Submitted by scott on
Start Date
End Date

We were at sea now, for a very long voyage—we were to pass through the entire length of the Levant; through the entire length of the Mediterranean proper, also, and then cross the full width of the Atlantic—a voyage of several weeks. We naturally settled down into a very slow, stay-at-home manner of life, and resolved to be quiet, exemplary people, and roam no more for twenty or thirty days. No more, at least, than from stem to stern of the ship. It was a very comfortable prospect, though, for we were tired and needed a long rest.

From: Itinerary of the Quaker City Excursion, (MTDP 00308) 

  • 7 Oct SLC and companions departed Cairo for Alexandria and boarded the ship; QC departed Alexandria, 5:00 p.m.
  • 13 Oct QC arrived at Cagliari, island of Sardinia, 9:00 p.m.; departed at midnight without disembarking passengers.
  • 15 Oct QC arrived at Algiers, 3:30 p.m.; departed, 5:30 p.m., without disembarking passengers.
  • 17 Oct QC arrived at Málaga, 1:00 p.m.; departed, 4:00 p.m., without disembarking passengers, and arrived at Gibraltar, 11:00 p.m.
  • 18 Oct SLC and companions13 departed Gibraltar at noon, traveling overnight by horseback and carriage to Algeciras, Vejer, and San Fernando.
  • 19 Oct SLC and companions boarded the 4:00 p.m. train for Seville, arriving at midnight.
  • 22 Oct SLC and companions traveled by train to Córdoba.
  • 23 Oct SLC and companions returned by 9:00 a.m. train to Seville; departed Seville for Cádiz, stopping briefly in Jerez.
  • 24 Oct SLC and companions arrived in Cádiz; QC departed Gibraltar, 6:00 p.m.
  • 25 Oct QC arrived at Cádiz, 7:30 a.m.; SLC and companions boarded at 10:30, and QC departed Cádiz, 11:00 a.m.
  • 28 Oct QC arrived at Funchal, island of Madeira, at noon; departed, 8:00 p.m., without disembarking passengers.
  • 11 Nov QC arrived at St. George, Bermuda, at daybreak.
  • 15 Nov QC departed St. George, 8:00 a.m.
  • 19 Nov QC arrived at New York City, 10:00 a.m.

From Page 432-3 The Life of Mark Twain: The Early Years, 1835-1871

While in Egypt, too, Sam raced to fulfill his obligations to the Alta California. He had stopped writing for the New York Tribune, even though it paid better for his letters, for several reasons: the Alta had paid him in advance, he had been dissatisfied with the quality of his correspondence with the Tribune, and he feared he would betray to the polite Tribune readers his ‘glaring disrespect for the Holy Land.” He never would complete the balance of the letters he had promised the New York paper, but he honored his commitment to San Francisco. Dan Slote remembered later that Sam “was the hardest-working man I ever saw. ... In Egypt, where the fleas were so thick you couldn't breathe without swallowing a thousand, that man used to sit up and write, write, half the night.” Sam did not yet realize, moreover, that at least twelve and perhaps as many as fourteen of his dispatches to the Alta had miscarried, and he had not kept copies. Most of these columns were written about such cities visited early in the tour as Marseilles, Paris, Venice, Bologna, Pisa, and Leghorn and mailed from Italy, The loss is comparable to the missing columns Sam published in the Territorial Enterprise in 1862-66.  The problem in this case was the cholera epidemic. The authorities mistakenly believed that the disease could be transmitted by paper. Sam, Jackson, and Moses Beach all remembered that the dockworkers in Mediterranean ports handled their letters with tongs, dipped them in seawater, punched the envelopes full of holes, fumigated them, then promised to forward them to their destinations. It was easier simply to destroy them.” After his return to the United States, Beach also discovered that “sundry letters descriptive of the excursion” he had sent the New York Sun had failed to reach the paper, and he hastened “to supply the omission.” While a total of thirty-seven of his columns to the Sun were eventually printed, there is a gap in Beach's correspondence of nearly a month, between July 20 and August 15, when an unknown number of his dispatches went awry. At least one of Julius Moulton’s letters, written to the St. Louis Missouri Republican from Paris, also failed to be printed, presumably because it failed to arrive.

The epidemic continued to plague the cruise almost to the end. The health authorities refused to permit the ship to land in Sardinia, Algiers, and Malaga, Spain. Newell, for one, was upset by “the absurdity of quarantining a ship with a perfectly ‘clean bill of health,’ and on board of which for five months there has been no disease.” All the while Sam dashed off travel essays that he read aloud each afternoon to his circle of friends. Charley Langdon wrote his mother on October 13 that he was present when Sam declaimed his letters in his stateroom. “I do wish you could hear them, they are characteristic of him|,] I do not like them as a whole but he says some good things. They are going to Cal, Alta, so unless you have sent for that paper you wil|l] not see them.”

Page 437

...  Duncan apparently failed either to pay the wages of the seamen or his vendors, according to the New York correspondent of the San Francisco Bulletin, so the Quaker City was seized and held until the Leary brothers paid the bills, totaling over ten thousand dollars. Though the brothers had hoped to sell the steamer for upwards of a quarter million dollars, it was sold at auction in mid-April 1868 for only forty thousand. A year later, it was again seized by federal authorities at the insistence of the Cuban government on the grounds that it had been equipped to sail to Cuba with American filibusters aboard, It was released to sail to Jamaica only after the British consul in New York proved the ship was the property of a British subject and was authorized to travel to the Caribbean on legitimate business. After service in the Haitian Navy and a couple of name changes, the Quaker City finally sank after its boilers exploded near Bermuda in May 1871.

To Jane Lampton Clemens and Family
24 October 1867 • Cádiz, Spain
.Cadiz, Oct. 24.

Mark Twain visited Bermuda on eight separate occasions of various durations.  His first visit was from Monday, November 11 to Friday, November 15 of 1867, the final port of call of the Quaker City voyage, before returning to New York.   According to Rasmussen, this was not in fact his first visit.  He reports that the Quaker City stopped there on the way to the Azores in mid-June of 1867.