Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Washburne, Elihu Benjamin
WASHBURNE, ELIHU BENJAMIN, an American statesman; born in Livermore, Me., Sept. 23, 1816. He early tried journalism, but abandoned it to study law at Harvard; was admitted to the bar in 1840 and began practice in Galena, Ill. He was elected to Congress in 1852 and held office till 1869, when he was appointed Secretary of State by President Grant, and soon after minister plenipotentiary to France. During the Franco-Prussian War he made the American legation the refuge of Germans and other foreigners who could not leave Paris. For this service he received special honors from the Emperor of Germany and Bismarck, as well as from the French leaders, Gambetta and Thiers. In 1887 he published “Recollections of a Minister to France.” After he returned to the United States he resided in Chicago, where he died Oct. 22, 1887.