Philip Beaver, an English navigator and philanthropist, born Feb. 28, 1760, died at the Cape of Good Hope, April 5, 1813. He served in the royal navy during the war of the American revolution, and after the peace organized an association to found a colony in Africa for cultivating the soil by free labor and civilizing the negroes. He left England April 13, 1792, With three ships and 275 white colonists, for Bulama island, on the W. coast of Africa. The expedition proved a failure. Within four months more than a third of the colonists had died by fever, and more than half the survivors returned to England. Beaver himself, though often prostrated by fever, persevered in the enterprise; but, unable to revive the spirit of the colonists, he departed with them for Sierra Leone, Nov. 29, 1793, and in May, 1794, reached England with only one of his original companions. The shareholders of the association, in spite of their losses, presented him with a gold medal for his disinterested and resolute conduct.
He published a narrative of his experiences entitled "African Memoranda." Subsequently he distinguished himself under Abercrombie in Egypt in 1801, and in the capture of the Isle of France in 1810. In 1813 he cruised in the Indian ocean in command of the frigate Nisus.