Then, since neither our authors nor the decent among our publishing firms will object to granting an American copyright to foreign authors and artists, who can there be to object? Surely nobody whose protest is entitled to any weight.
Trusting in the righteousness of our cause we, your
ever pray, etc.
With great respect,
Your Ob’t Serv’ts.
Dear sir,—We believe
that you will recognize the justice and the righteousness
of the thing we desire to accomplish through the accompanying
petition. And we believe that you will be willing
that our country shall be the first in the world to
grant to all authors alike the free exercise of their
manifest right to do as they please with the fruit
of their own labor without inquiring what flag they
live under. If the sentiments of the petition
meet your views, will you do us the favor to sign
it and forward it by post at your earliest convenience
to our secretary?
-------------------Secretary of the Committee.
Communications supposed to have been written by the Tsar of Russia and the Sultan of Turkey to Mark Twain on the subject of International Copyright, about 1890.
St. Petersburg, February.
Col. Mark Twain, Washington.
Your cablegram received. It should have been transmitted through my minister, but let that pass. I am opposed to international copyright. At present American literature is harmless here because we doctor it in such a way as to make it approve the various beneficent devices which we use to keep our people favorable to fetters as jewelry and pleased with Siberia as a summer resort. But your bill would spoil this. We should be obliged to let you say your say in your own way. ‘Voila’! my empire would be a republic in five years and I should be sampling Siberia myself.
If you should run across Mr. Kennan—[George Kennan, who had graphically pictured the fearful conditions of Siberian exile.]—please ask him to come over and give some readings. I will take good care of him.
Dr. Mark Twain, Washington.
Great Scott, no! By the beard of the Prophet, no! How can you ask such a thing of me? I am a man of family. I cannot take chances, like other people. I cannot let a literature come in here which teaches that a man’s wife is as good as the man himself. Such a doctrine cannot do any particular harm, of course, where the man has only one wife, for then it is a dead-level between them, and there is no humiliating inequality, and