Captain Philip Beaver's African Journal

Captain Philip Beaver's African Journal

Edited by Carol Bolton & Christopher Brown

Anthem Advances in African Cultural Studies Anthem Africana Studies Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series

Captain Philip Beaver’s journal, originally published in 1805, recounts his attempt to establish a colony in West Africa with British settlers to demonstrate that cooperation between Africans and Europeans could supply the tropical produce provided by West Indian plantations, so proving the unhumanitarian transatlantic slave trade to be unnecessary.

Hardback, 250 Pages


July 2023

£120.00, $165.00

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About This Book

In 1805, naval officer Captain Philip Beaver (1766–1813) published his African Memoranda: Relative to an Attempt to Establish a British Settlement on the Island of Bulama, on the Western Coast of Africa, in the Year 1792. Beaver’s text in this modern scholarly edition presents a compelling account of his settlement of the island of Bulama, with a group of British colonists (275 men, women and children). Arriving in May-June 1792, the settlers were beset by illness and the hardships of their tropical environment, and many began to die, or chose to return to Britain. Despite his super-human efforts to maintain the colony, by 1793 Beaver was also forced to leave the island with only one other original settler.

Beaver’s intriguing, yet modest account of his endeavours, led to public acclaim for his efforts on behalf of the colony. He was also admired for his anti-slavery principles and his desire to bring ‘cultivation and commerce’ to the region. At a time when Romantic studies recognises the wider social and historical contexts of the literature that was created, and the impact of colonialism, abolition and African exploration on our understanding of the period, this book provides an important nexus that brings all these aspects together. In fulfilling the myth of the self-sacrificing national hero (such as that embodied by Admiral Horatio Nelson), Beaver’s account also lends itself to significant debates about masculinity, heroism and nationalism in the Romantic period.


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Author Information

Carol Bolton is a senior lecturer in English at Loughborough University. Her research centres on Romantic-period writing that represents travel, exploration, and colonialism.


Anthem Advances in African Cultural Studies

Anthem Africana Studies

Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series

Table of Contents

Introduction; African Memoranda; Appendices: Reproduction of the Painting of Captain Philip Beaver RN by John Opie; Plan of the Ground Cleared and Enclosed, and of the Buildings Thereon erected at Bulama by Lieutentant Beaver’ from African Memoranda; ‘Plan of the Blockhouse or Fort’ from African Memoranda; ‘Plan of the Island of Bulama’ from Wadstrom’s Essay on Colonization; Nautical Map Intended for the Use of Colonial Undertakings on the West Coast of Africa’ from Wadstrom’s Essay on Colonization; Map of Africa’ (1802) by A. Arrowsmith.


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