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The New York Times, March 30, 1906

Revolutionist Speaks to Cheering Audience of 3,000
Mark Twain Writes That He Hopes Czars and Grand Dukes Will Soon Become Scarce.

[This article has been edited to include only the portion related to Mark Twain's letter.]


When Nicholas Tchaykoffsky, hailed by his countrymen here as the father of the revolutionary movement in Russia, spoke this word last night in Grand Central Palace 3,000 men and women rose to their feet, waved their hats and cheered madly for three minutes. The word means "Comrades!" It is the watchword of the revolutionists. The spirit of revolution possessed the mass meeting called to greet the Russian patriot now visiting New York.

Fight is what he wants, and arms to fight with. He told the audience so last night and, by their cheers, they promised to do their part in supplying the sinews of war.

Robert Hunter was to have presided at the meeting, but the birth of a child to his wife kept him away. The audience cheered loudly when Paul Kaplan, who took the chair, told why Mr. Hunter wasn't there. Mark Twain could not attend because he had already accepted an invitation to another meeting, but he sent this letter:

Dear Mr. Tchaykoffsky: I thank you for the honor of the invitation, but I am not able to accept it because Thursday evening I shall be presiding at a meeting whose object is to find remuneration for certain classes of our blind who would gladly support themselves if they had the opportunity.

My sympathies are with the Russian revolution, of course. It goes without saying. I hope it will succeed, and now that I have talked with you I take heart to believe it will. Government by falsified promises, by lies, by treachery, and by the butcher-knife, for the aggrandizement of a single family of drones and its idle and vicious kin has been borne quite long enough in Russia, I should think. And it is to be hoped that the roused nation, now rising in its strength, will presently put an end to it and set up the republic in its place. Some of us, even the white-headed, may live to see the blessed day when the Czar and Grand Dukes will be as scarce there as I trust they are in heaven. Most sincerely yours,

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