An Essay on Loss Across TimeUniversity of Pennsylvania Press Early American Studies
Stuyvesant Bound is an innovative and compelling evaluation of the last director general of New Netherland. Donna Merwick examines the layers of culture in which Peter Stuyvesant forged his career and performed his responsibilities, ultimately reappraising the view of Stuyvesant long held by the majority of U.S. historians and commentators.
Borrowing its form from the genre of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century learned essays, Stuyvesant Bound invites the reader to step into a premodern worldview as Merwick considers Stuyvesant's role in history from the perspectives of duty, belief, and loss. Stuyvesant is presented as a mid-seventeenth-century magistrate obliged by his official oath to manage New Netherland, including installing Calvinist politics and belief practices under the fragile conditions of early modern spirituality after the Protestant Reformation. Merwick meticulously reconstructs the process by which Stuyvesant became his own archivist and historian when, recalled to The Hague to answer for his surrender of New Netherland in 1664, he gathered together papers amounting to almost 50,000 words and offered them to the States General. Though Merwick weaves the theme of loss throughout this meditation on Stuyvesant's career, the association culminates in New Netherland's fall to the English in 1664 and Stuyvesant's immediate recall to Holland to defend his surrender. Rigorously researched and unabashedly interpretive, Stuyvesant Bound makes a major contribution to recovery of the cultural and religious diversity that marked colonial America.
Preface: The Outcast
Chapter 1. Magistracy and Confessional Politics
Chapter 2. Conflicts and Reputation
Chapter 3. Protecting by Deterrence
Chapter 4. "The General"
Chapter 5. The Struggle to Believe
Chapter 6. Managing Conventicles
Chapter 7. Ordinances: The Needle of Sin
Chapter 8. To Suffer Loss, 1664-1667
Chapter 9. Dismissal and Return
Chapter 10. Stuyvesant Tattooed
Chapter 11. A Place in Early America
"Donna Merwick's latest book, Stuyvesant Bound: An Essay on Loss Across Time, takes a fresh look at New Netherland's last and longest-serving director, Peter Stuyvesant. Merwick's exploration of this leader of the Dutch outpost on the Hudson reveals her to be a scholar at the peak of her powers. . . . This evocative work shows how much a career's worth of engagement with seventeenth-century Dutch sources has strengthened her appreciation, if not sympathy, for the society she studies. Her reconstruction of the intellectual and spiritual world from which Stuyvesant made meaning . . . marks this book as a serious contribution that must be taken into account by historians of Dutch culture outside North America as well as within it."—Reviews in American History
"A thoroughly structured, very personal, and profoundly innovative assessment of one of the major figures of early American history, Petrus Stuyvesant. Merwick goes to the heart of the matter, and indeed of the man himself."—Willem Th. M. Frijhoff, Erasmus University
"A major contribution to the fields of early American history and early modern New Netherland studies. . . . Her direct, almost intimate address to readers made this book hard to put down."—Robert St. George, University of Pennsylvania
- Winner of the 2015 Hendricks Award from the New Netherland Institute