August 23 Friday – In Saranac Lake, N.Y. Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers.
I am just out of bed for the first time since I left the ship. The first time we came here there was an interruption near this point which halted the train four hours; this time, at the same place there was another breakdown which caused a still longer halt, & turned an 11-hour trip into a 17-hour journey—& so I reached home at half past 1 in the morning instead of at 7 the previous evening. But that was not the worst of it. The weather was roasting hot, & close & humid, & I arrived with a cold in the head. But it is gone now, after a couple of days in bed.
Sam thanked him for the “most contenting & comfortable & satisfactory pleasure-excursion” on the Kanawha [MTHHR 467-8].
August 24 Saturday
August 25 Sunday – Sam wrote a draft of “The United States of Lyncherdom” [Aug. 26 to Bliss].
August 26 Monday – In Saranac Lake, N.Y. Sam wrote to C.F. Moberly Bell, editor of the London Times, asking for the title of Dr. Morrison’s book about his walk through China and Burma, as his copy that Bell had given him was “packed up with our stuff in New York.” He remembered the facts he was quoting but not the title of the book [MTP].
Note: Gribben, p. 487 provides the answer: An Australian in China, Being the Narrative of a Quiet Journey Across China to British Burma, London (1895) by George Ernest Morrison (1862-1920). Sam added a footnote to his essay, “The United States of Lyncherdom,” written this year citing Morrison’s book. Budd cites Aug. 1901 as the month Twain wrote this essay; it was not published during Sam’s life; it first ran in Europe and Elsewhere, 1923, edited by Albert Bigelow Paine [Collected 2: 1006-7].
Sam also wrote to Frank Bliss.
The thing I am full of, now, is a large subscription book to be called “History of Lynching in America;” “Rise & Progress of Lynching”—or some such title.
I want you to hire for me a competent pair of scissors. That is all. He needn’t have any brains, or any literary talent…
Sam wanted clippings with details of any American lynching and thought there may be 3,000 of them. He wanted full accounts, probably from local papers, and had to have the names of the newspapers so he might quote “a responsible authority for every statement made.” Specifically he wanted information on two cases:
There are two cases which me must be sure to get. For one, let him examine the life of Owen Lovejoy in the Hartford library or the Boston Public—better still, let him buy the book if he can…No doubt an account will also be found in the St. Louis Republican of about 1835—the negro was burned near St. Louis along about that time, I think. …
The other one will also be found in the St. Louis Republican, no doubt—date, along about 1849, I should say. It may be that this time the negro was not lynched—I can’t remember. If he wasn’t, we don’t need an account, but only the dates & names, & the fact that the law punished the negro—which I really think was the case.
He raped a young girl & clubbed her & her brother to death. It was in Marion county, Missouri, between Hannibal & Palmyra. I remember all about it. It came out that his owner smuggled him out of Virginia because he had raped 3 white women there & his commercial value was deteriorating.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.