Historians would readily agree that among the most important sources for Asante history are the written accounts of foreign visitors who traveled to Kumase during the nineteenth century. A work such as Ivor Wilks's Asante in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1975), for example, is almost unthinkable without T. E. Bowdich's Mission from Cape Castle to Ashantee (London, 1819) and Joseph Dupuis' Journal of a Residence in Ashantee (London, 1824). These two published and reprinted primary sources are justly famous for their rich evocations of encounters with Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame (reigned 1804-23) and members of his court. But there are a number of unpublished accounts—and those published in relatively obscure places—which also contain important historical data but which are lesser known and less often cited by scholars. In English one thinks of, among others, British Governor William Winniett's journal of his visit to Kumase in 1848; in French the extensive notebooks of Marie-Joseph Bonnat; and in German, the report of the missionary A. Riis.
A number of Dutch-speaking visitors also traveled to Kumase during the nineteenth century and left valuable written accounts, though few have ever been published. Language barriers have often prevented full use of the rich data they contain. Among the more important are those of Willem Huydecoper in 1816-17, Jacob Simons in 1831-32, Jacobus de Bruijn in 1836-37, H. S. Pel in 1842, and David Mill Graves in 1857, extracts from whose journal I have translated below.
Graves served as secretary on a Dutch diplomatic and trade mission which was dispatched by Governor J. van den Bossche to the Asantehene, Kwaku Dua Panin (reigned 1834-67) in July 1857.