Amy Dunagin's article accepted to the Journal of British Studies
Kennesaw, GA. (Oct 19, 2018) — Amy Dunagin's article, "A Nova Scotia Scheme and the Imperial Politics of Ulster Emigration," has been accepted to the Journal of British Studies, the official publication of the North American Conference on British Studies. The article examines the activities of a land promoter of Ulster origin named Alexander McNutt. In the early 1760s, he brought before the British Board of Trade a scheme to settle several thousand Ulster Scots in Nova Scotia.
After at first expressing hearty approval, the Board later changed its tune and forbade McNutt from continuing the project, citing fears of losing Protestants in Ireland. This episode has generally been explained as evidence of the British government’s “ambivalence” about Ulster emigration. Rather than expressing merely a tension between two equally desirable but conflicting goals—peopling the American colonies with Irish Protestants and protecting the Ascendancy by preventing their emigration—the Board’s change of mind reflected the changing political environment. The Board that approved McNutt’s scheme strongly favored settling Nova Scotia quickly; the Board that shut it down a year later contained new members who viewed settling Nova Scotia as a waste of precious funds.
The case of McNutt demonstrates the profound ramifications for Ulster migration of party politics during the imperial crisis of the 1760s and 1770s.
Amy Dunagin is an assistant professor of history, specializing in the cultural and political history of Britain and its empire. Her research focuses on how Britons made sense of their shifting cultural identities during the transformative decades of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.