1870s ORIGINAL SIGNIFICANT MANUSCRIPT JOURNAL AND CATCH-ALL OF THE BRITISH CHARGE D'AFFAIRES FOR ARGENTINA WHO DETAILS THE YELLOW FEVER PLAGUE OF 1871 AND HIS PART IN THE NOTORIOUS VIRGINIUS AFFAIR2215
On offer here is a fascinating, original journal of Hugh Guion Macdonell, who was British Charge d'Affaires to the Argentine Republic in the 1870s. The journal while not very long contains significant handwritten personal accounts; the yellow fever plague of 1871 and a notorious, major diplomatic incident, the 1873 Virginius Affair, between the Spanish, British and Americans during the 10 years war. In fact the rear cover is a title page from a U.S Dept of State publication regarding the Affair. In all there are a total of 15 pages of narrative and letter copies and six pages of press clippings for the most part regarding the 1871 yellow fever outbreak in the Argentine. Macdonell begins recounting his career: how in 1850 he was quartered at Williamstown (Cape of Good Hope) in charge of a draft of discharged men when he sustained a wound trying to rescue another man. In 1861 he was sent to Herzegovina and Bosnia to make a report; in 1869 he was appointed secretary of legation in Buenos Ayres, also travelling to Uruguay, "where civil war was devastating the country". "English vessels were arbitrarily seized and British property destroyed - there being no telegraph with Britain, I had to act on my own responsibility.....having been appealed to by British residents and the contending parties to mediate". This was apparently only partially successful, though he did obtain compensation for destroyed property and the release of vessels. He then states: "In 1871 a most devastating yellow fever epidemic broke out", which is then detailed in five pages of letters from Macdonell printed in a contemporary newspaper. There then follow eleven pages of handwritten copies of letters to and from Macdonell. Here are some snippets: "B. Ayres Aug 1, 1871 - Sir, we feel it incumbent upon us after the sad ordeal through which this city has passed to express to you our high appreciation of your noble and determined conduct during the late visitation of yellow fever. In that distressing period when the mortality rose to such a height that the piles of coffins encumbered the graveyards waiting their turn for interment; when panic had seized every individual, when friend deserted friend, relative, relatives - all who could fled the deserted city of the dead. Through all this, like a good soldier you remained firm at your post". He writes that in November 1871 he obtained from the government of Montevideo payment of a debt contracted between that government and the British in 1834. The settlement of this claim apparently led to the breaking of all relations between the Montevideo government and the British government. In 1873 he was then involved in events leading up to the Virginius affair , a diplomatic dispute that occurred from October 1873 to February 1875 between the United States, Great Britain and Spain, then in control of Cuba, during the ten years war. In 1873 a British Yacht, the Deerhound was seized by the Spanish who accused it of carrying insurgents - Macdonell was central from the British side in the diplomatic settlement. Similarly in late 1873, the Virginius, an American ship carrying Cuban insurrectionists was seized by the Spanish and the Spanish began executing those on board as pirates. This is touched upon, and Macdonnel seems to have had some involvment in the settlement. There are copies of letters from Lord Granville, Lord Hammond and Earl Derby to Macdonell regarding this series of incidents. The 8 x 5.5 inch journal with blue paper covers marked 'Personal HGMacdonell' is overall G+. BIO NOTES: from one online source: Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Guion Macdonell; M, #510393, b. 1832, d. 25 January 1904; Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Guion Macdonell was born in 1832. He was the son of Lt.-Col. Hugh Macdonell and Anne Hughes. He married Anne Lamb, daughter of Edward Lamb, in July 1870. He died on 25 January 1904, without issue. He was educated at Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Berkshire, England. He gained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant between 1848 and 1853 in the service of the Rifle Brigade. He was with the Diplomatic Service in 1853. He held the office of Ambassador to Brazil in 1885.1 He held the office of Ambassador to Denmark in 1888. He was invested as a Knight Grand Cross, Order of St. Michael and St. George (G.C.M.G.) in 1899. He was invested as a Privy Counsellor (P.C.) in 1902.
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