twainquotes logo

Home | Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search


The Washington Post, December 12, 1906, p. 4


Samuel L. Clemens, (Mark Twain), was at the Capitol yesterday and took an informal leave of Speaker Cannon and Vice President Fairbanks and other prominent members of the national legislature. He told "Uncle Joe" that he was sorry to depart without receiving the thanks of Congress he had requested, as he needed it in his business; but it had been intimated to him that, if he would get out of town and leave Congress alone, the deferred thanks might be forthcoming at once. If the surmise should prove true, Uncle Joe, it is understood, will forward the 'thanks' to the noted humorist by special delivery letter.

Mr. Clemens said he felt he had accomplished all he could for the copyright cause for the present and that no good would result from his remaining here any longer; in fact he thought it might undo all of his missionary work if he continued to longer haunt the halls of legislation.

"I have found out several things since I have been in Washington," said Mr. Clemens yesterday. "I could write a book on my discoveries and not enumerate all of them. I have learned among other things that legislation is a much more complicated proposition than I ever dreamed it to be. It looked very simple and easy at a distance, but a closer view has given me quite a different impression.

"The mistake the authors made was to permit those mechanical fellows--the makers of musical instruments, phonographs, &c.--to break into our game. There appears to be no opposition in Congress to extending the copyright on books to one hundred years, and if the proposition stood along it would go through both Houses, I think, by a practically unanimous vote. But I learn that there is serious opposition to granting such a long copyright to mechanical devices, phonographs, photographs, and other things of that character. Whether anything will be done at this session toward amending the copyright laws is doubtful. I was opposed to letting the mechanical fellows join hands with us at the time we held our copyright congress in New York, but my advice was disregarded. We now know what a dangerous thing it is to ignore my advice!"

Home | Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search