Engines of Empire
Steamships and the Victorian Imagination
Douglas R. Burgess Jr.




Steam and Spectacle in the Public Sphere

Think back for a moment to the S.S. Great Britain, the sea of upturned faces. What if, in that moment, the ship had not moved?1 A launching is a pageant designed to elicit a specific emotional response. There are prayers, songs, speeches, flags. The crowd’s job is to be awed, and, if everything works as it should, they will be. Ten thousand tons of moving steel can hardly fail to impress. In March of 1895, for example, over 25,000 spectators gathered at the William Cramp Shipyards of Philadelphia to watch the launching of the largest American liner built, the St. Paul. Samuel Clemens, alias Mark Twain, was invited to speak. In typical rambling style, his address praised the ship, its builders and owners, and the crowd that came to view the spectacle. His comments ranged from the absurd (“I do not mean that I care nothing at all for a whale’s opinion. . . . Of course it is better to have the good opinion of a whale than his disapproval”) to the disquieting (“When the Paris was half torn to pieces some years ago, enough of the Atlantic ebbed and flowed through one end of her, during her long agony, to sink the fleets of the world . . .”). But his conclusion was patriotic, symbolic, and (for him) only mildly silly:

I am glad, with you and the nation, to welcome the new ship. She is another pride, another consolation for a great country whose mighty fleets have all vanished, and which has almost forgotten what it is to fly its flag at sea. I am not sure as to which St. Paul she is named for. Some think it is the one that is on the Upper Mississippi, but the head quartermaster told me that it was the one that killed Goliath. But it is not important. No matter which it is, let us give her hearty welcome and godspeed.2

Twain never gave the speech. He stood on the dais on March 25, while out in the harbor the entire Pennsylvania General Assembly were gathered on an iceboat serving as a floating grandstand. Frances Griscom, the shipowner’s teenaged daughter, held a jeroboam of champagne at the ready. But the St. Paul did not move. Tugs strained against the hawsers, metal bit against wood, yet the hull remained stubbornly in place. After two hours in the cold, the crowd began to disperse.3 Mark Twain was due to leave for Europe the next day, appropriately enough on another ship of the American Line. His prepared remarks were shelved forever.

Spectacles are fragile things, all the more so for the symbolism invested in them. Isambard Brunel would learn that for himself at the launch of the giant Great Eastern, so disastrous it foreshortened his life. Indeed, launchings often invite a demon of perversity, perhaps because they are so minutely choreographed. There was a long, nasty pause before the Mauretania began to slide down her ways in 1906; a few years later, Hannah von Bismarck swung the jeroboam at the Bismarck’s bow and missed (Kaiser Wilhelm II caught it on the backswing and finished the job).4 In 1935, Queen Mary launched the vessel that bore her name and then turned to an aide and said loudly into the microphones, “Should I press the button now?” The launching of the Imperator in 1913 was perhaps the most ill-omened of all: A piece of planking fell from the bow and nearly decapitated the royal guests, the anchor chains fell into the river Elbe, and the hull was sent careening towards an opposite quay crowded with spectators.5 Of more recent memory, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was tasked to christen the Queen Victoria in 2008—after well over an hour of Te Deum and a prayer from the Archbishop of Canterbury—only to have the bottle hit the bow with a dull clunk and rebound, intact. The confetti cannons went off anyway.6 In those moments the allegorical pageant failed, and along with it the symbolism of triumphal progress, nationalism, international amity, and so on. They were a reminder of the fragility that lay behind the enterprise.

That fragility, that ephemeral allegory that the launching represents, is what we might call the phantasmagoria of steam. Phantasmagoria were image slides passed through a projector called a magic lantern. The image was projected either onto a flat screen or sometimes steam clouds, creating a kind of hologram. These phantasms were the closest thing in the mid-19th century to moving pictures and often could seem very real indeed. Their purpose was to excite wonder, to convince the observer that the fantastical could indeed be possible. The term dates from the same era as the first steamships. I am borrowing it to describe the amorphous line where technology overlaps with fantasy, which contemporary observers usually termed a “spectacle.”

In the early years of steam innovation, spectacles helped introduce the public to a new and seemingly magical form of transit: the carriage without a horse, the ship without sails. They also helped ameliorate fears, rational or imagined, that darkened the public’s response. Further, they encouraged investment. It was not a hard sell. The steam engine was rather magical, especially when put to some useful trade. It was the promoter’s task to persuade Mr. and Mrs. John Bull (and their cousins across the Atlantic, and on the Continent) that its magic was white and not black. “Like an elephant that picks up a needle and tears down a tree, there is no task too small, no work too great for the giant, Steam,” wrote one.7 A friendly giant, or a helpful genie; these were the most common depictions. And how better to illustrate that helpfulness—and power—than by public display?

The point of a spectacle was not to instruct the public on the workings of a steam vessel but to dazzle them with it. Demonstration, display, and spectacle were often presented as synonymous in this era; one need only picture the carnival barker outside the Bearded Lady’s tent: “Don’t let your children miss this once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity!” Yet though they often overlap, there is a crucial distinction. Demonstrations are meant to educate; however thrilling, their purpose is to communicate knowledge. Spectacles are meant to astound. The difference is between vivisection and a magic show. As one historian describes it:

Engineers had a particular problem, more so, perhaps, than men of science, when it came to releasing, at the right moment and to the right audience, sanitised accounts of finished technological products. It was by no means easy to conceal the mess of technological process when the product was an innovative steam-powered mill, an “experimental” railway or a great steamship ready to be launched. . . . Part of the “representation” of technologies involved cultures of display in which marketing and carefully staged demonstration, often in public, went hand in hand.8

Promoters of steam power knew better than to bore their spectators with engineering lessons. The best way to appreciate the power and utility of the engine was to watch it work. Steamships and locomotives naturally leant themselves to this sort of performance; stationary engines did not. There is nothing lovely about an engine by itself. At rest it is grotesque, but when working it is a simulacrum of rage, hissing and sputtering, pistons beating the air. It produces a sound unlike anything in nature, a cacophony of shudders, bangs, and flatulence. The true enchantment of the machine—that it can repeat the same motion again and again without ever tiring—also makes it very boring to watch. The pistons moved “monotonously up and down,” Charles Dickens declared, “like the head of an elephant in melancholy madness.”9

But ships and locomotives were another matter. Now the machine was sheathed by an iron exoskeleton that concealed its workings, not unlike the voluminous robes of von Kempelen’s chess-playing Turk. When the great wheel turned, it seemed to do so by a kind of witchcraft. Even today there is something wondrous about watching a cruise ship leave dock: The stationary building suddenly breaks away from the pier, screws churning silently beneath the hull, and in that moment becomes a living object. This hints at the second distinction of these machines: They moved. Judging their success was as simple as measuring their speed; the faster they went, the better they were. Third and finally, there was the awesomeness of their size. Here the machine disappears altogether: The wonder exerted by the Great Britain had nothing to do with her engines but by the simple fact of her scale.

As there were two measures of preeminence—size and speed—there were two forms of spectacle: the exhibition and the race. Exhibitions were public fêtes designed to promote the vessel. The exact nature varied with the intended audience. Launchings, goodwill tours, and open houses amassed large crowds (and, as often as not, made a tidy sum on entrance fees). Like a village fête or a parade, all classes of society were encouraged to attend. Special events, on the contrary, catered to a much smaller and more elite collection of visiting dignitaries, reporters, and the like. Visitors were to be amazed by the ship’s massiveness and the luxury of its quarters. While the former was undeniable, the latter could be fudged a bit. Day-trippers to the new Collins liners in the 1850s were greeted by a plethora of Oriental rugs, potted palms, and fine furniture; reporters duly referred to them as “floating palaces.” But once the ship left New York, the realities of the rolling Atlantic took precedence: the carpets were rolled up, the fine furnishings stored until the next port day.

There is an echo of Walter Benjamin’s Paris arcades here. The sight of those plush steamship lounges surely inspired many day-trippers to strive even harder in the capitalist marketplace to earn enough to gain access to them. But exhibition was more than ginning up potential customers. It was about creating a shared experience (just as was the Great Exhibition of 1851, as we shall see) and also a shared sense of pride. Spectators were encouraged to believe that this marvel of technology owed itself in some small part to them. It is what one might call the celebrity effect. Just as meeting a famous person establishes a connection between yourself and the celebrity, fleeting though it may be, spectators became part of the community of the ship simply by having seen it.

Races were a means of establishing precedence among competitors. Sound commercial thinking was at work; the fastest boat or train earned the most passengers or freight. But in a sportif era, such races were also public events that attracted as much attention and comment as Ascot or the Derby. They were announced in the newspapers. Punters wagered on the results.10 Similar to exhibitions, races were a means for persons who had no actual stake in the ship or locomotive to feel vicariously attached to it. There is no more proprietary feeling than placing a fiver on a favored horse. Even if no actual money was involved, spectators along the banks or following the race in their newspapers could hardly help getting caught up in the excitement of it all. Once again, this time through the mechanism of a race, an artificial community is created.

The phantasmagoria of steam was much more than images flashing against a translucent cloud. Pomp and pageantry aside, it worked a profound transformation in the Victorian mind. To chart this transformation, we must consider both the spectacle itself and the intended audience. As interested spectators, the public was conditioned by repeated spectacles to regard steam as a human miracle—a very loaded concept. Steam, as something magical and miraculous, had unlimited power for good—only good, for how could a miracle ever be bad? As a work of humankind, it was not subject to divine whim but earthly regulation. In other words, steam locomotion was a servant of man, not some barely tamed natural phenomenon like wind or water or lightning. Its subservience was another mark of its beneficence, and that of its creators, the engineers. The veneration of steam power thus became tantamount to cult worship of human ingenuity. Allegorical imagery was everywhere: in stations, universities, within the ships themselves. Contrary to traditional religious norms, pride became a virtue, and human perfectibility through technological progress replaced old Adam’s sin. This was not without consequences, as we shall explore.

On August 22, 1787, an impoverished inventor named John Fitch invited members of the Constitutional Convention down to the Philadelphia docks to witness a spectacle, the first demonstration of steam on water. In fact, he had been trying to lure them for months. “Sir,” he wrote in one such pleading letter to Benjamin Franklin, “In a conference that I had the honor of with your Excellency, I heard you mention that the Philosophical Society ought to be furnished with a Model of a Steam Engine, and having completed one on a small scale, would be exceedingly happy should it meet your Patronage . . .”11 Fitch was also looking over his shoulder. Millwright James Rumsey was currently working on a similar device and had already—as a Virginian and a gentleman—earned the patronage of General Washington.12 Smooth-talking and plausible, Rumsey co-opted Thomas Jefferson and, eventually, Franklin as well.13

The spectacle on the Delaware was John Fitch’s only chance. Dr. Franklin did not come, but others did. It was a warm, clear day, not as muggy as it had been: perfect weather conditions. Three months in, one can imagine the debates in the Hall becoming tedious and contentious; the members were eager for a distraction. Just four days earlier, James Madison suggested that the new legislature “encourage knowledge and discoveries,” while Charles Pinckney added that, beyond encouragement, it should also “grant patents for useful inventions.”14 Fitch’s boat, appropriately and allegorically named Perseverance, was outfitted with a curious set of interlocking oars that, if everything worked as it should, moved the boat at a sluggish but steady 2 knots per hour. It looked like an ugly canoe. Fitch had explored paddle wheels but was forced to abandon the idea: Dr. Franklin thought them impractical. The Perseverance set off from the pier with several convention members aboard, did a few lazy turns in the river, got briefly stuck in the mud, and came back. Regrettably, few of the members present recorded their impressions. Edmund Randolph wrote Fitch that the Virginia delegation was “pleased to give it every countenance they could,” and Oliver Ellsworth was delighted to learn it had been invented by a fellow Connecticut man. Dr. Samuel Johnson—no relation to Bosworth’s idol—wrote to Fitch presenting his compliments and saying that the demonstration “gave the gentlemen present much satisfaction.”15

The most detailed account comes from another supplicant, Rembrandt Peale, a portrait artist that hung about the Convention hoping some of the members might need his services. “Hearing that there was something curious to be seen at the floating bridge on the Schuylkill at Market Street,” he hurried down to the water’s edge. There, he writes:

I found a few persons collected, all eagerly gazing at the shallop at anchor below the bridge, with about twenty persons on board. On the deck was a small furnace, and machinery connected with coupling crank projecting over the stern to give motion to the three or four paddles, resembling snow shovels, which hung into the water. When all was ready . . . the paddles began to work, pressing against the water backward as they rose, and the boat to my great delight moved against the tide, without wind or hand . . .”16

The demonstration led to a brief lift in John Fitch’s fortunes: He departed Philadelphia convinced of the Convention’s support. Yet when the ultimate authority, Benjamin Franklin, finally spoke, it was not in his favor. Franklin and a few other members commissioned James Rumsey to go to England and apply for a steam patent. In the end, neither Fitch nor Rumsey would gain the laurels or introducing steam to America’s rivers. That honor belonged to Robert Fulton, who knew less about inventing steamboats than he did about marketing them.

Fitch’s reasoning was sound, however. Despite the ultimate failure of the spectacle on the Delaware, he had happened upon exactly the right means of introducing steam to the public. In England some years later, in 1829, the first mobile land-based steam engines—eventually termed “locomotives”—began with a competition posted in the Liverpool Mercury. The prize was £500, or more than $500,000 today, a princely sum that, as one historian writes, “brought the crackpots out in force.”17 The successful entrant had to move 20 tons of simulated freight back and forth across a 1? mile track forty times, equivalent to the distance from Liverpool to Manchester and back. The fastest locomotive would win. After a series of failed starts (which brings to mind a movie montage of clunkers bursting their boilers, rolling over, catching fire, and so on), two entrants remained: Novelty, designed by Swedish engineer John Ericsson, and Rocket, by Englishman George Stephenson. On the test track, Novelty took an early lead, but Rocket proved to be the steadier and won.18

Both inventors would go on to colorful careers. Ericsson, after frittering away a few years trying to perfect a perpetual motion machine, ultimately introduced the two most important innovations to marine architecture since the steam engine itself: iron and the screw propeller. He would forever be remembered for his greatest creation, the Union ironclad Monitor. Stephenson focused on railroads, with much success. Both men would ultimately collide with a third prominent inventor, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, whose works feature heavily in this account.

Stephenson and Brunel quarreled over steam locomotive versus vacuum-powered railways; Brunel favored the latter, and lost. In 1843, Brunel pitted his paddle wheeler Great Western against Ericsson’s screw-propelled U.S.S. Princeton and lost again (Brunel, a true engineer, promptly transferred his allegiance to locomotives and screw propellers after both trials). But Ericsson would get his comeuppance: Just one year later, with President John Tyler, his cabinet, former First Lady Dolly Madison, and 400 others on board, the Princeton’s revolutionary gun exploded in harbor. Two cabinet members and seven others were killed instantly, including the president’s valet. It was widely considered to be the end of Ericsson’s career.19

The history of steam and spectacle is littered with such disasters. Racing drove ships faster than the untested technology allowed, while public demonstrations, displays, and launchings placed untenable schedules on half-finished and finicky machines. But some kind of display was still considered essential to convey the wonder of the device. Even at the end of the 19th century, the average person remained mystified as to how the steam engine actually worked. A new language had been created to describe the sensation of moving at impossible velocities by unknown means. It was a violent lexicon, comprised of such implosive verbs as injecting, compressing, compounding, firing, stoking, throttling, and boiling. Some terms were so descriptive as to bring a flush to Victorian cheeks: “the steam reverses direction at each stroke, entering and exhausting from the cylinder, driving the injector rod within the output shaft.”20 Others—thermodynamic, isentropic, adibiatic expansion—were simply obscure. But a ship moving smoothly and rapidly through the water, or a great mass of iron hull thundering down the ways—those were images anyone could understand.

Robert Fulton himself grasped intuitively that the steamboat was an idea that, if it would work anywhere, had to work everywhere at once. Even as his first ship, the Clermont, was still chugging along the Hudson River, he was considering the future. In August 1816, the Adams Sentinel newspaper reported that Fulton was making plans to take a new steamer across the Atlantic and put her into service in the Baltic. “This grand undertaking we understand is in fulfillment, or acceptance, of a contract offered to Mr. Fulton by the Emperor of Russia, allowing him exclusive navigation of Steam-Boats in the Russian empire for 25 years.”21 The project never materialized, but Fulton was unperturbed. The richest market was closer to home. “Whatever may be the fate of steamboats for the Hudson,” he wrote, “everything is completely proved for the Mississippi, and the object is immense.”22

The opening of the Ohio Valley and the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803 created, in effect, a second nation. The territory was vast, greater in size than the thirteen original colonies, and bisected by a river that ran from Missouri to the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico.23 Actually it was not one river but hundreds, each tributary crisscrossing the landscape, all feeding the great effluvial swell southward. Until the introduction of the steamboat, the Mississippi was more nuisance than opportunity. It cut erratically across property lines, bedeviled roads, and demanded an intricate system of bridges that tested the prowess of Victorian engineers. Until that time (the first bridge was completed in 1855), travelers relied on bumboats piloted by rascally locals to reach the opposite bank. Moving goods on the river meant purchasing space on a raft. In New Orleans these were called “bateaux,” the French word for boat, but in truth they were little more than barges relying on currents for steerage. In the North they were “Kentucky boats,” in the South “New Orleans boats.” Smaller boats could be as simple as a single deck resting on log pontoons; others, reaching up to 100 feet in length, had bedrooms, dining rooms, and galleys.24

Rafts like these moved everything from cotton to livestock to people. Not only were they the mainstay of river commerce, they were also the most efficient way to transport migrating families. Keelboats could reach speeds of 5 knots downstream, with dozens of passengers camping on deck. In contrast, the first decades of the 19th century saw the river choked with makeshift craft that floated along like so much driftwood. Anyone with an axe, cordwood, and hemp could build himself a craft. In 1831, Abraham Lincoln and his partners fashioned just such a barge to carry corn, live hogs, and, de mortuis, pickled pork. On arriving they sold the cargo and then the barge itself, for firewood.25

Despite the multiplicity of craft, one thing united them: They could only follow the river. Lincoln’s disposal of his barge was typical. Until steamboats became common, the approaches of the Mississippi were filled with all manner of abandoned skiffs, barges, and boats. Only on rare instances did entrepreneurs attempt to go against the current, and it was a cumbersome business. A team of dray horses on the riverbank was harnessed with long poles to the deck of the barge. With the pilot shouting orders to the driver, the driver shouting to the tiller man, and the tiller man straining to hear them both, they made slow progress. If the river widened or narrowed, the horses had to follow suit, walking over uneven terrain. In contrast, when they reached a boulder or some other obstacle, the entire harness was dismantled and oars employed.26 The whole system of barges and rafts was hopelessly arcane, even by Mark Twain’s childhood. But its obsolescence had a fascination for him, and to reinforce the idyll of a lost era he would later set his eponymous Huckleberry Finn upon a raft meandering southward. Twain also had a kind word for the “rude, uneducated, brave, jolly, profane, prodigious braggarts” of raftsmen, whose trade was rapidly lost to steam. “By and by the steamboats intruded,” he wrote, “and then keelboating died a permanent death.”27

Mark Twain received his pilot’s certificate in the spring of 1859. He had been an apprentice pilot for almost two years. The reward was substantial: Twain now earned a princely $250 a month, nearly as much as the vice president of the United States.28 Twain arrived on the Mississippi when the steamboat trade was at its zenith—and nadir. Never again would dozens of boats jostle for wharfage along the St. Louis docks, not after 1861. Twain also came on the scene when steam engineering had reached its own pinnacle, allowing for larger and much faster boats. Thus he witnessed a phenomenon that would soon be as distant as chariots in the Circus Maximus: the steamboat race.

“A race between two notoriously fleet steamers,” Twain later wrote, “was an event of vast importance. . . . Politics and the weather were dropped, and people talked only of the coming race.”29 Racing symbolized much more than ordinary competition. In an age of technological marvels, speed meant civilization: rushing headlong into the future, as it were. The fastest vessels hastened that future all the more. Consequently, the steamboat race was a symbolic pageant of technology triumphant over barbarism. The future, in other words, over the past. Both vessels stripped down like wrestlers about to enter the ring. Anything heavy or cumbersome was removed. Spars and derricks, furniture from the lounges, even valuable cargo—all went over the side. Twain joked about captains shaving their heads and removing their kid gloves, but all other measures were doubtless taken.30

A whistle from both ships signaled their readiness, and slowly their wheels began to churn backwards. A great cheer went up from the crowd on the quay and the decks of the steamers. Captains took great pains to balance the weight in their boats; strict orders were given for passengers to keep away from the rails to prevent yawing. Then the two ships turned on their rudders, in unison, like pirouetting ballerinas, and with flags streaming out behind them and a second blast of their whistles, they set off down the Mississippi.


1. In actuality there was not much chance of that happening: Unlike most ships until the 20th century, and in yet another foresighted innovation, the Great Britain was floated out rather than sliding down rails. It was a brilliant innovation by Brunel that he would unaccountably abandon for the much larger, more unwieldy Great Eastern.

2. Paul Fatout, ed., Mark Twain Speaking (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1976), 274–276.

3. A full account appears in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, April 10, 1895.

4. Maxtone-Graham, Only Way to Cross, 117.

5. For the superstitious, it should be noted that the Imperator went on to have a long and mostly happy career, though not for her original owners. After the First World War, the ship was given in reparations to the Cunard Line, who ran her as their flagship Berengaria until 1938. The Bismarck, likewise christened by Kaiser Wilhelm, became White Star Line’s Majestic and sailed until 1936. So perhaps the ill omen was not for the ship, but the Kaiser.

6. Nils Schwerdtner, The New Cunard Queens: Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2008), 165. The author can personally attest that video footage of this event was repeatedly—unaccountably—played on the Queen Victoria’s onboard television channel, to the great amusement and occasional superstitious terror of her passengers. On my last cruise, in 2012, they had edited out the offending moment.

7. Brinnin, Sway, 243.

8. Marsden & Smith, Engineering Empires, 7.

9. Quoted in William Rosen, The Most Powerful Idea in the World (New York: Random House, 2010), 4.

10. This continued even aboard the ships themselves. Until well into the 20th century, a daily pool was held on most transatlantic liners, with bidders placing bets on the distance covered that day. Steamship lines encouraged this (indeed, the one form of gambling that was encouraged) as they routinely pressed their ships to outperform the estimate.

11. Thomas Boyd, Poor John Fitch: Inventor of the Steamboat (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1935), 165.

12. John Fitch, “The Original Steamboat Supported, or, a Reply to Mr. James Rumsey’s Pamphlet, Shewing the True Priority of John Fitch, and the False Datings &c. of James Rumsey” (Philadelphia: 1788). Courtesy of the New York Historical Society.

13. Andrea Sutcliffe, Steam: The Untold Story of America’s First Great Invention (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), xvii.

14. Rosen, The Most Powerful Idea in the World, 277.

15. Frank D. Prager, ed., The Autobiography of John Fitch (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1976), 162–163. Courtesy of the New York Historical Society.

16. Boyd, Poor John Fitch, 180. See also Frank Prager, “The Steamboat Pioneers Before the Founding Fathers,” Journal of the Patent Office Society 37 (July 1955), 486–522.

17. Rosen, The Most Powerful Idea in the World, 304.

18. Ibid., 307–313.

19. See William Conant Church, The Life of John Ericsson (New York: Scribner’s, 1911).

20. G. H. Preble, History of Steam Navigation (Philadelphia: Longworth, 1882), 59.

21. Adams Sentinel (New York: August 3, 1816).

22. Alice Clary Sutcliffe, Robert Fulton and the “Clermont” (New York: Century Company, 1909), 220–221.

23. Walter Nugent, Habits of Empire: A History of American Expansionism (New York: Random House, 2009), 65–68.

24. George Byron Merrick, Old Times on the Upper Mississippi (New York: Arthur Clark, 1909), 85.

25. S. L. Kotar & J. E. Gessler, The Steamboat Era (New York: McFarland, 2009), 17.

26. A fictional but accurate depiction of this process may be found in C. S. Forester, Hornblower and the Atropos (reprint ed., New York: Little, Brown, 1999).

27. Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, in Charles Neider, ed., The Complete Travel Books of Mark Twain (New York: Doubleday, 1967), 367. See also William Wilkins, Charles Dickens in America (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011).

28. Geoffrey Ward, Dayton Duncan, & Ken Burns, Mark Twain: An Illustrated Biography (New York: Alfred Knopf, 2001), 21.

29. Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 442.

30. Ibid., 443.