October 16, after – Sam’s Thursday morning to Laurence Hutton, has now been judged to be May 2, 1901. See entry.
October 17 Thursday – The New York Sun, Oct. 18, p.3, reported Sam’s anti-Tammany talk for policemen in front of his Riverdale house, followed by a trip downtown for his speech at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for the Order of Acorns, a group of independent voters organized to defeat Tammany candidates and elect Seth Low mayor. The New York Times Oct. 18, p.5 reported only on the hotel speech:
MARK TWAIN MAKES A SPEECH.
Compares Mr. Croker’s Career with that
of Warren Hastings as Set Forth by Edmund Burke.
The nearest that Mark Twain has come to breaking his vow not to make a single political speech during the present campaign was last night when he faced a select and specially prepared audience at the Waldorf-Astoria and read a magazine article prepared by himself in which he called attention to points of similarity between the career of Warren Hastings, as set forth by Edmund Burke in the famous impeachment proceedings before the British House of Commons, and Richard Croker.
The meeting was called in the interests of the Fusian [sic] ticket, of which the famous humorist is a warm supporter, and admission was by ticket, of which only about 150 had been issued. On the platform with the guest of the evening were District Attorney Philbin, Recorder Goff, Justice Blanchard, and Joseph H. Johnson, Jr.
The latter presided at the meeting and introduced the speaker, who said that as he had vowed not to make a speech during the campaign, he would get around the vow by reading instead of speaking. He took occasion at times during the course of his reading, however, to make interpolations in the true Mark Twain style. The article read was of the most serious nature throughout, and those who had come to take way with them a few campaign jokes listened in vain.
The article went into some detail regarding the notorious maladministration of the India Company, of which Hastings was the boss, and which led up to the famous impeachment proceedings. Extracts from Burke’s great speech were put forward with the words “New York City” substituted for “England,” “Tammany” for “India,” and “Croker” for “Hastings,” and went to show that the administration of the Indian Government by Hastings and the New York Municipal Government by Croker were strikingly similar.
Mark Twain broke away from his reading at one point to state that even the rank and file of the police force were sickened by Tammany rule. “I know what I’m talking about,” said the speaker, “for I run a good deal with the police—and the clergy. It’s the safest thing to do both here and for the hereafter. Here’s a letter received by me yesterday, written by an Irish policeman, who signs his full name,” and the humorist held up a letter. “Now here’s what he says:
“ ‘Sir: I’m a policeman and I saw an interview with you the other day. I must tell you the men are with Seth most to a man.’
“Now, that’s good. He speaks out. It don’t always do, however, for a man to speak out what he thinks. We can’t all be independent. Wives and children take a good deal of independence from us. I’ve lost nearly all of mine. The letter continues: ‘I wish you success in your support of the Hon. Seth Low.’ That’s even better. See, at the end he becomes respectful. That letter sounds good.”
The speaker, as he read from his article, was frequently cheered and received quite an ovation at its close. There were no other speakers.
Note: See Jan. 21 on Richard Croker; the Times ran a followup article to this on Oct. 19, p. BR11, “Mark Twain Quotes Burke on Richard Croker,” which was issued by the Acorns as a pamphlet; Also Harper’s Weekly for Oct. 19 published the speech.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.