Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Memminger, Charles Gustavus

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MEMMINGER, Charles Gustavus, financier, b. in Würtemberg, Germany, 9 Jan., 1803; d. in Charleston, S. C., 7 March, 1888. His mother, a widow, emigrated to Charleston, S. C., when he was an infant, and soon died. At the age of nine years he was adopted by Gov. Thomas Bennett. He was graduated at the South Carolina college in 1820, began to practise law in Charleston in 1825, and was a leader of the Union party during the nullification excitement. He published “The Book of Nullification” (1832-'3), satirizing the advocates of the doctrine in biblical style. In 1836 he was elected to the legislature, where he opposed the suspension of specie payments by the banks in 1839. He assisted the attorney-general in the prosecution of the principal case, which resulted in a decision that the banks had forfeited their charters. For nearly twenty years he was at the head of the finance committee in the lower house of the legislature, from which he retired in 1852. He was again returned in 1854, having become particularly interested in the reformation of the public-school system. In 1859 he was a commissioner from South Carolina to Virginia to secure co-operation against the movements of abolitionists. He was appointed secretary of the Confederate treasury in February, 1861, and resigned in June, 1864. After the civil war he lived in retirement.