Thomas Fowell Buxton
The Niger Expedition was set up in 1841 to establish trade links with the Africans.The Expedition was not successful due to illness and the high loss of live of those travelling with the Expedition.
"THE EFFECTUAL FERVENT PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN AVAILETH MUCH" James v.16.
In the very interesting and able address, published by the Rev. JAMES HALDANE STEWART, inviting the Christian community to united prayer in 1st January, 1841, a prominent place is given to the subject of the great enterprise which has lately been undertaken for THE EXTINCTION OF THE SLAVE TRADE, AND FOR THE CIVILIZATION OF AFRICA.
The whole of that Address must meet with the warmest concurrence of every Christian; but though several impressive appeals have been made on the subject, and extensively responded to, yet there is still space for further attempts to explain the views of those who organised the projected undertakings, and to arouse the feelings of the public.
We have now heard of the horrors of the Slave Trade from our own infancy, and have, perhaps, been ready to turn from the subject in disgust and despair. This would, however, be unworthy of the philanthropist and still more of the Christian.
Realise for a moment, to your own mind, the condition of Africa - her state of insecurity, alarm and desolation. Picture to yourself the systematic capture and sale of her inhabitants, to the awful daily average of one thousand human beings. Imagine the untold horrors of the middle passage - the shelves of human beings, with their heads pressed between their knees for want o space either to sit up straight or to lie at length - the stench - the thirst - the groans of the dying - the weak cries of the tortured children - the scene of almost unmingled misery and despair! Examine the facts, - the bare dry statistics of this case, - all that is asked is a cold, calculating, criticizing investigation. Alas! not one title of the awful catalogue of wrongs and sufferings can be disproved!
The Niger Expedition is an effort - another noble effort - made by the Government of our country for the cure of this evil. It is the fixed conviction of men of the greatest knowledge and experience on this subject, that having hitherto failed in our efforts to put down the Slave Trade by Force, we must try another method; and as we cannot coerce the Europeans, who are the gainers by the dreadful traffic, we must seek to influence the Africans, who are the losers by it, to its abandonment. The Niger Expedition is, therefore, sent forth to form treaties with the Native Princes - to enlighten their minds upon the impolicy, as well as the wickedness of their present course, and thus to pave the way for the introduction of Agriculture, Commerce, and above all - far above all - of Christianity into those desolate regions.
The Expedition is to consist of three iron steam vessels: the ALBERT, the WILBERFORCE, and the SOUDAN. They carry with them Surgeons and Men of Science, Botanists, Surveyors, Geographers, Geologists, and Agriculturists. They are provided with seeds, implements, medicines, and presents furnished from private as well as public sources.
One of the main objects of the Expedition, in the minds of its principal promoters, will be to prepare the way for the entrance of Christian Teachers, who will, it is trusted, be poured into Africa from many sections of the Church of Christ; above all, from that people so providentially preparing for this work, - the emancipated Negroes of our West Indian Colonies.
For an original version of this document - see attachment below
Source: With kind permission of Norfolk Record
Ref: UPC 235