John Leavitt Stevens, journalist, author and diplomat, was born in Mount Vernon, Maine, August 1, 1820. In 1870, Stevens accepted the position of United States Minister to Uruguay and Paraguay under President Grant. In June, 1889, Stevens was appointed Minister to the Hawaiian Islands, his title soon after being changed to Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary.
Stevens supported annexation by the US and in December 1893, he wrote ‘A Plea for Annexation’ in The North American Review where he concluded, “To say that we do not need the Hawaiian Islands as a security to our immense future interests is but the babble of children or of incompetent men.” President Cleveland, following his inauguration, withdrew and question of annexation. Stevens resigned and returned home. He died February 8, 1895 at his home in Augusta Maine.