UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06506
Date: 24/28 [June 1859][1]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: Philadelphia
Recipient: Jane Gamble, Jane and Samuel Wann[3]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler W501
Document Type: ALS


1205 Arch St.

friday afternoon 24th / '1859'

My dear friends

Willie[4] has read me your letter for I cannot read even my own scrawls. You need not my words of sympathy in your sorrow, but I must assure you distressing tho it was to witness, I had a sad satisfaction in your beloved James[5] coming to me, as he said he felt sure I would not consider anything I could do for him a trouble. We know our Heavenly Father arranges all the alleviatives for us in our trials & that in all our afflictions He who bore the Cross for us, is afflicted with us. The Worldling is more deranged in His sight than your poor James for his chief anxiety is to win hearts to love the Lord. I was relieved by a message from Miss McHenry[6], Monday P M to hear of his making no objection to being left at that beautiful place the private Asylum, where I know the system is so mild & judicious. Visitors who go there describe the grounds as most salubrious & lovely, its influences all so soothing. Thank God he is there, his associations will not be as heretofore revolting against an insane hospital.

[p. 2] Tuesday 28th.

On Saturday last was the first I could say (gratefully) I felt better & being able to go out attended to business, yesterday I had a seamstress, but before I leave the city this afternoon to stay til saturday at Mr Harrison's[7] country seat, I wish to send this off. I trust I may gather strength there to enable me to pay some calls, among them to Miss McHenry, as no doubt she can tell me of your dear James, how continually he is on my mind! As I listened on Sunday morning to one of the best discourses of our talented Pastor Dr Alex Vinton[8] "Whom having not seen, ye love[9]" I felt it a portraiture of dear Mr Gambles supreme affection for our Lord, & thought had he been in our pew (as he was the Sunday afternoon before) he might have been too much excited. Let us rejoice he is not exposed to the heat & glare of the city. The lawn where he may exercise is so verdant & extensive, with shady places, surely the Lord provides for His people. I shall be thankful to get from the dust of our St. every open window admitting it. Riversdale Mr H-s summer residence has sloping ground on the Delaware, the trip by the steamboat is an hour. My Willie takes me by the 6 o'clock boat this evening & the four days I shall stay, he is to come at the same hour every eve & to be thus renovated, in pure air & regaled with fresh fruits from their garden for breakfast & tea. Friday before last Mr Gamble went with my nephew Donald McNeill[10] to market, as a check upon my order for meat, he said so pleasantly. Cannot we be satisfied with the fruits of the earth, do we not pray "Preserve to[11] our use the kindly [p. 3] fruits of the earth so that we may in due time enjoy them.["]

I look forward dear friends to seeing you after my visit to Nyack[12], tho I shall not be able to spend many hours with you in my haste to get back to my Willie, who is to have no release from the heat of Phila until he accompanies me in Augt to the Crimea[13]. The alloy to my enjoyment at Stonington[14] will be that he is not there! and I shall think of him exhausted by exposure to the closeness of attendance on poor patients, in their low hovels & in the Infirmary. How often beloved Mrs Gamble have I wished my Willie, as your James, with leisure & willingness to send & in every wish of a Mother to comply. but behold your cup is mixed as mine! All shall work together for eternal release from suffering! For we can say by faith "it is the Lord[15] let Him do what seemeth Him good" I have written my Sister that if the Lord bless my arrangement, I shall go with my nephew Donald to Stonington about the 8th or 9th of July. I shall write our Nyack friends from there & hope it may be agreeable to persuade my Sister to accompany me to Mrs Maxwells[16]. I feel so reluctant to separating from the few family ties. My Dr hopes sea air may benefit me. My direction will be here till the 8th.

Believe me your attached friend

Anna M Whistler


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Notes:

1.  24/28 [June 1859]
'1859' added later, in another hand, at the top of p. 1. This date is confirmed by the Perpetual Calendar Whitaker's Almanac and references to AMW's travel plans (see below).

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

3.  Jane Gamble, Jane and Samuel Wann
Jane Gamble (1790-1864), mother of J. H. Gamble [more], her daughter Jane Wann (1822-1875), née Gamble, wife of S. Wann [more], and her husband Samuel Wann (b. 1820), merchant.

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

5.  James
James H. Gamble (b. 1820), clerk [more], had presumably been committed to a private lunatic asylum.

6.  Miss McHenry
Miss McHenry, daughter of Mrs McHenry, a friend of J. H. Gamble, friend of the Gambles.

7.  Mr Harrison's
Joseph Harrison (1810-1874), jr, partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more]; his country seat was 'Riversdale.'

8.  Dr Alex Vinton
Alexander Hamilton Vinton (1807-1881), clergyman [more].

9.  Whom having not seen, ye love
'Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,' 1 Pet. 1.8.

10.  Donald McNeill
Donald C. McNeill (1844-1876), JW's cousin [more]; see AMW to Charles W. McNeill, 10/12 October 1877, #06561.

11.  Preserve to...them
'We beseech thee to hear us good Lord. That it may please thee to give and preserve to our use the kindly fruits of the earth, so as in due time we may enjoy them.' 'The Litany,' The Book of Common Prayer, 1559.

12.  Nyack
Mrs Maxwell lived at Nyack, NY (see below); see AMW to James H. Gamble, 5 December 1858, #06502.

13.  Crimea
The 'Crimea' was the country house owned by Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more]; see AMW to JW, 27 April 1857, #06483.

14.  Stonington
Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more], lived at Stonington, CT.

15.  it is the Lord...good
'And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good,' 1 Sam. 3.18

16.  Mrs Maxwells
Mrs Maxwell, probably the mother of J. S. Maxwell.