Little is known about Thomas George Love prior to arriving in Buenos Aires in October 1820 from the British settlement in the Cape of Good Hope, aside from the fact that his birth was registered in St. George’s, Hanover Square, London around 1792 or 1793 and that he had gained some experience at home working as an accountant for a firm with interests in the River Plate. In Buenos Aires, Love became a prominent member of the British merchant community, acting as secretary of the British Commercial Rooms (1822-29) and the British Subscription Library (1822-26) which he had helped to establish. From 1826 until his demise in 1845, Love was the editor of The British Packet and Argentine News, an English-language weekly newspaper published in Buenos Aires from 4th August 1826 until 25 September 1858.
Love was a member of the merchant community that settled in Buenos Aires in the wake of the British invasions to the River Plate (1806-7) and that thrived with the growth of commerce following the de facto opening of the port to free trade in 1809. The British Commercial Rooms represented the British merchant community before the authorities of the government of Buenos Aires, British naval officers stationed in the River Plate, and British diplomatic representatives in the city. The British Subscription Library, a branch of the British Commercial Rooms, established a library of more than 600 volumes and was responsible for the import of printed material from Europe, chiefly from London. The Buenos Ayres Commercial Rooms emerged from a split within its exclusively British predecessor and it was characterised by its acceptance of members from all nationalities.
Love’s participation in these institutions demonstrates his active role in the social and cultural life of the British merchant community in Buenos Aires. In 1825 he published in London Five Years’ Residence in Buenos Ayres, during the years 1820 and 1825, anonymously signed as An Englishman. Although the authorship of that work has been the object of controversy, researchers such as Lapido and Spota de Lapieza Eli (1976), and Maxine Hanon (2005), have convincingly argued that Love was the effective author. He was involved in the establishment and support of various charitable, religious and cultural institutions of the British community. His writings recorded scenes of everyday life in Buenos Aires, commented upon contemporary political issues, and offer some of the most vivid sources for the study of foreign communities in the city. In 1826, he contributed to establish the British Amateur Theatrical Fund, a non-for-profit organization for which he acted as treasurer for many years.
As the editor of The British Packet and Argentine News, Love became a spokesperson for the British merchant community. The title of the paper is a plain description of its content. The term ‘British Packet’ made reference to the vessels of the maritime branch of the British Royal Mail service that was in charge of the conveyance of news in the form of letters and newspapers. The packets, as they were known, also imported printed material and acted as merchant vessels in some instances. This transatlantic reference in Love’s paper does justice to the shipping record it kept through the regular publication of lists of ships entering and leaving the port of Buenos Aires. The English-language paper also included reproduced articles from London journals, including parliamentary sessions. The other component of the title, Argentine News, reflected the paper’s content of local news, political debates, and other matters of interest to the merchant community in Buenos Aires. The British Packet and Argentine News became an organ of that community and also often engaged in discussions with competing British merchants in Montevideo and with British state officials. Those differences came sharply to a head during the French (1838) and Anglo-French (1845) blockades of the port Buenos Aires.
Sources: [Thomas George Love], Five Years’ Residence in Buenos Ayres, during the years 1820 and 1825 (London, 1825); The British Packet and Argentine News (1826-1845); Michael G. Mulhall, The English in South America (London, 1878); Graciela Lapido and Beatriz Spota de Lapieza Elli (ed.), The British Packet: de Rivadavia a Rosas (Buenos Aires, 1976); Maxine Hanon, Diccionario de Británicos en Buenos Aires (Primera Época) (Buenos Aires, 2005); Juan I. Neves Sarriegui, ‘The Establishment of the British Packet Service to South America: Politics and Communications in the South Atlantic, 1808-1828’, (unpublished Masters dissertation, University of Oxford, New College, 2017).
Author: Juan I. Neves-Sarriegui
How to cite: To cite from this page, please use any style (Chicago, Harvard, etc). Our preferred citation form is: Neves-Sarriegui, Juan I., ‘Love, Thomas George (c.1792/3-1845)’, The Hispanic-Anglosphere: transnational networks, global communities (late 18th to early 20th centuries), project funded by the AHRC and the University of Winchester in partnership with the National Trust, [https://hispanic-anglosphere.com/individuals/love-thomas-george-c-1792-3-1845, accessed – please add the date of your visit].