'* general; I hope they are now particular. I expect soon
*• to sec your name and D — 's to some useful publication. I
« pray you, support the author of the Pursuits of Literature
** in his work : you are both able. Only conceive some grand
DR. BUCHANAN. l3g
•• design, some one purpose ; collect your powers to it, and
" you will execute it.* You remember the Johnsonian apho-
<* rism: * Whatever a man is able to conceive fully, he will
*< by patience and labour execute well.*
•< What is T — of Sidney doing ? Does he reap the fruit of
<• our Hebrew and Italian hours ? Has he published any
" thing since his Academical Contributions? The metaphy-
" sical T — ! I never knew so grave a speculatist have such
*< fine affections : but they had no object tlien. 1 was once
*' afraid that he would prove to be of Godwin's school. But
*• 1 can easily believe that his marriage has prevented it.
*« Marriage and its accompanying joys and sorrows have
*« cured many a theorist.
" There is no harmony among the mental powers, no con-
« sistency of purpose, no solace in life, till the affections are
" moved. Some find another object to move them than mar-
** riage ; but rarely. Plato says that there are not many
*< such objects. St. Paul says that there is one,
^ Tp ^ w ^
•< I wish not to see any of you engage in general or specu-
« lative subjects at this time ; nor even in useful works, slow
" in operation. This is the moment for urgent and direct
^< attack. We have had too many books of late, addressed to
<* the Infidels in the style of alterative. In your academical
« laboratory have you not some * strong purgative drug to
" scour these French?'
<• The truth is, we have acted too long on the defensive :
*« let us now act on the oifensive. Infidelity cannot bear to
" be attacked. It can annoy by stratagem and Parthian
** dexterity ; but it cannot shew a resolute front. ' Resist
" the devil, and he will flee from you !' — Keep close to the
" Greek originals of the Socratic and Apostolic school, and
" you may fight a host of these lank sickly giants, forced
" by the compost of this vapouring age.
136 MEMOIRS OF
" Have you no MSS. of your own composition to send me ?
«^ I am desirous to see you, and I can't see you in a letter. I
" am anxious for your fame. I have seen you run the circle
*< of the sciences with eclat. And I now wish to know what
« you are going to rfo." # # # *
Some hints in the preceding letter respecting marriage^
as well as tlie general character of Mr. Buchanan, lead us
to expect that he was by no means indifferent to that sub-
ject. He had hitherto been too much occupied with study,
and with his entrance upon his professional career, to in-
dulge any thoughts respecting it ; but his affectionate and
social disposition, and the comparative solitude in which he
was compelled to live, convinced him of the expediency of
entering into the married state. This important change
in his condition took place on the 3rd of April 1799 ; on
which day Mr. Buchanan married Miss Mary Whish, third
daughter of the Rev. Richard Whish, then rector of North-
wold in Norfolk.
Upon this interesting event, it may be best to allow Mr.
Buchanan to speak, as usual, for himself. He thus writes
to Mr. Newton about two months after his marriage.
" Miss Mary Whish, and her elder sister," (afterwards
married to Major Prole,) "came out to India about five
« months ago, with their aunt Mrs. Sandys, wife of Captain
<< Sandys, commissary of stores in Calcutta. The younger
<* of these ladies was so much disgusted with the dissipa-
<« tion of India, that she would gladly have returned single
« to England. I did not see her till two months after I>er
«' arrival. But we had not been long acquainted before she
« confessed, that she had found a friend who could reconcile
" her to India. I did not expect that I should have ever
" found in this country a young woman whom I could so
« much approve. Mrs. Buchanan is not yet nineteen. She
<< has had a very proper education for my wife. She has do-
<< cility of disposition, sweetness of temper, and a strong pas-
«< sion for retired life.
DR. BUCHANAN. I37
*♦ She is religious as far as her knowledi^e goes, and her
** knowledge is as great as I suppose yours or mine was at
** her age. Our marriage was sanctioned by the approbation
^•' of all who knew her, and who knew mo.
<* I have now been married two months, and every sue-
•< cessive day adds something to confirm the felicity of my
** choice, and the goodness of God in directing it.
**Mrs. Buchanan has read many of your letters tome,
'^ and hopes you will mention her name in your next. She
« is now reading the « Christian character exemplified,'
" published by you, and aspires to the spirit and piety of the
*< lady whose character it is.
" 1 still reside at Barrackpore, where it is now^ probable
"I shall remain some years. But I must take no thought
" for to-morrow. Years, days, and hours are not mine.
« Moments, how sacred !"
In replying to some enquiries of his correspondent, Mr.
Buchanan proceeds to mention, what in the prospect of con-
tinuing at Barrackpore must have been peculiarly painful to
him, that it was thought no chapel would be built there,
under the new arrangement relative to that subject, as no
European regiment was at any time ordered to that station.
Under these circumstances he mentions that he was anxious
to take every opportunity of assisting Mr. Brown at Cal-
cutta 5 and adds, that he had successfully laboured to pro-
mote a good understanding betw een him and his colleague,
and to remove some prejudices which had previously existed
against him and the ministrations at the mission church.
He then continues as follows.
"You will have heard by this time the fate of the expedi-
« tion to Otaheite. The missionaries, banished by the na-
" tives, fled to Botany Bay. One of them, I hear, is lately
<•' arrived in Calcutta, from Port Jackson. I hope this south-
" sea scheme will not discourage the missionary societies.
<<They have done no harm : and if they send out their next
" mission with less carnal eclat, and more Moravian diffi-
'< dence they may perhaps do some good. Their chief fault
188 MEMOIRS OF
*•' was in the selection of the men. It appears, that most of
" them were weak, and most of them novices.
** Lord Mornington is taking measures to send home all
" Frenchmen and repuhlicans. I was applied to lately in
**a kind of official way, to give some account of the Baptist
" missionaries. It was asked. What was tlieir ohject r
•• How supported ? Whether they were not of republican
^« principles ? As I had some good data for speaking favour-
^« ably of Mr. Carey, I confined myself to him. I stated the
"origin of the Tranquebar mission, and its success under
«^ Swartz, and I represented Carey as endeavouring to do
"in Bengal what Swartz did in the Deccan. He called
" upon me lately in his way to Calcutta. He considers
" himself as sowing a seed, which haply may grow up and
^« bear fruit. He is prosecuting his translation of the Scrip-
** tures. This is a good work. It will be useful to those Hin-
" doos who are somewhat influenced by Christian instruc
*^ tion, and particularly useful to Hindoo children brought
" up in Christian schools. I told Mr. Carey, that I thought
*< he could not employ his time better than in translating
"the Scriptures. I explained to him, from sources with
" wiiich he seemed unacquainted, tlie plan and progress of
^< the Tamulian Scriptures, and the circumstances attending
" And now, my dear Sir, pray for us. Under my Mary's
" care, I improve in health and spirits,"
The hint which Mr. Buchanan suggested in the preceding
letter, as to the too confident spirit with which some mission-
ary plans had been undertaken, and as to one of the prin-
cipal causes of their failure, will be generally acknowledged
to have been dictated by the soundest judgment.
In the autumn of this year, Mr. Buchanan informed Mr.
Grant that he had been recommended to accept a vacant
chaplaincy at Bombay. " Being altogether ignorant," says
he, "of the particulars, I wrote to Mr. Fawcett, the ac-
" countant general there, (who wishes me to go,) to explain
"fully to me the nature of the situation. If it be the first
" chaplaincy to the Presidency, I shall accept it." He
DR. BUCHANAN. I39
adds ; <• There is to be a relief of staff this ensuing Novem-
*' ber. Wliether 1 shall be included in it, I know not."
It is probable that Mr. Buchanan's enquiry respecting
the chaplaincy at Bombay proved unsatisfactory. However
this may have been, the providence of God shortly aftei -
wards introduced him to a sphere of labour in Calcutta,
which was equally adapted to his talents and his wishes.
Towards the close of the year. Lord Mornington appointed
him a third chaplain to the Presidency, and he immediately
entered upon the duties of that office.
One of the earliest occasions of public service, to which
Mr. Buchanan was called after this appointment, was in
February 1800 ; when he preached a sermon at the new
church, before Lord Mornington and the principal officers of
the government, on the day appointed for ** a general thanks-
*< giving, for the late signal successes obtained by the naval
*< and military forces of his Majesty and of his Allies ; and
<* for the ultimate and happy establishment of the tranquil-
<< lity and security of the British jjossessions in India."
This sermon was so highly approved, that Mr. Buchanan
received the thanks of the Governor General in Council,
with a direction, that it should be printed ; and it was un-
doubtedly a production which well deserved that honour. It
was founded on the 11th verse of the 21st Psalm ; " For they
"intended mischief against Thee; and imagined such a
<' device, as they are not able to perform :" and contains a
luminous and impressive view of the principles, progress,
and effects of the new French philosophy, to which Mr. Bu-
chanan justly attributed the awful struggle in which this
country was then engaged. This important subject has
since received such ample discussion and illustration, that it
is happily no longer necessary to dwell upon it. The fol-
lowing passages from Mr. Buchanan's discourse may, how-
ever, with propriety be extracted, in proof of the ability and
judgment, as well as the piety, of its author.
« The contest in which our country has been so long en
••' gaged hath, in one particular, been of essential service to
'* to her. It hath excited a greater respect for Christian in-
140 MEMOIRS OF
** vstitutions and Christian principles. A long period of in-
" ternal tranquillity and security had induced an indifference
<< about relig-ion, which was rapidly gaining ground, and
<^ was making room for that infidelity which our enemies
'• wished to suhstitute. But the critical situation in which
** the nation was placed, and the dangers that threatened
^f her, led men to review their principles, and to consider
" seriously by what means she might be saved. Hence there
'< is now a growing regard for Christian ordinances. There
" is now a more general acknowledgment of the providence
« of God ; more attention is paid to moral character ; more
^' care is taken in forming the minds of youth ; and more
•< ample means of instruction are afforded to the common
<* In the anxiety that prevails in the mother-country about
** the principles of all who are connected with her, she will
♦• naturally be interested to know what is the state of reli-
*< gion amongst us, * How,' she will ask, * amidst all this re-
« volution of opinion and practice which agitates the world,
<« is that distant society affected ? Are they altogether free
" from infidel principles ? And does the public spirit of the
" people shew itself in combating these principles, and in
'« maintaining a respect for Christian institutions?'
<* However this subject might have been overlooked in
•« the infancy of our settlements, it becomes now a matter of
<« public consequence. The importance we are daily acqui-
" ring in the eyes of tlie world, and the destructive effects of
" irreligion in other countries, make it proper that we should
" shew that we yet profess the faith of our country, and
*< that we are yet willing to be accounted a Christian com-
" On this subject we think there can be but one senti-
" ment. Men of sense and of responsible situation, who love
*• their country, and who know the danger of the new prin-
« ciples, will not, we are persuaded, be averse to shew this
" countenance to the ChrivStian religion. Such example is of
*< the more consequence, on account of the great number of
<< young persons who are yearly added to our soGietv.
DR. BUCHANAN. 141
<^ These persons are denied those opportunities of instruc-
" tion they enjoyed at home ; and they arrive at so early an
*« age, that, in general, their principles are formed and fix-
*« ed here* And when it is considered that they are here-
** after to fill the offices in the government of the country,
** and are to be themselves the guardians of the public prin-
<< ciples, it will certainly appear of consequence, that their
** minds should be impressed with a respect for those reli-
** gious and moral observances, on which the future safety
*< and happiness of the country depend."
a — Scepticism and infidelity are not now so well re^
** ceived in society as they once were. It was formerly
** thought a mark of superior understanding to profess infi>
<« delity. It was thought a proof of some learning to think
<« differently from others on religious subjects.
" But we have now seen, that the most illiterate and most
^* abandoned of the human race can be infidels.
<* We have also seen, that there is no superstition more
*• irrational in its eff*ecls, no fanaticism more degrading t©
♦* the human mind, than the fanaticism of infidelity.
" We have further seen the moral effects of infidelity ;
*' effects flowing directly from it, acknowledging no other
" source. And after what we have seen of these effects, we
" think no man can add to his respectability in society,
« either for understanding or for moral character, by avow-
" ing himself to be an advocate for infidelity.'*
a — But we trust that the great body of our society is yet
<< animated by Christian principles, and that they are ready
" to make common cause with their country in defending
" these principles to the uttermost.
« Some will doubt, and some will disbelieve, but it is an
*< eternal truth, that the Christian religion is the rock on
*' which rests our existence as a civilized nation ; on which
«• rest our social blessings, and our individual happiness.
«< Take aw^ay this rock, and you give your country to con-
« vulsion and endless disgrace. Built on this rock, she
<« hath withstood the violence of the storms that have so long
"assailed her. Secure and tranquil in the midst of the
142 MEMOIRS OF
•« tempest, she stands at this hour firm and impregnable^
<< while those who built on the < sands of infidelity,' have
•« been overthrown.'*
Copies of Mr. Buchanan's thanksgiving sermon were dis-
tributed by order of government in every ])art of British
India, and sent home to the Directors of the East India
^' You may easily conceive," says Mr. Buchanan, writing
to a friend in England, well acquainted with the prevalence
of sceptical principles at that period in India, *< the aston*
" ishment of men at these religious proceedings. However,
<^ all was silence and decent acquiescence. It became fa-
<* shionable to say, that religion was a very proper thing,
<< that no civilized state could subsist without it ; and it was
*• reckoned much the same thing to praise the French, as to
<« praise infidelity."
The importance of this public recognition of Christianity
as the only basis of civil prosperity, was soon perceived in
the increasing attention to personal religion.
" Our Christian society," adds Mr. Buchanan to the same
fi'iend, " flourishes. Merit is patronized, immoral charac-
** ters are marked; and young men of good inclinations have
" the best opportunities of improvement." •
The same happy elFects were thus distinctly stated by
Mr. Brown, in a memorial on the general state of society in
Calcutta, drawn up some years afterwards, for the informa-
tion of the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge.
" These solemn acts," observes that excellent man, <* and
<^ the public thanksgivings, which took place for the first
** time under Marquis Wellesley's government, awakened a
« religious sense of things in many ; and led to an open and
" general acknowledgment of the divine Providence,* which
" has been highly beneficial to the interests of true religion
« and virtue."
On Mr. Buchanan's removal to Calcutta, he t!»us resumed
the account of his studies and proceedings, in a letter to Mn
DR. BUCHANAN. I43
*• The plan of study I formed about two years and a half
** ago has not suffered any material alteration since. I soon,
•^ however, discovered the small value of the Persian and
*< Hindostanee languages to me, and was contented with a su-
*« perficial acquaintance with them. My scriptural studies
<• I pursue with my first purpose, and I hope I shall conti-
<( nue to pursue them to the day of my death. My general
'« studies have been much diversified by correspondence in
*< different parts of India, on subjects classical, mathema-
" tical, and theological. The latter has been the most labo-
♦* rious and generally the most pleasant. This subject is
'« often forced upon me. But I have seldom permitted my-
*« self to defend Christianity. I have usually acted on the
•< offensive, and attacked infidelity. This is a very unplea-
" sant mode to the infidel. During tlie last year I received
" many anonymous letters, particularly from young per-
*«sons, on polemical divinity; but the correspondence has
<^ generally ended in real names. In consequence, I am
•• often applied to for books, and have expended much in
••' purchasing valuable works at our dear market. Small re-
•^ ligious tracts are of little service to those with whom I
*< have to do.
«• My public ministrations have been rare, but perhaps
•• not so rare as from my situation might be expected. Of
*« the three years I have been in India, including the num-
«< her of times I ijave officiated at the hospital in Calcutta,
'• and in my own liouse at Barrackpore, I have preached on
••' an average once a fortnight.
" My great alHiction since I came to India has been bad
"health, I feel a languor of constitution, and a difficulty of
•« respiration, which no medical aid has yet been able to re-
<•' move. This I sometimes think has taken away one half
••' of t)je energy and usefulness I might have preserved or
»• acquired in a cooler region. But this also is the dispen-
*• sation of God ; and it has added to me that^ which else-
here I miirht not have found.
In a letter, liowever, to Mr. Newton about the same time,
Mr. Buchanan observes, ** I have enjoyed better health this
144 MEMOIRS OF
<« year than in any former ; and I trust that I shall be
f< strengthened and spared for some service."
During the first six months of the year 1800, the plan of a
collegiate institution had been formed by Lord Mornington,
(who, in consequence of the splendid success of his policy in
the Mysore, had been created Marquis Wellesley,) for the
purpose of promoting the literary improvement of the young-
er civil servants of the Company. This important mea-
sure, in the arrangement and conduct of which Mr. Buchan-
an was so essentially concerned, he thus mentioned in the
month of June in a letter to Mr. Grant.
<« Lord Wellesley is at present engaged in founding a col-
<< lege for the instruction of the young civil servants in the
'f eastern literature and general learning. He desired me
*« to draw out a sketch of the constitution of the college ;
<« which I did. And now Mr. Barlow has instructed me to
^f draw up a minute as a justification of the measure. Lord
" Wellesley proposes that Mr. Brown should be the Provost
« of the college ; and he is certainly the fittest man in Cal-
" cutta for that office. I had him in my mind when drawing
♦« up the duties of Provost. There will be about eight or ten
♦< professors. No promotion in the service, but through the
•' medium of this institution. The students to remain at col-
« lege for three or five years. Pi-izes and honours to be pro-
*' posed for those who distinguish themselves, and degrees
'i to be taken to qualify for certain offices."
Some allusion is made to the subject introduced in the pre-
ceding extract in the two following letters from Mrs. Buchan-
an ; which, as they exhibit a pleasing and faithful picture of
a most amiable woman, very early removed from this world,
it may not be uninteresting to insert, before we proceed to a
more enlarged view of the college of Fort W illiam.
The first Is addressed to Mr. Newton, and is dated Cal-
cutta, 2ith June, 1800.
" Dear Sir,
" Mr. Buchanan assures me that you will excuse the
<' liberty I take in writing to you. I have long wished to
DR. BUCHANAN. I45
** acknowledge the debt I owe you, for your valuable works.
" They have been blessed to many, and I trust will be also
" blessed to me. But I believe I am still more indebted to
"you as the friend, father, and instructor of my beloved
<« husband ,• as such, I must consider you as the instrument,
" under God, of my present happiness.
" You will be j^lad to hear, that Mr. B's health is of late
"much improved; but I am alarmed lest his approaching
*« labours should be too much for him. We have reason to
" believe that he will be appointed a professor in the new
*^ college. He himself wishes to decline it ; but his friends
«^ do not see how it is possible, as he has taken an active
" part in the institution. It is supposed that he may have
" his choice of three professorships, classics, mathematics,
" or the belles-lettres. I believe his intention is to accept of
«« a situation in college, if it be easy; but if not, to decline it
« on the plea of health.
*< Dear Sir, I cannot expect to see you in this world; may
" I therefore request you to send your blessing to me and
" my little girl.''
" I desire my love to your niece, and remain,
" My dear Sir,
" Yours with Christian affection,
" Mary Buchanan."
The second of these letters is to Mr. Elliott ; and w bile it
expresses with equal simplicity the advancing piety of her
own mind, it recognizes the support which Lord Wellesley
was then affording to religion in Calcutta. It is of the same
date with the former.
" Dear Sir,
« Your letter to Mr. Buchanan, in which you mention our
" marriage, gave me real pleasure. And as you expressed
« a wisli that I should write to you, I take tliis opportunity
" to thank you for your affectionate congratulations. You
*« have reason indeed to congratulate me. It is the happiest
" circumstance in my life, that I ever came to India ; where
146 MEMOIRS OF
« I have been united to one, whose endeavours God has been
*' pleased to bless, in leading me to some knowledge of the
" everlasting Gospel. It is a new Gospel to me, and I seem
« to live in a new world, differing far more from my old
« world, than India differs from England. May I request
<i your prayers, that this good work may be carried on in
« my heart, and that it may issue in honour to my beloved
" husband, and to his ministry here? He has much to en-
" courage him in the work of the Gospel. There is an evi-
*^ dent change in the face of the society here, even in the
<< short time since I arrived in the country. Lord Welles-
<« ley seems inclined to support the Christian religion by
6< every means. Vital religion also is encreasing. It seems
*^ to be fostered under the wing of that general sanction to
" Christianity which has lately been given. This is the
<« only place in India where religion is countenanced. We
<« have now many respectable families here in which piety