James Silk Buckingham (1786-1855), English author and traveller, was born near Falmouth on the 25th of August 1786, the son of a farmer. His youth was spent at sea. After years of wandering he established in 1818 the Calcutta Journal. 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 £200 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 most voluminous writer. He had travelled much in Europe, America and the East, and wrote a great number of useful books of travel. 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, on the 30th of June 1855, Buckingham was at work on his autobiography, two volumes of the intended four being completed and published (1855).
His youngest son, Leicester Silk Buckingham (1825-1867), achieved no little popularity as a playwright, several of his free adaptations of French comedies being produced in London between 1860 and 1867.