The Papers of Jefferson Davis
 
The Papers of Jefferson Davis

Photograph by Montgomery C. Meigs, 1859 Library of Congress

 

 

From Judah P. Benjamin 

4 Lamb Building

Temple— 28th May 1867

My Dear Friend

It is impossible to express to you the joy with which we have at last received the long wished for news of your release from the cruel and wicked imprisonment to which you have been subjected — For two long years you have never for a day been absent from our thoughts, and whenever “two or three were gathered together” you were the sole theme of our conversation, and of constant anxious but vain discussion as to the possibility of doing any thing for your relief—

I have not for eighteen months past had the least idea that there was any purpose to bring you to trial on the indictment, but I feared interminable confinement, ruining yr health, and undermining your spirits — I could well also judge of the effect of the constant yearning for the sight of your little ones — Now this anxiety is at an end, but I am shocked at some of the accounts I have seen of yr altered appearance, of whitened hairs and excessive loss of flesh – I can only hope that the breath of the fresh and free air, and the solace of unrestrained intercourse with wife, children, and friends will act effect a complete change, and restore you to the enjoyment of the horse-back exercise so needful to yr constitution —

Pray write me a long, long letter, telling me how you are, whether you are improving in strength since your release, and how is dear Mrs Davis and Maggie and Jeff and Willie, and “Pie cake” – How these names recall to me the anxious hours when we could not but perceive that our holy and sacred cause was gradually crumbling under a pressure too grievous to be borne, and when we looked every where in vain for some sign of sympathy, some promise of help, some ray of hope –

MacRae and I are left here alone, and he is going soon to British Honduras with a view to settlement – no man ever had a truer or more devoted friend than you have in him, and since Mr Mason’s departure his is the only one with whom I have the least pleasure in talking over the past – Hotze is as faithful as ever, but he is engaged on the continent in connection with Reuter’s Express Co. & I seldom meet him – My wife and daughter are incessant in their enquiries about you and Mrs Davis – Their sympathy was of course all the grater from the fact that they were for some months utterly without means of knowing whether I was alive or dead  They have just gone to the waters of Luchon, for the health of both is not quite what I should desire – As for myself, you know already all that I could tell you – I am hard at work, just making a living and no more, but most thankful that I can do this, when I know that while I am now here in peace, and free from suffering, our country is reduced to the deplorable condition in which it now is – I will say nothing however of public matters of which you have more than enough from those about you, but close with a warm and earnest pressure of your hand – Ever yours truly      

                                                                                                                          J.P. Benjamin

Breckenridge is here & well - Speaks of going back to Canada in the fall  

 

From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 12, pp 203-205.  Transcribed from the original at the College of William and Mary, Davis Collection.

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The Papers of Jefferson Davis
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