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of the foremost lawyers of his day, a prominent United States Senator, at various times Attorney-General, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State of the Confederacy, and more latterly a Queen's Counsel in England, no history of his life has as yet been written. Such a work is now in course of preparation in England, and it was a request for data in connection therewith that led in part to the writing of this sketch. Judah Phillips Benjamin was the son of English parents, and was born in 1811. His mother and father were on their way from England to New Orleans. Arriving off the mouth of the Mississippi river, it was found to be blockaded by British men-of-war, so their vessel turned back and put in at St. Croix. Here it was, on English soil, that young Benjamin first saw the light of day. In 1815 the Benjamins moved to Wilmington, N. C., and ten years later, when only a lad of fourteen, Judah was sent to Yale. He remained there only three years, and left before taking his
nd, and it was a request for data in connection therewith that led in part to the writing of this sketch. Judah Phillips Benjamin was the son of English parents, and was born in 1811. His mother and father were on their way from England to New Orleans. Arriving off the mouth of the Mississippi river, it was found to be blockaded by British men-of-war, so their vessel turned back and put in at St. Croix. Here it was, on English soil, that young Benjamin first saw the light of day. In 1815 the Benjamins moved to Wilmington, N. C., and ten years later, when only a lad of fourteen, Judah was sent to Yale. He remained there only three years, and left before taking his degree. Upon attaining his majority he was admitted to practice at the bar in New Orleans, and soon forged his way to the front. In 1847 he was engaged as counsel in the famous Spanish land cases, which involved the ownership of immense properties in California. For his legal services in this controversy he recei
to be blockaded by British men-of-war, so their vessel turned back and put in at St. Croix. Here it was, on English soil, that young Benjamin first saw the light of day. In 1815 the Benjamins moved to Wilmington, N. C., and ten years later, when only a lad of fourteen, Judah was sent to Yale. He remained there only three years, and left before taking his degree. Upon attaining his majority he was admitted to practice at the bar in New Orleans, and soon forged his way to the front. In 1847 he was engaged as counsel in the famous Spanish land cases, which involved the ownership of immense properties in California. For his legal services in this controversy he received the largest fee on record at that time, $25,000. Mr. Benjamin in 1852 was sent to the United States Senate from Louisiana, and five years later he was re-elected. His colleague was Mr. Slidell; who afterward figured so prominently in the Trent affair. It was during this time that he was tendered a position on
y a lad of fourteen, Judah was sent to Yale. He remained there only three years, and left before taking his degree. Upon attaining his majority he was admitted to practice at the bar in New Orleans, and soon forged his way to the front. In 1847 he was engaged as counsel in the famous Spanish land cases, which involved the ownership of immense properties in California. For his legal services in this controversy he received the largest fee on record at that time, $25,000. Mr. Benjamin in 1852 was sent to the United States Senate from Louisiana, and five years later he was re-elected. His colleague was Mr. Slidell; who afterward figured so prominently in the Trent affair. It was during this time that he was tendered a position on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, by President Franklin Pierce, an offer which was declined, he preferring to devote his time to private practice—for be it understood that Mr. Benjamin, of Louisiana, stood second to no lawyer in the la
r 2 o'clock the next morning. In August, 1862, owing to overwork and some friction with others, he resigned, but not long afterwards President Davis insisted on his returning to the Cabinet. As much of the business of the Confederate Congress was transacted in secret, no great deal is known of its workings, but it is claimed by those acquainted with its inner affairs, that the greater portion of its important legislation was framed by Mr. Benjamin. Self-sacrifice. An act performed in 1862 shows the true patriotism of the man. General Huger was in command of Roanoke Island and Mr. Benjamin was filling the post of Secretary of War. A requisition for powder was made and was not filled. This was twice repeated without avail, and Roanoke Island fell. An investigation was ordered by Congress, and it took but a few seconds for the Secretary to inform the committee that the powder had not been forthcoming for the best of reasons—there was none to send. The question then arose as t
August, 1862 AD (search for this): chapter 1.35
led these three Cabinet positions to the satisfaction of the President and with credit to himself. Mr. Benjamin was commonly referred to as the brains of the Confederacy, and it was a universal custom of President Davis's to turn over to him every matter that belonged to no particular department. So numerous were his duties; and so great his capacity for work, that it was not unusual for him to remain steadily at his desk from 8 A. M. one day, until 1 or 2 o'clock the next morning. In August, 1862, owing to overwork and some friction with others, he resigned, but not long afterwards President Davis insisted on his returning to the Cabinet. As much of the business of the Confederate Congress was transacted in secret, no great deal is known of its workings, but it is claimed by those acquainted with its inner affairs, that the greater portion of its important legislation was framed by Mr. Benjamin. Self-sacrifice. An act performed in 1862 shows the true patriotism of the man.
April 2nd, 1865 AD (search for this): chapter 1.35
ight be the probable effect upon Congress and the people in general of this disclosure of the Confederacy's limited resources. It was decided that this would never do, and the committee was in a quandary. At Mr. Benjamin's own suggestion the committee recommended that he be censured by Congress for neglect of duty. History contains no parallel of such patriotism. In Danville. Mr. Benjamin evidently did not accompany the presidential party from Richmond to Danville on the fateful April 2, 1865, for on the following day he was met in the streets of the latter city by Rev. Dr. Hoge, of Richmond, who, after questioning him closely, learned that he, unlike the remainder of President Davis' Cabinet, was not the guest of Major Sutherlin. Being hard pressed by the reverend gentleman, Mr. Benjamin reluctantly admitted that he had, owing to the crowded condition of the city, been unable to secure board. (Dr. Hoge, in answer to a query, assures me that this was simply an accident and w
ealized that Mr. Benjamin was right, came down from the bench, took him by the hand, apologized, and begged him to proceed, which he did, winning the case. The next week, Mr. Benjamin was tendered a banquet for his temerity, by the leading members of the English bar. His English practice. It was estimated that Mr. Benjamin enjoyed an income of $75,000 a year from his English practice, and at his death he left a fortune of $300,000 to two relatives in New Orleans. He died in Paris in 1884. In person Mr. Benjamin was rather short, heavy set, with square shoulders, and was inclined toward corpulency. His face was typically Jewish, the short black beard he wore helping to intensify it. His ability to sway an audience by his eloquence was nothing short of marvellous. When in Richmond he resided on Main street, between Fourth and Fifth. He invariably wore the most immaculate of linen, was always cheerful and affable, and never traveled without a copy of Tennyson, and, strange
December, 1897 AD (search for this): chapter 1.35
Judah P. Benjamin. Sketch of the life of this remarkable man. His career as a Confederate. An anecdote of him told by Dr. Hoge—his capacity for hard work. His flight from Richmond at the close of the war. (H. T. Ezekiel in the Jewish South, December, 1897.) One of if not the most unique personage connected with the government of the Southern Confederacy was Judah P. Benjamin, a Jew, as signified by his name. Although this gentleman was one of the foremost lawyers of his day, a prominent United States Senator, at various times Attorney-General, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State of the Confederacy, and more latterly a Queen's Counsel in England, no history of his life has as yet been written. Such a work is now in course of preparation in England, and it was a request for data in connection therewith that led in part to the writing of this sketch. Judah Phillips Benjamin was the son of English parents, and was born in 1811. His mother and father were on their way
Judah Phillips Benjamin (search for this): chapter 1.35
vernment of the Southern Confederacy was Judah P. Benjamin, a Jew, as signified by his name. Altart to the writing of this sketch. Judah Phillips Benjamin was the son of English parents, and wm he often opposed in debate, declared that Mr. Benjamin was the most eloquent speaker to whom he evmed at Montgomery, President Davis selected Mr. Benjamin as his Attorney-General. Upon the consummao, and the committee was in a quandary. At Mr. Benjamin's own suggestion the committee recommended llel of such patriotism. In Danville. Mr. Benjamin evidently did not accompany the presidentiae to the household. The following Sunday Mr. Benjamin gave an exhibition of his admirable tact, whim to their chamber. When they were there Mr. Benjamin said: Dr. Hoge, I didn't have the heart to farewell, he unwittingly remarked, Good-by, Mr. Benjamin, that the true state of affairs was exposedh he did, winning the case. The next week, Mr. Benjamin was tendered a banquet for his temerity, by[25 more...]
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