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Page history last edited by Samantha Luceri 12 years, 6 months ago


Stedman's Joanna




    Stedman met Joanna, a mulatto slave, soon after arriving in Surinam.  He was immediately taken with her appearance, describing her as:

Rather taller than the middle size, she had the most elegant shape nature can exhibit, and moved her well formed limbs with unusual gracefulness. Her face was full of native modesty, and the most distinguished sweetness. Her eyes, as black as ebony, were large, and full of expression, bespeaking the goodness of her heart. A beautiful tinge of vermillion glowed through her dark cheeks, when she was gazed upon. Her nose was perfectly well formed, and rather small. Her lips, a little prominent, discovered, when she spoke, two regular rows of teeth as white as mountain snow (Stedman 5).



    Stedman was immediately captivated by Joanna’s looks and charm, and they soon began a romance.  Before long they were married and had a son together.  Throughout his narrative, Stedman praises Joann’s character and sweet nature.  He often describes instances of her loyalty and devotion to him through his absences and illnesses:

She told me she had heard of my forlorn situation; and if I still entertained for her the same good opinion I had formerly expressed, her only request was that she might be permitted to wait upon me till I recovered. I gratefully accepted the offer; and by her unwearied care and attention, I had the good fortune to regain my health (12).


    Stedman’s primary difficulty with Joanna was in securing freedom for her and their son.  Through Stedman’s hard work they were eventually freed from slavery.  However, when Stedman returned to Holland in DATE NEEDED Joanna and their son stayed behind in Surinam.  Stedman explained this by saying that Joanna refused to return to Europe with him.  He explains: “She said, that if I soon returned to Europe, she must either be parted from me forever, or accompany me to a land where the inferiority of her condition must prove a great disadvantage to her benefactor and to herself; and in either of these cases, she should be most miserable” (10).


    Shortly after his return to Holland Stedman married a Dutch woman and started a family with her.  Joanna died in 1782, after which their son migrated to Europe to live with Stedman. 



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