To Orion Clemens, in Muscatine, Iowa:
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 28th, 1853. MY DEAR BROTHER, -I received your letter today. I think Ma ought to spend the winter in St. Louis. I don't believe in that climate--it's too cold for her.
The printers' annual ball and supper came off the other night. The proceeds amounted to about $1,000. The printers, as well as other people, are endeavoring to raise money to erect a monument to Franklin, but there are so many abominable foreigners here (and among printers, too,) who hate everything American, that I am very certain as much money for such a purpose could be raised in St. Louis, as in Philadelphia. I was in Franklin's old office this morning--the "North American" (formerly "Philadelphia Gazette") and there was at least one foreigner for every American at work there.
How many subscribers has the Journal got? What does the job-work pay? and what does the whole concern pay?.....
I will try to write for the paper occasionally, but I fear my letters will be very uninteresting, for this incessant night-work dulls one's ideas amazingly.
From some cause, I cannot set type nearly so fast as when I was at home. Sunday is a long day, and while others set 12 and 15,000, yesterday, I only set 10,000. However, I will shake this laziness off, soon, I reckon ....
How do you like "free-soil?"--I would like amazingly to see a good old- fashioned negro. My love to all Truly your brother SAM.
We may believe that it never occurred to the young printer, looking up landmarks of Ben Franklin, that time would show points of resemblance between the great Franklin's career and his own. Yet these seem now rather striking. Like Franklin, he had been taken out of school very young and put at the printer's trade; like Franklin, he had worked in his brother's office, and had written for the paper. Like him, too, he had left quietly for New York and Philadelphia to work at the trade of printing, and in time Samuel Clemens, like Benjamin Franklin, would become a world-figure, many- sided, human, and of incredible popularity. The boy Sam Clemens may have had such dreams, but we find no trace of them.