|37th United States Secretary of State|
September 30, 1898 – July 1, 1905
|Preceded by||William R. Day|
|Succeeded by||Elihu Root|
|2nd Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to the Court of St. James's|
April 1897 – September 1898
|Preceded by||Thomas F. Bayard|
|Succeeded by||Joseph H. Choate|
|12th United States Assistant Secretary of State|
November 1, 1879 – March 31, 1881
|Preceded by||Frederick W. Seward|
|Succeeded by||Robert R. Hitt|
|Born||John Milton Hay
October 8, 1838
Salem, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||July 1, 1905
Newbury, New Hampshire, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Clara Louise Stone (1849–1914)|
Alice Evelyn (Wadsworth)
Helen Julia (Whitney)
|Alma mater||Illinois State University
|Profession||Author, journalist, statesman|
|Allegiance|| United States of America
|Service/branch|| United States Army
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
John Milton Hay (October 8, 1838 – July 1, 1905) was an American statesman and official whose career in government stretched over nearly half a century. Beginning as a private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln, Hay's highest office was United States Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Hay was also an author and biographer, and wrote poetry and other literature through much of his life.
Hay was born in Indiana to an anti-slavery family that moved to Illinois when he was young. He showed great potential while being educated in the schools of that state, and his family sent him to Brown University. After graduation in 1858, Hay read law in his uncle's office in Springfield, Illinois, adjacent to that of Lincoln. After Lincoln was nominated for president by the Republicans, Hay worked for his campaign, and after Lincoln was elected, Hay became one of his private secretaries. Through the years of the American Civil War, Hay was close to Lincoln, and stood by his deathbed after the President was shot at Ford's Theatre.
After Lincoln's death, Hay spent several years at diplomatic posts in Europe. He then worked for the New York Tribune under Horace Greeley and Whitelaw Reid. He remained active in politics, and from 1879 to 1881 served as Assistant Secretary of State, but afterwards remained in the private sector until 1897, when President McKinley, for whom Hay had been a major backer, made him Ambassador to the United Kingdom. The following year, Hay became United States Secretary of State.
Hay served for almost seven years as Secretary of State, under McKinley, and after his assassination, under Theodore Roosevelt. Hay was responsible for the Open Door Policy in China, and negotiated the Hay–Pauncefote Treaty (1901) with the United Kingdom, as well as the Hay–Herrán Treaty (1903), and the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty (1903), that cleared the way for the building of the Panama Canal. In addition to his other literary works, Hay co-authored a multi-volume biography of Lincoln with John Nicolay that helped shape the martyred president's historical image.
- 1 Early life
- 2 American Civil War
- 3 Early diplomatic career
- 4 Wilderness years (1870–97)
- 5 Ambassador
- 6 Secretary of State
- 7 Literary career
- 8 Legacy
- 9 Personal life
- 10 Books by Hay
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 Bibliography
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
Family and youth
John Milton Hay was born in Salem, Indiana on October 8, 1838. He was the third son of Dr. Charles Hay and the former Helen Leonard. John Hay's paternal grandfather, also named John, had emigrated from Berkeley County, Virginia (today in West Virginia) in 1775, settling in Lexington, Kentucky where he had 14 children. Both Charles and his father hated slavery, and separately moved to the North in the early 1830s; the elder John Hay went to Springfield, Illinois, where he became a good friend of local lawyer Abraham Lincoln. Charles, a doctor, practiced in Salem and married there in 1831. Helen's father, David Leonard, had moved his family west from Assonet, Massachusetts in 1818, but died en route to Vincennes, Indiana, and Helen relocated to Salem in 1830 to teach school. Charles was not successful in Salem, and borrowed money to move, with his wife and children, to Warsaw, Illinois in 1841.
In Warsaw, a Southern Illinois town opposite the confluence of the Mississippi and Des Moines rivers, the Hay family lived a difficult pioneer existence. Warsaw, like the other towns in which John Hay spent his childhood, had been settled by New Englanders, and was anti-slavery. Men of Warsaw, seeing the rival town of Nauvoo, populated by Mormons, as a threat, formed a militia and with men from nearby towns, lynched Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. Charles served as surgeon to the militia. John Hay, then aged five, may have been among the women and children who fled to the other side of the Mississippi out of fear of Mormon revenge (that did not come), and in later writings took pains to minimize his father's role.
John attended the local schools, and in 1849 his uncle Milton Hay invited the precocious child to live with him in Pittsfield, Pike County, and attend a well-regarded local school, the John D. Thomson Academy. Milton, a lawyer, was also a friend of Lincoln, and had read law in the firm Stuart and Lincoln. In Pittsfield, John first met John Nicolay, who was a 20-year-old newspaperman. Once John Hay completed his studies there, the 13-year-old was sent to live with his grandfather in Springfield, and attend Illinois State University. This was at the time little more than a high school. While there, John befriended Lincoln's son Robert, then an 11-year-old student in the school's preparatory department. Once John's studies were done, he returned to Warsaw, and his parents and uncle Milton (who financed the boy's education) decided to send him to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, alma mater of his late maternal grandmother.
Student and Lincoln supporter
Hay enrolled at Brown in 1855. Although he enjoyed college life, he did not find it easy: his Western[a] clothing and accent made him stand out and the limited facilities at Illinois State had not adequately prepared him. He missed many days through illness, though how much of that was due to actual physical ailments is uncertain. Hay had hoped to graduate in two years, but persuaded his parents and uncle to allow him to remain for a third. Nevertheless, he gained a reputation as a star student, and became a part of Providence's literary circle that included Sarah Helen Whitman and Nora Perry. He wrote poetry, and experimented with hashish. Hay received his Master of Arts degree at graduation in 1858, and was, like his grandfather before him, Class Poet.
Leaving Providence in July 1858, Hay returned to Warsaw, and suffered a period of depression, not knowing what career to undertake. His letters reveal that he felt out of place in the West, but according to Howard Kushner and Anne Sherrill in their biography of Hay, "in the final analysis the thing that rescued young John Hay from despair was the continued support of his family." Although Hay wanted to return to Brown as a graduate student, his family lacked the money, and instead he was made a clerk in Milton Hay's law firm (he had relocated to Springfield) where he could study law and become an attorney.
Milton Hay's firm, one of the most prestigious in Illinois, included Stephen Logan, Lincoln's former partner, and Lincoln maintained offices next door. Although a national figure due to his debates with Senator Stephen Douglas, Lincoln remained a practicing attorney, and in at least one case was co-counsel with Logan and Milton Hay. Another connection between Lincoln and John Hay came through Nicolay, who had moved to Springfield in 1856, printed campaign literature for Lincoln, and was admitted to the bar in 1859 after studying law under one of Lincoln's close friends, Ozias Hatch. According to Hay's biographer, William Roscoe Thayer, "it could not have been long before he, like every one [sic] else, was listening to Lincoln's stories and feeling the indefinable fascination of his homely wit and moral fervor". Hay recounted an early encounter with Lincoln:
He came into the law office where I was reading, which adjoined his own, with a copy of Harper's Magazine in hand, containing Senator Douglas's famous article on Popular Sovereignty [whether residents of each territory could decide on slavery] Lincoln seemed greatly roused by what he had read. Entering the office without a salutation, he said: "This will never do. He puts the moral element out of this question. It won't stay out."
Hay did not support Lincoln for president until after the former congressman's upset victory at the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago. Hay made speeches and wrote newspaper articles boosting Lincoln's candidacy, and when Nicolay, who had been made Lincoln's private secretary for the campaign, found he needed help with the huge amounts of correspondence, Hay was brought on board, and worked full-time for Lincoln for six months.
Lincoln was victorious in the election that November, and Nicolay, who Lincoln had asked to continue as private secretary, is said to have recommended that Hay be hired to assist him at the White House. Lincoln is reported to have said, "We can't take all Illinois with us down to Washington" but then "Well, let Hay come". Kushner and Sherrill were dubious about "the story of Lincoln's offhand appointment of Hay" as fitting well into Hay's self-image of never having been an office-seeker, but "poorly into the realities of Springfield politics of the 1860s"—Hay must have expected some reward for handling Lincoln's correspondence for months. Thayer believed that Lincoln hired Hay to work in the White House, seeing "the fresh, easy-mannered, sunny companion, who might relieve the tedium of routine life". Hay biographer John Taliaferro suggests that Lincoln engaged Nicolay and Hay to assist him, rather than more seasoned men, both "out of loyalty and surely because of the competence and compatibility that his two young aides had demonstrated". Historian Joshua Zeitz opines that Lincoln was moved to hire Hay when Milton agreed to pay his nephew's salary for six months.
American Civil War
Secretary to Lincoln
It was Milton Hay's desire that his nephew go to Washington as a qualified attorney, and so John Hay was admitted to the bar in Illinois on February 4, 1861. John Hay later told his son Adelbert, "I never practiced law myself, but I have never considered the time wasted I spent studying it." On February 11, he embarked with President-elect Lincoln on a circuitous journey to Washington. By this time, several Southern states had seceded to form the Confederate States of America in reaction to the election of Lincoln, an opponent of slavery. When Lincoln was sworn in on March 4, Hay and Nicolay moved into the White House, sharing a shabby bedroom.[b] As there was only authority for payment of one presidential secretary (Nicolay), Hay was appointed to a post in the Interior Department at $1,600 per year[c] ($1,800 beginning in 1862), seconded to service at the White House. In that Executive Mansion, they were available to Lincoln 24 hours a day. As Lincoln took no vacations as president and worked seven days a week, often until 11 pm (or later, during crucial battles) the burden on his secretaries was heavy.
Hay and Nicolay divided their responsibilities, with Nicolay tending to assist Lincoln in his office and in meetings, while Hay dealt with the correspondence, that was very large. Both men tried to shield Lincoln from office-seekers and others who wanted to meet with the President. Hay, with his charm, escaped much of the hard feelings from those denied Lincoln's presence, blame that fell heavily on Nicolay. Abolitionist Thomas Wentworth Higginson described Hay as "a nice young fellow, who unfortunately looks about seventeen and is oppressed with the necessity of behaving like seventy". Hay continued to write, anonymously, for newspapers, sending in columns designed to replacing the image of Lincoln as untried rail-splitter with that of a sorrowful man, religious and competent, giving of his life and health for the purpose of preserving the Union. Similarly, Hay served as "White House propagandist", in his columns explaining away losses such as that at First Manassas in July 1861. Hay wrote many letters for Lincoln's signature: though he did not record which ones, according to Taliaferro, Hay was the likely author of the letter to Lydia Bixby, a Bostonian who had (Lincoln was told) lost five sons in the war. This figure was not correct as she had lost two sons and was a Southern sympathizer who apparently destroyed the original. Reprinted widely in newspapers, the letter has been prized among the best of Lincoln's works by his admirers, but displays phrases more typical of Hay's writings than the President's.
In April 1861, Hay began a diary that often touched on the personal side of Lincoln—the President's sleepless wanderings at night, his loneliness as he sought means to heal a divided nation: "a major source for understanding Lincoln, the Civil War, and John Hay". Knowing that Lincoln told humorous stories so as to distract himself from the pain of the war, Hay often told jokes to Lincoln, but could not lighten the somber mood at the White House for long. Despite the heavy workload—Hay wrote that he was busy 20 hours a day—he tried to make as normal a life as possible. He took his meals with Nicolay at Willard's Hotel, going to the theatre with Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and reading Les Misérables in French. Hay, still in his early 20s, spent time both in barrooms, and at cultured get-togethers in the homes of Washington's elite. The two secretaries often clashed with Mary Lincoln, who resorted to various stratagems to get the dilapidated White House restored without depleting Lincoln's salary, that had to cover entertainment and other expenses. Despite the secretaries's objections, Mrs. Lincoln was generally the victor, and managed to save almost 70% of her husband's salary in his four years in office.
According to Thayer, "the person who dominated [Hay] from his first day in the White House was Lincoln". After the death of Lincoln's 11-year-old son Willie in February 1862 (an event not mentioned in Hay's diary or correspondence), "it was Hay who became, if not a surrogate son, then a young man who stirred a higher form of parental nurturing that Lincoln, despite his best intentions, did not successfully bestow on either of his surviving children".[d] According to Hay biographer Robert Gale, "Hay came to adore Lincoln for his goodness, patience, understanding, sense of humor, humility, magnanimity, sense of justice, healthy skepticism, resilience and power, love of the common man, and mystical patriotism". Speaker of the House Galusha Grow stated, "Lincoln was very much attached to him"; writer Charles G. Halpine, who knew Hay then, later recorded that "Lincoln loved him as a son".
Hay and Nicolay accompanied Lincoln to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for the dedication of the cemetery there, where were interred many of those who fell at the Battle of Gettysburg. Although they made much of Lincoln's brief Gettysburg Address in their 1890 multi-volume biography of Lincoln, Hay's diary says only that "the President, in a firm, free way, with more grace than is his wont, said his half-dozen lines of consecration."
Lincoln sent Hay away from the White House on various missions. In August 1861, Hay escorted Mary Lincoln and her children to Long Branch, New Jersey, a resort on the Jersey Shore, both as their caretaker and as a means of giving Hay a much-needed break. The following month, Lincoln sent Hay to Missouri to deliver a letter to Union General John C. Frémont, who had irritated the President with military blunders and freeing local slaves without authorization, endangering Lincoln's attempts to keep the border states in the Union.
In April 1863, Lincoln sent Hay to the Union-occupied South Carolina coast to report back on the ironclad vessels being used in an attempt to recapture Charleston Harbor—the war had begun there at Fort Sumter. From there, Hay went on to the Florida coast, marveling at the differences between North and South. Hay had occasion to see and visit with freed slaves, and according to Zeitz, "Hay left South Carolina and Florida less hardened in his thinking about African Americans".
Hay returned to Florida, by then mostly in Union hands, in January 1864, after Lincoln had announced his Ten Percent Plan, that if ten percent of the 1860 electorate in a state took oaths of loyalty and to support emancipation, they could form a government with Federal protection. Some Unionists had sent letters to Hay, asking him to run for Congress there, and Lincoln considered Florida, with its small population, a good test case. Lincoln commissioned Hay a major[e] and sent him to Florida. Opposition newspapers accused Lincoln of seeking three loyal delegates to the next Republican convention and Hay's election to Congress. Hay spent a month there in February and March 1864 but Union defeats there reduced the area under federal control. Believing his mission impractical, he sailed back to Washington.
In July 1864, New York publisher Horace Greeley sent word to Lincoln that there were Southern peace emissaries in Canada. Lincoln doubted that they actually spoke for Confederate President Jefferson Davis, but had Hay journey to New York to persuade the publisher to go to Niagara Falls, Ontario to meet with the Southerners and bring them to Washington with their safety guaranteed. Greeley reported to Lincoln that the emissaries lacked any accreditation by Davis, but were confident they could bring both sides together. Lincoln sent Hay to Ontario with what became known as the Niagara Manifesto: that if the South laid down its arms, freed the slaves, and reentered the Union, they could expect liberal terms on other points. The Southerners refused to come to Washington under such terms. Although Lincoln had doubted from the start that the men had any authority from Davis, he could not allow the opportunity to make peace pass without suffering politically in a war-weary nation.
Hay's diary and writings during the Civil War are basic historical sources. Some have credited him with being the real author of Lincoln's Letter to Mrs. Bixby, consoling her for the loss of her sons in the war. Hay was present when 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.
Assassination of Lincoln
By the end of 1864, with Lincoln reelected and the victorious war winding down, both Hay and Nicolay let it be known that they desired different jobs. Soon after Lincoln's second inauguration in March 1865, the two secretaries were appointed to the US delegation in Paris, Nicolay as consul and Hay as secretary of legation. Hay wrote to his brother Charles that the appointment was "entirely unsolicited and unexpected", a statement that Kushner and Sherrill found unconvincing given that Hay had spent hundreds of hours during the war with Secretary of State William H. Seward, who had often discussed personal and political matters with him, and the close relationship between the two men was so well known that office-seekers cultivated Hay as a means of getting to Seward. The two men were also motivated to find new jobs by their deteriorating relationship with Mary Lincoln, who sought their ouster, and by Nicolay's desire to wed his intended—he could not bring a bride to his shared room at the White House.They remained at the White House pending the arrival and training of replacements.
Hay did not accompany the Lincolns to Ford's Theatre on the night of April 14, 1865, but remained at the White House, drinking whiskey with Robert Lincoln. When the two were informed that the President had been shot, they hastened to the Petersen House, a boarding house where the stricken Lincoln had been taken. Hay remained by Lincoln's deathbed through the night and was present when he died, hearing War Secretary Edwin Stanton's declaration, "Now he belongs to the ages."
According to Kushner and Sherrill, "Lincoln's death was for Hay a personal loss, like the loss of a father ...Lincoln's assassination erased any remaining doubts Hay had about Lincoln's greatness." In 1866, in a personal letter, Hay deemed Lincoln, "the greatest character since Christ". Taliaferro noted that "Hay would spend the rest of his life mourning Lincoln ... wherever Hay went and whatever he did, Lincoln would always be watching".
Early diplomatic career
Hay and the newly-wedded Nicolay and wife sailed for Paris at the end of June 1865. In Paris, the two men served under U.S. Minister to France John Bigelow. The workload was not heavy, and Hay found time to enjoy the pleasures of Paris. When Bigelow resigned in mid-1866, Hay, as was customary, submitted his resignation as well, though he was asked to remain until Bigelow's successor was in place. Accordingly, Hay stayed until January 1867, returning to Washington by the following month. Jobless, he consulted with Seward, asking the Secretary of State for "anything worth having". Seward offered the post of Minister to Sweden, but reckoned without the new president, Andrew Johnson, who had his own candidate for the post. Seward offered Hay a job as his private secretary, but Hay declined, and when no foreign post was immediately available, returned home to Warsaw.
Initially glad to be home, Hay quickly grew restive, especially as opportunities in the private sector fell through, and he was glad to hear, in early June 1867, that he had been appointed secretary of legation to act as chargé d'affaires at Vienna. He sailed for Europe the same month, and while in England visited the House of Commons, where he was greatly impressed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Benjamin Disraeli. The Vienna post was only temporary, until Johnson could appoint a chargé d'affaires and have him confirmed by the Senate, and the workload was light, allowing Hay, who was fluent in German, to spend much of his time traveling. Due to the conflict between President Johnson and the Congress, it was not until July 1868 that Henry Watts became Hay's replacement. Hay resigned, spent the remainder of the summer in Europe, then went home to Warsaw.
Unemployed again, in December 1868, he journeyed to the capital, writing to Nicolay that he "came to Washington in the peaceful pursuit of a fat office. But there is nothing just now available". Seward, by then a lame duck as the Grant administration prepared to take office, promised to "wrestle with Andy for anything that turns up", but nothing did prior to the departure of both Seward and Johnson from office on March 4, 1869. In May, Hay went back to Washington from Warsaw to press his case, but with no luck accepted a post at Springfield as editor of the Illinois State Journal. The next month, due to the influence of Hay's friends, he obtained the post of secretary of legation at Madrid.
Although the salary was low, Hay was interested in serving in Madrid both because of the political situation there—Queen Isabella II had recently been deposed—and because the U.S. Minister was the swashbuckling former congressman, General Daniel Sickles. Hay hoped to assist Sickles in gaining U.S. control over Cuba, then a Spanish colony. Sickles was unsuccessful and Hay resigned in May 1870, citing the low salary, but remaining in his post until September. He did not seek another government position on his return to the U.S. Two legacies of Hay's time in Madrid were magazine articles he wrote that became the basis of his first book, Castilian Days, and his lifelong friendship with Sickles's personal secretary, Alvey A. Adee, who would be a close aide to Hay in the latter's two stints at the State Department.
Wilderness years (1870–97)
Tribune and marriage
While still in Spain, Hay had been offered the position of assistant editor at the New-York Tribune—both the editor, Horace Greeley, and his managing editor, Whitelaw Reid, were anxious to hire Hay. He joined the staff in October 1870. The Tribune was the leading reform newspaper in New York and though its daily edition had only the fourth-largest circulation in the city, mail subscriptions to its weekly edition helped make it the largest-circulating newspaper in the nation. Hay wrote editorials for the Tribune, and Greeley soon proclaimed him the most brilliant writer of "breviers", as they were called, that he had ever had.
With his success as an editorial writer, Hay's duties expanded. In October 1871, he journeyed to Chicago after the great fire there, interviewing Mrs. O'Leary, whose cow was said to have started the blaze, describing her as "a woman with a lamp [who went] to the barn behind the house, to milk the cow with the crumpled temper, that kicked the lamp, that spilled the kerosene, that fired the straw that burned Chicago". His work at the Tribune came as his fame as a poet was reaching its peak, and one colleague described it as "a liberal education in the delights of intellectual life to sit in intimate companionship with John Hay and watch the play of that well-stored and brilliant mind". In addition to writing, Hay was signed by the prestigious Boston Lyceum Bureau, whose clients included Mark Twain and Susan B. Anthony, to give lectures on the prospects for democracy in Europe, and on his years in the Lincoln White House.
By the time President Grant ran for reelection in 1872, his administration had been rocked by scandal, and some disaffected members of his party formed the Liberal Republicans, naming Greeley as their candidate for president, a nomination soon joined in by the Democrats. Hay was unenthusiastic about the editor turned candidate and in his editorials mostly took aim at Grant, who despite the scandals remained untarred, and who won a landslide victory in the election—Greeley died only weeks later, a broken man. Hay's stance endangered his credentials in the Republican Party, which until then had been sterling as an aide to Lincoln.
But by then, Hay was wooing Clara Stone, daughter of Cleveland multimillionaire railroad and banking mogul Amasa Stone. The success of his suit (they married in 1874) made the salary attached to office a small consideration for the rest of his life. Stone needed someone to watch over his investments, and wanted Hay to move to Cleveland and fill the post. Although the Hays initially lived in John's New York apartment and later in a townhouse there, they moved in June 1875 to Stone's ornate home on Cleveland's Euclid Avenue, "Millionaire's Row", and a mansion was soon under construction for the Hays next door. Hay proved successful as a money manager, though he devoted much of his time to literary and political activities, writing to Adee that "I do nothing but read and yawn".
On December 29, 1876, a bridge over Ohio's Ashtabula River, built from metal cast at one of Stone's mills, carrying a train of Stone's Lake Shore Railway, collapsed. The fall, and the subsequent fire, killed 92 people, the worst rail disaster in American history to that point. Blame fell heavily on Stone, who soon departed for Europe to recuperate, leaving Hay in charge of his businesses. The summer of 1877 was marked by labor disputes; a strike over wage cuts on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad soon spread to the Lake Shore, much to Hay's outrage. Hay blamed foreign agitators for the dispute, although the Lake Shore dispute, unlike those elsewhere, was settled without violence. Hay would vent his anger over the strike in his only novel, The Bread-Winners (1883).
Return to politics
Hay remained disaffected from the Republican Party in the mid-1870s. Seeking a candidate of either party he could support as a reformer, he watched his favored Democrat, Samuel Tilden, gained his party's nomination, but his favored Republican, James G. Blaine, did not, falling to Ohio Governor Rutherford B. Hayes, who Hay did not support in the election. Hayes's controversial victory left Hay as an outsider as he sought a return to politics, and he was initially offered no place in the new administration. Nevertheless, Hay attempted to ingratiate himself with the new President by sending him a gold ring with a strand of George Washington's hair, a gesture that Hayes deeply appreciated. Hay spent time working with Nicolay on their Lincoln biography, and traveling in Europe. When Reid, who had succeeded Greeley as editor of the Tribune, was offered the post of Minister to Germany in December 1878, he turned it down and recommended Hay. Secretary of State William M. Evarts indicated that Hay "had not been active enough in political efforts", to Hay's regret, who told Reid that he "would like a second-class mission uncommonly well". From May to October 1879, Hay set out to reconfirm his credentials as a loyal Republican, giving speeches in support of candidates and attacking the Democrats. In October, President and Mrs. Hayes came to a reception at Hay's Cleveland home. When Assistant Secretary of State Frederick W. Seward resigned later that month, Hay was offered his place, and after some hesitancy because of a run for the House of Representatives Hay was considering, he accepted.
In Washington, he oversaw a staff of eighty employees, renewed his acquaintance with his friend Henry Adams, and substituted for Evarts at Cabinet meetings when the Secretary was out of town. In 1880, he campaigned for the Republican nominee for president, his fellow Ohioan, Congressman James Garfield. Hay felt that Garfield did not have enough backbone, and hoped that Reid and others would "inoculate him with the gall which I fear he lacks". Garfield consulted Hay before and after his election as president on appointments and other matters, but offered Hay only the post of private secretary (though he promised to increase its pay and power), and Hay declined.[f] Hay resigned as assistant secretary effective March 31, 1881, and spent the next seven months as acting editor of the Tribune during Reid's extended absence in Europe. Garfield's death in September and Reid's return the following month left Hay again on the outside of political power, looking in. He would spend the next fifteen years in that position.
Wealthy traveler (1881–97)
Author and dilettante
After 1881, Hay did not again hold public office until 1897. Amasa Stone committed suicide in 1883; his death left the Hays very wealthy. They spent several months in most years traveling in Europe. One fruit of these travels was The Bread-Winners, Hay's novel written during European travels with his family, The Lincoln biography absorbed some of Hay's time, with the hardest work done with Nicolay in 1884 and 1885; beginning in 1886, portions began appearing serially, and the books themselves were published in 1890.
In 1884, Hay and Adams commissioned architect Henry Hobson Richardson to construct houses for them on Washington's Lafayette Square, these were completed by 1886. Hay's house, facing the White House and fronting on Sixteenth Street, was described even before completion as "the finest house in Washington". The price for the combined tract, purchased from William Wilson Corcoran was $73,800, of which Adams paid a third. Hay budgeted the construction cost at $50,000; the ornate, 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) mansion eventually cost over twice that. Despite their possession of two lavish houses, the Hays spent less than half the year in Washington and only a few weeks a year in Cleveland. They also spent time at their summer residence in Newbury, New Hampshire, The Fells. According to Gale, "for a full decade before his appointment in 1897 as ambassador to England, Hay was lazy and uncertain."
Hay continued to devote much of his energy to Republican politics. In 1884, he supported Blaine for president, donating considerable sums to the senator's unsuccessful campaign against New York Governor Grover Cleveland. Many of Hay's friends were unenthusiastic about Blaine's candidacy, to Hay's anger, and he wrote to editor Richard Watson Gilder, "I have never been able to appreciate the logic that induces some excellent people every four years because they cannot nominate the candidate they prefer to vote for the party they don't prefer." In 1888, Hay had to follow his own advice as his favored candidate, Ohio Senator John Sherman, was unsuccessful at the Republican convention. After some reluctance, Hay supported the nominee, former Indiana senator Benjamin Harrison, who was elected. Though Harrison appointed men whom Hay supported, including Blaine, Reid, and Robert Lincoln, Hay was not asked to serve in the Harrison administration. In 1890, Hay spoke for Republican congressional candidates, addressing a rally of 10,000 people in New York City, but the party was defeated, losing control of Congress. Hay contributed funds to Harrison's unsuccessful re-election effort in 1892, with some of his enthusiasm due to the fact that Reid had been made Harrison's running mate in place of Vice President Levi P. Morton.
Hay was an early supporter of Ohio's William McKinley, and worked closely with McKinley's political manager, Cleveland industrialist Mark Hanna. In 1889, Hay supported McKinley in his unsuccessful effort to become Speaker of the House. Four years later and by then Governor of Ohio, McKinley faced a crisis when a friend whose notes he had imprudently co-signed went bankrupt during the Panic of 1893. The debts were beyond the governor's means to pay, so McKinley's promising political career might be derailed through insolvency. Hay was among those Hanna called upon to contribute, buying up $3,000 of the debt of over $100,000. Although others paid more, "Hay's checks were two of the first, and his touch was more personal, a kindness McKinley never forgot". The governor wrote, "How can I ever repay you & other dear friends?"
The same panic that nearly ruined McKinley convinced Hay that men like himself must take office to save the country from disaster. By the end of 1894, he was deeply involved in efforts to lay the groundwork for the governor's 1896 presidential bid. It was Hay's job to persuade potential supporters that McKinley was worth backing. Nevertheless, Hay found time for a lengthy stay in New Hampshire—one visitor at "The Fells" in mid-1895 was Rudyard Kipling—and later on in the year wrote, "The summer wanes and I have done nothing for McKinley." He atoned with a $500 check to Hanna, the first of many that were to follow. During the winter of 1895–96, Hay passed along what he heard from other Republicans influential in Washington, such as Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge.
Hay spent part of the spring and early summer of 1896 in the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in Europe. There was a border dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana, and Cleveland's Secretary of State, Richard Olney, supported the Venezuelan position. Hay backed Olney up in conversations, and in a letter to The Times. He told British politicians that McKinley, if elected, would be unlikely to change course. McKinley was nominated in June 1896; still, many Britons were minded to support the Democratic candidate. This changed when the 1896 Democratic National Convention nominated former Nebraska congressman William Jennings Bryan on a "free silver" platform; he had electrified the delegates with his Cross of Gold speech. Hay reported to McKinley when he returned to Britain after a brief stay on the Continent during which Bryan was nominated in Chicago: "they were all scared out of their wits for fear Bryan would be elected, and very polite in their references to you."
Once Hay returned to the United States in early August, he went to The Fells and watched from afar as Bryan barnstormed the nation in his campaign while McKinley gave speeches from his front porch. Despite an invitation from the candidate, Hay was reluctant to visit McKinley at his home in Canton. "he has asked me to come, but I thought I would not struggle with the millions on his trampled lawn".  In October, after basing himself at his Cleveland home and giving a speech for McKinley, Hay went to Canton at last, writing to Adams,
I had been dreading it for a month, thinking it would be like talking in a boiler factory. But he met me at the [railroad] station, gave me meat & took me upstairs and talked for two hours as calmly & serenely as if we were summer boarders in Bethlehem, at a loss for means to kill time. I was more struck than ever with his mask. It is a genuine Italian ecclesiastical face of the XVth Century.
Hay was disgusted by Bryan's speeches, writing in language that Taliaferro compares to The Bread-Winners that the Democrat "simply reiterates the unquestioned truths that every man with a clean shirt is a thief and ought to be hanged: that there is no goodness and wisdom except among the illiterate & criminal classes". Bryan's "attempt to convert currency into class warfare", as Taliaferro puts it, was unsuccessful in much of the nation, and McKinley won the election easily, with a campaign run by himself and Hanna, and well-financed by supporters like Hay. Henry Adams later wondered, "I would give six-pence to know how much Hay paid for McKinley. His politics must have cost."
In the post-election speculation as to who would be given office under McKinley, Hay's name figured prominently, as did that of Whitelaw Reid; both men sought high office in the State Department. Reid, in addition to his vice-presidential run, had been Minister to France under Harrison. But Reid, an asthmatic, handicapped himself by departing for Arizona Territory for the winter, leading to speculation about his health. Hay was faster than Reid to realize that Hanna wanted to be senator from Ohio, and with one of the state's places about to be occupied by the newly-elected Joseph B. Foraker, the only possible seat for him was that held by Senator Sherman. As the septuagenarian senator had served as Treasury Secretary under Hayes, only the secretaryship of state was likely to attract him and cause a vacancy that Hanna could fill. Hay knew that with only eight cabinet positions for McKinley to fill, only one could go to an Ohioan. Accordingly, Hay encouraged Reid to seek the State position, while firmly ruling himself out as a possible candidate for that post, and quietly seeking the inside track to be ambassador in London. Zeitz states that Hay "aggressively lobbied" for the position.
According to Taliaferro, "only after the deed was accomplished and Hay was installed as the ambassador to the Court of St. James's would it be possible to detect just how subtly and completely he had finessed his ally and friend, Whitelaw Reid". A telegraph from Hay to McKinley in the latter's papers, dated December 26 (most likely 1896) reveals the former's suggestion that McKinley tell Reid that the editor's friends had insisted that Reid not endanger his health through office, especially in London's smoggy climes. The following month, in a letter, Hay set forth his own case for the ambassadorship, and urged McKinley to act quickly, as suitable accommodations in London would be difficult to secure. Hay gained his object (as did Hanna), and shifted his focus to appeasing Reid. Taliaferro states that Reid never blamed Hay, but Kushner and Sherill recorded, "Reid was certain that he had been wronged" by Hay, and the announcement of Hay's appointment nearly ended their 26-year friendship.[g]
Reaction to Hay's appointment in Britain was generally positive with George Smalley of The Times writing to him, "we want a man who is a true American yet not anti-English". A salary of $17,000 was provided by the State Department, but it also had to cover expenses, and Hay quickly decided not to try to live on it. He secured a two-story Georgian house on Carlton House Terrace, overlooking Horse Guards Parade, with 11 servants, and leased from the Earl of Caledon, He brought with him Clara, their own silver, two carriages, and five horses, Hay's salary "did not even begin to cover the cost of their extravagant lifestyle".
Hay was also determined on a change of attitude for America's representative in London. His predecessor, former Delaware senator Thomas F. Bayard, had spoken with nothing but praise for the British,[h] who were puzzled by the disconnect between Bayard's attitude and the anger they received from other Americans over the Venezuela dispute.
During his service as ambassador, Hay attempted to advance the relationship between the U.S. and Britain. The latter country had long been seen negatively by many Americans, legacy of its colonial role and refreshed by its Civil War neutrality, when British-built raiders such as the Alabama were preying on American ships In spite of these past differences, according to Taliaferro, "rapprochement made more sense than at any time in their respective histories". In his Thanksgiving Day address to the American Society in London in 1897, Hay echoed these points, "The great body of people in the United States and England are friends ... [sharing] that intense respect and reverence for order, liberty, and law which is so profound a sentiment in both countries". Although Hay was not successful in resolving specific controversies in his year and a third as ambassador, both he and British policymakers regarded his tenure as a success, because of the advancement of good feelings and cooperation between the two nations.
An ongoing dispute between the U.S. and Britain was over the practice of pelagic sealing, that is, the capture of seals offshore of Alaska. The U.S. considered them American resources; the Canadians (Britain was still responsible for that dominion's foreign policy) contended that the mammals were being taken on the high seas, free to all. Soon after Hay's arrival, McKinley former secretary John W. Foster to London to negotiate the issue. Foster quickly issued an accusatory note to the British, that was printed in the newspapers. Although Hay was successful in getting Lord Salisbury, then both Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, to agree to a conference to decide the matter, the British withdrew when the U.S. also invited Russia and Japan, rendering the conference ineffective. Another issue on which no agreement was reached was that of bimetallism: McKinley had pledged to silver-leaning Republicans to seek an international agreement varying the price ratio between silver and gold to allow for free coinage of silver, and Hay was instructed to seek British participation. The British would only join if the Indian colonial government (on a silver standard until 1893) was willing; this did not occur, and coupled with an improving economic situation which decreased support for bimetallism in the United States, no agreement was reached.
Hay had little involvement in the evolving crisis over Cuba that culminated in the Spanish-American War. He met with Lord Salisbury in October 1897 and gained assurances Britain would not intervene if the U.S. found it necessary to go to war against Spain. Hay's role was "to make friends and to pass along the English point of view to Washington". Hay spent much of early 1898 on an extended trip to the Middle East, and did not return to London until the last week of March, by which time the Maine had exploded in Havana harbor and the U.S. was about to issue a report blaming the sinking on an external cause. During the war, he worked to assure U.S.-British amity, and British acceptance of the U.S. occupation of the Philippines—Salisbury and his government preferred that the U.S. have the islands than have them fall into the hands of the Germans.
In its early days, Hay described the war "as necessary as it is righteous". In July, writing to former Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, who had gained wartime glory by leading the Rough Riders volunteer regiment, Hay made a description of the war for which he "is best remembered by many students of American history":
It has been a splendid little war, begun with the highest motives, carried on with magnificent intelligence and spirit, favored by that Fortune that loves the brave. It is now to be concluded, I hope, with that fine good nature, which is, after all, the distinguishing trait of the American character.
Secretary Sherman had resigned on the eve of war, and been replaced by his first assistant, William R. Day. One of McKinley's Canton cronies, with no more experience of statecraft than that practiced in the Stark County courthouse, Day was never intended as more than a temporary wartime replacement. With America about to splash her flag across the Pacific, McKinley needed a secretary with stronger credentials. On August 14, 1898, Hay received a telegram from McKinley that Day would head the American delegation to the peace talks with Spain, and that Hay would be the new Secretary of State. After some indecision, Hay, who did not think he could decline and still remain as ambassador, accepted. British response to Hay's promotion was generally positive, and Queen Victoria, after he took formal leave of her at Osborne House, invited him again the following day, and subsequently pronounced him, "the most interesting of all the Ambassadors I have known."
Secretary of State
John Hay was sworn in as Secretary of State on September 30, 1898. He needed little introduction to Cabinet meetings, and sat at the President's right hand. Meetings were held in the Cabinet Room of the White House, where he found his old office and bedroom occupied by several clerks each. Now responsible for 1,300 federal employees, he got little help in administration from his first assistant, David Jayne Hill, newly appointed by McKinley, but leaned heavily on his old friend Alvey Adee, the second assistant.
By the time Hay took office, the war was effectively over and it had been decided to strip Spain of her overseas empire and transfer at least part of it to the United States. At the time of Hay's swearing-in, McKinley was still undecided whether to take the Philippines, but in October finally decided to do so, and Hay sent instructions to Day and the other peace commissioners to insist on it. Spain yielded, and the result was the Treaty of Paris, narrowly ratified by the Senate in February 1899 over the objections of anti-imperialists.
Open Door Policy
By the 1890s, China had become a major trading partner for Western nations, and for Japan. China lacked military muscle to resist these countries, and several, including Russia, Britain, and Germany, had carved off bits of China—some known as treaty ports—for use as trading or military bases. Within those jurisdictions, the nation in possession often gave preference to its own citizens in trade or in developing infrastructure such as railroads. Although the United States did not claim any parts of China, a third of the China trade was carried in American ships, and having an outpost near there was a major factor in deciding to retain the former Spanish colony of the Philippines in the Treaty of Paris.
Hay had been concerned about the Far East since the 1870s, even writing his interest into The Bread-Winners—his hero, Arthur Farnham, in romantic despair, contemplates departing for Japan, where there is opportunity for profit. As Ambassador, he had attempted to forge a common policy with the British, but the United Kingdom was willing to countenance territorial acquisition in China to guard its interests there whereas McKinley was not. In March 1898, Hay warned that Russia, Germany, and France were seeking to exclude Britain and America from the China trade, but he was disregarded by Sherman, who accepted assurances from Russia and Germany.
McKinley was of the view that equality of opportunity for American trade in China was key to success there, rather than colonial acquisitions; that Hay shared these views was one reason for his appointment as Secretary of State. Many influential Americans, seeing coastal China being divided into spheres of influence, urged McKinley to join in; still, in his annual message to Congress in December 1898, he stated that as long as Americans were not discriminated against, he saw no need for the United States to become "an actor in the scene".
As Secretary of State, it was Hay's responsibility to put together a workable China policy. He was advised by William Rockhill, an old China hand who was serving in the nominal capacity of director of the Bureau of American Republics. Also influential was Charles Beresford, a British Member of Parliament who gave a number of speeches to American businessmen, met with McKinley and Hay, and in a letter to the secretary stated that "it is imperative for American interests as well as out own that the policy of the 'open door' should be maintained". Assuring that all would play on an even playing field in China would give the foreign powers little incentive to dismember the Chinese Empire through territorial acquisition.
In mid-1899, the British inspector of Chinese maritime customs, Alfred Hippisley, visited the United States. In a letter to Rockhill, a friend, he urged that the United States and other powers agree to uniform Chinese tariffs, including in the enclaves. Rockhill passed the letter on to Hay, and subsequently summarized the thinking of Hippisley and others, that there should be "an open market through China fore our trade on terms of equality with all other foreigners". Hay was in agreement, but feared Senate and popular opposition.With an eye to the Irish-American and German-American vote in the next election, Hay did not wish this policy to be seen as a joint Anglo-American initiative, and Rockhill drafted the first Open Door note, calling for equality of commercial opportunity for foreigners there.
Hay formally issued his Open Door note on September 6, 1899. This was not a treaty, and did not require the approval of the Senate. Most of the powers had at least some caveats, and negotiations continued through the remainder of the year. On March 20, 1900, Hay announced that all powers had agreed, and he was not contradicted. Former secretary Day wrote to Hay, congratulating him for "moving at the right time and in the right manner, you have secured a diplomatic triumph in the 'open door' in China of the first importance to your country".
Little thought was given to the Chinese reaction to the Open Door note; the Chinese minister in Washington, Wu Ting-fang did not learn of it until he read of it in the newspapers. Among those in China who opposed Western influence there were a movement in Shantung Province, in the north, that became known as the Fists of Rightious Harmony, or Boxers, after the martial arts they practiced. The Boxers were especially angered by missionaries and their converts. As late as June 1900, Rockhill dismissed the Boxers, contending that they would soon disband. By the middle of that month, the Boxers, joined by imperial troops, had cut the railroad between Peking and the coast, killed many missionaries and converts, and besieged the foreign legations. Hay faced a precarious situation; how to rescue the Americans trapped in Peking without giving the other powers an excuse to partition China, in an election year when the issue of American imperialism was being raised by the Democrats.
As American troops were sent to China to relieve the nation's legation, Hay sent a letter to foreign powers (often called the Second Open Door note, stating while the United States wanted to see lives preserved and the guilty punished, it intended that China not be dismembered. Hay issued this on July 3, suspecting that the powers were quietly making private arrangements to divide up China. Communication between the foreign legations and the outside world had been cut off, and the personnel there were presumed slaughtered, but Hay realized that Minister Wu could get a message in, and Hay was able to establish communication. Hay suggested to the Chinese government that it now cooperate for its own good. When the foreign relief force, principally Japanese but including 2,000 Americans, relieved the legations and sacked the city, China was made to pay a huge indemnity but there was no cession of land. By the time that the relief occurred, in August 1900, an exhausted Hay had gone to his home in New Hampshire.
Death of McKinley
McKinley's vice president and Hay's Lafayette Square neighbor, Garret Hobart, had died in November 1899. Under the laws then in force, this made Hay next in line to the presidency should anything happen to McKinley. There was a presidential election in 1900, and McKinley was unanimously renominated at the Republican National Convention that year. He allowed the convention to make its own choice of running mate, and it selected Roosevelt, by then Governor of New York, a choice bitterly opposed by Senator Hanna, who nevertheless raised millions for the McKinley/Roosevelt ticket, which was elected.
Hay accompanied McKinley on his nationwide train tour in mid-1901, during which both men visited California and saw the Pacific Ocean for the only times in their lives. The summer of 1901 was tragic for Hay; his older son Adelbert, who had been counsel in Pretoria during the Boer War and was about to become McKinley's personal secretary, died in a fall from a New Haven hotel window.
Secretary Hay was in New Hampshire when McKinley was shot by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist, on September 6 in Buffalo. With Vice President Roosevelt and much of the cabinet hastening to the bedside of McKinley, who had been operated on (it was thought successfully) soon after the shooting, Hay planned to go to Washington to manage the communication with foreign governments, but presidential secretary George Cortelyou urged him to come to Buffalo. He traveled to Buffalo on September 10; hearing on his arrival an account of the President's recovery, Hay responded that McKinley would die. He was more cheerful after visiting McKinley, giving a statement to the press, and went to Washington. He was about to return to New Hampshire on the 13th, when word came that McKinley was dying. He remained at his office and the next morning, as Roosevelt hastened to Buffalo, the former Rough Rider received his first communication as President, from Hay, officially informing President Roosevelt of McKinley's death.
Theodore Roosevelt administration
Hay, again first in line to the presidency, remained in Washington as McKinley's body was transported to the capital by funeral train, and stayed there as the late president was taken to Canton for interment. He had admired McKinley, describing him as "awfully like Lincoln in many respects" and wrote to a friend, "what a strange and tragic fate it has been of mine—to stand by the bier of three of my dearest friends, Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley, three of the gentlest of men, all risen to be head of the State, and all done to death by assassins". Chosen to give McKinley's official memorial address to a joint session of Congress, Hay restated the comparison with Lincoln, "There is ... no one but vows [the nation] a tenderer love because Lincoln poured out his blood for it; no one but must feel his devotion for his country renewed and kindled when he remembered how McKinley loved, revered, and served it".
By letter, Hay offered his resignation to Roosevelt while the new president was still in Buffalo, amid newspaper speculation was that Hay would be replaced—Garfield's Secretary of State, Blaine, had not remained long under the Arthur administration. When Hay met the funeral train in Washington, Roosevelt greeted him at the station and immediately told him he must stay on as Secretary. According to Zeitz, "Roosevelt's accidental ascendance to the presidency made John Hay an essential anachronism ... the wise elder statesman and senior member of the cabinet, he was indispensable to TR, who even today remains the youngest president ever".
The deaths of his son and of McKinley were not the only griefs Hay suffered in 1901—on September 26, John Nicolay died after a long illness and his close friend Clarence King passed away on Christmas Eve.
Hay's involvement in the efforts to have a canal joining the oceans in Central America went back to his time as Assistant Secretary of State under Hayes, when he served as translator for Ferdinand de Lesseps in his efforts to interest the American government in investing in his canal company. President Hayes was only interested in the idea of a canal under American control, which de Lesseps's project would not be. By the time Hay became Secretary of State, de Lesseps's project, in Panama (then a Colombian province) had collapsed, as had an American-run project in Nicaragua. The 1850 Clayton-Bulwer Treaty forbade the United States from building a Central American canal that it exclusively controlled, and Hay, from early in his tenure, sought the removal of this restrictions. But the Canadians, seeing this as their greatest leverage to get other disputes resolved in their favor, persuaded Salisbury not to resolve the canal matter independently. Shortly before Hay took office, Britain and the U.S. agreed to establish a Joint High Commission to adjudicate these matters, which met in late 1898 but made slow progress, especially on the Canada-Alaska boundary.
One issue became less contentious in August 1899 when the Canadians accepted a provisional boundary pending final settlement. With Congress anxious to begin work on a canal bill, and increasingly likely to ignore the Clayton-Bulwer restriction, Hay and British Ambassador Julian Paunceforte began work on a new treaty in January 1900. The resulting Hay-Paunceforte Treaty was sent to the Senate the following month, where it met a cold reception, as the terms forbade the United States from blockading or fortifying the canal, which was to be open to all nations in wartime as in peace. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee added an amendment allowing the U.S. to fortify the canal, then in March postponed further consideration until after the 1900 election. Hay submitted his resignation, which was refused by McKinley. The treaty, as amended, was ratified by the Senate in December, but the British would not agree to the changes.
Despite the lack of agreement, Congress was enthusiastic about a canal, and was inclined to move forward, with or without a treaty. Authorizing legislation was slowed by discussion on whether to take the Nicaraguan or Panamanian route. Much of the negotiation of a revised treaty, allowing the U.S. to fortify the canal, took place between Hay's replacement in London, Joseph H. Choate, and the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Landsdowne, and the second Hay-Paunceforte Treaty was ratified by the Senate by a large margin on December 6, 1901.
Seeing that the Americans were likely to build a Nicaragua Canal, the owners of the defunct French company, including Philippe Bunau-Varilla which still had exclusive rights to the Panama route, lowered their price. Beginning in early 1902, President Roosevelt became a backer of the latter route, and Congress passed legislation for it, if it could be secured within a reasonable time. In June, Roosevelt told Hay to take personal charge of the negotiations with Colombia. Later that year, he began talks with Colombia's acting minister in Washington, Tomás Herrán. The Hay-Herrán treaty, granting $10 million to Colombia for the right to build a canal, plus $250,000 annually, was signed on January 22, 1903, and ratified by the United States Senate two months later. In August, however, the treaty was rejected by the Colombian Senate.
Roosevelt was minded to build the canal anyway, using an earlier treaty with Colombia that gave the U.S. rights in regard to the Panama Railroad. Hay predicted "an insurrection on the Isthmus [of Panama] against that regime of folly and graft ... at Bogotá". Bunau-Varilla gained meetings with both men, and assured them that a revolution, and a Panamanian government more friendly to a canal, was coming. In October, Roosevelt ordered Navy ships to be stationed near Panama. The Panamanians duly revolted in early November 1903, with Colombian interference deterred by the presence of U.S. forces. By prearrangement, Bunau-Varilla was appointed representative of the nascent nation in Washington, and quickly negotiated with Hay the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty, giving the United States the right to build the canal in a zone 10 miles (16 km) wide, over which the U.S. would exercise full jurisdiction. This was less than satisfactory to the Panamanian diplomats who arrived in Washington shortly after the signing, but they did not dare renounce it, and the treaty was approved by the two nations, and work on the Panama Canal began soon after. Hay wrote to Secretary of War Elihu Root, praising "the perfectly regular course which the President did follow" as much preferable to armed occupation of the isthmus.
Other matters; relationship with Roosevelt
Hay had met the President's father, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. during the Civil War, and during his time at the Tribune came to know the adolescent "Teddy"—the two were twenty years apart in age. As President and Secretary of State, the two men took pains to cultivate a cordial relationship. Roosevelt read all ten volumes of the Lincoln biography and in mid-1903, wrote to Hay that by then "I have had a chance to know far more fully what a really great Secretary of State you are". Hay for his part publicly praised Roosevelt as "young, gallant, able, [and] brilliant", words that Roosevelt wrote that he hoped would be engraved on his tombstone.
Privately, and in correspondence with others, they were less fulsome: Hay grumbled that while McKinley would give him his full attention, Roosevelt was always busy with others, and it would be "an hour's wait for a minute's talk". Roosevelt, after Hay's death in 1905, wrote to Senator Lodge that Hay had not been "a great Secretary of State ... under me he accomplished little ... his usefulness to me was almost exclusively the usefulness of a fine figurehead". Nevertheless, when Roosevelt successfully sought election in his own right in 1904, he persuaded the aging and infirm Hay to campaign for him, and Hay gave a speech linking the administration's policies with those of Lincoln: "there is not a principal avowed by the Republican party to-day which is out of harmony with his teaching or inconsistent with his character."
One incident involving Hay that benefitted Roosevelt politically was the kidnapping of Ion Perdicaris by Moroccan chieftain Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli, an opponent of Sultan Abdelaziz. Raisuli demanded a ransom, but also that political prisoners be released and control of Tangier in place of the military governor. Raisuli supposed Perdicaris to be a wealthy American, and hoped United States pressure would secure his demands. In fact, Perdicaris, though born in New Jersey, had renounced his citizenship during the Civil War to avoid confiscation of property in South Carolina, and was a Greek national, a fact not generally known until years later, but which decreased Roosevelt's desire for military action. The sultan was ineffective in dealing with the incident, and Roosevelt considered seizing the Tangier waterfront as a means of motivating him. With Raisuli's demands escalating, Hay finally cabled the consul-general in Tangier, Samuel Gummeré:
We want Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead. We desire least possible complications with Morocco or other Powers. You will not arrange for landing marines or seizing customs house without specific direction from the [State] department.
The 1904 Republican National Convention was ongoing, and the Speaker of the House, Joseph Cannon, its chair, read the first sentence of the cable—and only the first sentence—to the convention, electrifying what had been a humdrum coronation of Roosevelt. In fact, by then the matter was moot, as the sultan had already agreed to the demands, and Perdicaris was soon released. Nevertheless, what was seen as tough talk boosted Roosevelt's election chances.
Hay continued serving as Secretary of State after Theodore Roosevelt succeeded McKinley, serving until his own death in 1905.
Until Hay's appointment as Secretary of State in 1898, he was as well-known to the American public as an author and lecturer as he was for his political accomplishments. He corresponded with a number of the men of letters of his times, including Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Henry Adams, and Bret Harte, all of whom believed that Hay was well worthy to be among the front rank of American writers. In 1904, when the American Academy of Arts was formed, Hay was selected as one of its seven charter members; Adams and James were not.
Hay wrote some poetry while at Brown University, and penned more during the Civil War. He believed the Civil War to have been revolutionary in nature, altering by force of arms the nature of life in the South, and he never seriously questioned the basis of the American political system in his writings. During his time serving in legations in Europe, he was less enamored of the governmental systems he saw there. In 1865, early in his Paris stay, Hay penned "Sunrise in the Place de la Concorde", a poem attacking Napoleon III for his reinstitution of the monarchy, depicting the Emperor as having been entrusted with the child Democracy by Liberty, and strangling it with his own hands. In "A Triumph of Order", set in the breakup of the Paris Commune, a boy promises soldiers that he will return from an errand to be executed with his fellow rebels. Much to their surprise, he keeps his word and shouts to them to "blaze away" as "The Chassepots tore the stout young heart,/And saved Society."
In poetry, he sought the revolutionary outcome for other nations that he believed had come to a successful conclusion in the United States. His 1871 poem, "The Prayer of the Romans", recites Italian history up to that time, with the Risorgimento in progress: liberty cannot be truly present until "crosier and crown pass away", when there will be "One freedom, one faith without fetters,/One republic in Italy free!" His stay in Vienna yielded "The Curse of Hungary", in which Hay foresees the end of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. After Hay's death in 1905, William Dean Howells suggested that the Europe-themed poems expressed "(now, perhaps, old-fashioned) American sympathy for all the oppressed.
Castilian Days, souvenir of Hay's time in Madrid, is a collection of seventeen essays about Spanish history and customs, first published in 1871, though several of the individual chapters appeared in The Atlantic in 1870. It went through eight editions in Hay's lifetime, the last of which, in 1903, was the subject of a failed attempt to ban it from the New York Public Library—along with Hay's poetry—for blasphemy. Among the most vivid parts are a bullfight, a retelling of the life and works of Cervantes, a description of La Granja (a palace north of Madrid), and a recounting of a debate in the Cortes. The Spanish are depicted as afflicted by the "triple curse of crown, crozier, and sabre"—most kings and ecclesiastics are presented as useless—and Hay pins his hope in the republican movement in Spain. Howells wrote that "the range is very great, from the note of slight, transitory social phases to the study of important political aspects". Gale deems Castilian Days "a remarkable, if biased, book of essays about Spanish civilization".
Pike County Ballads, a grouping of six poems published (with other Hay poetry) as a book in 1871, brought him great success. Written in the dialect of Pike County, Illinois, where Hay went to school as a child, they are approximately contemporaneous with pioneering poems in similar dialect by Bret Harte and there has been debate as to which came first. The poem that brought the greatest immediate reaction was "Jim Bludso", about a boatman who is "no saint" and has one wife in Mississippi and another in Illinois. Yet, when his steamboat catches fire, "He saw his duty, a dead-sure thing,—/And went for it, thar and then." Jim holds the burning steamboat against the riverbank until the last passenger gets ashore, at the price of his life. Hay's narrator states that, "And Christ ain't a-going to be too hard/On a man that died for men." Hay's poem offended some clergymen, but was widely reprinted and even included in anthologies of verse.
Between 1861 and 1871, Hay wrote six short stories. The first, "Red, White, and Blue" (1861) is a piece of enlistment propaganda, with the protagonist's intended sending him back to his duty in the Union Army. The others are all postwar, and were never collected for joint publication. Gale opined that "Hay showed skill, imagination, genuine talent, and, ultimately, indifference. He simply refused to make a sustained commitment to a line of work which,, had he chosen to follow it tenaciously, he would have mastered. His fiction is smooth, competent, and, in some respects, ahead of its time."
Gale pointed out that between the publication of the last of Hay's short fiction in 1871 and that of his only novel, The Bread-Winners, in 1883, "Hay married money, entered into a lucrative business arrangement in Cleveland with his conservative father-in-law [and] joined the right wing of the Ohio Republican Party ... The Bread-Winners was written by a person made essentially different as a result of these experiences." The novel was written in an America where internal differences had shifted from the intersectional conflict of the Civil War and its aftermath, to the battle between capital and labor as the nation rapidly industrialized.
The Bread-Winners, one of the first novels to take an anti-labor perspective, was published anonymously (published editions did not bear Hay's name until 1916, after his death) and he may have tried to disguise his writing style. It is set in Buffland, a Great Lakes city whose name is a portmanteau word deriving from Buffalo and Cleveland. In Buffland, the wealthy live on Algonquin Avenue (a thinly-disguised analogue of Cleveland's Euclid Avenue). The novel takes place there, on Dean Street, where the working class lives, and in Buffland's squares and other public places, site of the labor unrest that marks the novel. It examines two conflicts: between capital and labor, and between the nouveau riche and old money. In writing it, Hay was influenced by the labor unrest of the 1870s, that affected him personally, as the establishments of his father-in-law, Amasa Stone, were among those shut down by a strike in 1877 at a time when Hay had been left in charge, as Stone was away in Europe. According to historian Scott Dalrymple, "in response, Hay proceeded to write an indictment of organized labor so scathing, so vehement, that he dared not attach his name to it."
The major character is Arthur Farnham, a wealthy Civil War veteran, likely based on Hay, who woos Maud Matchin, daughter of a carpenter, with his romantic rival Sam Sleeny, her father's assistant. Farnham, who inherited money, is without much influence in municipal politics, as his ticket is defeated in elections, symbolic of the decreasing influence of America's old-money patricians. The villain is Andrew Jackson Offitt (true name Ananias Offitt), an unsavory locksmith who has dishonorable intentions for Maud. and who forms the Bread-Winners, a labor organization that begins a violent general strike. When ineffectual city authorities fail to end the strike, peace is restored by a group of veterans led by Farnham, and Offitt is killed by Sleeny, who marries Maud, while Farnham appears likely to marry Alice Belding, a woman of his own class.
Although unusual among the many books inspired by the labor unrest of the late 1870s in taking the perspective of the wealthy, it was the most successful of them, and was a sensation when serialized and published in 1883–84, gaining many favorable reviews. It was also attacked as an anti-labor polemic with an upper-class bias. Hay, in an unsigned 1884 letter to The Century (that published the novel in installments in 1883–84), stated, "I contend that the book is true, and written with an honest purpose": to illustrate elements of social life that had previously escaped publication. There were many guesses as to authorship, with the supposed authors ranging from Hay's friend Henry Adams to New York Governor Grover Cleveland, and the speculation fueled sales. The book was lampooned by parodies, including Henry Francis Keenan's The Money-Makers (1884). Keenan, a former colleague of Hay's at the Tribune, included unflattering characters clearly based on Hay, his wife, and father-in-law, and Hay is supposed to have hurried to New York in an attempt to buy out the printing.
In his study of The Bread-Winners, historian Frederic Cople Jaher stated that despite Hay's Western birth, he had taken on Eastern attitudes, and that his dislike of his region of origin "reflected Hay's general unconcern for those who did not count", supporting this by alleging that during the Civil War, Hay wrote almost nothing about slavery. Jaher concludes that Hay's anger in 1877, when Stone's railroad was peacefully struck, and his 1883 novel, "emphasize defensive notions of safe-guarding order and property rather than the expansive beliefs in extending individual freedom or opportunity". In 1916, the first edition bearing Hay's name was published, posthumously, and his son Clarence in a preface stated that his father had been misunderstood: that the attack was on unscrupulous labor leaders, not workers in general. Neverthless, according to Dalrymple, "Hay himself, however, never seriously claimed to be misunderstood. His attack on organized labor—fueled by his own personal experiences—was direct, angry, and completely unapologetic."
David E. E. Sloane, in his journal article on the book, suggested that Hay failed with The Bread-Winners because he did not make his themes more prominent than the characters' romances. Gale, though deeming The Bread-Winners "a timely, popular and controversial novel that still rewards the sympathetic reader", opined that the part of the book its initial readers liked best was the ending, where Farnham and Belding "gyrate in a conventional mating dance before he finally settles on her warm bosom".
Abraham Lincoln was able to forge a close bond with the common people of the North during the years of the Civil War, and especially with the soldiers and their families. Nevertheless, his renomination and reelection were often uncertain as he was not held in as high esteem by the political elite, much of whom considered him a good and decent man, unequal to the huge tasks of his presidency, and responsible for military mistakes and political errors. Hay later wrote that if Lincoln had "died in the days of doubt and gloom which preceded his reelection", he would have been remembered very differently.
Early in his presidency, Hay and Nicolay requested and received permission from Lincoln to write his biography. In the first years after Lincoln's death, Hay and Nicolay were not encouraged to publish such a work—Representative Isaac Newton Arnold, a Lincoln supporter, had quickly published a substantial Lincoln biography, and publishers were not eager for another. Lincoln's former secretaries decided to wait until they had sufficient time and money.
By 1872, Hay was "convinced that we ought to be at work on our 'Lincoln.' I don't think the time for publication has come, but the time for preparation is slipping away." Lincoln's papers were held by his son Robert, who in 1874 formally agreed to let Hay and Nicolay use them; by 1875, they were engaged in research. Not only did they use Lincoln's papers, but gathered documents written by others, as well as many of the books already being written on the Civil War. They at times relied on personal recollection, such as Nicolay's recollection of the moment at the 1860 Republican convention when Lincoln was nominated. Hay and Nicolay enjoyed exclusive access to Lincoln's papers, that were not opened to other researchers until 1947. The research was so extensive that in their published work, Hay and Nicolay sometimes wrote that no records exist on certain points—statements were later proved premature.
Hay began his part of the writing in 1876; the work was interrupted by illnesses of Hay, Nicolay, or family members, or by Hay's writing of The Bread-Winners. In 1881, after his temporary service as editor of the Tribune in Reid's absence, he agreed to do unsigned Civil War book reviews for the Tribune, but when asked to do obituaries as well, refused, "I have not read any thing this winter except what bears on one subject".
Gale noted that Hay and Nicolay "emerge as Protestant Christian defenders of Unionism, of Constitutional abolition [of slavery], of the Republican party, and of a martyred president who was almost divine because of the comprehensiveness of his supernal intelligence and charitable heart". Kushner and Sherrill opined that the biography "became the Lincoln gospel according to St. John and St. Nico, who like 'two everlasting Angels,' would transmit to their fellows the truth about their hero". According to historian Joshua Zeitz:
Writing against the rising currents of Southern apologia, Hay and Nicolay pioneered the "Northern" interpretation of the Civil War [and] helped invent the Lincoln we know today—the sage father figure; the military genius; the greatest American orator; the master of a fractious cabinet who forged a "team of rivals" out of erstwhile challengers for the throne; the Lincoln Memorial Lincoln. That Abraham Lincoln was all of these things, in some measure, there can be no doubt. But it is easy to forget how widely underrated Lincoln the president and Lincoln the man were at the time of his death and how successful Hay and Nicolay were in elevating his place in the nation's collective historical memory.
His contributions included the adoption of an Open Door Policy in China (announced on January 2, 1900) and the preparations for the Panama Canal. He negotiated the Hay–Pauncefote Treaty (1901), the Hay–Herrán Treaty (1903), and the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty (1903), all of which were instrumental in clearing the way for the construction and use 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 a 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.
The Bixby letter, possibly written by Hay, in 1997 inspired the film, Saving Private Ryan. Hay appears as a prominent character in Gore Vidal's historical novels Lincoln and Empire and in William Safire's historical novel Freedom. 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. Steven Culp portrayed John ("Johnny") Hay in the 1988 miniseries Lincoln, based on Vidal's book. He is portrayed in the 1997 miniseries Rough Riders by actor and retired United States Marine R. Lee Ermey. In the 2012 motion picture Lincoln he is played by actor Joseph Cross.
After Roosevelt signed an executive order setting aside land in the Benguet region of the Philippines for a military reservation under the United States Army, Camp John Hay of Baguio City was established on October 25, 1903 and named in his honor. It was re-designated John Hay Air Base in 1955. The base was used for rest and recreation for U.S. military personnel and the dependants of U.S. military personnel in the Philippines as well as Department of Defense employees and their dependents. The 690-hectare property was finally turned over to the Philippines in 1991 upon the expiration of the Philippine-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.
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.
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. The Fells, a local nonprofit organization that has maintained and managed the John Hay Estate on Lake Sunapee for over a decade, acquired the northern half of the property from the US Fish and Wildlife Service on March 25, 2008.
John Hay High School, built in 1927, is on Cleveland's east side, in the University Circle area.
Hay married Clara Stone, daughter of Amasa Stone of Cleveland, Ohio, an American industrialist who built railroads and invested in mills in Ohio. They are buried together in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. Their daughter Helen Julia Hay, a writer and poet, married Payne Whitney of the influential Whitney family; their children were U.S. ambassador John Hay Whitney and Joan Whitney Payson.
Books by Hay
- Abraham Lincoln: A History (with John G. Nicolay), (10 vol. 1890)
- The Bread-Winners (1883), a novel
- Castilian Days (1871)
- Pike County Ballads and Other Poems (1871)
- Poems (1890)
- Illinois was then considered part of the Western United States
- Hay's office is today known as the Queens' Sitting Room; the bedroom he shared with Nicolay is known as the Queens' Bedroom. See Zeitz 2014a, p. 87.
- According to Zeitz, $1,500. See Zeitz 2014a, p. 71.
- Robert Lincoln was absent at Harvard College, much of the time, and had an uneasy relationship with his parents; Tad Lincoln, aged eight in 1862, was loved dearly by his parents and may have had special needs—he did not dress himself while living in the White House. See Taliaferro, pp. 53–54.
- Hay was brevetted lieutenant colonel and colonel in May 1865. See Gale, p. 18.
- Garfield offered the position to a young aide, Stanley Brown, his third choice, with the words, "Well, my boy, I may have to give it to you." Brown took the post, but not before replying, "Well, that is complimentary, to say the least, after all these other fellows have been considered." Garfield laughed. See Ackerman, p. 245.
- Reid later served as ambassador in London from 1905 to 1912.
- Hay wrote that Bayard wept at Southampton station as he was about to depart, gave two long speeches there, and was engaged on a third address as his ship left the harbor. See Kushner & Sherrill, p. 88.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 11.
- Thayer I, pp. 3–4.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 15–16.
- Thayer I, p. 8.
- Thayer I, p. 10.
- Taliaferro, pp. 20–22.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 16–18.
- Stevenson & Stevenson, p. 19.
- Stevenson & Stevenson, p. 20.
- Taliaferro, pp. 22–23.
- Thayer I, pp. 21–22.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 19–21.
- Taliaferro, p. 27.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 23.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 23–24.
- Kushner, p. 366.
- Kushner, pp. 366–67.
- Taliaferro, p. 30.
- Taliaferro, p. 31.
- Thayer I, p. 80.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 56.
- Taliaferro, pp. 30–35.
- Thayer I, p. 87.
- Kushner, p. 367.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 28.
- Thayer I, p. 88.
- Taliaferro, p. 37.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 71.
- Taliaferro, p. 38.
- Taliaferro, p. 39.
- Zeitz 2014a, pp. 87–88.
- Taliaferro, p. 43.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 92.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 31–32.
- Taliaferro, p. 47.
- Taliaferro, pp. 94–95.
- Taliaferro, p. 52.
- Taliaferro, pp. 45–46.
- Zeitz 2014a, pp. 107–09.
- Thayer I, p. 104.
- Taliaferro, pp. 52–54.
- Gale, p. 18.
- Zeitz 2014a, pp. 94–95.
- Thayer I, pp. 203–206.
- Taliaferro, pp. 48–49.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 33–34.
- Zeitz 2014a, pp. 132–34.
- Thayer I, pp. 155–156.
- Taliaferro, pp. 77–82.
- Taliaferro, pp. 86–89.
- American Heritage magazine
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 62.
- Zeitz 2014a, pp. 161–64.
- Zeitz 2014b.
- Thayer I, pp. 219–220.
- Taliaferro, pp. 105, 107.
- Taliaferro, p. 107.
- Thayer I, p. 222.
- Taliaferro, p. 109.
- Taliaferro, p. 111.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 181.
- Taliaferro, pp. 115–16.
- Thayer I, pp. 278–80.
- Taliaferro, pp. 115–18.
- Taliaferro, p. 119.
- Kushner, p. 370.
- Zeitz 2014a, pp. 185–86.
- Kushner, pp. 370–71.
- Taliaferro, pp. 121–24.
- Taliaferro, pp. 124–25.
- Kushner, p. 372.
- Taliaferro, pp. 130–31.
- Taliaferro, pp. 132–33.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 194.
- Zeitz 2014a, pp. 195–196.
- Taliaferro, p. 140.
- Taliaferro, p. 143.
- Taliaferro, pp. 153–57.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 67–68.
- Taliaferro, pp. 163–66.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 205.
- Taliaferro, p. 167.
- Taliaferro, pp. 171–73.
- Taliaferro, pp. 173–74.
- Kushner, pp. 373–74.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 206.
- Taliaferro, pp. 179–81.
- Kushner, pp. 374–75.
- Kushner, pp. 375–76.
- Zeitz 2014a, pp. 206–07.
- Kushner, p. 377.
- Ackerman, pp. 205–06.
- Kushner, pp. 377–78.
- Kushner, p. 378.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 212.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 224.
- Gale, p. 14.
- Friedlaender, p. 137.
- Kushner, p. 379.
- Friedlaender, p. 140.
- Friedlaender, pp. 144–45.
- Friedlaender, p. 154.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 211.
- Gale, pp. 28–29.
- Kushner, pp. 378–79.
- Kushner, pp. 381–82.
- Taliaferro, p. 258.
- Taliaferro, p. 282.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 78–80.
- Taliaferro, pp. 294–96.
- Taliaferro, pp. 297–98.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 81–82.
- Taliaferro, pp. 300–01.
- Taliaferro, pp. 305–06.
- Taliaferro, p. 307.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 83.
- Taliaferro, pp. 307–11.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 323.
- Taliaferro, p. 310.
- Taliaferro, pp. 310–13.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 83–84.
- Taliaferro, p. 314.
- Taliaferro, p. 315.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 88.
- Taliaferro, pp. 316–17.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 86.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 99–100.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 88–90.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 90–93.
- Taliaferro, pp. 322–23.
- Taliaferro, pp. 323–28.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 97–98.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 329.
- Taliaferro, p. 330.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 324.
- Taliaferro, pp. 331–32.
- Taliaferro, p. 333–35.
- Taliaferro, pp. 335–36.
- Gale, p. 31.
- Taliaferro, pp. 341–47.
- Taliaferro, pp. 353–54.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 96–97.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 105.
- Taliaferro, pp. 353–56.
- Taliaferro, pp. 349, 356.
- Taliaferro, p. 356.
- Taliaferro, pp. 356–57.
- Taliaferro, p. 359.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 108.
- Taliaferro, pp. 359–60.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 109–10.
- Taliaferro, p. 363.
- Taliaferro, pp. 375–76.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 110–12.
- Taliaferro, pp. 377–84.
- Taliaferro, pp. 374–379.
- Taliaferro, pp. 397–99.
- Thayer II, p. 262.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 124.
- Taliaferro, pp. 406–07.
- Leech, p. 599.
- Taliaferro, p. 407.
- Taliaferro, pp. 407, 410.
- Taliaferro, p. 337.
- Thayer II, p. 266.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 332.
- Taliaferro, pp. 409–10.
- Thayer II, p. 268.
- Taliaferro, p. 411, 413.
- Taliaferro, pp. 190–91.
- Taliaferro, p. 344.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 116–17.
- Taliaferro, pp. 345–48.
- Taliaferro, p. 352.
- Taliaferro, pp. 366–70.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 121.
- Taliaferro, p. 392.
- Taliaferro, pp. 411–12.
- Taliaferro, p. 425.
- Gale, p. 37.
- Taliaferro, p. 442.
- Gale, p. 38.
- Taliaferro, p. 478.
- Taliaferro, pp. 478–503.
- Thayer II, p. 324.
- Zeitz 2014a, pp. 332–33.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 335.
- Taliaferro, pp. 510–14.
- Taliaferro, pp. 514–15.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 44.
- Gale, p. 54.
- Kushner & Sherrill, pp. 45–46.
- Gale, p. 60.
- Gale, p. 61.
- Gale, pp. 60–61.
- Howells, p. 348.
- Gale, pp. 68–79.
- Howells, p. 344.
- Gale, p. 80.
- Stevenson & Stevenson, p. 23.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 49.
- Gale, pp. 54–55.
- Gale, p. 55.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 50.
- Gale, pp. 55–56.
- Gale, p. 81.
- Gale, p. 87.
- Jaher, p. 69.
- Sloane, p. 277.
- Jaher, p. 71.
- Gale, pp. 87–91.
- Jaher, pp. 86–87.
- Jaher, p. 73.
- Sloane, p. 276.
- Gale, p. 93.
- Jaher, pp. 77–78.
- Jaher, p. 79.
- Gale, p. 94.
- Taliaferro, pp. 114–115.
- Gale, p. 98.
- Gale, p. 95.
- Monteiro, p. 46.
- Kushner & Sherrill, p. 60.
- New International Encyclopedia.
- Zeitz 2014a, p. 158.
- "John Milton Hay (1838–1905) – Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- "Clara Stone Hay (1849–1914) – Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- Ackerman, Kenneth D. (2011). Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield (Kindle ed.). Falls Church, VA: Viral History Press, LLC. ISBN 978-1-61945-011-0.
- Gale, Robert L. (1978). John Hay. Twayne's American Authors. Boston: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 0-8057-7199-9.
- Kushner, Howard I.; Sherrill, Anne Hummel (1977). John Milton Hay: The Union of Poetry and Politics. Twayne's World Leaders. Boston: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 0-8057-7719-9.
- Leech, Margaret (1959). In the Days of McKinley. New York: Harper and Brothers. OCLC 456809.
- Thayer, William Roscoe (1915). The Life and Letters of John Hay I. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Taliaferro, John (2013). All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, From Lincoln to Roosevelt (Kindle ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-9741-4.
- Thayer, William Roscoe (1915). The Life and Letters of John Hay II. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Zeitz, Joshua (2014). Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln's Image (Kindle ed.). New York: Viking Penguin. ISBN 978-1-101-63807-1.
- Journals and other sources
- Dalrymple, Scott (Fall 1999). "John Hay's Revenge: Anti-labor novels, 1880–1905". Business and Economic History 28 (1): 133–42.
- Friedlaender, Marc (1969). "Henry Hobson Richardson, Henry Adams, and John Hay". Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Third Series 81: 137–66. JSTOR 25080672.
- Howells, William Dean (September 1905). "John Hay in Literature". The North American Review 181 (586): 343–51. JSTOR 25105451.
- Jaher, Frederic Cople (Spring 1972). "Industrialism and the American Aristocrat: A Social Study of John Hay and His Novel, the Bread-Winners". Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 65 (1): 69–93. JSTOR 40190942.
- Kushner, Howard I. (September 1974). "'The Strong God Circumstance': The Political Career of John Hay". Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 67 (4): 352–84. JSTOR 40191317.
- Monteiro, George (February 1976). "John Hay and the Union Generals". Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 69 (1): 46–66. JSTOR 40191692.
- Sloane, David E. E. (Fall 1969). "John Hay's The Bread-Winners as Literary Realism". American Literary Realism, 1870-1910 2 (3): 276–79. JSTOR 27747664.
- Stevenson Jr., Randehl; Stevenson (Spring–Summer 2006). "John Milton Hay's Literary Influence". Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 99 (1): 19–27. JSTOR 40193908.
- Zeitz, Joshua (February 2014). "Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay and the War For Lincoln's Image". Smithsonian 44 (10).
- Warren Zimmermann, First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power (New York, 2002)
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- Works by John Hay at Project Gutenberg
- John Hay Biography
- John Hay, Abraham Lincoln's friend
- Camp John Hay Resort
- "John Hay". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- John Hay Land Studies Center
- John Hay National Wildlife Refuge
- The Fells Reservation
Frederick W. Seward
|United States Assistant Secretary of State
Robert R. Hitt
William R. Day
|U.S. Secretary of State
Served under: William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt
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Santa Rita Durão (patron)
Brazilian Academy of Letters – Correspondent of the 9th chair