I have to make a speech at the annual Herald dinner on the 6th of May.

No formal contract for the book had been made when this letter was written. A verbal agreement between Bliss and Clemens had been reached, to be ratified by an exchange of letters in the near future. Bliss had made two propositions, viz., ten thousand dollars, cash in hand, or a 5-per-cent. royalty on the selling price of the book. The cash sum offered looked very large to Mark Twain, and he was sorely tempted to accept it. He had faith, however, in the book, and in Bliss's ability to sell it. He agreed, therefore, to the royalty proposition; "The best business judgment I ever displayed" he often declared in after years. Five per cent. royalty sounds rather small in these days of more liberal contracts. But the American Publishing Company sold its books only by subscription, and the agents' commissions and delivery expenses ate heavily into the profits. Clemens was probably correct in saying that his percentage was larger than had been paid to any previous author except Horace Greeley. The John Hooker mentioned was the husband of Henry Ward Beecher's sister, Isabel. It was easy to understand the Beecher family's robust appreciation of Mark Twain.

From the office of Dan Slote, his room-mate of the Quaker City-- "Dan" of the Innocents--Clemens wrote his letter that closed the agreement with Bliss.

To Elisha Bliss, Jr., in Hartford:

Office of SLOTE & WOODMAN, Blank Book Manufacturers, Nos. 119-121 William St. NEW YORK, January 27, 1868. Mr. E. Bliss, Jr. Sec'y American Publishing Co. Hartford Conn.

DEAR SIR, Your favor of Jan. 25th is received, and in reply, I will say that I accede to your several propositions, viz: That I furnish to the American Publishing Company, through you, with MSS sufficient for a volume of 500 to 600 pages, the subject to be the Quaker City, the voyage, description of places, &c., and also embodying the substance of the letters written by me during that trip, said MSS to be ready about the first of August, next, I to give all the usual and necessary attention in preparing said MSS for the press, and in preparation of illustrations, in correction of proofs--no use to be made by me of the material for this work in any way which will conflict with its interest --the book to be sold by the American Publishing Co., by subscription-- and for said MS and labor on my part said Company to pay me a copyright of 5 percent, upon the subscription price of the book for all copies sold.

As further proposed by you, this understanding, herein set forth shall be considered a binding contract upon all parties concerned, all minor details to be arranged between us hereafter. Very truly yours, SAM. L. CLEMENS.

(Private and General.)

I was to have gone to Washington tonight, but have held over a day, to attend a dinner given by a lot of newspaper Editors and literary scalliwags, at the Westminster Hotel. Shall go down to-morrow, if I survive the banquet. Yrs truly SAM. CLEMENS.

Mark Twain, in Washington, was in line for political preferment: His wide acquaintance on the Pacific slope, his new fame and growing popularity, his powerful and dreaded pen, all gave him special distinction at the capital. From time to time the offer of one office or another tempted him, but he wisely, or luckily, resisted. In his letters home are presented some of his problems.

To Mrs. Jane Clemens and Mrs. Moffett, in St. Louis:

224 F. STREET WASHINGTON Feb. 6, 1868. MY DEAR MOTHER AND SISTER,--For two months there have been some fifty applications before the government for the postmastership of San Francisco, which is the heaviest concentration of political power on the coast and consequently is a post which is much coveted.,

When I found that a personal friend of mine, the Chief Editor of the Alta was an applicant I said I didn't want it--I would not take $10,000 a year out of a friend's pocket.

Mark Twain
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