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George Buckley-Mathew

George Buckley-Mathew

Sir George Benvenuto Buckley-Mathew CB KCMG (4 August 1807 – 22 October 1879) was a British diplomat and Conservative politician.[1][2][3]

George Buckley-Mathew
Royal Governor of the Bahama Islands
In office
20 June 1844 – 3 March 1849 (1844-06-20 1849-03-03)
Preceded bySir Francis Cockburn
Succeeded byJohn Gregory
Member of Parliament for Shaftesbury
In office
3 April 1838 – 29 June 1841 (1838-04-03 1841-06-29)
Preceded byJohn Sayer Poulter
Succeeded byLord Howard
Member of Parliament for Athlone
In office
6 January 1835 – 24 July 1837 (1835-01-06 1837-07-24)
Preceded byJames Talbot
Succeeded byJohn O'Connell
Personal details
George Byam Mathew

(1807-08-04)4 August 1807
Datchet, Berkshire, England
Died22 October 1879(1879-10-22) (aged 72)
Strand, London, England
Political partyConservative
Military service
BranchBritish Army
Service years1825–1841
Unit16th Regiment of Foot


Born in 1807 as George Byam Mathew, Buckley-Mathew was the son of George Mathew (1760–1846) of the Coldstream Guards and Euphemia née Hamilton. In 1835, he substituted the middle name 'Byam' for 'Benvenuto'.[3][4]

Buckley-Mathew entered the army in 1825, joining the light infantry before, by 1833, becoming a captain in his father's regiment; although he retired altogether in 1841 when he was a captain in the Grenadier Guards.[3]

His first marriage enabled Buckley-Mathew to enter politics, becoming a Conservative Member of Parliament for the Irish constituency of Athlone at the 1835 general election.[5] At the following election, he instead stood for Shaftesbury but, on the initial count, was unsuccessful, losing to the Whig John Sayer Poulter. However, upon petition, Poulter's election was declared void and Buckley-Mathew was declared elected. He held the seat until just 1841, however, when he was again defeated and retired from politics altogether.[3][6]

Frustrated at this political career, Buckley-Mathew was appointed Governor of the Bahamas in 1844, holding the role until 1849. His career in the Americas lasted some length; he was consul at Charleston, South Carolina, between 1850 and 1853, and then at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1853, only ending in 1856 when his exequatur was removed by then-President of the United States Franklin Pierce. He then served in the Black Sea between 1856 and 1858, and became secretary and chargé d'affaires of the legation in Mexico and then for other Central American republics, the latter where he was minister from 1861 to 1863. He was minister to Colombia from 1865 to 1866, Argentina from 1866 to 1867, and Brazil from 1867 to April 1879.[3]

He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 1863 and a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in May 1879, living in Leamington Spa in the late stages of his life, before dying in London on 22 October 1879.[3]


In 1835, Mathew married Anne Hoare, daughter of Henry Hoare and Charlotte née Dering. In 1849, however, the marriage ended in what Buckley-Mathew called a "Scotch divorce". The following year, he remarried to Rosina Adelaide Handley, daughter of J. C. Handley—and, later, he again married to a daughter of J. W. Gerard of New York. Across his various marriages, he had at least five sons and two daughters.[3][4]

Inheriting West Indian estates in 1837, Mathew took an additional surname Buckley, if after a delay, in 1865. The estates, from Abednego Mathew (died 1837), cousin to his father, were on St Kitts, and at Lyth near Ellesmere, Shropshire. Abednego Mathew's will required that George Matthew adopt the name Buckley, his mother's maiden name.[7][8]


  1. Rayment, Leigh (22 September 2018). "The House of Commons: Constituencies beginning with "A"". Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 1 December 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. Rayment, Leigh (13 June 2017). "The House of Commons: Constituencies beginning with "S"". Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page. Archived from the original on 14 September 2018. Retrieved 1 December 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. Matthew, H. C. G. (2004). "Mathew, Sir George Benvenuto [formerly George Byam] Buckley- (1807–1879)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/40845. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. Lundy, Darryl (2 October 2008). "Sir George Benvenuto Buckley Mathew". The Peerage. Archived from the original on 1 December 2018. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  5. Walker, B.M., ed. (1978). Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland, 1801-1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. p. 251. ISBN 0901714127.
  6. Craig, F. W. S., ed. (1977). British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (1st ed.). London: Macmillan Press. p. 193. ISBN 978-1-349-02349-3.
  7. "George Benvenuto Buckley-Mathew 1807-1879, Legacies of British Slave-ownership".
  8. "Abednego Mathew ????–1837, Legacies of British Slave-ownership".
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