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J. G. Stedman

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John Gabriel Stedman (1744 – 7 March 1797) was a British–Dutch colonial soldier, who wrote The Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796). This narrative covers his years in Surinam as a soldier in the Dutch military deployed to assist local troops fighting against groups of escaped slaves. He first recorded his experiences in a personal diary that he later rewrote and expanded into the Narrative. The Narrative was a bestseller of the time and, with its firsthand depictions of slavery and other aspects of colonization, became an important tool in the early abolitionist cause. When compared with Stedman’s personal diary, his published Narrative is a sanitized and romanticized version of Stedman’s time in Surinam.