"I stopped in the Herald office as I came through
New York, to see the boys on the staff, & young James Gordon Bennett asked
me to write impersonally twice a week for the Herald, & said if I
would, I might have full swing, & abuse anybody & everybody I wanted
to. I said I must have the very fullest possible swing, & he said, All right."
- letter to Jane Lampton Clemens and Pamela A. Moffett, January 24, 1868
". . ..have joined the Herald staff -- 2 impersonal
letters a week. Mr. Bennett says I may have full swing, & say as many mean
things as I please."
- letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks, January 24, 1868
For many years any unsigned "impersonal" letters Mark Twain may have written for the New York Herald were unidentified. In 1972, Mark Twain scholar Louis J. Budd researched microfilm files of the New York Herald for February 1868 and published his findings in Library Notes, December 1972, p. 5-9. Budd identified the following three letters as Mark Twain's contributions. They were written while Mark Twain was in Washington, D. C. and observing the political situation under President Andrew Johnson's administration.
February 3, 1868 -
GOSSIP AT THE NATIONAL CAPITAL
Dickens -- Congress and the Theatres -- Homes for Congressmen -- Eccentric Morality -- Stated Festivities -- A Look Into the Card Baskets -- Society and the Way It is Mixed -- Idiotic Aping of Fashion and Folly -- Grant's "Unsteady" Manoeuvres -- Butler on the War Path Again.
February 10, 1868 - WASHINGTON
The Cabinet Question Seriously Considered -- Mr. Harlan and Governor Dennison -- $12,000 for Subpoenaing Witnesses -- $629 for Subpoenaing Stanton's Pet, Baker -- Pay for a Parlor -- A $3,000 Item Not in the Report -- Phil Sheridan's Mileage -- Dickens' Readings -- Effect of the Grant Letter Upon Chase's Prospects
February 18, 1868 - WASHINGTON
Unabated Interest in the Johnson - Grant Quarrel -- Who are the Roaring Lions -- Admission of Alabama -- The Case of Kate Brown -- The Gay Season