I RISE to protest. I have kept still for years, but really I think there is no sufficient justification for this sort of thing. What do you want to celebrate those people for?those ancestors of yours of 1620the Mayflower tribe, I mean. What do you want to celebrate them for?
Your pardon: the gentleman at my left assures me that you are not celebrating the Pilgrims themselves, but the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock on the 22d of December. So you are celebrating their landing. Why, the other pretext was thin enough, but this is thinner than ever; the other was tissue, tinfoil, fish-bladder, but this is gold-leaf. Celebrating their landing! What was there remarkable about it, I would like to know? What can you be thinking of?
Why, those Pilgrims had been at sea three or four months. It was the very middle of winter: it was as cold as death off Cape Cod there. Why shouldnt they come ashore? If they hadnt landed there would be some reason for celebrating the fact. It would have been a case of monumental leatherheadedness which the world would not willingly let die... Why, to be celebrating the mere landing of the Pilgrimsto be trying to make out that this most natural and simple and customary procedure was an extraordinary circumstancea circumstance to be amazed at, and admired, aggrandized and glorified, at orgies like this for two hundred and sixty yearshang it, a horse would have known enough to land.Mark Twain, Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims speech, 1881