Journals of the Rev. James Frederick Schon and Mr. Samuel Crowther

Thomas Fowell BUXTON   |   Samuel CROWTHER   |   James Frederick SCHON

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ABOLITIONIST THOMAS FOWELL BUXTON'S COPY: FIRST EDITION OF THE JOURNALS OF THE REV. JAMES FREDERICK SCHON AND MR. SAMUEL CROWTHER, WHO… ACCOMPANIED THE EXPEDITION UP THE NIGER, IN 1841, IN BEHALF OF THE CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY

(BUXTON, Thomas Fowell) SCHON, James Frederick and CROWTHER, Samuel. Journals of the Rev. James Frederick Schon and Mr. Samuel Crowther, Who, with the Sanction of Her Majesty's Government, Accompanied the Expedition up the Niger in 1841, in Behalf of the Church Missionary Society. London: Hatchard and Son, 1842. Octavo, original blue cloth rebacked with original spine laid down, uncut. $2200.

First edition of this account of attempts to interrupt the slave trade by striking treaties with African nations and introducing Christianity, with a double-page frontispiece map of the Rivers Niger and Tshadda. The copy of abolitionist Thomas Fowell Buxton, whose book, The African Slave-Trade and its Remedy, is mentioned in the preface.

This work chronicles William Allen's 1841 Niger Expedition from the perspective of two missionaries: James Frederick Schon and (former slave) Samuel Crowther. The pair were assigned to two of the three different steamer ships on the expedition, the S.S. Wilberforce and S.S. Soudan respectively, and thus could offer a more comprehensive view of events in the field. Initially, the Niger Expedition—organized by missionaries and abolitionists and supported by the British government—was intended to facilitate the signing of treaties about eliminating slavery, to promote trade, and to introduce Christianity. While the expedition managed to secure signed anti-slavery treaties, they failed in the majority of their objectives. Unaccustomed to African diseases, nearly a third of the 150-member expedition died and all but 20 fell seriously ill. Still, the expedition proved a lasting success in terms of diplomacy. The majority of the Nigerian chiefs the expedition met remembered their contact warmly. The many religious members of the expedition proved a welcome change from slave traders—often the only white people who had visited the local tribes. Crowther went on to become the Bishop of the Niger Region in 1864, making him the first black African bishop in the Anglican Church.
Brunet 20867. Armorial bookplate of Thomas Fowell Buxton, the prominent abolitionist. Buxton "was an active member of the African Institution, founded in 1807. In May 1821 William Wilberforce… formally asked Buxton to become his partner, and then successor, in the crusade against slavery. After some thought Buxton agreed. In 1823 the Anti-Slavery Society was established by abolitionists including William Wilberforce, Zachary Macaulay, Thomas Clarkson, Stephen Lushington, Buxton, and others. Buxton was appointed a vice-president of the society, whose publication was the Anti-Slavery Reporter. In May 1823 Buxton began the parliamentary campaign against colonial slavery by introducing a motion in the House of Commons for the gradual abolition of slavery" (DNB). Buxton, however, did not feel his life's work was complete. Instead, Buxton led efforts to suppress the slave trade in Africa. This work reflects his importance in that area. The preface mentions Buxton: "It is probable that Sir T.F. Buxton's important work 'The African Slave-Trade and its Remedy' contributed to fix the attention of the Government strongly on the subject." The preface also ends with an extract from the same work, a clear reflection of Buxton's influence and importance. Pencil owner signatures.

A few minor smudges and dampstains mainly to margins, wear to original cloth. A very good copy with a fascinating association.

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