The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 02827
Date: 14 July [1868][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Charles Augustus Howell[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler LB 11/31/2
Document Type: ALS

2 Lindsey Row -
Old Battersea bridge
Chelsea -

July. 14. Thursday

Dear Howell -

Forgive my not having written to you long before now to relieve you from the engagement by which you might feel yourself bound to effect a settlement of Legros'[3] debts to me. - You will remember that the proposal emanated entirely from yourself, - and was only acceeded [sic] to by me through respect for your kind inclination which had led you to receive from Legros money to be appropriated to payment of his debts to me. - Moreover my friend [p. 2] Colonel Latrobe[4] , upon being consulted, thought that I ought to give Mr Legros this last chance of releasing himself from pecuniary obligation and consequently place him at liberty to act towards me as he might feel disposed. -

Nothing has come of it however in any way! - Mr Legros doubtless having other demands more pressing than mere honor. -

And now, while it is useless to entertain this question any further as far as Legros is involved, I earnestly desire to express my sense of your friendship, and to relieve you from any feeling of having made yourself, in the slightest degree [p. 3] responsible for the actions of a man so totally dead to all honor. - I shall, my dear Howell, send for the Book and papers[5], to put them again on my shelf where they had lain all these years! - and so rid you of them. - I hope you do not feel a shadow of disappointment. -

To me it would have been a surprise had Legros fulfilled your expectations! - I never expect anything truthful or honest from a Coward. -

It has recently come to my knowledge that Legros' letter to Mr Haden[6], which was read at [p. 4] the Burlington Club, was worked up for him to copy, by Mr. Haden! -

My Mother[7] and I should have called to see Mrs Howell[8] and yourself as we have wished to do - but have waited to hear from you when settled in your home - as you promised to let me know when you could receive your friends. -

Believe me dear Howell
Yours sincerely

J. A. McN. Whistler

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1.  14 July [1868]
14 July was a Thursday in 1864 and 1870. In 1868 July 16, and in 1869, July 15, were Thursdays. #02173, a draft of #02827, was dated by JW '24 July'. The year is deduced from a reference to Legros' letter in a letter from JW to Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], dated 14 July 1868 (#01939). It is quite possible that the date was added later on both #02173 and 02827, to give some sort of credence to JW's responses to Haden's attacks (see below).

2.  Charles Augustus Howell
Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more].

3.  Legros
Alphonse Legros (1837-1911), painter, etcher and art teacher [more].

4.  Colonel Latrobe
Probably Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Jr (1806-1878), chief engineer on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad [more].

5.  Book and papers
Possibly the list of Legros's debts to JW, dating from 23 September 1863 to 13 August 1864 (#02505).

6.  Legros' letter to Mr Haden
On 14 July 1868 JW told Haden he knew of his involvement in obtaining a copy of Legros' letter (#01939).

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

8.  Mrs Howell
Frances Kate ('Kitty') Howell (1842 or 1843-1888), née Howell, cousin and wife of C. A. Howell [more].