Person:Philip Phillips (2)

Philip Phillips
m. 27 Feb 1807
  1. Philip Phillips1807 - 1884
  2. Rachel Phillips1809 -
  3. Solomon Phillips1810 -
  4. Amanda Fitzalan Phillips1812 -
  5. Oscar Phillips1818 - 1818
m. 7 Sep 1836
  1. Clavius Phillips1838 - Abt 1910
  2. Fanny Eugenia Phillips1840 - 1917
  3. Caroline Phillips1841 - 1929
  4. Salvadora Phillips1843 -
  5. Eugene Phillips1846 -
  6. John Walker Phillips1848 -
  7. John Randolph Phillips1850 -
  8. Emma Louise Phillips1852 -
  9. William Hallett Phillips1853 - 1897
  10. Philip Lee Phillips1855 - 1924
Facts and Events
Name Philip Phillips
Gender Male
Birth? 17 Dec 1807 Charleston, South Carolina
Marriage 7 Sep 1836 Charleston, South Carolinato Eugenia Levy
Death? 14 Jan 1884 Washington, District of Columbia
Reference Number? Q1558701?
Burial? Savannah, GeorgiaLaurel Grove Cemetery

He was a lawyer and politician with a career that touched upon many of the major issues of his time.

Educated at the Middletown Military Academy, he was a roommate of Thomas Hart Seymour, later the "hero of Chapultepec," Governor of Connecticut, Ambassador to Russia, and opponent of military action against the South. He returned to Charleston in 1825 and studied law under John Gadsden, the U.S. District Attorney, and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1829. He then began his legal practice at the town of Cheraw, South Carolina, accepting the hospitality of his uncle, Joshua Lazarus.

From Cheraw, he rode the Circuit of the local Courthouses, becoming the partner of John Coit. During the controversy in South Carolina regarding the Tariff of 1832, he was among the leaders in rallying the Chesterfield District to the Union cause, in opposition to nullification. He was a member of the Nullification Convention in 1832 and continued to represent Chesterfield District in the South Carolina Legislature in 1834-5.

In 1835, he began the practice of law at Mobile, Alabama, at a time when many South Carolinians were moving to that state. A year later, he returned to Charleston to marry Eugenia Levy. He was elected to the Alabama Legislature in 1844 and was Chairman of the Committee on Federal Relations. In 1840 and 1846 he published a digest of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Alabama, and in 1849 he was elected Chairman of the State Convention called for the purpose of promoting internal improvements.

In 1852, he was a delegate to the Democratic Convention at Baltimore and gave a speech in support of Franklin Pierce who received the nomination. In 1853, he was elected to the 33rd Congress as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. There he was largely responsible for the final drafting of the portion of the notorious Kansas-Nebraska Act that specified the repeal of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. There is an excellent discussion of his role in this event in "The Road to Disunion" by William W. Freehling, p. 550-556

He declined reelection to Congress but remained at Washington and continued his legal practice there. When the Civil War began he, being a Unionist, attempted to remain in Washington. However, his wife and daughters were quite obviously Southern sympathizers, and in August 1861, soldiers entered his house, inspected his papers, arrested his family, and imprisoned them at Mrs. Greenhow's. Fortunately, he had previously secured the friendship of Edwin M. Stanton, later Secretary of War, who aided by other prominent Union leaders, arranged for their parole and departure from Washington. After visiting in Richmond briefly, they passed on to the expected safety of New Orleans.

However, within a few months, New Orleans was captured by Admiral Farragut and General Butler. Soon Eugenia Phillips was accused of failing to show proper respect to a soldier's passing funeral cortege, and was arrested again and sent to Ship Island for three months. Upon her release in October 1862, they again secured permission to leave Union-held territory and purchased a small house at La Grange, Georgia, where they lived for the remainder of the war.

Afterwards, the family remained at La Grange while he attempted to begin his practice, first at New Orleans and finally at Washington in 1867. In Washington he gradually became one of the leaders of the Bar, drawing most of his clients from the South. He generally practiced as a lawyer's lawyer, almost entirely before the Supreme Court, and appeared in over 400 cases.

He had a solid reputation as a thoughtful moderate among the leading national figures of his day and being a Southern Unionist had the opportunity, according to at least one biographer, to have had a career more along the lines of that of Andrew Johnson. This was of course complicated by his religion and made impossible by the unrestrained activities of his wife. I was surprised to find that 100 years after his death a librarian at the Library of Congress knew who he was.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Philip Phillips (lawyer).