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He would play cards with Secretary of State Seward which paid off nicely when Mary Todd let it be known she wanted Hay and Nicolay gone at the end of the first term.
The next several years Hay spent time in Paris, Vienna and Madrid serving minor roles in the diplomatic delegations. He became a fancy dresser, polished in dealing with dignitaries, and was able to discuss the latest topics in art and culture in fluent French, German or English.
Hay made friends easily and was considered a ladies man. He took the time to travel Europe extensively and wrote articles for The Atlantic at the request of assistant editor William Dean Howells.
Hay compiled some of these into his first book. In Hay accepted a job as editorial writer for the New York Tribune. His focus naturally was foreign affairs.
He also wrote widely popular poetry and even covered the Chicago Fire in as a reporter. He expanded his world of friends including big names in the literary world such as Mark Twain and Brett Harte.
Hay joined exclusive New York clubs becoming a celebrated figure in his own right. While his love is portrayed as genuine, it should be noted Clara was neither outgoing nor particularly attractive but her father was incredibly rich.
Clara soon gave birth to two children. He took a long vacation to Europe with his brother to revitalize his spirits in some of the elegant German spas.
Hay stayed close to politics having actively supported President Hayes as he would future president Garfield. Both the current and future president visited Hay at his home in Cleveland and encouraged him to run for Congress.
Instead he took a job as assistant secretary of state. In Hay moved to Washington and became infatuated with the twenty year old stylish and captivating Lizzie Sherman.
All the men sought out Lizzie but she decided to marry the wealthy 44 year old Senator Cameron who could give her the status she wanted. She was used to playing men like cards and felt this was a relationship she could control.
Clara stayed behind in Cleveland where she gave birth to their third child. Garfield was assassinated by a supporter of the corrupt Roscoe Conkling who controlled New York.
Hay used the Tribune to destroy Conkling and his control of New York politics. In England Hay was also able to spend time with another lifelong friend, American geologist and author Clarence King as well as the American author Constance Fenimore Woolson.
In Hay wanted to spend more time in Washington to finish his biography of Lincoln with Nicolay. Century magazine paid a handsome sum for the serialization and book rights based just on the first chapters.
Hay and Henry Adams purchased property together at the corner of H and 16th Streets directly across Lafayette Square from the White House where they each had a house built.
The houses would be torn down in to build the Hay-Adams Hotel which is still there. Adams was devastated. In Hay supported the election of Benjamin Harrison as president.
Hay would also see Lizzie, who was close friends with Adams, and another woman married to an older man, Nannie Lodge, wife of Henry Cabot Lodge.
Lizzie, Nannie, Hay and Adams saw much of each other in and Hay was infatuated with both woman, but Nannie and Hay became particularly close.
In Hay left solo for a trip to Europe. His affections quickly switched from Nannie to Lizzie who also went to Europe without her husband.
Hay and Lizzie enjoyed Paris and London together. Lizzie, a coquette, enjoyed enticing the men then acting disinterested and watching them beg for her attention.
She played a similar game with Henry Adams who like Hay always came back for more. Throughout this episode Hay sent loving letters to Clara.
Clara met him with their children at the dock in New York upon his return. In Hay took the family for a year in Europe.
He was in Italy when Constance Woolson died there and he was able to attend her funeral, although her close friend Henry James wrote Hay that he could not make it from England.
He was rewarded with the ambassadorship to England. Upon arrival at the dock Hay was greeted warmly by his friend Henry James.
Hay used his own money to rent a sumptuous house. And he heard again from Lizzie, who was unhappily married and now depressed as her husband was retiring and wanted to return to Pennsylvania.
In , Hay was in his element in London impressing everyone including Queen Victoria who invited Hay and Clara to dine and spend the night with her in Windsor Castle.
Breaking convention Victoria had Hay sit next to her. After a second overnight visit to the Queen on the Isle of Wight, she invited Hay up to her apartment for a talk.
Hay went with his family and Adams, cruising the Nile to Luxor. Hay invited Lizzie to be their Cleopatra but she declined. The Spanish American war engendered a new sense of American power and expansionism.
Hay saw the turmoil he would walk into, but reluctantly accepted. He handled the job as he had the ambassadorship in a low key manner working his many contacts and avoiding confrontation.
Adams would take daily walks with Hay after work and let him unload. She declined and Hay was able to get away to New Hampshire in August.
From to Hay was consumed by China. The Western powers, Russia and Japan were taking pieces of China which was in real danger of being dismembered.
Just having acquired the Philippines the US took ever more interest. Hay worked diligently to craft and gain approval from all the major powers of the Open Door Policy to stabilize the situation.
The agreements were put to the test by the chaos created by the Boxer rebellion. His persistence also helped save the Peking legation which many had given up for dead.
Hay was widely lauded in the US for all his work on China. From to Hay worked to get American rights to build a canal across Central America.
He also resolved a dicey situation when Germany threatened to take territory in Venezuela as well as a nagging Alaska boundary dispute.
Hay crafted a treaty with Britain amending a prior treaty giving the US unchallenged authority to build the canal.
The sticking point was allowing the US to fortify the canal, a popular demand that Britain took exception to. Hay took the intense Washington infighting so hard that he submitted his resignation which McKinley would not accept.
In McKinley began his second term and insisted Hay stay on. Then in September McKinley was assassinated, the third president assassinated that Hay knew well.
This was soon after the death of his son Del in an accident, which Hay took very hard. Vice President Roosevelt took over and demanded Hay stay on.
Teddy, then Theodore, and now Mr. Six hundred attended including President and Mrs. Roosevelt, most of the Cabinet and the Supreme Court and many senators, and diplomats.
Like her dad Helen married well into the wealthy Whitney family with her new father-in-law gifting the couple with a 5th avenue mansion to be designed by famed architect Stanford White and a yacht.
Middling gifts from others included items like a solid gold coffee service. Hay took a measured careful and well thought out approach to foreign policy which would seem to put him at odds with the impulsive Rough Rider Roosevelt.
He did so in two letters mixed with much praise to Cabot Lodge. His dignity, his remarkable literary ability, his personal charm, and the respect his high character and long service commanded throughout the country together with his wide acquaintance with foreign statesmen and foreign capitals, made him one of the public servants of real value to the United States.
For example, Hay paved the way for the Panama Canal structuring an alternative that looked reasonable for Columbia with the Hay-Herron treaty which they rejected.
Similarly when Germany threatened to establish itself in Venezuela Hay formulated a palatable arbitration agreement for Germany and Britain. But it was Roosevelt sending Admiral Dewey on naval exercises in the Caribbean that forced acceptance.
Hay used his experience, contacts and diplomatic skill to offer adversaries a reasonable way out and Roosevelt made sure either they took it or lost out.
In Hay died of a lingering heart condition having served as Secretary of State for seven years. Hay was buried in Cleveland.
His funeral attended by President Roosevelt, the Vice President, members of the cabinet, the Senate, the Congress and diplomatic community.
Outside of his family, none mourned him more than his best friend Henry Adams. We will stop together.
Joan Whitney Payson, two years old when Hay died, would become co-founder of the New York Mets baseball team and its majority owner.
View all 3 comments. Mar 21, Ted Lehmann rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Lovers of history, biography. It was a rare pleasure to spend a couple of weeks in the company of a man of such grace, charm, intelligence and accomplishment as John Hay.
In a life of service stretching from servingas Lincoln's private secretary to Theodore Roosevelt's Secretary of State, no man in U.
The present biographer, John Taliaferro, has written the first full biography of Hay It was a rare pleasure to spend a couple of weeks in the company of a man of such grace, charm, intelligence and accomplishment as John Hay.
The present biographer, John Taliaferro, has written the first full biography of Hay since He provides a full, balanced and admiring picture of a great American.
If today's Republicans studied history, the mostly men they'd meed in this half century would help them to understand what Republican means.
Jun 04, Steven Z. When I think of individuals who have had a major impact on American history after the Civil War, but about whom little known is known, two names come to mind, Henry L.
Stimson and John Milton Hay. Roosevelt, in addition to being Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover. In the case of John Hay, until now, there has not been a major biography since Through Lincoln he began to know himself.
Fremont, Salmon P. Chase and others. In pursuing biography as a tool writers must be careful not to engage in hagiography. And Adams, the more irascible and phlegmatic of the two, recognized in Hay an admirable peer who consented to put up with him just as he was.
I was surprised to learn as close as they were and how much they supported each other emotionally and financially in the case of King, they hardly met as a group, perhaps a half a dozen times.
Nicolay, and a number of books of poetry. Hay also had a career as a newspaper editor at the New York Tribune as well as a writer who chronicled events from Europe.
The reader is told that Hay was given certain gifts, was employed by his father-in-law, but then pursued a diplomatic career in the Hayes and Garfield administrations.
Hay was a plutocrat in addition to being a man of letters and that could have been detailed further. James and then at the State Department.
Issues dealing with the Alaskan Boundary dispute, the Venezuelan Crisis, and early developments in building the Panama Canal are presented based on all the relevant primary and secondary sources.
It shows a competent diplomat who knows how to achieve his goals. If I had two major suggestions I would ask the author to edit more carefully and avoid the practice of overstatement.
There are a number of editing issues, i. Fairbanks, which is repeated a few times. He goes on to restate this proposition later in the book by arguing that the Open Door Policy was responsible for maintaining China as a whole.
This policy preserved American trade which it was designed to do, but territorial, political, and economic integrity is a myth.
Though I agree that the French Emperor deserves some of the credit for the plight of his empire due to his own incompetence, the machinations of the future German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck is mostly responsible for the events of Overall the book is a fine work of narrative history.
Dealing with a subject who had such an important political and diplomatic career, was also friends with the likes of Mark Twain, Henry Adams, Rudyard Kipling, and William Dean Howells among so many others cannot be other than a fascinating read.
Dec 23, Louise rated it it was amazing Shelves: us-history , us-policy , biography , us-civil-war. At age 22 Hay's remarkable journey serendipitously began.
After earning his Brown University degree, while boarding with relatives and practicing law in Springfield, IL, he was recommended by a friend to go to Washington as a Secretary to the newly elected president.
His qualifications seem to be his charm, writing skills, and availability. As his father before him doctor, publisher and land speculator , John Hay came to have many careers.
Like the author Acknowledgements, p. He figures in biographies of artists, royals and philosophers. Author, John Taliaferro, brings it all to life, and what a life it was.
Sandwiched in between two extraordinary periods of public service, Hay wrote, edited and essentially published a newspaper; married into a wealthy railroad family; had 4 children; traveled, entertained, dined with friends and notables; assisted in the family business; wrote poetry, and a block buster novel; and co-authored a 10 volume biography of Abraham Lincoln.
Due to Hay's career hiatus, you miss the messy parts such as Reconstruction and the Indian Wars. The Gilded Age is experienced through the life of one of its beneficiaries.
Roosevelt is portrayed as Hay sees him: crass, lacking substance and attention grabbing. Hay makes lifelong friendships. The bond with Henry Adams is particularly strong; the two build houses on adjoining lots.
There seems to be something behind his flowery 19th century prose. Lizzy's responses do not survive, but on p. The friendship with Clarence King is truly amazing, and lasts beyond the grave.
John Taliaferro has put together an extraordinary work. It is a must read for both historians and history buffs with interest in this period and person.
Nov 30, Jean rated it it was amazing Shelves: audio , biography. John Hay spent his early life in Warsaw, Illinois a son of a doctor.
Lincoln in Springfield Ill. He was adapt with languages and learned German, French, Latin and Greek. He helped on the campaign of Abraham Lincoln where he met John Nicolay.
He and Nicolay became Lincoln private secretaries when he was elected President. He married Clara Stone daughter of the wealthy Ohio Industrialist.
Hayes, he also served James A. He also served Theodore Roosevelt as Secretary of State. I found it interesting that 3 of the president Hay served were assassinated.
When he was Ambassador to England he played a key role in developing positive relationship with England. Taliaferro attempted to provide an unbiased view of Hay revealing his faults as well as his virtues.
It was about time we had another look at this interesting man and the role he play during a critical time in our history. I read this as an audio book.
Joe Barrett did a good job narrating the book. If you are interested in history this is a must read book.
Jun 15, David Kinchen rated it really liked it. John M. Hay, the man who coined the phrase "It has been a splendid little war" in an letter to Theodore Roosevelt summing up the just concluded Spanish-American War, has been granted a splendid big biography by John Taliaferro.
Taliaferro crafts a very readable examination of Hay , the produ John M. Taliaferro crafts a very readable examination of Hay , the product of rural Indiana and Illinois like his mentor Lincoln, who became a polished man of letters, undoubtedly the most literary of American secretaries of state.
Nicolay, Lincoln's official private secretary, served the 16th president, sharing a room in the White House. They went on to write a popular volume biography of Lincoln.
From unofficial secretary to Abraham Lincoln to secretary of state for William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, John Hay remained a major figure in American history for more than half a century.
He married into great wealth when he wed Clara Stone, daughter of Amasa Stone of Cleveland, one of the richest men in the country, owner of steel mills, with investments in many other industries.
Hay and his next door neighbor and best friend Henry Adams both had a thing for the beauteous Lizzie, the "Madame X" of D. The sumptuous houses designed by celebrity architect H.
His marriage to one of the wealthiest women in the country did not prevent him from his pursuit -- apparently unconsumated -- of Lizzie Cameron.
Taliaferro discusses the Bixby letter exhaustively on Pages it turns out the real Lydia Bixby was a Southern sympathizer who lost two sons, not five!
A power broker who worked quietly, garnering little or no publicity, Hay successfully worked to elect fellow Ohioans James Garfield, Rutherford B.
Taliaferro shines in his examination of the relationship between Hay and Roosevelt: If Lincoln was a second father to Hay, Hay was a second father to Roosevelt the bully wielder of the big stick.
At a time when anti-Semitism was rampant, Hay spoke out against murderous pogroms of Jews in Russia. John Hay was both witness and author of many of the most significant chapters in American history -- from the birth of the Republican Party, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War, to the prelude to the First World War.
Much of what we know about Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt comes to us through the observations Hay made while private secretary to one and secretary of state to the other.
It's obvious that we'll never again see the like of men like John Milton Hay in office in the U. His poetic side wouldn't fit our drably prosaic world.
I did spot one error by the author. Taliaferro says that the Olympic Games held in conjunction with the fair were the first of the modern era. This is incorrect: The Athens games of were the first.
May 15, David Williams rated it it was amazing. John Hay is one of the most important individual to ever hold the office of Secretary of State.
He spent a lifetime serving his nation. The office next door was occupied by Abraham Lincoln. They lived in the White House and served Lincoln until his death.
The stories about Lincoln are really great. Hay saw him as a person and so the intimate look at Lincoln was very moving. Taliaferro also mentions the troubles that the secretaries had with Mary Lincoln, who hated them both.
While in Austria he saw the dangers inherent of crumbling empires bolstering themselves up with large armies. I suspect your audience is the same.
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