No, don't bother about a post-office in your camp. I have your best interests at heart, and feel that it would only be an ornamental folly. What you want is a nice jail, you know--a nice, substantial jail and a free school. These will be a lasting benefit to you. These will make you really contented and happy. I will move in the matter at once. 'Very truly, etc., Mark Twain, 'For James W. N------, U. S. Senator.'
"That is the way you answered that letter. Those people say they will hang me, if I ever enter that district again; and I am perfectly satisfied they will, too."
"Well, sir, I did not know I was doing any harm. I only wanted to convince them."
"Ah. Well, you did convince them, I make no manner of doubt. Now, here is another specimen. I gave you a petition from certain gentlemen of Nevada, praying that I would get a bill through Congress incorporating the Methodist Episcopal Church of the State of Nevada. I told you to say, in reply, that the creation of such a law came more properly within the province of the state legislature; and to endeavor to show them that, in the present feebleness of the religious element in that new commonwealth, the expediency of incorporating the church was questionable. What did you write?
"'WASHINGTON, Nov. 24.
"'Rev. John Halifax and others.
"'GENTLEMEN: You will have to go to the state legislature about that speculation of yours--Congress don't know anything about religion. But don't you hurry to go there, either; because this thing you propose to do out in that new country isn't expedient--in fact, it is ridiculous. Your religious people there are too feeble, in intellect, in morality, in piety in everything, pretty much. You had better drop this--you can't make it work. You can't issue stock on an incorporation like that--or if you could, it would only keep you in trouble all the time. The other denominations would abuse it, and "bear" it, and "sell it short," and break it down. They would do with it just as they would with one of your silver-mines out there--they would try to make all the world believe it was "wildcat." You ought not to do anything that is calculated to bring a sacred thing into disrepute. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves that is what I think about it. You close your petition with the words: "And we will ever pray." I think you had better you need to do it. "'Very truly, etc., "'MARK TWAIN, "'For James W. N-----, U. S. Senator.'
"That luminous epistle finishes me with the religious element among my constituents. But that my political murder might be made sure, some evil instinct prompted me to hand you this memorial from the grave company of elders composing the board of aldermen of the city of San Francisco, to try your hand upon a, memorial praying that the city's right to the water-lots upon the city front might be established by law of Congress. I told you this was a dangerous matter to move in. I told you to write a non-committal letter to the aldermen--an ambiguous letter--a letter that should avoid, as far as possible, all real consideration and discussion of the water-lot question. If there is any feeling left in you--any shame--surely this letter you wrote, in obedience to that order, ought to evoke it, when its words fall upon your ears:
'WASHINGTON, Nov. 27
'The Honorable Board of Aldermen, etc.
'GENTLEMEN: George Washington, the revered Father of his Country, is dead. His long and brilliant career is closed, alas! forever. He was greatly respected in this section of the country, and his untimely decease cast a gloom over the whole community. He died on the 14th day of December, 1799.