Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 32.djvu/181

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Judah P. Benjamin.

[From the New Orleans, La, Picayune, March 6, 1904.]


Recollections of the Great Confederate Secretary of State.


In a memorable address delivered a few months ago in Richmond, Va., the Honorable John Goode, in speaking of Judah P. Benjamin, described him as "the great." This ascription of greatness to Benjamin has often been made tentatively, but the time is, without doubt, fast approaching when the fame of this eminent man will be universally recognized. Benjamin was one of the most remarkable men that the United States has produced, and the fact that he was a son of Louisiana is one of which the State may be well proud. It was the writer's honor to meet Mr. Benjamin a number of times and to become well acquainted with him in the summer of 1873. At this time Mr. Benjamin was enjoying a most lucrative law practice, and had his office in Lamb's Building, Temple Bar, London. This pleasant acquaintance was most happily renewed and continued five years later, when I was again sojourning in the great English metropolis.

I had several times seen Mr. Benjamin some ten years previously, when he was a prominent figure in the councils of the Southern Confederacy, filling the positions respectively, of Secretary of War and Secretary of State in President Davis' cabinet. Then I was only a well-grown lad in my teens, serving in the army of the Confederate States. I had often heard of the great reputation he had earned in the United States Senate before the Civil war. I also knew of him as a famous lawyer. I had heard of him getting the best of Daniel Webster in an argument before the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Benjamin, while serving his two terms in the United States Senate, was considered one of the ablest lawyers of the country. The brilliant array of talent and statesmanship furnished the Senate by the South, just preceding the Civil war, was