John Hay

John Hay

Infobox US Cabinet official
name=John Milton Hay

title=United States Assistant Secretary of State
term_start=November 1, 1879
term_end=May 3, 1881
predecessor=Frederick W. Seward
successor=Robert R. Hitt
title2=United States Secretary of State
term_start2=September 30, 1898
term_end2=July 1, 1905
predecessor2=William R. Day
successor2=Elihu Root
birth_date=birth date|1838|10|8|mf=y
birth_place=Salem, Indiana, U.S.
death_date=death date and age|1905|07|01|1838|10|08
death_place=Newbury, New Hampshire, U.S.
profession=Author, Journalist, Statesman, Politician, Secretary

John Milton Hay (October 8, 1838July 1, 1905) was an American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, and private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln.


Hay was born in Salem, Indiana, of Scottish ancestry, raised in Warsaw, Illinois, and educated at Brown University (1858), where he joined Theta Delta Chi. At Brown, he developed an interest in poetry, and Hay became a part of Providence's literary circle which included Sarah Helen Whitman and Nora Perry. When he graduated, he was named Class Poet. [ [ Encyclopedia Brunoniana | Hay, John ] ] He began his public career as a secretary to Abraham Lincoln at age 22, while technically a clerk in the Interior Department. At a time when most of Lincoln's cabinet was hostile to himFact|date=May 2007 and vying for position and influence, Hay served also as a friend, confidant and companion, as well as a performer of odd jobs. He lived in the northeast corner bedroom on the second floor of the White House. He shared that room with his fellow secretary John G. Nicolay, who was six years older.

For a few months, he served in the Union army under Generals Hunter and Gillmore. He rose to the rank of major and was later brevetted lieutenant colonel and colonel. Hay's diary and writings during the Civil War are basic historical sources. Some have credited Hay with being the real author of President Lincoln's Letter to Mrs. Bixby, consoling her for the loss of her sons in the war.

Hay was present when President Lincoln died after being shot at Ford's Theatre. Hay and Nicolay wrote a formal 10-volume biography of Lincoln ("Abraham Lincoln: A History", 1890) and prepared an edition of his collected works.

In 1861, he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Illinois. Portions of Hay's diaries and letters from 1861–1870, published in the book "Lincoln and the Civil War", show the President in a far more intimate light. The portrait of Abraham Lincoln is affectionate, certainly biased in Lincoln's favor, but also contains insights and anecdotes of the homely and humorous sort that Lincoln enjoyed.

He was secretary of legation at Paris and Madrid, and chargé d'affaires at Vienna. For six years he was an editor of the New York Tribune.cite book|title=Famous American Statesmen & Orators|editor=Alexander K. McClure|publisher=F. F. Lovell Publishing Company|location=New York|date=1902|volume=VI|pages=193]

Hay was named U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1897 when William McKinley became President. Some of the recognition of the longstanding community of interests between that country and the United States came as a result of Hay's stay there. (See cite book |title= The Life and Letters of John Hay, Vol. II |last= Thayer |first= William Roscoe |authorlink= William Roscoe Thayer |year= 1915 |publisher= Houghton Mifflin Co. |location= Boston and New York |ASIN= B00117061E |chapter= chapter XXIII |pages= 448 pp ) In August 1898, Hay was named Secretary of State and helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris of 1898. Hay continued serving as Secretary of State after Theodore Roosevelt succeeded McKinley, serving until his own death in 1905.

His contributions included the adoption of an Open Door Policy in China (announced on January 2, 1900) which may have been a contributing factor in the Boxer Rebellion, and the preparations for the Panama Canal. He negotiated the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty (1901), the Hay-Herran Treaty (1903), and the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty (1903), all of which were instrumental clearing the way for the construction and usage of the Canal. In all, he brought about more than 50 treaties, including the settlement of the Samoan dispute, as a result of which the United States secured Tutuila, with an excellent harbor in the Pacific; a definitive Alaskan boundary treaty in 1903; the negotiation of reciprocity treaties with Argentina, France, Germany, Cuba, and the British West Indies; the negotiation of new treaties with Spain; and the negotiation of a treaty with Denmark for the cession of the Danish West India Islands.New International Encyclopedia

In 1904, Hay was one of the first seven chosen for membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

He is buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.-


Hay is also renowned for his comment, written in a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt, describing the Spanish-American War as a "splendid little war." Regarding a misunderstanding between Theodore Roosevelt and Mark Hanna, Hay had commented, "This wordy city poisons men, who might be friends, against each other" (from "Theodore Roosevelt" by Henery F. Pringle, page 349).

Hay appears as a character in Gore Vidal's historical novels "Lincoln" and "Empire". He appears, portrayed by John Huston, in the 1975 film "The Wind and the Lion," a fictionalization of the Perdicaris Affair in Morocco in 1904. He is portrayed in the 1997 miniseries "Rough Riders" by actor and legendary United States Marine R. Lee Ermey.

John Hay Air Base, Baguio City, Philippines, which was established on 25 October 1903 after President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order setting aside land in Benguet for a military reservation under the United States Army, was named in his honor. John Milton Hay was Roosevelt's Secretary of State. John Hay Air Base was used for rest and recreation for personnel and dependents of the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines as well as Department of Defense employees and their dependents. This 690-hectare property was finally turned over to the Philippines 1991 upon the expiration of the R.P.-U.S. Bases Agreement. Since 1997 it has been in the hands of a private developer, on a long term lease, which has transformed the property into a world class resort.

Hay was a close friend of Henry Adams, American historian and author. Hay and Adams built homes next to one another on Lafayette Square in Washington, DC, designed by H.H. Richardson. That structure was demolished and the site is now occupied by the Hay-Adams Hotel.

Brown University's John Hay Library housed the entire library collection from its construction in 1910 until the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library was built in 1964. In 1971, when physical science materials were transferred to the new Sciences Library, the John Hay Library became exclusively a repository for the Library's Special Collections.

For more information regarding John Hay, read "The Five of Hearts."

His daughter Alice Evelyn Hay married James Wolcott Wadsworth Jr.. Another daughter, Helen Julia Hay, married Payne Whitney, and they were the parents of John Hay Whitney and Joan Whitney Payson.

Hay's New Hampshire estate has been conserved as part of the John Hay National Wildlife Refuge, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests' John Hay Land Studies Center, and the Garden Conservancy's Fells Reservation.

Books by Hay

* "Abraham Lincoln: A History" (with John G. Nicolay, 1890)
* "The Bread-winners" (1883)
* "Castilian Days" (1875)
* "Pike County Ballads and Other Poems" (1871)
* "Poems" (1890)


*Lorenzo Sears, "John Hay, Author and Statesman" (New York, 1914)
*Warren Zimmermann, "First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power" (New York, 2002)
*Robert L. Gale, "John Hay" (Boston, 1978)
*Mellander, Gustavo A.(1971) "The United States in Panamanian Politics: The Intriguing Formative Years". Daville,Ill.:Interstate Publishers. OCLC 138568.
*Mellander, Gustavo A.; Nelly Maldonado Mellander (1999). "Charles Edward Magoon: The Panama Years". Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: Editorial Plaza Mayor. ISBN 1563281554. OCLC 42970390.

*William Roscoe Thayer, "The Life and Letters of John Hay" (Boston: 1915)
* [ John Hay Land Studies Center]
* [ John Hay National Wildlife Refuge]
* [ The Fells Reservation]

External links

*gutenberg author|id=John_Hay_(1835-1905)|name=John Hay
* [ John Hay Biography]
* [ John Hay, Abraham Lincoln's Friend]
* [ Camp John Hay Resort]
*Find A Grave|id=460

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