ROBERT R. HITT
It is a curious coincidence that two newspaper men who accompanied Mr. LINCOLN in his famous tour of debates with Mr. DOUGLAS in 1858 should have risen to important place in connection with the foreign service of the United States. Mr. John Hay was introduced to his future career by the direct action of Mr. LINCOLN, who invited him to Washington as his private secretary. Mr. ROBERT R. HITT remained in Illinois until 1874, when President GRANT appointed him Secretary of Legation at Paris, whence he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State under Mr. BLAINE under Mr. Blaine, in 1881, and two years later entered Congress.
Like Mr. HAY, a Western boy, he, also like him, had a natural bent toward culture and toward the attentive study of foreign affairs. He was nearly a quarter of a century in Congress, and for most of the time served as a member, or Chairman, of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. And there was another analogy with Mr. HAY with the “coup” of Panama. Neither achievement was the most creditable in the record of the man closely connected with it, but each was undoubtedly undertaken with the conviction that it was the best thing possible at the time. In general, the influence of Mr. HITT was distinctly in the direction of wise and enlightened public policy. His range of information in foreign relations was not excelled by that of any one in the House of Representatives, and his long service gave him an authority that few thought of disputing. Personally, he was an amiable, accomplished, and winning gentleman. His death is a substantial loss to the Government.