Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 32.djvu/184

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172 Southern Historical Society Papers.

clever-looking middle-aged gentleman made his appearance, to whom I was presented and my wish stated. Mr. Watson very gra- ciously gave me his card, after writing on the back the necessary permission. He received my thanks, and after a few commonplace remarks, bowed himself out. The next day I " took in " the House of Lords and House of Commons; the first I noted with the critical eye of an American, the other in a more kindly spirit.

The next time I met my distinguished friend and compatriot was in the summer of 1878. I had been abroad several months and had returned to London from Paris, only intending stopping in London a few days before going to Liverpool to take a steamer for New York. In this interval I experienced the misfortune imposed by a member of the light-fingered fraternity in being relieved of my purse containing my homeward fare of some $85. My traveling companions were in Liverpool waiting for me to join them. I did not wish them to know of my loss, so I called on Mr. Benjamin and borrowed 17 guineas, which he kindly and cheerfully loaned me; and then, without any solicitation, he also very thoughtfully gave me a most friendly and commendatory letter to Messrs. Cook & Sons, well-known cotton brokers of Liverpool. This firm showed me several kindnesses while in their great commercial city, showing me the immense shipping, etc., of that port. I herewith append a copy of the autographic letter I received from him about the loan and which I value for his well-known signature :

BIARRITS, PYRENEES, FRANCE,

27th September, 1878.

My Dear Sir, Your two letters of 27th August and 6th Sep- tember followed me here from London, and I have since received a cheque for seventeen guineas from the National Bank of New York, in payment of the amount advanced to you, all which is quite in order.

I am glad to hear of your safe return home., and trust you will never in future fall into the hands of the "Philistines" again.

Yours very truly,

J. P. BENJAMIN. C. A. Richardson, Esq., Staunton, Va.

After our last meeting in August, 1878, I only saw occasional notices of the great lawyer in some of the English papers, and from time to time they mentioned his declining health. I felt sad when I heard of his death in Paris, May 6, 1884, in the 72d year of his age.