378 Southern Historical Society Papers.
[From the Charleston News and Courier, January, 1898.]
JUDAH P. BENJAMIN.
[See Ante, pp. 297-302.]
We are indebted to the Hon. James Sprunt, of Wilmington, N. C., for another interesting contribution in regard to the early life of Judah P. Benjamin. He is confirmed in his opinion that Mr. Benja- min lived in Fayetteville, N. C. , and attended the " Fayetteville Academy," where he attained distinction in his studies, and was prepared for college. His conviction is based upon ' ' the competent testimony of the venerable R. C. Belden, Esq., of this State" (North Carolina), "who was an intimate friend and schoolmate of young Benjamin." We publish both Mr. Sprunt's letter, and Mr. Belden's statement to-day.
In the absence of other testimony, we would say that Mr. Sprunt had made out his case; the most that we can concede, however, in view of abundant testimony upon the subject, is that Mr. Benjamin may have been a pupil at the Fayetteville Academy for perhaps a year. Indeed, this is all that Mr. Belden claims. It is admitted generally, that the Benjamins came to the United States when Judah was only [four or five years of age, and Mr. Ezekiel says that the time of their immigration was 1815. Mr. Belden says that Judah and his brother Solomon, and his sister Hannah, "came to Fayette- ville in 1825, lived with their uncle and aunt, and became pupils in the Fayetteville Academy," and that "Judah was a classmate of mine during his stay in Fayetteville." Continuing, Mr. Belden says: "Mr. Levy" (Judah's uncle), "desiring to enlarge his business, removed with his sister" (Mrs. Wright), "and the Benjamins to New Orleans, in 1826.
If they prove anything, these statements prove that Judah could not have been in Fayetteville much more than one year; if, indeed, he were ever there at all, except with the Confederate Cabinet on its flight from Richmond at the close of the war in 1865. If he arrived in Fayetteville on January r, 1825, and departed thence on December 31, 1826, he could not have been in Fayetteville more than two years. It is admitted by Mr. Belden that the Benjamins came to Charleston from the West Indies, and the time of their arrival here,