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The New International Encyclopædia/Memminger, Christopher Gustavus

MEMMINGER, mĕm'mĭn-jĕr, Christopher Gustavus (1803-88). An American political leader, Secretary of the Treasury in the Government of the Confederate States, he was born in Württemberg, Germany, but was brought at an early age to South Carolina by his mother, who died not long after their arrival. He was for a time in an orphan asylum in Charleston, and was then adopted by Thomas Bennett, afterwards Governor. Memminger graduated from South Carolina College in 1820, studied law, and practiced in Charleston. He was an opponent of Calhoun, and in 1832 wrote the Book of Nullification, a satire in biblical style upon that leader's favorite doctrine. He was for many years a member of the State Legislature, and for nearly twenty years was the head of the finance committee. In January, 1860, he was sent as a special conunissioner to Virginia in order to induce that State to enter a scheme for obtaining redress of Southern grievances. Some months later he was one of the leaders in the convention which declared that the connection of South Carolina with the United States was dissolved. Upon the formation of the Confederacy, he was made Secretary of the Treasury, which office he held until June, 1864, when he resigned. He was responsible for the disastrous financial policy of the Confederate Government. For an account of his administration, consult Schwab, The Confederate States of America, 1861-65: A Financial and Industrial History of the South During the Civil War (New York, 1901).