Nugent, John
b. 1821(?)
d. 1880-03-29
John Nugent was born in 1821 in County Galway Ireland. He was an American journalist who had worked as the Washington correspondent for the New York Herald during James Buchanan's tenure as secretary of state. Buchanan went on to become president in 1856, and Nugent went to San Francisco and became clerk of the first state legislature in California and editor of the San Francisco Herald.1 Although described by a contemporary as an Irishman with an inveterate and rabid hatred of England,2 Buchanan appointed him special agent of the United States to protect the rights of American citizens at the gold fields on the Fraser.3
Nugent arrived in Victoria on 20 September 1858 and a few days later left for the Fraser River mines, returning to Victoria to present Douglas with his concerns for American rights in the colony. Nugent was so frank in his criticisms about the British government that Douglas soon discontinued any direct communication with him.4
Before returning to the United States permanently, he delivered an inflamatory Farewell Address, which was published in the Victoria Gazette on 16 November 1858.5 In 1869, he tried unsuccessfully to revive the San Francisco Herald, and in 1878 he wrote some short articles for the Argonaut.Nugent died in San Leandro, California, on 29 March 1880.6
  • 1. Allan Smith, Nugent, John, Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
  • 2. Rowlandson to Lytton, 6 September 1858, 10333, CO 60/3, 560.
  • 3. Smith, Nugent, John.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Douglas to Lytton, 17 November 1858, 516, CO 305/9, 215.
  • 6. Smith, Nugent, John.
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Fraser River

San Francisco