London: J. Johnson, St. Paul's Church Yard, & J Edwards, Pall Mall, 1796. First Edition. Leather-bound. 2vols. 4tos. 25 cm. Contemporary mottled calf, rebacked with new spines of burnished red calf, ruled in gilt, with contrasting spine labels of dark green, titled in gilt. French curl marbling to endpapers. 2 folding maps 78 plates including 13 by William Blake. Errata at end of text in both vols. Index at end of v. 2. True first edition with the barely-discernable "Blake" in the vignette marking Volume I, just above the protuding cannon.
With its first-hand depictions of slavery and other aspects of colonization, this book became an important tool in the early abolitionist cause. A vivid portrayal of a battle for the village of Gado Saby can be seen in the frontispiece of Stedman's Narrative, which depicts Stedman standing over a dead slave in the foreground and a village burning in the distance. Stedman contrasts the beauty and sweetness of the colony with his first taste of the violence and cruelty endemic there. Stedman met Joanna, a mulatto slave, soon after arriving in Surinam. Stedman was captivated by Joanna's looks and charm, and they soon began a romance. Before long they had a son together, named Johnny. Throughout his Narrative, Stedman praises Joanna's character and sweet nature. He often describes instances of her loyalty and devotion to him through his absences and illnesses. Joanna died in 1782, after which their son migrated to Europe to live with Stedman. Very Good Plus. Item #79867
"...During the Dutch colonial period, Suriname was a lucrative source of sugar, its plantation economy driven by African slave labor and, after abolition of slavery in 1863, indentured servants from Asia...The Netherlands abolished slavery in Suriname in 1863, under a gradual process that required enslaved people to work on plantations for 10 transition years for minimal pay, which was considered as partial compensation for their masters..." (Wikipedia)
It will be noticed that William Blake engraved thirteen plates, while three plates were engraved by Bartolozzi". "Many of the plates, it will be noticed, were engraved by [William] Blake, who had learnt his trade from Basire, to whom he was apprenticed for seven years from August 1772. As Keynes says in his bibliography From 1791 until 1800 Blake did much of his work as a journeyman engraver for the booksellers" (Abbey). Keynes eventually decided that Blake was responsible for sixteen of the plates. "Both text and plates made a strong impression on reviewers. The Analytical Review, XXIV (Sept. 1796), said 'The numerous plates.are neatly engraved, and are, we have great reason to believe, faithful and correct delineations of objects described in the work.' The Critical Review (jan. 1797) praised the engravings as being 'in a style of uncommon elegance'"
Price: $3,500.00 save 5% $3,325.00