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William Buckingham, late Private Secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada, was born in Crediton, Devonshire, England, being a son of Robert and Jane (Ellis) Buckingham, both natives of the same county. When about twenty years of age he removed to Yorkshire, and became shorthand reporter for the Halifax Guardian.
In 1857 Mr. Buckingham came to Toronto, Canada, and took a position as Parliamentary reporter on the Toronto Globe. Two years later, in company with William Coldwell, he established the Nor Wester at Fort Garry, the first newspaper published in what has since become the Province of Manitoba. Shortly afterwards he edited the Norfolk Reformer, Simcoe, and in 1863 became the editor and proprietor of the Stratford Beacon, a position which he held for ten years, making that paper a power in the cause of Reform, to which party he promptly allied himself on coming to Canada.
Mr. Buckingham was Private Secretary to Postmaster-General Foley in 1862 and 1863; was official reporter to the Canadian delegation to England, at the time of the meeting of the Colonial Conference in 1866, for the purpose of making the final arrangement for the union of the British North American Colonies; in 1873 was sent to England by the Ontario Government on immigration business, and not long afterwards was offered the chief agency of that Province in London, but declined. On the formation of the Reform Government in 1873, he became private’ secretary to the Prime Minister, and held that office until shortly before the fall of the Mackenzie Government, when he was appointed Deputy of the Minister of the Interior. On the accession to office of the present Administration, he was offered a position in the public service inferior to that he then held, which he declined to accept, and returned to Stratford, where about that time the British Mortgage Loan Company was removed from London, and of this he was offered and took the offices of Secretary-Treasurer and Manager.
Mr. Buckingham has been Reeve and acting Mayor of Stratford; member of the Council of the Board of Trade; Director of the Mechanics’ Institute; Trustee of the Grammar School; President of the St. George’s Society; Director of the North Perth Agricultural Society, and of the Stratford and Lake Huron Railway, and President of the Canadian Press Association. In 1862 he was a member of the Commission appointed to enquire into the management of City Post Offices.