Tribute to Buchanan in Hamilton Times- March 3, 1876
(Thanks to Brian Henley for the submission!)
“Testimonial to Hon. Isaac Buchanan"
The Times has had very often, during past years, to take issue with the Hon. Isaac Buchanan on political matters, and fight him in political contests. Even then he was always an opponent, who commanded respect for his unselfish devotion to Canadian interests, as he understood them, and the freedom from political partisanship with which, at times, he stepped outside of party lines in order to work for what he considered the general good. Even had he been a more violent partisan than he then was, the days of those battles are over, and outside of politics altogether, we are able to see in Mr. Buchanan a citizen of whom Hamilton has reason to be proud, and to whom its gratitude is due. If Canada had the first place in his heart over all over countries, Hamilton was there first over all other cities of Canada. His labours in its behalf have been abundant, self-sacrificing and fruitful of good. On this ground alone, we can join heartily in the movement to raise for him such a testimonial as shall substantially express the high esteem in which he is held; and on the ground of his valuable services of Canada at large and the countries with which it has had commercial dealings (largely advanced by his own efforts), we can commend to them a generous recognition of those services.
Mr. Buchanan, as pioneer of the trade of Western Canada, has had opportunities that no one can ever have again of personally benefiting the public and assisting, by advice and otherwise, those who were the early settlers and business men. He can, therefore, honestly indulge in a feeling of gratification of that high nature which arises from having done a kind of good which no one arriving in a comparatively advanced state of a country can have. All know that he was a prominent actor in all the early reforms in Canada, such as responsible government, the clergy reserves, the establishment of our excellent municipal system, and of our still more excellent educational system, etc. No party now grudges him this great vantage ground, and both political parties feel under obligations to Mr. Buchanan and those who with him did successful battle some thirty years ago for these reforms. He carried Toronto in 1841; this election having notably helped to secure that thorough but peaceful revolution which altered the system of Canadian Government from an irresponsible oligarchy to the British responsible system. And we may say with truth that if all Isaac Buchanan’s writings and speeches were eliminated from the Industrial literature of the last nearly half century, the public opinion of Canada on these subjects would be many years farther from the coming industrial reforms than it is.
We need say little of Mr. Buchanan’s services to the city of Hamilton, for it would be an impertinence to remind the citizens in detail of what they cannot possibly have forgotten – his hearty earnestness in every scheme that seemed for its interest; how he ever tried to magnify our city in the eyes of the world, by every mans in his power. None of us forget the city debt and his exertions in helping to lessen that intolerable burden – a service, which up till now, although acknowledges, has never yet been noted by the city in any tangible form. This, perhaps, as been Mr. Buchanan’s own fault, in a measure, for he has always held that in working for Hamilton, he was working for that from which he could not disassociate himself, and has always, we believe, nipped in the bud the very first indication of any public demonstration of thanks.
We are sure that in Hamilton especially, and in Canada at large, the movement to reward in a substantial way the man who has, for nearly have a century, fought in the battles for free and responsible government, for education, for municipal reform, and for own industrial interests, with such unselfish devotion as to have sacrificed his very own personal interests in so doing, will be warmly aided. The chief labour in getting up the testimonial will fall on Mr. J. R. Goldie, who has, with praiseworthy generosity, offered his gratuitous services to the committee, and will visit the chief cities and towns of the Dominion and some of the larger cities in Great Britain for that purpose. Hamilton as the place where Mr. Buchanan is best known, and where he is consequently the most highly appreciated, will, we are confident, give a splendid start to the subscription.