James Silk Buckingham

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James Silk Buckingham
James Silk Buckingham by Clara S. Lane.jpg
James Silk Buckingham by Clara S. Lane
Born (1786-08-25)25 August 1786
Flushing, Cornwall
Died 30 June 1855(1855-06-30) (aged 68)
London, England
Nationality British
Occupation author, journalist, traveller

James Silk Buckingham (25 August 1786 – 30 June 1855) was a Cornish-born author, journalist and traveller.


James Silk Buckingham infused a new light to Indian Journalism. He was the pioneer among the Europeans who fought for a liberal press in India. He was born at Flushing near Falmouth, the son of a farmer, and had a limited education. His youth was spent at sea, and in 1797 he was captured by the French and held as a prisoner of war at Corunna. In 1821, his "Travels in Palestine" were published, followed by "Travels Among the Arab Tribes" in 1825.[1] After years of wandering he settled in India, where he established a periodical, the Calcutta Journal, in 1818. This venture at first proved highly successful, but in 1823 the paper's outspoken criticisms of the East India Company led to the expulsion of Buckingham from India and to the suppression of the paper by John Adam, the acting governor-general in 1823. His case was brought before a select committee of the House of Commons in 1834, and a pension of £500 a year was subsequently awarded to him by the East India Company as compensation.

James Silk Buckingham, by Henry William Pickersgill

Buckingham continued his journalistic ventures on his return to England; he settled at Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park,[2] and started the Oriental Herald and Colonial Review (1824–9) and the Athenaeum (1828) which was not a success in his hands, Buckingham selling to John Sterling after a few weeks. In parliament, where he sat as member for Sheffield from 1832–1837, he was a strong advocate of social reform, calling for the end of flogging in the armed services, abolition of the press-gang and the repeal of the Corn Laws. He was a prolific writer. He had travelled in Europe, America and the East, and wrote many useful travel books, as well as many pamphlets on political and social subjects. "In 1851, the value of these and of his other literary works was recognized by the grant of a Civil List pension of £200 a year. At the time of his death in London, Buckingham was at work on his autobiography, two volumes of the intended four being completed and published (1855)".[3] This work is important as it mentions in detail the life of the black composer Joseph Antonio Emidy who settled in Truro. His youngest son, Leicester Silk Buckingham, was a popular playwright.



  1. ^ Shepherd, Naomi, The Zealous Intruders: the Western Rediscovery of Palestine, London 1987, p. 59.
  2. ^ "Cornwall Terrace". Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Santanu Banerjee (2010). History of Journalism : A Legend of Glory. Suhrid Publication. ISBN 978-81-92151-99-1. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Sheffield
With: John Parker
Succeeded by
John Parker
Henry George Ward