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alone, a pig and a couple of lean sheep excepted, whose legs had been broken by the rolling and pitching of the vessel. This manner of living on salt-beef, pork, and pease, like common sailors, was introduced by our commander-in-chief, in order to enure us (he said) to such food as we were likely to be alone supplied with in the woods of Surinam ; and from the generous motive of regaling his American friends with European refreshments—such as live sheep, hogs, fowls, ducks, bacon hams, bullocks tongues, preserved vegetables, pickles, spices, &c. all of which were provided by the town of Amsterdam in great profusion. But good intentions do not always meet with their rewards; since the worms, without any one's permission, laid hold of the greatest part of the dead stock for themselves; who were, for a punishment, together with their plunder, thrown overboard into the ocean. Let me add, that instead of plate, our meals were frequently served up in small wooden tubs of not the most cleanly appearance, and only once a day; which negligence, however, I am willing to impute to Monsieur Laurant, the colonel's French valet-de-chambre. In short, the scurvy and other loathsome disorders began to make their appearance; dejection and low-spirits took place throughout the ship, while I complained aloud, and from that moment date the good-will which colonel Fourgeoud manifested towards me in particular, as will be seen throughout the expedition. • On the 2d of February we entered the beautiful river Surinam; and at three o'clock, P. M. dropped anchor before the new fortress called Amsterdam. Our ships crews now were in the highest flow of spirits, seeing themselves surrounded by the most delightful verdure, while the river seemed alive by the many boats and barges passing and re-passing to see us, while groups of naked boys and girls were promiscuously playing and flouncing, like so many tritons and mermaids, in the water. The scene was new to all, and nothing was heard but music, singing, and cheering on deck, as well as in the rigging, from the ideas of happiness which each individual now promised himself in this luxuriant flourishing spot, while between decks the heat was become insupportable:
but how miserably these poor fellows were mistaken in their reckoning shall soon be seen. “I must indeed acknowledge that nothing could equal the delicious sensations with which we seemed intoxicated by the fragrance of the lemons, limes, oranges, and flowers, wafted over from the adjoining plantations that line the banks of all the rivers in this ever-blooming settlement, and of which charming fruit, &c. large clusters were sent on board our ships by colonel de Ponchera of the colonial troops: this gentleman, being the commandant of fort Amsterdam, also saluted the vessels with nine guns from the batteries, while with an equal number we returned him the compliment from the ships. A long-boat, with one of our captains, was afterwards dispatched to Paramaribo, to announce to the governor the arrival of the troops in the colony. “During our stay in this place the companies frequently walked on shore, and I accompanied them in their excursions; but the pleasure I had flattered myself with, from exchanging the confinement of a ship for the liberty of ranging over a de
licious country, was damped by the first object which presented
itself after my landing. This was a young female slave, whose only covering was a rag tied round her loins, which, like her skin, was lacerated in several places by the stroke of the whip. The crime which had been committed by this miserable victim of tyranny, was the non-performance of a task to which she was apparently unequal, for which she was sentenced to receive 200 lashes, and to drag, during some months, a chain several yards in length, one end of which was locked round her ancle, and to the other was affixed a weight of at least 100lbs. • On March the 3d we received a visit from several officers of the Society, or West India company's troops, accompanied by a number of other gentlemen, to welcome our arrival in the colony. Nor were they satisfied with paying us merely a compliment in words, but regaled us with a large quantity of excellent fruits and other refreshments. They came in very elegant barges or tent-boats, adorned with flags, and attended Vol. I. 2 G
by small bands of music. The vessels were rowed by six or eight negroes, who were entirely without clothes, except a small stripe of check or other linen cloth, which was passed between their thighs, and fastened before and behind to a thin cotton string tied round their loins. As the colonists generally make choice of their handsomest slaves for this office, and to attend them at table, &c. the rowers, who were healthy, young, and vigorous, looking extremely well, and their being naked gave us a full opportunity of observing their skins, which was shining, and nearly as black as ebony. This scene was however contrasted by the arrival of two canoes filled with emaciated starving wretches, who clamorously solicited relief from the soldiers, and were ready to fight for the possession of a bone. “The day following, our commander-in-chief was visited by a Mr. Rynsdorp, who introduced to him two black soldiers, manumized slaves, who composed part of a corps of three hundred which had been lately formed. These men were exhibited by Mr. Rynsdorp as specimens of that valiant body, which but a short time before had most gallantly distinguished itself by the protection it had afforded to the colony. “While we still remained at anchor before the fortress Amsterdam, I received a polite invitation from one Mr. Lolkens, a planter, to whom I had been recommended, to accept the use of his house and table on our arrival at Paramaribo, the capital of the colony. ‘On the 8th we once more went under way, and after the usual ceremonies on both sides on leaving the fortress, sailed up the river Surinam with drums beating, colours flying, and a guard of marines drawn up on the quarter-deck of each vessel. Having at length reached Paramaribo, we finally came to an anchor within pistol-shot of the shore, receiving a salute of 11 guns from the citadel Zealandia, which was returned by all the ships of our small fleet. “After being confined nearly the whole of 63 days within the limits of a small vessel, and upon an element to which few
of the troops had been accustomed, it would not be easy to describe the pleasure we experienced on finding ourselves once more on land, and surrounded by a thousand agreeable circumstances.
“The town appeared uncommonly meat and pleasing, the shipping extremely beautiful, the adjacent woods adorned with the most luxuriant verdure, the air perfumed with the utmost fragrance, and the whole scene gilded by the rays of an unclouded sun. We did not however take leave of our wooden habitation at this time, but the next day were formally disembarked with a general appearance of rejoicing; all the ships in the roads being in full dress, and the guns keeping up an incessant fire till the whole of the troops were landed.
“All the inhabitants of Paramaribo were collected to behold this splendid scene, nor were the expectations they had formed disappointed. The corps consisted of nearly 500 young men; (for we had been so fortunate as only to lose one during the voyage) the oldest of whom was scarcely more than thirty, and the whole party neatly clothed in their new uniforms, and in caps ornamented with twigs of orange-blossom. We paraded on a large green plain between the town and the citadel, opposite to the governor's palace; during the course of which ceremonies several soldiers fainted from the excessive heat. The troops then marched into quarters prepared for their reception, whilst the officers were regaled with a dinner by the governor, which would have derived a considerable relish from its succeeding the salt provisions, to which we had so long been confined, had any contrast been necessary to heighten our opinion of its elegance. But the choicest delicacies of America and Europe were united in this repast, and served up in silver. A great variety of the richest wines were poured out with profusion; the dessert was composed of the most delicious fruits, and the company were attended by a considerable number of extremely handsome negro and mulatto maids, all naked from the waist upwards, according to the custom of the country; but the other parts of their persons arrayed in the finest India chintzes, and the whole adorned with golden chains, medals, beads, bracelets, and sweet-smelling flowers.
“After partaking of this superb entertainment till about seven o'clock, I set out in search of the house of Mr. Lolkens, the hospitable gentleman who had so obligingly invited me to make it my own. I soon discovered the place, but my reception was so ludicrous that I cannot forbear relating the partiticulars. On knocking at the door, it was opened by a young female negro, of a masculine appearance, whose whole dress consisted of a single petticoat, and who held a lighted tobaccopipe in one hand, and a burning candle in the other, which she brought close to my face, in order to reconnoitre me. I enquired if her master was at home, to which she replied, but in a language totally unintelligible to me. I then mentioned his name, on which she burst into an immoderate fit of laughter, displaying two rows of very beautiful teeth; and at the same time, laying hold of the breast-buttons of my coat, she made me a signal to follow her. I was much at a loss how to act, but went in, and was ushered by the girl into a very neat apartment, whither she brought some excellent fruit, and a bottle of Madeira wine, which she placed upon the table. She them, in the best manner she was able, informed me that her masera, with the rest of his family, was gone to spend a few days at his plantation, and that she was left behind to receive an English captain, whom she supposed to be me. I signified that I was, and filled her out a tumbler of wine, which I had the utmost difficulty to persuade her to accept; for such is the degrading light in which these unhappy beings are considered, that it is accounted a high degree of presumption in them to eat or drink in the presence of an European. I contrived for some time to carry on something like a conversation with this woman, but was soon glad to put an end to it by recurring to my bottle.
* Tired with the employments of the day, I longed for some rest, and made a signal to my attendant that I wanted to sleep: but my motion was strangely misconstrued; for she immediately seized me by the neck, and imprinted on my lips a most ardent kiss. Heartily provoked at this unexpected, and (from one of her colour) unwelcome salutation, I disentangled myself from her embraces, and angrily flung into the