By Daniel W. Crofts

"The Diary of a Public Man," released anonymously in numerous installments within the North American evaluate in 1879, claimed to supply verbatim money owed of mystery conversations with Abraham Lincoln, William H. Seward, and Stephen A. Douglas -- between others -- within the determined weeks ahead of the beginning of the Civil struggle. regardless of repeated makes an attempt to decipher the Diary, historians by no means were in a position to pinpoint its writer or be sure its authenticity. In A Secession trouble Enigma, Daniel W. Crofts solves those longstanding mysteries. He identifies the writer, unravels the interesting tale in the back of the Diary, and deftly establishes its contents as mostly real. in line with Crofts, the Diary used to be no longer a diary in any respect yet a memoir, most likely written presently earlier than it seemed in print. The mastermind who created it, manhattan journalist William Henry Hurlbert (1827--1895), effectively perpetrated probably the most tough feats of historic license -- he pretended to were a diarist who by no means existed. Crofts contends, although, that Hurlbert's paintings used to be faraway from fictional. Time after time, the Diary introduces fabric nearly very unlikely to manufacture besides formerly hid info that was once corroborated in simple terms after its book. The Diary bristles with specific info in regards to the fight to form Lincoln's cupboard and the composition of his inaugural deal with.

Crofts's cautious research, followed by way of the whole textual content of the Diary in an appendix, deals a daring new viewpoint at the frantic scramble to opposite southern secession whereas fending off the abyss of battle. Hurlbert, a long-forgotten eccentric genius, emerges vividly the following. half detective tale, half biography, and half an in depth narrative of occasions in early 1861, A Secession difficulty Enigma provides a compelling resolution to an everlasting secret and brings "The Diary of a Public guy" again into the historic lexicon.

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Extra info for A Secession Crisis Enigma: William Henry Hurlbert and The Diary of a Public Man

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Evans, “William H. Hurlbert,” New York Times Saturday Literary Review, June 14, 1902, p. 408; Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Cheerful Yesterdays (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1898), 107; New York World, Sept. 7, 1895. 7. Hurlbert’s friend T. C. Evans reported a general belief that Kingsley had made Hurlbert “the hero of his American episode in Two Years Ago” (Evans, “William H. Hurlbert,” 408). Thomas Wentworth Higginson categorically identified Hurlbert as the person whom Kingsley had in mind (Higginson, Cheerful Yesterdays, 107).

Although the real Hurlbert did have a connoisseur’s eye for attractive women, he was not about to commit to one in particular, let alone one with a mixed-race background. What Kingsley created here was a stereotyped American who suited his own purposes. The moral of Two Years Ago was that British elites should take more responsibility for promoting public health—that both self-interest and religious obligation pointed in the same direction. As a prop to sustain the main message, Kingsley imagined an American who had experienced a comparable awakening.

Douglas and the Needless War (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1934), 86–92, 374, 379–85. 29. Milton, The Eve of Conflict, 500. 30 That said, however, Hurlbert plainly had stronger ties to Douglas and to people around Douglas than did Ward. Hurlbert had been a key Douglas supporter in the most important city in the country, and—as we shall see—Hurlbert had tried valiantly, albeit unsuccessfully, to pull one of the top New York newspapers into the Douglas camp. 31 A segment of the Diary having to do with Mexico also points to Hurlbert.

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