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Washburne, Elihu Benjamin

WASHBURNE, ELIHU BENJAMIN (1816-1887), American statesman, born in Livermore, Maine, on the 23rd of September 1816. He was one of seven brothers, of whom four sat in Congress from as many different states. He received a common school education, graduated at the Harvard Law School in 1839, and was soon afterwards admitted to the bar. In 1840 he removed to Galena, Illinois. He was elected to Congress in 1852, where, first as a Whig and afterwards as a Republican, he represented his district continuously until 1869, taking a prominent part in debate, and earning the name " watch-dog of the Treasury " by his consistent and vigorous opposition to extravagant and unwise appropriations. He contributed much to aid General Grant during the Civil War, and the latter on becoming President made Washburne secretary of state. On account of ill-health, however, he served only twelve days, and was then appointed minister to France, where during the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune he won much distinction as protector of German and other foreign citizens in Paris. He was the only foreign minister who remained at his post during the Commune. In 1877 he retired from public life, and died in Chicago, 111., on the 22nd of October 1887. He published Recollections of a Minister to France (2 vols., 1887), and edited The Edwards Papers (1884).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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