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Lincoln's Journalist

John Hay's Anonymous Writings for the Press, 1860 - 1864

Edited by Michael Burlingame

Publication Year: 2006

Michael Burlingame presents anonymous and pseudonymous newspaper articles written by Lincoln's assistant personal secretary, John Hay, between 1860 and 1864. In the White House, Hay became the ultimate insider, the man who had the president's ear. "Only an extremely small number of persons ever saw Abraham Lincoln both day and night in public as well as private settings from 1860 to 1864," notes Wayne C. Temple, chief deputy director, Illinois State Archives. "And only one of them had the literary flair of John Milton Hay."

Burlingame takes great pains to establish authorship of the items reproduced here. He convincingly demonstrates that the essays and letters written for the Providence Journal, the Springfield Illinois State Journal, and the St. Louis Missouri Democrat under the pseudonym "Ecarte" are the work of Hay. And he finds much circumstantial and stylistic evidence that Hay wrote as "our special correspondent" for the Washington World and for the St. Louis Missouri Republican. Easily identifiable, Hay's style was "marked by long sentences, baroque syntactical architecture, immense vocabulary, verbal pyrotechnics, cocksure tone (combining acid contempt and extravagant praise), offbeat adverbs, and scornful adjectives."

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press


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p. ii-ii

Title Page

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p. iii-iii

Copyright Page

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pp. iv-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

ONE DAY IN 1992 WHILE I WAS WORKING AT THE JOHN HAY LIBRARY AT Brown University, Jennifer Lee, curator of the Lincoln Collection, suggested that I might like to examine a scrapbook in which Hay had pasted some of his own writings. Without her prompting, I would doubtless have ignored that valuable source and its counterparts in the Hay Papers at the ...

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pp. xi-xxx

THIS VOLUME COMPLEMENTS JOHN HAY'S CIVIL WAR DIARY, AN invaluable document despite its many gaps.! To help caulk some of those gaps, Hay's anonymous and pseudonymous journalism written between 1860 and 1864 is collected here. These dispatches and editorials shed both direct and indirect light on Abraham Lincoln. Not only does Hay quote the president and describe his activities but he also offers opinions that may ...

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1. 1860

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pp. 1-16

AS THE EVENTS OF THE LAST WEEK HAVE RENDERED SPRINGFIELD, IN n one respect at least, the central city of the north, I have thought that some mention of the occurrences that have recently disturbed its monotonous quietude, might not be devoid of interest to the readers of the Journal. Having had greatness thus suddenly thrust upon her, she deports herself...

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2. 1861

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pp. 17-186

MR. LINCOLN HAS GIVEN UP HIS ROOM AT THE STATE HOUSE, AND his public receptions are at an end. His private Secretary, Mr. Nicolay, has an office in Johnson's Building, where he receives all who wish to see Mr. Lincoln upon important business....

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3. 1862

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pp. 187-330

MCCLELLAN'S ILLNESS, WHICH AT FIRST WAS CALLED AN ORDINARY cold attended with slight fever, seems to be hanging on with that vague pertinacity which characterizes every disagreeable visitation of Washington society, from office-seekers to ague. Every day the sensationalizers represent ...

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4. 1863-1864

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pp. 331-340

ALTHOUGH OUR MILITARY POSITION IS NOT ALL WE COULD WISH ON n this first day of the New Year, we have much to congratulate ourselves upon, if we compare our situation to-day with that of a year ago. In the impatient fretfulness with which we are too apt to criticise the progress of events, we say that nothing is done, when our full expectations are not realized....


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pp. 341-376


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pp. 377-393

Author Bio

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p. 394-394

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780809383023
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809327126

Publication Year: 2006