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Dec 3, 2016 - America Transformed, Recurring Southern Conservatism, Southern Conservatives, Southern Patriots, Southern Statesmen, Southern Unionists    Comments Off on Jefferson Davis on the South’s Inalienable Birthright

Jefferson Davis on the South’s Inalienable Birthright

The following public address by Jefferson Davis before the Mississippi Legislature on March 10, 1884 may have been his last; he admonishes his listeners to teach their children to honor and revere their fathers who died in the cause of political liberty freedom, and the consent of the governed. Davis crossed over the river to rest under the shade of the trees on December 6, 1889.

Bernhard Thuersam www.Circa1865.com

 

 Jefferson Davis on the South’s Inalienable Birthright

“Friends and Brethren of Mississippi:

Reared on the soil of Mississippi, the ambition of my boyhood was to do something which would redound to the honor and welfare of the State. The weight of many years admonishes me that my day for actual services has passed, yet the desire remains undiminished to see the people of Mississippi prosperous and happy, and her fame no unlike the past, but gradually growing wider and brighter as the years roll away.

It has been said that I should apply to the United States for a pardon; but repentance must precede the right of pardon, and I have not repented.

Remembering as I must all which has been suffered, all which has been lost, disappointed hopes and crushed aspirations, yet I deliberately say: If it were to do over again, I would do just as I did in 1861.

No one is the arbiter of his own fate. The people of the Confederate States did more in proportion to their numbers and means than was ever achieved by any in the world’s history. Fate decreed that they should be unsuccessful in the effort to maintain their claim to resume the grants made to the federal government.

Our people have accepted the decree; it therefore behooves them, as they may, to promote the general welfare of the Union, to show the world that that hereafter as heretofore the patriotism of our people is not measured by lines of latitude and longitude, but is as broad as the obligations they have assumed and embraces the whole of our ocean-bound domain.

Let them leave to their children and their children’s children the good example of never swerving from the path of duty, and preferring to return good for evil rather than to cherish the unmanly feeling of revenge.

But never teach your children to desecrate the memory of the dead by admitting that their brothers were wrong in their effort to maintain the sovereignty, freedom and independence which was their inalienable birthright.

Remembering that the coming generations are the children of the heroic mothers whose devotion to our cause in its darkest hour sustained the strong and strengthened the weak, I cannot believe that the cause for which our sacrifices were made can ever be lost, but rather hope that those who now deny the justice of our asserted claims will learn from experience that the fathers [built] wisely and the constitution should be construed according to the commentaries of the men who made it.

It having been previously understood that I would no attempt to do more than return my thanks, which are far deeper than it would be possible for me to express, I will now, Senators and Representatives, and to you, ladies and gentlemen, who have honored my by your attendance, bid you an affectionate, and, it may be, a last farewell.”

(The Davis Memorial Volume; or Our Dead President, Jefferson Davis, and the World’s Tribute to His Memory, J. Wm. Jones, B.F. Johnson & Company, Publishers, 1890, excerpt, pp. 450-451)

Jefferson Davis, Ardent Unionist

The author below points out that all of Jefferson Davis’ Congressional speeches featured a “strong and outspoken national feeling,” while New England politicians whipped up sectional animosity at every turn. This was seen as well in the war with Mexico as Davis spoke often of the national devotion and heroism of American soldiers in that conflict, though a prominent Northern politician bespoke for the American army, “a welcome with bloody hands to hospitable graves.” Massachusetts refused military honors to Captain George Lincoln, killed at Buena Vista and son of an ex-governor of that State.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Jefferson Davis, Ardent Unionist

“On the 29th of December [1845], Mr. Davis spoke in a very earnest and impressive manner upon Native Americanism, which he strongly opposed . . . in opposition to [federal] appropriations for improvement of rivers and harbors; upon the Oregon question, and in favor of a resolution of thanks to General [Zachary] Taylor and his army.

On February 6, 1846, the House [of Representatives] . . . having under consideration the joint resolution of notice to the British Government concerning the abrogation of the Convention . . . respecting the territory of Oregon, [was addressed by Mr. Davis]:

“Sir, why has the south been assailed in this discussion? Has it been with the hope of sowing dissentions between us and our Western friends? Thus far, I think, it has failed. Why the frequent reference to the conduct of the South on the Texas question?

Sir, those who have made reflections on the South as having sustained Texas annexation from sectional views have been of those who opposed that great measure and are most eager for this. The suspicion is but natural in them.

But, sir, let me tell them that this doctrine of political balance between different portions of the Union is not Southern doctrine. We, sir, advocated the annexation of Texas from high national considerations. Nor sir, do we wish to divide the territory of Oregon; we would preserve it for the extension of our Union. It is, as the representative of a high-spirited and patriotic people, that I am called on to resist this war clamor.

[If war with Britain ensues] . . . Mississippi will come. And whether the question be one of Northern or Southern, of Eastern or Western aggression, we will not stop to count the cost, but act as becomes the descendants of those who, in the war of the Revolution, engaged in unequal strife to aid our brethren of the North in redressing their injuries . . .

With many of the officers now serving on the Rio Grande he had enjoyed a personal acquaintance, and hesitated not to say that all which skill, and courage, and patriotism could perform, [and] might be expected from them.

“Those soldiers, to whom so many [in New England] have applied depreciatory epithets, upon whom it has been so often said no reliance could be placed, they too will be found, in every emergency renewing such feats as have recently graced our arms, bearing the American flag to honorable triumphs, or falling beneath its folds, as devotees to our common cause, to die a soldier’s death.”

(The Life of Jefferson Davis, Frank H. Alfriend, National Publishing Co., 1868, excerpts, pp. 38-40; 45-46)

 

Bad to Legislate for Minority Groups

 

Representative Graham A. Barden of North Carolina was adamant that federal aid to education should be controlled by the States, and that no public money should go to private schools. On the other side was Catholic Rep. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who wanted federal money to help pay for bus service to parochial schools. Barden was a strident opponent of growing federal intrusion into States, stating that Federal housing officials are “piling up little caves and cliff dwellings in the city for people who have no jobs and expect to live off someone else.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Bad to Legislate for Minority Groups

“In the 1948 presidential campaign both political parties noted the need for improvements in public education. The Republican platform favored “equality of educational opportunity” and “promotion of educational facilities.” The Democrats forthrightly advocated “Federal aid for Education administered by and under the control of States.”

[Third District of North Carolina, US Representative] Graham Barden had approached the issue of Federal aid with reservations, but by 1949 he had become convinced that Federal assistance was necessary . . . but he was unwilling to accept Federal control or interference and would “not agree to the appropriation of Federal tax money to private or church schools.”

[Barden introduced his bill which] unequivocally prohibited States from allocating money to nonpublic schools. The bill also allowed taxpayers who felt this provision was being violated to bring suit in the Federal courts.

[On] June 14 Dwight David Eisenhower, then president of Columbia University, publicly stated his opposition to Federal laid because it would promote more control of the country by the central government. “In short,” he said, “unless we are careful, even the great and necessary educational processes in our country will become yet another vehicle by which the believers in paternalism, if not outright socialism, will gain additional power for the Federal Government.”

Barden, himself fearful of centralization, must have been amused to know that in the mind of the General he was promoting socialism.

The charge that the bill was discriminatory towards Negro children added a new dimension to the debate and was a charge Barden did not understand. He believed in the doctrine of separate but equal schools for Negro children, but . . . equal meant equal. As a member of the North Carolina State Legislature, he had been an advocate of paying Negro and white teachers the same, transporting the children of each race at State cost in the same manner, and providing buildings of the same quality.

Barden replied: “The charge of discrimination against Negroes is simply a piece of manufactured propaganda emanating from those who did not have the nerve to stand on the real objection to the bill, to wit that it prohibited the use of funds for private or parochial schools. Dealing specifically with the Negro question, my approach to this problem differed from the Senate approach. The Senate dealt with the Negro as a minority group. I dealt with them as being Americans for I fear it is a bad precedent for us to continue to legislate for minority groups.

When asked about the possibility of compromise, Barden [replied]:

“If you leave [the bill] open for supporting any private school [with public money], you leave it open for supporting any school that exists or may be organized – by anybody from the communists on up.”

(Graham A. Barden, Conservative Carolina Congressman, Elmer L. Puryear, Campbell University Press, 1979, excerpts, pp. 80-83; 86-89)

Origins of the Conflict: The Tallmadge Amendment

The words “disunion” and “civil war” were heard in the halls of Congress in early 1819 as Representative James Tallmadge of New York introduced his amendment to restrict slavery in the proposed State of Missouri. Though Tallmadge thought the action would help end slavery within a generation, Howell Cobb of Georgia said he had kindled a fire “which only seas of blood could extinguish.” The Missouri Compromise of 1820 did not include the amendment, but did prohibit slavery above the 36-30 parallel of the Louisiana Purchase, the southern boundary of Missouri.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Origins of the Conflict: The Tallmadge Amendment

“In 1812 the Territory of Orleans became the State of Louisiana, but meantime the District of Louisiana had been repeatedly reorganized [and by 1819] . . . the population of Missouri closely approximated sixty thousand which, according to precedents set in the Old Northwest, made a territory eligible for Statehood.

Successive Missouri legislatures petitioned Congress on the subject, and in 1819 the House Committee on Territories reported favorably a bill enabling Missouri . . . to draw up a constitution and make ready for Statehood.

It was at this juncture that Representative James Tallmadge of New York raised the question of setting limits to the expansion of slavery in the Louisiana Purchase. He proposed to amend the bill reported from committee by providing that the further introduction of slavery into Missouri should be forbidden, and that all children born of slave parents after the admission of the State should be free upon reaching the age of twenty-five years.

Until the introduction of the Tallmadge amendment, the slavery question had played little part in national politics. The problem of how slaves should be counted when apportioning representatives in Congress or assessing direct taxes on the States had been satisfactorily settled in the federal convention by the three-fifths compromise. Also, an earlier Congress had exercised its constitutional authority to pass a fugitive slave act, and the administration of this measure had so far provoked little criticism.

Moreover, slavery had long been regarded as a dying institution. The founders of the American nation had almost unanimously so considered it, Southerners no less than Northerners. Many of them were eager to speed the day when slavery should cease to exist throughout the whole country.

Washington emancipated his slaves by his will; Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin were prominent in the work of emancipation societies; Thomas Jefferson’s anti-slavery views were written into the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Almost by common consent the slave trade was forbidden in 1808, the earliest possible date under the Constitution.

Hostility to slavery during these early days of the republic was firmly grounded on the fact that the institution had ceased to be economically profitable. For this reason, even before the American Revolution, many of the colonies would have taken some anti slavery action had not the British government been so insistent on protecting the profits of British merchants engaged in the slave trade.

As soon as independence became a fact, one State after another took action against slavery . . . [but] the chief obstacle to abolition in the South, where slaves were far more numerous than in the North, was the perplexity felt about what to do with the freed slaves, but Southern emancipation societies were deeply concerned about this problem and were hopeful of finding a solution.

The discovery that cotton could be grown profitably by means of slave labor [with the cotton gin of Massachusetts inventor Eli Whitney, and] served to revive the institution of slavery just at the time when it had seemed destined to disappear.

(The Federal Union, History of the United States to 1865, John D. Hicks, Houghton Mifflin, 1948, excerpts, pp. 354-356)

North Carolinians Wary of the National Government

Though not alone in suspicions regarding the new federal agent in Washington, even North Carolina’s Federalists were surprised by Hamilton’s centralizing plans under the new Constitution. What they observed was a steady encroachment of powers assumed by that agent to the detriment of the States who considered themselves sovereign, not the agent.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

North Carolinians Wary of a National Government

“North Carolina accepted the federal Constitution more or less on faith yet with great confidence that the pending Bill of Rights would protect her and her people from the rash actions of a government that was remote from local control.

Her uncertainty grew out of long years of experience with an even more remote power in London, but the anticipated guarantee of the same rights that were mentioned in the Declaration of Rights in her own State constitution was assuring enough that she was willing at least to give the new government a trial.

Federalism flourished briefly even in North Carolina. Both senators and three of the five congressmen that she sent to the second session of the first national Congress were Federalists. When they took their seats, they discovered that Alexander Hamilton’s program to form a strong national government was being discussed. This was not to their liking nor, they reasoned, would it be to their constituent’s.

Hamilton’s plan to centralize power in the hands of the federal government distressed them, and they were disturbed by the tendency of the Federalist party to support a loose interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution. Such a policy would place more power in the hands of national officials than North Carolinians thought necessary or desirable.

Reaction against Federalism was demonstrated in the State by the refusal of members of the House of Commons in 1790 to take an oath to support the federal Constitution. The legislature also passed a vote of thanks to a State court of equity for refusing to obey a writ of the federal district court ordering the transfer of a case from State to federal jurisdiction.

Since United States senators were elected by the General Assembly, that body also undertook to instruct the senators in their duties as the State’s representatives. The State legislature clearly distrusted and feared the federal government. North Carolinians had a long tradition of resenting and even rejecting orders issued by outsiders, and they regarded the threat of federal directives as potentially just as oppressive as any that had come from England during the colonial period.

Even James Iredell, whose appointment to the Supreme Court by Washington in 1790 was a source of pride to the State, quickly became suspicious of the growing power of the national government.

He pointed out that the course the government appeared to be taking was not one that he had anticipated in 1788 or 1789. Justice Iredell’s dissenting opinion in 1794 in the case of Chisholm v. Georgia took issue with his Federalist colleagues who held that a citizen of one State could sue another State in federal court.

Iredell maintained that each State was still sovereign as to all powers that it had not delegated to the federal government, and he described the federal Constitution as a compact between sovereign States. Iredell’s view was widely hailed throughout the young nation, and it led to the adoption of the Eleventh Amendment depriving federal courts of jurisdiction in cases against a State by a citizen of another State.”

(North Carolina, A History: A Bicentennial History, William S. Powell, W.W. Norton, 1977, pp. 93-94)

 

Return to Original Principles

Below, Jefferson anticpates the constitutional crisis of the late 1850s and the need for the States to “arrest the march of government” which had been threatening its creators with military action since the days of Andrew Jackson. As he instructs, the solution to the crisis was a convening of the States to modify their agreement, not the agent warring upon a free people.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Return to Original Principles

“The [Supreme Court] judges are practicing on the Constitution by inferences, analogies, and sophisms, as they would on an ordinary law. They do not seem aware that it is not even a constitution, formed by a single authority, and subject to a single superintendence and control; but that it is a compact of many independent powers, every single one of which claims an equal right to understand it, and to require its observance.

However strong the cord of compact may be, there is a point of tension at which it will break. A few such doctrinal decisions . . . may induce [two or three large States] to join in arresting the march of government, and in arousing the co-States to pay some attention to what is passing, to bring back the compact to its original principles, or to modify it legitimately by the express consent of the parties themselves, and not by the usurpation of their created agents.

They imagine they can lead us into a consolidated government, while their road leads directly to its dissolution. (Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1825; The Jefferson Cyclopedia, Funk & Wagnalls, 1900, page 191)

Nov 19, 2016 - Antebellum Realities, Emancipation, From Africa to America, Jeffersonian America, Southern Conservatives, Southern Statesmen    Comments Off on Jefferson Seeks a Solution to Slavery

Jefferson Seeks a Solution to Slavery

Jefferson wrote that slavery was a cancer that must be gotten rid of, and believed that philosophy was gaining ground on selfishness. “If this [slavery] can be rooted out and our land filled with freemen, union preserved and the spirit of liberty maintained and cherished I think in 25 or 20 years we shall have nothing to fear from the rest of the world [condemning slavery in America].” Jefferson knew, as did all the Framers, that the British colonial labor system had burdened America with this deplorable cancer to be dealt with.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Jefferson Seeks a Solution to Slavery

“From what fund are these expenses [for repatriating the Negro to Africa] to be furnished? Why not from that of the lands which have been ceded by the very States now needing this relief? And ceded on no consideration, for the most part, but that of the general good of the whole.

These cessions already constitute one-fourth of the States of the Union. It may be said that these lands have been sold; are now the property of the citizens composing those States; and the money long ago received and expended.

But an equivalent of lands in the territories since acquired may be appropriated to that object, or so much, at least, as may be sufficient; and the object, although more important to the slave States, is highly so to the others also, if they were serious in their arguments on the Missouri question.

The slave States, too, if more interested, would also contribute more by their gratuitous liberation, thus taking on themselves alone the first and heaviest item of expense.”

(Thomas Jefferson to Jared Sparks, 1824; The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, Funk & Wagnalls, 1900. pp. 154-155)

 

North and South Before the Alien Tide

The colonies North and South before the Revolution had little in common other than being transplanted Britons; Southern troops were there to help the North in the war it initiated over trade and taxes. The model of American statesmanship was the Southern planter-aristocrat until the arrival of Andrew Jackson – seen as the product of the ragged edges of British civilization. Such a product, also, was Abraham Lincoln.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

North and South Before the Alien Tide

“New Englanders at all stages in the history of the country have busied themselves so actively with advertising in print their part in the making of America; the compact circle of New England authors before the war managed so effectively to enhance each other’s reputations by piling criticism on authorship and authorship on criticism again; that most foreigners and many busty Americans have absorbed the notion that American character is a New England product, and “culture” a plant nourished solely in that region.

This idea has been reinforced by the assiduity of New Englanders since the war, in working over their material, in composing voluminous biographies, appreciations, memoirs, poems, critiques, histories, about every New Englander whoever wrote a book, or, indeed, did anything out of the ordinary.

As a matter of fact, what is called the Puritan influence, what is fathered on the New England conscience, is not essentially Puritan at all; it is British seriousness, aggravated by a hand-to-hand conflict with a new country, and th4e responsibility for it is shared about equally by Massachusetts and Virginia.

The truth is, that so long as America was distinctly a nation of transplanted Britons, the New England conscience, so-called, was a common heritage of all. It is only since the flood of alien blood has swamped the country and diluted the original strain that this conscience has ceased to be the common standard, however modified as to particular judgments by differences in the conditions to be faced.

In New England proper at one time, for instance, it approved capital punishment for witches, promoted piracy and drew sustenance from the [transatlantic] slave traffic.

In the South, at another period, it sanctioned the duel and the holding of the involuntary black man in bondage. At the present time, because the white population of the South is still is of predominantly British descent, because the alien has not swarmed over the land and diluted the original stock, the last stronghold of New England conscience is actually below Mason and Dixon’s line, with its citadel in Richmond, Va.

The thing survives, in spots, in New England also, but only in little pools and back waters not yet reached by the tide. Even the presence of the Negro, with his stone-age morals, has not sufficed to destroy it in the South – though it has, of course, modified it – for the Negro stands outside the stream.

In the first place, then, the Briton in the South, even if he were not descended from the landed gentry, a special breed of masters of other men in the old country, presently developed for himself a special breed of masters of men by reason of his training on the plantation where he ruled over many. At the same time he gained a boldness, and initiative, an adaptability quite foreign to the stay-at-home Briton. For he had to rule over an alien and barbaric people in a new and unformed country strange to him and to them.”

(Contributions of the South to the Character and Culture of the North, H.I. Brock; History of the Literary and Intellectual Life of the Southern States, Volume VII, Samuel Chiles Mitchell, editor, Southern Publication Society, 1909, pp. 269-271)

Uncontrolled Power of the Radicals

While the Northern States held African slaves there was no external anti-slavery agitation that threatened them with slave revolt and race war — those States settled their slavery question peacefully and in their own time. The American South wanted to peacefully resolve the question as well but faced relentless agitation fomenting slave revolt and race war by Northern fanatics. After crushing the South militarily, assuring Northern political control of the country required harnessing the freedmen to the Republican Party, and the notorious Union League was the vehicle to accomplish this. The Ku Klux Klan was the predictable result of the Union League.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Uncontrolled Power of the Radicals

“While [President Jefferson] Davis was suffering . . . in his prison cell . . . like a dark cloud in the sky was the determination of the Northern Radicals to prevent [Andrew Johnson’s] moderate policy [toward the defeated South]. In a letter to Thomas F. Bayard, on 11 November 1865, Benjamin, referring to the grave Negro problem which had remained after the emancipation of the slaves, said:

“If the Southern States are allowed without interference to regulate the transition of the Negro from his former state to that of a freed man they will eventually work out the problem successfully, though with great difficulty and trouble, and I doubt not that the recuperative energy of the people will restore a large share of their former material prosperity much sooner than it is generally believed.”

Yet he added this warning:

“But if [the Southern people] are obstructed and thwarted by the fanatics, and if external influences are brought to bear on the Negro and influence his ignorant fancy with wild dreams of social and political equality, I shudder for the bitter future which is now in store for my unhappy country.”

A year afterwards, in late October 1866, Jefferson Davis was being treated more humanely, but Benjamin wrote [James H.] Mason that he greatly feared “an additional rigorous season, passed in confinement should prove fatal.” And he added bitterly:

“It is the most shameful outrage that such a thing should be even possible, but I have ceased hope anything like justice or humanity demands from the men who seem now to have uncontrolled power over public affairs in the United States. I believe [Andrew] Johnson would willingly release Mr. Davis, but he is apparently cowed by the overbearing violence of the Radicals and dare not act in accordance with his judgment.”

(Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Statesman, Robert Douthat Meade, Oxford University Press, 1943, excerpts, pp. 340-342)

 

Oct 29, 2016 - Recurring Southern Conservatism, Southern Conservatives, Southern Patriots, Southern Statesmen, Withdrawing from the Union    Comments Off on Judah P. Benjamin, Legal Giant of His Age

Judah P. Benjamin, Legal Giant of His Age

Only a year after the fall of the Confederacy, Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin had become a British barrister – by 1868 he had risen to Queen’s Counsel. An advocate of using former slaves in Southern armies, Benjamin saw that after the Confederate Congress approved of this in March 1865, no longer could the North claim it was fighting a war to free the slaves. Benjamin was severely injured in a streetcar crash in May 1880; against his physician’s advice, he returned to his law practice but was forced to retire in 1883.  He died ten months later in Paris.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Judah P. Benjamin, Legal Giant of His Age

“Judah Philip Benjamin, Louisiana’s most illustrious lawyer, was born a British subject of Jewish descent on the island of St. Thomas, West Indies, on August 6, 1811. As a child he moved with his parents to Charleston, South Carolina, and was educated at Fayette Academy, [Fayetteville] North Carolina, with two years at Yale. He left Yale at seventeen to accept a position with a commercial house in New Orleans. Poor but resolute, he supplemented his wages as a tutor in English.

Later employed as a clerk in a notary’s office Benjamin prepared for the law and passed the State bar examinations in 1832, just as he came of age. He gained something of a local reputation because of a published digest of decisions of the [United States] Supreme Court and rose rapidly at the bar. His part in the celebrated Creole case, involving delicate questions of international law, gave him national standing.

In his prosperity he purchased a plantation and made a study of sugar chemistry and new refining processes.

He was elected to the State legislature as a Whig in 1842, and ten years later to the United States Senate, serving two consecutive terms. He was the leading spirit in drafting the State constitution in 1852.

Active in the commercial development of New Orleans, Benjamin was one of the organizers of the Jackson Railway, now the Illinois Central. He projected a railway across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico, and was of the opinion that the Compromise of 1850 placed the South at a national disadvantage that only an outlet to the trade of the Pacific could overcome.

When Lincoln was elected president, Benjamin advocated secession, and shortly after the withdrawal of Louisiana, he made a brilliant speech of resignation to the Senate.

Three weeks later [President] Jefferson Davis called him to the Confederacy’s cabinet as attorney general. Phlegmatic in temperament, Benjamin’s personality was a complement to the President’s high-strung spirit. Davis made him secretary of war in 1861, just when the problem of obtaining munitions from Europe had become acute . . . [and later] Davis appointed him secretary of state.

In 1864-65, Benjamin believed the cause of the Confederacy so acute that only the enrollment of slaves as volunteers, with the promise of freedom, could stem the tide. [After Congress had approved the use of black troops] an agent was sent to London, promising general emancipation in return for British aid in lifting the federal blockade. He was told that he had come too late.

When Richmond fell, Benjamin fled with the President’s party [but before Davis’ capture], Benjamin, unable travel farther on a horse, left his chief and escaped from the coast of Florida in an open boat. After many vicissitudes he made his way to the West Indies and to England.

At fifty-five he started life all over as a student of English law at Lincoln’s Inn in London. With a little money he eked out a livelihood as a writer for the Daily Telegraph. In recognition of his talents, the Benchers of his Inn of Court waived the usual three-years’ rule, calling him to the bar after less than five months.

Liverpool was the market for Southern cotton, and its business leaders had many connections with the merchants and shippers of New Orleans. Benjamin located in that circuit just as the last of his little fortune was swept away by the failure of his bank in New Orleans.

He had been engaged in the preparation of a Treatise on the Law of Sale of Personal Property which he published in 1868. Retainers immediately poured in upon him. He was made Queen’s Counsel, qualified to practice in all courts of common law and equity, and established himself without superior in cases on appeal.

His annual fees reached seventy-five thousand dollars, and his practiced increased until he was forced to confine his talents to cases before the House of Lords and Privy Council. Between 1872 and 1882, he appeared as counsel in no less than 136 important cases which came from every part of the British Empire.

Lawyer and statesman, known as the “Brains of the Confederacy,” Judah P. Benjamin was one of the legal giants of his age. His source of power lay in his profound knowledge of the law, his keen sense for analysis, and his faculty for succinct statement. Dynamic in determination, he rose again and again from defeat and poverty to success and fortune.”

(Judah P. Benjamin; Sons of the South, Clayton Rand, Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1961, excerpts, pg. 112)