“We sail for Fairhaven soon & remain until tomorrow morning—after that, I do not know the intinerary, except that we stop at Portland or Bar Harbor to get Tom Reid [sic Reed]. Mr. Rogers will come on board to-day, then I shall know” [MTP].
August 5 Monday – The Kanawha stopped in Fairhaven, Mass. There, they attended the laying of a cornerstone for the Unitarian Memorial Church, which Rogers was donating in memory of his mother. Sam gave a speech honoring H.H. Rogers. The Hartford Courant covered the ceremonies on Aug. 8, p. 10.
MARK TWAIN’S LATEST SPEECH.
It Was at a Religious Ceremony in Massachusetts.
(New Bedford Standard, Tuesday.)
From Fairhaven and New Bedford people gathered in the former place yesterday afternoon to witness and take part in the exercises attendant on the laying of the cornerstone of the new Unitarian church which Henry H. Rogers so many times the benefactor of the town, is building as a memorial to his mother, Mrs. Mary Rogers.
The opening number was Dudley Buck’s Te Deum in B minor, sung by the choir, with Alton B. Paull as accompanist. Rev. William Brunton offered the invocation. Mr. Savage read a number of selections from the Scriptures. The hymn, “I Love Thy Church, O God,” was then sung by the congregation. After Mr. Rogers had laid the bed of mortar for the stone, and the copper box had been covered with the slab, Rev. William Brunton placed the Bible on the stone. Later the children of the Unitarian Sunday School marched from their front seats and as they passed the cornerstone, each deposited a bunch of flowers on it.
Mr. Rogers said, after he had seen the corner stone lowered in its place: “I have a friend who has always been willing to say a good word about me, and I ask him to-day to say a good word for me, or, rather, in my stead. Will you please listen to my friend, Samuel L. Clemens.”
Mr. Clemens spoke as follows:
“You have heard the commission that has been just granted me by Mr. Rogers. The sanctions of an old and intimate friendship give me large liberty in speaking about him, but I noted his language, and I am not to speak about him, but for him. Those terms are significant and I will abide by the limit of my instructions. If I were allowed to speak about him, I could unfold a character. I could say a thousand good words for him, and get your acquiescence. If he would allow me to speak about him, I could go on indefinitely, and yet going on say things that would gratify you as much as they would confuse him. But I am a generous man, and I know myself what it costs to be praised for generosity. I will spare him.
“If I had the privilege that has been denied me, then I would call attention to the fact that when his birthplace seemed to need something, a library, well paved streets, good water to drink, a town house in which to hold meetings, the inspiration went forth from the people and he built these. The town deserves first credit, and then we should thank him. Since he has looked so generously to the material needs of the town, it is proper and meet that he turn attention to the spiritual; hence this memorial. If I read my commission correctly, I was told in particularized terms to speak for him. I will suggest that if anything further is needed in Fairhaven in the way of buildings, refer it to me. I will see to it that the buildings are put up. I have now spoken for Mr. Rogers, and I have said what I would have said about him if I had been allowed.
“I have no apologies to offer for being here. I am permitted to take part in these ceremonies through my
friendship for Mr. Rogers. I had an acquaintanceship with his mother through my several visits to Fairhaven when I became acquainted with his good work, and I hope to keep on coming until he has finished the town. Yes, I knew her, her genial spirit and nice sense of humor, which were transmitted to her son. I am glad to join in the homage expressed here by this memorial of a faithful son to a revered mother.”
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.