Year in Review
The 2012-2013 seminar consisted of ten presentations from scholars based on three continents, and almost all of them involved some aspect of early modern transatlantic history. We began with an exceptional paper by Max Edelson, who used Google maps and British public record office manuscripts and maps of the General Survey office to reveal post-Seven Years War imperial plans (including the purpose behind the Proclamation Line of 1763) for the Crown’s newly won territory, strategies that came to a bad end twenty years later. At stake was how North America should be developed.
Two papers featured the history of political and religious conflict between the British and Spanish empires in the Americas. Carla Pestana dealt with Cromwell’s Western Design for the Spanish Caribbean in the 1600s, and Adrian Finucane continued the story into the next century as the Spanish, for a time, allowed the British South Sea Company to supply them with enslaved Africans. Slave rebellions on the seas and on land was the subject of papers by Trevor Burnard and Jason Sharples. David Hancock speculated on the factors determining which overseas London merchant houses survived beyond one generation. The last two presentations, Timothy Breen’s paper the Scotch-Irish frontier during the American Revolution and Michael Carter’s work on Mathew Carey’s fight to allow Catholics to worship publically in the early United States reminded us how the Irish experience influenced American political developments.