King and Country on the 2nd of October AD 1780 Aged 29, universally Beloved and esteemed by the Army in which he served and lamented even by his FOES. His gracious Sovereign KING GEORGE the Third has caused this Monument to be erected.
The Remains of Major JOHN ANDRÉ were, on the 10th of August 1821, removed from Tappan, by JAMES BUCHANAN ESQ. His Majesty's Consul at New York, Under instructions from His Royal Highness The DUKE of YORK, And, with the permission of the Dean and Chapter, Finally deposited in a Grave Contiguous to this Monument, On the 28th of November 1821".
James Buchanan wrote a variety of political pamphlets while he was in New York. A list of some of them appears here. He wrote in 1834; "A Project for the Formation of a Depot in Upper Canada, with a View to Receive the Whole Pauper Population of England".
James Buchanan was also the author of a book published in 1824 titled "Sketches of the History, Manners & Customs of the North-American Indians with a Plan for Their Melioration".
Alan Brown of www.ontarioplaques.com has kindly allowed the display of a historic plaque describing the role of James Buchanan in founding the settlement of Strathroy in Canada, named after his birthplace in Ireland.
Still to be researched is an incidence referred to in an auction lot of 22 February 2005;
Lot 716. (JAMES BUCHANAN) (1772-1851) The "other" James Buchanan, namesake of the 15th president, author, landowner and British Consul in New York, arrested on charges of forgery and debt, causing the president much grief throughout his political life. Offered here is an original partly-printed arrest warrant, 2pp. legal folio, February 8th, 1819, New York, for James Buchanan along with son Alexander Carlisle Buchanan (1808-1868), ordered held on $12,000 bail, an enormous bail amount at the time! Bears intact seals aside signatures of Alexander and James, the latter being strikingly similar to that of the president's early scrawl. Folds, one repaired on verso with cello tape, light toning, otherwise very good. Also included is a second document, signed "James Buchanan" as British consul, large ledger-size folio, February 8, 1930, New York, a detailed, notarized account of the estate of the late Charles Shey Bruce, Esq. Several weak folds, light toning, existing cello tape repairs. Estimate $150-200
The third miniature is of Dr John Buchanan. The miniature is inscribed on the reverse "John Buchanan Esq Born in Fintina, County Tyrone, Ireland, 1769 Died in Quebec about 1816. Surgeon in HM 49th Regiment of Foot / Photograph [sic] from Water Colour."
Although the inscription says photograph, it is clearly a painting and, if it is not the original portrait, it was perhaps intended to say it was copied from a photograph. He was the fourth son of Alexander Buchanan (1716-?) of Eccles Green near Fintona, County Tyrone in Ireland and he married Lucy Richardson.
Indication of the original the portrait is copied from, is conveyed by a kind visitor who has been researching John Buchanan and advises; The black and white profile of Dr. John Buchanan you have from "The Buchanan Book" is clearly by Gerrit Schipper - the same Dutch itinerant who did Brock's portrait. It would appear to me that the original miniature you have is either a copy of the miniature (illustrated in black and white) of Dr. John Buchanan by Schipper, or perhaps an original by Schipper. I know that Schipper did locket size portraits, but I've never seen any of them. Most of his miniatures - like the one in black and white showing Dr. John Buchanan - seem to have been pastels, about 8 by 10 inches in size and framed."
Gerrit Schipper (1775-1832) was born in Amsterdam and worked in Paris, London, Charlotte SC, New England and Quebec, before dying in London. As the colours include late 19C pastel colours, not available when Schipper was alive, this miniature appears to be a copy, perhaps indirectly, taken from his original portrait.
Dr John Buchanan's own son was Alexander Buchanan QC lawyer, judge, and justice of the peace; born 23 April 1798 in Gosport, England and died 5 Nov. 1851 in Montreal.
This is where the families join, as in May 1824, Alexander married Mary Ann Buchanan, the daughter of the above James Buchanan, the Consul.
Pictures of Alexander Buchanan and Mary Ann Buchanan appear here.
There is another version of the miniature of Dr John Buchanan, as well as a miniature portrait of him as a younger man, in army uniform, in a book about his father, titled "The Buchanan Book - The Life of Alexander Buchanan QC" by Arthur William Patrick Buchanan which was published in Montreal in 1911.
The older photographic portrait showing here cannot have been copied from the book, as the book is specific about his date of death as 16 October 1815, whereas the miniature says about 1816.
The portrait of Dr John Buchanan in the army uniform was probably painted by the Irish miniaturist Frederick Buck, who painted many military portraits.
The same book includes different portraits of James Buchanan the consul and of Wentworth James Buchanan.
It therefore appears that this group of miniatures was not available to the author of the book when he wrote it.
The fourth miniature is of Wentworth James Buchanan (1828-1905) and is signed by the artist C Webster. Wentworth was the grandson of Dr John Buchanan and second son of Alexander Buchanan QC. He was therefore descended from all three of the preceding Buchanan portraits.
Wentworth Buchanan joined the Bank of Montreal in 1853 and in 1881 was appointed General Manager, retiring on 31 October 1890. He married Agatha Burrowes and they had several children.
It is inscribed on the reverse "Wentworth James Buchanan Aetat 74 Born and died in Montreal 11 Dec 1828 - 2 July 1905 - Painted from a photograph January 1908".
Later; A kind researcher has sent the following extra information about the family;
[As I typed "James Clarke" and "Aston Quay" into a search hoping there might be something online containing more information on the father of my 5th great grandmother Elizabeth Clarke who married the British Consul James Buchanan, I was pleasantly surprised to find your blog.
Another small booklet written by James Buchanan, British Consul, you might find of interest is a lengthy letter he wrote the the Earl of Durham in which he included discussing the benefit of free trade between the US and Canada.
A letter to the Right Honourable the Earl of Durham, K.G.B., lord high commissioner and governor in chief of Her Majesty's North American possessions, &c. &c. & c: calling His Lordship's attention to the advantages to be derived by allowing a free transit of merchandise through Canada to the state of Michigan and Wisconsin Territory, as a means of preserving our friendly relations with the United States, with observations as to the river St. Lawrence, for extending the commerce of the empire and enriching the Canadas
1838 - 25 pages
What I know about the Clarke side comes from The Buchanan Book, which you quote an abstract of from James Buchanah's diary, so I am sure you are familiar with. James and Elizabeth's fourth daughter Sarah married Robert Blackwell on 29 Sep 1829 at Cappagh, Tyrone, Ireland. Robert and Sarah's daughter Margaret "Meta" Eleanor Whitla Blackwell (3 Jul 1839 - 26 May 1880) was married 25 Feb 1868 at Kilkishen Church, Co. Clare, IRE to Michael Hodder Joseph Roberts (3 Jul 1839 - 26 May 1880). MHJ Roberts was the last of my Roberts line mentioned in Burke's Roberts of Kilmoney Abbey.
The Buchanan Book: The Life of Alexander Buchanan, Q.C., of Montreal
by A. W. Patrick Buchanan
p. 234 - 236
VIII. Sarah, born on 24th March 1810, at Common Green, and named after her grandmother Sarah SPROULE...She came to New York with her father, but went back to Ireland in April, 1829. On the 23rd September, 1829, she as married in the church of Cappagh, Omagh, to Robert Blackwell, son of Alexander BLACKWELL, of Holywood, near Belfast. She died on 18th February, 185, at Lower Mount Street, Dublin.
The Buchanan ancestry is very extensive, and traces back to the Stewart clan and Robert the Bruce. A genealogical and heraldic history of the landed gentry of Ireland By Sir Bernard Burke
Buchanan of Edenfel
Strathendrick and its inhabitants from early times : an account of the parishes of Fintry, Ballfron, Killearn, Drymen, Buchanan
An inquiry into the genealogy and present state of ancient Scottish surnames : with the origin and descent of the Highland clans; and family of Buchanan. By William Buchanan of Auchmar.
By William Buchanan
The history of the ancient surname of Buchanan and of ancient Scottish surnames, more particularly the clans By William Buchanan 1793
Miscellanea Scotica: A Collection of tracts relating to the ..., Volume 4
I did copy the will of James Buchanan from the Toronto Archives, but have never had the motivation to transcribe the lengthy, dry writing. I was able to discover the burial location for James and Elizabeth and find a volunteer willing to create a memorial and photograph his vault on Find a Grave.
And from the same kind researcher;
["Addresses and testimonials to James Buchanan, Esq., ex-consul of New York: upon his retirement from the consulate of that city, with respective replies" (1843)
ADDRESSES AND TESTIMONIALS
JAMES BUCHANAN, ESQ., EX-CONSUL OF NEW YORK.
UPON HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE CONSULATE OF THAT CITY.
WITH HIS RESPECTIVE REPLIES.
JAMES BUCHANAN, ESQ., EX-CONSUL OF NEW YORK.
UPON HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE CONSULATE OF THAT CITY.
WITH HIS RESPECTIVE REPLIES.
The following addresses and testimonials, so honorable to Mr. Buchanan, have been deemed worthy of being collated, so as to be transmitted to his numerous posterity:
[From a New York Paper.]
We learn with regret, that, James Buchanan, Esq. who has faithfully fulfilled the office of British Consul in this city, has, after a period of nearly twenty-seven years, solicited and obtained a release from those duties, which he has honorably fulfilled to the satisfaction of his own Government and the citizens of New York, liberally provided for in his retirement.
[From the Commercial Advertiser.]
We have not by any means intended to permit our old friend — fellow-citizen we may almost call him — to go away from among us, to be seen of us, perhaps, no more, without offering something in the nature of a public tribute to his estimable character as a man, and his efficient, yet always courteous and judicious conduct as a servant of a foreign power. For above a quarter of a century he has dwelt in our city; for almost half an ordinary life-time we have known him personally, and there is scarcely a native born resident, perhaps, whose form and features are more generally known. Indeed, though as the representative of a foreign government he has been, officially, among us and not of us, it seems hardly possible to look upon him as an exotic — as anything but a genuine New Yorker; and when he departs to the new home which he proposes to make the place of his retirement, we shall miss him exceedingly.
We shall look, but in vain, for the vigorous step, the robust form end hearty expression of countenance which bear up so bravely under the weight of his more than three score and ten winters; we shall no more see him soberly trotting along some out-of- town road, on his old white horse, breathing the fresh air of the summer dawn, at an hour when scores of younger men are still hugging the dear delusion of a morning dream; nor shall we see him braving; the keen encounter of a winter wind, without cloak, or dread-nought coat, or upper Benjamin, or anything more than a blue spencer, besides his ordinary consular frock, with bright official buttons. He will be seen of us no more, but we shall not forget him.
We intend to place before our readers copies of two addresses which have been, or are about to be presented to Mr. Buchanan, on his approaching departure — numerously signed; one, we believe by citizens generally, and the other by citizens and residents of British origin. We had some idea, too, of giving an outline sketch, at least of many works, benevolent or otherwise laudable, in which we know that he has taken an active part while holding the office of consul at this port ; but having accidentally come into possession of a paper, drawn up by an Irish gentleman, who has lived almost, if not quite, as long in our city as Mr. Buchanan himself, and who knew him in Ireland — this paper, moreover, containing a brief narrative of good deeds done by the ex-consul almost half a century ago — deeds highly honorable both to his head and heart — we have chosen rather to place it before our readers.
Mr. Buchanan's public career may be said to have commenced so far back as the Irish rebellion of 1798, when he joined the Orange association, which was then a body of true and zealous loyalists, and also enrolled himself in the attorney's corps of volunteers in the city of Dublin, where he was practising the legal profession.
His zeal, sagacity, and discretion having become known to the government, Mr. Buchanan was selected by Lord Castlereagh, who was then the Irish Secretary, to counteract the efforts of the disaffected in his native county of Tyrone. On arriving at Omagh, the capital of the county, when; his father resided, he found that Lord Portarlington, who commanded the Queen's county militia quartered there, had disarmed the inhabitants. Mr. Buchanan at once interposed his authority, and restored above 300 stands of arms to their owners, at which Lord Portarlington was so displeased, that he threatened to withdraw the sentinels. Mr. Buchanan thereupon turned out with sixty of the most respectable inhabitants, ready to mount guard, but his Lordship deemed it prudent to yield, and the county continued loyal and quiet.
In a few days, Mr. Buchanan having called a meeting at Omagh, such a spirit of loyalty was aroused, that above five thousand offered to place themselves under officers of the King's appointment, and without pay, to preserve the peace of the county, with whose address to that effect he proceeded to Dublin, and happily arrived on the morning when the accounts and defeat of the murder of Lord O'Neil, by the rebels, near Antrim, reached the capitol, with exaggerated statements that the whole North of Ireland was in rebellion. To correct this report, Mr. Buchanan's arrival, with the address, was forthwith placarded all over the city. Soon after this, Mr. Buchanan, having become a magistrate of Tyrone, was selected by the Marquis of Abercorn, the lieutenant of the county, to carry into effect the arming of the loyal population ; and finding that the Roman Catholics were to be excluded, declined taking any part in the measure. His remonstrances against the injustice, as well as the impolicy of such a course, induced the Marquis to send him to Dublin, when, on his representations to the Lord Lieutenant, the order was promptly countermanded.
The plan of arming, however, was not carried into effect, but Mr. Buchanan embodied a corps of yeomanry, of which he held the command, under the son of the Marquis, the members of the corps being all Orangemen but two. His influence was happily exerted to repress the spirit of insult and outrage which began to prevail between the Orangemen and Catholics, and such was the effect of his example, that the corps, in order to show their good feelings to the two Roman Catholic members, requested Mr. Buchanan to allow them to march in their uniform to the Roman Catholic chapel at Newtown-Stewart, where the priest gave an excellent conciliatory address to an immense multitude attracted by so extraordinary an event ; and such was the effect produced upon the entire corps, that the members unanimously voted two days' pay to aid in repairing the chapel. The good feeling thus awakened, had the happiest influence upon the peace of the county. The effect of such conciliating efforts led Mr. Buchanan to advocate Catholic emancipation, so that his conduct was noticed by the Roman Catholic Board of Ireland, who voted him their thanks, and a piece of plate.
The plate he refused to accept, on the ground that should he receive it his influence would be diminished, but the letter conveying the vote of the Board he still retains with just appreciation, as an honorable testimonial and a memento of those trying times in which he bore so active a part. Such a testimonial to an Orange magistrate, commanding an Orange corps, is indeed honorable to both givers and receiver. A somewhat remarkable circumstance, connected with an event that took place since Mr. Buchanan became a resident among us, may not be unworthy of notice. Those who have visited Westminster Abbey, on turning from the poet's corner down the great aisle, may have noticed a marble tablet bearing the following inscription — "James Buchanan, Esq., His Majesty's consul at New York." It was placed there by order of the Duke of York, to commemorate Mr. Buchanan's agency in exhuming and conveying to England the remains of Major Andre; and he is perhaps the only man living who has the honor of seeing his name inscribed in that receptacle for kings, heroes, poets and statesmen.
But more laudable than all these things, and more honorable to Mr. Buchanan, was his early agency in the establishment of Sunday schools, having erected at Common Green, near Omagh,at his own expense, a slated stone building, capable of accommodating from three to four hundred children, as a Sabbath school; introducing and enforcing the principle that no sectarian catechism or creed should be admitted therein, or any observation or distinction bearing on any sect, while all, as soon as capable, should read the Holy Scriptures, and commit such portions to memory as taught love to God and man, obedience to parents and fidelity to masters. As a consequence of following up this system, in the course of a few months the Roman Catholic children attended as well as others, and at the annual exhibition and presentation of premiums, the Roman Catholic priest, the Presbyterian minister and the rector of the parish attended, and afterwards partook of the hospitalities of his table. Thousands of children, now grown to be men and women, are scattered over the United States and Canada, who attended that school at Common Green, and can bear testimony to the just and liberal system on which it was conducted. Mr. Buchanan attempted the same thing here, but was defeated, and to avoid contention silently withdrew from an important duty, which he purposes to follow up in his retirement. It should be mentioned that above forty years ago he was a director of the London Foreign Missionary Society, and has always been active in circulating the Scriptures, and while deemed peculiar in his views, yet actuated by a peculiarly Catholic feeling toward those who differ from him, he avoids all contention on religious subjects.
A CITIZEN of New York, formerly of Dublin.
[From the New York Courier and Enquirer.]
After referring to the appointment of Mr. Barclay, the editor speaks of the ex-Consul as follows : —
But while thus gratified at the selection made to succeed Mr. Buchanan, we take pleasure in uniting with our fellow-citizens in recording our high appreciation of the distinguished ability and courtesy, with which that gentleman has always discharged his duties to his Government and the public with whom he has officially been brought in contact.
Amiable and affectionate as he is known to be in all his private and social relations, his conduct as a public functionary, has been equally commendable and praiseworthy. In the discharge of his official duties, he has very frequently been brought in contact, and sometimes in unpleasant collision with our local authorities; yet in every instance he has so conducted himself, that while yielding nothing due to his Sovereign, he has never left an unpleasant feeling towards himself in the minds of our own officials. He has in all respects, proved himself a faithful public servant, and a kind-hearted and amiable man.
With the consciousness that he has done his duty in every position in which he has been placed, we doubt not but the evidences he has recently received of the just appreciation of his public services by our Foreign and American Merchants, and by the most distinguished of our Irish fellow-citizens, must be a very acceptable offering. To the faithful public functionary, these are the highest and most acceptable rewards that can be tendered or received; and we regret that the demand upon our columns, renders it impossible to lay before our readers the numerously signed addresses to which we refer and which have been kindly exhibited to us. In the spirit of both, we say in all sincerity, may he and every member of his estimable family, experience health, happiness and prosperity, whenever, and among whomsoever their future lot may be cast.
Praise Well Bestowed.— The Philadelphia Inquirer, copying a passage from a letter in the National Intelligencer, highly complimentary to Mr. Buchanan, for more than twenty years the British Consul at this port, on the score of his discreet official deportment, adds the following remark : —
" We may remark here, that the British government will find it difficult to supply the place of the present efficient consul. He has through his long term of service, faithfully devoted himself to the interests of his country, and has nevertheless, on more than one occasion, assisted in reconciling difficulties— preventing misunderstandings, outbreaks, and possibly bloodshed. He has not only discharged his duties with ability, but with tact, judgment and discretion. These are great qualities in an officer of his class, and at a port of so much importance as New York."
If a Philadelphia editor can speak thus with confidence, we, who are on the spot, may be allowed at least to bear testimony in confirmation. And we happen to know that Mr. Buchanan's judicious mode of proceeding has in more than one instance called forth the approving notice of the national authorities. We know, for instance, that in relation to the case of the slaver Butterfly, the Secretary of the Treasury wrote as follows to the U. S. District Attorney : —
" Mr. Buchanan rendered very efficient services, and his whole conduct was marked by the most liberal and considerate regard for the rights of the government of the United States."
The following is deemed worthy of being preserved as coming from a gentleman personally unknown to Mr. Buchanan :
New York, October 30, 1841.
To James Buchanan, Esq., H. B. M. Consul for New York; —
Sir : — Permit me, through the medium of my boy, Sidney., to present you a Chinese sword, taken on the capture of the Bogue forts, and brought home by my son, who recently arrived in the ship Narragansett. Although of no great value, yet its associations as connected with the achievements of British arms in China, are calculated to render it to you an interesting trophy, and as such, I pray you to do me the honor of accepting it.
Very respectfully, I am your obedient servant,
New York, 2d November, 1841.
Sir: — I feel not only honored but highly gratified by the reception of the Chinese sword, taken at the capture of one of the Bogue forts, and brought home by your son, who recently arrived in the Narragansett from Canton. However much all warfare is to be deplored, may we not hope that the time is come when, under the influence of those liberal principles which are penetrating every corner of the earth, and which are essential in the melioration of the state of the people, China, truly miscalled the Celestial Empire, may, through the instrumentality of the destroying sword, be opened to the sword of the Spirit, "the Word of God !" And as England has been the highly honored means of originating the British and Foreign Bible Society, whose efforts have been zealously followed up by the American Bible Society, may we not hope that mother and daughter will have a new and glorious field for their united endeavors, not only in promoting the temporal, but the eternal interests of nearly one half the inhabitants of the earth, hitherto subject to the most debasing servitude of both mind and body, and to all human preception so utterly hopeless, that the philanthropist and christian have regarded the removal of their degradation as all but impossible ! I cannot but view these events with a higher estimate than the mere extension of trade or the taking of a few forts, outposts to shut out the light of civilization ; believing that empires and states are under the control of the Almighty Ruler of Heaven and earth, by whom the fall of a sparrow is regarded — And I am firmly persuaded that the rise and fall of empires are beyond the control of the combatants, however bold and daring their enterprise. Abhorring and deploring war as I do, upon christian principles, I must rejoice in the persuasion that the peace of the world may be sustained by the United States and England, for if they are united in restraining the destroying sword by the same spirit which unites them in sending forth the sword of the spirit, all the powers of the world dare not, though united, unsheath the accursed sword of war and destruction.
Your gift of the sword obtained by your son has called forth these reflections, and raised feelings I did not anticipate. Permit me to add, sir, that I accept it with sentiments of sincere respect, and beg to assure yon, that I regard the compliment the more highly as coming from a gentleman to me a perfect stranger.
I remain your obedient and faithful servant,
To Albert Vedder, Esq.
The following letter from Ex-Chancellor Kent., will be regarded by all as a testimonial of no ordinary value
New York, March 31, 1843.
My Dear Sir; — I signed, with great pleasure, an address to you engrossed on parchment, and
which was shown to me at the Custom House. But this is not enough for me, and I cannot deny
myself the pleasure, of writing a personal and private line to you, to assure you of my great respect
and esteem, and of my regret, that this city is soon to lose the pleasure and benefit of your society.
Your conduct, while Consul in this city, has been so full of urbanity and kindness, so conciliatory
to the interests and feeling of the two Nations, and so distinguished for moderation, integrity, candor and christian charity, zeal and benevolence, that my attachment and affections have been warmly exerted in your favor.
I hope the evening of your life may be serene and happy, and I shall always think of you with the
tenderest regard. Mrs. Kent joins me in the sincerest respect and regard to Mrs Buchanan, and in
the strongest wishes for your welfire.
Yours truly and affectionately,
To James Buchanan, Esq.
1st April, 1813.
Never in the course of my life, my dearly esteemed and venerable friend, did I feel more anxious
to find suitable words to express the feelings of my heart and of my aged wife, for such a testimonial as your note received this day conveys. It is regarded as a truly valuable document to be handed
down to my latest posterity — is one, which all who have the happiness and honor of knowing you,
will bear testimony, such could not be acquired by money nor obtaincd by solicitation.
I bless God, that in his providence, I became known to you, as one whom all men feel honored in
knowing, and that I should have so conducted myself as to be so highly favored by your approval,
while without any affected humility, I feel I come far, far short of the estimate by which you have
viewed my actions. I shall conclude this effort to convey the greatful feelings of my heart, in which
I am joined by my wife, praying that you and your estimable lady, may be blessed with all that is
essential to your present and eternal happiness. With all my family deeply impressed with esteem
I remain, my dear Sir, your sincerely devoted friend,
To Chancellor Kent.
The following is the address from the Irish Catholic residents of New York : —
To James Buchanan, Esq. — Sir — Having been informed that the British Government has acceded to your request, and permitted you to retire from the Consulate of this city, the duties annexed to which responsible office you have discharged for a long series of years, with not less fidelity to the government of which you have approved yourself so efficient a representative, than with entire satisfaction to the constituted authorities of this country, renders your retirement a suitable occasion to convey to you an expression of feeling on the part of the Irish residents in this city, to a fellow countryman who has never forgotten the land of his birth, and ever manifested a considerate sympathy for the exiles from Erin in this country, when they had wrongs to redress, or necessities that required relief.
It is, sir, not less gratifying to our feelings to render acceptable to you this unsolicited testimony of regret at your approaching departure from amongst us, than we trust it shall be to your own, to carry with you to your place of retirement an assurance of our most cordial wishes, that the remaining years of your life may be passed in unruffled tranquillity, in that calm and peaceful serenity which a consciousness of the zealous discharge of duty should ever insure to the man who has so well performed his allotted part during a long career of public usefulness.
Wherever you go from hence, we feel assured that in you, Irishmen shall ever find a steadfast friend and among them may you never be without one. Wishing to yourself and every member of your estimable family, health, happiness and prosperity, we have the honor to subscribe ourselves with great respect.
Your assured friends.
My highly esteemed Countrymen:
It is cheering, it is gratifying, and highly consolatory on my departure ,after above a quarter of a century in this city, to be so honored in the address you have presented to me this day. But what renders your highly valued testimonial so grateful to my heart, is the fact of it emanating from gentlemen, many of whom differ with me as to the principles of government. On this occasion, allow me to state, that in my attachment to my countrymen, I stand upon the sole ground of our being the sons of Erin, and it shall be the zealous aim of my few remaining years, to heal the divisions and dissensions which, to our disgrace, prevail among our countrymen in Canada, so as to lead them to cherish brotherly feeling to each other, at the same time as the surest means to promote their prosperity in that highly favored province; to lead them to obey the laws and persevere in that devotion and loyalty which they so signally manifested during the late unhappy rebellion. - the Governor General, Lord Seaton, having declared to me, that owing to the loyal conduct of my countrymen, the Province was saved from much misery and blood shed.
Ever, my dear Countrymen, your grateful and honored humble servant.
At the Anniversary Dinner of St. George's Day, the following tribute was paid to Mr. Buchanan, by the Chairman of the St. George's Benevolent Society :
Mr. Fowler now rose, and with obvious emotion remarked, that as the tribute of respect which, was due to those who are now the representatives of the British government on this continent had been paid, he now asked them to do honor to one who has been, and for a very long period, a faithful servant of the Crown. One of our specially invited guests at this festival is our late Consul, James Buchanan, Esq., and who, with the snows of three score years and ten gathered upon his temples, has lately resigned his official duties, and is about to leave New York, in the enjoyment of the esteem and regard of all who have known him, officially and individually, during a residence of more than a quarter of a century. If that gentleman were not present I should narrate many of his good deeds, of a public and private character; but on his account, and rather than give him uneasiness, I shall refrain, contenting myself with now presenting to him a spontaneous tribute, which has been rendered in consideration of his eminent public services and private worth, by men of all nations, and more especially by the British and American merchants of this city. This address I shall now read to you:
"To Jam. Buchanan Esq. — Sir — As you are about to retire from the duties of the office and are
likely to leave the City of New York, we the undersigned, hereto offer you our best wishes, and desire thus to acknowledge the number of years in which you have fearlessly, indefatigably, and honorably sustained yourself as British Consul: while in private life you have evidenced the proper duties that belong to a husband, parent and friend. Ardently praying for your happiness in your retirement."
Mr Fowler then turned to Mr. Buchanan, and in delivering to him the address, through the medium of Mr Barclay, feelingly remarked — Long, my dear sir, may your life be spared to enjoy this reward; it is one which station alone could not have commanded nor wealth have purchased; but it may serve to fill the measure of public honor and private esteem, due alike to your official and private character. Now fill, gentlemen, to the health and happiness of our Ex-Consul, James Buchanan, Esq.
Mr. Buchanan, deeply affected by the presentation of the address, and cheering which followed, in a feeling manner expressed how greatly it was enhanced by passing to him, on this occasion, through the hand of his highly esteemed successor. When he landed on these shores nearly twenty-seven years ago, he little expected such an outpouring of good-feeling and honours, not only by his fellow-subjects but also by several of the most distinguished of the citizens — (cheers). As his official duties were commended, he would be pardoned in stating that he never anticipated such an approval. He had endeavored to discharge his duty to his Sovereign by maintaining the rights of his fellow-subjects without compromising what was due to his country-(loud cheers). He was bound to express his grateful feelings for the uniform and many acts of kindness he ever experienced, not only from the General and State authorities, but from those of this city, the cultivation of which he deemed of great importance in all official intercourse with them — (great cheering). Those who were fathers and grandfathers could alone enter into his feelings, and duly appreciate the highly prized legacy which would be handed to his posterity by the address, and while written on parchment, yet it was so deeply engravcn on his heart, that he would enjoin upon his numerous children and their posterity ever to cherish a grateful sense of the honor conferred on their father, so that they should ever prove to the signers and their posterity their gratitude — (great cheering). Before he sat down he could not omit observing, in these extraordinary times, that it was cheering to every man connected with England, to witness that when repudiation was so widely, and so ruinously to character, acted on, yet the British merchants stood firm in upholding the moral principle — (loud cheering) While he observed, with proud feeling for the honor of the British character, there were many at this festive board who thus sustained the honor of their country, and among those one who has ever stood prominent through his whole life, need I name your estimable and highly-respected President. I therefore claim the pleasure to give the health of Joseph Fowler — (tremendous cheering).
From the Albion. -The following works have been printed and published by Mr. Buchanan, which
proved that his Consular life has been truly active : —
1819. Letter to Sir Robert Peel as to the prevention of crime, with a proposition as to unfortunate females, abandoned to prostitution in the cities of London, Dublin, and Edinbuigh.
1821. Sketches of Indian Character. This work ran through two editions. Facts are now being collected for a third edition, to be completed in his retirement, in Canada.
1824. Plan for the Melioration and Civilization of the Indians in the British Possessions: addressed to the late Earl Dalhousie.
1824. Project for the formation of an Experimental Depot in Canada, for the Pauper Population of the County of Kent : addressed to the Rt. Hon. Edward Stanly, (now Lord Stanly.)
1828. Report and Observations on the Banking and other Incorporated Institutions of the State of New York. This was the first work of the kind published here, and highly valued.
1828. Opening of the St. Lawrence to the United States Vessels, considered and and recommended to Government.
1832. Report on the State of Crime, and Effects of State Prison Discipline, in the States of New York and Connecticut.
1834. Facts and Observations, addressed to Sir John Colborne, Lieut. Governor of Upper Canada ; pointing out the evil consequent on providing for paupers in health, in a country like Canada, where all who will work are sure of being fed.
1834. Letter to Lord Viscount Dungannon, with a plan to preserve from Contamination and Crime, destitute female children in London, between the ages of eight and twelve. The annual returns show above 15,000 of such females. Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent honored Mr. Buchanan with her approval and granted permission such should be called the Royal Victoria Female Sanctuary. He hopes to set this on feet.
1836. Recommending and pointing out the importance of a railroad from Hamilton to Sarnia in Michigan.
1836. Letter to Sir Francis Head, pointing out the means of raising the funds for such railway, by levying from the lands within five miles each side, according to contiguity.
1838. War with England fairly stated; addressed to President Van Buren. Anonymous.
1839. Letter to Governor General Thomson, pointing out the measure of a Federal Union of all the British Provinces in North America. Signed Chatham.
1841. Letter to the Duke of Wellington as to the admission of Grain from all countries upon the same terms as such countries received the Manufactures of England. This work called forth much observation in England — also to reduce the duty on sugar, and replace such reduction by a general income tax.
In order to improve the capacity of the Masters of British vessels, Mr Buchanan, in 1834, submitted a plan to the Ship-owners' Society of London, which called forth the public thanks of that body, and at length the measure has been introduced to Parliament. Various other subjects have been recommended by Mr. Buchanan; and it may be added that the celebrated McCullogh in his Commercial Dictionary names Mr. Buchanan with approbation, for the information which he derived from his reports.
These documents must prove very gratifying to Mr. Buchanan, and we have much satisfaction in giving them publicity. The Commercial, we perceive, has omitted to mention the fact, that Sir John Franklin, when on his expedition to the polar regions, named one of the rivers after the Consul. Capt. Back, if we recollect aright, paid him a similar compliment in one of his expeditions.
It should not be omitted, that among the various pieces of plate presented to Mr. Buchanan, is one from the surviving sisters of the unfortunate Major Andre, as an expression of their gratitude for his patriotic zeal in relation to the removal of their brother's remains from Tappan to Westminster Abbey.
The Buchanan book. The life of Alexander Buchanan, Q.C., of Montreal, followed by an account of the family of Buchanan (1911)
James Buchanan died at Elmwood, the residence of his son-in-law, Hugh Taylor, advocate, near Montreal, on the 10th October, 1851, in his 80th year, and was buried in the tomb which he had caused to be erected at Drummondville, near the Falls of Niagara. His wife died on the 1st February, 1852, in her 73rd year, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Alexander Buchanan, No. 7 Cornwall Terrace, St. Denis Street, Montreal.
On March 13th 1882, the Village of Drummondville was incorporated and become known as the Village of Niagara Falls and William Russell became the first reeve.
Drummond Hill Cemetery, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Much later - January 2014 - A very kind visitor, Marcello Alfano, has contacted me as a result of the above post about the Buchanan Family. He has sent me a very interesting miniature portrait in his own collection, which he recently obtained from someone who had found it unframed inside a book.
The miniature portrait is of the author of the book mentioned above, "The Buchanan Book - The Life of Alexander Buchanan QC" by Arthur William Patrick Buchanan, which was published in Montreal in 1911. Marcello also advises he found that William Patrick Buchanan, K.C. was admitted to the Bar in 1894 The miniature is signed C Webster and on the rear the artist's name is given as Charlotte Webster. That must be the same C Webster who painted the above depicted miniature portrait of Wentworth James Buchanan (1828-1905).
It is an amazing and wonderful coincidence that Marcello found the miniature and then was able to link it with the name of the author of the book via this website. The miniature must have been close together at some stage and they have now been visually (even if not physically), reunited via the Internet! One wonders about their travels! It is a lot of work researching and loading information to a website like this, so it is very gratifying to be contacted in that manner, and then be able to add more information to the website for the benefit of other researchers.