The Life and Letters of Philip Quaque, the First African Anglican Missionary
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The Life and Letters of Philip Quaque, the First African Anglican Missionary

Title Details

Pages: 240

Illustrations: 3 b&w photos

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 06/01/2012

ISBN: 9-780-8203-4309-9

List Price: $29.95

The Life and Letters of Philip Quaque, the First African Anglican Missionary

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  • Reviews

This is the first edition of the correspondence of Philip Quaque, a prolific writer of African descent whose letters provide a unique perspective on the effects of the slave trade and its abolition in Africa.

Born around 1740 at Cape Coast, in what is now Ghana, Quaque was brought to England by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In 1765 he became the first African ordained as an Anglican priest. He returned to Africa and served for fifty years as the society’s missionary and also as chaplain to the Company of Merchants Trading to Africa (CMTA) at Cape Coast Castle, the principal slave-trading site of the CMTA.

Quaque sent more than fifty letters to London and North America reporting on his successes and failures, his relationships with European and African authorities, and his observations on the effects of the American and French revolutions on Africa. The regular references to his African mission in popular magazines made Quaque well known in the English-speaking world. Initially writing when the transatlantic slave trade went largely unquestioned, Quaque in his later letters traces the period of abolitionist fervor leading up to the ban in 1808. Although his employers supported and facilitated slavery, Quaque’s letters reveal his evolving opposition to both slavery and the slave trade, particularly in his correspondence with early abolitionists.

Quaque’s life offers a fascinating perspective on transatlantic identity, missionary activity, precolonial European involvement in Africa, the early abolition movement, and Cape Coast society.

The publication of Philip Quaque’s correspondence is a major contribution to the growing literature on the writing of the African Diaspora—until recently thought to be a contradiction in terms. Carretta and Reese are model scholars in the field, digging deep to illuminate the cross-cultural currents not only of trade but also of religion and literacy, and how each buoyed yet challenged transatlantic slavery.

—Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University

The editors have done an extraordinary and important job of introducing Philip Quaque’s voice to a new generation of readers. They have set the bar very high for others preparing editions of the correspondence and writings of Quaque’s contemporaries in this period of fertile circum-Atlantic exchange.

International Bulletin of Missionary Research

About the Author/Editor

VINCENT CARRETTA is professor emeritus of English at the University of Maryland. He is the author or editor of more than ten books, including scholarly editions of the writings of Olaudah Equiano, Phillis Wheatley Peters, Ignatius Sancho, and Ottobah Cugoano. His books include Phillis Wheatley Peters: Biography of a Genius in Bondage and The Life and Letters of Philip Quaque, the First African Anglican Missionary, coedited with Ty M. Reese (both Georgia). He lives in Springfield, Virginia.