The West Indies: slavery, plantations and trade, 1759-1832

Jamaican material in the Slebech papers

Jamaican material in the Slebech papers

An important archival resource for the history of West Indian trade and plantations during the slavery era, these Jamaica-related documents cover the period from the Seven Years' War through to the end of the Napoleonic wars
Brunel UniversityKenneth Morga

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Jamaican slavery and trade in the records of a plantation owner

Nathaniel Phillips owned several slave plantations in Jamaica during the 18th and 19th centuries. This collection contains business records, legal documents, and correspondence relating to his activities in the West Indies.

Considered together, the documents represent an important resource for students who are interested in the social and economic history of the transatlantic slave trade. 

Note: This collection is accompanied by an online guide written by Professor Kenneth Morgan. 


The West Indies: slavery, plantations and trade, 1759-1832...

Containing 9,742 pages belonging to 91 documents housed in 4 volumes...

View the Volumes & Documents 


Business records

Includes a variety of financial documents such as account, receipt and cash books, inventories and valuations, as well as other...


Unbound letters, but with a couple of letter books also, some of a social nature but chiefly relating to the...

Legal documents

Comprising mostly drafts and copies of Nathaniel Phillips' will, along with some conveyances and leases on his Jamaican estates, this...

Miscellaneous other materials

Includes a number of diaries, as well as documents relating to the defence of Jamaica, and papers pertaining to a...


  • The records of business transactions reveal which supplies were thought necessary to maintain a plantation with slaves. From 'negro clothing' to '11 gallons of linseed oil'. Other items include account books.
  • Most of the letterbooks contain letters sent to the plantation owner by his contacts. Each book contains correspondence from one of his contacts, apart from a few books which contain his letters.
  • The legal documents are mainly wills and probate records. They also include an official legal opinion on whether the foreign-born children of an English landowner could inherit from him.
  • Miscellaneous other materials include the 'reports, 1791 March 1-30'. These reports cover General Meetings of 'The West India Planters, and Merchants' during 1791.
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