chapter  14
Revolted Negroes and the Devilish Principle: William Blake and Conflicting Visions of Boni’s Wars in Surinam, 1772–1796
WithAnne Rubenstein, Camilla Townsend
Pages 26

In the middle of 1796, certain shops in London began to sell a new book with the arresting title, Narrative, of a Five Years' Expedition, against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, in Guiana, on the Wild Coast of South America; from the Year 1772, to 1777. The work gave a dramatic, compelling account of a white soldier's experiences during the long jungle war between a group of runaway slaves led by a man called Boni, and their former masters, who were Dutch planters. The greatest discrepancies occurred when the book departed from flora and fauna to deal with the question of who the "Revolted Negroes" were and what the white colonists should do about them. "Augustus Nordenskjold who indulges the proud desire of domineering over others, yields himself up to the devilish principle which deprives him of all genuine Liberty".