System Number: 01936
Date: [26 April 1867]
Recipient: Francis Seymour Haden
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H37
Document Type: ALcS
338 Rue St honoré
There was no time this morning to say what might have been - You were never more mistaken than when you accused me of speaking of what I know nothing! - I know all - Traer was my intimate friend poor fellow! - He was loved and honored by us all - and I know the villanous [sic] part you have played towards him - how you pursued him, and how in that stealthy way peculiar to your nature undermined and ferreted about him - casting slurs and slandering him behind his back! - I know how you have insulted him! I know, for it is well known, in what dastardly terms you lately spoke of Traer before the board of Commissioners! - how you said of this gentleman and distinguished surgeon, that he was "ignorant and a disgrace to the profession!" - You called him ignorant! my God! - I know this, and I know how for years you have persistently bullied and brow-beaten a man, on whose highly impressionable nature, and sensitive heart the effect was sure! - Poor dear fellow! - I have often cheered him [p. 2] and assisted him to endure it simply because lately we hoped that you might commit yourself sufficiently to bring about the separation you sought - Death came upon him - and he is now beyond your reach - But my God! that in his coffin he should be still hounded down by you! that you of whom he had such a horror, should, after what we, as true friends had done to prevent it, come to take into your hands his burial is indeed an outrage! By God it is too bad! - and enough to make the poor boy turn in his grave! - Ah well! he is remembered in the hearts of many - a true honest Gentleman - respected by his confrères for his brilliant talents - his position was achieved by well proved knowledge - His kind good heart, and bright brain and skillful [sic] hand have gone from among us and will be missed, but never forgotten! -
You live in the belief that things are not known - and that you may impose yourself on those around you as though they were all blind and foolish! Bah! you delude no one but yourself! - I know you Seymour Haden! - a very Pecksnif! [sic] with your fulsome perfection, and [p. 3] "completeness" and solemn priggishness! Do you suppose you are believed in!! Your whole life is one foolish lie - Every one knows you as a transparent humbug and you have been endured long enough - You spoke of you putting me out of your house long ago - did you ever think I feared you!! Your brutal insolence to every member of my family, not excepting my Mother, your past insults to me, I have hitherto met with passive scorn and contempt, struggling to bear them because of the intercession and for the sake of my poor sister - You knew this! you bully of women - or I would have done what I did for you today, long ago!
How meanly you appeared in the police office! how you lied! -
I have now done with you - and only regret that your very cowardice prevented your receiving more punishment at the moment -
J A McN Whistler -
(Seymour Haden Esq)
1. [26 April 1867]
Dated from JW's confrontation with Haden; see below
Written in pencil by another hand in upper right corner.
A reference to JW's quarrel with Haden in late April 1867 over his treatment of James Reeves Traer. Traer died suddenly in Paris on 23 April (having reputedly been found in a brothel), of alcohol related causes (see document signed A. Brierre de Boismont, #11801). Haden arranged for Traer's burial on the cheapest terms, with what JW and his brother William regarded as unseemly haste. On 26 April, referred to by JW below as 'today', a violent row blew up between the brothers-in-law in a Paris café and Haden fell (or allegedly was pushed by JW) through a plate glass window. The affair caused a major family rift, despite the intervention of Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more], and George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more] (see D. D. Haden to JW, #01915, to W. G. Whistler, #01914 and to JW and W. G. Whistler, #01916, and G. Wm. Whistler to F. S. Haden, #06681) to no avail.
Probably meaning the Board of Medical Practitioners.
A reference to the character Seth Pecksniff in Charles Dickens' novel Martin Chuzzlewit (1844). Pecksniff was a hypocritical, self-serving character who attempted to endear himself to the wealthy, elderly Martin Chuzzlewit in order to advance his fortunes.
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more]. JW seems to have offered to send a copy of this letter (indeed, this copy may have been sent) to Deborah Haden (see JW to D. D. Haden, #01917). However it would not have been welcomed by her as she was greatly upset by JW's assault upon her husband.