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The Bolama Colony and abolitionary reform in Captain Beaver’s African Memoranda (1805)

The Bolama Colony and abolitionary reform in Captain Beaver’s African Memoranda (1805)
The Bolama Colony and abolitionary reform in Captain Beaver’s African Memoranda (1805)
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 provides an absorbing testimony of his efforts to assist British colonisers in establishing their African settlement. Despite the colonial ambitions of this project, the ‘Bulama Association’ members were reformists at heart. Their high-minded intentions in purchasing the island and settling it, were to demonstrate the anti-slavery principle that propagation by ‘free natives’ would bring ‘cultivation and commerce’ to the region and ultimately introduce ‘civilization’ among them. The colonists’ ambitions to benefit the African economy and set a precedent of humanitarian labour for the slave-owning lobby in Britain, led to the extraordinary emigration of 275 men, women, and children in order to put their humanitarian ideals into practice. Within two years, all the colonists had died or returned to Britain, but Beaver asserted that their socio-economic model was successful and that future settlements would benefit from their efforts. This article examines the motives of the Bolama scheme within the context of other colonial projects (for instance in Sierra Leone) to demonstrate how British anti-slavery ideals combined with commercial ambitions to settle land in Africa at the end of the eighteenth century. It contributes to academic investigations into Atlantic history, popular abolitionist movements of the 1790s, and Romantic-period colonial policy, to demonstrate how such collective enterprises sought to expand British influence abroad.
Beaver, Bolama, sierra leone, Africa, Colony, Abolition
2517-7850
105-127
Bolton, Carol
5e03f9cb-c53a-4219-b0b6-5266954fb213
Bolton, Carol
5e03f9cb-c53a-4219-b0b6-5266954fb213

Bolton, Carol (2021) The Bolama Colony and abolitionary reform in Captain Beaver’s African Memoranda (1805). Romance, Revolution and Reform, (3), 105-127, [6].

Record type: Article

Abstract

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 provides an absorbing testimony of his efforts to assist British colonisers in establishing their African settlement. Despite the colonial ambitions of this project, the ‘Bulama Association’ members were reformists at heart. Their high-minded intentions in purchasing the island and settling it, were to demonstrate the anti-slavery principle that propagation by ‘free natives’ would bring ‘cultivation and commerce’ to the region and ultimately introduce ‘civilization’ among them. The colonists’ ambitions to benefit the African economy and set a precedent of humanitarian labour for the slave-owning lobby in Britain, led to the extraordinary emigration of 275 men, women, and children in order to put their humanitarian ideals into practice. Within two years, all the colonists had died or returned to Britain, but Beaver asserted that their socio-economic model was successful and that future settlements would benefit from their efforts. This article examines the motives of the Bolama scheme within the context of other colonial projects (for instance in Sierra Leone) to demonstrate how British anti-slavery ideals combined with commercial ambitions to settle land in Africa at the end of the eighteenth century. It contributes to academic investigations into Atlantic history, popular abolitionist movements of the 1790s, and Romantic-period colonial policy, to demonstrate how such collective enterprises sought to expand British influence abroad.

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More information

Published date: 14 January 2021
Keywords: Beaver, Bolama, sierra leone, Africa, Colony, Abolition

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 446579
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/446579
ISSN: 2517-7850
PURE UUID: e7a0da09-277b-4700-a5a6-dbe9ab2c46ab

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Date deposited: 15 Feb 2021 17:31
Last modified: 15 Feb 2021 17:34

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Contributors

Author: Carol Bolton

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