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The Ashanti Question and the British: Eighteenth-Century Origins

Abstract

One of the major developments in West Africa since the later seventeenth century has been the emergence of the powerful inland Empire of Ashanti and its gradual expansion towards the coast. This process ultimately brought the Ashantis into contact with the Fantes, the conquest of whom was necessary if the Empire was to extend to the sea. Their relationship, therefore, forms a central theme in the history of the Gold Coast in modern times. But problems were created by it which extended far outside the bounds of native politics. The existence on the coast of European trading settlements in close rivalry with each other meant that any serious local upheaval was bound to have wide repercussions. For economic reasons, Europeans could not remain indifferent to changes in the balance of power which would affect trade routes from the interior to the forts and, in particular, the future of the Fante states whose people, by the eighteenth century, had long acted as middlemen in the slave trade.

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1 Ward W. E. F., A History of the Gold Coast (second impression, London, 1952), 82.

2 In 1750, the Royal African Company was replaced by the Company of Merchants trading to Africa which, unlike its predecessor, was not a corporate trading body but an organization whose function it was to administer the British forts and settlements on the west coast. For this purpose, it received an annual parliamentary grant. The African trade was thrown open to all British subjects by Act of Parliament in 1750; upon payment of a fee of 40S. they became freemen of the Company of Merchants. The records of this Company (T.70 class in the Public Record Office, London) have been used extensively for the present article.For an account of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa and an analysis of the records, see Martin E. C., The British West African Settlements 1750–1821 (London, 1927), and an article by the same author, ‘The English Establishments on the Gold Coast in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century’ in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, fourth series, v (1922), 167–89.Jenkinson H., ‘The Records of the English African Companies’ in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, third series, VI (1912), 185220 is also relevant.

3 Meredith H., An Account of the Gold Coast of Africa (London, 1812), 132–63;Claridge W. W., A History of the Gold Coast and Ashanti (London, 1915), I, 237–53;Ward, op. Cit. 140–50.

4 For the relations between British, Ashanti and Fante in the nineteenth century, see among other works Claridge, op. cit. I and II; Ellis A. B., A History of the Gold Coast (London, 1893);Ward, op. cit. particularly 155–7;Bourret F. M., The Gold Coast (second edition, London, 1952), 1617. It should be noted that while offering protection to the Fantes in 1807, the officers of the British Company on the coast were aware of the importance of keeping on good terms with the Ashantis, if possible; Governor George Torrane, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 20 July 1807 T.70/35, ff. 66–67;Meredith, op. cit. 153–4 and n. 83 below.

5 Claridge, op. cit. I, 242–3;Ward, op. cit. 142–5 and 155.

6 Both Claridge and Ellis deal much more fully with the nineteenth century than with the eighteenth; the former devotes three chapters only of vol. I to ‘The Rise of Ashanti, 1700–1803’ (Claridge, op. cit. I, 181–234) and the latter also has three chapters on the eighteenth century (Ellis, op. cit. 74–106).See also Bowdich T. E., Mission from Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee (London, 1819), part II, 228–50;Dupuis J., Journal of a Residence in Ashantee (London, 1824), part I, 224–64;Cruickshank B., Eighteen Years on the Gold Coast of Africa (London, 1853), 4061;Ward, op. cit. 107–19 and 130–54. There are many similarities between these accounts which give only a generalized picture of Ashanti history in the eighteenth century, based in the main on oral tradition rather than written records.

7 Cruickshank, op. cit. 53–54 and 57. By ‘direct intercourse’ Cruickshank meant that there was an exchange of messages between the Governor of Cape Coast Castle and the King of Ashanti. For the 1792 episode, see Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, 3 May and 29 Dec. 1792, T.70/153, f. 204 and ff. 231–2.

8 Ellis, op. cit. 100–1 and 104;Claridge, op. cit. I, 213;Fuller F., A Vanished Dynasty (London, 1921), 3536;Martin, op. cit. 54 and 151;Ward, op. cit. 132 and 140.

9 The development of Fante as the most powerful of the coastal states, like the expansion of Ashanti in the interior, is one of the prominent features of Gold Coast history in the eighteenth century. Small and extremely disunited at the beginning of the century, by the later part Fante had extended its influence over a coastal strip stretching eastwards from the Sweet river near Elmina to Beraku, a distance of about 60 miles. Politically, Fante was a federation of semi-independent states; its nominal head by the end of the century was the King of Abora, a state which lay a small distance inland from the coast. In 1752, the British had described Abora as the first town in Fante for greatness and at least twice as big as Anomabu; it was on one of the routes leading from Ashanti to the coast and it was here that the Ashantis defeated the Fante army in the invasion of 1807. In addition to Abora, Mankesim, Anomabu and Efutu (the latter under Fante influence by the later eighteenth century) also occupied very important positions in the Fante federation and had to be consulted on major issues. This fact is clearly illustrated by the British and Dutch attempts at mediation between the Ashantis and Fantes which began in 1765; messengers and presents were sent to the leading people in these places; Governor Thomas Melvil, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 20 Aug. 1752, Board of Trade and Plantations, Original Correspondence, C.O. 388/45, Dd 151 (Public Record Office, London); Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 10 Jan. 1764, T. 70/35, f.Bosman W., A New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea (second edition, London, 1725), 4852;Meredith, op. cit. 95–96, 111–12 and 115;Ellis, op. cit. 108–9;Claridge, op. Cit. I, 229;Ward, op. cit. 136 and 544; see also p. 52 below.

10 See Davies K. G., The Royal African Company (London, 1957), 116 and 264–90 for a very good account of European rivalries in West Africa and their interaction with native politics in the time of the Royal African Company, the predecessor of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa.

11 Ward, op. cit. 135–6;Davies, op. cit. 225–8, 288–9 and Appendix 1, 350–7.

12 Bleau Robert, Cape Coast Castle to the Royal African Company, 25 Feb. 1715, T. 70/6, f. 9; Papers Relating to the Commerce of Africa, Egerton MSS. 1162 A, f. 8 and ff. 29–30 (British Museum); Egerton MSS. 1162 B, ff. 85–93;Hippisley J., ‘On the Necessity of Erecting a Fort at Cape Appolonia’ in Essays (London, 1764), 5254;Wyndham H. A., The Atlantic and Slavery (London, 1935), 32;Davies, op. cit. 288–9.

13 See Dupuis, op. cit. part II, xxvii for a description of the Wassaw road from Kumasi to the coast, one branch of which led to Elmina, Kommenda and Shama and the other to Cape Three Points and the European establishments farther west.Bowdich, op. cit. 162 and 168, also refers to it as one of the three great paths between Kumasi and the coast.

14 Egerton MSS. 1162 B, f. 103; extract of a letter from the Chiefs of Cape Coast Castle to Captain Pocock, Commander of H.M.S. Sutherland, 27 Nov. 1745, Board of Trade and Plantations, Original Correspondence, C.O. 388/44, Cc 21; Governor Nassau Senior, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 6 Aug. 1758, T. 70/30, f. 261;Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 15 Oct. 1760,Ibid.. f. 377; Director-General J. P. T. Huydecooper, Elmina to the Assembly of the X, Amsterdam, 15 Oct. 1764, Letters and Papers from the Coast of Guinea, 1761–4, W.I.C. I I 5 (Archives of the second Dutch West India Company in the State Archives, The Hague); Hippisley, op. cit. 52–53. The records of the second Dutch West India Company, like those of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa are a valuable source of information for affairs on the coast in the eighteenth century. In the case of the Dutch records, the author has used the large collection of notes and transcripts made by the late Mr J. T. Furley during many years of research in European archives. His papers are now in the Library of the University College of Ghana.

15 Governor Thomas Melvil, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, II June 1752, C.O. 388/45, Dd 115 Governor Nassau Senior, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 3 Feb. 1760, T. 70/30, ff. 335–6. The British described the Wassaws as one of the most powerful and warlike nations on or near the coast in the middle of the century; Egerton MSS. 1162 B, f. 9.

16 Governor Thomas Melvil to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 23 July 1751, C.O. 388/45, Dd 6; Hippisley, op. cit. 53–54.

17 Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 10 Jan. 1764, T.70/31, f. 43; Hippisley, op. cit. 55–56. The fort at Prampram, near Accra, was built by the Royal African Company about 1742, soon after the King of Wassaw and his allies had stopped the ways.Dupuis, op. cit. part II, xxvii and xxxi–xxxii and Bowdich, op. cit. 162–4 both describe the route from Kumasi to Accra.

18 Governor Thomas Melvil, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 7 Aug. 1754, T.70/30, f. 66; Director-General Erasmi D. P., Elmina to the Assembly of the X, 22 March 1761, W.I.C. 115;Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., Elmina to the same, 15 Oct. 1764, Ibid.; Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 21 Jan. 1765, T.70/31, f. 114; Egerton MSS. 1162 B, f. 103Hippisley, op. cit. 55.

19 Director-General Erasmi D. P., Elmina to the Assembly of the X, 22 March 1761, W.I.C. 115;Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants to Africa, 21 Jan. 1765, T.70/31, f. 114. Akim was a constant source of trouble to the Ashantis in the eighteenth century and rebelled against their overlordship on every possible occasion;Claridge, op. cit. I, 198–9, 209 and 212;Ward, op. cit. 132.

20 Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., Elmina to the Assembly of the X, 15 Oct. 1764, W.I.C. 115.

21 See 9 above.

22 Governor Thomas Melvil, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 11 March 1753, T.70/30, f. 7 and ff. 11–12; Governor Nassau Senior to the same, 55 June 1758, Ibid.. f. 245; Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to Governor Nassau Senior and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 1 Jan. 1759, T.70/29, f. 155; Governor Charles Bell, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 5 June 1765, T.70/30, f. 407; Matson J. N., ‘The French at Amoku’ in Transactions of the Gold Coast and Togoland Historical Society, 1, part II (Achimota, 1953), 49.

23 Governor Nassau Senior, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 25 Sept. 1759 and 3 Feb. 5760, T.70/30, f. 322 and f. 335;Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 15 Oct. 1760, Ibid.. f. 77; Director-General Erasmi D. P., Elmina to the Assembly of the X, 22 March 1761, W.I.C. 115.

24 Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., Elmina to the Assembly of the X, 15 Oct. 1764, W. I. C. 115.

25 Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 21 Jan. 1765, T.70/31, ff. 114–55.

26 Most historians of the Gold Coast date Osei Kojo's reign from 1752–81, following Dupuis, although Reindorf gives 1770–81. The actual dates were 1764–77, according to the evidence of the British and Dutch Companies' records. On 21 Jan. 1765, the Governor of Cape Coast Castle reported to the Committee of the Company of Merchants that Kusi had been succeeded by Osei Kojo (‘Sey Coomah’) in the previous year; on 19 Jan. 1778 the news of his death was similarly reported; it is likely, of course, that Osei Kojo died towards the end of 1777 since it would take time for the news to reach the coast; Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., Elmina to the Assembly of the X, 15 Oct. 1764, W.I.C. 115 Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 21 Jan. 1765, T.70/31, f. 114; Governor Richard Miles, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 19 Jan. 5778, T. 70/32, f. 73;Dupuis, op. cit. 241–4;Ellis, op. cit. 99–100;Claridge, op cit. II, Appendix D, 500;Reindorf C. C., The History of the Gold Coast and Asante (second edition, Basel, 1951), Appendix D;Ward, op. cit. 369;Priestley M. and Wilks I., ‘The Ashanti Kings in the Eighteenth Century: a Revised Chronology’ in Journal of African History, I, no. 1 (1960), 9496.

27 Erasmi Fiscal D. P., Elmina to the Presidial Chamber, Zeeland, 3 Aug. 1760, W.I.C. 115; Director-General J. P. T. Huydecooper, Elmina to the Assembly of the X, 15 Oct. 1764, Ibid.. There are also indications in printed works that Kusi was not a very effective ruler; Cruickshank says he had difficulty in keeping the conquered states under subjection without attempting any further expansion and Fuller describes him as ‘anelderly mediocrity, who left the business of governance to his chiefs and advisers’; his reign came to an end in 5764, not in 5752 as usually stated; Cruickshank, op. cit. 52;Fuller, op. cit. 31 and 26 above.

28 Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., Elmina to the Assembly of the X, 15 Oct. 1764, W.I.C. 115; the same to the same, 8 March. 1765, Ibid.., 116; John Hippisley and Gilbert Petrie, Accra to Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle, 1 Oct. 1765, Board of Trade and Plantations, Original Correspondence, C.O. 388/53, LI 55; Governor John Hippisley, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 20 March and 13 July 1766, T.70/31, f. 177, f. 199 and ff. 205–2; Bowdich, op. cit. 237. The authors of Gold Coast histories refer to Osei Kojo's reign as a time of considerable activity on the part of Ashanti; for example, Bowdich and Claridge mention his victories over a number of dependent provinces, including Wassaw and Akim, which were in revolt and Ellis says that European trade was greatly interrupted during his reign because he kept the Fantes in a state of continual alarm by invasion threats;Bowdich, op. cit. 236–7;Ellis, op. cit. 101;Claridge, op. cit. I, 212–13;Fuller, op. cit. 33–36.

29 Governor Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 25 April and 20 July 1765, T. 70/31, f. 131 and f. 134; Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, 10 July 1765, Ibid.. ff. 137–8; Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entry dated 25 June, W.I.C. 966;Donnan E., Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade to America (Washington, 19301935), II, 526–8. The records of the British and Dutch Companies enable a very full picture to be constructed of the day-to-day events of this period. Particularly useful are the Elmina Journals, the letters from the Governor of Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants in London and the Cape Coast Castle Day Books. The latter give details of daily expenditure at the fort; for example, there is an entry on 28 June 1765 for subsistence paid to three messengers from Fante who came to inform the Governor that the Ashantis had attacked the Fantes. Valuable information is thus supplied about events on the coast; Cape Coast Castle Day Books, 1765, T.70/1022.

30 Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entries dated 25 June and 22 July and Kormantine Correspondence, entries dated 30 June and 4 July, W.I.C. 966; Cape Coast Castle Day Books, 1765, entry dated 18 June, T.70/1022;Donnan, op. cit. II, 527–8. The hostage whom Osei Kojo gave to the Fantes, described in contemporary records as his ‘brother’ or ‘cousin’ was the source of considerable trouble between the Ashantis and Fantes in the period 1765–72. The latter refused for a long time to allow him to return to Ashanti; he was kept in the custody of the private British trader Richard Brew, at Anomabu. Brew's intervention in the Ashanti-Fante dispute caused much irritation to the officers of the British and Dutch companies at Cape Coast Castle and Elmina, see note 74 below.

31 Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entries dated 17 June, 25 June and as July, W.I.C. 966;Governor Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 20 July 1765, T.70/31, ff.134–5;Donnan, op. cit. II, 527. Both Ward and Fuller refer to Fante treachery towards Ashanti in Osei Kojo's reign;Ward, op. cit. 132;Fuller op. cit. 35.

32 Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T.. entries dated 17 June and subsequently, W.I.C. 966; Cape Coast Castle Day Books, 1765, entry dated 18 June, T.70/1022.

33 Seep. 52.

34 Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entries dated 4, 16 and 22 July, W.I.C. 966;Governor Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 20 July 1765, T.70/31, ff. 334–5.

35 Governor Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 20 July 1765, T.70/31, f. 135;Governor Hippisley John, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 20 March and 33 July 1766, Ibid.. f. 177 and f. 199.

36 Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entries dated 39, 22 and 31 July and 3 and 4 Aug.; W.I.C. 966;Governor Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 25 Oct. and 14 Dec. 1765, T.70/31, ff. 345–6 and ff. 152–3.The Twifo were the inhabitants of one of the inland states which had allied with Wassaw against Ashanti, see pp. 39–40 above.

37 Governor Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 14 Dec. 1765, T.70/31, ff. 152–3;Cape Coast Castle Day Books, 1765, entry dated 23 Nov., T.70/1022. The kingdom of Efutu had come within the Fante sphere of influence by the later eighteenth century; the British and Dutch frequently sent messengers to the town of Efutu during their negotiations with the Fantes in this period;Meredith, op. cit. 95–96 and 111–12;Bowdich, op. cit. footnote to p. 250 Cruickshank, op. cit. 43; see also above and p. 52 below.

38 Governor Hippisley John, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 20 March 1766, T.70/31, f. 177.

39 Ashanti traders appeared at Accra in 1766 in order to establish more direct contact with the European forts there, but the recurrent troubles with Akim in Osei Kojo's reign caused a further stoppage of trade on this route; Governor Gilbert Petrie, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 13 Sept. 1766, T.70/31, ff. 210–11;Governor Miles Richard, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 25 April 1777, Board of Trade Miscellanea, B.T.6/3 (P.R.O.).

40 Governor Petrie Gilbert, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 20 Aug. 1767, T.70/31, ff. 270–1.

41 Governor Petrie Gilbert, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 9 Oct. 1767, ‘I’.70/31, ff. 274–6;Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, 25 Oct. 1767, Ibid.. ff. 282–4.

42 Governor Grossle John, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 24 April 1769, T.70/31, f. 349;Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 22 June 1772, Ibid.. f. 430 and p. 55 below. In addition to the Wassaw and Akim paths from Ashanti to the coast, another major route was through Assin, leading to the forts in Fante territory; Dupuis, op. cit. part II, xxvii;Bowdich, op. cit. 162.

43 Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 22 June and 12 Aug. 1772, T.70/31, ff. 430–3;Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, 11 Aug. 1772, T.70/152, f. 14. The Committee in London was of the opinion that the 1772 troubles were connected with the fact that Osel Kojo's relative had not been handed over to the Ashantis in 1768, but had been retained as a hostage in Fante until very recently. He had been in the custody of the private British trader, Richard Brew, at Anomabu and the Committee was anxious that the Governor of Cape Coast Castle should disavow any knowledge of Brew's behaviour;Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 22 June 1772 and 6 March T.70/31, f. 430 and f. 439;Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to Governor Mill David and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 10 Dec. 1772, T.70/69, ff. 210–11.

44 Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 12 Dec. 1772, 30 Jan. and 6 March 1773, T.70/31, f. 435, f. 439 and f. 446. The Ashantis were not very successful in their attack on the Krobos, who were able to protect themselves in their hillside stronghold.

45 Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 12 July 1773, T.70/31, f. 452; the same to the same, 4 Dec. 1773 and 15 April 1775, T.70/32, f. 5 and f. 23;Governor Miles Richard, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 15 and 19 Jan. 1778, Ibid.. ff. 72–73 and 46 below.

46 The export of slaves by Britain from the Gold Coast showed a decrease during the periods of Ashanti-Fante troubles, according to the following contemporary statistics: 1762: 4087 1763: 4145 1764: 4520 1765: 2360 War between the Ashantees and Fantees 1766: 2375 1767: 4002 1768: 5781 1769: 5905 1770: 7203 1771: 5770 1772: 3275 ‘War between the Ashantees and Fantees’ 1773: 6820 1774: 8156 1775: 8108 ‘An account of the Number of Slaves Exported from the Gold Coast to H.M.'s Plantations in America since the year 1757 distinguishing each year’, Merchants' Hall, Bristol, 19 March 1777, Board of Trade Miscellanea, B.T.6/3. The same figures, without the references to an Ashanti-Fante war, are given for the period 1755 to 1768 in ‘An Annual Register of the Number of Slaves Exported from the Gold Coast of Africa’, produced in 1771 by Gilbert Petrie, late Governor of Cape Coast Castle, T.70/1263.

47 Journal of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, Jan. 1764 to Dec. 1767, 228–9 and 230–1;Ibid.. Jan. 1768 to Dec. 1775, 23–24 and 331–2; Memorial of the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, read 4 May 1768, in Letters from the African Company 1721–92, Adm. 1/3810 (P.R.O.). For the relations between the Company of Merchants trading to Africa and the government and an analysis of the records, see Martin, op. cit. and 2 above.

48 Bosman, op. cit. 69.

49 Sir Thomas Dalby, Cape Coast Castle to the Royal African Company, 22 Oct. 1708, T.70/26; the same to the same, 8 May 1709, T. 70/5, f. 57;Wyndham, op. cit. 31–32;Davies, op. cit. 288.

50 Governor Roberts John, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 24 Dec. 5780, T.70/32, f. 174;Hippisley, op. cit. 52.

51 Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to Governor Thomas Melvil and Council, Cape Coast Castle, Nov. 1752, C.O. 388/45, dd 107; the same to Governor William Mutter and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 15 Oct. 1764, T.70/69, f. 32; Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 21 Jan. 1765, T.70/31, f. 11 Governor David Mill, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 30 Dec. 1775, T.70/32, ff. 30–31;Cruickshank, op. cit. 54–55.In 1775, Governor Mill David asked the Committee to send out special presents for the Kings of Ashanti and Fante in order to facilitate the negotiations over the opening of the paths. For the King of Ashanti, his requests included a large umbrella of crimson damask with a gold fringe and a gilt elephant on top, the umbrella to spread 15 ft.; the King of Fante's umbrella was only to spread 12 ft., however, and his presents were to be of slightly inferior quality. There was a long delay in sending the gifts from Britain and in April 1777, the Governor said that when they arrived, they might possibly be kept for some future emergency, such as a threatened invasion, when presents were a necessary preliminary to negotiations with the King of Ashanti;Governor Miles Richard, Cape Cast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, a April 1777, B.T. 6/3.

52 Grosvenor Seth, Phipps James and Bleau Robert, Cape Coast Castle to the Royal African Company, 16 July 1753, T. 70/22;Governor Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 20 July 1765, T. 70/31, f. 135;Cape Coast Castle Day Books, 1765, entry dated 18 June, T. 70/1022; Ibid.. 1769, entries dated 7 Oct. and 1 Dec., T. 70/1028; Wyndham, op. cit. 32.

53 Governor Hippisley John, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 13 July 1766, T.70/31, f. 201;Governor Petrie Gilbert, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 53 Sept. 1766, Ibid.. f. 201; State and Condition of James Fort, Accra, 57 April 1766, Board of Trade and Plantations, Original Correspondence, C.O. 388 /54; Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, 2 May 1780, T.70/152, f. 51;Crooks J. J., Records Relating to the Gold Coast (Dublin, 1923), 129;Claridge, op. cit. 1, 209. The rent was 160 shillings a month.

54 Meredith, writing in 1812, said that since their first contacts with Guinea, the English had not tried to develop the inland trade and would have remained ignorant of its potential advantages, but for the Ashanti invasion of 1807; Meredith, op. cit. 36–37 and 206–10. The facts of the eighteenth century certainly do not bear out this statement.

55 Extract of a letter from the Chiefs of Cape Coast Castle to Captain Pocock, Commander of H.M.S. Sutherland, 27 Nov. 1745, C.O. 388/44, Cc. 21.

56 Governor Hippisley John, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 13 July 1766, T.70/31, f. 199;Governor Petrie Gilbert, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 9 Oct. 1767, Ibid.. f. 275.

57 See Martin, op. Cit. especially 31–37.

58 See note 100 below.

59 See pp. 57ff. below.

60 See Blake J. W., Europeans in West Africa 1450–1560 (Hakluyt Society, Second Series, no. LXXXVII, 1942), II, for documents relating to early English trade with the Gold Coast.

61 Anomabu was one of the main British trading centres on the coast in the second half of the eighteenth century. Between 1753 and 1756, the Company of Merchants built a fort there to replace Charles Fort, which had been built by the Royal African Company but had fallen into disuse by the 1730's. The British were extremely anxious to prevent the French from getting a foothold in these parts after 1750. Cape Coast was in the kingdom of Efutu (Fetu), but by the later part of the century, this state was closely linked with Fante;Priestley M. A., ‘A Note on Fort William, Anomabu’ in Transactions of the Gold Coast and Togoland Historical Society, II, part I (Achimota, 1956), 4647; Matson, art. cit., ibid. I, part II (Achimota, 1953), 47–60; see also 37 above.

62 Governor Melvil Thomas, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of MerchantstradingtoAfrica, 11 Ju1y 1751, C.O. 388/45, Dd 38;Governor Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 20 July and 25 Oct. 1765, T.70/31, f. 135 and f. 145;Hippisley John and Petrie Gilbert, Accra to Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle, 1 Oct. 1765, C.O. 388/53, LI 55;Governor Hippisley John, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 13 July 1766, T.70/31, ff. 199–200;Governor Petrie Gilbert, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 31 March 1768, Ibid.. f. 294 Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 22 June 1772, Ibid.. ff. 430–1; Meredith, op. cit. 23, 27, 191 and 205.

63 Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, 10 July 1765, T.70/31, ff. 137–8;Hippisley John and Petrie Gilbert, Accra to Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle, 1 Oct. 1765, C.O. 388/53, LI 55;Governor Hippisley John, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 13 July 1766, T.70/31, f. 200;Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 22 June 1772, Ibid.. f. 431; Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, 11 Aug. 1772, T.70/152, f. 14.

64 Governor Melvil Thomas, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 26 Dec. 1753, T.70/30, f. 39;Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 6 March 1773, T. 70/31, f. 440. It should be noted that as soon as the King of Ashanti appeared near the coast in 1765, the Governor of Cape Coast Castle sent him apresent; in July 1766 a subsequent Governor stressed the importance of good relations with the Ashantis and reported to the Committee that he was treating Osei Kojo ‘in a respectful manner’ and preparing a present for him; Governor John Hippisley, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, T.70/31, ff. 200–1 and see p. 48 above.

65 No evidence whatsoever has been found to support Wyndham's statement that in 1767 the British suspected the Dutch of instigating the Fantes and there was certainly no Dutch-Fante alliance by this period, even though such an alliance may have existed at the beginning of the century; Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, 25 Oct. 1767, T.70/13, f. 282; Ellis, op. cit. 101; Wyndham, op. cit. 32; Davies, op. cit. 283 and 288–9 and see 66 below.

66 Governor Hippisley John, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 13 July 1766, T.70/31, ff. 199–201;Governor Petrie Gilbert, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 21 Oct. 1768, Ibid.. f. 313; Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 22 June 1772, Ibid.. f. 431.

67 Donnan, op. cit. II, 527.

68 Governor Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 20 July 1765, T.70/31, f. 136; Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, 10 July 1765, Ibid.. ff. 137–8; Cape Coast Castle Day Books, 1765, entries dated 7 July and subsequently relating to payments made to Mr. Huydecooper's servants, T.70/1022; Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entries dated 7 July and subsequently, W.I.C. 966 and see pp. 43–44 above.

69 Cape Coast Castle Day Books, 1765, entry dated 8 July, T.70/1022; Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entry dated 8 July, W.I.C. 966.

70 Cape Coast Castle Day Books, 1765, entry dated 21 July, T.70/1022; Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entry dated 22 July, W.I.C. 966.

71 The Elmina Journals and Correspondence with the Outforts and the Cape Coast Castle Day Books make it possible to reconstruct a full picture of the comings and goings of the Companies' messengers during this period. The important Fante town of Mankesim was called ‘Murram’ by the British and ‘Grande Terre’ by the Dutch; Meredith, op. cit. 109; see also and 29 above.

72 Cape Coast Castle Day Books, 1765, entry dated 27 July, T.70/1022; Ibid.. 1766, entries dated 2 Oct. and 27 Dec., T.7/1024.

73 Governor Mutter's William Comments on Richard Brew and William Webster's letter, dated Anomabu, 14 Sept. 1765 and on John Hippisley and Gilbert Petrie's letter, dated Accra, 1 Oct. 1765, C.O. 388/53, Ll 55;Governor Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 14 Dec. 1765, T.70/31, ff. 153–4;Governor Petrie Gilbert, Cape Coast Castle to the same, 20 Oct. 1766, Ibid.. f. 225. There seems little doubt that the native states often prolonged their ‘crises’ in order to improve their bargaining position with Europeans, whose trade was dependent on local goodwill.

74 There are many references in the British and Dutch records to the activities of Richard Brew. In August 1765 he tried to get the Dutch to hand over an Ashanti herald whom they had redeemed from a French slaving ship at Mon and whom Brew claimed was his property. This herald was one of the Ashantis whose return Osei Kojo had demanded in July 1765 as an essential condition of peace with Fante—hence Brew's intervention. The Dutch refused to comply with Brew's demand, whereupon he and his partner at Ariomabu seized and put in chains one of Mr Huydecooper's messengers on his way back to Elmina from Mankesim, where he had been sent in connexion with the Anglo-Dutch peace negotiations. The Dutch protested vigorously to the Governor of Cape Coast Castle and the matter was eventually referred to the Board of Trade by the Committee of the Company of Merchants in London; see the correspondence relating to this matter from 16 Aug. to 25 Oct. 1765, C.O. 388/53, Ll 52 and Ll 55; Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entries during August, W.I.C. 966; Journal of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, Jan. 1764 to Dec. 1767, 278–9;Priestley M. A., ‘Richard Brew: an Eighteenth Century Trader at Anomabu’ in Transactions of the Historical Society of Chana, IV, part, (Legon, 1959), 2946.

75 Hippisley John and Petrie Gilbert, Accra to Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle, 1 Oct. 1765 and Mutter's comments on this letter, C.O. 388/53 LI 55.

76 Brew Richard and Webster William, Anomabu to Governor William Mutter, Cape Coast Castle, 26 Aug. 1765, C.O. 388/S3, LI 55.

77 Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., Elmina to the Assembly of the X, 15 Oct. 1764, W.I.C. 115;Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entries dated 24 and 25 June, W.I.C. 966.

78 Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entries dated 8 and 2 July, W.I.C. 966.

79 Governor Mutter William, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 25 Oct. and, 4 Dec. 1765, T.70/31, ff. 145–6 and f. 153;Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, 1765, Director-General Huydecooper J. P. T., entries dated 19, 22 and 31 July, 3 and 4 Aug. and Sept., W.I.C. 966; see also pp. 44–45 above.

80 It is interesting to note that an entry dated 12 April in the Cape Coast Castle Day Books for 1768 records the payment of 30s. a month to the Company's envoy to the King of Ashanti, during the negotiations for peace between him and the Fantes carried on under the mediation of the Governor from 1 Dec. 1766 to 31 Jan. 1768, T.70/p1026.

81 Governor Hippisley John, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 25 April 1766, T. 70/31, ff. 183–4 and see p. 53 above. The Cape Coast Castle Day Books for 1766 contain many entries of subsistence paid to Ashanti and Fante messengers and gifts to Ashantis and Fantes during this year, see T.70/1024.

82 Governor Hippisley John, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 13 July 1766, T.70/31, ff. 201–2.

83 Governor Hippisley John, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 13 July 1766, T.70/31, ff. 200–1. In 1807, Colonel Torrane was anxious to assure the King of Ashanti of his regard for him and was well aware of the commercial advantages to be gained by intercourse with Ashanti, which he said the Fantes had always obstructed;Governor Torrane George, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 20 July 1807, T.70/35, ff. 66–67;Meredith, op. cit. 153–4. See also pp. 47–48 above.

84 See p. 49 above.

85 Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, 25 Oct. 1767, T.70/31, ff. 282–4.

86 Osei Kojo's relative was not in fact returned by the Fantes; he remained in the custody of Richard Brew at Anomabu; by 1772 he had been released, however, see 43 above.

87 Governor Petrie Gilbert, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 31 March, 27 Aug. and 21 Oct. 1768, T.70/31, f. 294, ff. 308–9, ff. 311–15 and f. 324. Petrie had decided not to continue with his mediation policy as it seemed to bring no results, but in a letter of 6 April 1768, the Committee of the Company of Merchants instructed him to persist in order to prevent the Dutch from getting the sole merit as peacemakers. Much to his annoyance, however, Petrie was unable to prevent Richard Brew from taking some part in the affair; both of them sent many presents to the Fantes during this year; Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to Governor Gilbert Petrie and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 6 April 1768, T.70/69, f. 125; Cape Coast Castle Day Books, 1768, T.70/1026.

88 See p. 46 above.

89 Elmina Journal and Correspondence with the Outforts, July to Dec. 1772, Director-General P. Woortman's Correspondence with Cape Coast Castle, entries dated 28 and 30 July, W.I.C. 976.

90 Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 6 March 1773, T,70/31, f. 443.81 Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, ix Aug. 1772, T.70/152, f. 14; Crooks, op. cit. 37.

92 Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 22 June and 12 Aug. 1772 and 6March 1773, T.70/31, ff. 431–3 and f. 439.

93 See p. 49 above.

94 Journal of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, Jan. 1764 to Dec. 1767, 228–9 and 230–1.

95 Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to Governor Mutter William and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 29 Oct. 1765, T.70/69, f. 58;the same to Governor Petrie Gilbert and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 17 Nov. 1767, Ibid.. f. III. One of the Committee's major considerations, of course, was that expenses should be kept as low as possible, since it was dependent upon a limited parliamentary grant for the upkeep of the forts; Martin, op. cit. 54–55.

96 Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to Governor Hippisley John and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 3 Sept 1766, T. 70/69, f. 80.

97 Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to Governor Petrie Gilbert and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 17 Nov. 1767, T.70/69, ff. 110–11.

98 Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to Governor Hippisley John and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 3 Sept. 1766, T.70/69, ff. 80–81.

99 Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to Governor Mill David and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 10 Dec. 1772, T.70/69, ff. 210–13 see; also 43 above.

100 Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 12 Aug. 1772, T.70/31, ff. 432–3;Minutes of the Council at Cape Coast Castle, 11 Aug. 1772, T.70/152, f. 14. This episode illustrates the delays in correspondence between London and Cape Coast Castle. David Mill's letter of 22 June 1772 reporting further unrest on the coast was received by the Committee between 2 and 10 December of that year. The Committee sent its instructions for a policy of neutrality and mediation on so December and then received Mill's letter of 12 Aug. with the news of the Council's resolution; Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to Governor David Mill and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 10 Dec. 1772 and 19 April 1773, T.70/69, ff. 210–13 and f. 214.

101 Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa to Governor Mill David and Council, Cape Coast Castle, 1 April and 10 Dec 1773, T.70/69, f. 214 and f. 218;Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 12 Dec. 1772 and 6 Mar. 1773, T.70/31, f. 435 and f. 439;Journal of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, Jan. 1768 to Dec. 1773, 331–2; see also p. 46 above.

102 Governor Mill David, Cape Coast Castle to the Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, 22 June 1772, T.70/31, ff. 1–2.

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