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Return to Private Life-His Death.
HE memorial of Mr. Memminger, praying to be admitted to the benefits of the amnesty procla
mation of President Johnson, distinctly sets forth the reasons that induced him to enter the service of the Confederate States, and why he now desired to be restored to the rights of a citizen in the United States. It is in these words:
To His Excellency Andrew Johnson, President of the United States:
The memorial of C. G. Memminger, of South Carolina, respectfully showeth
That your memorialist is excluded from the benefit of the amnesty ⚫proclamation of the President of the United States under two of the exceptions made therein-namely, that which excepts persons who held office under the late Confederate government, and that which excludes persons whose property exceeded twenty thousand dollars in value.
Your memorialist engaged in the late war with the United States under the conviction that his duty to the State of South Carolina, of which he was a citizen, required him to do so. That State in the year of 1834, by a convention of her people, asserted the doctrine that paramount allegiance was due to her, and by an amendment of her Constitution required a corresponding oath from her citizens, which oath your memorialist has been repeatedly required to take as a public officer. In 1851 another convention asserted the right to secede from the Union, and in 1860 that assertion was practically put in operation by an ordinance of secession. In 1865 the State by another convention has repealed this ordinance and resumed her place in the Union, and by a change of the State Constitution has receded from the position taken in 1834 and in 1851, and thereby relieves her citizens from the conflicting duties of obedience to the Federal and State authorities. Under these circumstances your memorialist, with the same sincerity and conviction of duty which has hitherto governed him, respectfully proffers his submission to the authorities of the United States, and hereby declares [ 380 ]
his readiness to discharge the duties of a citizen of the United States. He has accordingly taken the oath required by the amnesty proclamation, a copy whereof is hereunto annexed, and respectfully prays that the benefits of the said amnesty may be extended to him, and that he may be admitted to all the privileges of a citizen of the United States; and your memorialist will ever pray, etc.
Pending the consideration of this memorial the home of Mr. Memminger in Charleston continued to be occupied by the Freedmen's Bureau. Time and again he had applied for its restoration without avail. Finally, and as the result of an appeal to the President and to his Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, orders were issued to the Commissioner at Charleston to provide another place for the negro "orphan" children and restore Mr. Memminger to his property "at a reasonable rental until the decision of the President shall be had with regard to his pardon." This "pardon" finally came, and Mr. Memminger was fully restored to all of his “rights, immunities and privileges" as a citizen of the United States.
I give the order of the Commissioner restoring him to the possession of his home as one of the curiosities of that period. HEADQUARTERS ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER BUREAU REFUGEES, FREEDMEN AND ABANDONED LANDS, SOUTH CAROLINA, Charleston, S. C., January 7, 1867.
C. G. Memminger, an applicant for the restoration of house and lot, corner of Wentworth and Smith streets, Charleston, S. C., held by the "Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands," having conformed to the requirements of Circular 15, of said Bureau, dated Washington, D. C., September 12, 1865, the aforesaid property is hereby restored to his possession; it being understood that such restoration does not include the rents or other profits that may have accrued to the United States government during the time the said property has been in his possession, and that the aforesaid C. G. Memminger relinquishes all claims against the United States government for damages.
By direction of the War Department this property is restored subject to the present occupancy of the premises for military purposes.
R. K. SCOTT, Brevet Major-General, Assistant Commissioner.
If the presence of this order from one who was notorious in South Carolina for his method of filling his purse should
mar this page, it is nevertheless a historic document, and will give to the reader one of the many "forms of law," by which our helpless people were deprived of their property, and in some instances, were reduced to actual want.
It was not long after this order was issued before the liberal application of disinfectants with the painter's brush and the mechanic's skill had made the dear old home again to look as in days of yore, and the happy family were once more gathered together at its fireside altars.
Mr. Memminger rejoined his faithful partner, Mr. William Jervey, and commenced again the active practice of law. Returning to the responsibilities which, for some time, he had to a great extent, transferred to his faithful partner, Mr. Memminger found him at his post of duty ready to aid him in labors inseparable from the proper discharge of professional obligations. Beyond the friendly regard, which a long and pleasant relation had engendered, Mr. Memminger was much attached to Mr. Jervey. His integrity as a man, and many manly virtues, had, by a moral law of affinity, drawn these good men together in relations that had assumed the closest friendship. Mr. Memminger was not one of those whose confidence could be easily won, and was seldom mistaken in his estimate of character. As his respect for the revealed character of an individual grew his friendship slowly, but certainly followed; the one preceded the other as a cause goes before an effect. I can best give the reader an outline of the character of Mr. Jervey by extracting from the proceedings of the "Bar Associa tion" of Charleston, the address of Mr. Memminger, as reported in the Charleston Daily News, of September 15, 1870, It is as follows:
Colonel C. G. Memminger introduced the following preamble and resolutions, and spoke in the most glowing terms of Mr. Jervey. His words were beautifully chosen, and showed that he keenly felt the loss of his friend and colleague of thirty years, during the whole of which