From the Albany Argus,|
11 January 1870
Mark Twain is, to our taste, and in our judgment, the best humorist now before the public. His humor is in the idea, and not in the mere use or misuse of words and phrases, which unfortunately seem to constitute the sole resort of most of the so-called humorists of the day. In genuine fun, both in the idea and in the setting, Mark Twain is immeasurably in advance of "Nasby," "Josh Billings" and the whole miscellaneous tribe of bad spellers and verbal contortionists who assume to play a funny part among the ephemera of literature. The very "Petroleum" of Nasby is affected, and his peculiarities give zest rather to partisan politics than to the multitude. "Josh Billings" has a deal of humor but both he and Nasby shroud themselves in a mystery of infamous orthography, which becomes tiresome and even painful in a short time, and makes us turn with unmindful satisfaction to the natural and occasionally most singular humor of Twain. . . . "Artemus Ward" in his well known lecture on "Babes in the Woods," made a point of constantly avoiding his subject. "Mark Twain" does nothing of the kind. His lecture with the fun out, would make a telling and accurate sketch of the Sandwich Islands and the natives thereof; but with the fun in, it is a lecture that both amuses and instructs.
[Source: Walter Frear's Mark Twain and Hawaii, Appendix D3.]