Open Letter to the British Minister in Buenos Aires, 1849

Dismay among the British Merchants at the threatened resignation of Governor General Juan Manuel Rosas

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Letter from a group of 74 British merchants in Buenos Aires to H. E. Henry Southern, Minister Plenipotentiary of Her Britannic Majesty, Buenos Aires (The National Archives, Kew, FO 118/145 ff. 49-51)

Buenos Ayres, October 27th 1849


We the undersigned British subjects, resident in Buenos Aires, have seen with the greatest satisfaction the communication made by Y. E. to the Argentine Government on the 23d inst., and beg to take this opportunity of thanking you for having so clearly and decidedly expressed the individual feeling of us all.

We are naturally anxious to express our opinion, in a proper manner, on an occasion so momentous, and so fraught with results to all of us, as the retirement of H. E. the Captain General, Brigadier D. Juan Manuel de Rosas from the direction of the public affairs of the Argentine Confederation.

The special personal protection which we have invariably received from H. E., and, by his orders, from the authorities of the Country, even at time when circumstances had taken place, which made such protection a most decided act of magnanimity & forbearance; the liberty we enjoy in the possession of our property, and in the transaction of our business; and the uniform kindness with which our proper requests have been always attended to, and reasons which (apart from others of a high political order, but which we do not consider ourselves entitled to discuss) draw forth our warmest expressions of gratitude, and make us extremely anxious that H. E. should remain at the head of the Government of this Country.

We beg to assure you that so strong is our feeling upon this point that we should look upon the retirement of H. E. from office, in the present circumstances of the country, not only as a great public calamity, but as one specially affecting the most important interests of the British resident community.

Should H. E. deem that this manifestation of our sentiments would have the least influence on the determination of H. E. Brigadier General D. Juan Manuel de Rosas, we hope that you will undertake to assure him of their sincerity.

We have the honor to be, Sir! Your Excellency’s mo. obed. svts.

To H. E. Henry Southern Minister Plenipotentiary of H. B. M., near the Government of the Argentine Confederation

Patrick McLean
Daniel Gowland
Alfred Barber
R. B. Hughes
Edmund Mackinlay
Alexander Rodger
George Dowdall
John Galt Smith & Co.
H. C. Smith
Edward Lumb
Hugh Thomas Sheridan
J. William MacKenna
Hughes & Co.
C. T. Getting
William Robertson Walls
Turner & Co.
John Grey
John Eastman
Thomas C. Whitfield
Edward Seymour
Frederick Plowes
J. Atherton
James Barton Jr.
Samuel Hesse
J. C. Thompson
P. L. M. DeLisle
Henry Tomkinson
Samuel Chapman
Nicholson Green & Co.
George Lord
Henry A. Green
Samuel Lea
Charles B. Krabbe
John Ludlam
Claudius Stegmann
Thomas Nuttall
James Hargreaves
William Barton
Gilbert Ramsay
Joseph Meary
George MacKern
Edmund Cranwell
Robert Leys
George Dowse
George Temperley
Richard Duffy
Ricardo Hargreaves
Henry Jones
Dickson & Co.
Duncan Macnab
Bernard Kiernan
Henry Dowse
Arthur Hargreaves
Charles J. McLean
R. Colton
Terence Moore
Daniel Chapman
George W. Drabble
James W. Brittain
William Smith Wilson
James McDonnell
Mathew Williams
J. Hughes
Jorge Bell
Newnham & Yetman
Patck Browne
John Gibb
David Fleming
James Steadman
Robert Moreton
Edward Charles Fogg
A. Rivolta
John Malcolm
Hugh McLean
Jonathan Downes
C. F. Woodgate

Comment to Edmundo Murray
Estimado Edmundo: Desde ya muy agradecido por remitirnos este documento. Esta carta está mencionada por John Lynch en su monografía The British in Buenos Aires in the Time of Rosas pág. 235, donde transcribe un párrafo de la misma (VI Congreso Internacional de Historia de America, Tomo VI Academia Nacional de la Historia, Buenos Aires, 1982). Asimismo el historiador Manuel Gálvez en su Vida de Juan Manuel de Rosas (cap. XX, subtítulo: Los ingleses y la renuncia de Rosas) cita este documento: “Para todos los habitantes, inclusive los extranjeros, el retiro de Rosas del gobierno significaba un desastre. Los ingleses, a pesar del decreto de principios de año, cerrando las escuelas protestantes que educaban a niños católicos, están tan preocupados como los criollos. Siempre fueron partidarios del Restaurador. Hudson [W.H.] dice: “Entre sus admiradores figuraban la mayor parte de los ingleses residentes en el pais. Mi padre pertenecía a ese numero...” (Vida de Juan Manuel de Rosas, Edit. Heliasta SRL, Bs. As., 1991, p.500).
Lynch dice en su trabajo mencionado: “In 1849, zealous to restore good relations following the Intervention, the British Minister Henry Southern conducted an ingratiating correspondence with the authorities to establish whether British residents could sign the mass petitions being organised—or imposed—urging Rosas not to retire from office. In the event seventy-six British merchants signed a petition of their own. The decided protection of Your Excellency...” (pág.235). Lynch al terminar el párrafo menciona en una cita: 43) “Petition signed by English merchants, including MacLean, Gowland, etc. in
Gaceta Mercantil, 25 October 1849, 21 December 1849”. No pude encontrar la carta que ud. menciona, pero me parece muy interesante que en otras universidades extranjeras se estudie el tema de Rosas y la Confederación Argentina. Cordialmente. Sandro Olaza Pallero, noviembre 2001.

© The form of presentation of this information is the copyright of Jeremy Howat, February 2008

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