John Gabriel Stedman
Biography of John Gabriel Stedman
John Gabriel Stedman (1744 – 7 March 1797) was a distinguished British–Dutch soldier and noted author. He was born in 1744 in Dendermonde, which then was in the Spanish Netherlands, to Robert Stedman, a Scot and an officer in Holland's Scots Brigade, and his wife of Dutch noble lineage, Antoinetta Christina van Ceulen. He lived most of his childhood in Holland with his parents but spent time with his uncle in Scotland. Stedman described his childhood as being "chock-full of misadventures and abrasive encounters of every description." His years in Surinam, on the northern coast of South America, were characterized by encounters with African slaves and colonial planters, as well as the exotic local flora and fauna. He recorded his experiences in The Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796) which, with its firsthand depictions of slavery and other aspects of colonization, became an important tool in the early abolitionist cause.