UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06421
Date: 6 October [1852[1]]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: Brooklyn
Recipient: JW
Place: West Point[3]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W416
Document Type: ALS


80 Jerolamon St Brooklyn[4]

Wed morning earlyOct 6th

When you know my dearest James[5] that your mother's last work before going on board ship was to make you the flannel to be worn next to your skin it will seem important you should immediately put it on, it will last you till she can send you a change by your Cousins, which will be her only sewing on the voyage.

Perhaps Jacks[6] may take it to you to report the meetings in England! The last thing packed at the sweet cottage yesterday was the nice portable mattress for your bed, to be sent today per Express with a comfortable[7] [sic] which may be folded like a bed above it until colder weather may make it necessary for covering, you are entirely too wasteful of health so mercifully restored to you - as of all your talents. Are you ready to go thro sickness & death? to render the account to the Judge for your term of nearly 19 years. God be still more merciful to you my son & prepare you.

[p. 2] When you wrote for your drawing materials dear Jemie I thought it right to enquire of the professor of drawing what I should send you as I would not supply you with any temptation to idleness. I enclose you Mr Wiers[8] kind letter which you must read & destroy with this. Remember me affectionately to Childs[9] & tell him to pray for me. The Lord leads me, He disposes the hearts of all to shew me kindness, oh that he may spare me from the scourging of my sons. You have it in your power Jemie to comfort your widowed Mother, by your conduct this term, or you may cut off from the tie nature has bound to unite us to God, I cannot separate from Him in whom I live & move & have my being. May He soften your heart which was wont to be loving towards your broken hearted Mother - pity me Jemie, pray for me as I do for you & ever shall till my latest breath. You will prove which motive is most powerful with you to win the hollow friendship of the fops & idlers & triflers to be met everywhere - or to earn a furlough to spend with your natural & true relatives, try dear Jemie to encourage us all, I have seen Genrl Swift[10] who may go to the Point to see you the excellent old gentleman looks seriously upon your recklessness, he fears you may defeat any [p. 3] blessing from the winter[11] to me & hurry me back thro winters storms to meet your disgrace. God avert this which would thro your life embitter you by remorse. You have not a day to lose. Today if ye will hear the voice "harden not your heart [12]["] against conscience. God has provided you with every incentive to effort, but you have turned from Him, to the God of this world, oh Jemie, repent & redeem your time. Your visit to the cottage exposed to me folly which is so ungraceful that I trust you will throw off the mask to virtue & let your own native sweetness shine when next you visit me. I will not cloud your path of duty by selfishly expressing the sorrows which encompass

Your devoted Mother.

Write your brother, poor Willie[13] will be home sick you know. May the Father of the fatherless unite your hearts in love to Himself! adieu, adieu! when your heart prompts you to cheer me, write but not hurriedly for such a postage, direct your first to your sister & it will be between us. [p. 4] Ask a permit in my name immediately dear James to take the enclosed to Mrs Bartlett[14] as it is important to lose no time about it.

Cadet Whistler


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Notes:

1.  1852
Dated with reference to AMW's trip to England later in the month, and the Perpetual Calendar Whitaker's Almanack; see AMW to George William Whistler, and William McNeill Whistler, 18 and 19 November 1852, #06422.

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

3.  West Point
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, opened in 1802; see AMW to JW, 10 June 1851, #06396.

4.  80 Jerolamon St Brooklyn
The address of Maria Margaretta Cammann ('Grandma C') (1774-1862), mother-in-law of William Gibbs McNeill [more]; see AMW to JW, 6 October 1851, #06403.

5.  James
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more].

6.  Jacks
Patrick T. Jackson ('Jacks') McNeill (1835-1898), accountant, JW's cousin [more].

7.  comfortable
Quilt.

8.  Mr Wiers
Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889), artist and art teacher at USMA, West Point [more].

9.  Childs
Frederick Lynn Childs (ca 1831 - d.1894), room-mate of JW at USMA, West Point [more].

10.  Genrl Swift
General Joseph Gardner Swift (1783-1865), chief engineer of the US Army, brother-in-law of JW's father [more].

11.  blesing from the winter
AMW wanted to spend the winter in England because of its milder climate to that of New England. She thought it would benefit her health.

12.  harden not your heart
'Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.' Heb. 3.8.

13.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

14.  Mrs Bartlett
Harriet Bartlett, née Whitehorne, wife of Prof. W. H. C. Bartlett.