The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Memminger, Christopher Gustavus

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MEMMINGER, mĕm'mĭn-jėr, Christopher Gustavus, American politician, secretary of Treasury in the Confederate government: b. Württemberg, Germany 17 Jan. 1803; d. 7 March 1888. He was brought to America in infancy, and was educated at South Carolina College. He studied law; began to practise in Charleston in 1825; entered politics as a leader of the Union party; attacked the States' Rights party in a satire called ‘The Book of Nullification’ (1832); reformed the public school system of the State, and for 20 years was in the State legislature, much of the time acting as head of the finance committee. In 1859, after John Brown's raid, he was commissioned by South Carolina to consult with other delegates in Virginia as to the best method of warding off attacks of Abolitionists. From the formation of the Confederacy until June 1864 he was Secretary of Treasury, and his mistaken policy in that office did much to ruin the Confederacy financially.