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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, November 19, 1863

MARK TWAIN'S LETTER [partial text]

It is proposed to require the Attorney-General to assist the several District Attorneys in the prosecution of persons charged with capital crimes, when called upon to do so, and when not otherwise engaged. If this is done, we may possibly succeed in hanging another man one of these days. We average about four murders in the first degree a month, in Virginia, but we never convict anybody. The murder of Abel, by his brother Cain, would rank as an eminently justifiable homicide up there in Storey county. When a man merely attempts to kill another, there, and fails in his object, our Police-Judge handles him with pitiless severity. He has him instantly arrested, gives him some good advice, and requests him to leave the country. This has been found to have a very salutary effect. The criminal goes home and thinks the matter over profoundly, and concludes to stay with us. But he feels badly - he feels very badly, for days and days together.


[text from The Literary Apprenticeship of Mark Twain, Edgar Branch]

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