Pierre Jacques
Voyage à Surinam. Description des possessions néerlandaises dans la Guyane. Cent dessins pris sur nature par l'auteur.
Société des Beaux Arts
Travel Writings
Kongelige Bibliotek, Danmark. British Library. Rhodes House Library, Oxford
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Surinam Dutch Colony Guiana South America Slavery Belgian Travel Voyage Illustrations
This large-scale illustrated volume, describing the Belgian author's voyage to Surinam, contains a hundred sketches of the Dutch colony, including the town of Paramaribo, plantations, people, plants, etc. Benoit's reactions to slavery in Surinam are mixed: he praises the Dutch as masters of the "art of colonisation" (63), and refutes descriptions of cruelty by earlier travellers to Surinam such as Stedman, arguing that while slavery could be brutal, it was necessary for the production of goods on which Europe relied. He is critical, however, of the ongoing trade in slaves within the colony, and suggests that skilled slaves be allowed to keep a portion of their earnings, and that planters should remember their slaves are men, and not "beasts of burden" (53). Benoit describes the presence of maroon communities in Surinam as an incitement to slaves to revolt or run away.
The illustrations from this volume are available via the Gallica digital library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (see weblink).