Consul of John Beecroft's Journal of his Mission to Dahomey, 1850' features diary entries made by John Beecroft whilst he was British Consul in West Africa. His diplomatic mission to the kingdom of Dahomey (in what is today the Republic of Benin) in 1850 was part of the British government's efforts to suppress the trans-Atlantic slave trade. He sought (unsuccessfully) to persuade the Dahomian king, Gezo, to accept a treaty to ban the export of slaves from his dominions. 0This journal is a valuable source, not only for the history of British policy towards the slave trade, but also for the history of Dahomey, which was one of the most important indigenous states in coastal West Africa in the nineteenth century. This edition includes additional documents relating to the mission, including the journal of Beecroft's co-envoy, the naval officer Lieutenant F.E. Forbes. Comparison between Beecroft's and Forbes's accounts reveals numerous discrepancies, which raise important methodological issues, relating to the evaluation of such European reportage of African societies.0The edition includes an editorial introduction and extensive annotation, which supplies the contextualization necessary for full understanding of the text, including cross-referencing to and comparison with other contemporary accounts of Dahomey and its dealings with the British.
Oxford University Press,
Fontes historiae Africanae