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that there was a decree against captains- terminates a visit to Spanish officials. It general visiting foreign men-of-war, for the was observed in this case. After taking reason that many years ago a captain-gen- leave in the usual way, in the room where eral, while visiting an English man-of-war, the interview was held, General Blanco and had been abducted. I replied that on merely Dr. Congosto accompanied us to the head of personal grounds I would be glad to run away the stairs, and the civilities were repeated. with him, but I promised good behavior. He There they remained until we had reached stated that it might be possible to make a the first landing below, when we turned, and visit-he would think it over.
the visit was ended by muI assured General Blanco
tual salutation. After that the visit of
leaving General the Maine was
Blanco, I sincerely
friendly and that my orders contem- the members of the council, and was received plated nothing further than the ordinary with cordiality. I think the members of the visit of a man-of-war. He expressed his autonomistic government had really felt appreciation of my commands against giving that I was trying to evade a visit, so I was liberty on shore to the Maine's crew, and glad to convince them to the contrary. asked, as had other officials, how long the The gentlemen of the council returned my Maine would remain at Havana. To this visit promptly. They were received with question I always made the same reply, viz., honors, and shown through the Maine. We that when our war-vessels were in telegraphic greatly enjoyed their visit. Near the close, communication with the Navy Department refreshments were served in my cabin, and it was not customary to include in their Señor Galvaez made a complimentary speech orders the time of their departure from a in Spanish, which was interpreted to me port; they were required to await further briefly. The last thing that I desired was to orders. I repeated to General Blanco what involve myself in the politics of the island. I had already said to General Parrado, that I conceived that it would be highly injudiI hoped the Spanish men-of-war would recip- cious on my part, as a foreign naval officer, rocate by reviving their friendly visits to to seem to take sides in any way, either by the United States; that the cordiality of expression or by action. I made a response their reception could not be doubted. An to Señor Galvaez's speech, assuring him that exceptionally pleasing ceremonial feature it had given me much gratification to make
my visits to the council, and renewing my tion of the Maine, General Weyler was statement that I should have made an earlier credited in the press with the remark that visit had I known that it would have been “the Maine was indolent.” If General Weyagreeable. I welcomed them formally to the ler did in fact make the remark, he must ship, and expressed the hope that they would have got advices relative to the Maine that return with their families and friends, and were not well based on observation. While make social and informal visits whenever at Havana, the Maine had no drills on shore, they thought they could find pleasure on as a matter of course, but afloat she carried board. Believing that the gentlemen of the out her routine of drills day after day, excouncil were desirous that I should give cept that she omitted“ night quarters" and some expression of approval of the autono- “clearing ship for action,” as likely to give mistic form of government, I evaded the rise to misunderstanding. She also exerpoint, and said only: “I beg to express my cised her boats under oars and under sails, admiration for the high purpose of your and had gun-pointing practice with the aid honorable body.” My reply was afterward of a launch steaming about the harbor. In printed in at least two newspapers in Ha- this latter practice, care was taken that our vana, but the terms made me favor autono- guns should never point toward the Spanish mistic government for the island. I disliked men-of-war. Every morning and evening the this result when I considered it in connec- crew were put through the development drill. tion with the censorship, but raised no pro- Most of the drills of the Maine were in plain test against it. Judging from outward evi- view from without, by reason of her strucdence, the autonomistic government was ture; she had no bulwarks on her main or then unpopular and without effective influ- upper deck. ence.
After the destruction of the Maine, and The next day the families and friends of while the Vizcaya and Oquendo were in the the members of the council came aboard, harbor, we could observe no drills taking and were received by me and the officers. It place on board those vessels, although it is was a merry party, and many evidences of possible that they might have gone on without good will were given. This ended the only our being able to observe them. There was frictional incident prior to the destruction much ship-visiting on board. In everything of the Maine.
they did, except in respect to etiquette, the While lying in the landlocked harbor of practised nautical eye could not fail to note Havana, the Maine looked much larger their inferiority in one degree or another to than her actual size; she seemed enormous. the vessels of our own squadron at Key West. Doubtless her strength was overestimated Our vessels were then having“ general quarby the populace of Havana. The people ap- ters for action” three times a week, and were parently believed that we had sent our best keeping up their other drills, including nightship to make a demonstration. There was drills, search-light practice, etc. The vessels much misconception on all sides, even among of the Vizcaya class, below in the captain's Spanish officers, as to the fighting strength cabin and officers' quarters, were one long of the United States navy. Evidently the stretch of beautiful woodwork, finer than onSpaniards did not regard us as their equals board our own vessels. The smaller guns of in battle; their traditional pride made them their primary batteries, and the rapid-firing overestimate their own fighting ability-or guns of their secondary batteries, were disunderestimate ours. On the other hand, to posed between the turrets on two decks in show how people may differ, I have never such dovetailed fashion that in order to do known it to be entertained in our own ser- great damage an enemy needed only to hit vice that the Spanish navy could match anywhere in the region of the funnels. I ours. The Spanish naval officers that I met remarked several times-once to Admiral were alert, intelligent, and well informed Sampson, who was then Captain Sampson professionally. They all had their polished of the court of inquiry on the destruction national manner. Superficially, at least, of the Maine-that the Spanish vessels their vessels were admirable; they seemed would be all aflame within ten minutes after clean and well kept. Their etiquette was they had gone into close action, and that carefully observed, but apparently their their quarters at the guns would be a crews were not comparable with ours, either slaughter-pen. Future events justified the in physique or in intelligence. I saw very lit- statement. Afterward, when I boarded the tle drilling of any kind on board the Spanish wreck of the Infanta Maria Teresa near Sanmen-of-war at Havana. After the destruc- tiago de Cuba, her armored deck was below
water, but above that there was not even a be blown up, either from interior or exterior splinter of woodwork in sight; in fact, there causes, although precautions were taken in was hardly a cinder left of her decks or of both directions. Nevertheless, I believed that beautiful array of bulkheads. It may that she could be blown up from the outhave been that the Maine remained longer side, provided a sufficient number of persons in Havana than had originally been intended of evil disposition, and with the conveniences by the Navy Department. It was expected, I at hand, were free to conspire for the purbelieve, to relieve her by another vessel; pose. It was necessary to trust the Spanish which vessel, I do not know. I had hoped authorities in great degree for protection that the Indiana or the Massachusetts would from without. I believe that the primary be sent to dispel the prevailing ignorance cause of the destruction of the Maine was an among the Spanish people in regard to the explosion under the bottom of the ship, as strength and efficiency of our ships. The reported by the court of inquiry. How it department may not have accepted my was produced, or whether it was produced views.
by anybody intentionally, I do not know; Before reciting the details immediately therefore I have carefully avoided accusaconnected with the destruction of the Maine, tion. The facts of the explosion will be deit may be said that I did not expect she would scribed in my next paper.
MARK TWAIN IN CALIFORNIA.
BY NOAH BROOKS.
WHERE was a subtle and inex- of the emigrant. But, for the most part, the
plicable means of transmit- birds of the air (which were neither numerting news and gossip forward ous nor sociable) appeared to have told us and backward over the trans- of the personal characteristics, names, haps continental trail, in the old, and mishaps, of all who were on the trail beold days when we traveled fore or behind us.
“the Plains across" to Cali In this way we learned that in the great fornia. Imagine a long caravan of emigrants concourse of marching men always just bestretched over the vast and comparatively hind us and never quite catching up with us unknown region lying between the Missouri were two brothers, who were traveling with River and the Pacific Ocean, numbering a company known as the “Missouri fellers," many thousands, but broken into innumera- and who were individually described as the ble bands and companies, each company “two Clemenses.
“two Clemenses." Our curiosity was lantraveling in its own way, several of these guidly stimulated by this vague characterizacombining to present a formidable front tion, and when, after their family name had while passing through the haunts of hostile been hopelessly juggled with in the rude and predatory Indians, but often passing and vernacular of the Plains, we were told that repassing one another when some travel-worn these Clemenses, or whatever their real party would be camped by the trail for rest cognomen might be, were expecting to find and recuperation, and all receiving in some official pap in the new Territory that had unexplained manner tolerably accurate tid- begun to loom in what was known as the ings of every other company then on the Washoe country, we felt for the unseen sinuous trail that was traced across the young Missourians a certain respectful pity. heart of the continent.
In the course of time, but years afterward, Here and there, at exceedingly rare in- when swarms of miners had covered the tervals, we found the deserted cabin of Comstock Lode, and fabulous riches were some vanished explorer or trapper, in which said to be locked up in the sterile Washoe were posted the rude bulletins of those who country, then hanging on the arid skirts had preceded us, leaving their names and of California, and adding to the desolation ports of hail, with scraps of information of western Utah, the Territory of Nevada concerning water, grass, fords, and other was organized. James W. Nye was govermatters necessary to the comfort and safety nor, and Orion S. Clemens was secretary of
this new subdivision of the republic. We of our editorial staff), turned the scale, and never heard that the other brother, Samuel Mark Twain was sent away happy on his L. Clemens, secured official recognition, and voyage of adventure and observation, sailing it is more than likely that the reports of the from New York on the steamer Quaker City. great expectations of the Clemenses were, His letters to the “Alta California" made like so much of the Plains gossip, mere idle him famous. It was my business to prepare rumors of the camps.
one of these letters for the Sunday morning Striking off, as our own party did, into the paper, taking the topmost letter from a northwestern part of the State, and entering goodly pile that was stacked in a pigeonhole the Sacramento valley by the way of the of my desk. Clemens was an indefatigable Feather and Yuba rivers, we lost all track correspondent, and his last letter was slipped of the Clemens brothers, and when, long in at the bottom of a tall stack. afterward, we heard that Orion was in office, It would not be quite accurate to say that we dimly related him to the Missourians Mark Twain's letters were the talk of the whose shadowy company had attended our town; but it was very rarely that readers of journey across the Great Plains.
the paper did not come into the office on The Civil War came on, and, giving up my Mondays to confide to the editors their adpaper in Marysville (originally known as miration of the writer, and their enjoyment Nye’s Ranch), a long sojourn in Washing- of his weekly contributions. The California ton interrupted my California acquaintance. newspapers copied these letters, with unaniMark Twain was still in the “sage-brush” mous approval and disregard of the copygroup of newspaper writers, and when I rights of author and publisher. returned to take up my residence in San When Clemens returned to San Francisco, Francisco, I was advised to read certain amus- it was to find himself a celebrity. He acing squibs and sketches in a Nevada news- cepted the situation without demur or inpaper (the “Virginia City Enterprise"), if I ordinate pride. And when, after a short would see specimens of genuine American visit to the Hawaiian Islands, he prepared a humor-frolicsome, extravagant, and auda- lecture to be delivered in Mercantile Library cious. These contributions, when signed at Hall, San Francisco, he deprecatingly foreall, were over the somewhat puzzling signa- stalled public opinion by adding at the ture of“ Mark Twain.” In due course of time bottom of his published announcements: their author crossed the mountains, and “Trouble will begin at 8 o'clock P. M.” To found casual employment on the “Morning him the trouble impending appeared very Call,” San Francisco. When Bret Harte in- real, and he faced the ordeal with many troduced me to the eagle-eyed young man of misgivings. But the lecture was highly suctousled hair and slow speech, I found at last cessful. It gave San Francisco people their the missing member of the Clemenses, and first near view of their popular humorist. we exchanged such information concerning Some of his friends had organized a claque our experiences on the Plains as had been to encourage the débutant and rouse the impossible of transmission up and down the enthusiasm of the audience; shrieks of laughhard road we traveled.
ter and thunders of applause had been conClemens's fugitive pieces in the daily trived to be launched at appropriate intervals. newspapers gave him some local reputation Some of these kindly meant demonstrations as a humorist, but not even his most intimate were ill-timed. No matter; the unpurchased friends suspected the existence of the genius suffrages of the people soon overwhelmed the which was destined to make the name of less discriminating volleys of the claque. "Mark Twain" world-famous. And when, in The lecturer, to his great surprise, rode 1867, the proprietors of the "Alta Cali- triumphantly into favor on the swelling tide fornia,” a daily newspaper of which I was of popular applause. then the managing editor, came to me with Mark Twain's method as a lecturer was a proposition that the office should advance distinctly unique and novel. His slow, deto Clemens the sum needed to pay his ex- liberate drawl, the anxious and perturbed penses on a trip into the Mediterranean, on expression of his visage, the apparently condition that he should write letters to the painful effort with which he framed his paper, I was not surprised that they should sentences, and, above all, the surprise that regard the scheme with grave doubt of its spread over his face when the audience paying them for their outlay. But the per- roared with delight or rapturously applauded suasiveness of Clemens's fast friend and ad- the finer passages of his word-painting, were mirer, Colonel John McComb (then a member unlike anything of the kind they had ever