Dear Friend Robert Merry: Letters from nineteenth-century children

How to use this book

1840s: 1841184218431844184518461847 • 1848 • 1849

1850s: 1850185118521853185418551856185718581859

1860s: 1860186118621863186418651866186718681869

1870s: 187018711872

About the Merry Cousins


Index & gloss


The Cousins’ Greatest Hits



Mr. Merry—I perceive that some of your young friends are in the habit of writing to you little pieces for publication. I will venture to send one which I set myself about quite early in the season, but which was so badly put together that my pa would not consent for me to send it to you. By his assistance, however, we have it strung together in the following order, and which, if you think half as much of it as I do, you will publish in the Museum:

To a Lark.

When I wander abroad in the verdance of spring,

Thou art there, ’mid the flowers, with thy song’s merry ring;

In the meadows thou art, with thy song ever new,

’Mid the lillies, and daisies, and violets blue.

If spirits are happy in Elysian bowers,

How happy art thou, ’mid the fields and the flowers—

God made thee to praise him with thy beauty and song,

And shall not my glad voice the music prolong?

I’ll praise thee on earth, and I’ll praise thee in heaven,

On earth, ’mid the beauty to earth thou hast given—

In heaven I’ll praise thee, with angels above,

With songs everlasting—as lasting as love.

Maria L. Gage.
Wayne, Cass co., Mich., July 16, 1847.

[from “Merry’s Museum and Parley’s Playmate United!” (1848.2.3-4): ]

We, Robert Merry and Peter Parley, hereby announce to our young friends, and their parents and guardians, that we have formed a project for presenting to the public the most amusing, pleasing, pictorial, instructive magazine that was ever thought of! … [p. 4 ]

We happen to know … that publishers of a rival magazine have taken pains to make the public believe that our Museum had ceased, and in this way they have induced many persons to give up taking it, supposing they could no longer get it. Now we do not wish to injure any rival work: the world is wide enough for all: we ask only that our patrons will do us the favor to let their friends know that Robert Merry is alive—that his magazine is yet flourishing, and that, so far from giving it up, he and Peter Parley have been putting their heads together to contrive all sorts of pleasant things for the new series of the magazine hereby announced to the public.


[Editor: ] The following letter is but one among many others, informing us of a fact we should rather conceal than publish, were it consistent with our duty:

Lowell, June 7, 1848.

Mr. Merry— I was very much astonished and delighted, in going to Mr. Bixby’s book store yesterday, to see the May number of your Museum. Last January, a man came round and told us that Merry’s Museum had ceased, and he persuaded us to take another in its place. This we did. I now find we were deceived. I did not before know that such mean people as this agent must be, could be found in the world. I cannot think that a magazine circulated by such means is fit to be in the hands of young people. I have subscribed for the Museum, and shall take it as long as it is continued, which I hope may be many years.

Jane S—

Mr. Bixby: Daniel Bixby, bookseller at 142 Merrimack, Lowell, Massachusetts, from at least 1847-1849; in 1849 he was listed as “Bixby & Co.” [The Lowell Directory and Almanac for 1847. Lowell: Oliver March, 1847. • The Lowell Directory and Business Key, for 1849. Lowell: Oliver March, 1849.]


[Editor: ] Here’s a letter from our friend J. S., who’s a bit of a wag. Let’s see what he says:

Boston, July 10th, 1848.

Mr. Merry:—You seem never to say any thing about politics. This is very strange, for every body else is talking about who is to be president, Cass or Taylor? The boys in the streets are discussing the matter, and the other day I heard an argument upon the subject between two colored “gemmen,” which I have tried to put into rhyme. Here it is, and I give it, on account of the importance of the conclusion, the title of,


Cuff Loco said to Cuffy Whig,

“Your Taylor, I allow, is great,

But Cass, they say, ’s a grater!

“Poh!” Cuffy said, “you talk too big;

Cass is no more than just first rate,

While Taylor—he’s first rater!

You may print this, which is the first attempt at poetry, by

J. S.

“Cuffy”: Referring to African-Americans and taken from a traditional West African name; the earliest use listed in the DARE is spelled “Cuffee” (1713). [Dictionary of American Regional English, ed. Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 1985-2012.]

General Lewis Cass (1782-1866): soldier, governor of Michigan (1813-1831), U. S. senator from Michigan (1849-1857) and secretary of state (1857-1860). Cass bought 500 acres near the mouth of the Detroit River and received 1200 more as a bounty.

Zachary Taylor (1784-1850): soldier and 12th U. S. president. He became a national hero during the war between the U. S. and Mexico, especially after the battle of Buena Vista, and a movement began to elect him president. Taylor, however, disliked politicking and declared that he would become president only as a result of the will of the voters; on his election in 1849, the Museum reprinted a puzzle that announces “Taylor is our president” no matter how it is read. As president, Taylor worked for sectional peace.


Waterbury, Ct., July 24, 1848.

Mr. Merry— We are twin brothers, with “black eyes and blue,” and have taken your Museum for the last three years; and so great has been the pleasure afforded us from its perusal, that we have been induced, for two years past, to try our hands at obtaining subscribers for it, among our playmates, which we are happy to say has been attended with pretty good success.

We hope to get more this year, as it is likely to be more interesting than ever, since Peter Parley has consented to assist you. We are but nine years old, and have written but little; but we intend to “put our heads together” before long, and give you a description of something—perhaps of the beautiful and flourishing town in which we reside, where pins and buttons are made in sufficient quantities “to pin up” and “button up” all the black-eyed and the blue-eyed boys and girls in the United States.

Edward and Allan.

“put our heads together”: see “Merry’s Museum and Parley’s Playmate United!” (1848.2.3-4)

Peter Parley: the extremely-popular character created by Samuel Goodrich; beginning in 1827, Peter Parley directly addressed young readers in books calculated to educate them about the world and its inhabitants. Children reacted immediately, loving the old man with the gouty foot so much that unscrupulous publishers appropriated Parley for their own works. Frustrated by the flood of counterfeit Parleys, Goodrich actually “killed off” his creation in Peter Parley’s Farewell, a study of metaphysics published in 1840, and announced his death in the Museum in 1841—to the surprise of several readers. Parley was “resurrected” in 1845, when Parley’s Magazine was absorbed by the Museum. He joined “Robert Merry” as a putative editor of the magazine.


[Editor: ] Here is a very pleasant [letter], and the Museum shall be sent for six months to pay for it[.] [p. 92 ]

Manse of Smithfield, July 18, 1848.

Mr. Merry— We are three of your little readers who live back of the Blue Mountain, and about eight miles from the Delaware Water Gap.

Your beautiful Museum was a present from dear grandma, and we were delighted with it.

We waited some time after the year expired, thinking that we could get a dollar so as to take it another year; but our papa takes several periodicals, and, like many country ministers, is obliged to economize—and he thinks that he cannot afford it.

I send you a dollar for the past year, and regret that we can no more hail the Museum in its monthly visits.

We could bear the disappointment, was there one family besides our own that take it in Monroe County, Penn.

Please accept this, my first enigma, from your friend, Susan H. J., for herself and two others:


I am composed of sixteen letters.

My 16, 2, 4, and 7, is a delightful fruit.

My 1, 2, 8, and 13, is a fleet animal.

My 7, 12, and 1, is a river in the western part of the United States.

My 14, 15, and 16, is a town in France.

My 4, 14, 7, and 10, is a town in Hindoostan.

My 7, 6, and 11, is a troublesome quadruped.

My 3, 4, and 5, is a profession which abounds in every county town.

My 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13, is what we cannot live without.

My whole is one of God’s stupendous works.

I was once visiting about fifty miles from home, when a little cousin requested me to tell him a story. I complied. He was very attentive, but when I had finished, said that he did not understand me, and could not unless it was printed. I happened to think of this to day as I was writing to you, and as the family of my cousin take the Museum he can have the pleasure of seeing it in print, if you think it worthy of it.

About two miles from our house there is a thick forest, which covers a large tract of land. In this forest dwells a tribe of people, degraded in the extreme. They are descended from one family, and though descendants of whites, betray no small affinity to the African race by their tawny color. They live in wretched huts, lighted only by the door, or crevices in the roofs for chimneys. They sometimes go without eating for two days, and it is only when starvation stares them in the face that they work at all. They then make a few splinter brooms for sale. They eat at every house they stop at, and so get enough to live on for the next two days.

When whortleberry time comes, they are all bestirring themselves to get them for sale. In exchange for berries they will take flour, pork, money, or clothes.

It is seldom or never that they go to meeting, and when they do, it is because they have lost one of their number, [p. 94 ] and then their appearance is really painful. There, is a man whose hair is so long that it conceals his neck—here, a man who has a hole in both his elbows, and a hat too large for him—there, a woman whose cheeks are nothing but skin and bone. The whole tribe is a picture of wretchedness. And why? Because they are too idle to improve the talents which God has given them.

They are compelled to go without eating, because they will not work.

They cannot read the Bible—indeed, most of them do not know their letters. They have an opportunity to go to Sabbath school, but they reject it. You may well think that such a people can have no religion, or else they would be industrious, and try to learn to read.

Truly we might say, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.”

Your youthful friend,
S. H. J.

“Go to the ant … ”: Bible, Proverbs 6:6.

enigma: The answer is “Delaware Water Gap.”


Hartford, July, 1848.

Mr. Merry— I suppose you do not despise the day of small things; therefore, I will tell you a little of myself.

This is now the second year that I have taken your magazine. The way I happened to take it was this. I was getting quite fond of sipping tea and coffee. I was told that it was not good for me, but I still kept asking for it. One day one of my friends told me, if I would not drink tea nor coffee for one year, he would give me a dollar. I was quite pleased with the idea; and, contrary to my friend’s expectation, I kept my promise to the end of the year, and completely weaned myself from the habit.

I then was advised to spend my dollar for your magazine. I did so; and it has added much to my happiness and improvement. When December came, I felt extremely anxious to raise money enough to subscribe for another year. I saved my pennies, which were given me, and did little jobs of work until I had collected fifty cents. I was quite perplexed to know how I should get the remainder. Yet I was not so much troubled as to prevent me from bounding out of bed with joy on the morning of New Year’s day, 1848, and running about the house, which is a large hotel in the goodly city of Hartford, wishing every one I met a happy new year.

I eagerly picked up the pennies which were thrown me. And occasionally a white piece of money was dropped into my hand. Before the close of the day, I had gained enough to make up my dollar. I then went to the agent for your magazine, subscribed, and brought home the January number, and a happy boy was I. If you please to make known to any of your young readers my plan, you are welcome to do so.

Your friend,
T. H. R.

“white money”: probably bank-notes, often printed on white paper. Small coins were relatively scarce in the antebellum U. S., and state banks filled currency gaps by issuing notes in various denominations. Though most were for $1 or $5, bills for amounts between 5 and 25 cents also were circulated. [Neil Carothers. Fractional Money. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1930. (Repr. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1967); pp. 103, 79.]


Williamsburgh, Aug. 14th, 1848.

Mr. Merry— There were such “lots of good things” in your August number of the Museum, that it would make my letter rather long to answer them all; and I confess it would be rather hard for me to answer the first question which begs for an answer.

The answer to C— D— R—x’s Geographical Enigma is, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna; to the Biographical Riddle, I think, though I am not sure, is Louis Philippe; and to Charade No. 1, is hair.

Williamsburgh is a beautiful village, except that part called “the German Settlement,” which is about as beautiful as “German settlements” usually are. It is situated opposite to New York, on the East River. Twelve years ago it contained only five hundred inhabitants; it now numbers twenty-two thousand. The view from the lower part is magnificent. The white sails studding the river, the steamboats, puffing forth volumes of smoke, the metropolis of America, with its docks lined with shipping, the North Carolina, with her frowning cannon, and occasionally a majestic steamship, ploughing her way through the water, form a splendid panorama.

Now, Mr. Merry, couldn’t you give us some long stories, like the “Siberian Sable Hunter” or “Jacob Karl?” And could you not have some juvenile plays? I think your subscribers would like them very much. You will very much oblige me by inserting the following Charade with my letter:


My first destroys life. My second often contains the principal means for preserving it; and my first is useless without my whole.

I send below an answer, in rhyme, as you request, to question three, in the August number, which you may insert with my letter or not, as you please.


When King of the French, Louis Philippe became,

To a charter of rights he signed freely his name;

For the good of the people he promised to rule,

And not to become of the nobles a tool.

But the French people drove him in wrath from his throne,

And to England he fled, unattended—alone;

Where in exile he lives—for his promise he broke,

And proud France from her neck threw off tyranny’s yoke.

Jacob Karl: protagonist of “Take Care of #1!”, a 21-part serial (1845-1847). Jacob learns from his father to take care only of himself. Events—including a stint on a tropical island—teach him that doing good to others is a better philosophy.

The Siberian Sable-Hunter (in Robert Merry’s Museum; 1841-1842), a 14-part series . The son and daughter of a Russian exiled to Siberia work hard and succeed because of their goodness and patience. The story includes education on matters geographical and moral, punctuated by hair-breadth escapes.

North Carolina, U. S. warship. This wooden sailing ship-of-the-line built at Philadelphia Navy Yard and launched 7 September 1821. Pierced for 102 guns, she seems to have carried 94. After a lively career in the Mediterranean, she did service in the Pacific squadron until 1839. The North Carolina was a receiving ship in New York harbor until 7 September 1865, when she was decommissioned and sold. [Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington, DC: Navy Department, Naval History Division, 1959 (at HathiTrust Digital Library); vol 4: 592-596.] • John Robert Godley. Letters from America. London: John Murray, 1844.]

“Geographical enigma”: from C. D. R—x (1848.2.62-63)

“Louis Philippe”: “Biographical Riddle” (1848.2.63)

“hair”: “Charade No. 1” (1848.2.63)

Question number 3: “Questions Begging for Answers” (1848.2.63) included biographical information on Louis Philippe, to be put into a poem.


Alabama, Sept. 22, 1848.

Mr. Merry: Dear Sir,— I know you are always glad to hear from your little readers; so I will tell you of one a long way off, in the piny woods of Alabama.

She received the first number of the Museum as a new year’s present, and says it is like having a present every month. It has been rather irregular lately, and she has been much troubled lest it was lost. But, now it is published in Boston, we hope there will be no delay. It is foolish, perhaps, but any thing seems more sure when it is published in Yankee land.

I will tell you of the place where this blue-eyed reader lives. It is in a piny woods settlement, half a mile from the Chatahoochee River, which separates Alabama from Georgia. This is an Indian name, and means Rocky River; and it is well named, for, above Columbus, the bed of the river is a perfect mass of rocks, over which the water rushes and tumbles at a great rate; and after one of the heavy rains, common in that country, it boils and bubbles like an immense quantity of dinner-pots, in full operation. The river is narrow in its whole length, and shallow, so that it is only navigated by steamboats; very fine ones they are, too.

The woods between the house and river are mostly pine, with many flowering trees, such as Red-bud, Acacia, Dogwood, etc. The last looks as if covered with snow, the blossoms are so many and so white. Then there are violets, and phlox, the wood anemone, and other flowers, which can be found almost any day in winter.

I could tell you some funny stories about the darkies, who are firm believers in witches and such things. One looked rather foolish, when I told him “only rogues saw such sights.” But my letter is getting too long. I believe you are kind enough to publish it, and give the blue eyes the pleasure of guessing (she is half yankee, though raised out south) who wrote it.

A Reader.

“dinner-pot”: The earliest use of this term to mean “a pot in which dinner is cooked” listed in the DARE is dated 1775. [Dictionary of American Regional English, ed. Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 1985-2012.]

“out south”: “out”, the DARE: “used with compass directions to indicate distance or direction away from the speaker”; the earliest such use is dated 1857. [Dictionary of American Regional English, ed. Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 1985-2012.]


Roxbury, Oct. 7, 1848.

Messrs. Merry and Parley: I had just subscribed for the Museum and Playmate, and, having read it, went to tell some of the stories to my playmates. But I found they had all subscribed for it, and could tell the stories as well as myself. So now we get together and talk it all over, and enjoy it very much. Every body in Roxbury, I believe, takes the Museum. We like Billy Bump exceedingly, in spite of his queer spelling, and hope you will continue his letters. What a strange place Sundown must be—full of panthers, and wild turkeys, and Indians, and foxes. It is very interesting to hear about it. I hope we shall get the whole story of old Bottle-Nose. And now, good-by, and believe me truly yours,

Jacob A—.

Billy Bump: protagonist in “Billy Bump in Boston” (1848-1849), “Billy Bump Off for California” (1849), and three “Letters from Billy Bump” (1850). A charming country bumpkin, Billy visits relatives in Boston and exchanges humorous letters with his mother at home in Sundown. Billy’s adventures allow the author to comment on society and to teach the reader good manners and ethics. When the family fortunes fail, Billy is off for the gold fields of California and for adventures that teach him and the readers the evils of greed and of immoral living. Readers of the Museum took Billy to their hearts, defending his blunders and his awkward attempts at poetry.

Bottle-Nose: a character mentioned in “Billy Bump in Boston.” This Native American neighbor of the Bump family gives Billy a raccoonskin cap that gets the boy into trouble on a trip to Boston; he also provides stories of cleverness overcoming brute strength and of the beautiful land awaiting the good after death.


[printed separately as “The Insurrection of June, at Paris”: ]

Paris, July 1st, 1848.

My dear Mr. Merry: I have long desired to write to you, but have never had a favorable opportunity; and beside that, I am aware how many correspondents you have, and I feared to add myself to your list. I was, however, encouraged by some remarks made, not long ago, in your interesting periodical, and I now come forward, although not without some fear and trembling. I have been here during the convulsions of February and June. The former, however, has long since gone by, but the latter is still a topic interesting to all. I have matter enough to make a good letter; if I fail to do so, I shall know it by not seeing it honored with a place in the “Museum.”

It was evident to every one in Paris before this last outbreak, that a crash, smaller or greater, was to be expected; and sure enough it came. On the evening of June 22d, a report was circulated that there was fighting going on near the Panthéon, which is over on the southern [p. 164 ] side of the River Seine. Since February, so many absurd reports have been spread, that no one in our part of the city (the vicinity of the Madeleine) believed it. The next morning, however, the papers of the day confirmed it, adding that matters were beginning to look serious. This time the trouble arose from no political causes. Poland or Napoleon had nothing to do with it. The wages of the workmen in the national workshops had been reduced, much against the will of those employed in them. It began with a strike, as a pretext, and was carried on with determination.

It was evident that every thing had been arranged for some time, and was superintended by some strong-minded person. Barricades sprang up, like magic, during the night, and were so built, one behind the other, that as fast as one was demolished, another seemed to rise in its place. In the Faubourg St. Antoine, which is the quarter inhabited by the workmen, they were built up even higher than the first story. The gates of the house in which we lived were shut, and we were retained prisoners. We were at a distance from the scene of action, but the booming of the cannon reached us even there. We were allowed, however, to stand inside and look through the iron bars of the gate, and could see all that passed in the street, though it was generally, in our part of the city, pretty quiet. I was pleased to see the arrival of some troops from the suburbs; and, although I had felt no fear, still, now I felt even safer. I saw several poor soldiers borne by, dead and dying, some going to their long home and others to their sorrowing friends. I saw a dead officer met by his poor wife, and never did I witness such grief. Ah, how thankful should those be who lost no friends in this struggle!

The national guards and the garde mobile suffered a great loss; the insurgents, having a grudge against them, and directing their fire principally upon them. They had expected the latter would side with them, and great was their rage, when the gallant little fellows rushed to attack them, singing, “Mourir pour la Patrie!” (to die for one’s country.) At the first shot a great number fell, and others were picked off from the surrounding windows, and furniture was thrown upon their heads; but even then their courage did not fail them, and they rushed on again to be shot down as before.

Although the noise, during the day, was great, at night one could sleep as well as before. All the fighting was in the daytime, the combatants resting from their fatigues after dark. At four o’clock, however, on the morning of the 24th, the firing recommenced, and continued during the whole day. At two o’clock we were put under martial law, General Cavaignac having now the rule of every thing. I had a fine opportunity of seeing him as he rode by. He is, I should think, a man of about forty-five, with a most determined glance, though he did not strike me as particularly fine looking.

We had to-day a great many pair of sheets, sent by the government to be made into lint, and we worked hard, remembering the noble fellows who fell and were still falling in our defence, and thankful that we could do the smallest thing to comfort or aid them. All the [p. 165 ] stores around the scene of action were turned into temporary hospitals, and, as soon as opened, were filled with the wounded.

To-day, every one who went out was searched, so afraid were they of ammunition being carried to the insurgents. Cartridges were found in women’s pockets, in their bonnets, in their hair, and in their sleeves—even in their shoes. One man was arrested with a false hump upon his back, filled with powder! A wounded man was borne on a mattress, stuffed with cartridges; milkpans, full of powder, loaves of bread cut hollow, and many other contrivances of the kind, were discovered by the vigilant soldiers.

I ventured to the gate once or twice this day, but was soon driven, by the sadness of the scene, without. Nothing but dead and wounded to be seen.

I wished, this morning, (25th,) to see what was going on, and ventured out. We found no difficulty, at first, as it was very early; but as we returned, we were stopped, and asked where we were going. We told the guard, and were allowed to pass, until we came to an encampment of about twenty soldiers, who had drawn a rope across the boulevard. There were no persons out but ourselves, and I began to feel somewhat afraid. However, we were but a very short distance from home, and they permitted us to pass. As we reached the gate, I looked back, and saw that we had an escort of three armed national guards. They saw us safely in, and then told us on no account to stir out again; which, by the by, I had not the slightest desire to do, as the shops were all shut, and nothing but soldiers were to be seen. Beside, I did not like to be stopped, at every hundred yards, to have my pocket turned inside out, and my bonnet shaken, to see if any cartridges fell from it. The republican guard suffered much to-day. They were advancing to join the insurgents, who, thinking they were coming forward to the attack, fired at them, and a number fell. Crime brings its own punishment.

I have been exceedingly fortunate in seeing the principal personages. I saw Louis Blanc arrested to-day in front of our gate; but, on showing his representative’s scarf, he was permitted to pass. I was astonished at seeing such a young man, when I remembered how much disturbance he had made. A famous little garde mobile, decorated with General Cavaignac’s cross, was borne by our gate in triumph; he was going to see his old father.

The soldiers that he met shook him by the hand and kissed him, until the brave little fellow burst into tears. The night of the 25th, no one was allowed to go out, and, all night, at every minute by the clock, was heard the cry, “Sentinelle, prenez garde à vous!” (Sentinels, be upon your guard!) the accent on the last syllable being very strong. On account of the small number of troops in Paris at the breaking out of the revolt, the national guard, unaccustomed to fighting, suffered much; but now the quantities of troops forming in every direction, had relieved them, and they kept guard over the prisoners, of which there were, and still are, a number confined in an underground passage of the Tuileries gardens.

We were allowed this evening to walk [p. 166 ] in front of the gate, for the space of twenty or thirty yards. This, however, was looked upon as a great privilege. The guards were all the gentlemen of the house in which we lived, and, as we knew them, we staid out some few moments longer than we should have done otherwise. We saw several companies of soldiers come down from the scene of action, with their wounded and dead borne along behind them. There were some walking with their heads and arms bound up. We had seen them pass up in the morning, and could see that their numbers were greatly reduced.

To-day, the archbishop of Paris fell a victim to his love for his people and for his country. Yesterday the fighting had ceased, and we were to-day (27th) again permitted to go out, and the circulation was not impeded, except in those parts of the city where there were prisoners confined.

The boulevards presented a strange appearance. Nearly a mile was occupied with encampments. The sidewalks were covered with the poor weary soldiers, asleep, with a little straw for bedding, and their knapsacks for pillows. Their horses were near them, feeding, and their guns were stacked and guarded. The hot sun beat down upon them, and then again it rained a little; but they slept through it all, showing to what hardships one may become accustomed.

I was struck with the few shop windows that were open. Every where one saw mourning articles, and I fear that these stores had a great many customers.

The damage done to some buildings was very great, and in the two famous gates, Porte St. Denis and Porte St. Martin, are a good many marks of cannonballs. Farther up, a long way, is one wall of a house left standing, and on the fifth story is a mantel-piece with a clock upon it, a brush, a shovel, and a pair of tongs hanging at the side; also two small pictures and a looking-glass! The windows of all the houses round are dashed in, or else there is a small hole through each pane, made by bullets.

Some people think that this cannot end here; but if Cavaignac holds firm, the insurgents can do nothing. Their numbers are very much reduced, and I doubt if they desire a repetition of the four days of June. We are still in a state of siege here, as prisoners can be punished by martial law, and General Cavaignac has great power. If there be another attempt at rising, it will be because of the eagerness of the leaders of the malcontents, and because they have well paid their workmen, in the double sense of the term.

If, Mr. Merry, this letter pleases you, I shall have the pleasure of writing to you again.


Revolution of June 1848: insurrection against French National Assembly. Though apparently touched off when National Workshops set up to give work to the unemployed were dissolved, the revolution had been building for months, as radical republicans rebelled against the moderate government. On June 22, demonstrations failed to obtain the desired effect; barricades were built on June 23, and insurgents ordered to surrender fired on National Guardsmen. By the end of the day they controlled the eastern section of Paris. On June 24 the desperate National Assembly declared Paris under siege and gave full executive powers to General Louis-Eugene Cavaignac, who took strong measures to fight the insurgency. The insurrection ended on June 26. At least 1,500 were killed and over 2,500 injured. [Frederick De Luna. The French Republic Under Cavaignac, 1848. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1969; pp. 136-150]

archbishop of Paris: Monseigneur Denis-Auguste Affre (1793-1848), whose attempt to talk insurgents into surrendering during a cease-fire ended when shooting started. He was apparently killed by government troops. [Frederick De Luna. The French Republic Under Cavaignac, 1848. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1969; pp. 148]

Louis Blanc (1811-1882): French journalist and socialist theorist. He came to national attention after publishing a work theorizing how workers could create a democratic state. Under the Provisional Government formed in Feb 1848, he was appointed to head a commission set up to study labor problems, but reaction to the revolution of June 1848 caused him to flee into exile.

General Louis-Eugene Cavaignac (1802-1857): French general and chief-executive of France (1848). He was a moderate republican: pro-worker, but anti-socialism. Appointed Ministry of War under the Provisional Government formed in Feb 1848, he commanded the forces against the insurgents in June 1848. Faced by mounting violence, the National Assemby declared Paris in a state of siege and gave Cavaignac full executive authority. He halted the insurrection through stern measures. After the crisis was over, the National Assembly reinvested him with executive power until Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was elected; during the six months, he attempted some social reforms.

a flourish

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1840s: 1841184218431844184518461847 • 1848 • 1849

1850s: 1850185118521853185418551856185718581859

1860s: 1860186118621863186418651866186718681869

1870s: 187018711872

About the Merry Cousins


Index & gloss


The Cousins’ Greatest Hits

Copyright 2000-2024, Pat Pflieger

To “Nineteenth-Century American Children & What They Read
Some of the children | Some of their books | Some of their magazines

To “Voices from 19th-Century America
Some works for adults, 1800-1872
To Titles at this site | Authors at this site | Subjects at this site | Works by date | Map of the site

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