John L. Stevens was born 8-1-1820
in Mt. Vernon, the son of Capt. John & Charlotte (Lyford) Stevens.
John married Mary Lowell, daughter of Capt. Daniel & Dorcas Lowell
of Hallowell. They had 4 chidden, two daughters lived to adulthood.
Following graduation from Kents Hill School John Stevens became a Universalist minister during which time he became a crusader against slavery. His lifelong friend, Gov. Anson P. Morrill, persuaded him to retire from the pulpit, and to become editor and publisher in partnership with James G. Blaine at the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, Maine. Stevens served as the K.J.'s chief editor until 1869. During that time he served in the State House of Representatives 1866-67 and State Senate 1868-69. While a member of the House he introduced the resolve that led directly to the establishment of the Industrial School for Girls in Hallowell, and conceived and advised the municipal aid under which Edwards Manufacturing evolved. He also pushed legislation abolishing capital punishment. In 1869 President Grant appointed him U.S. Minister to Uruguay, a post he held until 1874. From 1881-1884 he was appointed by the U.S. President to the post of U.S. Minister of Scandinavia. During this time he wrote a book about Gustavas Adolphus, a Swedish national hero. Stevens and James Blaine were equals in the early days of the Republican Party, and some historians feel that Blaine's views on Latin America and reciprocity trade relationships were significantly influenced by Stevens.
In 1889 President Harrison appointed John Stevens as Minister Resident at Honolulu. John Stevens engineered a bloodless revolution in 1893 which was led by 9 Americans, 2 British & 2 Germans to dethrone Queen Lilluokalani because she was trying to increase her power beyond the limits of the Hawaiian constitution. In 1894 the Republic of Hawaii was established, and in 1898 the United States annexed Hawaii. Because of Stevens support of annexation of Hawaii to the United States he was popular with the pro-American group in Hawaii, and they gave him an elaborate 7 piece silver service made from melted silver dollars. Stevens came under fire for his part in the annexation by some politicians such as Grover Cleveland and Speaker Thomas Reed. Many more praised and supported him however, including Henry Cabot Lodge, President Harrison and William P. Frye.
Tom Coffman, a film producer and writer from Hawaii has recently visited Kennebec County to interview the John L. Stevens descendants who now own the silver service. The film, Nation Within, written and produced in commemoration of Hawaii's centennial, will be aired on PBS the summer of 1998. Thank you to Mr. Coffman for sharing information with us about John L. Stevens for this page!
Subject: In regards to John Stevens
Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 22:40:17 -0700 (PDT)
To: dale clark <email@example.com>
I read the information at https://sites.rootsweb.com/~mecreadf/mtvnotab.htm#stevens and must say that it is bit of a twist from the truth. John Stevens did not engineer a "revolution" as you claim. It was an intentional invasion by U.S. forces without approval of Congress or the U.S. President. He called in the U.S. Marines with the urging of U.S. Businessmen residing in Hawaii.
In the archives are statements by these business men claiming that the Queen had become too independent, uncooperative and unfriendly to their business interests. All in violation of the treaties of perpetual peace and friendship between the two Nations. The U.S. Congress in Public Law 103-150 states this:
"Whereas, on January 14, 1893, John L. Stevens (hereafter referred to in this Resolution as the "United States Minister"), the United States Minister assigned to the sovereign and independent Kingdom of Hawaii conspired with a small group of non-Hawaiian residents of the Kingdom of Hawaii, including citizens of the United States, to overthrow the indigenous and lawful Government of Hawaii;"
Your statements "to dethrone Queen Lilluokalani because she was trying to increase her power beyond the limits of the Hawaiian constitution" is a revisionists view of history. The Bayonet Constitution of 1887 that King Kalakaua was forced to sign under threat of life was not a ratified Constitution. It limited the power of the Monarch and the Kingdoms citizens, but gave an advantage to European and American Businessmen. Majority of the citizens were not happy that the forced Constitution allowed foreigners to vote and urged the Queen to do something about it.
Because of their complicity in the this conspiracy and crime, both John Stevens and the Captain of the USS Boston were stripped of their positions.
John Stevens is an embarrassment to the framers of International Law, the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Human Rights. The conspiracy to overthrow a peaceful nation will forever be one of the darker moments of American history.
All Rights Reserved Dale Potter Clark