Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White - Vol. 1

By Andrew Dickson White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVI
AS ATTACHÉ AT ST. PETERSBURG -- 1854-1855

W HILE yet an undergraduate at Yale, my favorite studies in history and some little attention to international law led me to take special interest in the diplomatic relations between modern states; but it never occurred to me that I might have anything to do directly with them.

Having returned to New Haven after my graduation, intending to give myself especially to modern languages as a preparation for travel and historical study abroad, I saw one day, from my window in North College, my friend Gilman, then of the class above mine, since president of Johns Hopkins University and of the Carnegie Institution, rushing along in great haste, and, on going out to greet him, learned that he had been invited by Governor Seymour of Connecticut, the newly appointed minister to Russia, to go with him as an attaché, and that, at his suggestion, a similar invitation would be extended to me.

While in doubt on the matter, I took the train for New York to consult my father, and, entering a car, by a happy chance found the only vacant place at the side of the governor. I had never seen him, except on the platform at my graduation, three months before; but on my introducing myself, he spoke kindly of my argument on that occasion, which, as he was "pro-slavery" and I "anti-slavery," I had supposed he would detest; then talked pleasantly on various subjects, and, on our separating at New York, invited me so cordially to go to Russia with him that I then

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