Jamieson, Robert (d.1861) (DNB00)

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JAMIESON, ROBERT (d. 1861), philanthropist, was a successful London merchant, who sought to civilise Africa by opening up its great rivers to navigation and commerce. His schooner, the Warree, went to the Niger in 1838. In 1839 he equipped at his own expense the Ethiope, whose commander, Captain Beecroft, explored under his directions several West African rivers to higher points in some instances than had then been reached. Narratives of these explorations were published by Jamieson and others in the ‘Journal of the Royal Geographical Society’ (cf. Journal, 1838, pp. 184, &c.). When the Melbourne ministry, in 1841, resolved to send the African Colonisation Expedition to the Niger, Jamieson denounced the scheme in two ‘Appeals to the Government and People of Great Britain.’ The expedition broke up, through disease and disaster, in September 1841, and on 25 Oct. most of the surviving colonists were rescued by the Ethiope. Jamieson pointed out the fulfilment of his prophecies in a ‘Sequel to two Appeals,’ &c., London, 1843, 8vo. In 1859 he published ‘Commerce with Africa,’ emphasising the insufficiency of treaties for the suppression of the African slave trade, and urging the use of the land route from Cross River to the Niger, to avoid the swamps of the Delta. In 1840 he was offered, but declined, a vice-presidency of the Institut d'Afrique of France. He died in London on 5 April 1861.

[Gent. Mag. 1861, i. 588; Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, 1860–1, p. 160.]

J. T-t.