At Kingdom's Edge : The Suriname Struggles of Jeronimy Clifford, English Subject

At Kingdom's Edge : The Suriname Struggles of Jeronimy Clifford, English Subject

English | 2022 | ISBN: 1501764217 | 252 Pages | True ePUB | 10.8 MB

At Kingdom's Edge investigates how life in a conquered colony both revealed and shaped what it meant to be English outside of the British Isles. Considering the case of Jeronimy Clifford, who rose to become one of Suriname's richest planters, Jacob Selwood examines the mutual influence of race and subjecthood in the early modern world.

Clifford was a child in Suriname when the Dutch, in 1667, wrested the South American colony from England soon after England seized control of New Netherland in North America. Across the arc of his life―from time in the tenuous English colony to prosperity as a slaveholding planter to a stint in debtors' prison in London―Clifford used all the tools at his disposal to elevate and secure his status. His English subjecthood, which he clung to as a wealthy planter in Dutch-controlled Suriname, was a ready means to exert political, legal, economic, and cultural authority. Clifford deployed it without hesitation, even when it failed to serve his interests.

In 1695 Clifford left Suriname and, until his death, he tried to regain control over his abandoned plantation and its enslaved workers. His evocation of international treaties at times secured the support of the Crown. The English and Dutch governments' responses reveal competing definitions of belonging between and across empires, as well as the differing imperial political cultures with which claimants to rights and privileges had to contend. Clifford's case highlights the unresolved tensions about the meanings of colonial subjecthood, Anglo-Dutch relations, and the legacy of England's seventeenth-century empire.

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