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(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION--SURINAM.) Stedman, John Gabriel. Narrative of a Five Years' Expedition Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam. 4 maps, 77 plates, some engraved by William Blake, plus engraved title pages. xviii, 407, ; iv, 404,  pages. 2 volumes. 4to, modern calf; minor foxing; related early inscriptions and clippings on flyleaves. London, 1796
first edition of an important slave rebellion narrative. Stedman was a British officer in the Dutch army, sent on an expedition against the Maroons who had escaped slavery and taken up arms against the Dutch colonists in Suriname. He soon grew disgusted with his Dutch commander and the brutal treatment of slaves and rebels--depicted graphically in some of the plates. He became increasingly sympathetic to the culture he was sent to repress, and fathered a child by an enslaved woman who he attempts to bring back to England. Stedman closes with an allegorical engraving of "Europe Supported by Africa & America," explaining that "we only differ in colour, but are certainly all created by the same Hand" (page II:395). The narrative was quickly adopted as an abolitionist classic. Thirteen of the engravings, some depicting brutal torture scenes, are by William Blake. The book is also a notable work of natural history. Abbey Travel 719; Sabin 91075.
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