UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 07629
Date: 19 June 1849
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: London
Recipient: Joseph Harrison[2]
Place: [St Petersburg]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 34/15-18
Document Type: ALS


62 Sloane St

June 19th 1849

Dear Mr Harrison

A fortnight from today tuesday, if God will we are to bid adieu to my daughter[3], but the pain of this will be prevented by her going with us to Preston[,] Nurse & dear baby[4] too of course, duty reconciles Mr Haden[5] to the prospect of a deserted home for a month, as it is the busiest season he must remain in town, but the health of his wife demands a change for her, & she is made willing to leave him by going with me. I feel the most tender solicitude for her & to cheer her is strong motive for my exertions, at least to avoid casting a gloom over the family circle! My efforts will never cease during my earthly existence I feel, for how many loved claimants there are wherever I go upon my tenderness! I write you now my kind & sincere friend to consult about a subject which is much upon my mind. do not delay your response to my question, for it may govern my movement in a great manner, to know when the precious remains of my beloved husband[6] are to be sent to N York. Oh how it would pain me to be absent when friends attend them to the private consecrated spit [p. 2] where the graves of our sainted boys[7] are! none but sincere mourners will meet there to hear the resurrection & the life proclaimed, & to weep as our Lord by His example permits mourners to do. And oh the chief mourners should not be absent! I have thought lately of the many calls which would press upon me immediately upon my return to my native land, of the claims of the living necessarily as most irresistible! our aged mother[8] weighted down by sorrow for my loneliness! touching my heart, and nature asking me to bear her burthen in becoming her prop & comforter. Sister & brother[9] pressing their claim for my giving them a brief time after six years absence! numerous relatives sympathising with me & each to be objects of my regard & attention

But ere I become engaged in my worldly affairs, incident to establishing my future home & placing my boys[10] at school - I would that it might be so ordered that the most sacred & last duties to their fathers body might be fulfilled, by the widow & the fatherless with devoted & undivided interest in so solemn a rite. Probably dear Mr Harrison you will have already shipped that body so precious to us all! write me then, when it may probably be received in N York. Have you written his friend J. S. Maxwell[11] [p. 3] to advise him by what ship to expect it? Oh do so! if it has not occurred to you, Maxwell would take it to Stonington & have it deposited in the church until I could arrive & then relatives & friends such as himself would meet me for the funeral - it would be an injury to Jemie & Willie were they prevented being present at it, they need all the solemnities, to impress up on their minds the reality of their loss. so unreflecting is youth! I feel that now Mrs Haden is going with me to Preston it will not be my duty to linger in England as long as I at first agreed to do & it has occurred to me lately that perhaps I ought to go in a sailing packet from LPool to N York to save expense. there will be four of us you know, & my boys full price probably. but this I shall decide upon going to Liverpool which will be about the third week in July. I shall see the ships & hear the prospect of the length of the voyage, & if by embarking the end of July I may hope to reach N York almost as soon as the 2nd Steamer in August (which is that for N Y[)] - I shall not hesitate unless you advise me to take the last steamer in July in consideration of the portable arrival of my husbands remains. I shall feel very restless until I reach my destination when there are so many unfulfilled duties awaiting me. What a detainment to James & Willies [p. 4] improvement of time this lingering by the way!

they will continue tho this month their daily attendance at the clergymans class, then after a week or two at Preston they may take a trip to Edinburg via Glasgow, to visit kind Miss Morgan[12] at the former city & our favorite Eliza Sandland[13] at the latter town, she is to be married day after tomorrow, & her home will be in Glasgow. Mary[14] is to visit her friends in Ireland while I am in Liverpool the week previous to our embarking for N York, she says she shall value her home with me in America more than ever! she is in very good health, and as her department has been house maid & waiter she is accustomed to her future routine in a more retired sphere, We have had my young friend Sarah Mirrielees[15] as our guest since last Saturday she has left us for Sheffield this morning Mrs M and party left the Euston Station just before Sarah - on their route via LPool to Scotland.

A letter from Mr Prince[16] just received offers his services as bearer of despatches for me to St P. I have wished to send Mrs H[17] one of Mrs Sandlands kind letters[18] to read & shall enclose it in note to Leeds tomorrow I am always yearning to hear from you all! and hope Mrs Ellerby[19] will add her mite for my benefit. I heard of Mr E[20] on sunday. Sarah M & my boys met him at the afternoon service at Westminster Abbey.

[p. 5] I am so grateful to you dear Mr Harrison for your offer to advance thousands for George[21] as tho he had actually availed of your generosity because I know how sincere was your offer & that if ever in your power to serve him it will be a gratification to you to do so in any way really to benefit him & consistent with your duty to your own children but you will rejoice with us, if George may by his own talent improve the present opening to his continued prosperity[.] his dear father always shrunk from debt, & oh may it ever be that with his sons! As to obligations to you for services & sympathy in our great calamity, they are gratefully acknowledged & may never be cancelled, but pecuniary debts, your own sense of what is right, are not so lightly [borne], & seldom cement friendships. I know not what either Capt Swift[22] or George will write you in answer to your generous proposal - but you will I am sure feel as I do that George will be wisest to be frugal & steadily to pursue the beaten track of engineering & by his own industry win the confidence of the practice. Jemie talked of writing to you for me enclose, but he is I lament to say usually behind hand. A scrawl from Willie I have now on my desk, if I did not find this blotting [p. 6] paper very difficult to write well upon I should pass sentence against his miserable calligraphy. I hope when we are settled we shall all be less excited & improve our ways. Love to all your children & to Mrs Leland[23]. I hope if she is at home she will not forget her promise to write me sometimes. My love to Miss Schofield[24] & let me cherish the idea that I am remembered with affection up stairs & down stairs, tell Alicia[25] that my little Annie[26] shews me that she knows me & is fond of being with me by putting out her arms to come to Grandmamma & by never crying when I have her with me.

I know not whether Mr & Mrs Eastwick[27] are now travelling on the continent, or if their engagements may meet mine & make us fellow voyagers across the Atlantic! neither do I know how to direct to them, will you address your next to care of Jn. Winstanley[28] Esq Preston - Lancashire. I hear from my Sisters[29] frequently they always beg to be remembered kindly to Mrs Harrison. How is doctor Rogers[30]? please offer my regards to him, if he asks after my health, tell him I am better than when I arrived, but not well. Mr & Mrs Haden unite with me in acknowledgment of the dear doctors goodness, & of yours, our true friend. I am casting all true care of our furniture upon you, but [p. 7] you know how unavailing it would be were I to take it on myself, now & then a trifle or so crosses my mind, such as the thermometers might be sent as well as left. And if you care not for the Stilton cheese, it might be a rarity for me to offer such a guest as Genl Swift[31] - but if it is valuable to you forget I have mentioned it & believe in my confidence & esteem & gratitude - Nothing further of the boxes which were sent to Hull by City of Aberdeen[32], but all in good time I suppose! Mr Charles Haden[33] whose office is 77 Lower Thames St. City of London, says he could have saved much expense had they been consigned to him. Hoping soon to hear from you & with remembrance to Mr & Mrs Winans[34]

I am very truly your friend

A. M. Whistler

Tuesday 19th

[p. 8]

The Steamer which arrived last week brought more letters from Capt Swift & George to make my heart comparatively happy & thankful towards the Almighty for such seasonable proofs of His providing care of us. You will probably have heard that George has a new appointment which will enable him to support himself & wife, he is to be on the Erie rail road[35], early next month, he leaves Baltimore, the city of New York to be his head quarters, tho upon $1200 I suppose he can scarcely keep house & as he must be often at the western part of the State of New York he may take his wife[36] with him sometimes & sometimes leave her in New Haven under my wing if I settle there, I wrote Mrs Ingersoll[37] by last saturdays steamer to consult with herself & Mrs S[38] as to the advantages of that place for our location

From my kind brother Capt Swift for so he encourages me to consider him - I learn that my income will be[39] about $1500 a year, this you know with economy, will support my small & retired establishment with comfort. I feel that more would have been disadvantageous to us, I committed my affairs to the Lord & He has provided wisely for me, praise be rendered to him who has also raised up so many true friends to the widow & the fatherless[.] this[40] is the 3rd letter I have sent [not pd?] to you. do you get them as regularly? Remember me to Ben Prince[41] & to Mr [Riegith?] how are the [Pratcha?] & faithful Dvornic[42]


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Notes:

1.  Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

2.  Joseph Harrison
Joseph Harrison (1810-1874), jr, partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more].

3.  daughters
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

4.  dear baby
Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more].

5.  Mr Haden
F. S. Haden, his wife Deborah (JW's half-sister), and their children Annie Harriet (1848-1937), Francis Seymour Haden (1850-1918), Arthur Charles Haden (1852-1910) and Harry Lee Haden (b. 1855).

6.  my beloved husband
George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more]. His remains did not arrive in the US until the end of August 1849; see AMW to Sarah Harrison, 20 June 1849, #07632, and AMW to Joseph Harrison, 13 August 1849, #07637.

7.  boys
John Bouttatz Whistler (1845-1846), born and died in St Petersburg, Kirk Boot Whistler (1838-1841), and Charles Donald Whistler (1841-1843), JW's brothers.

8.  aged mother
Martha McNeill (1775-1852), née Kingsley, mother of AMW [more].

9.  Sister & brother
Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more], and William Gibbs McNeill (1800-1853), railway engineer, AMW's brother [more].

10.  my boys
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more], and William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

11.  J. S. Maxwell
John S. Maxwell, secretary of the American Legation in St Petersburg in 1842 [more]; he was a close fried of AMW's husband.

12.  Miss Morgan
Isabella Morgan (d. 1857), a friend of AMW. According to the 1851 census of Edinburgh she was unmarried, thirty six years old, born at St Petersburg.

13.  Eliza Sandland
Eliza Sandland (b. 1821), wife of Thomas Boyd [more]. Eliza married Thomas Boyd on 21 June 1849, at Barony, Lanark, Scotland.

14.  Mary
Mary Brennan (b. 1825), AMW's servant [more].

15.  Sarah Mirrielees
Sarah Jane Cazalet (b. 1830), née Mirrielees, wife of L. Cazalet.

16.  Mr Prince
Probably George H. Prince, engineer.

17.  Mrs H
Sarah Harrison (1817-1906), née Poulterer, wife of Joseph Harrison [more].

18.  Mrs Sandlands kind letter
See Mrs Betsey Sandland's of Liverpool, friend of AMW, letter to AMW, 27 April 1845, #07628.

19.   Mrs Ellerby
Mrs Ellerby, wife of Rev. T. Ellerby.

20.  Mr E
Rev. Thomas Ellerby, clergyman, in charge of the British and American Chapel at St Petersburg.

21.  George
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

22.  Capt Swift
Captain William Henry Swift (1800-1879), brother-in-law of JW's father [more].

23.  Mrs Leland
Mrs Leland; Joseph Harrison's sister.

24.  Miss Schofield
Miss Schofield, friend of AMW.

25.  Alicia
Alicia McNeill Harrison (b. 1845), daughter of S. and J. Harrison [more].

26.  Annie
Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more].

27.  Mr & Mrs Eastwick
Andrew McCalla Eastwick (1810-1879), partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more], and his wife Lydia Anne Eastwick (1810-1890), née James.

28.  Winstanley
The house of John Winstanley (1776-1859), solicitor, JW's uncle [more] and Eliza Isabella Winstanley (1788-1857), née McNeill, JW's aunt, AMW's half-sister [more].

29.  my Sisters
Alicia Margaret Caroline McNeill (1786-1863), JW's aunt [more], and Eliza Isabella Winstanley (1788-1857), née McNeill, JW's aunt, AMW's half-sister [more].

30.  doctor Rogers
Dr Rogers, AMW's family doctor at St Petersburg..

31.  Genl Swift
General Joseph Gardner Swift (1783-1865), chief engineer of the US Army, brother-in-law of JW's father [more].

32.  City of Aberdeen
Steamer City of Aberdeen (1835-1858), Aberdeen & London Steam Navigation Co; see Graaeme Somner, The Aberdeen Steam Navigation Company Ltd, Kent, 2000.

33.  Mr Charles Haden
Charles Sydenham Haden, merchant, brother of JW's brother-in-law F. S. Haden; see AMW to Joseph Harrison, 25 June 1849, #07633.

34.  Mr & Mrs Winans
Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more], and his wife Celeste Winans (1823-1861), née Revillon.

35.  Erie rail road
The Erie Railroad was built as a link between the Hudson River and Lake Erie, that is between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes. The Erie was America's first real trunk railroad, and it was opened to the public for a first time on 14 May 1851. See George H. Douglas, All Aboard, The Railroad in American Life, New York, 1992, p. 38.

36.  his wife
Mary Ann Whistler (ca 1826 - d.1852), née Ducatel, JW's sister-in-law [more].

37.  Mrs Ingersoll
Margaret Ingersoll, née Van den Heuvel, wife of R. I. Ingersoll.

38.  Mrs S
Probably Hannah Worthington Swift (m. 1844), née Howard, wife of W. H. Swift [more].

39.  my income will be
AMW had an semi-annual income inherited from the estate of George W. Whistler, deriving mainly from Railroad stocks; her share was $8000 and came from the following railroads: United States, Philadelphia Wilmington and Baltimore, Albany City Western, and Boston and Providence. See Estate of Whistler George W., St Petersburg, Russia, 1850, no. 4350, Connecticut State Library (formerly of Pomfret), G. 16. Captain Swift seems to have handled AMW's financial affairs for a long period of time after her return from Russia.

40.  this
'this ... regularly' written in the left margin; 'Remember ... Dvannie' continues in the right margin.

41.  Ben Prince
Ben Prince, a friend of AMW, of St Petersburg.

42.  Dvornic
A colloquial term for servant; it derived from 'Dvornik,' yard-man; see AMW to JW, 21 November 1848, #06372.