James Buchanan Macaulay

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The Hon. Sir James Buchanan Macaulay CB

Colonel Sir James Buchanan Macaulay, CB (December 3, 1793 – November 26, 1859) was a lawyer and judge in colonial Canada.

Macaulay, born at Newark, Upper Canada, 3 December 1793, was the second son of James Macaulay by his wife Elizabeth Tuck Hayter. His father was posted from England to Canada in 1792, attached to the Queen's Rangers, and was afterwards the Chief Medical Officer of Upper Canada, under the patronage of his friend John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.

Macaulay served as an ensign in the 98th regiment. In 1812, he joined the Glengarry Fencibles as a lieutenant, and fought during the War of 1812 with America at the Battles of Ogdensburg, Oswego, Lundy's Lane, and at the Siege of Fort Erie. At the close of the war in 1815 his corps was disbanded, and after studying law he was admitted to the Canadian bar in 1822.

Judicial career[edit]

He rose rapidly in his profession, and was an executive councillor during the administration of Peregrine Maitland. He was first appointed a temporary judge of the Court of Queen's Bench, and a permanent judge in 1829.

On the first establishment of the Court of Common Pleas in December 1849 he was made the Chief Justice, and continued to preside there until his retirement on a pension in 1856, but afterwards became judge of the Court of Error and Appeal. As chairman of the commission appointed to revise and consolidate the statutes of Canada and Upper Canada, Macaulay helped to reduce the whole statutory law of the country from its conquest to his own time into three volumes, a work of great labour and corresponding value, which he just lived to see completed. He was gazetted C.B. 30 November 1858, and knighted by patent 13 January 1859.


Macaulay died 26 November 1859, at the home he had built on his father's land in Toronto, Wickham Lodge, which he named after the English village of Wickham where two of his maternal aunts lived with their respective husbands: Admiral Thomas Revell Shivers (1751–1827) and Lieutenant-Commander Thomas Dorsett-Birchall (d.1836). He left his home and $40,000 to his wife. His wife, who he'd married in 1821, was Rachel Crookshank Gamble, daughter of John Gamble (1755–1811), a Loyalist Surgeon with the Queen's Rangers. They were the parents of three daughters. Lady Macaulay died in England on 17 July 1883, at the home of her son-in-law, Edward Henry Bennett (1822–1897) J.P., of Sparkford Hall, Somerset. Another daughter, Catherine McGill Macaulay, married Benjamin Homer Dixon (1819–1899) of Homewood, Toronto, Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

He was a brother of John Simcoe Macaulay and the uncle of John Beverley Robinson. His brothers-in-law included Christopher Alexander Hagerman, John William Gamble and John Solomon Cartwright.



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