Une femme des bosch-nègres; Espion; Bosch-Nègre
"A Bush-Negro Woman; Spy; Bush-Negro" (caption translation). This engraving shows several people standing in front of a sugar plantation. Benoit wrote that "from time to time the Bush Negroes raid plantations and kidnap enslaved women. It is very difficult for planters to recapture these kidnapped women because the Bush Negroes hide them in the deepest forest areas. However, he continues, a number of these women have family or other emotional attachments on the plantations from which they were taken, and sometimes escape and return to their plantations. And to make escape more difficult, the maroons attach to the necks of these women different types of bells (les grelots et la sonnette) so that they can be aware of any movement made by the women." In this illustration, the author depicted a woman who he saw "with bells around her neck and her body which the maroons hoped would discourage her from trying to escape again" (p. 61). In referring to the Spy (espion), Benoit wrote that "the Bush Negroes are very distrustful and suspicious of Europeans, and to know what is going on throughout the colony, they have established a manner of communication no less prompt/quick than the telegraph. When an event takes place in the city that is of interest to them, whether it be preparation for war, the death of an important personnage or the arrival of a vessel, one of these Bush Negroes whose job is that of a spy and who maintains contact with Negroes in the city who let him know what is going on and as soon as he hears the news he goes into the country and using a small lead instrument, resembling a flute but only having one hole in the middle, he blows into it with force. The sound which is spread more than a league in distance is repeated by other Bush Negroes and at the end of a few minutes the Bush Negro villages learn that something new has happened" (p. 62). Pierre Jacques Benoit (1782-1854) was a Belgian artist, who visited the Dutch colony of Suriname on his own initiative for several months in 1831. He stayed in Paramaribo, but visited plantations, maroon communities and indigenous villages inland.
"Figure 91" in Pierre Jacques Benoit, Voyage à Surinam; description des possessions néerlandaises dans la Guyane (Bruxelles: Société des Beaux-Arts de Wasme et Laurent, 1839).
Benoit, Pierre Jacques
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"Une femme des bosch-nègres; Espion; Bosch-Nègre", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed July 6, 2022, http://www.slaveryimages.org/s/slaveryimages/item/2362