University Academic to Speak on Royal Research at Major Conference


Professor of History, Suzanne Schwarz, will be giving a presentation at the Historical Association's Annual Conference at Stratford-Upon-Avon tomorrow (Friday, May 18), which draws on research she undertook at the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle as part of a prestigious international fellowship award.

Professor Schwarz, who specialises in the transatlantic slave trade and West Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries, was invited to speak at the conference on her findings, with a talk entitled Royal Attitudes to the Atlantic Slave Trade, Abolition and Suppression, circa 1785-1808.

Her presentation will explore how the sharp confrontation of abolitionist and anti-abolitionist views characteristic of debate at a national level can be traced in the correspondence of some members of the royal family in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. She will focus on the abolitionist views of Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, and his involvement in policies to suppress the slave trade in West Africa.

Professor Schwarz was granted access to the Royal Archives and the Royal Library last year for the Omohundro Institute-Georgian Papers Programme Fellowship. This is a prestigious international fellowship by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg, Virginia. She was researching the responses of George III, his ministers and prominent family members of his family to abolitionist ideas in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Professor Schwarz consulted a range of sources including diaries, pamphlets, books and the letters of George III and the second Duke of Gloucester. In particular, she wanted to assess the second Duke of Gloucester's influence in debates on abolition, the eradication of the Atlantic slave trade and the development of Sierra Leone through his role as President of the African Institution.

The Fellowship was awarded as part of the Georgian Papers Programme, which is a partnership between the Royal Library & Royal Archives and King's College London and for which the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the College of William & Mary are the primary United States partners. The Georgian Papers Programme aims to make the wealth of Georgian records in the Royal Archives more widely available through an extensive programme of cataloguing and digitisation.