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Papers of Sir John Hawley Glover

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 131

Scope and Contents

This collection is composed of archives relating to Glover’s government of Lagos and the Volta campaign during the Second Anglo-Asante War.


  • Creation: 1861 - 1927


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

John Hawley Glover (1829-1885) entered the Royal Navy in 1841, and served off the coast of West Africa and in the East Indies. He was wounding during fighting in the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1853. In 1857, he participated in Dr William Balfour Baikie’s second ascent of the River Niger as surveyor. After the expedition’s steamer ‘Dayspring’ was wrecked near Jebba in October, Glover trekked overland to Lagos three times to ensure the safe return of the party. While at Lagos he surveyed its lagoons. He returned to West Africa in 1861 and surveyed the Gold Coast. Britain had annexed Lagos in 1861 and Glover left active naval service to join its new colonial admiration, becoming Secretary in 1864 and then Administrator from 1866 to 1872.

Lagos’s survival and development depended upon trade with the interior. Glover strove to extend it, encouraging peace among the neighbouring Yoruba states, which would foster its expansion. Glover’s policy towards neighbouring African powers was informed by his distrust of the Egba. He acted to enlarge the colony’s territory and to increase Britain’s regional influence. Glover prevented the French from expanding their protectorate at Porto Novo during 1863-64. In 1865, he mobilised a military force and defeated the Egba, who had threatened the port of Ikorodu, a conduit for trade with Ibadan. The Hausa armed police Glover had established contributed to the success of the campaign. Glover encouraged the work of Christian missionaries and sought to end the slave trade.

Glover often acted upon his own initiative and pursued policies which were at odds with the Colonial Office. These tensions came to a head in 1872, when he clashed with the new Governor-in-Chief of West Africa, John Pope Hennessy. Hennessy sent Glover home in June. Although this was done without authority, the Colonial Secretary, the Earl of Kimberley, did not reinstate Glover. In 1873, however, Glover returned to West Africa as a result of the Asante invasion of the Gold Coast. He offered to mount an expedition to threaten the Asante flank and rear in the Volta region and was appointed Special Commissioner to the eastern district. With a handful of British officers and a cadre of Hausa police, Glover mobilised an army of African auxiliaries. In January 1874, he advanced across the Pra River. Glover’s successful diversion supported the main invasion force commanded by Sir Garnet Wolseley, which defeated the Asante and captured Kumasi on 4 February.

Glover later served as Governor of Newfoundland from 1876 to 1881, of the Leeward Islands from 1881 to 1883, and of Newfoundland again from 1883 to 1885.

The following members of the British administration in Lagos were frequent correspondents with Glover:

Charles Foresythe: appointed by Glover as Clerk to the Lagos Council in Jan. 1870, Chief Clerk and Treasurer, May 1871, and Chief Prosecutor, Apr. 1871.

Henry Fowler: appointed to succeed Glover as Acting Administrator of Lagos by Hennessy in July 1872.

R. F. Goldsworthy: appointed Acting Collector of Customs of Lagos by Glover in Sept. 1871. He also served as Superintendent of Armed Police and a District Magistrate.

John Payne: appointed Registrar of Lagos by Glover in 1867 and Sheriff and Clerk to the Acting Chief Magistrate from 1869. He became Clerk of Police in 1872.

Frank Simpson: a colonial surgeon appointed Acting Collector of Customs and Colonial Secretary of Lagos by Hennessy in June 1872.

Charles Turton: a West Africa merchant whom Glover appointed Postmaster at Lagos in Jan. 1871. He resigned in Dec. 1872.

J.H. Willoughby: appointed Superintendent of Police, Lagos, in July 1862. From Jan. 1864 he also served as Interpreter to the Administrator. He resigned in July 1872.


5 archive box(es) (5 boxes) : paper

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Good condition unless otherwise specified

Former / Other Reference

MSS 43

Other Finding Aids

Donald H. Simpson, ed., 'The manuscript catalogue of the library of the Royal Commonwealth Society' (London, 1975), p. 85.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented to the Royal Colonial Institute in 1927 by Mrs. R. Fairfax, Sir John's daughter, in accordance with the wishes of Lady Glover, who died on 8 February 1927.

Related Materials

There is a note in Donald Simpson's R.C.S. catalogue which states 'this collection also included nine volumes of printed parliamentary papers, now separately catalogued and shelved.' However, the location of this material is not known.


Glover collected papers with the aim of writing his own account of events in Africa but never did so. The items he gathered were used for part of the following publication, but there is much material that was never utilized in detail: Lady Glover, ed. Sir Richard Temple, ‘Life of Sir John Hawley Glover, R.N., G.C.M.G.’ (London, 1897).

A few items from RCMS 131/5, are reproduced in 'Lagos in 1872’, Royal Commonwealth Society, 'Library Notes', New Series no. 94, October 1964, pp.1-5.

The material has been microfilmed, and is listed in: 'Africa through western eyes, parts 1 & 2: original manuscripts from the Royal Commonwealth Society Library at Cambridge University Library - a listing and guide to the microfilm collection' (2000), Adam Matthew Publications Ltd.


This description was created by MJC.


Glover, Sir John Hawley, 1829-1885, Knight, Royal Navy Captain and Colonial Governor

Includes index.
2007-02-07 16:49:27+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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