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 Africology Series 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.

PDF, 450 Pages


September 2023

£50.00, $80.00

EPUB, 450 Pages


September 2023

£50.00, $80.00

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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.


‘Captain Philip Beaver’s utopian ambition was to end Britain’s slave trade by growing tropical pro-duce on a West African island. This excellent edition of his journal, a key document for understand-ing abolitionism, describes the outcasts who signed up for his radical republic, as well as the tragic idealism of this Romantic-era colonising enterprise.’ — Deirdre Coleman, author of Romantic Colo-nization and British

‘A fascinating account of a disastrous attempt to establish a colony of freed former slaves and poor white folk on an island off the African coast, superbly annotated and introduced by Carol Bolton. A must for anyone studying or teaching the anti-slavery movement and the history of African colonisation.’ — Tim Fulford, Professor of Eng-lish, De Montfort University

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 Africology Series

Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series

Table of Contents

List of figures; Acknowledgements; Notes on the Text; Table of Weights and Measures; Introduction; Preface; Author’s Introduction; Part I; Part II; Part III; Appendices; Notes; Bibliography; Index


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