From the Philadelphia Press,
23 December 1881

[This story, which included the complete text of MT's speech, occupied the lead position on page one. Reproduced here is about one-third of the article. Even this is long, but it provides a dramatic sense of the immediate context in which MT spoke his "protest."]


A Notable Dinner at the Continental Hotel --
Addresses by President Rollins, Senator Frye,
Gov. Hoyt, President Hopkins, and Mark Twain.

The main dining-room of the Continental Hotel presented a beautiful and picturesque scene last night on the occasion of the First Annual Festival of the New England Society of Pennsylvania. The society was formed a few weeks since by residents of this city who are natives of or descendants from good old Puritan stock. The object of the association is good-fellowship and the honoring of a worthy ancestry, of which all the sons of New England are justly proud. The day fixed for the annual festival, the 22nd of December, is "Forefathers' Day," the anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers. The society determined to make their first festival a notable one, and to that end invited many notable descendants of the Eastern States, who showed their appreciation by attending in person. The dinner hour was fixed last evening at six o'clock, and notwithstanding the stormy weather, the members and guests began to arrive promptly on time. They were ushered into Parlor C, where the president of the society, E.A. Rollins, and Gov. Hoyt, a vice-president, held an informal reception. Never was there seen a more solid and respectable gathering of business men, leaders of the bench and bar, newspaper editors and proprietors, clergymen and college professors, all gathered to do honor to their native section of country. The tall form of President Hopkins, of Williams College, was seen in the throng as he conversed with Admiral George H. Preble. Senator Frye, of Maine, stood chatting with Governor Hoyt. Mark Twain stood in one corner uttering drolleries which caused his auditors to guffaw in a manner highly reprehensible in staid and sober citizens. John Welsh conversed with Frederick Fraley, and Rev. H. Clay Trumbull, secretary of the society, darted hither and thither, arranging things generally for the event.


At seven o'clock the line was formed, and headed by President E.A. Rollins and Professor Hopkins, of Williams College, the members and guests proceeded to the dining-room. President Rollins took his seat at the centre of the north table. On his right were Professor Hopkins, Professor Daniel E. Goodwin, D.D., LL. D., one of the society's vice-presidents; John Welsh, Rear-Admiral Geo. H. Preble, Frederick Fraley, Henry Winsor, Clayton McMichael, James L. Claghorn, Calvin Wells, of Pittsburg; Charles Emory Smith, of THE PRESS, and Rev. H. Clay Trumbull, secretary. On his left were Senator W.P. Frye, of Maine; Governor Hoyt, Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain), Lieutenant Thackara, U.S.N.; Rev. W.N. McVickar, Judge Allison, Rev. George Dana, Boardman Chaplain, and Clarence H. Clark, treasurer of the society.

Among the other prominent persons seated at the tables were E. Dunbar Lockwood, who talked reform with Amos R. Little. H.W. Pitkin and other members of the Committee of One Hundred; Rev. Charles G. Amos, the noted Unitarian clergyman; Francis D. Lewis, A.G. Heaton. The Reading Railroad was represented by President Frank S. Bond, Secretary Kinsley, Receiver Stephen A. Caldwell, directors George F. Tyler, E.W. Clark, and the company attorneys, Samuel Dickson, Judge Asbhel Green, of New Jersey, the McCalmont brothers' counsel also chatted with the party. Some of the others were: A.C. Hetherington, General McCartney, E.P. Borda, George Russell, H.W. Bartol, B.H. Atwood, N.P. Storey, Joseph P. Mumford, Dr. H.M. Howe, John P. Thayer, Sidney Tyler, Dr. Forrest, E.W. Clark and B.B. Comegys, the bankers, Chas. M. Jackson, C.A. Kingsbury, J.C. Collins, T.B. Merrick, Frank O. Allen, G.A. Bigelow, C.E. Morgan, Jr., Walter McMichael, Nelson F. Evans, C.F. Richardson, G. Cornish, John Welsh Dulles, C.H. Brush, Robert N. Wilson, Walter H. Tilden, Charles P. Turner, Dr. J.F. Stone, and J.E. Graff. Altogether one hundred and fifty gentlemen sat down.


The room was elegantly and most appropriately decorated. The chandeliers were festooned with smilax. Hanging-baskets were suspended along the walls and before the windows. At the eastern end of the room were stately palms, graceful camelias and rare plants perfuming the air with fragrance. A magnificent design composed of immortelles in red, yellow and purple, was prominent at this end of the hall. It bore in large letters the inscription:

December 22,

Along the north end of the hall a long table was ranged, at which the officers and distinguished guests were seated as given above. Extending transversely from this were several other long tables, around which were placed the members.

Beside each plate lay a toast list, printed on hand-made paper of the style of two centuries ago. There was also a menu of the most artistic and original design. It was printed in chocolate-colored ink, and bore on the first page a representation of the Mayflower making her perilous voyage, with the Pilgrim Fathers on board. On the last page was a portrait of John Alden's Priscilla, one of whose descendants was present at the festival. The bill of fare was printed in antique type, and was as follows:

Thursday Eveninge, December 22, 1881.
Oysters from Chasepack Bay in their Shells.
Green Turtle Soupe.
Boyled Salmon with Sauce of Shrimps.
*Pates a la Reine.
Fillet of Beef Garnyshed with Mushrooms.
Roaste Turkey from Cape Cod, with Cranberries.
Potatoes. Strynge Beans. Pease.
Pork and Beans. Stewed Terrapin.
1620        1881
Sherbot. Cigarettes.
Canvas-back Duck. Partridge.
Lettuce Salading Dressed in Oyle.
Puddings with Plumbs.
Mince Pie. Pumpkin Pie.
Frozen Sweete Thynges, also Jellies and Cakes.
Several Sorts of Nuts and Fruits.

*Lyttle Pies such as the Queen of France doth love.


As soon as the members and guests reached their places President Rollins requested Rev. W. Nelson McVikar to offer up prayer, which he did in an impressive manner. The dinner was then served and full justice done to it. After an unlucky member had been threatened with expulsion because he preferred stewed terrapin to pork and beans President Rollins arose to welcome those present. He stood in an easy, graceful attitude, and spoke without using notes. His neat, humorous remarks were frequently interrupted by loud laughter and his patriotic sentiments were heartily applauded. He spoke as follows:

Fathers, brothers, uncles, nephews, cousins, as descendants of New England, we are all relatives. I congratulate you heartily upon the comfortable landing we have made here this evening. Upon my honor I do half believe, that if the Pilgrim Fathers had known of this good hostelry with its canvas back and terrapin, they would themselves have landed here. But I will not do them this rank injustice -- never were men lured less by love of pleasure or constrained by higher motives.

We here in Philadelphia, in connection with local politics, have heard much of a Committee of a Hundred, but that Committee of a Hundred men, women and children which sailed from Plymouth, in September, 1620, and which in journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of their own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in weariness and painfulness in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness, gave its politics to this North American continent, and for all time and through their descendants, largely to that of South America as well, was the grandest committee of which history has made record.

On the 22d of November, in the harbor of Provincetown, in the cabin of the Mayflower, they adopted their form of Government -- signed their compact, and chose John Carver Governor. At that election every man who was authorized to do so cast his ballot I believe -- cast it once and had it counted. That was the New England "idea" and it remains so unto this day.

On Monday, the 22d of December, 261 years ago, when the sun had just entered its winter solstice and the days were the shortest and the nights the longest and the cold the bitterest of all the year, having rested Sunday that they might not descecrate it but keep it holy unto the Lord, the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, placed for their feet, apparently, by the hand of God himself, for there was not another like it -- not of the same material even, for miles and miles -- a stone of only a few tons weight -- a few feet only this was, and this a stepping-stone -- but not the philosopher's stone -- nor the Moabite stone -- nor Jacob's stone in the chapel of Ednam, the confessor in Westminster Abbey, on which the Kings of Scotland and afterwards the United Kingdom, have received their crowns for a thousand years, nor that wondrous stone, which travelers kiss, high up in Blarney Castle -- not one or all of them together, have enriched this world so much as Plymouth Rock.


The compact which the Pilgrims signed, and with which they landed and under which they lived, and which they have transmitted to their children and their children's children, was that of self-government, the government of the people by the people for the people. Out of that grand principle the Constitution of the United States was builded and when in after years the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house -- it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. My friends, here is a piece of Plymouth Rock, which was kindly given to me by an old resident of Plymouth, and now a member of this society and present with us, Mr. T.E. Cornish. For three and a half months from that landing and during all the perils and horrors of that awful winter the Mayflower rocked at anchor in the harbor, and when, on the 5th of April following, she

"Took the wind upon her quarter, and stood for the open Atlantic,"

not one of the 100 pilgrims returned in her.


Possibly John Alden staid because of his Priscilla -- mayhap also on her account, Miles Standish also, and Priscilla may have stayed for both. In saying this I trust that our member, Mr. Watters, would remember that I would not speak lightly of his country. Probably, however, few were sea-sick coming over, and so wisely enough determined to make the rest of their earthly pilgrimage by land. But making due allowance for all this, when we remember that of the one hundred who were living in December almost one-half, from exposure and disease, were dead; that all the living who had strength enough gathered on the bluff and saw the little ship go back without one thought of going back themselves; that food, strength, health, life itself gave out, but courage, heroism, devotion to their great cause, never -- we remember that not at Thermopylae, nor Marathon, nor Bannochburn, nor Marston Moor, nor any other battlefield, has the world witnessed such a marvelous exhibition of the grandeur of human nature as on that day at Plymouth.


Only six months and a little more and after that the Plymouth Colonists celebrate their first Thanksgiving. I don't know what pies they had nor what pork and beans on that occasion, but these things and Thanksgiving Day itself are the gift of the Pilgrims, and through their descendants they have spread all over the land. I think it was Mark Twain, and if it were not I hope nobody will correct me, who first called the attention of the moral and hygenic world to the great pie zone which then extended from about where we sit due west to the Pacific. North of it was one vast sea of pie. South of it there was not one sporadic pie, but the zone moved on and Sherman's triumphant march to the sea was not more certain and inevitable than the march of pie and beans from the Canadas to the Gulf. The Pilgrims' Thanksgiving has become the National festival of the mightiest, freest, and, thanking God, I believe most united people the sun shines on.

The hundred Pilgrims headed the procession of 20,000 English men and English women who came to New England in the next twenty years, and before the meeting of the Long Parliament, and there were only about a thousand afterwards for nearly one hundred and fifty years, nor until the Revolutionary War. Those 20,000 made New England what she was and largely what she is. As late as 1858 Dr. Palfrey in a carefully prepared statement in his first volume of the History of New England, in speaking of New Englanders and their modes says: "There is probably not a county in England occupied by a population of purer English blood than theirs, and I presume there is one-third of the people of these United States, wheresoever now residing, who could peruse this volume without reading the history of his own progenitors."

The sons of New England are scattered throughout our wide domain and everywhere they are at home: for over the home of every man in this broad land, seen or unseen, floats the dear old flag of his childhood. They have carried with them not alone a love for their peculiar food, and of their honored feast-day, but as well their enterprise, their courage and power of endurance, their school system and their high estimate of education, their conscience and their freedom to worship God according to its dictates, and their worship of Him also, and to-day the people of every State and territory, and every town and hamlet in these United States are a better people, and their Government is a better Government, because of the Pilgrim Fathers. To the casual observer it might seem that in something I have said, I have trenched somewhat upon the first subject in our intellectual menu, which is, "The Pilgrims and Their Creation, New England," but I haven't, for the subject is as inexhaustible as filial affection, and its aspects are as various and numberless as the leaves of an autumnal forest in the good old State of Maine.

[Between Rollins' address and MT's there were six toasts, mostly quoted in full:
"New England," given by Senator Frye;
"Pennsylvania," Governor Hoyt;
"The Army and Navy of the United States," Rear-Admiral George Henry Peble;
"New England and Education," Rev. Mark Hopkins;
"The Mission of New England," Rev. George Dana Boardman;
"The Press of New England," Charles Emory Smith.
There were humorous moments in all these toasts, though the dominant tone was sanctimonious. The account concluded with MT's address, introduced in this way:


Mr. Rollins said that the next speaker, while not born in New England, had done the best he could, for he had his children born there and thus had made himself a New England ancestor. He thus introduced Mark Twain, who sat to the left of Governor Hoyt. Mr. Clemens rose and in a peculiar, sleepy manner began his remarks by thanking the company for the deserved compliment to himself and to his posterity. "I shall continue to do my best," drawled out the speaker, who continued as follows: