Buchanan was born in Montrose in 1779, the son of a distinguished printer and publisher. He died in Glasgow on 13 August 1848. He worked for his father, acquiring a knowledge of the book trade; through helping in the preparation of editions of Guthrie's works, he began a life-long interest in geography. A group of gentlemen in the Liberal Party persuaded him to move to Edinburgh in 1808 to start the Edinburgh Weekly Register, which lasted for about twelve months. Subsequently he was editor of the Caledonian Mercury 1810–27) and of the Edinburgh Courant (1827–48).
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.