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Correspondence during the Gun Revolt (1891, 1893, 1894)

Correspondence during the Gun Revolt (1891, 1893, 1894)

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In the mid-1890s, a French immigrant couple recounts the difficulties of living in the capital, Rio de Janeiro, taken by yellow fever and the Armada Revolt.

  • Four handwritten letters from Xavier et Marthe, two French immigrants to an aunt.
  • Four sheets, twelve pages.
  • In French.
  • +/- 12 cm x 18 cm (folded letters).
  • Between 1891 and 1894, Rio de Janeiro.
  • Excellent condition.
  • Unique set.

Here we have four letters sent by Xavier and Marthe, a French immigrant couple in Brazil, to an aunt in Paris. They arrived in Brazil in 1891 to try to make a fortune in the construction sector, first in Caxambu and later in Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately, they had to face both yellow fever and the Armada Revolt.

The Armada Revolt, which took place in Rio de Janeiro between 1891 and 1894, was an armed action by the Brazilian Navy, which bombarded the capital Rio de Janeiro with warships. The opponents were monarchists, dissatisfied with the presidency of Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, considered one of those responsible for a serious political and economic crisis.

Rio de Janeiro, April 20, 1891

Dear aunt, I tell you that Martha arrived in Rio on April 8th. I went to Rio de Janeiro, where it was unbearably hot. So I only stayed in Rio de Janeiro for three days with Martha, because it is also very dangerous for Europeans who are not used to it, especially when yellow fever reappeared. (...) But the air is very good here. We always eat at the hotel because I don't know exactly how long we will stay in Caxambu (...).

Rio de Janeiro, February 1, 1893

I believe that this year again the Americas will not do good business, there is nothing stable, all businesses and three quarters of the banks are in a state of collapse (...). Hopefully it will be better soon, but we're not so sure. There is no shortage of work, but it is difficult because the prices of materials increase day by day, which makes it difficult to prepare quotations.

Rio de Janeiro, October 29, 1893

(...) we are in a revolution, which doesn't help at all. God knows when they will end. We are again under siege for a month, we cannot get our hopes up, all work is at a standstill.

I sued the client I built it for, but he was just murdered (...).

If I could, I would have gone to another province called Amazonas. The trip is a bit long, about twenty days by boat, but I would leave without any problems. Unfortunately I can't leave before the full X end of the revolution.

You see, when I made the little cross above, a bombardment started, something that repeats itself every day. And if you knew where we live, we are on the first line, we dominate the entire city and I promise it is really beautiful (...).

If only we knew the day this revolution would end, but we have been there for two months and without a decision. I think that at the same time these sounds of killing will be stopped, work will resume because the bombings destroyed many buildings, which will require a lot of reconstruction work.

Dear aunt, you see that in every country in the world there are problems, in Brazil too, which is the most beautiful country in the world. We would never have an idea of ​​what these countries are like before we saw them. And, certainly, I don't regret coming, even if I have the misfortune of not making a fortune, but the magnitude of this nature is a wealth that can only be found in Brazil.

Martha often talks about you, she wants you to come and admire this rich country, especially from our house, where we admire the whole sea, but we see this bombardment, sometimes with fear because we see all the shots.

Rio de Janeiro, February 2, 1894

(...) Sorry for not responding faster, but Marthe is so sick from yellow fever. Today is the seventh day and if she does well, she will be saved. You see we have every possible misfortune. I only have 17 Réis tales. We are reduced to starting again, but in an absolutely primitive way. I have a new company, but what I miss is the raw materials and the money.

We had one of those misfortunes that we rarely see. I got sick three or four times, it's not what it should be. After being in charge of a small fortune, I lost it so quickly, it would be enough to make me go crazy. (...)

Your coming would be a great pleasure for us, but I do not believe that this project can be carried out immediately because this revolution is more terrible. So, I don't think they would let you disembark. It would also be the greatest imprudence, because yellow fever is terrible this year and we only cured 9% of patients, so you can see how devastating it is. Martha is better, I hope to save her.

I don't talk about the revolution anymore because they control the cards. We have nothing to do with politics, so it's better not to talk about it. We are still in a state of war. Business is very difficult. I have a building to do, but at the moment the materials are so scarce that I'm afraid to start. Please take information in Paris because I would like to leave here to go to a healthier country and make money.

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