The Buchanan Affafr
From The Vindicator, March 12, 1830:
Violent Assault on Mr. Kidd
Yesterday, between two and three oclock as Mr. Kidd was passing through notre [sic] Dame Street, he was met by three gentlemen, two of whom we understand are the sons of his Majestys British Consul resident at New York; the third is said to be a Mr. Hayes; one of them, carrying a stick, asked him if he was not Mr. Kidd, to which the latter replying in the affirmative immediately received a blow on the head. This, Mr. Kidd returned with promptitude, having with him also a stick of no slight dimensions, which he finds necessary to carry in those dangerous times for poets who have courage to write against the omnipotence of Consular power. Mr. Buchanan, we understand, fell from the severity of the return the son of Apollo and the muses gave to his salute; and so effectually did it seem to operate, that, at the time we were enabled to witness the fray, the three gentlemen were making a retrograde movement. Flushed with unexpected victory His eye in a fine phrenzy [sic] rolling, Mr. Kidd thought himself warranted by the laws of honor and his country to bestow something more than a poets [sic] castigation on the principal aggressor. Accordingly flourishing his Herculean weapon over his head and advancing as if he were practising the war-dance of the Hurons, he dealt it out in heroic measure, to Mr. Buchanan. Here a scene of confusion took place, the sticks were thrown aside, and irregular sort of milling commenced which after a few moments, terminated with equal glory to the combatants. Had not the spectators interposed the three would have perhaps, proved too many for the Bard; he has, however, shewn enough of the poetic fire, to make it rather a venturesome thing to stir it up in the manner intended, by Messrs. Buchanan, Hayes, & Co.
We understand the cause of offence was an illusion [sic] made by Mr. Kidd in his new work to the conduct of the British Consul, relative to the navigation of the St. Lawrence.
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From the Montreal Gazette, March 15, 1830:
To the Editor of the Montreal Gazette
All I have to say is this I was not a party in any affray. Walking in company with the gentleman named, and another, I witnessed the affair alluded to, and can assert, that Mr. K. being asked his name, did not reply in the affirmative, that I observed his nose pulled by one of them and that having challenged further notice, he received severe chastisement at the hands of the same individual. The remainder of the narrative in the Vindicator is pure fiction, and [can] be perhaps ascribed to the yet excited imagination of Mr. K. who seems to have seized this opportunity to apprize the public that he is a Poet!
Montreal, March 13, 1830
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From The Vindicator, March 16, 1830:
In the last number of the Montreal Gazette a communication appears signed James Hayes, which purposes to give a correct version of the scandalous attack made a few days back on Mr. Kidd by the Messrs. Buchanans [sic] and the above named Gentleman. Who Mr. James Hayes may happen to be, we confess we are not able to say from ourselves, but from the uninvited information of a Gentleman connected with a Newspaper establishment of this city, he has been described as an understrapper to the Buchanans and one whom we should not notice if it were our intention, in our editorial capacity to speak of the assault committed. As Mr. H., tho contemptible as represented to us, has trust [sic] himself before the public, in contradicting facts which we, from being eye witnesses to some of them, can verify, it is not our intention to let him escape us as he might have expected. From a remark in the first paragraph of his communication, Mr. James Hayes would persuade the world that he is a man of literary acumen, that he has great discrimination in being able to discover the style and manner of a writer and that the paragraph purporting to be editorial betraying its real author, [sic] was written by Mr. Kidd. If Mr. Hayes really intends to pass off before men as one of great critical discernment, he has been very unfortunate in the present instance; like the ass in the fable, he has assumed a station which, we fear, nature never intended he should occupy. If, because there are a few poetical allusions in the article no one but Mr. Kidd could have written it, we believe the public will be more disposed to set it down to Mr. Hayes [sic] stock of ignorance, than to the opinion that we intended to pawn on them, what was not our own.
As to the facts which Mr. Hayes so uncompromisingly contradicts, we will state as much as we saw, leaving it to Mr. Kidd or any other who wishes to do so, to account for the things that occurred, and which we did not notice.
Passing in the direction of Notre Dame Street, near the end of Mr. Gray, the Cabinet-makers house, we were surprised to see three persons, apparently Gentlemen, walking partly backwards, and rather in a quick pace; the three were together, one of whom carried a stick. From their manner, they appeared as if anxious to escape from something, and at the same time unwilling to expose the rear of their figures to threathened [sic] danger. Immediately after appeared Mr. Kidd, whom the angle of the house at first kept from our view he was in the act of flourishing a stick and to all appearances, driving the gentlemen before him. At this juncture, he advanced towards the person with the stick, and gave him a smart blow on the arm; the other two, of whom Mr. Hayes, we understand, was one, rushed to the assistance of their companion. It was then the irregular sort of milling commenced, which we before described, and which Mr. Hayes says is pure fiction. While Mr. Kidd was engaged with one of the Mr. Buchanans, we ourselves extricated the other from Mr. Kidd, whom he grasped by the collar, & if we are informed rightly, it was Mr. Hayes on the other side, who took hold of his stick. We have no hesitation in saying that the three shewed, at this time a cowardly disposition to attack him, when to judge by the appearances, any one of them should have sufficed; and when the people shewed an inclination to see fair-play done, the gentlemen sneaked off without much ceremony. One of them, indeed, used some language asking Mr. Kidd if he had not books to sell, on which the latter held up to him three volumes of his poems. Any thing that occurred previous to our arrival, we are not able to speak of, but as we were informed and beg leave to say, that that part, the remainder of the narrative in the Vindicator, [sic] which Mr. Hayes terms pure fiction, is what we ourselves witnessed and which we now emphatically state to be correct. If Mr. Hayes & the formidable Mr. Buchanans would take as much pains in clearing up that conduct, which drew forth the remarks contained in Mr. Kidds work, they would shew much more judgement, and draw the attendance of the people in a more creditable manner than by having recourse to club-law. We have inserted in another part of this number, Mr. Buchanans letter to the Speaker of the House of Assembly of U. Canada. We subjoin the very excellent remarks of the Ed. of the Kingston Patriot on it. The Mr. Buchanans will see how much they will have gained by drawing the attention of their mercantile fraternity in this city to a subject which, the sooner it were forgotten, the better, we fancy it would be, for the sons of His Majestys British Consul. It is easy to make a parade of loyalty. One fact, however, out weighs a thousand assertions, and that fact as far as we can judge, is yet to be cleared up. The annexed will put the thing in a stronger point of view.
It appears to me that the proper way for Mr. Buchanan to meet this matter is, to declare whether or not he is the person who submitted to the British Government the plan of giving to the United States the free navigation of the St. Laurence [sic] to the ocean, in exchange for the privilege of sending flax seed to Ireland by way of New York. Has he submitted any plan at all? It is asserted in the Times newspaper, that a Mr. Buchanan, a British Commercial functionary at New-York, has submitted a plan of which the proposition above named form [sic] the principle feature. Mr. Buchanan either is or is not, the person alluded to. If he be not the person and has submitted no plan, he should say so: and if he be the person, and have submitted a plan, he should be ingenuous enough to let these Provinces know what his plan is, that it may undergo a discussion on the spot whereon it is to be operative.
However acute and sagacious a person may be, the world may become wise enough to think, that the suggestions of no individual whatever should pass as the groundwork of legislation without examination. However much it may be thought a proof of cunning in any one to offer plans for the regulation of the commerce of a distant people, without previous consultation with that people. It will never be judged to be proof of his wisdom or his candour. If Mr. Buchanan has really had the folly to make the propositions to the British Government, imputed to a British commercial functionary, he can hardly be supposed to possess the penetration necessary to perceive the propriety of their public and utter reprobation. The resolution, however, offered to the House, was not adopted, but amended to suit the exactly alledged [sic] fact of the case. The disapprobation of the House of Assembly is levelled at the misrepresentations of a British commercial functionary, and Mr. Buchanan, the British Consul at New-York, knows whether or not he is the man. If he be the man, he has nothing to complain of, and if he be not, let him so assert. It is well known that many of his majestys Colonies have at various times, suffered egregious wrongs from false legislation, founded on the information of persons assuming to know the interests of the people better than themselves. It is always much easier to commit errors than to repair their consequences.
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From The Vindicator, March 19, 1830:
To the Editor of The Vindicator
Montreal Gazette Office, March 17, 1830
To the Editor of the Montreal Gazette.
Mr. H. says that he was not a party in the affray this is the very essence of falsehood as can be fully substantiated by several gentlemen who witnessed it for at the very moment, when I had disarmed Mr. Carlisle Buchanan of the Club with which he assailed me, his brother Robert rushed behind and grasped me by the collar, while Mr. Hayes layed hold of the sprig that I find so useful to defend myself with, from those who have neither the courage, nor the talent, to attack me on lawful grounds and thus was I situated, when two or three spirited gentlemen interfered, declaring they would not suffer such cowardly treatment. As is regards the pulling of noses I have only to say, that His Majestys Consul, although possessing many sons, has not one either capable of pulling my nose, or causing me to flinch one foot from the stand I have already made. If I have hurt their feelings, by any allusion, in the HURON CHIEF, to their fathers conduct, respecting the navigation of the St. Lawrence, let them step out as men, and defend him, nay, let the whole host of Buchanans come forward, and vindicate his improprieties the PRESS is as open to them as it is to me. I make no swaggering, like the Consul, about loyalty my cause is the cause of CANADA, and an endeavour to protect her rights against the speculating intrigues of Pseudo-Loyalists. This is my object, although I have never tasted one crumb of Government bread nor can all the fire and mock spirit carried from Nassau Street, New York, force me from my purposes.
I regret Sir, having troubled you so far, and therefore, I now take my leave of Mr. Hayes or rather, the person who writes for the unknown creature, with a determination not to struggle with a reed I mean to grapple with some person of ability a man of sense and education, and if Carlisle & Robert Buchanan possess these qualities, let them take up the pen, & honourably, as gentlemen come forward in the defence of their fathers unfortunate political quarrels, and then Sir, they shall feel my quill as they have hitherto the potency of my magic rod.
Montreal, St. Patricks Day, 1830.
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