journalist and businessman, owner and editor of the
Anglo-Brazilian Times of Rio de Janeiro, and founder of the
'Sociedade Internacional de Imigraçao'. According to
genealogical sources in Ireland William Scully was born in
Buolick, South County Tipperary, into a family of minor Catholic
landlords. The family hit hard times during the potato famine of
1846-1849 and William arrived in Brazil in the 1850s or early
1860s. In Rio de Janeiro he made his living as a calligraphy
teacher. He married into an English Anglican family in Rio and
then worked as a shipping agent for British lines. In 1872 he
was the agent for the National Bolivian Navigation Company,
which held a majority share in the Madeira-Mamoré Railway
most important undertaking was the Anglo-Brazilian Times,
which was published weekly from 7 February 1865 to 24 September
1884. The masthead described the Times as being a
‘Political, Literary, and Commercial’ newspaper, and among its
intentions were ‘to point out, and seek remedies for grievances
and defects in the commercial and political intercourse of
England and Brazil, and to promote a good understanding between
the two countries’ (from the first issue). The editor argued
that Irish immigration to Brazil was a potentially viable means
of upgrading the country's levels of economic productivity. As
immigration and shipping businesses were complementary and
beneficial to his interests, Scully both advertised Irish
immigration in Brazil and promoted it in Great Britain.
contained general Brazilian news and political comment,
commercial reports, market prices, and maritime and immigration
news. Although the paper received a subsidy from the Brazilian
government, it was capable of criticism of the establishment.
When the local aristocracy – of which Scully was disdainful –
promoted restrictions on the immigration of Protestants, the
editor of the Times spoke out in opposition. Scully's
newspaper was also critical of the British Consul, claiming that
he failed to assist destitute British subjects. However, the
Legation believed that Scully had influence with the Emperor and
noted that Brazilian newspapers reprinted articles from the
Times, believing it to be free of political bias. Foreign
papers, including the influential London monthly Brazil and
River Plate Mail, reproduced articles from the Times.
International Society for Immigration represented William
Scully's material support to the Brazilian government. The first
meeting was held in February 1866, and Scully strongly
recommended that the society be independent of the government.
The society was active for the next two years.
Great Britain forced Brazil to reduce their enslaved labour
force from Africa, the Brazilian economy depended heavily on
slaves. Arrangements were made for the slaves employed in the
northeastern provinces to be transferred to the burgeoning
coffee production zones, especially São Paulo and Rio de
Janeiro. Plans for an increase in the employment of European
immigrants began to multiply. However, Irish immigration was in
Scully's words ‘nipped in the bud’ and was never successful in
Brazil. The episode that marked its failure was the collapse of
the Irish colony Príncipe Dom Pedro in Santa Catarina, which was
suddenly deprived of funds and support between 1868 and 1869.
British minister William D. Christie published in London his
Notes on Brazilian Questions (London & Cambridge: Macmillan,
1865), Scully had to appease most Brazilian leaders, and the
Emperor in particular, by strongly criticising the way in which
Christie expressed his views on the issue of slavery. The Irish
newspaperman apparently considered it his mission to attempt to
mend the badly damaged relationship between England and Brazil,
to the point of verging on a pro-slavery stance, so as to
dismiss the charges made public by Christie and thereby appease
the Brazilian political establishment.
Scully also published the guide Brazil: Its Provinces and
Chief Cities; the Manners and Customs of the People;
Agricultural, Commercial and other Statistics, etc. (Rio de
Janeiro 1865; other editions in London, 1866 and 1868), as well
as A New Map of Brazil in 1866 (drawn and engraved by
George Philip & Son, Liverpool and London). The
Anglo-Brazilian Times was published until September 1884,
and William Scully died in Pau, France on 14 February 1885.
Miguel Alexandre de, 'An Anglo-Irish Newspaper in
Nineteenth-Century Brazil: The Anglo-Brazilian Times, 1865-1884'
in Newsletter of the Brazilian Association for Irish Studies
– ABEI, N° 8, August 1994, University of São Paulo.
Oliver, The English-Language Press in
(London: Institute of Latin American Studies, University of
London, 1996). See note 24 in p. 272.