Henry W. Lanier of Doubleday, Page & Co., wrote to Sam concerning the two versions of his Niagara article, “Adam’s Diary,” one of which they were about to republish. The text of the note is not available, but it seems likely Lanier asked for clarification on the two versions [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter a note to Underhill asking him to call at his house at 10:30 a.m. the next day or Sunday or Monday to talk about the article. It should be remembered that Sam revised the piece after it initially appeared in the Niagara book by Underhill.
February – The North American Review ran Mark Twain’s article, “To the Person Sitting in Darkness.” It was not included in any collections during his lifetime [Budd, Collected 2: 1006], though it was republished in pamphlet form. Note: He received many letters of response on this significant article, which recast him as a patriot in the eyes of many. There were critics, however, sometimes severe in their treatment of the piece and of Clemens.
The Clemenses were, for the first time, living in walking distance of the William Dean Howells family.
The relationship between Sam and Howells was renewed with emphasis on political matters:
At the beginning of 1901, in the February North American Review, Mark Twain’s wrath against the recent policies of the Czar in China, of Kaiser Wilhelm and Foreign Secretary Joseph Chamberlain in South Africa, and of President McKinley in the Philippines, boiled over again in “To the Person Sitting in Darkness”—one of the most powerful pieces of invective he ever wrote. Howells had urged him to publish the article (Daniel C. Beard, quoted in Johnson Bibliography, p. 73) although both men foresaw the hurricane of abuse it would arouse. “I see a great deal of Mark Twain nowadays,” Howells wrote his sister Aurelia not long after the article appeared, “and we have high good times denouncing everything. We agree perfectly about the Boer war and the Filipino war, and war generally. Then, we are old fellows, and it is pleasant to find the world so much worse than it was when we were young. Clemens is, as I have always known him, a most right-minded man, and of course he has an intellect that I enjoy. He is getting some hard knocks now from the blackguards and hypocrites for his righteous fun with McKinley’s attempt to colonize the Philippines, but he is making hosts of friends, too” (New York, LinL, II 142). Howells’s constant sniping in the “Editor’s Easy Chair” of Harper’s and in the North American Review was earning him a comparable reputation as a leading anti-imperialist. (For a full account see William M. Gibson, “Mark Twain and Howells, Anti-Imperialists,” NEQ, XX, 435- 470, December 1947) [MTHL 2: 726-7]. Note: Gibson’s “full account” does not include a bibliography or footnotes.
Clara Clemens writes of its publication and her father’s secured “approbation” beforehand:
This was a year when Father’s sense of justice urged him to action. It inspired him to give public expression to his disapproval of the conduct of missionaries in China and the Belgium King in Africa. He wrote and published fiery articles on these two topics and drew thunder and lightning around him. Also a few rays of sunshine. Distinguished men in England as well as in America hailed every word in the articles as indisputably true and gloriously courageous. He was crowned by several with the title of an “American Voltaire.” Cutting, abusive letters and newspaper attacks flooded our home, though, and it was pathetic to see the effect they had on Mother. She was sure that they must cause her husband pain, however valiantly he mightly conceal it, and this was hard for her to endure. Before publishing the article called “The Person Sitting in Darkness” (which was about the missionaries) Father had secured the approbation of both my Mother and Mr. Howells, whose opinions alone could enable him to stand like the Statue of Liberty, unweakened by the waters of condemnation that washed up to his feet. He had given out his innermost convictions, and nothing could make him regret it. He was not afraid of a fight, though he never picked up the cudgels too hastily [MFMT 220].
Paine writes of the piece:
Then, restraining himself no longer, he embodied his sentiments in an article for the North American Review…There was crying need for some one to speak the right word. He was about the only one who
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.