John Buchan, known to many as a writer, to some as Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada 1935-1940, where we learned so much from the early Ponderings, was born August 26, 1875, in Perth Scotland, the first of five children John Buchan, first minister of the Church of Scotland, and Helen Jane (Masterton) Buchan. As a young man, he spent summer vacations with his mother’s parents in Broughton on the Scottish Borders. “There, he developed a love for hiking and local scenery and wildlife, both of which are often reflected in his stories.”
Diplomacy and government began when he graduated from the highest schools, the last of which was Oxford, who received many gifts along the way, including literature and music, some of which were published. years to his students.
Although John was educated in law and “was summoned to the Bar in 1901”, he did not pursue the legal profession for long – instead choosing politics, diplomacy and politics. writing. In 1901, while living in London, he studied law. In 1903 he agreed for two years as private secretary to Alfred Milner, High Commissioner for South Africa, and director of the Anglo-Boer War camps. John “traveled around the country, assisting in naval bases, and navigating colonies studying legal matters”. As one source put it: John had the job of “cleaning up the mess left by the military leader of [Lord] Cookie [ Milner’s Chief of Staff]”.
As is his custom, he often returns his observations to memories, which have often seen the light in his writings. His experience was no different in South Africa – in fact, he became famous there, as reported in 1903, when he wrote on Colonial Africa.
On his return to London from South Africa he became a partner in the Thomas Nelson and Son publishing company and publisher Thomas (Tommie) Arthur Nelson. He became the editor of The Spectator.
He married Susan Charlotte Grosvenor July 15, 1907, although much research has not revealed where or when John and Susan met. However, Susan’s note was noted for their conversation: “John thought I was proud, and I think he was proud and hard to talk to.” It seems that everyone is not separate when it comes to entering into a holy marriage. They lived in Hyde Park Square, where they wanted to live.
Buchan’s first child, Alice, was born June 5, 1908. The Literature Network reported: He was often caught laughing. “Their first child, John Norman Stuart, was born on November 25, 1911. At the right time,” it was the first year that Buchan would have problems with duodenal ulcer. ” It was the year he first entered politics as a Conservative candidate for Peebles and Selkirk counties; has written several historical accounts, including that of Sir Walter Scott.
Also in 1911, his father, John, died “after a year of dedication to sickness and poverty at the Gorbals residence in Glasgow. ‘It is for the apostle, and if it is necessary to proclaim the saving grace to lighten the burdens of all who come in your way, then he is the best man I have ever known. up to.'”
John’s brother Willie died in 1912. In addition, some friends were killed in the Great War. Brother, Alastair, the head of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, was killed in action in 1917. “Now they are part of that immortal England, not knowing the age and fatigue of victory. ” When the war began in 1914, Buchan was unable to register due to a serious illness, he fell asleep. In 1915, however, he became a war historian for the Times. That was the year he wrote The Thirty-Nine Steps, an entertaining novel that was given to many of us to read in high school. It first appeared as a serial in Backwoods Magazine before being published as a book. It was the first of five books with Richard Hannay as an “all-action” hero. Movies and plays followed. One famous film, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was in 1935, with Robert Donat, in which he described a “major departure from the book”. Of course, according to one source, “It was considered by critics to be a very good type of film”.
The Buchan family was increased by two sons, one William de l’Aigle Buchan, January 10, 1916, and Alastair Francis Buchan, September 9, 1918, to complete the number of Buchan children to four.
John spent time as a Commander of the Intelligence Corps in France until returning home in 1917 to practice cutting and healing, for two years. He said he saw World War II as a rage. “The war left me with a strong desire for national life … quiet after the riots.”
Having lived in Elsfield, Manor Grounds, near Oxford, he bought it in 1919, with the opportunity to walk the country – one of his favorite pastimes. He will “put on his‘ disreputable ’shapeless hat and tweeds and go to the hills and dales”. It revitalized him, giving him the strength to continue his writing and publishing. He used his country trips to gather ideas for his books and word pictures. “Our ridge is an old wooded area and it provides one of two types of land that has a special interest for me… the mountain field and the clearing forest… Elsfield is rich in those hidden areas, i sometimes only an acre in width, but everything. Ancient cleansing lands have cut turf for centuries. The summer did not straighten their leaves, for most of them had water, and the fall of their corners was a disturbance of the fruit. Primroses can be found there every month of the year.
In the Blanket of the Dark, “set in the days of the Eighth Century and the completion of the monasteries, he wrote:” The place was quiet. It smells of forests in high summer – mosses, red leaves, wet soil, where the scents are pulled by the strong sun. There was a delicious taste of grass cut from the farms of Woodeaton, and a sweet, dry scent, the smell of stone and tile and old mortar.
In a new document – The Three Hostages, he wrote: “It was the middle of March, it was one of those spring days as noon as May, and the cold black at sunset. The sun is telling man that winter is not over. The summer is quick, because the black has blossomed and the roots are full of primroses. nests with nests and sweet potatoes full of the glittering wildlife of the voyages to the north… It was a joy to see the world come to life again, and to remember this part of England. myself, and all these wild animals, so to speak, members of my little family.
As beautiful as his observations are, “After six years of my elephant tower, I am retired,” he said. Susan was not happy when she spoke to the elephant tower. He is said to have responded aggressively, “I have always known the elephant tower to be a house of complete peace and isolation from the world, but I cannot remember being isolated. in those days the people came and went.
As she traveled and traveled, Susan was required to be a host to the regular visitors. Indeed, John described his life in Elsfield in a chapter called An Ivory Tower and Its Prospect.
His retirement led him, in 1933, to become the King’s High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, a position that lasted until 1934. Earlier, in 1927, he had he was elected a member of the legislature.
As we have learned, in 1935 he approved of George V’s appointment as Governor -General of Canada. In preparation for this role, George V honored Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield. Before being elected, Canadian Prime Minister RB Bennett, “he consulted with the leader of the Opposition, William Lyon Mackenzie King, who told the King to allow Buchan to resign. served as a citizen, but George V demanded that he be replaced by another friend ”.
We will continue the story of John and Susan Buchan of Ponderings next.
Reasons: Peace River Memorial, Jack Coulter, Frank Richardson; Search the pages of time – History of Nampa and the surrounding regions; Peace River Museum, Archives and Files Mackenzie Center; Peace River Record-Gazette; Peace River Standard; Coots, Codgers and Curmudgeons – Hal C. Sisson and Dwayne W. Rowe; Edmonton Journal; Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21; Human History; North Newspaper; Peace River Record; North View; The Canadian Encyclopedia
Beth Wilkins is a researcher at the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Center.