The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Ford, Mary Bacon
Record 44 of 49

System Number: 03220
Date: [6 May 1893?][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: [none]
Repository: Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Call Number: FGA Whistler 229a
Credit Line: Charles Lang Freer Papers, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of the Estate of Charles Lang Freer
Document Type: TD

'(No. 2)[2]'

City of Paris,
Republic of France

I, J. McNeill Whistler, of the City of London, England, temporarily residing in the City of Paris, 110 Rue du Bac, being duly sworn do depose and say:

That about the middle of July 1888, I received a cablegram from a Miss Martin[3]: "Will you entertain a proposal?" to which I cabled back: "Yes," being always amused and ready to entertain anything.

That on about the second day of August 1888 I received a call from one Sheridan Ford[4], saying that they wished to secure an arrangement with me whereby I would go to the United States to deliver a course of lectures upon art and various works of art, and in general to do such things of a like nature as would be required of me by the said Ford in order to make money from the exhibition of my pictures and the sale of tickets for my lectures and so forth and so forth; that I told the said Ford that I could do nothing in regard to making the said arrangements without having consulted my solicitors Mr. George M. Lewis[5] of Ely Place, London. That I instructed said George M. Lewis that I desired to have nothing to do with the said Ford, and I am informed by the said George M. Lewis that he so informed the said Ford.

That on or about the 17th day of August, 1888, as deponent is informed and believes that the said Ford did obtain from one Frederick Allen[6], 59 Wall Street, New York City, a counsellor-at-law, the sum of $500 upon the pretence that this deponent required the said sum before signing the contract, and deponent further says that no contract or proposed contract ever existed between himself and the said Ford, that he never received any (p. 2) money whatever from said Ford, and that he firmly believes that the statements were made falsely in order to obtain money from said Allen.

And deponent further saith that on the         day of         18      he did proceed against the said Ford in the criminal courts of the Kingdom of Belgium for piracy of a book known by the name of "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies[7]," and that the said Ford was condemned to pay certain sums of money and in default thereof to six months imprisonment, that the said Ford did flee the country and now resides in the City of Paris, France. And further deponent sayeth not.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [6 May 1893?]
This is a typed copy of an affidavit; a draft of the same appears to be so dated, #01466. A copy in the hand of Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more], appears in GUL Whistler LB 4/58-60.

2.  (No. 2)
This note is handwritten by JW; the rest of the document is typed.

3.  Miss Martin
Mary Bacon Ford, née Martin, art agent [more]. These specific telegrams are not located. See Mrs Ford to JW, 27 September 1888, #01448.

4.  Sheridan Ford
Sheridan Ford (1860-1922), poet, critic, politician and writer on art [more].

5.  George M. Lewis
Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more]. See JW to Lewis, [14 September 1888], #02539.

6.  Frederick Allen
Frederick Hovey Allen (1845-1926), congressional minister and writer on art [more]. See Allen's deposition of 24 February 1893, #00144.

7.  The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890.