Great Britain, the Paraguayan War and Free Immigration in Brazil, 1862-1875

Miguel Alexandre de Araujo Neto




[1] Cf. Graham 1979: 79-127 and Conrad 1972: 41-44.

[2] A detailed episodic narrative of these events, very well documented, although dissociated from the main stage of the political history of the empire, can be found in Lauth 1987. The latest, and most comprehensive, work about this subject is Marshall 2005.

[3] On French emigration to Brazil see Silva 2001.

[4] Many other aspects of the affinities between Ultramontanism and nineteenth-century progress ideology in Brazil are examined in Neves 1999: 213-226.

[5] Laemmert's famous Almanac kept an annually updated record of virtually all names of merchants, societies, tradesmen of all sorts, authorities, public officials, noblemen and industries established in the capital of the Empire in and the adjacent province of Rio de Janeiro. There are no entries for William Scully prior to 1862. Therefore, it is safe to assume that he came to Brazil in 1861. Initially not only did he teach calligraphy but also sold what must have been expensive calligraphic pens, as shown in the advertisement on page 22 of the 'Notabilities' section of the 1862 almanac.

[6] See also Graham 1979: 79-127.

[7] The author cites Bethell, Leslie, The abolition of the Brazilian slave trade: Britain, Brazil and the slave trade question, 1807-1869 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1970). Cambridge Latin American Studies, N° 6, 313.

[8] This accusation, and somewhat in conflict with the hypothesis of British subsidisation, finds its basis in the correspondence between Zacarias and Caxias, reproduced in Pinho, Wanderley, Política e políticos no Império: contribuções documentaes (Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa Nacional, 1930), 86-88. Zacarias, in a letter to Caxias, admits to having supported Scully financially. Caxias most probably had known of this for some time. It is possible that, taking into account the events of 1862 and 1863, the Brazilian military regarded British subjects as potential suspects, therefore keeping at least some of them under surveillance.

[9] For an example of how concerned British diplomacy had become with the hostility displayed by Brazilians towards the question of abolition, see Conrad 1972: 75.

[10] For a different assessment, see Marshall 2005: 24.

[11] A more detailed demonstration of how the clientelist system functioned in the Imperial period is presented in: Graham 1990.

[12] Literature on the 'spoils system' instituted legally by President Andrew Jackson appears to be ample. For an introduction to the problem, see Arnold 2002. In the United States of America, the 'spoils system' began to be extinct from the Pendleton Civil Service Act of 1883, which initiated a process by which nominations for the exercise of public office ceased to follow political criteria. This legislation was adopted after the assassination of the Republican president James Garfield (1831-1881) perpetrated by a man suffering from mental illness, who wanted to be named consul in Paris, having voluntarily engaged in political propaganda on behalf of Garfield. In England the taking of exams for admission to public office became law in 1870, which illustrates how well in tune Scully was with institutional advances in Great Britain.

[13] See Graham 1979: 67-68. Richard Graham n this 1966 article, indicates that, after the ending of the trans-Atlantic African slave trade to Brazil ' England continued to exert pressure on the government of Dom Pedro II in the decades of 1850 and 1860, until Brazil manifested a firm decision to put an end to slavery. Although the law that emancipated the children of slaves born after 28 September 1871 is usually considered the first indication of an abolitionist campaign, in reality it was the conclusion of the British phase of a history that had begun forty years earlier.' Unfortunately, Graham does not tell us how this pressure was exerted, after the Christie Affair.

[14] The society was named in that way, using the term emigration.

[15] The imperial speech from the throne in 1867 was also published in English by Scully's newspaper. See ABT 23 May 1867.

[16] This can be attested in letters addressed by the count, a Frenchman, to his father. Letter nº 48 Minuit 1/4, 23 April 1867 (Grão-Pará Archive, Brazilian Imperial Museum, Petrópolis) reads "... Scully m´a fait savoir qu´il se voyait obligé de cesser la publication de l´A.B.T.: il offrait même de restituer le prix des abonnements. Il paraît qu´il va s´établir á Buenos Ayres. J´en suis très fâché sous tous les rapports. Ce qui motive cela, c´est que le malheureux s´est vu surpris par une condamnation a trois mois de prison qui lui a été infligée par le Chef de police pour prétendues insultes [contre] l´ex-chef de police que l´avait arrêté lors de son incendie. Dès que j´ai su cela, j´ai demandé à l´Empereur de lui pardonner se peine. L´Empereur, suivant son usage, ne m´a rien répondue, mais à quelques jours de là, les journaux m´ont appris que le pardon avait été accordé. Seulement, il paraît que cela ne change pas résolution de Scully et mois je suis encore à me demander comment, dans ce pays où l´on a sans cesse à la bouche les préceptes de la Constitution, un Chef de police peut s´ériger en pouvoir judiciaire pour condamner un étranger inoffensif! ...".

[17] An updated and more detailed account of the events is given by Marshall 2005: 63-87.

[18] For a detailed account of the preparations, voyage and arrival of the Wednesbury immigrants, see Marshall 2005: 52-67. Earlier references are Platt 1964: 3-38, 23, and Vieria 1980: 245.

[19] See also Marshall 2005: 52-57.

[20] This was indeed, greatly anticipated in England, by the Catholic Father George Montgomery, who took direct part in the recruitment of the Wednesbury colonists. See Marshall 2005: 60-61.



- Arnold, Peri E., Democracy and corruption in 19th century United States: parties, 'spoils' and political participation (Notre Dame: University Press, 2002), pdf edition. Available online (, accessed 29 May 2006.

- Bethell, Leslie, The Paraguayan War (1864-1870) (London: Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, 1996). ILAS Research Papers N° 46.

- _________, The abolition of the Brazilian slave trade: Britain, Brazil and the slave trade question, 1807-1869. London: Cambridge University Press, 1970. (Cambridge Latin American Studies, no. 6)

- Bosi, Alfredo, Dialética da colonização. 3. ed., 3. repr. (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1999).

- Brazil. Federal Senate, A abolição no Parlamento: 65 anos de lutas (1823-1888) (Brasília: Subsecretaria de Arquivo, 1988), Vol. 1.

- Christie, William, Notes on Brazilian Questions (London and Cambridge: MacMillan, 1965).

- Conrad, Robert, The destruction of Brazilian slavery, 1850-1888 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1972).

- Costa, Wilma Peres, A espada de Dámocles: O Exército, a Guerra do Paraguai e a Crise do Império (São Paulo: Hucitec, 1996). Coleção Estudos Históricos, vol. 23.

- Doratioto, Francisco F. Monteoliva, Maldita guerra: nova história da Guerra do Paraguai (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2002).

- Gerson, Brasil, A escravidão no Império (Rio de Janeiro: Pallas, 1975).

- Goldman, Frank Perry, Os pioneiros americanos no Brasil: educadores, sacerdotes, covos e reis (São Paulo: Pioneira, 1972).

- Graham, Richard, 'Os fundamentos da Questão Christie' in Graham, Richard, Escravidão, reforma e imperialismo (São Paulo: Perspectiva, 1979). Coleção Debates N° 146, 79-127.

- _________, 'As causas da abolição da escravatura no Brazil' in Graham, Richard, Escravidão, reforma e imperialismo (São Paulo: Perspectiva, 1979). Coleção Debates N° 146.

- _________, Politics and patronage in nineteenth century Brazil (Stanford, California University Press, 1990).

- Holanda, Sérgio Buarque de, 'Do Império á República' in Hoalnda, Sérgio Buarque de, História geral da civilização brasileira (São Paulo: Difusão Européia do Livro, 1972), vol. 2, v. 5.

- Laemmert, Eduardo von, Almanak administrativo, mercantil e industrial da corte e província do Rio de Janeiro para o ano de 1862 (Rio de Janeiro: Laemmert, 1862).

- Lauth, Aloisius Carlos, A colônia Príncipe Dom Pedro: um caso de política imigratória no Brasil Império (Brusque: Museu Arquidiocesano Dom Joaquim, 1987).

- Marshall, Oliver, English, Irish and Irish-American pioneer settlers in nineteenth century Brazil (Oxford: University of Oxford, Centre for Brazilian Studies, 2005).

- _________, The English-language press in Latin America (London: University of London, 1996).

- _________, European immigration and ethnicity in Latin America: a bibliography (London: University of London, 1991).

- McGinn, Brian, The Irish in South America: a bibliography (Bradford: The Irish Diaspora Net, 1999). Available online (, accessed 26 July 2002.

- Neves, Lúcia Maria Bastos Pereira das and Humberto Fernandes Machado, O Império do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1999).

- Pereira, António Batista, Figuras do Império e outros ensaios (São Paulo: Cia. Ed. Nacional, 1975), 3a. ed. Coleção Brasiliana, vol. 1.

- Pinho, Wanderley, Política e políticos no Império: contribuições documentaes (Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa Nacional, 1930).

- Platt, Desmond C.M. 'British colonization in Latin America' in Inter-American Economic Affairs, Washington, DC, vol. 18, no. 3, p. 3-38, jul./sept. 1964.

- Scully, William. Brazil, its provinces and chief cities: the manners and customs of the people; agriculture, commercial and other statistics, taken from the latest official documents; with a variety of useful and entertaining knowledge, both for merchant and the emigrant (London: Trübner, 1868). Second edition.

- Silva, Lígia Osório, 'Propaganda e realidade: a imagem do Império do Brasil nas publicações francesas do século XIX' in Revista Theomai (Buenos Aires, 2001). Available online (, accessed 25 January 2006.

- Vieira, David Gueiros, O protestantismo, a maçonaria e a Questão Religiosa no Brasil (Brasília: Editora Universidade de Brasília, 1980). Coleção Temas Brasileiros.


1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5


Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2006

Online published: 1 July 2006
Edited: 07 May 2009

Araujo Neto, Miguel A. de, '
Great Britain, the Paraguayan War and Free Immigration in Brazil, 1862-1875' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" 4:3 (July 2006). Available online (, accessed .


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies

 Copyright Information