and success with which Mr. Buchanan had improved the
period of his academical residence, and how fully he was
qualified to engage in the sacred office to which he aspired.
He took his degree of B.
A. at the commencement, as he
had proposed j and in pursuance of the intention whicli he
had expressed in his last letter to Mr. Newton, he appears
to have continued at Cambridge during the long vacation
till the second week in September, when he wrote to his ex-
cellent friend, under whose experienced guidance he was
about shortly to enter upon the important work of the mini-
stry, in the following terms.
«' I had a letter from the Bishop's secretary this morning.
« His Lordship approves of my credentials. Thursday se'-
<* night (the 17th inst.) is appointed for the examination,
100 MEMOIRS OF
" and Sunday following for the ordination. I propose to
<* leave Cambridge on Tuesday evening by the mail, which
** win be in town early next morning ; and I shall pro-
*< eeed to Fulham without stopping, that I may have the re-
** mainder of the day and next morning to myself. So it is
»* not probable that I shall see you till Monday following.
•<I demand your prayers for one who is about to enter on
"^ the ministry. Pray, that when the Bishop lays his hands
*^ upon my head, I may devote myself a martyr for Him,
*' who hung upon the cross for me."
In this strong and affecting language did Mr. Buchanan
express the feelings with which he was about to dedicate
himself to the service of his Redeemer. It is not often,
perhaps, that so deep an impression of the love of Christ is
felt by the candidate for the sacred office ; but, though the
disposition of every one ought to be similar, the case of Mr.
Buchanan was doubtless somewhat peculiar. The steps by
which he had been led to the ministry of the Gospel, and tlie
hints which had more than once been given of his probable
employment in a foreign country, tended to inspire him with
the purpose and the resolution which he thus briefly but for-
cibly described. It can scarcely be doubted, that the diary^
in which he had been accustomed, from the year 1790, to'
record both the events of his life and his private reflections,
contained a more detailed account of his feelings and senti-
ments upon this interesting occasion ; but the loss of that
valuable memorial deprives us of any farther particulars
respecting it, and compels us to be contented with the
simple fact, that after an examination, which appears to
have been more than ordinarily satisfactory, Mr. Buchanan
was ordained a deacon on Sunday the 20th of September
1795, at Fulham, by the late pious and excellent Bishop
Porteus. Immediately after this admission into holy orders,
he entered upon his engagement as curate to Mr. Newton,
and continued, during a few succeeding months, to discharge
the humble and unobtrusive duties which he had previously
so well described.
DR. BUCHANAN, 101
Early, however, in the year 1796, the friends by whose
Christian kindness and liberality he had been introduced
into the church, conceiving that his talents might be more
advantageously employed abroad, recurred to the plan which
had for some time been more or less in their view, and re-
solved to endeavour to obtain for him the appointment of a
chaplain in the service of the East India Company. Appli-
cation was accordingly made to a distinguislied Director,
Charles Grant, Esq. accompanied by such testimonials as
amply certified the qualifications of Mr. Buchanan for the
office to which he was recommended. Of these it may be
proper to insert copies, more particularly as they may tend
to accredit the judgment as well as the zeal which led to
the appointment in question. The first is from the Presi-
dent and Fellows of Queen's college, Cambridge, and is ex-
pressed in the following terms.
"Queen's College, Cambridge, March 8, 1796.
•' We the undersigned, the President, Tutors, and l^el-
** lows of Queen's college, Cambridge, do certify that Clau-
** dius Buchanan has been a member of this college upwards
*» of four years, during which time he regulai'ly resided
*-* among us, and always conducted himself with the greatest
** propriety and decorum. His attention to discipline, his
"sobriety, and progress in learning, gave the greatest
"satisfaction to the governing part of the college^ and, in
" general, we have no doubt but that he is well qualified by
"talents and good principles to undertake tlie offices in
" India, for which we are informed he is a candidate.
" Isaac Milner, President.
" J. Thos. Jordan, Vice-President.
" P. Heaton.
" Fras. Knipe, Tutor.
" T. L* HUBBERSTY.
" R. A. Ingram.
" C. Farish, Dean.
" Thos. Bouri)ixi.on, Lecturer.- '
iOS MEMOIRS OF
The preceding certificate was transmitted to Mr. Grant
by Dr. Milner with the following letter, in which the learn>
ed President took the opportunity of bearing a more particu-
lar and decisive testimony to the merits of Mr. Buchanan.
"Queen's College, Cambridge, March 8, 1796.
*' Dear Sir,
"I enclose you the college's testimonial of Mr. Buchan-
** an's good behaviour, which is expressed in general terms :
** but if it were needful to be more particular, I could add a
** great deal. In my judgment, much may be expected from
" his ability, industry, and discretion. He has an uncom-
*' mon zeal for every thing that is praiseworthy, and this
*' zeal IS tempered and directed by a sound and well-inform-
" ed understanding. His good sense and attainments must
*< procure him respect everywhere. He will be certainly
*^ on the watch for opportunities to do good. Mr. Buchan-
" an obtained both classical and mathematical prizes at
** I am, dear Sir,
« Isaac Mixner."
" To Charles Grant, Esq. London,*^
The testimonial of the venerable Bishop Porteus is equal-
ly satisfactory as to that part of Mr. Buchanan's qualifica-
tions which came more immediately under his Lordship's
notice. It was as follows.
" London House, March 12, 1796.
*< Being desired to bear my testimony to the character
<^and ability of the Rev. Claudius Buchanan, I hereby cer-
♦* tify that he was admitted to the holy order of Deacon by
*< me on the 20th of September 1795 ; that he brought with
*< him the usual testimonials from college, and was highly
«» spoken of to me by some gentlemen of very respectable
«< character. His attainments in sacred literature, and par-
«' ticularly in the knowledge of the Scriptures, I think supe-
*' rior to what I have found in most of those that I have
*< examined for holy orders.
** B. London."
DR. BUCHANAN. 103
in consequence of these various testimonies to his ahili-
ties as a scholar, his attainments as a divine, and his gene>
ral character for temperate and well-directed zeal for the
honour of God, and the welfare of mankind, Mr. Buchanan
was appointed one of the chaplains to the East India Com-
pany on Wednesday, March 30, 1796. When introduced
to the Court of Directors for the purpose of taking the oaths
usual upon similar occasions, he was addressed by the chair-
man, the late Sir Stephen Lushington, on the importance
of his office, and on the duties imposed on a minister of
religion in India ; and so lively a recollection did he retain
of this unexpected but very laudable charge, that he more
than once referred to it in the course of his future life. He
thus mentions the address of the honourable chairman many
years after it had been delivered.
" The venerable Baronet observed, that French princi-
" pies were sapping the foundations of Christianity and of
*< social order ; and he earnestly inculcated on me the duty
•^ of defending and promoting the principles of the Christian
<^ religion by every proper means. I was much affected by
*< the solemnity of the occasion, and by the energy and feel-
** ing with which the address was delivered : and the subject
*^* of the charge itself made a great impression on my mind.
*' particularly when meditating on it afterwards, during my
Soon after the appointment of Mr. Buchanan to India, he
received priest's orders from the Bishop of London ; and in
the month of May went down to Scotland, in order at once
to revisit his family, and again take leave of them previously
to his approaching voyage to India.
The feelings of both parties upon this meeting were, it
may be readily imagined, of a mixed but very interesting
nature. Nearly nine years had elapsed since Mr. Buchanan^
partly impelled by disappointed affection, and partly by the
flattering visions of a youthful imagination, had left his na-
tive country, and sojourned in a strange land. During that
long interval many remarkable events had occurred. One
of his earthly parents was no more : but he had, like the
104h memoirs of
protlif^al, returned to bis heavenly Father, and by him he
had been distinguished by peculiar marks of kindness and
favour. After having suffered many external hardships and
much inward distress, he had been relieved in no ordinary
manner from both, by the providence and grace of God.
Opportunities had been afforded him, which he had dili-
gently improved, of acquiring the treasures of human science
and learning ; and with a mind thus richly stored, and a
heart deeply impressed with the inestimable value of the
Gospel, he had been called to the work of the ministry, and
had novv the prospect of being permitted " to preach among
<*the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.'^ The
emotions of Mr. Buchanan during his journey to Scotland,
under these remarkable circumstances, must have been pe-
culiarly affecting. While *< a new song" had been put into
his mouth, of joy and thanksgiving, it would be somewhat
damped by the recollection of past sorrows, the pain of his
approaching departure from his kindred and country, and
the anticipation of future labours and trials. The feelings
of his widowed mother and surviving brethren would be
scarcely less checquered by joy and sorrow. Delighted as
they must have been by the return of their beloved relative,
enriched with divine and human knowledge, and honoured
by an appointment which more than realized their highest
wishes and expectations, the pleasure of their intercourse
with him would be not a little clouded by the thought of its
transient nature, and the prospect of a long, perliaps, as to
this world, a final separation in a far distant land. Such, we
may justly suppose, were the mutual feelings and reflections
of Mr. Buchanan and his family during his short abode
with them at this interesting period. He appears to have
remained in Scotland till the first week in June, when he
returned to London, to complete the preparations for his
voyage. On the 3rd of July, he preached for Mr. Newton
at St. Mary Woolnoth ; and terminated by a pious and affec-
tionate farewell his short connection with the congregation
of his dear and venerable friend.
REV. DR. BUCHANAN.
AMONGST the various recommendations and introduc-
tions from his more immediate patrons and friends, by which
Mr. Buchanan was accompanied to India, one occurs, from
so respectable a quai'ter, and of so appropriate a nature,
that it may be proper to insert it. This is a letter from the
Rev. Dr. Gaskin, Secretary to the Society for promoting
Christian Knowledge, to the Rev. David Brown, then one
of the East India Company's chaplain's resident in Cal-
cutta. That part of his letter which relates to Mr. Bu-
chanan is as follows.
"London, July 3, 1796.
" Rev. and dear Sir,
** It is with particular pleasure that I introduce to you the
*« name of the Rev. Claudius Buchanan, who is appointed to be
" chaplain to the Hon. Company, and in whom I am persua-
*« ded you will find a most valuable colleague; as I have every
" reason to believe, from the intercourse I have had with
<« him, and from the testimony chiefly of my Lord Bishop of
" London, that he is a man of sound learning, serious piety,
<^ and great steadiness. I was myself present, and assisted at
<< his admission to priest's orders. The pleasure I have in
*f communicating this information is considerably increased
« from the full expectation I entertain, that he will cheerful-
<•' ly, and to the utmost of his power, assist you at the mission
106 MEMOIRS OF
This was, liowever, by no means the only iiilroduction
which Mr. Buchanan carried with him to the pious and ex-
cellent person to whom the foregoing letter was addressed ;
who afterwards proved one of liis most valued and intii>iate
friends, and with whom he was long associated in the various
labours which devolved upon him in India.
Thus recommended and accredited, Mr. Buclianan left
London for Portsmouth on Saturday the 30th of July, and
on the 11th of August following, he embarked on board the
Busbridge East Indiaman, commanded by Captain Dobree,
and sailed for Bengal. During the course of his extensive
voyage, Mr. Buchanan was diligently employed in acqui-
ring useful knowledge, and in endeavouring to promote the
improvement of his various companions and fellow-pas
The principal subjects of his studies were probably such
as bore an immediate reference to the work of the ministry,
and to his peculiar destination in India; but the only traces
of them which now remain consist of some additional com-
mon-place books, one of which is dated at sea in January
1797, near the island of St. Paul, containing abridgments
of chemistry from Lavoisier, of botany from Rousseau and
Martin, of the history of Denmark and Sweden, and misceL
ianeous observations, chiefly of an historical nature.
Of his employments, views, and feelings in the early part
of his voyage, the following letter to Mr. Newton presents
an interesting account.
" Busbridge East-Indiaman,
"at sea, off the Canaries, 27 Aug. 1796,
« My dear Sir,
»< I take tiie opportunity of writing to you by the Poly-
-' pliemus, a 64-gun-ship, which, after convoying us safely
« to this latitude, returns now to England. We have had a
« monsoon all the way. We took our departure from the
*< Lizard, and in eight days made the island of Madeira; a
*^ shorter passage than the East India fleet has ever had.
• In two days we hope to arrive at the trade winds ; indeed
*< the captain thinks we have them already. About the end
DR. BUCHANAN. '^ 1^7
♦« of September we expect to reach the Cape ; from which
" place you will probably hear from me, 1 enjoy good
« health on board. I was sea-sick for about a week. Every
•'* body pays me much attention. I am instructing some in
<< science, some in classical knowledge, some in tlie belles
»' lettres, and all, I hope, in Christian truth. I do not ex-
** peet to be so useful in preaching sermons to them, as in
" conversation. The captain supports a very consistent
" character. He is the friend of virtue, and I doubt not but
" he will continue to arm my endeavours with his power.
*^ All his officers are in proper subjection to him ; and exert
*^ their authority in the ship in accommodating me.
" We liave more than a dozen officers of the army going
** out as passengers. I have some weight with them ;
'* but there are many divisions among themselves. They
" have been challenging already ; and probably duels may
♦« We are now about twenty sail. The frigate I'Oiseau
»< accompanies us to the Cape, and will probably carry home
^* our letters.
" One day lately an enemy appeared in sight ; and we
*« began to think of an engagement. Then was the time for
«< examining myself, and learning what was my object in a
" voyage to India. Indeed, unless we have some confidence
" that the Lord is with us, our hearts must sink in despair
♦^on such occasions. But where we can believe that He is
« leading us out on Im own service, we have nothing to fear
*' from an enemy, or from the, dangers of the sea. On the
" contrary, tlie faithful servant must rejoice that his Lord
« will come so soon, and lead him to that rest which he seeks
*« for in vain on earth.
** When the enemy came nearer, they discovered that we
" had a superior force, and bore away.
<» I hope Miss C. and the rest of your house are happy.
** They have great advantages, which I trust they improve.
*« They live in the house of peace and instruction. They,
108 MEMOIRS OF
*^ with you, will, I hope, shortly inherit your mansion in the
^< It is with me as I expected. I feel little difference in
*' mind, whether navigating the ocean, or sitting quietly in
" Coleman-Street. It would appear as if I had lost all rel-
" ish for earthly pleasure. No novelty excites my atten-
" tion. My countenance is acquiring a grave settled cast.
<* I feel as if nothing could give joy to my soul, but freedom
^« from the body. And yet being sensible that I may remain
<« long on duty here, I often inquire of myself how I am to
*« pass the heavy hours. Perhaps a closer walk with God,
<< greater activity in his service, and some species of afflic-
« tion hitherto unfelt, may at length unloose my bonds, and
<« give me that enjoyment of life to which I have so long
" been a stranger. I have great hopes indeed from enter-
" prising a little in my Master's service, and fighting with
" courage for his honour. I shall write to you frqm time to
" time, and acquaint you how it is with me.
<« It will be a remarkable day when you and I meet in
(i heaven. I dare not say, Sero redeas ; because I trust that
" you are < ready.' I fear you will have learnt many a song
<« in heaven before I come. But let me not despond. What
« saith the Scripture ? Ut dies^ sic robur,
<< May you be preserved in your old age, so that your
« Lord may be glorified in the ending, as in the beginning
*< of your Christian life.
a Forgive me all my faults, and believe me to be,
« My dear Sir,
« Your affectionate son,
<« C. Buchanan."
The foregoing letter appears to contain the only memo-
rial of Mr. Buchanan's voyage which now exists. His
diary, the loss of which we must have frequent occasion to
lament, doubtless recorded many particulars which might
have gratified and instructed us. A few memoranda, how-
ever, only remain. On the 18th of November, some weeks
later than he had expected, the fleet arrived at the Cape of
Good Hope, On the 10th of December it again sailed, and
reached Madras on the 17th of February ; and on the 10th
of March, Mr. Buchanan landed at Calcutta, two days be-
fore the completion of the 31st year of his age.
On his arrival at the capital of the British possessions in
India, he was hospitably received by the Rev. Mr. Brown,
and resided for a short time in his family. He then took a
house in Durrumlollah, where, however, he continued but
two months, being at the end of that time appointed chaplain
at Barrackpore, a military station about sixteen miles above
By this arrangement, which, however usual according to
the rules of the East India service, he does not appear to
have anticipated, Mr. Buchanan found himself placed in a
situation by no means congenial with his taste and feelings,
and affording but few opportunities for the exercise of his
ministry. Barrackpore possessed no place for public wor-
ship ; and divine service was never required by the military
staff to which he was attached.
This unexpected seclusion from active duty, combined
with the influence of an enervating climate, which he very
soon began to feel, and of society for the most part unfriend-'
ly to religion, produced in Mr. Buchanan a considerable de-
pression of spirits, and even gave occasion to some of his
friends in Europe to attribute his comparative inactivity on
his arrival in India to abatement of zeal rather than, as the
truth required, to causes over which he could exercise no
When Mr. Buchanan arrived at Calcutta, Mr. Brown was
one of the two chaplains of the presidency. He held also the
chaplaincy of the garrison. Some of Mr. Buchanan's friends
in England conceived that the latter appointment might
have been transferred to him ; or that he might have officia-
ted at the mission church. As to the garrison, it appears
that motives of delicacy and kindness towards Mr. Brov/n,
with whom he lived from the first on the most friendly and
affectionate terms, prevented him from soliciting such an ar-
rangement ; and the mission church was then occupied by
110 MEMOIRS OF
the Rev. Mr. Riiigeltaube, a clergyman of the Lutheran
church, who had been sent to India under the patronage of
the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. No sooner,
however, had Mr. Ringeltaube abandoned this post, as he
shortly afterwards did, than Mr. Buchanan participated
with Mr. Brown the gratuitous labour of the mission church.
It appears also that he occasionally performed divine ser-
vice in his house at Barrackpore ; probably as often as he
could obtain an audience.
The following letter will explain the confidential nature
of Mr. Buchanan's intercourse with Mr. Brown. The for-
mer part of it relates to a proposed measure respecting an
evening lecture at one of the churches in Calcutta, and to
the chaplaincy of Fort William ; the latter will exhibit a
most interesting and instructive picture of the mind of the
writer, and will throw considerable light on some of the pre-
" Barrackpore, 9(h June, 1797.
«< My dear Sir,
•< I have just received yours. I understood your last very
** well. I meant to say in answer, that to levy a contribu-
** tion for the current expenses of the lecture, would be very
<< painful to me ; equally so as a contribution for personal
« When I mentioned my idea of gratuity for professional
<* duties, it was to explain my delicacy about pecuniary sub-
« scription. I had no allusion to the sentiments of others. If
<^ I were in your situation, it is probable that I should do as
« you do.
« I think the justice you owe your family in an expensive
«< situation, demands that you be very well satisfied with the
" propriety of giving up the chaplaincy of the Fort, as long
<^ as it is agreeable to the rules of the service that you should
<i retain it ; and as long as you can perform the service it
<< requires as well as any other.
*< Let us now talk on the subject of your former letter a
DR. BUCHANAN. HI
<< I think you speak of yourself with more diffidence, or
♦« rather despondency, than you ought. How do you know
<« that your Thursday evening lecture is not the most useful
^< of all your ministrations ? And with respect to industry,
** have you not much reason to be thankful, that, after a ten
« years' residence in this deteriorating country, you feel
<• yourself so much alive to the ministry of Christ ? And is it
*< not another reason for thankfulness, that you have been pre-
** served from seeking great things for yourself? I think you
" very happy indeed, that you have nothing to do with this
** world ; but that your chief work is to make proof of your mi-
<< nistry, as the Lord shall prosper it. As splendid a crown
<^ awaits him who shall do a little in this country, as him who
«« shall do much at home.
<* It is not probable that you or I shall live long. What
" seek we then ? There is no fame for us here. There is
" some reproach, whether we be faithful or not. So that
*« we lose nothing by being faithful. I am so young in these
*< things, that I do not know any thing about them. I have only
•'« entered the wilderness. But I apprehend much, I would
" gladly enter Canaan, without encountering < the greatness
*< of the way.' Were it the will of God, and were he to give
« me faith and strength for it, I would to-morrow, with great
"joy, leave this world, and all it offers. Were I sure it
'' would not entangle and destroy me at last, I would rather
<^ stay and endeavour to do something for God ; but I am
« not sure of that.
<^ I often compare myself, in my present exile, to John,
" in the island of Patmos. Would that, like him, I had fi
*« nished my course, and had only to contemplate < the new
<« heavens !' But I am a stranger to suffering ' for the word
*< of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ.'
*^ I sigh much for that singleness of mind and purity of
" heart, and love to God, which distinguish the disciple of