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The New York Times, June 7, 1902

He Bids Dramatic Adieu to the Mississippi River.

Special to The New York Times.

ST. LOUIS, June 6. - Mark Twain bade a dramatic farewell to the Mississippi River, where he earned his pen name, this afternoon. He piloted the harbor boat, with a distinguished party on board, for more than half an hour. Luncheon was served, and Mayor Wells made a speech. Then the Countess de Rochambeau took a bottle of champagne from the hand of ex-Gov. Francis and broke it on the deck, saying: "I christen thee, good boat, 'Mark Twain.' "

In his response Mr. Clemens said:

"I wish to offer my thanks for the honor done me by naming this last rose of Summer of the Mississippi Valley for me, this boat which represents a perished interest, which I fortified long ago, but whose life I did not save. And, in the first place, I wish to thank the Countess de Rochambeau for the honor she has done me in presiding at this christening.

"I believe that it is peculiarly appropriate that I should be allowed the privilege of joining my voice with the general voice of St. Louis and Missouri in welcoming to the Mississippi Valley and this part of the continent these illustrious visitors from France.

"I consider it just and right that I should be allotted this from the fact that for many years I have represented the people of the United States without special request, and without salary, as Special Ambassador to the World.

"We owe much to the French, and I am sure that we will always remember and shall never forget it. We are glad to welcome these visitors here, to show them the results of what was done long ago by their ancestors, and we are glad to point out the fact that St. Louis is a French city. When La Salle came down this river a century and a quarter ago there was nothing on its banks but savages. He opened up this great river and by his simple act was gathered in this great Louisiana territory. I would have done it myself for half the money.

"The name of La Salle will last as long as the river itself - will last until commerce is dead. We have allowed the commerce of the river to die, but it was to accommodate the railroads, and we are grateful. We have here with us a man who tells me he knew this river in the early ages, Pierre Chouteau, who says that he can remember when he could jump over it, and I believe that statement because he made it. Under no other circumstances would I.

"I have come across a quality of veracity here in St. Louis which is new to me. It is the development of these later ages. I must call your attention to the fact that on this boat you are quite safe. I am here with a knowledge acquired long ago with the peculiarities of these waters, which is so pleasant to the strangers, from the color it bears and from its taste, but you will have to take the testimony of others for that.

"Now the Governor and the Mayor have utilized their opportunities to advertise the World's Fair and I have taken the occasion to advertise myself, so there is nothing remaining but to again extend that welcome to our illustrious guests and to assure them that that welcome is heartfelt and sincere, and I am sure that we will spread open to them wide the doors of the whole continent."

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