The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: McNeill, Maria
Record 2 of 20

System Number: 07625
Date: 14 January 1830
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: Manchester
Recipient: Margaret Getfield Hill[2]
Place: [Baltimore[3]]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 34/3-4
Document Type: ALS[4]


January 14th 1830

Do not show this, read it to yourself & then burn it for it is abominably written}

The clock has struck one this morning & I have just come down from my chamber to Mrs Hull[5]'s drawing room! What think you of my indolence, Dear Margaret? Why Anna is not well you will answer. Such is the fact, but as this letter is to go so far, & long, long ere it reaches you I shall be in perfect health I hope. You should hear nothing of my present indisposition if it were not necessary to account for our change of plan.

In the letter I sent my dear Kate[6] by the last Packet, I told her, Sister A[7] & myself intended paying Mrs Sandland[8] a visit in Liverpool. but Dr Hull[9] disapproves of it he has attended me for the last week, indeed for several days we have been staying at his house. Mrs Hull is sister to Mr Winstanley[10] & anxious as we have felt to get back toAlston Lodge[11], this good old Lady would take no denial & here we shall be till tomorrow afternoon, when Mr Woodcock Winstanley[12] (Brother Willie[13] can tell you who he is) will accompany us to Preston. We have received a letter from Sister Eliza[14] this morning, she is very anxious for us to return home & will meet us at Avenham Colonade[15] on Saturday with the Carriage. Meg you don't know how I long to be again with her! both Mr Winstanley & herself, pet me so much when I am with them I dare say they have spoilt me for I am happier at Alston Lodge than in any other spot. Still let me do justice to the friends I visit, they are extremely kind. Indeed I had formed no idea of the hospitality of the English until I came among them.

I hope my dear Spouse[16] intends to supply my plan during the Winter! Mr Winstanley says I am the most expecting young lady he ever met with, I'll direct this to Baltimore however, for you are too fond of my dear sister Maria[17] to leave her just now. Your letter was written in the most excellent spirits I think, to find you so much at home in Paccault's row[18] was a source of delight to me. I regret being away while you are there - but we are the most fashionable couple in the world to all appearances! tho I hope our hearts are united. I suppose you three girls run down to Charles St very often. And when our dear Maria prefers remaining in the nursery to accompanying you. I can fancy her good Mama[19] seated by her, each of them so happy! noticing Harry[20]'s tricks while Matty[21] is playing with him

[p. 2] You must know I took my station in the drawing room that I might be undisturbed, for the weather is really too foggy for any christian to venture out today & I thought no visitors would interrupt me. but the servant has ushered in several. Is it not too provoking?

Sister is sitting with old Mrs Hull in the dining room, they are both at work & with their tongues at full liberty - I knew to write near them would be almost impossible. Make some allowance for me, dear Meg my head is quite confused. I do not think I should have written till stronger, but Sister Alicia is to send a parcel by one of the Liverpool Coaches tomorrow & I could not resist the opp[ortunity] of getting my thanks for your kind favor forwarded. Tell Cath & Eliza[22] I have the inclination to address them, & Give my best love to them both. they know, distance but rivets the chains of affection & from my silence will not be so unkind as to argue I could forget them.

Kate gave me a hint in her last letter, that Uncle Jonathan [23] had disappointed his friends. I am not astonished, but I am vexed at it. & I feel impatient to read Brother George's[24] account of the Rail road proceedings[25]. his favour perhaps tho has not yet been sent, it has not reached me. I was glad to hear of his being able to visit New London. As Dr Swift[26] could not spare little Deborah[27], her Father must have required this change to reconcile him to his disappointment in having her during this Winter. Mary[28] & Julia[29] I dare say were sorry when they found this play mate would not be with them. Kiss them both for Aunt Anna, & tell Matty I dreamed she was with me last night. Time glides away & yet it seems very long to look forward to next Sept ere I may embrace them again.

Sister Eliza has written Maria & probably told her the situation she is in. She was very ill during her last confinement, when the period draws nigh for this, we will all have cause to be anxious, She often tells me I must not think of leaving her till she has quite recovered from it & I feel that I could not act so ungratefully as to hasten from one I love so much & whom in all probability I may not see again. She is so deserving I cannot despond about her, for God will bless her, whose whole reliance is on His Mercy. I wrote my beloved Mother[30] the other day but have never yet heard of her safe arrival at St Augustine

[p. 3] Mention me with much affection to Sarah, Mary & your sister Jane[31]. I hope they do so well without you, that you may remain some months in Paccaults row. How were Louisa[32] & Julia when last Mrs Cammann heard? do beg her to send my love to them I have wished to write each, but really jaunting about in the way I do there is no leisure for such quiet enjoyment[.] You will not let my dear Sisters feel any uneasiness about my indisposition[.] I took cold at the Concert, neglected it & had one of my old attacks in consequence swelled feet &c, you will understand: But Dr Hull says I only need quiet now, to take proper care of myself & I shall soon be well. The pure air of the country will do me good. Manchester is so filled with smoke & gas[33] as it is dreadful to breathe in it. tho its inhabitants say it is a healthy town. I have rode out twice in Mrs Hull's carriage. Many situations around Manchester are fine but I would not chuse to live here. I wonder how [Augustus?] liked it! Of his friends Mrs Rees & her Sister[34], I have heard, tho I have not met them, they are much admired. You have no idea how much Americans are observed in this country. I used to fancy there was no difference between us & the English, but find my dialect almost peculiar. Sister Eliza reconciles me, by saying I am just what she could picture a Julia D'Clifford[35]. Tell Cath not to think me vain, I know my own inferiority too well! but I am gratified by the praises of this warm hearted & newly known Sister. When the Ormerods[36] or my Brother Winny [i.e. Winstanley] laugh at my Yankee accent, I am not in the least offended & perhaps gain by good nature what my deficiencies in other respects might make me lose. Brother William will be glad to know his friend Oliver[37] has been accepted by the Bishop of Salisbury [38] & is to be ordained for a Curacy of 100 a year, the 1st week in March. he is to set out for Oxford tomorrow. Sister has gone to see Mrs Ormerod & will take tea there she left her love to be enclosed for all, including Mrs Cammann, Cath & my Spouse of course. Oh remember me dear Meg! to them as you know I would be remembered. You may even kiss Brother Will for me and give my regards to Mr Whistler[39]. thank him for his letter & then if he has not really written it his conscience will spur him on to making the exertion for I am looking forward to its arrival as a relief.

[p. 4] I fear there has been some dreadful disturbance in the Offices[40] but keep all my apprehensions to myself. Do beg Brother Wm to write some of us not on this account but just to gratify those who love him so much on this side the Atlantic. I hope Meg you have visited Washington with my dear Kate, she would enjoy herself so much more with you! & you could not but like the Williams[41]. This is the coldest Winter[42] I am told, which has been felt in years here. How is it in America? I do not feel the weather nearly so severe in England as I used to do in our own climate. there has been a great deal of snow this month, but you know they have no sleighs here.

Mr Ormerod read our Presidents message[43] & praised it. I looked at it but could do no more for Annie[44] & Oliver always found something to take up my attention in a more amusing way. Tell Kate I shall remember her request, & when I have time send her my first impressions, but they are not always "Natural Monitors[45]" for in a few instances I have changed my opinion. Kiss dear Martha[46] for me, I hope Aunt Maria will allow her to write me soon. Send me one of your good long letters soon dear Margaret & believe me

your attached


I[47] have often wished to write Catherine Navarre[48] & will soon. My love to all the dear family at 165 Hudson St[49] & to the Macombs[50]

This document is protected by copyright.


[Address Panel:]

Miss Margaret Hill
Care of Capt W. G. Macneill
Balt & Ohio Rail road offices.
[Postmark:] SHIP



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

2.  Margaret Hill
Margaret Getfield Hill (1802-1881), a friend of AMW, of Scarsdale, NY [more].

3.  Baltimore
Margaret G. Hill was in Baltimore visiting AMW's brother William Gibbs McNeill (see below).

4.  ALS
There are the remains of a black wax seal.

5.  Mrs Hull
Sarah Hull, née Winstanley, wife of Dr J. Hull.

6.  Kate
Probably Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more].

7.  Sister A
Alicia Margaret Caroline McNeill (1786-1863), JW's aunt [more].

8.  Mrs Sandland
Betsey Sandland of Liverpool, friend of AMW.

9.  Dr Hull
Dr John Hull (1761-1843), physician, John Winstanley's brother-in-law [more].

10.  Mr Winstanley
John Winstanley (1776-1859), solicitor, JW's uncle [more], and Eliza Isabella McNeill were married on 1 June 1825, at the Parish Church of St Cuthberts, Edinburgh, Scotland.

11.  Alston Lodge
Alston Lodge, Preston, Lancashire was the home of Eliza and John Winstanley.

12.  Mr Woodcock Winstanley
Woodcock Winstanley, a relation of John Winstanley.

13.  Willie
William Gibbs McNeill (1800-1853), railway engineer, AMW's brother [more].

14.  Sister Eliza
Eliza Isabella Winstanley (1788-1857), née McNeill, JW's aunt, AMW's half-sister [more].

15.  Avenham Colonade
Avenham Colonnade, Avenham, Preston, gained its name from the colonnaded facades which once fronted the buildings. It is on the west side of Avenham Walk, once a fashionable promenade for the local gentry.

16.  my dear Spouse
AMW used to call Margaret G. Hill her 'spouse.' See Elizabeth Mumford, Whistler's Mother: The Life of Anna McNeill Whistler, Boston, 1939, p. 157; also see AMW to Catherine Jane Palmer, 22 November 1829, #06347.

17.  Maria
Maria Matilda McNeill (d. January 1852), née Camman, wife of AMW's brother, W. G. McNeill [more].

18.  Paccault's row
Pascault Row was the address of William Gibbs McNeill in Baltimore.

19.  good Mama
Maria Margaretta Cammann ('Grandma C') (1774-1862), mother-in-law of William Gibbs McNeill [more].

20.  Harry
Probably Henry McNeill (1828-1840), JW's cousin.

21.  Matty
Mary Isabella Rodewald (1823-1867), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of J. F. Rodewald [more].

22.  Cath & Eliza
Catherine Julia Cammann, and her sister Julia Eliza Cammann (1817-1889), wife of Edward Whitehouse; they were JW's aunts.

23.  Uncle Jonathan
Jonathan Knight (1787-1858), chief engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad [more].

24.  Brother George
George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more].

25.  Rail road proceedings
In 1830 George Washington Whistler, along with his future brother-in-law, William Gibbs McNeill, surveyed the route of and supervised the initial construction of the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad.

26.  New London. As Dr Swift
Foster Swift (1760-1835), doctor [more], lived at New London, CT.

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

28.  Mary
Mary Isabella Rodewald (1823-1867), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of J. F. Rodewald [more].

29.  Julia
Julia Catherine Rodewald (1825-1897), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of A. Rodewald, Sr [more].

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

31.  Sarah, Mary & your sister Jane
Sarah Stewart Hill (1800-1864), Mary Kilpatrick Hill (1810-1843), and Jane O'Neill Hill (1793-1882), who married William S. Popham, were sisters of Margaret Getfield Hill.

32.  Louisa
Louisa Charlotte Cammann, later Mrs Gifford.

33.  Manchester is so filled with smoke & gas
In the 19th century, Manchester became one of the biggest industrial cities in Europe, associated with steam power, machines, factories; see R. Lloyd-Jones and M. Lewis, Manchester and the Age of the Factory, London, 1988.

34.  Mrs Rees Mrs Rees & her Sister
Mrs Rees, and her sister, unidentified.

35.  Julia D'Clifford
The heroine of one of the most popular novels of the time, Santo Sebastiano: Or, the Young Protector, London, 1806, written by Catherine Cuthbertson. The character of Julia De Clifford was that of an orphan who turned out to be a rich heiress. The novel was marked by sharp social satire.

36.  Ormerods
Richard Ormerod, and his wife.

37.  Oliver
Oliver Ormerod, son of R. Ormerod of Lancashire.

38.  Bishop of Salisbury
Thomas Burges (1756-1837), Bishop of Salisbury [more].

39.  Mr Whistler
George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more].

40.  Offices
Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road offices.

41.  William's
Williams, friends of AMW, of Washington, DC.

42.  coldest Winter
The winter of 1830 was particularly cold in England. Severe frost ceased canal trade, and unsually heavy snowfall accompanied the cold in most parts of the country; see The Times, London, 2 January 1830, no. 14,113.

43.  Presidents message
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), seventh U. S. President [more]. The message referred to in this letter could be the one Jackson produced on 7 December 1829. It was delivered and read aloud by a clerk on the day after the new Congress convened; it was a detailed paper running in excess of 10,000 words and revealed both his determination to get on with his reforms and the extent to which he planned to make changes in the operation and affairs of the government. See Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Freedom, 1822-1832, New York, 1981, vol. 2.

44.  Annie
Ann Ormerod, daughter of R. Ormerod of Lancashire.

45.  Natural Monitors
Unidentified; she obviously means that she has modified her first impressions..

46.  Martha
Martha ('Matty') Fairfax (b. ca 1820), JW's cousin, later wife of Isaiah Davenport [more].

47.  I
'I ... Macomb' continues in the right margin.

48.  Catherine Navarre
Catherine Navare Macomb (1806-1876), wife of Oswald J. Cammann.

49.  165 Hudson St
165 Hudson Street, New York was the address of Eliza Cammann, widow of Peter A. Cammann; see Longworth's American Almanac, New York Register and City Directory for the Fifty-Fourth Year of American Independence, New York, 1829.

50.  Macombs
The family of Christina Macomb (1774-1841), née Livingstone, widow of John Navare Macomb; they were the parents of Catherine Navare Macomb; see The Macomb Family Record, compiled by Henry Alexander Macomb, Camden, NJ, 1917, p. 15.

Written on top of the address panel.