Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Judah P. Benjamin was CSA cabinet member

Benjamin appeared on the CSA two-dollar bill. Top left: Gamble Mansion in Ellenton, where Benjamin hid.
It is the birthday of Judah P. Benjamin (1811), who served in several cabinet positions for the Confederate States of America. He was born in the West Indies but came with his family to the United States and became a citizen. While serving as U.S. senator from Louisiana, Benjamin felt insulted by something Sen. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi said about him on the Senate floor so he challenged Davis to a duel. Davis apologized and the two became close friends. When Louisiana seceded from the Union, Benjamin resigned his post. CSA President Jefferson Davis appointed Benjamin Attorney General, then later Secretary of War and then Secretary of State. When the Confederacy collapsed, Benjamin and other cabinet members fled to escape prosecution. Benjamin took refuge at the Gamble Mansion in Ellenton near Bradenton and eventually escaped to the Bahamas and traveled to England, where he became a successful corporate lawyer. Benjamin wrote Treatise on the Law of Sale of Personal Property (1868), still considered an important work in commercial law in England.

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