Several books of travel in South America have been published by Irish writers during the last fifty years. MacCann’s Travels in the Argentine Provinces, 1846-49, contains much that is valuable concerning the history and manners of the country. Major Rickard Seaver issued in 1863 an interesting narrative of his crossing the Andes. Consul Hutchinson, an Irishman, published in 1864 his book Argentine Gleanings, which was followed by another in 1869 called South American Recollections. Robert Crawford, an Irish engineer, led an expedition from Buenos Ayres in November, 1871, across the Indian Pampas and over the pass of the Planchon in the Andes, to survey an overland route to Chile, and subsequently published an interesting account of his journey. The first book printed and published in English, in South America, was the Handbook of the River Plate, written by Michael G. Mulhall and published by the Standard, in 1861. The same author also published the Rural Code of Buenos Ayres in 1867, and the Handbook of Brazil in 1877. In 1871 he published an account of his travels among the German colonies in Rio Grande do Sul. Twenty years ago the writer of this sketch published Between the Amazon and the Andes and the Story of the Jesuit Missions of Paraguay. These books derive special interest from the fact that she was the first foreign woman ever seen in Cuyaba, the capital of Matto Grosso, whither she accompanied her husband, 2500 miles from either the Atlantic or the Pacific seaboard. They arrived as far as the Diamantina Mountains, beyond Cuyaba, and saw the little rivers which form the sources of the mighty Amazon.
Casting a glance over South America, we see in every country and province evidences of Irish genius employed not only in fighting but in the development of natural resources. To quote Consul Cowper’s report to the Foreign Office in London: “The progress of Buenos Ayres is mainly due to the industrious Irish sheep farmers.” No other nationality contributed so largely to the export trade of the country. At one time it was shown by the tables of Mr. Duggan and other wool exporters that the quantity of this staple industry yearly sold by Irishmen in Buenos Ayres exceeded that sold by all other nationalities. In later years the Irish sheep farmers in the province of Buenos Ayres have turned their lands into wheat lands, and the great industries of the country, sheep and cattle, have been moved to the outside camps, especially to that wonderful grazing region in the Andine valleys recently visited by Col. Roosevelt and his party. It may be interesting to mention that at the first English races ever held in South America, on November 6, 1826, the principal event, in which ten horses ran, was easily won by an Irish horse with the appropriate name of “Shamrock.”