Upon arriving in New York in January of 1867, Twain heard of the planned Quaker City pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy Land. He was already contracted with the Daily Alta California newspaper, as a traveling correspondent and convinced the paper to finance his joining the excursion. The letters Twain wrote on this journey led to his book, "The Innocents Abroad". He visited the Azores, Morocco, France and Italy, where he avoided quarantine at Naples. He broke quarantine in Greece. He visited the Ottoman Empire, Russia and took a 2-week horse ride through "The Holy Land". On the way home the ship stopped in Egypt, Spain and the Bermudas. Although not included in his book, Sam again broke quarantine in Spain.
Key West – New York – Charles Webb Published The Jumping Frog
52 hours to St. Louis – Artemus Ward Dead – Lectures in Hannibal, Keokuk & Quincy
Back in New York – A Night in Jail – Three Lectures in the Big Apple
Quaker City Five-month Excursion– Miniature Portrait in the Bay of Smyrna
A Post in Washington – Elisha Bliss – Sam Met Livy
January 30 Wednesday – At the end of January, New York papers announced the “members of
Beecher’s congregation are organizing an excursion to the Holy Land, Crimea and Greece. They
propose to charter a steamer, and leave in June. Rev. Mr. Beecher and family go with them” [MTL 2:
14]. On this date the Alta California posted the announcement. Sanborn claims Sam learned of the
planned excursion “sometime after mid-February,” but it is likely that Sam would have noticed the
wide exposure within a few days [Sanborn 319].
May 16 Thursday – Sam spotted the ex-leader of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.
IT WAS just a lucky circumstance that I happened to be out late night before last, else I might never
have been permitted to see the chief of the late Confederacy in life. I was standing in front of the New
York Hotel at midnight, or thereabouts, talking with a clerk of the establishment, when the Davis party
arrived, and I got a tolerably good look at the man who has been raising such a dust in this country for
May 19 Sunday – Alta California printed Sam’s article “AT HOME AGAIN,” dated Mar. 25
[Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” Number XIII [bibliog.].
May 20 Monday – Sam wrote John Stanton (Corry O’Lanus) again, this time advising him of the
canceled New York lecture:
“I am one magazine article & eighteen letters behindhand (18 days to do them in, before sailing,) & so
I am obliged to give up the idea of lecturing any more. Confound me if I won’t have a hard time
catching up anyhow. I shall stick in the house day & night for 2 weeks & try, though, anyhow” [MTL
Sam also responded in writing to Henry M. Crane (1838-1927) of Rondout (now Kingston, N.Y.),
May 23 Thursday – The fourth of five letters from Hawaii, reprints of five early Sacramento
Union letters with “a few minor omissions” ran in the New York Weekly. Dated Honolulu, March,
1866 and beginning “I did not expect to find as comfortable hotel as the American…” this article
omitted “the particulars that a lady passenger from San Francisco had purchased a half interest in the
American Hotel and that Mr. Laller, an American, runs a restaurant in Honolulu” [The Twainian, Mar.
May 26 Sunday – Alta California printed Sam’s article “NOTABLE THINGS IN ST.LOUIS,” dated
Apr. 16 [Schmidt], mentioned his April visit to Quincy, Illinois and his stay with General James W.
Singleton. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 14 [bibliog.]. “Singleton, who had
lived on his stock farm near Quincy since 1854 and was noted for his hospitality. As Brigadier-General
in the Illinois State Militia, he had played an active part in the Mormon riots during the early forties;
May 28 Tuesday – Sam reported to the Alta and criticized the dry goods multimillionaire’s home
(Alexander T. Stewart) saying that it looked “like a mausoleum”: “Verily it is one thing to have cash
and another to know how to spend it” [MTL 1: 6-9n11]. Fresh in New York back in 1853 (“I was a
pure and sinless sprout”), Sam had been impressed by Stewart’s “Marble Palace,” an ostentatious
dry-good store, but now Sam was older and wiser and saw that all that glittered was not in good taste.
June – William Morris Stewart (1827-1909) wrote to Sam sometime during the month offering
Clemens a secretaryship at Washington. See Aug. 9 for Sam’s reply [MTP].
June 1 Saturday – Sam wrote from New York to his mother and family in St. Louis, irritated about
the wait, and uncertain if the Quaker City would even sail. He was no doubt down about the
withdrawal of General Sherman and Henry Ward Beecher, and pressed to finish his writing duties
All I do know or feel, is, that I am wild with impatience to move—move—Move! …Curse the endless
delays! They always kill me—make me neglect every duty & then I have a conscience that tears me
June 2 Sunday – Alta California printed Sam’s article “THE MORMONS,” which Sam had dated
April 19 [Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 15 [bibliog.].
June 3 or 4 Tuesday – Sam agreed to write letters during the trip for the New York Tribune and the
New York Herald, at the rates of $40 to $50 dollars per column of type. He eventually published six
letters in the Tribune and four in the Herald [MTL 2: 55n3]. Note: Sam may have hated the duty of
writing his correspondent letters, but he didn’t shirk from loading his plate with more duty. This was
due to an overabundance of affection for money, preferably not in greenbacks.
June 5 Wednesday – Sam wrote to the Alta his impressions of New York, so different they were from
those of his first visit in 1853: “I have at last, after several months’ experience, made up my mind that
it is a splendid desert—a domed and steepled solitude, where the stranger is lonely in the midst of a
million of his race” [MTNJ 1: 301]. Note: the letter was printed in the Alta on August 11.
June 6 Thursday – The get-together at the Moses Beach house in Brooklyn (Beach was neighbor to
Henry Ward Beecher there) came off as planned (See Sam’s June 1 letter to his mother). The New
York Sun reported that 70 guests, passengers awaiting departure on the Quaker City, enjoyed an
“excellent repast,” and that “Mark Twain …enlivened the company with ebul[l]itions of wit” [MTL 2:
In Mark Twain to Mrs. Fairbanks, p. xi, Wecter writes:
On the evening of June 7, 1867, some sixty persons, largely unknown to each other, gathered at 66
June 7 Friday – Sam wrote from New York to “my oldest friend,” Will Bowen in Hannibal.
“We leave tomorrow at 3:00 P.M. Everything is ready but my trunks. I will pack them first thing in the
morning. We have got a crowd of tiptop people, & shall have a jolly, sociable, homelike trip of it for
the next five or six months” [MTL 2: 54].
On this same day Sam wrote to his mother and family in St. Louis. This letter contains evidence that
Sam visited Dan Slote’s house before leaving New York. Sam teased his mother:
June 8 Saturday – Quaker City left New York at 2 PM for excursion to the Holy Land, the first
organized pleasure party ever assembled for a transatlantic voyage. The ship carried only 65
passengers, way short of the 110 limit. Few were from Plymouth Church. Due to rough seas the ship
got only as far as Gravesend Bay, off Brooklyn. The captain elected to drop anchor and wait out the
storm for two days. Sam finished a letter (started June 1) before the steamer left port to Frank Fuller,
June 9 Sunday – From Sam’s notebook:
Sunday Morning—June 9—Still lying at anchor in N.Y. harbor—rained all night & all morning
like the devil—some sea on—lady had to leave church in the cabin—sea-sick.
Rev. Mr. Bullard preached from II Cor. 7 & 8th verses about something.
Everybody ranged up & down sides of upper after cabin—Capt Duncan’s little son played the
Tableau–in the midst of sermon Capt. Duncan rushed madly out with one of those d—d dogs but
didn’t throw him overboard [MTNJ 1: 331-32].
June 10 Monday – The Quaker City finally put out to sea at 12:30 PM. A lot of the passengers were
seasick. “We all like to see people seasick when we are not, ourselves” [IA, Ch 3].
For the most part, Sam thought the passengers were staid stuffed shirts. “I was on excellent terms with
eight or nine of the excursionists,” Sam wrote later in Innocents Abroad, “(they are my staunch friends
yet) and was even on speaking terms with the rest of the sixty-five.”
June 11 Tuesday – Captain Charles Duncan recorded the noon hailing of the Emerald Isle, which,
according to the NY Times, left Liverpool on May 12 [MTNJ 1: 333n76]. Note: after several days at
sea without seeing a soul, this would have been cause for interest among the passengers.
June 13 Thursday – From Sam’s notebook:
—On board Steamer Quaker City at sea, 12 M—lat.40, long 62—560 miles from New York, ¼ of the
way to the Azores—just 3 days out—in last 24 hours made 205 miles. Will make more in next 24,
because the wind is fair & we are under sail & steam both, & are burning 30 tons of coal a day & fast
lightening up the ship [MTNJ 1: 335].
June 14 Friday – From Sam’s notebook:
“Shipped a sea through the open dead-light that damaged cigars, books, &c—comes of being careless
when room is on weather side of the ship….Mrs. C.C. Duncan’s 46 birth-day festival in the after-
Emily Severance recorded most of what Sam said at the festivities:
This is Mrs. Duncan’s birthday. I make this statement to gain time. You have spoken of her youthful
appearance, but I think she is old. Our life is not counted by years, but by what has been seen and
June 15 Saturday – Sam entertained some of the passengers by holding a mock trial of the purser for
“stealing an overcoat belonging to Sam Clemens” [MTNJ 1: 336].
June 16 Sunday – Alta California printed Sam’s article “JEFF DAVIS,” which Sam dated May 17
[Schmidt]. Camfield lists this as “Letter from Mark Twain” No. 17 [bibliog.].
June 17 Monday – From Sam’s notebook:
Blackfish, whales, an occasional shark & lots of Portuguese men-of-war in sight. Brown distressed for
fear the latter would attack the ship….Caught a flying fish—it flew 50 yards & came aboard—can’t
fly after wind & sun dry their wings….Lat. 40, long. 43W—1/2 way between America & Portugal &
away south of Cape Farewell, Greenland. Large school of spouting blackfish—make the water white
with their spouting spray [MTNJ 1: 337].
One of three dances was held on board the Quaker City [MTL 70n5].