A pilgrimage to my motherland. An account of a journey among the Egbas and Yorubas of Central Africa. In 1859-60.

Published: New York, Thomas Hamilton; Philadelphia, By the Author, 1861.


8vo (18 x 12 cm), pp. 145, with a small double-page map mounted on the reverse of the front free endpaper, with a lithograph frontispiece of the author; recent half calf, marbled boards, gilt-lettered maroon leather labels. £2000 First edition (a London edition also appeared in the same year). Robert Campbell [1829-84] was a Jamaican-born printer, journalist and teacher who, along with Martin Robison Delany [1812-85], made up the Niger Valley Exploring Party of 1859-60, an expedition organized by free African Americans to explore the possibility of colonizing parts of West Africa with black immigrants from North America. Campbell initially travelled to England in early 1859. He then sailed from Liverpool to Lagos and then travelled northwest to Abeokuta, where he met up with Delany, a journalist, political activist and graduate of Harvard Medical School. Acting in their capacity as commissioners of the Niger Valley Exploring Party, the pair concluded a treaty with the king and chiefs of the Egba, giving them the right to establish settlements within Egba territory. A Pilgrimage to my Motherland is Campbell’s account of the expedition, and includes descriptions of Abeokuta, ethnographic material, and the text of the treaty he and Delany negotiated. The treaty ran into political resistance among the Egba and was never implemented, but Campbell himself did settle in Africa. With his wife and four children, he settled in Lagos in 1862, where he founded and published a newspaper, The Anglo-African, and was involved in numerous commercial, civic, and scientific ventures that contributed to the early development of Lagos.


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