GENERAL GRANT AND SANTO DOMINGO -- 1868-1871
D URING the two or three years following my senatorial term, work in the founding and building of Cornell University was so engrossing that there was little time for any effort which could be called political. In the early spring of 1868. 1 went to Europe to examine institutions for scientific and technological instruction, and to secure professors and equipment, and during about six months I visited a great number of such schools, especially those in agriculture, mechanical, civil, and mining engineering and the like in England, France, Germany, and Italy; bought largely of books and apparatus, discussed the problems at issue with Europeans who seemed fessors, and returned in September just in time to take part in the opening of Cornell University and be inaugurated as its first president. Of all this I shall speak more in detail hereafter.
There was no especial temptation to activity in the political campaign of that year; for the election of General Grant was sure, and my main memory of the period is a visit to Auburn to hear Mr. Seward.
It had been his wont for many years, when he came home to cast his vote, to meet his neighbors on the eve of the election and give his views of the situation and of its resultant duties. These occasions had come to be anticipated with the deepest interest by the whole region round about, and what had begun as a little gathering of neigh