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The New York Times, October 19, 1879


The following letter from Mark Twain was read at the dinner given the Gate City Guard of Atlanta, Ga., in Hartford, Conn., on Thursday:

Elmira, Oct. 14.

P. D. Peltier, Esq.:

DEAR SIR: Please receive my best thanks for the invitation to meet the Atlanta soldiers and the Putnams. I was on the point of starting when a committee requested me to remain here and introduce Gen. Joseph R. Hawley to a political mass meeting. This was a great surprise to me, for I had supposed the man was comparatively well known. I shall remain, of course, and shall do what I can to blow the fog from around his fame. Meantime will you kindly see that the portion of your banquet which I should be allowed to consume if I were present is equitably distributed among the public charities of your several States and Territories! I would not that any partiality be shown on account of political greed or geographical position, but would beg that all the states be of the same heft. I am glad to add my voice to yours in welcoming the Georgians to Hartford. Personal contact and communion of Northerners and Southerners over the friendly board will do more toward obliterating sectional lines and restoring mutual respect and esteem than any other thing that can be devised. We cannot meet thus too often, for whereas we meet as Northerners and Southerners, we grow in breadth and stature meantime, and apart as Americans. There is not any name among the world's nationalities that can oversize that one. Sincerely hoping that our guests will receive welcome at our town's hands which will cause them to forget the length of their journey and make them willing to come again. I am truly yours.


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