Brown Bag A Climatic Debate: Abolition and Climate in Eighteenth-Century Britain 8 January 2014.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Katherine Johnston, Columbia University

Toward the end of the eighteenth century, as British Parliamentary debates over abolition in the West Indies grew increasingly serious, the Board of Trade interrogated people familiar with plantation life. What sorts of health risks did plantation work pose for enslaved laborers? Could Europeans labor in the West Indian climate? This project examines some of the testimony that absentee planters provided to Parliament and contrasts these arguments with evidence taken from these same planters' private letters. Public testimony did not always match up with personal opinions, and this project explores some of the differences between the two.