« Bucer, Martin. Buchanan, Claudius Buchanan, George »

Buchanan, Claudius

BUCHANAN, CLAUDIUS: A pioneer of modern Anglican missionary work in India; b. at Cambuslang, near Glasgow, Mar. 12, 1766; d. at Broxbourne (5 m. s.e. of Hertford), Hertfordshire, Feb. 9, 1815. At sixteen he went to the University of Glasgow, intending to study law, but, after finishing his course, spent three years in a careless wandering life. Smitten by repentance, he placed himself under the care of John Newton, the celebrated evangelical preacher in London, one of whose friends enabled him to spend four years at Cambridge. In 1796 he went to Calcutta as a chaplain in the East India Company's service. He found the conditions there very unfavorable for earnest work. All the Company was willing to do for sixty millions of souls was to place a chaplain here and there, who was told not to meddle with the native population. While Buchanan was waiting for a chance to do real work, he learned Hindustani and Persian. In 1800, being transferred to Calcutta itself, he found a like-minded helper in Lord Mornington (later Marquis of Wellesley), the Governor-general, who founded a college in Calcutta for the teaching of the Oriental languages and placed Buchanan in charge of it. It was closed, however, three years later, and all looked as dark as ever. But after a while a new institute was founded, on a smaller scale, and Buchanan took hope once more. In 1805 he published his Expediency of an Ecclesiastical Establishment for India, in which he developed the first plan for the establishment of regular dioceses and bishops. While waiting for his seed to bear fruit, he translated the New Testament into Hindustani and Persian, and founded an institute for such work. In 1806 he made an extended journey along the Malabar coast, partly for his health and partly in the missionary interest, publishing his observations in Christian Researches in Asia (Cambridge, 1811, new ed., London, 1840). He returned to Calcutta in 1807, full of plans for which the time was once more unfavorable. Lord Wellesley had been recalled, and his successor, Lord Minto, looked coldly on such projects, as did the Company in general. To push his views in England was the most necessary thing, and Buchanan returned thither in 1808 to press upon the ministry the setting up of a theological seminary in each presidency, the granting of licenses to missionaries, and the appointment of bishops. Lord Liverpool approved this plan, but the House of Commons agreed to the appointment of only one bishop. Middleton, the first bishop of Calcutta, was consecrated 289in 1816, and when his successor was provided with suffragans for Madras and Bombay, Buchanan's plan had been realized in its essentials, though he did not live to see it.

Bibliography: H. Pearson, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of . . . Claudius Buchanan, 2 vols., London, 1819; R. Vormbaum, H. Martyn, D. Brown und C. Buchanan, Elberfeld, 1865; DNB, vii. 182–184.

« Bucer, Martin. Buchanan, Claudius Buchanan, George »
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