By Daniel W. Crofts
"The Diary of a Public Man," released anonymously in numerous installments within the North American assessment in 1879, claimed to supply verbatim debts of mystery conversations with Abraham Lincoln, William H. Seward, and Stephen A. Douglas--among others--in the determined weeks ahead of the beginning of the Civil battle. regardless of repeated makes an attempt to decipher the Diary, historians by no means were in a position to pinpoint its writer or ascertain its authenticity. In A Secession situation Enigma, Daniel W. Crofts solves those longstanding mysteries. He identifies the writer, unravels the interesting tale at the back of the Diary, and deftly establishes its contents as principally actual. in keeping with Crofts, the Diary was once now not a diary in any respect yet a memoir, most likely written almost immediately prior to it seemed in print. The mastermind who created it, manhattan journalist William Henry Hurlbert (1827-1895), effectively perpetrated some of the most tough feats of ancient license--he pretended to were a diarist who by no means existed. Crofts contends, despite the fact that, that Hurlbert's paintings was once faraway from fictional. Time after time, the Diary introduces fabric nearly most unlikely to manufacture besides formerly hid info that used to be corroborated in basic terms after its booklet. The Diary bristles with special info in regards to the fight to form Lincoln's cupboard and the composition of his inaugural tackle. Crofts's cautious research, followed via the whole textual content of the Diary in an appendix, bargains a daring new point of view at the frantic scramble to opposite southern secession whereas averting the abyss of conflict. Hurlbert, a long-forgotten eccentric genius, emerges vividly the following. half detective tale, half biography, and half a close narrative of occasions in early 1861, A Secession main issue 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 resources for A Secession Crisis Enigma: William Henry Hurlbert and
15. William H. Hurlbert, “The Political Crisis in the United States,” Edinburgh Review 104 (October 1856): 561–97. 40 A Secession Crisis Enigma plary role in the novel. Even though Hurlbert abandoned the Unitarian ministry and any kind of theistic belief system, his English friend assumed that religious sensibilities gave him a personal commitment to reform, uplift, and social amelioration. A far less appealing characterization of Hurlbert appeared in a novel written by one of his American contemporaries, Theodore Winthrop.
After college, Hurlbert traveled extensively 3. , 26, 221n48; B. , “A Reminiscence of the Hurlberts,” New York Times Saturday Literary Review, July 5, 1902, p. 453. 4. Charles G. Leland, Memoirs, by Charles Godfrey Leland (Hans Breitman) (New York: D. Appleton, 1893), 73, 80–81, 233–34. 5. Lash, A Politician Turned General, 26. 36 A Secession Crisis Enigma in Europe. 6 To supplement the known facts about Hurlbert’s young life, the historian must also make use of unconventional sources. Three writers who knew Hurlbert—Charles Kingsley, Theodore Winthrop, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson—each used him as the basis for a character in a novel.
See Nicholas W. Proctor, Bathed in Blood: Hunting and Mastery in the Old South (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 2002), 14–16, 20–22. 7. Collins, Sam Ward in the Gold Rush, 54–55, 100. Charles Blondin (Jean François Gravelet), a French tightrope walker, crossed the gorge below Niagara Falls several times between 1855 and 1860. Proving Who Wrote the Diary 23 philologically gifted Ward captured many arresting glimpses of their lives and outlook just as their social order was being overwhelmed by the arrival of outsiders.
A Secession Crisis Enigma: William Henry Hurlbert and by Daniel W. Crofts