BUCHANAN, GEORGE: Scotch scholar; b. in the parish of Killearn (44 m. w.n.w. of Edinburgh), Stirlingshire, early in Feb., 1506; d. in Edinburgh Sept. 28, 1582. He studied in Paris, 1520-22, at St. Andrews, 1525, and again in Paris, where be became teacher in the College of Ste. Barbe, 1528; returned to Scotland 1535. He inclined toward Protestant views and wrote two satires on the monks, the Somnium and the Franciscanus et fratres, for which he was obliged to leave his country in 1539. He taught at Paris, Bordeaux, and Coimbra, and was active in the production of literary works; to this period belong his translations into Latin of the Medea and of the Alcestis and his Latin tragedies, Jephthes and Baptistes (translated into English verse by A. Gibb, Edinburgh, 1870; and by A. Gordon Mitchell, Paisley, 1903-04); he began his translation of the Psalms into Latin (published at Paris, 1566) while confined in a monastery by the Inquisition at Coimbra. In 1562 he was acting as tutor to Mary Stuart in Scotland; he now openly embraced Protestantism and became influential in both Church and State; was an ardent supporter of Moray (who made him principal of St. Leonard's College, St. Andrews, in 1566), and an active opponent of the queen. In 1570 he became tutor to the young James VI. and keeper of the privy seal; his royal pupil he undertook to make "the greatest scholar in the land." During the last period of his life he wrote his two greatest works, the De jure regni apud Scotos (Edinburgh, 1579; Eng. transl., 1680), a defense of limited monarchy, suppressed by act of parliament in 1584 and again in 1664 and burned at Oxford in 1683; and the Rerum Scoticarum historia (1582; 19th ed., 1762; Eng. transl., 1690). His works have been edited by Ruddiman (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1715; reprinted by Burman, Leyden, 1725).
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Leyden ed. of the Works contains a full bibliography. The Life, by David Irving, Edinburgh, 1817, is an excellent literary history of the times. Consult also: P. H. Brown, George Buchanan, Humanist and Reformer, Edinburgh, 1890; idem, George Buchanan and his Times, ib. 1906; D. Macmillan, George Buchanan, a Biography, London, 1906; D. A. Miller, George Buchanan, a Memorial, 1506-1906, London, 1907; DNB, vii. 186-193.
BUCHANITES: The followers of Elspat (or Elspeth) Simpson, wife of Robert Buchan, a journeyman potter at Greenock, Scotland. She was born at Fatmacken, between Banff and Portsoy, 1738 was brought up in the Scottish Episcopal Church; while a servant at Greenock she married and followed her husband into the Burgher Succession Church. In 1781 she separated from him and removed with her children to Glasgow. In 1783 she joined the Dowhill Relief church at Irvine, whose pastor was the Rev. Hugh White. She had already adopted fantastic views as to religion and claimed to be a teacher sent from heaven. She got a hearing, her chief converts being Mr. White, who proclaimed that she was the woman spoken of in Rev. iii. 1 sqq. and that he was the man-child she had brought forth. The Relief presbytery deposed Mr. White from the ministry, and when converts to Mrs. Buchan's pretensions began to gather, the parish authorities in May, 1784, compelled the whole band to leave. They settled on a farm at New Cample, near Closeburn, Dumfriesshire, and there the sect grew to about fifty members, some of whom were superior persons. Mrs. Buchan was called "spiritual mother" by her followers, and professed to be able to impart the Holy Spirit by breathing on the candidate; also to be a prophetess, and as such foretold that neither she nor her followers would ever die but would meet the Lord in the air in the advent which she taught was at hand, basing her teaching on I Thess. iv. 17. The usual charge of sexual immorality was brought against the sect, the most distinguished witness being the poet Robert Burns, who is said to have had a lady-love in the sect (see his letter to John Burness, dated August, 1784). His song "As I was a walking" was set to an air which was a favorite with the Buchanites. In May, 1791, Mrs. Buchan died. This, being in direct contradiction to her teaching, had a disastrous effect on her sect which then began to disintegrate, but the last adherent of it did not pass away till 1848.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Joseph Train, The Buchanites from First to Last, Edinburgh, 1846; Eight Letters between the People called Buchanites and a Teacher (J. Purves); Three of which are written by Mr. White, and one by Mrs. Buchan, together with two Letters from Mrs. Buchan and one from Mr. White to a Clergyman in England, ib. 1785.
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