ROBERT BROWN ELLIOTT.
BY THEOPHILUS J. MINTON, LL.D.
A BRIEF dispatch from New Orleans in a New York paper on
the morning of August II, 1884, first informed us that all there
was mortal of Robert Brown Elliott was no more. He had died
in New Orleans, of malarial fever, on the night of August 9. But
few of his friends outside of New Orleans knew of his sickness,
and none was anticipating his death. For several years past he
had not lived much in the public eye, so that, aside from the
colored press, barely any comment was made upon his life, or
even mention of his death; and so passed quietly away this man,
whose name a few years before was upon the lips of this great
nation, and who himself was enjoying the highest reputation of
any Negro in the land. It is due to him, it is due to ourselves,
that his death be not passed by in silence, for he was a man
possessed in no small degree of the elements of true greatness,
and in his demise our race has sustained a great loss.
The first shot that was fired upon Fort Sumter opened the
pathway to many a notable event in the history of this country,
to the development of great soldiers and great statesmen, whose
lives otherwise might have been as "flowers born to blush un-
seen;" but the most unexpected of events was the black legislator
in the State and Nation. Amidst the processes of the war the
Negro was evolving a character which would make brilliant
pages in history. From the battle-field to the halls of legisla-
tion was but a natural step. The men who had saved the Nation
were the best to provide by legislation for its care and govern-
ment. Clio, the goddess of history, first records upon the scroll
of fame the names of our soldiers, and then our statesmen, writing
in letters of gold above them all, as one star in brilliancy out-
shines all the rest, the name of Elliott.
Mr. Elliott represents the Negro as the result of the war.
When the cry came to him, "To Arms !" he hesitated not. He
entered the United States navy, and when the war was over he
went from the cannon's mouth to the halls of legislation; and
well he performed his duty in both stations. His ambition was
high. The performance of no commonplace act satisfied him.