who has ever adorned it, and we all feel that if our profes- sion has afforded him hospitality, he has repaid it, amply repaid it, not only by the reputation which his learning has brought to us, but by that which is far more important, the honor his conduct has gained for us." ^^ Few men can show a higher testimonial to character than that.
Now let us turn to the political aspects of this varied career. The Senate reports in the *' Congressional Globe " during the later fifties show how constant and how many- sided was Benjamin's activity. What has struck me, especially in some of the large semi-private interests that he espoused, is that he failed. He should not have failed. He may have been a great lawyer. To be a great man, he failed too often.
On public questions he invariably took the extreme Southern view ; but it is characteristic that he did this without exciting animosity. No senator seems to have been more popular on both sides of the house, and his adversaries regarded him with respect, sometimes even with affection.
When the Confederate Government was organized, Benjamin was first made attorney- general. From this position he quickly passed to that of secretary of war. Here again he was a failure. He had no special knowl- edge, and this made him obnoxious to soldiers. Even his extraordinary quickness and business instinct were hardly equal to learning a new profession in the com- plicated conditions then prevailing. Charges of laxity