Thomas Hutchinson decorated by the Union
Masonic Lodge of Rosario for his work during the cholera
outbreak, July 1867
(The Paraná, With Incidents of the Paraguayan War, 1868)
October 1870, Thomas Hutchinson was appointed British Consul
at Callao, the port of Lima, he was probably preparing for his
retirement in Wexford after fifteen years working for the
British consular service. His projects for the most peaceful
time of his life included writing numerous travel and
exploration accounts, and perhaps visiting continental Europe.
He could not foresee at that time that one of his books,
Two Years in Peru, would elicit such a negative response
in the Spanish-speaking world.
Hutchinson was born on 18 January 1802 in Stonyford, County
Wexford. Although little is known of his childhood or his
family - undoubtedly of Anglo-Irish background -, his parents
may have owned a rural property in the parish of Kilscoran,
near the major source area of nineteenth-century emigration
from Wexford to Argentina.
 In his formative years, he
undoubtedly received a good education, which allowed him to
travel to Germany and study to practice as a medical doctor.
He graduated in 1833 from the University of Göttingen as a
physician and surgeon. 
Hutchinson first went to
as the Pleiad's senior surgeon, and served in this
capacity on the 1851 exploration of the river Niger. His
initial views on the possibility of educating the native
population were later reviewed and he held extreme opinions on
the African peoples. He was acknowledged by contemporary
authors as 'knowledgeable but eccentric' (Burton 1863). Back
in London, Hutchinson married his wife Mary, and in 1855 was
appointed British Consul for the Bight of Biafra, based at
Clarence Port, Fernando Po.
 The family adopted an African
child, Fanny Hutchinson, who lived with them for the rest of
their lives. Hutchinson was dismissed in 1861 on the grounds
that he was too partial to the interests of the merchants of
Liverpool, being replaced by Captain Richard F. Burton
(1821-1890), the famous explorer, linguist and travel writer.
Hutchinson's attempt at being appointed to the consulate in
Tenerife failed, and he was sent instead to the Argentine city
as British Vice-Consul. In 1867, he was appointed temporarily
to the Montevideo consulate, where he owned the Farmacia
Británica. Between 1870 and 1872 he was British Consul in
Thomas Hutchinson retired from the Foreign Office and went to
live in Ballinesker Lodge, Curracloe, parish of St. Margaret's
in County Wexford. From this base he travelled extensively on
the European continent and published several books. Then the
family moved to Middlesex in England, and finally to Italy.
Hutchinson died on 23 March 1885 in his house at 2 Via
He was a
prolific writer, and his books of travel and exploration
include seven works covering Africa, South America and Europe,
and a few published lectures about ethnographic studies in
Africa and the production of cotton and meat in
America.  While he was in Rosario, Hutchinson also edited a
short-lived newspaper, the Argentine Citizen, which
appeared weekly from 10 January to 25 April 1865, and was
primarily concerned with encouraging immigration from Britain
and Ireland and with British investment and trade (Marshall
Miguel Lobo y Malagamba (1821-1876)
(Museo Naval, Madrid)
were published in
and Liverpool, on which Hutchinson's eyes were set. However,
his accounts of Africa and South America received no applause
in the consular, business and scientific communities in
England. And his readers in South America were none too
impressed. In Argentina, President Bartolomé Mitre observed
Hutchinson wrote 'with neither order nor scientific method.
a character with a passion for travelling, and for travel
writing. [...] According to Captain Burton, the famous
Central Africa, his [Hutchinson's]
books have not been too widely accepted in
[...] In spite of my high opinion of Hutchinson as a person,
my gratefulness for his consideration, and my respect for his
untiring industriousness, I must say that his books, even if
they do include some helpful information, do not broach any
particular idea nor do they have any durable character.
Without a doubt, his best work is an English-language
statistical and trade newspaper that he published here.'
where Hutchinson spent the final stage of his career in the
British consular service, Two Years in Peru elicited
anger and negative reviews in the local press. But his worst
critic was the veteran officer of the Battle of Callao, the
Spanish admiral Miguel Lobo.
Invectives and Diatribe
On 8 October
1870, Thomas Hutchinson was appointed Consul at Callao, with a
salary of Ł600, plus Ł385 allowance and outfit (FO 61/261).
 On 1 March 1871 he sailed from Liverpool on the
Cordillera, arriving at Callao on 22 April with his wife
and daughter. Most of his reports include accounts about
crimping at Callao harbour, a problem caused, he claimed, by
Peruvian, Chilean, British and Spanish captains. Hutchinson's
health was then failing and he was on leave for most of 1872
(FO 61/263). Back in England, he retired from the consular
service on 24 February 1874 (FO 61/286).