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The New York Times, September 22, 1907

In Command of the Kanawha on Trip to Jamestown Exposition.
Suggests Race with Vanderbilt Yacht, Which is Carrying Col. H. Heistand and Party to Fulton Day Exercises.

H. H. Rogers steam yacht Kanawha, with Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) and a party of friends on board, and Cornelius Vanderbilt's steam yacht, the North Star, with Col. H. O. S. Heistand, U.S.A., and another party aboard, sailed for Hampton Roads yesterday afternoon. Col. Heistand's guests were Isaac Guggenheim, Mr. and Mrs. Martin W. Littleton and William H. Fletcher. At Mark Twain's home in Tuxedo Park the man who answered the telephone said he did not know who accompanied Mr. Clemens on the Kanawha. Mr. Clemens kept it secret, he said.

The object of the trip to Norfolk is to open the Robert Fulton Day ceremonies at the Jamestown Exposition tomorrow. Col. Heistand is the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Robert Fulton Monument Association, and in addition to his participation in the ceremonies as an officer of that association will also officially represent Major Gen. Frederick D. Grant, the Commander of the Department of the East, who found it inconvenient to get away from Governor's Island at this time.

Just before the North Star and the Kanawha sailed from New York a friend of Mark Twain's, commenting on the latter's seamanship, spoke in this wise:

"You make take it from me that a more confirmed sea dog than Mark Twain doesn't exist at present. He is the temporary owner of the Kanawha on this voyage, and he has promised to stay on the bridge from the moment the vessel clears the Hook until she passes in the Virginia Capes tomorrow afternoon, and the weather won't make any difference, for whether it is rain or shine, snow or hail, it's all the same with Mark Twain when it comes to navigation."

The North Star and the Kanawha are expected to arrive back in New York early Thursday morning, and it was rumored yesterday that Mark Twain was anxious to test the speeding qualities of the two vessels on the return journey. Whether Col. Heistand will consent to try conclusions with the Kanawha is another question. The North Star is a larger vessel than the Kanawha, her gross tonnage being 818 tons, while that of Mr. Rogers's boat is 475 tons. The Kanawha was built at Morris Heights in 1899 and the North Star in England in 1893.

Mark Twain's participation in the ceremonies will not require very much of his time, it was said yesterday. He had been asked to make a speech at the banquet in Norfolk tomorrow evening, but he declined. Rear Admiral Purnell Harrington, retired, U.S.N., is to be one of the speakers at the banquet, and Mr. Clemens agreed to introduce him, as is shown in the letter from his Secretary to Hugh Gordon Miller, who will be the toastmaster at the Fulton banquet. The letter was as follows:

Sept. 14, 1907.

Dear Mr. Miller: Mr. Clemens asks me to write for him and thank you for your letter. He also asks me to tell you that he will be responsible for the introduction of one orator, and what he has said about it is, in substance, this: That he will introduce Admiral Harrington, for he (Mr. Clemens) is a sort of water bird himself and has no land connections any longer, so the Admiral will suit him best.

I think we are going to have a beautiful time down there, and we are all looking forward to the trip.

J. S. [sic] LYON, Secretary.


When Admiral Harrington learned of this letter he sent the following characteristic reply:

Exposition Station, Norfolk, Va.,

Sept. 17, 1907.

My Dear Mr. Miller: Replying to your letters of the 12th and 16th, I have to say that I shall be pleased to be a member of the General Committee of the Robert Fulton Association, though I shall not be of much use, following the example of some of the Generals of the late unpleasantness about fifty years ago.

I return the inclosure from Mr. [sic] Lyons, speaking for Mr. Clemens. I have made up my mind to say something, though whether it will meet your sanguinary expectations is more than I can say or predict until after the event has taken place. This is a touch of genius worthy of Mark Twain and you can exploit it accordingly, for this comes from one of those Admirals who no longer admirals anything except his friends and all the girls, which includes one that you know particularly.

About the boat, when I know what you want, we probably will not have a tug, but there will be some kind of river craft to tote you and that celebrated water-bird himself, where it may be necessary for him to get, even if he gets wet in a somewhat inadequate transportation.

Rear Admiral, U.S.N.

Robert Fulton's descendants also left for the Jamestown Exposition yesterday. They went on the Old Dominion liner Hamilton. In the party were R. Fulton Cutting, the Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Robert Crary of Poughkeepsie, and Mr. And Mrs. Robert Fulton Ludlow. Mr. Littleton, of Col. Heistand's party, will be the orator at the ceremonies on the Exposition grounds tomorrow.

RELATED SPECIAL FEATURE: Mark Twain and Henry Huttleston Rogers in Virginia

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