Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State

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Web Property of the U.S. Department of State


Object Details

Daniel Huntington (American, 1816-1906)
North American
oil on canvas
Overall: 29 in x 24 1/4 in; 73.66 cm x 61.595 cm
This portrait of Hamilton Fish, which is thought to have been done from life, was purchased by the Department of State from Mr. Huntington on December 23, 1881.
Signed "D. Huntington 1881."
Credit Line
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Accession Number


Hamilton Fish (1808–1893) was born in New York. He graduated from Columbia University, became a lawyer, and entered politics. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives, as governor of New York, and then in the U.S. Senate. President Ulysses S. Grant nominated Fish to be secretary of state. 

As secretary, Fish successfully resolved claims related to the British-built Confederate warship Alabama when an international arbitration tribunal awarded the United States $15.5 million, against $2 million in damages paid by the United States for illegal Union blockade practices. Like some of his predecessors, Fish sought new territories for the United States, trying, unsuccessfully, to acquire a part of the Dominican Republic and lands controlled by Hudson’s Bay Company, which the British government instead sold to Canada in 1870. Fish maintained U.S. interest in Cuba, pressuring Spanish officials to consider granting Cuba independence following a revolt against Spanish rule in 1868. He also pushed for an end to slavery on the island, but Spain did not respond. Raids along the Mexican border were a problem that would escalate under his successor.

At the end of the Grant administration, Fish returned to his law practice in New York.