John L. Stevens

(1820-1895)

WHO S/HE WAS:

Ambassador John Leavitt Stevens was a United States ambassador to Paraguay, Uruguay, Sweden, Norway and Hawaii during the second half of the nineteenth century.

WHAT S/HE SAID:

The Hawaiian pear is now fully ripe, and this is the golden hour for the United States to pluck it.

WHY S/HE MATTERED:

During his time as State Minister to the Kingdom of Hawai’i, Stevens was accused of conspiring to overthrow Queen Lili'uokalani in association with the Committee of Safety, led by Lorrin A. Thurston and Sanford B. Dole. The attributed quote was from a letter, penned in March 1892, to U.S. Secretary of State, James Blaine. In it, Stevens urged action to prevent the intrusion of foreign interests into Hawai’i. Said he, “So long as the islands retain their own independent government there remains the possibility that England or the Canadian Dominion might secure one of the Hawaiian harbors for a coaling station…”Annexation excludes all dangers of this kind."

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