Sam felt such a book would “rouse- up the sheriffs to put down the mobs & end the lynchings,” which he felt were “growing in number, & spreading northwards.” Sam announced he had written an article (perhaps the first draft) of “The United States of Lyncherdom,” and in it implored missionaries to “come back from China & convert their own Christian countrymen.” He left the choice of the collector of articles up to Bliss and offered he felt the book would be a sensation. Until it went to press he wanted it kept private. “Secure the new lynchings as they occur—there will be 12 per month from now till New Year’s” [MTP].
Note: the case Sam remembered from 1849 was that of a slave named Ben, owned by Thomas Glassock, who raped and killed twelve-year-old Susan Bright and killed her brother Thomas Bright, on Oct. 30, 1849. Known far and wide as “Glassock’s Ben,” the slave was found guilty on Dec. 6, 1849 and hanged on Jan. 11, 1850. See entries for more. “The United States of Lyncherdom” was not published during his lifetime; it first ran in Europe and Elsewhere (1923). On June 19, The Century Co. had sent several clippings on lynch mobs and courageous sheriffs.
August 27 Tuesday – In Saranac Lake, N.Y. Sam replied to John Y. MacAlister’s Aug. 2 letter.
Drop the mental telegraphy!—your machine isn’t synchronous with mine (which is out of repair) & won’t work.
Mr. Rogers is so headstrong I can’t do anything with him. He will stick to his own schemes & won’t look at mine. Still, he has good ones, & I go into them whenever I get a chance. For 6 months he has had one preparing, & I am raking & scraping to be ready. If he gets it prepared to suit him I mean to put all the money into it he will allow me to risk.
Sam wrote a couple of paragraphs about the Plasmon report and the failure to combine it with the beef extract. He wrote he was “Writing, like the nation! but rather for pleasure than for publication.” He had declined Samuel McClure’s offer for him to be editor of a new magazine (to be called Universal Magazine), writing, “I have been out of slavery for 30 years; I know I couldn’t be comfortable with even a cobweb chain on. I’ve lost the habit.”
Insert: Clemens home in Riverdale (“Wave Hill House”).
Sam also wrote about the house on eighteen acres overlooking the Hudson they’d secured for a year, and mentioned it was about the same distance from Grand Central Station as the Dollis Hill house was from Baker Street in London. He had an option, which cost him nothing, of buying the place for $150,000. He related the fun he’d had on the yacht cruise and now was answering a “whole bushel of letters!” with his pen as Jean’s typewriter was in for repairs. He wrote of a new contract:
Private. By a new contract I have $16,000 a year for 4 years (on the “Popular Edition” of my books) with indefinite continuance of the same. We’ll bank that, & not spend any of it. The new contractor has also bought the remains of the de luxe edition & paid Bliss & me $13,000 each for the same. So that is off our hands—thoughy it was far from being a burden [MTP].
Note: known later as the Wave Hill House (Sam never referred to it as such), the Riverdale on the Hudson house was built in Greek Revival style as a country home in 1843 by N.Y.C. attorney William Lewis Morris. It was purchased in 1866 and enlarged in 1866- 69 and again in 1890 by William Henry Appleton, a publishing magnate. Theodore Roosevelt’s family rented the house in the summers of 1870-1 when Teddy was 12-13; his stay there added to his love (some would say obsession) of nature.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.