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Encyclopedia > James Silk Buckingham

James Silk Buckingham (August 25, 1786 - June 30, 1855), was an English author and traveller.


He was born near Falmouth, the son of a farmer. His youth was spent at sea. 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. His case was brought before parliament, and a pension of 500 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 prolific writer. He had travelled in Europe, America and the East, and wrote many useful travel books. 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, Buckingham was at work on his autobiography, two volumes of the intended four being completed and published (1855).


His youngest son, Leicester Silk Buckingham, was a playwright.


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