The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 02558
Date: 2 March 1893
Author: Lewis and Lewis[1]
Place: [London]
Recipient: Sewell and Maughan[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L93
Document Type: MsLc


2 Mar 93

Dear Sirs,

Our client Mr Whistler informs us that Mr Ford[4] is now acting as Editor of Galignany[5] [sic] of which paper you are the proprietors. Mr Whistler complains that libels are published of him in your paper, and having regard to the fact that Mr Whistler has taken serious measures against Mr Ford, of which no doubt he has informed you, it is clear that these attacks are made from personal malice, of which fact you are now perfectly well aware.

[p. 2] Much as we should regret the necessity of commencing proceedings against a paper of which you are the proprietors we must point out to you that if you place yourself in the hands of an Editor armed with such powers but used for personal spite, the consequences may be very serious to you.

Awaiting your reply
We are
Yours truly

Lewis & Lewis

Messrs Sewell & Maughan
54 Faubourg St Honore

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1.  Lewis and Lewis
London law firm, headed by Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more].

2.  Sewell and Maughan
Paris law firm.

3.  c/
Probably meaning copy. The original version of this letter has not been traced.

4.  Mr Ford
JW was referring to Sheridan Ford (1860-1922), poet, critic, politician and writer on art [more]. This letter relates to JW's attempted action against Ford for fraud. See F. H. Allen, an affidavit, #00144, #11704. See also F. H. Allen to JW, #00141, and to H. A. Alexander, #00143. In 1888, backed by a syndicate of New York investors, Ford and his wife Mary Bacon Ford attempted to persuade JW to sign a contract to undertake a series of American etchings and a lecture tour (see M. B. Ford to JW, #01448). However, JW objected to the harsh terms of the contract and was suspicious of the Fords' motives. His fury also stemmed from a more recent incident over the publication of The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (1890). Ford, his original collaborator on the volume, quarrelled with JW and proceeded to publish his own unauthorised edition. Lewis and JW attempted to stop the publication during the spring of 1890 but only with limited success. See Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890, and Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890.

5.  Galignany
The Galignani Messenger was an English language paper published in Paris between January 1890 and July 1904.