Michael Burlingame presents anonymous and pseudonymous newspaper articles written by Lincoln's assistant personal secretary, John Hay, between 1860 and 1864. In the White House, Hay became the ultimate insider, the man who had the president's ear. "Only an extremely small number of persons ever saw Abraham Lincoln both day and night in public as well as private settings from 1860 to 1864," notes Wayne C. Temple, chief deputy director, Illinois State Archives. "And only one of them had the literary flair of John Milton Hay."
Burlingame takes great pains to establish authorship of the items reproduced here. He convincingly demonstrates that the essays and letters written for the Providence Journal, the Springfield Illinois State Journal, and the St. Louis Missouri Democrat under the pseudonym "Ecarte" are the work of Hay. And he finds much circumstantial and stylistic evidence that Hay wrote as "our special correspondent" for the Washington World and for the St. Louis Missouri Republican. Easily identifiable, Hay's style was "marked by long sentences, baroque syntactical architecture, immense vocabulary, verbal pyrotechnics, cocksure tone (combining acid contempt and extravagant praise), offbeat adverbs, and scornful adjectives."