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HE period immediately succeeding the recognition of the United States as a government in the family of nations, was one of active emigration to the land announced as the abiding place of
“Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.”
The genius of our institutions of government had been thus represented and declared among the people of Europe in the aphorism above quoted. Whether this declaration was but the proclaimed theory of the French Jacobin, or whether it was more of a fact than a fancy, I will not attempt to discuss. Nevertheless this is a fact. As in the early Colonial days, so at this time thousands from one consideration or another moving them, left the plains, the hills, and the mountains of the Continent and the Kingdom of Great Britain, to find new homes in the land of promise beyond the great Atlantic Ocean.
From among these emigrants the States forming the New Confederation received some of their best citizens: men and women who have left their impress upon our civilization and who, by their works, are declared to the living and to the generations yet to learn of their virtues and to honor their memories.
South Carolina received to her generous bosom many of these worthy people, and has in the record of their history for the past century, reason to be grateful to the Providence that made them her sons and daughters.
The history of the State cannot be written without detailing their virtues of manhood and womanhood. Among these, none have become more illustrious, none have served their country more faithfully, none have left a better record for the careful study of posterity than he, whose history I am endeavoring to preserv
History is, at best, but a well stated narrative of facts It is not fiction, however much these facts may have associated with them the circumstances of romance. To gather the facts of a personal history running through a half century of active public life, is by no means an easy task, even to one who may have been the contemporary of the person whose history he would write; but when one is dependent upon the records of a public kind, that have been scattered or destroyed, and upon the kindness of those who were actors in the scenes of so long a drama, the difficulties that embarrass his undertaking become so great that he is at times almost in despair. It is much to be regretted that our great men do not leave to posterity at least an autobiographical sketch, a journal, if you please, containing the leading events of their lives; for the saying of Doctor Samuel Johnson is, to an extent, true,
“A man's life is best written by himself.”
These lives are so active, and their engagements so exacting, that there is but little time for this. Fortunately the writer has been enabled to gather the facts of this history from the most reliable sources. Whenever he has only a tradition, it will be so stated, and whenever he makes a statement as a fact, the reader may depend upon this statement being supported by the most undoubted authority.
N the ninth day of January, one thousand eight hundred and three, was born in the town of Nayhingen, in the Dukedom of Würtemberg, Germany, CHRISTOPHER GUSTAVUS MEMMINGER, only son of Christopher Godfrey Memminger, Quartermaster of the Prince-Elector's Battalion of Foot Jægers, or Riflemen, and Eberhardina Elisabeth Memminger, whose maiden name had been Kohler.
The following certificate of the birth and baptism of the remarkable man whose history I am writing, is taken from the Register of Baptisms and duly signed by the Deacon in charge at the time it was executed. The certificate, in the German language, is as follows:
Den 9. Januar, 1803, wurde hier ehelich geboren und den 10. besselben Monats getauft:
Die Eltern sind:
Herr Christoph Gottfried Memminger, Duartier Meister bey dem churfürstlichen Fuß Jäger Batallion, und Fr. Eberhardina Elisabetha-geb. Kohlerin.
Herr Johann Michael Kohler, Rathsverwandter und Weißgerber, und bessen Ehefrau, Frax Sabina Magdalena, Großeltern, und Frau Sabina Gaugerin, Goldarbeiters in Slutt. gart Ehefrau.
Daß vorstehende Angabe dem hiesigen Laufbuche conform sey bezeugt.