Christopher Buckingham Virginia Sappho Buckingham Elizabeth Jennings Thomasin Philp Mini tree diagram

James Silk Buckingham

James and his Wife
      	painted by Henry William Pickersgill

25th Aug 1786 - 30th Jun 1855

Life History

25th Aug 1786

Born in Flushing near Falmouth.

22nd Oct 1786

Christened in Mylor, Cornwall.


Married Elizabeth Jennings.

about 1809

Birth of daughter Virginia Sappho Buckingham in Falmouth, Cornwall.

29 Jun 1813

Birth of son James Alexander Silk Buckingham


Birth of son Leicester Silk Buckingham

30th Jun 1855

Died in London Middlesex.


James Silk Buckingham (1786 - 1855), in his time was a famous author and traveller.
"He was he 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". See Wikipedia and many other sites, for example, where they are quite happy to include him as a virtual American! (He toured the United States during the 1830s.)

At 'Pressing On':
"In 1818, James Silk Buckingham launched the Calcutta Journal. Buckingham was a man of principles. Earlier as a naval commander he had angered slave runners by refusing to transport slaves from Madagascar and had resigned from his post. When he turned to journalism, he took a vow "to admonish governors of their duties, to warn them furiously of their faults and to tell disagreeable truths.
He threw open his columns to the general public and to whoever had a grievance to air. For five years he kept the company officials on their toes. The officials fumed and fretted and tried to get him deported but Governor-General Lord Hastings, a liberal who believed in the freedom of the press, refused to oblige.
After Hastings' departure, one of the first things his successor John Adam did, was to deport Buckingham to England

Reference to W.T.D The Oriental Herald and Journal of General Literature produced and published by James, refers to his struggle with the authorities, in the form of a series of letters, on pages 569-583. Interestingly, a listing of Madras military appointments for 1825, on page 606 has a reference to his daughter's brother-in-law William Tillotson Drewry.

James' youngest son, Leicester Silk Buckingham (1825-1867), was popular as a playwright, adapting and producing several French comedies in London between 1860 and 1867.

The painting of James and his wife, at the top of the page, was presented to the Royal Geographical Society, in London, by Henry Swayne Drewry (James' grandson).

From Kath Williams:

"The original Will of James Silk Buckingham (3 pages) proved difficult for the record agent in London to copy, back in 1998. It seems that the binding obscured several words. However, I received a typed transcript of the Will from S. Dennis Buckingham of Mallorca (Buckingham One-Name Study - south of England counties)

Briefly, J.S. Buckingham in his Will dated 5 May 1854, left his estate to his wife, Elizabeth. He directed that should Elizabeth die Intestate (she did so), his Estate to be divided between Virginia and Leicester. Wife Elizabeth Buckingham and Henry Runciman Drewry appointed as Executors. After Elizabeth's death, JSB's property to be divided equally amongst two of his three children, Virginia Drewry and Leicester Buckingham.

JSB gave his reasons for leaving his property to the two children only:
1. That Virginia and her children would abe very ill-provided for in the event of her husband's death.
2. That Leicester has no fixed source of income and is not likely to possess any for some years to come.
3. That James is already provided for by his re........ while in the Government Service with a superanuation on his ......... from it and therefore does not need assistance as much as the others.

There is no mention on my paperwork of the value of the Estate, but it would have been small.

Elizabeth Buckingham, widow, died Intestate 22 Jan. 1865 at No. 51 Finchley New Road in Middlesex (while living with daughter Virginia). Letters of Administration granted to Virginia Sappho Drewry. The Estate was valued at less than 200 pounds. I have a good copy of this document, as well as a Death certificate for J. S. Buckingham (who died of Hamorrhagia and Dropsy at his home, Stanhope Lodge, Upper Avenue Road, Hampstead, 13 June 1855). Present at his death/Informant was son, Leicester Buckingham of 16 Arundel Street, Haymarket, London.

J.S. Buckingham's eldest son, James Alexander Silk Buckingham, was sent out from London as a Customs officer, to Jamaica. I need a copy of his Will to prove who JAS was married to when he died. There is a scandal involved there, I believe!"

From Rootsweb

James Alexander Silk Buckingham was born 29 Jun 1813, was christened 1817 in Mylor, Cornwall, England.

Charlotte Elizabeth Albert was born 28 May 1799, child of Sarah Pereira and William John Albert

Sarah Pereira was born 1773 in Jamaica, and died Jan-Mar 1851 in Upton on Severn, Worcestershire.
Sarah was the daughter of Isaac Pereira and Rachel Rodrigues Lopes.

Charlotte was christened 22 Jun 1799 in St. Marylebone, Middlesex, Eng, and died 18 Oct 1834 in Regent Place West, London, England.

Charlotte married John George Green, 15 Jun 1818, in Saint James, Westminster, London, England, son of William Crompton Green and Ann Elizabeth.
Charlotte married James Alexander Silk Buckingham, 5 Mar 1835, in St. George, Bloomsbury, son of James Silk Buckingham and Elizabeth Jennings.

In the 1851 census at Staindrop Lodge, Avenue Road, Hampstead, Middlesex

James Silk Buckingham Head65b. Flushing Mylor, Cornwall Author chiefly of Travels in Asia Europe and America and Works on Political Science and Puplic Lecturer on the Same
Eliza BuckinghamWife66b. Ennis Gluvias, Cornwall
Maria SandersCook25b. Streetly, BerkshireUnmarried
Hannah PlumridgeHousemaid19 b. Walton on ThamesUnmarried

James Silk Buckingham

Anonymous, Obituary in Gentleman's Magazine NS 44 (September 1855)


June 30. At Stanhope Lodge, Upper Avenue Road, St. John's Wood, in his 69th year, James Silk Buckingham, esq. the well-known lecturer and writer.

J_S_Buckingham.jpg James Silk Buckingham was born at Flushing near Falmouth, in 1786. In his youth he passed several years at sea, and also in a variety of occupations on shore, among which his working as a compositor in printing-offices proved of most influence on his career through life. He first became known in public affairs by his attempt to open up the journalism of India at a period when the Court of Directors opposed all freedom of the press. Mr. Buckingham first went to Calcutta about the year 1815, we believe, when Lord Moira was Governor-general.

His boldness of censure of abuses in Indian affairs, and especially his opposition to a notorious case of pluralism in one of the chaplains, who also held the lucrative office of Government stationer, led to his hasty expulsion from the presidency. His printing presses were seized, and the injustice if not the illegality of these proceedings was in more liberal times acknowledged by the Court of Directors granting him a pension, which he enjoyed only for the last few years of his life. He went to Calcutta a second time, and always retained much interest in Indian affairs. He hailed with warm satisfaction the removal of the restrictions on the press in India, which the wise and liberal policy of Sir Charles Metcalfe and Lord William Bentinck at length effected.

On his way to and from India, Mr. Buckingham travelled through various countries, and afterwards published narratives of his travels. In 1822 appeared Travels in Palestine; in 1825, Arabia; in 1827, Mesopotamia and Adjacent Countries, and in 1830, Assyria and Media. At a later period he made tours in various parts of Europe and North America, his account of the latter occupying no fewer than ten volumes, three devoted to the Northern States of the Union, three to the Slave States, three to the Eastern and Western States, and one to Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. His European travels are described in two volumes on Belgium, the Rhine and Switzerland, and two on France, Piedmont, and Switzerland.

All these works contain much valuable descriptive and statistical matter, the author having paid more attention than is usual with tourists to the social condition of the countries which he visited. But Mr. Buckingham was still better known by his public lectures than by his books. He was one of the most pleasing and instructive popular lecturers ever heard, especially in describing the places which he had visited. For many years his chief occupation was giving such lectures in all parts of the country.

In 1825 Mr. Buckingham established in London The Oriental Herald, the precursor of several journals of the kind which have since flourished. We believe that he was also the first editor of the now prosperous Atheneum, but which he retained for only a short time.

In 1832 Mr. Buckingham was elected M.P. for Sheffield in the first reformed parliament, and he retained his seat until 1837. In his political life he chiefly took part in questions affecting social reforms. The temperance movement had in him a zealous advocate, and he was President of the London Temperance League formed in 1851.

In 1849 he published a volume entitled, National Evils and Practical Remedies, in which he expounded his views on a variety of topics of public interest. In the year 1843 he set on foot a literary club in Hanover Square, called the British and Foreign Institute; which (or a year or two published its transactions in a stately quarto form, but at length fell into disrepute — partly it is said, under the ridicule of Punch. It was dissolved, we believe, in 1846.

Not many months since the deceased commenced an Autobiography, which promised to be exceedingly voluminous. The two volumes published sufficed to show that the career of the author had been singularly diversified and adventurous: and a review of their contents was given in our Magazine for June.

Mr. Buckingham was a man of great kindness of heart and liberality of opinion, though somewhat capricious in his pursuits and unsettled in his occupation. His energies were generally devoted to useful and benevolent objects, and his want of success in life is to be ascribed to unstableness of purpose, and not to deficiency of industry or enterprise. He died after a severe and protracted illness. We hope that his pension may be continued, during the short period that she can enjoy it, to his aged and invalid widow, who, we believe, was the devoted partner of his chequered life for a period of half a century.


JAMES SILK BUCKINGHAM (1786-1855), English author and traveller, was born near Falmouth on the 25th of August 1786, the son of a farmer. His youth was spent at sea. After years of wandering he established in 1818 the Calcutta Journal. 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. His case was brought before parliament, and a pension of £ 200 a year was subsequently awarded him by the East India Company as compensation.

Buckingham continued his journalistic ventures on his return to England, and started the Oriental Herald (1824) and the Athenaeum (1828) which was not a success in his hands. In parliament, where he sat as member for Sheffield from 1832-1837, he was a strong advocate of social reform. He was a most voluminous writer. He had travelled much in Europe, America and the East, and wrote a great number of useful books of travel.

In 1851 the value of these and of his other literary work was recognized by the grant of a civil list pension of £ 200 a year. At the time of his death in London, on the 30th of June 1855, Buckingham was at work on his autobiography, two volumes of the intended four being completed and published.

His youngest son, Leicester Silk Buckingham (1825-1867), achieved no little popularity as a playwright, several of his free adaptations of French comedies being produced in London between 1860 and 1867.