This is the most important journal by a slave turned Christian missionary. The author has compiled diaries and letters of James Thomas, a Church of England native missionary to Nigeria's Niger-Benue Confluence area (or Upper Niger River). Transcribed are the letters and diaries from original archival sources and they are here provided with an introduction and annotations. As primary source documents they detail the career of James Thomas and his colleagues at their mission posts during about two decades of service. They also provide information on the introduction of missionary Christianity to interior Nigeria. Some of the prospects and challenges that the missionary Christianization program faced in mid-nineteenth century Niger-Benue Confluence area of Nigeria are documented. These letters and diaries open a revealing window onto the economic, political, cultural and social developments ongoing in the immediate vicinity and in the larger region of the Niger-Benue confluence area during the second half of the 19th century. There are glimpses into the gradual process of the project of modernization to this part of Nigeria.
James Thomas' documents highlight the local and regional contexts of wars, displacement, and enslavement that various communities of Niger-Benue confluence area witnessed at this time. It shows how these processes were linked to the wider global currents that swept across both the Atlantic and the Sahara.