Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White, Volume II - Andrew Dickson White

Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White, Volume II: By Andrew Dickson White

DURING four years after my return from service as minister to Germany I devoted myself to the duties of the presidency at Cornell, and on resigning that position gave all time possible to study and travel, with reference to the book on which I was then engaged: ‘‘A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology.’’

But in 1892 came a surprise. In the reminiscences of my political life I have given an account of a visit, with Theodore Roosevelt, Cabot Lodge, Sherman Rogers, and others, to President Harrison at the White House, and of some very plain talk, on both sides, relating to what we thought shortcomings of the administration in regard to reform in the civil service. Although President Harrison greatly impressed me at the time by the clearness and strength of his utterances, my last expectation in the world would have been of anything in the nature of an appointment from him. High officials do not generally think very well of people who comment unfavorably on their doings or give them unpleasant advice; this I had done, to the best of my ability, in addressing the President; and great, therefore, was my astonishment when, in 1892, he tendered me the post of minister plenipotentiary at St. Petersburg.

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