British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

and under what circumstances, white men may travel with safety, especially in a northerly direction. They should collect the most accurate information possible of the extent, population, and resources of the Ashantee dominions, and should report fully their opinion of the inhabitants, and of the progress they may have made in the arts of civilized life. They should be directed also, to procure and bring away (with the consent of the chiefs) any specimens of vegetable and mineral productions they may be able: and to ascertain where and how the natives collect the gold, and the extent to which the trade in that article, and in ivory, might be carried on. It would, we conceive, be a most important advantage, if the King of Ashantee, and some of his chiefs, could be prevailed upon to send one or more of their children to the Cape, to be educated at the expense of the Committee (to be attended by their own servants, if required), under the guarantee of the Governor and Council for their personal safety, and that they should be sent back when required.

Another great object would be, to prevail upon the King to form, and keep open, a path not less than six feet wide, from his capital, as far as his territories extend towards Cape Coast; you engaging on the part of the Committee, to continue it from that point to Cape Coast, which we presume may be done at a very small expense, by means of monthly allowances to the chiefs of such villages as be in that line: upon condition that they shall not allow the path to be overgrown with underwood, or otherwise obstructed.

It may perhaps be found, that high mountains, or a large river, may be not many days journey beyond Ashantee; in which case, if the gentlemen composing the Embassy feel themselves secure in the attempt, they may probably be disposed to proceed so far. . . .

The Gentlemen whom you may select will of course be well advised by you not to interfere with any customs of the natives, however absurd; or in any way to give them offence. And they cannot too strongly impress upon the minds of the King and people of Ashantee, that the only objects his Britannic Majesty has in view, are, to extend the trade with that country; to prevent all interruption to their free communications with the waterside; and to instruct their children in reading, writing, etc. from which, as may be easily pointed out, the greatest advantages must arise to the Ashantees.


10
REPORT FROM A SELECT COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 25 June 18171

. . . The witnesses2 who have represented the probability of such increase [of trade with the Gold Coast], have given that opinion upon

____________________
1
Parl. Papers, 1817 (431), vol. vi, pp. 6-9. J. H. Smyth was the Chairman.
2
Most notably Simon Cock, Secretary to the African Committee.

-491-

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