ROBERT WILLIAMS BUCHANAN (1841 - 1901)

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THE FUNERAL OF ROBERT BUCHANAN

 

The Times (Thursday, 13 June, 1901 - p.6)

     The funeral of Mr. Robert Buchanan will take place to-morrow. The remains will be conveyed by the train leaving Liverpool-street at 10.20 to Southend-on-Sea, where Mr. Buchanan’s wife and mother are interred.

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The Echo (Friday, 14 June, 1901)

MR. BUCHANAN’S FUNERAL.

     The remains of the late Mr. Robert Buchanan were this morning conveyed by train to Southend-on-Sea, where his wife and mother are interred. The coffin and the chief mourners arrived at Liverpool-street Station from Steatham at ten o’clock, and left for Southend at 10.20.
     Mr. Henry Murray, Dr. Stoddart Walker, and Mr. Beerbohm Tree were among the mourners.
     The funeral took place at St. John’s Churchyard, Southend, this afternoon, in the presence of a large number of persons. Shops in Southend were closed, and every respect was shown. The service in the church was conducted by the Rev. T. Varney, the curate.

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The Northampton Mercury (14 June, 1901 - p.8)

THE LATE ROBERT BUCHANAN.

THE FUNERAL.

     The remains of the late Robert Buchanan were this morning conveyed by train to Southend-on-Sea, where his wife and mother are interred. The coffin and the chief mourners arrived at Liverpool-street Station from Steatham at ten o’clock and left for Southend at 10.20. Mr. Henry Murray, Dr. Stodart Walker, and Mr. Beerbohm Tree were among the mourners.
     The funeral took place this afternoon in St. John’s Churchyard, Southend. The service, which was very simple, was conducted by the Rev. T. Varney. The coffin was placed in the brick grave in which lie the remains of the deceased’s wife and mother. The inscription on the coffin was: “Robert Buchanan, born August 18th, 1841, died 10th June, 1901.”

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The Times (Saturday, 15 June, 1901 - p.11)

     The funeral of Mr. Robert Buchanan took place yesterday at Southend-on-Sea, and by the expressed desire of the family it was strictly private. Among those present were Mrs. Bassett, Miss Harriett Jay, Miss Bernardi, Mr. Henry Murray, Mr. Pelham Walmsley, Dr. Stoddard Walker, Mr. Beerbohm Tree, Mr. Kenneth Campbell, and Dr. Gorham. Mr. J. L. Toole, among others, sent a wreath.

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Southend Telegraph and Leigh and Shoeburyness Recorder (15 June, 1901)

BURIAL OF ROBERT BUCHANAN.
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     On a cold, blustering day, with sunshine and cloud in quick succession, the remains of Mr. Robert Buchanan were laid to rest beside those of his dearly-loved wife, in St. John’s Churchyard, and near by the “Great River” which he so much loved. The place is full at the present time with the graves of prominent local people, who have presided over the destinies of the town during the past fifty years, but on Friday the little graveyard received the dust of a more eminent than they — within it now lies buried one at whose shrine the litterateur of many future generations will do homage. Formerly, when Mrs. Buchanan was buried, the quiet nook in the north-east corner, o’er-hung with trees, must have made a pretty picture, but the growth of the town has left its mark even here. Below the sepulchre stretches a meadow upon which buildings have already been erected and which has been made ready for further additions, whilst huddling round the grave itself, with little order or regularity, lie the remains of many of the now almost forgotten dead; whose time-worn monuments lend a dreary and depressing effect.
     The last, sad ceremony was simplicity itself. The funeral service in the church and at the graveside were soon over. Crowded in the small compass were a large number of people, attracted by the importance of the event, and the mourners having filed through after a last long look, the crowd flocked to the grave and for some time there was an endless passage to and fro of feet, heedless of the already buried.

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AT LIVERPOOL STREET.

     “The Star” said on Friday: A small group of casual spectators standing at the gates of No. 6 platform at Liverpool Street Station this morning divided for the passage of a railway funeral trolley, decked with a few simple wreaths. Here and there a man’s head was respectfully bared, and one or two more curious than the rest inquired the name of the dead.
     “Robert Buchanan!” explained a burly gentleman.
     A score of manacled soldiers marched into the station, under the charge of a grizzled sergeant, and three boy corporals. The rigors of a military gaol confronted them.
     Not for a moment was the busy life of the station stayed; hundreds and thousands went hurrying by, unaware that a strenuous fighter in the cause of humanity was being taken to his last home.

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ARRIVAL OF THE BODY AND MOURNERS.

     No special preparations had been made at the Great Eastern Railway Station for the reception of the body which was carried across London, from Streatham, to Liverpool Street, in a Washington car, accompanied by the mourners. Only two carriages and a car were waiting and but few people were standing about. On drawing up at the platform the only thing noticeable was a body of city gentlemen who had seemingly forgotten their usual hurry and were leisurely waiting, as if for once they did not want to be first away. Mr. J. W. Brett, of London, was the undertaker in charge and, assisted by Mr. W. T. Darke, of Alexandra Street, Southend, the disposal of the coffin, with its burden of flowers, was carried out easily and well. The procession, small in number, grew on its way to the Church to respectable dimensions.

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THE INTERMENT.

     A crowd, unrepresentative, however, of the borough, waited at the church gates for the body and the bell was tolled as the short cortege wended its way down High Street. On arriving at the church gates, the Rev. T. Varney met the body and headed the procession into the church; reading the opening sentences of the Burial Service as the strains of the organ died away. The service was very simple, there being no hymns; but as the coffin was being carried from the Church to the grave, Mr. Taplin, who was at the organ, played the “Dead March” in Saul. The choir stalls and reading desk were draped, and the arrangements in the church were superintended by Messrs. T. J. Sharland and W. Whur, J.P. At the graveside, the Rev. T. Varney read the remainder of the service, and the remains of the novelist were then laid to rest by those of his wife, who died in 1881, and mother, whom he survived seven years.
     The mourners were: Miss Harriet Jay (sister-in-law), Mlle. Irene de Bernardy, Miss Mary Jones, Mrs. Bassett, Dr. Gorham (medical attendant), Dr. Stoddart Walker (nephew of John Stuart Blackie), Mr. John Ross and Mr. Pelham Womersley. Amongst those who assembled round the grave were: Messrs. Coulson Kernahan, Henry Murray, Shelton (late stage manager for Mr. Beerbohm Tree), Alec. Wetherley (son of the well-known song writer), Councillor R. A. Jones, Messrs. Payn, T. J. Sharland, etc. Mr. J. L. Toole was unable to be present and sent a telegram “Too ill to come, but would have loved to be there;” and Mr. A. W. Pinero and Mr. George R. Sims were prevented by reason of other engagements.
     The coffin was of polished oak, with massive brass fittings; the inscription on the brass plate being “Robert Buchanan, born 18th August, 1841, died 10th June, 1901.”
     Wreaths were sent by: “With sincere sympathy and regret, J. L. Toole”; “In affectionate remembrance and sincere admiration, Mr. C. F. and Florence Baldwin, with deepest sympathy and love”; “A last token of respect and love to dear Robert, Mlle. Irene de Bernardy, 19, Portland Road, Holland Park Avenue, W.”; “One soul less on earth, one angel more in heaven. In loving memory of our dear uncle, from Pelham, Lily and Roddie”; “With deep sorrow and sympathy, John Garrett Morten, Ivy Hall, Richmond, Surrey”; “In memoriam, Robert Buchanan. Thy tired brain has whiled away, for others many a weary day; thy life is rounded now by rest, of all earth gives the last and best. Amy A. Hopper, 14th June, 1901. Southend-on- Sea”; Miss Jay, Mr. F. Noel, Mr. John Ross, Mr. Stoddart Walker, Mrs. John Stuart Blackie, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Slaughter, Mr. Fred Stanley (Adelphi Theatre), Miss Alice McAnnaly, and Miss M. A. Victor.

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The Echo (17 June, 1901)

THE LATE MR. BUCHANAN.

     So numerous have been the letters received relative to the death of Mr. Robert Buchanan that Miss Harriett Jay finds it impossible to reply to them individually. She, therefore, wishes to take this opportunity of returning her most heartfelt and grateful thanks for all the sympathy which has been extended to Mr. Buchanan and to herself during a period of suffering and sorrow.

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The Scotsman (29 June, 1901 - p.9)

     In October last, when Robert Buchanan was suddenly stricken down by a paralysis from which he never recovered, his personal friends and admirers subscribed a fund for his relief. It served an admirable purpose by soothing and, as far as possible, making comfortable the last hours of the novelist. The end came so quickly that the money was not fully expended. After paying all expenses, including the cost of the funeral, there remains a balance of over £150. It is intended, in pursuance of what is recognised as comfortable with Buchanan’s wishes in the matter, that this shall be handed over to his adopted daughter, Miss Harriett Jay, who nursed him through his long illness.

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The New York Times (13 July, 1901)

     Certain London papers which gave more or less sympathetic accounts of the funeral of the late Robert Buchanan, printed elsewhere in obscure places the following pathetic legend:
     At the London Bankruptcy Court yesterday a receiving order was made against the estate of the late Robert Buchanan.

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The New York Times (10 August, 1901)

Mrs. Sherwood Writes of Olive Schreiner, George Moore, and Others.

     AIX LES BAINS, July 27.—

...

     The funeral of Robert Buchanan, which occurred lately with those agnostic rites which he requested, roused much speculation as to his real belief or unbelief. Mr. Herbert Murray insisted that had Robert Buchanan lived much longer he would have become an atheist, and his admirers say that he regarded Christ as “a-theos,” that is to say “apart from  God,” but, his admirers say, “God he loved, the humanity of Christ he loved. Immortality he was certain of.” His last words were: “I do believe in God supreme and chief of all things first and last, whose works proclaim His glory and the glory of His name.” When such a man once had cast away “the crust of creeds” he could not be called an unbeliever nor a-theos, and we who love his poetry may well say with one of his admirers: “That in his love of God he became ‘God intoxicated,’ he ended with the belief that behind the dark portal God abides.”

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Next: The Grave of Robert Buchanan

 

[The Last Months of Robert Buchanan]    [Obituaries 1]    [Obituaries 2]

[Obituaries 3: Buchanan and Besant]    [Obituaries 4: Buchanan and Besant 2]

[The Funeral of Robert Buchanan]    [The Grave of Robert Buchanan]

[Back to Biography]

 

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Essays
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The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law

 

The Critical Response
Harriett Jay
Miscellanea

 

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