John Gabriel Stedman.

Narrative of a five years' expedition, against the revolted negroes of Surinam, in Guiana, on the wild coast of South America; from the year 1772, to 1777: elucidating the history of that country, and describing its productions ... with an account of the Indians of Guiana, & negroes of Guinea (Volum online

. (page 1 of 27)
Online LibraryJohn Gabriel StedmanNarrative of a five years' expedition, against the revolted negroes of Surinam, in Guiana, on the wild coast of South America; from the year 1772, to 1777: elucidating the history of that country, and describing its productions ... with an account of the Indians of Guiana, & negroes of Guinea (Volum → online text (page 1 of 27)
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The Bequest of

Colonel George Earl Church


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Chapter XVI. Page 1.

^ Reinforcement of fresh Troops arrives from Holland —
Encampment on Mount Magdenberg, in Tempatee Creek

• — tiemarkahlc Instance of Ltcnucti in a Negro — Moun-
tains — Beautiful Views — The Sick sent to Europe.

Chapter XVII. Page 25.

New Instances of unprecedented Barbarity — Occurrences
on Mount Magdenberg — Trices of Provisions at Parama-
ribo — Description of a new Animal — Great Mortality
amongst the Troops in Tempatee Creek and Comewina River.

Chapter XVIII. Page 49.

A Tiger taken in the Camp — Fatal Rencounter of a Party
with the Rebels, who /ailed several of the Troops, and
forced the rest back-^Deseription of a Planter of Surinam
— Contagious Distempers — Suicide — Scene of primitive

Vol. II. _ b Chapter


Chapter XIX. Page 67.

The Troops march to Barbacoeba, in the River Cottica —
Frenzy Fever — Gratitude in an English Sailor — Descrip-
tion of the Government of Surinam — Some Account of
the Emigrant Americans during the late War— Scene of
•unprecedented Generosity,

Chapter XX. Page 90.

A Rebel Negro described — Eush-figliting—Seiitimental Ex-
pressions of the African Blacks — The Town of Gado-Sahy
taken by Colonel Fourgeoud — Superstition — IVonderful
Expedients — Great Generalship in the Enemy.

C H A p T E Fv XXI. Page 122.

Spirited Conduct of the Rangers and Rebels — A Skirmish—-
Scene of brotherly Affection — The Troops return to Bar-
bacoeba — Flan of the Field of Action — A Slave killed
by the Oroocookoo Snake.

Chapter XXII. Page 141.

Alarm in the Pirica River — A Detachment marches to its
Relief — Ambuscade — Wonderful Effect from the Biting of
a Bat — Scene in a Quagmire — Sketch of the Inquisition,
and Return of the Troops to Cormoetibo Creek.



Chapter XXIII. Page 165.

Second March to Gado-Sabi/ — Account of a living Skeleton
— Beautiful Landscapes — The Commander in Chief falls
sick, and leaves the Camp — Some Rebels taken — Discourse
on the Existence of Mermaids — Heavy Rains — Disease —

Fa m ine — Mise ry .

Chapter XXIV. Page 191.

Two Volunteer Companies raised, of free Mulattoes and
Negroes — Description of the Arrowouka Indian Nation —
Colonel Foiirgeoud's Regiment receives Orders to sail for

Europe Couniei'inandod He enter the Hoods — Trade of

the Colony — Description of a Cacao Estate — Sample of
Sable Heroism.

Chapter XXV. Page 224.

Singidar Method of detecting a Theft — Rencounter between
the Rangers and Rebels — Amazonian Action of a black
Girl — Wonderful Sagacity in Wild Bees — The Regiment
receives a second Order to return to Europe.

Chapter XXVI. Page 250.

The Troops on board — Again ordered to disembark — Great
Dejection — Mutiny — Insolent Conduct of an Owca Negro
Captain — ISlear two hundred Sick sent to Holland — Gene-
ral Description of the African Negroes.



Chapter XXVII. Page 302.
The Hape of the Sabines — Shocking Execution, and African
Fortitude — Description of an Indigo Plantation — The
Span.w BocJiO, a Punishment — The Troops again re-enter
the JFoods — The Expedition draws to a Conclusion.

C II A p T E K XXV^III. Page 326.
The Rebels Jfi/ for Protection to Cayenne — Third March to
Gado-Sabij — A second Keinf or cement of Troops arrive
from Tlolland — Shipwreck of the Transport Paramaribo
— March to Rio Comewina — Dismal Picture of Distress
and of Mortality — The Peace of the Colony restored.

Chapter XXIX. 358.
Some Account of a remarkable Negro — The Troops prepare
for Europe — Description of a Coffee Plantation — Plan
of Reform for the Increase of Population, and universal
Happiness — One more Instance of horrid Barbarity ;
and E^tample of Humanity — The Regiment embarks.

Chapter XXX. Page 395.
The Ships xiei^Ji Anchor, and put to Sea — Review of the
Troops — Account of the Voyage — The Arrival in thtTexel
— Description of the Pampas near Amsttrdam — Final
Debarkation in the Town of Bois-le-Duc — The Death of
Colonel F..urj;eoud — End of the Expedition — Short History
of the la it Scorch Brigade — Conclusion.





A Reinforcement of fresh Troops arrives from Holland — En-
campment on Mount Magdenher^, in Tempatee Creek —
Remarkable Instance of Ltinaci/ in a Negro — Mountains
— Beautiful Views — The Sickfent to Europe.

I NOW once more return to the principal object of my c n a p.
Journal, viz. Fourgeoud's military operations. I have .^_^^ll .
before mentioned, that a supply of frefli troops was ex-
pected to reinforce our decayed little army ; and, on the
30th of January 1775, the news came to Paramaribo that
the transport ship Maastroom, Captain Eeg, was arrived
in the river Surinam, and come to an anchor before the
fortress Amsterdam, with Colonel Seyburgh aiid two divi-
sions, consisting together of one hundred and twenty men,
under his command, two more divisions being expected.

The following day I went down with a row-boat to
welcome them ; and having dined on board together, the

Vol. II. B ship

ship weighed anchor, and I sailed up with them till before
the fortress Zealandia, where they moored, and were saluted
by a few guns. Among the officers, I with pleasure recol-
lected my old ship-mate, poor Ensign Hesseling, whom we
had left behind us on the Helder, according to every ap-
pearance dying of the small-pox, when we sailed from the
Texel, the 24th of December 1 772. This young man, who
now joined us with rank of second lieutenant, had been
peculiarly unfortunate since his recovery ; for, soon after
taking a passage on board another ship for Surinam, the
vessel encountered a gale in the Bay of Biscay ; when off
Cape Finisterre, her quarter-gallery and rudder were beat
away ; besides which she lost her fore-masL and main-top-
mast. In this dangerous condition, having the wind against
her for Lisbon, the vessel run with difficulty into Plymouth.
From this place Mr. Hesseling took a passage for France,
on board a small sloop loaded with coals, with which he
had no better success ; for she ran, through the inad-
vertence of the master, on the Caskets, which rocks went
through her bottom, and she foundered immediately. Be-
fore the vessel sunk, however, he had time to break open
his chest, and take out some linen and other necessaries,
with which he arrived in a crazy yaul at Brest. He now
took shipping again for Amsterdam, on board a Dutchman ;
but the master ran the ship a-ground, and he had nearly
been once more wrecked. Nevertheless he arrived safe
at the TcxeJ, whence he had twice in vain attempted
10 to


to set out for South America ; and oa this last passage it
blew so violently hard, that all the boats, the sheep, the
pigs, and the poultry, were washed overboard. Till this
date I had been the oldest officer in the corps, excepting
only Colonel Fourgeoud.

On the arrival of the troops, our commander invited
them to a dinner, which consisted of salt beef, pork, barley,
and hard pease, of which I had the honour to partake,
to my no small amusement, when I observed the signifi-
cant looks Avhich were directed by these new-comers
on their commander and his entertainment. In the even-
ing we conducted them to the play-house, Avhere the death

of Caesar, and Crispin Dorter, %vcre performed, the one

exactly as laughable as the other. I must however confess,
that I was better entertained the next day, when the gover-
nor gave to all a superb dinner and supper, where the
strangers seemed to be as much surprised with the magni-
ficence of the feast, as they had been the day before
amazed with Colonel Fourgeoud's frugality.

Having met at this table with some excellent preserved
fruits, among which was the guava, I will embrace an op-
portunity which is banen of incident to say something
of it. The guaba, or guava-tree, grows to about twenty-
four feet high, with leaves like those of a plum-tree. It
is light-coloured, and the wood of little consequence ;
but the fruit, which is yellow, oval, and about the size of

B 2 a gold

a gold pippin, incloses a reddish pulp, full of small seeds ;
the pulp is very sweet, and may be eaten raw, or made
into marmalade or jelly, and then it is delicious. There
are two species of guava ; that which is . the sweetest has
the smallest quantity of seeds.

On the 5 th of February, the troops that were so lately
landed were sent to the upper parts of the river Come-
•wina to be encamped. I speak of the privates, for most
of the officers remained to partake of a feast at the house
of a Mr. Mercellus ; by whose command (to crown the ban-
quet) half a dozen negroes continued blowing the trumpet
and French horn in the room where we dined, till the com-
pany were absolutely deafened by diacordancy and noise.

On the 6th, the whole corps, without exception, re-
ceived orders to leave Paramaribo, and to encamp at Mag-
denberg, a mountain near the Tempatee Creek, in the
tipper parts of the river Comewina, to which, as I hav&
juft mentioned, the reinforcement was already dispatched.
Having, therefore, prepared myself to set out on my
fourth campaign, and taken leave of my little family and
friends, I repaired to the water side, to set out in the iame
barge Avith Colonel Seyburgh, but who, erroneously sup-
posing that the troops which came with him from Holland
were a distinct corps from those arrived with Fourgeoud
nn 1773, made the negroes shove off the boat in my
presence, when I was not a stone's cast from it, and left


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me on the beach, to my utter surprize and mortification.
I knew Fourgeoud had swore that he sliould " dance just
" as much to his pipes as the youngest ensign in the re-
" giment ;" and in that he was perfectly right : I there-
fore strenuously supported the chief against his antago-
nist, and setting otf immediately with another boat, soon
overtook him, to his astonishment, when we all went
ashore at the plantation Vossenburgh, in the river Come-
wina. The next day we came to the estate Arentrust,
having passed the heavy barges that departed from Para-
maribo on the 3th; and on the 10th we made the Hope,
where having spent so many months, I here present the

reader with a view of that estate, and of the estate

Clarenbeek, where still our hospital was kept. This day
Colonel Fourgeoud also came up the river, and slept
at Wajampibo.

On the 1 1th, we arrived at the plantation Crawassibo,
where we passed the night. Here the overseer, a Mr.
De Bruyn, was so very impertinent, that, as I already had
no abundance of aft'ection for the fraternity of overseers,
I gave him such a sound beating that, with a bloody face,
he suddenly decamped from the estate in a small canoe
with one negro, and in this trim, at twelve o'clock at night,
like Banquo the ghost, appeared before the amazed Four-
geoud; who thought pro[)er to give him no other conso-
lation than to dismiss him with a hearty curse.

On the 12th we arrived safe at Maodenbero-, viz.


Fourgeoud, the officers, and the barges with the privates.
From the Hope, the estates now began to appear thinner ;
and after passing Goet-Accord, about ten or twelve miles
farther upAvards, not a cultivated spot was to be seen, the
plantations having been all laid in ashes by the rebels in
1 757, as I have already mentioned, a small place excepted,
just below Magdenberg, which is, I think, called the Jaco6,
and where a few negroes are kept to cut timber. The river
above Goet-Accord becomes very narrow, being lined on
each side with impenetrable brush-wood, like the river Cot-
tica, between Devil's-Harwar and Patamaca; and theTem-
patee Creek, which may be considered as the source of the

Avhole river Comewina, becoiTips also mucin narro"\vt;r. Mag-
denberg, which is about a hundred miles from Paramaribo,
was formerly an estate, but has now not a vestige of culti-
vation left, a poor old orange-tree excepted, and is at pre-
sent neither more or less than a barren desolate mountain.

Here we found the surface of the earth in some places
covered with a kind of strata, that had the appearance of
mother-of-pearl, and lay scattered in small scales, about
the size af an English shilling. In many places of Suri-
nam are found the marks of fossils and ores, as I have
already hinted. Indeed, iron ore is common, and I have
no doubt but gold and silver mines might be met with if
the Dutch would be at the expence, and persevere in
making the discovery. I have already mentioned the
Marawina diamond, and white and red agate, which are



often seen in the upper parts of the river Surinam. On this
mountain we also found the air cooler and more pure, and
of course more healthy than in any other part of the

On the 1 7th the news reached us, that the transport ship,
the Maria Helena, with the remaining two divisions of one
hundred and twenty men, commanded by Captain Haniel,
had also arrived in the river Surinam on the 1 4th instant.
Thus the reinforcements together consisted of two hundred
and forty men, and, on the 5th day of March, they all ar-
rived in heavy barges at INIagdenberg, where I may now
say that Colonel Fourgeoud's whole forces were assembled.
The same day, one hundred negro slaves also aiTived, to
carry the loads when we should march. One of the new
negroes being missed from on board a military barge, and
marks of blood discovered in it, the commanding officer,
a Mr. Chatteauview, and a sentinel, were both put under
an arrest to be tried for murder. On the same eventful
day also, two of our captains fought a duel, in which one
of them received a wound in his forehead.

On the 1 3th, a barge with provisions, coming from Pa-
ramaribo (shocking to relate!) found the negro that was
missed on the 5 th at the water's edge, lying in the brush-
wood, with his throat cut from ear to ear, but still alive,
the knife having missed the wind-pipe. This miserable
apparition of skin and bone they took on board, and
Iwought to Magdenberg, where, by a skilful surgeon,



CHAP. Mr. Knolaert, the wound was sewed up, and the man

XVI. . .

,^^^_^,.,^^ surprisingly recovered, having lain nine days in that

dreadful condition Avithout any subsistence or covering
whatever, and Aveltering in his own blood, even without a
bandage. The week after I had nearly lost my own life
by an accident. Two negroes of the estate Goet-Accord
being employed in hunting and fishing for Fourgeoud,
one of them, named Philander^ proposed to me to accom-
pany them in the wood, where we might chance to meet
with some phigoes, or powesa ; but a heavy shower of rain
coming on, when we had only walked two miles, we de-
termined to relinquish the project, and repair to the small
spot called the Jacob for shelter, to gain which we were
obliged to pass through a deep marsh. Having waded
till up to our arm-pits. Philander, who was the finest man
without exception that I ever saw, began to swim, as did
his companion, with one hand, holding their fowling
pieces above the Avater Avith the other, and desired me
to follow them. This I tried, having nothing on but my
shirt and trowsers ; when, after swimming two or three
strokes, I sunk to the bottom like a stone, Avith the
Aveight of my musquet ; but relinquishing it, I immedi-
ately rose to the surface, and begged that Philander
would dive for it; Avho having secured his own to a man-
grove, brought it up without difficulty. At this mo-
ment a thundering voice called out through the thicket,

— " Who


—" Who fomtna clattij ? and another footo footo da Bonny
kiry da dago ? Who is that ? Who is there ? Fire ! shoot !
it is Bonny, kill the dog!" — and looking up, we saAV the
muzzles of six musquets presented upon us at a very little
distance indeed. I instantly dived, but Philander answer-
ing that we belonged to Magdenberg, we were permitted
to come on shore one l^y one at the Jacob, and found that
these trusty negro slaves, having heard a flouncing in the
water, and seeing three. armed men in the marsh, took it
for granted that the rebels were coming, headed by Bonny
himself, for whom they had mistaken me, being almost
naked and so much sun-burnt; besides my hair, which

was short and cuilj, I entirely resembled a mulatto.

Being refreshed with some rum, and having dried our-
selves by a good fire, we now returned back to the ]\Iag-
denberg, Avhere I congratulated myself on my escape.

On the 19th, Colonel Fourgeoud being now supplied
with fresh troops, sent a whole ship -load of invalids to
Holland, who sailed this da} ; and on February the 26th,
my dear friend Heneman also sailed for Holland, in an
extremely debilitated state.

Among the troops which sailed at the same time with
Heneman were several officers, not very sick, but justly
disheartened and disgusted at Fourgeoud's injustice, in
having stopped their preferment, as I have intimated in
the end of the tenth chapter ; Avhile they now saw them-
selves superseded by raw youths, who Avere at school

Vol. II. C at


at the time they were serving the colony in 1 772. With
this vessel sailed also the officers Avhom he had put under
an arrest, the 16th December, 1774. Never was an hos-
pital ship so ill provided with refreshments.

On the 21st, Fourgeoud reviewed with pleasure his
recruited little army, where I was sorry the rangers
did not appear. He now dispatched one hundred men
as a patrole to reconnoitre the skirts of his new en-
campment, of which number 1 had the honour to be
one. During this time nothing remarkable happened,
except meeting Avith a large company of quatas, which
being one of the most remarkable species of monkies in
the world, from their afTinity to the human race, I cannot
tacitly pass over. One evening, walking with my black
boy Quaco Avithout the camp, they came down so Ioav to
look at us, and threw small sticks and excrements at us,
that we stopped, and I had an opportunity thoroughly to
examine them. The quata, or quato, is very large, with
an enormous tail ; their arms and legs being covered over
with long black hair, they make a very hideous appear-
ance indeed ; the more so, as the creature's face is quite
naked and red, with deep sunk eyes, Avhich gives it much
the appearance of an old Indian woman. It has short
ears, and only four fingers without a thumb on its hands
or fore feet, but it has five toes on the hinder feet, all of
which have black nails. The extremity of its tail has a
spiral turn inwardly ; it is naked and callous, by its fre-
1 quently


^/^^^^Mr//rrJ(^. /uee<tu^/y//'ce -^ /'//^///■^/yo


quently hanging to the branches of the trees; for when chap.
so employed, it serves the animal as a fifth hmb. Most i_,^^-^
wonderful is the a2;ility of these monkies in swinfrino-
from one tree to another, but I never saw them leap.
Their throwing short sticks and excrements seems to
be no more than a mimicking of the human actions
without any purpose, as they neither have strength to
throw far, nor dexterity to hit their objects, and if they
befoul them it is by accident only. But M'hat appears
peculiarly remarkable is, that when one is hurt by a
musket or arrow, the poor animal instantly claps its hand
on the wound, looks at the blood, and with the most
piteous lamentations ascends to tlie vt-ry top of the tree,
in which he is assisted by his companions ; w-here, hang-
ing by the tail, he continues to bewail his fate, till by the
loss of blood he grows totally faint, and drops down dead
at the feet of his adversaries.

It is not so extraordinary that one of this species, when
wounded, should be assisted by his companions in climb-
ing ; but that they should have so much knowledge in
botany, as to procure vulnerary herbs, and chew and
apply them to the wound, is what I cannot credit, though
it is so confidently asserted by a late traveller : and as to
the assistance they give in passing a rivei-, by holding each
others tails, and swinging till the lowermost is thrown
up to the branch of a high tree, though I have a great
opinion of Ulloa, who relates it, and has given a print of

2 it


it in a vignette ; since he does not say he saw it himself,
I must take the hberty to doubt this fact*, and even what
he says he witnessed.

I must here mention another monkey that I saw at Co-
lonel Fourgeoud's house, which is in Surinam called the
wanacoe, and is covered over with long black hair, like
the quato; but its limbs are shorter and more hairy, and
its face is a kind of dirty white. This monkey is the only
one of the species that is not sociable, being constantly
found alone; and so despicable is this solitary animal,
that he is continually beaten and robbed of his food by
all the others, from whom he is too lazy to escape, though
too cowardl_y to fight.

Of the long-haired monkies, the saccamnkee is the
smallest ; indeed, I may say of all the monkies in

* It is most probable, that Ulloa " thagene, iu the governor's house,

took the account from Acosta's His- " so taught, as the tilings he did

tory of the West Indies. This is his " seemed incredible. They sent him

account, taken from a translation " to the tavern for wine, putting the

printed in 1604. " pot in one hand and the money in

" They leap where they list, wind- " the other ; they could not possibly

" ing their tails about a branch to " get the money out of his hand be-

" shake it, when they will leap far- " fore he had his pot full of wine. If

" ther than they can at once ; they " any children met him in the street,

" ofe a pretty device, tying them" " and threw stones at him, he would

" selves by the tails one of another, " set his pot down and cast stones

" and by this means make as it were " against the children, till he had

" a chain of many, then do they " assured his way ; then would he

" launch themselves forth." " return to carry home his pot. And,

Acosta does not say he saw this " which is more, although he were

himself; but to the following he pro- " a good bibber of wine, yet he would

fesses he was an eye-witness. Thefe " never touch it till leave was givea

are his words—" I saiv one in Car- " him."



Guiana, if not in the world, being not much larger than
a Norway rat.

This is a beautiful little animal, with blackish grey
frizzled hair, a white face, and very bright shining eyes ;
its ears are large and naked, yet they are not very percep-
tible, being covered by the very long and white whiskers
that grow round the whole visage of this little creature:
its feet are not unlike those of a squirrel, and its tail is
bushy and annulated. So very delicate is the saccawinkee,
and so sensible of the cold, that scarcely one of them is

Online LibraryJohn Gabriel StedmanNarrative of a five years' expedition, against the revolted negroes of Surinam, in Guiana, on the wild coast of South America; from the year 1772, to 1777: elucidating the history of that country, and describing its productions ... with an account of the Indians of Guiana, & negroes of Guinea (Volum → online text (page 1 of 27)