To this Clemens replied:
Stormfield, Redding, Conn, June 5, 1909.
Dear Champ Clark,—Is the new copyright law acceptable to me? Emphatically yes! Clark, it is the only sane & clearly defined & just & righteous copyright law that has ever existed in the United States. Whosoever will compare it with its predecessors will have no trouble in arriving at that decision.
The bill which was before the committee two years ago when I was down there was the most stupefying jumble of conflicting & apparently irreconcilable interests that was ever seen; and we all said “the case is hopeless, absolutely hopeless—out of this chaos nothing can be built.” But we were in error; out of that chaotic mass this excellent bill has been constructed, the warring interests have been reconciled, and the result is as comely and substantial a legislative edifice as lifts its domes and towers and protective lightning-rods out of the statute book I think. When I think of that other bill, which even the Deity couldn’t understand, and of this one, which even I can understand, I take off my hat to the man or men who devised this one. Was it R. U. Johnson? Was it the Authors’ League? Was it both together? I don’t know, but I take off my hat, anyway. Johnson has written a valuable article about the new law—I inclose it.
At last—at last and
for the first time in copyright history—we
ahead of England! Ahead of her in two ways: by length of time and
by fairness to all interests concerned. Does this sound like
shouting? Then I must modify it: all we possessed of copyright
justice before the 4th of last March we owed to England’s
S. L. Clemens.
Clemens had prepared what was the final word an the subject of copyright just before this bill was passed—a petition for a law which he believed would regulate the whole matter. It was a generous, even if a somewhat Utopian, plan, eminently characteristic of its author. The new fourteen-year extension, with the prospect of more, made this or any other compromise seem inadvisable.—[The reader may consider this last copyright document by Mark Twain under Appendix N, at the end of this volume.]
Clemens had promised to go to Baltimore for the graduation of “Francesca” of his London visit in 1907—and to make a short address to her class.