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Martha Sherwood <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 21 Mar 2020 10:56:21 -0700
text/plain (58 lines)
The theme of an elitist white child ameliorating though not entirely
overcoming racial stereotypes under the pressure of adversity (how is this
the theme of Huckleberry Finn?) is fairly common in Victorian Christian
juvenalia that have India as a theme. If I were looking for juvenile works
that might have influenced Mark Twain I would definitely look at Little
Henry and his Bearer (1814)
which *"Little Henry* went through 18 printings between 1814 and 1824 alone.
It appeared every three years (on average) until 1883. The book was also
popular in the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century,
until 1852 when *Uncle Tom's Cabin
<>* superseded it. One
scholar has suggested that Harriet Beecher Stowe
<> used Henry as a model
for "Little Eva" in her novel,"

Martha Sherwood (no relation, apparently, to the author Of Little Henry -
it was her married name. The several times great aunt after whom I was
named, born 1845, may have been named after her. The family were good New
England evangelical Methodists.)

On Sat, Mar 21, 2020 at 12:46 AM DENNIS KELLY <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I came across a work of Christian juvenalia called “Clifton Rice”
> published in 1870. (My copy was given to a girl to recognize her progress
> in school in 1874.)
> The story starts when news of the fall of Fort Sumter reaches a small
> Vermont town.
> The boys form a kids’ militia and drill to warrant being called up to
> fight for the North.
> There are two black boys in town. The organizers of the “Life Guards” want
> them to join, but know they can’t be brought in as equals.  The “n-word” is
> used.
> The elder black boy, Caesar, demonstrates talents that contradict the low
> expectations for him. The elite, white, wealthy, good-looking captain of
> the Life Guards (Clifton Rice) confesses an instance of his unworthy
> behavior to Caesar.
> Now, it really is a pretty lousy book, but some of the issues come close
> to those found in Huck Finn.
> Does anyone familiar with this genre know how popular it was while Finn
> was germinating in Twain’s mind?
> Dennis Kelly
> ps.
> The book was published without a named author, but it takes very little
> research to identify the author as Sarah Stuart Cooper Robbins, the
> daughter of a long line of New England ministers.