The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 01040
Date: 20 December 1867
Author: Henry B. Edenborough[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler E28
Document Type: ALS[2]

5 Sheffield Gardens
Kensington. W.

Dec 20 - 1867.

My dear Whistler,

I am surprised to learn the verdict of the Burlington Club[3] in your case[4].

As it is possible that the other charges may be of as frivolous a nature as that preferred by Mr Doty[5], I as your friend am anxious to express my indignation and surprise that a charge treated with derision by all your friends and acquaintances in Valparaiso[6], where the [p. 2] allegations were first brought forward, should here in London be accepted as discreditable to you by a body of gentlemen without any inquiry whatever as to the calibre of the person making them

As it may be useful to remind you of the circumstances of the case as far as I was concerned; I may say that Mr Doty called upon me shortly after our arrival in Valparaiso to request my services as his "friend" in the affair, which [p. 3] position I accepted on the faith of his first representations, and afterwards learned to my disgust that he had circulated "this story" in the Cafes of the town - and to various persons English, American and Chilean with whom he had no acquaintance save as drinkers casually at the same Bar.

Within a day or two afterwards in the "Cafe de la Bolsa" he publicly withdrew all charges against you in every particular and also exhibited to me [p. 4] and others a written statement to that effect

And I may conclude by stating that his conduct throughout the affair was so absurd and ludicrous as to become a standing joke among the whole fraternity speaking the English language in Valparaiso

Admiral Tucker[7] and his staff expressed openly their indignation that you should have been subjected for a moment to any annoyance arising from such an unworthy source and never abated their [p. 5] friendship and confidence; while the officers of the various national squadrons laying at Valparaiso treated the affair with the same contempt.

Mr Doty in relating to me his version of the meeting with you at the Railway Station in London made himself if possible more contemptable [sic] than ever

Hoping that this may be of some use to you

I am dear Whistler
[p. 6] Sincerely your friend

Henry B Edenborough

Capt. of Corvette
Peruvian Navy

J McN Whistler Eqre

This document is protected by copyright.


Per messenger

J McN Whistler Esqre
2 Lindsey Row
Chelsea -

[small embossed floral design on envelope flap]


1.  Henry B. Edenborough
Henry B. Edenborough (b. 1840?), Captain of Corvette, Peruvian Navy [more].

2.  ALS
There is an earlier version of this letter at MS Whistler E29. The earlier version is in the writing of Thomas Jeckyll (1827-1881), architectural designer [more], and has alterations and insertions by JW, suggesting that the letter was composed jointly. JW sent a copy of this letter with his letter to William Boxall, 24 December 1867, #00498.

3.  Burlington Club
The Burlington Fine Arts Club, a London club for professional artists, amateurs and collectors.

4.  case
In April 1867, JW quarrelled with his brother-in-law Seymour Haden, over Haden's treatment of his late junior medical partner James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more]. Traer had died on a trip to Paris, allegedly in a brothel. Haden arranged for Traer's burial with what JW and his brother William regarded as unseemly haste. Haden later claimed that in the resulting confrontation JW had pushed him through a plate glass window. Both JW and Haden were members of the Burlington Club and in the aftermath of the Traer affair Haden campaigned for JW's exclusion from the club, having brought to its attention alleged previous incidents of assault involving JW (#02240). JW was expelled on 13 December (see JW to W. Boxall, #00498). Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), artist and poet [more], and William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919), civil servant and critic [more], resigned from the club in a gesture of support for JW (#09390).

5.  Mr Doty
Captain Horace H. Doty (b. 1824 or 1825), officer of marines, specialist in signal lights and lighthouse illumination [more]. It was also alleged that JW had assaulted H. H. Doty in Valparaiso (#02240).

6.  Valparaiso
Seaport on the coast of Chile. JW spent about seven months there from March to September 1866 as a bystander during the Chilean conflict with Spain.

7.  Admiral Tucker
Rear-Admiral John Randolph Tucker (1812-1883), naval commander [more].