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Significant Scots
Buchanan, David


At the house of his son-in-law, Mr. Duff, engineer, Glasgow, on the 13th August, David Buchanan, Esq., editor of the Edinburgh Evening Courant, in the 70th year of his age. His death was somewhat sudden and unexpected. For the last five or six years he had been suffering from a disease of the heart, and was at last cut off by it. The Friday previous to his death he left Edinburgh for Glasgow on a visit, and was in his usual health up till Saturday night, when he complained a little, and expired the following morning at 2 o’clock.

Mr. Buchanan was in connection with the newspaper press of Scotland for nearly half a century, and did much to elevate its character. His writing was at all times clear and concise. He contributed, we believe, some very able articles to the Edinburgh Review shortly after the commencement of that periodical; but the first literary effort of his, which attracted anything like general attention, was a pamphlet, published in 1806 or 1807, showing the inefficiency of the volunteer system of Pitt. The opinions so ably advocated in this pamphlet were taken up by Mr. Wyndham in the House of Commons, and received considerable notice from the public men of the day. At the time Mr. Buchanan wrote this pamphlet he resided in Montrose with his father, who was a bookseller and printer of some repute. Encouraged by the promises and support of a number of gentlemen belonging to the Liberal party, Mr. Buchanan came to Edinburgh about the end of the year 1808, and started a weekly newspaper called the Weekly Register. This paper, although conducted with much ability, only lived about a twelvemonth. The services of Mr. Buchanan were then transferred to the Caledonian Mercury, which he edited from 1810 to 1827. A vacancy having occurred in the latter year in the management of the Courant, the situation was offered to Mr. Buchanan, who at once accepted of it. He was, therefore, upwards of 21 years in connection with that paper.

About 20 or 25 years ago, Mr. Buchanan brought out an edition of “Smith’s Wealth of Nations,” with extensive notes, and a volume of additional matter. He also edited an edition of the “Edinburgh Gazetteer,” in eight volumes, and supplied a considerable portion of the articles which fell under the home department of that work. A few years ago he wrote a small volume on the principles of commercial taxation, containing valuable matter.

Mr. Buchanan was born in 1779. He was a man of the most unobtrusive habits, mild and gentle in his demeanour, and held in high respect by all who enjoyed an opportunity of forming an estimate of his character.


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