Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 40.djvu/246
Southern Historical Society Papers.
not a model of diction and rhetoric. While not given to levity or jocular he was a most genial and agreeable companion. Mr. Harrison (in Century Magazine, November, 1883) says that on that memorable retreat of President Davis and his Cabinet and officers, "as long as he (Benjamin) remained with us, his cheery, good humor and his readiness to adapt himself to the requirement of all emergencies made him a most agreeable comrade."
This cheery courage and readiness to adapt himself to the requirements of all emergencies stood him in good stead in the bitter hours that followed that retreat. When he came to London he was a destitute fugitive, a man of the comparatively advanced age of fifty-five years, had much to learn and much to unlearn, for American law while founded on English, yet diverges from it in many ways and differs in many technicalities of practice. But he set to work with that characteristic, tireless energy, and not only did he overcome these disadvantages, but he coped with the elite of the English bar, and repeated in England the legal triumphs he had won in America. He won the enviable position of Queen's Counsellor. He published not long after his admission to the English bar a work on the sale of property known as "Benjamin on Sales," which is today yet one of the standard authorities in law, as much so as Blackstone's Commentaries.
On his service to the Confederacy but few words need be said. No history of that lost, lamented, yet much loved cause can fail to recognize his work. He won by that work recognition, even from opponents, as the "Brain of the Confederacy." He was to the government at Richmond what Lee was to the army in the field. He gave to it all he had, the full powers of his magnificent intellect, the great force of his untiring energy, his fortune and his all. He carried over sea with him his love of the Southland, to whose memory he was loyal to his last breath and to whose sufferers he never failed to give sucocr when again his labors had brought him to bask in the sunshine of prosperity.The speaker then referred to Mr. Benjamin's labors in behalf of the South while in the Senate, of his eloquent and convincing defense, first of Louisiana in particular, and of the South in general. He referred also to Mr. Benjamin's retirement from