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SOME years before the last war, the Baron de Rutzen and I were
rummaging in an attic at Slebech Park, when we came across a
small framed silhouette of a man attired in what we considered to
be the dress of the early nineteenth century. Nothing was known
of his identity, but after cleaning it we were able to read on the back
this faded inscription- Sir Alan Cameron, Lieut. Genl. K.C.B., &
K.T.S. of the Erracht branch of the House of Lochiel, who with the
aid and assistance of his father in law Nathaniel Phillips of Slebech
Park Esquire raised the 79th or Cameronian Highlanders & afterwards
commanded them in the Peninsula.'
This determined me to investigate the history of Nathaniel Phillips
and Sir Alan Cameron, and in course of my researches I came across
several matters of national as well as local interest. Much of what is
printed below is based on notes I made at that time from the muniments
in Slebech, afterwards deposited in The National Library by the Baron
de Rutzen. 2
I. Phillips and Cameron
Nothing is known of the ancestry of Nathaniel Phillips, except that
his father's Christian name was also Nathaniel, and there is no evidence
to suggest that he was in any way connected with the numerous West
Wales families bearing the surname Phillips. The coat of arms used
by him-quarterly, gules and argent, in the first quarter an eagle displayed
or-proved that he himself claimed no kinship with a Welsh family.
Neither do we know his place of birth. Born on 10 June 1730, he grew
up to become a planter in Jamaica where he engaged in the sugar trade
and its by-products, owning Phillipsfield, Suffolk Park, Boxford Lodge,
Pleasant Hill, and other valuable properties worked mainly by coloured
slaves. By industry and application he amassed a fortune and his worldly
successes may be traced in the Slebech muniments.
On 18 June 1761, Nathaniel Phillips married at Jamaica, Anne,
daughter of Richard and Anne Swarton. The union was of short
duration, for Anne died on 6 October 1766 and was buried in the chancel
of the church at Kingston. The only surviving child of the marriage,
Anne, born 2 November 1765, was, for many years heir apparent to
her father's vast fortune.
In the late 1770s Nathaniel spent some time in England, and took
a house in Gloucester Place, Portman Square, London. He returned
frequently to Jamaica to attend to business. In 1785 he fought a duel
and killed his man, in a dispute concerning the conviction of one of
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