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A letter to Miss Kate Field:
HARTFORD, March 8, 1886.
DEAR MISS FIELD, -- Oh, dear me, no. That would be the same as
saying that because you differ from me upon the rights and equities
of a subject, I am at liberty to hold a "poor opinion"
of you for voicing your sentiments in the matter.
Your notion and mine about polygamy is without doubt exactly the
same; but you probably think we have some cause of quarrel with
those people for putting it into their religion, whereas I think
the opposite. Considering our complacent cant about this country
of ours being the home of liberty of conscience, it seems to me
that the attitude of our Congress and people toward the Mormon Church
is matter for limitless laughter and derision. The Mormon religion
is a religion: the negative vote of all of the rest of the globe
could not break down that fact; and so I shall probably always go
on thinking that the attitude of our Congress and nation toward
it is merely good trivial stuff to make fun of
Am I a friend to the Mormon religion? No. I would like to see it
extirpated, but always by fair means, not these Congressional rascalities.
If you can destroy it with a book, -- by arguments and facts, not
brute force, -- you will do a good and wholesome work. And I should
be very far from unwilling to publish such a book in case my business
decks were clear. They are not clear now, however, and it is hard
to tell when they will be They are piled up with contracts which
two or three years -- and possibly four -- will be required to fulfil.
I have even had to rule myself out, and am now an author without
a publisher. My book is finished and ready, and I have spent nearly
ten thousand dollars in its preparation; but it is pigeon-holed
indefinitely, to make room for other people's more important books.
(In this line of business we generally publish only one -- and never
more than two -- books in a year.) I think I could write a very
good moral fable about an author who turned publisher in order to
get a better show, and got shut up entirely.
S. L. CLEMENS
KATE FIELD, A RECORD by Lilian Whiting
Little, Brown, and Co., 1899, pages 448-449
The Book of Mormon, engraved upon metal plates, was dug up out
of the ground in some out-of-the-way corner of Canada by Joseph Smith, a man
of no repute and of no authority, and upon this extravagantly doubtful document
the Mormon Church was built, and upon it stands to-day and flourishes. "Science
and Health" was sent down from heaven to Mother Eddy, after having been
sent up there by Brother Quimby, and upon "Science and Health" stands
the great and growing and prosperous Christian Science Church to-day. Evidently
one of the least difficult things in the world, to-day, is to humbug the human
- Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 2 (2013), p. 247. Dictated 8 October
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