UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06525
Date: 12 June 1864
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: London
Recipient: James H. Gamble[2]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler W519
Document Type: ALS[3]


7 Lindsey Row[4], Old Battersea Bridge

Sunday, June 12th 1864

My very dear friend,

The tidings from your home on Staten Island, conveyed to me thro your date of the 10th inst, ought not to have surprised me, but it did, & I should [have] by return of mail offered you my sympathy if present duties had not interfered, in the interval between morning & evening public worship I do so, most deeply feeling for the natural grief it must be to so tender & dutiful a Son as you have ever been to the most tender & loving Mother[5] that you are to hear her voice no more blessing & welcoming your return home. But you have every consolation that you valued the sweet companionship & counsel of your heavenly-minded mother & that you so fully observed "the Commandment with the promise[6]" sweetest memories must therefore soothe your sense of loss[.]

[p. 2] Of your Sister[7] it may be said among the daughters most precious, she shines conspicuously. How serene the evening of your Mother's days of transitory life, at Homeland! & the mild radiance of her example will not be effaced. How I love to remember my brief but great benefit that bright Autumn I spent those few days of truly happy companionship with your Mother & Sister at Homeland. shall it ever be my privilege to talk it over there with Mrs Wann! I have the Xtian hope that we who love the Lord supremely shall meet your sainted Mother & mine[8] & all those who have composed our home-circle "not lost, but gone before[9]" to the heavenly Home our loving Saviour prepares for all who love Him[.] How infinite the divine wisdom & compassion, how He tempers the trials[10] which wean us & make us wish to be with them & with Him forever. None can realize more than I do the uncertainty of all temporalities, truly a sojourner, no continuing city, no home[11], [p. 3] but that for which I must be prepared by the trial to faith I am I hope being purified now. My solace is in prayer for my only brother[12], my darling Willie[13] & a circle of beloved relatives & friends, shut in by the war which deprives me of all communication with them. They lean upon the same staff which supports me & this lessens my anxiety. I remember the Xtian circle I worshipped with in Richmond[14] & the Pastors who comforted me & my poor Willie together when I lost my daughter whom I had nursed thro her illness, his beloved young wife[15]! oh what sacred associations I have & how grateful are my memories for kindness & hospitality when I was as a stranger in Virginia!

I hope to hear from Mr King[16] this week as it is some time since his last, how distressed he must be for his brothers & families in Georgia[17].

Will you dear Mr Gamble offer my love & sympathy to your Sister, with best regards to Mr Wann[18], how united they are in my memory of their sweet home, equally promoting the welfare & comfort of all

[p. 4] Jemie[19] desires me to express his friendly sympathy to you, he seems to love & honor his mother, tho the only holy bond[20] is yet wanting, which so secured your filial reward. Jemie may go to Paris this week if he finishes a picture[21] now nearly perfect, he needs relaxation from Study, but will not be away long. What a comfort it must be to you while separated from your Sister in your sorrow, to have your Aunt Daville[22], to talk with, you say she is so like what your dear Mother was! & to be with your Cousin! I wish I could know them personally. Let me know when you are going to Scotland, my memories of that my Fatherland are of a bright Summer spent with friends near Edinburg in my youth without a cloud! their cottage was at Wardie nigh New Haven. I spent a week at Stirling with friends there, & went to Dunfermlin too. But I ought rather to tell you news of the faithful Pastor I have & a few choice friends who are members of a little church not too long a walk for me to attend regularly. Mr Robinson[23] preaches to the poor he has 3000 connected with his Church & Schools for himself & Curate to visit & they do so. [p. 5] the wife of Mr R as devoted as he is. see how the Lord provides for me, leading me to the friendly intercourse of those who love Him & do His work gladly. But now tho my eyes and finger are less painful than usual when I write I must not try more. I have not heard from my Sister[24] lately, but hope to after she receives tokens of my thoughts of herself & family by a friend who was spending a few days lately with me. Miss Cammann[25] enjoyed going to Greenwich Hospital on Wednesday last, & on Thursday we attended the annual Festival of the Sunday schools at St Pauls[26]. It was most interesting 5000 children singing the Hallilujah chorus almost overpowering, & raised me above the Cathedral to think of the Hosannas around the Throne in the Church Eternal. I shall never have strength to go again for I am soon fatigued now by every extraordinary effort. I have not been to the Royal Academy[27] yet. I go oftenest to Sloane St about a mile & half to see my daughter[28], [p. 6] who is one of my greatest comforts, her health is too delicate for her to come to me often as she would do. My grand daughter Annie[29] my namesake & Godchild is a help & comfort to me & the three boys[30] affectionate & bright.

I have not had an answer to my letter to our dear friend Margaret Hill[31], tho I wrote her directly after the death of her Sister[32], our mutual friend Miss Cammann will tell her how true my sympathy[,] we have talked so much of M H[33] together.

Will you offer my respectful regards to your Aunt. Believe me dear Mr Gamble

your truly sympathising & affectionate friend.

Anna M Whistler


This document is protected by copyright.


Notes:

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

2.  James H. Gamble
James H. Gamble (b. 1820), clerk [more], who is evidently travelling in the British Isles, since AMW is replying to his letter written two days earlier.

3.  ALS
The page has a mourning border.

4.  7 Lindsey Row
JW's London address from March 1863 to February 1867.

5.  Mother
Jane Gamble (1790-1864), mother of J. H. Gamble [more].

6.  the Commandment with the promise
'Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.' Eph. 6.2.

7.  Sister
Jane Wann (1822-1875), née Gamble, wife of S. Wann [more].

8.  mine
Martha McNeill (1775-1852), née Kingsley, mother of AMW [more].

9.  not lost, but gone before
'Not lost but gone before,' Mathew Henry (1662–1714), Commentaries, Matthew ii, Seneca, Epistola 63. 16; also a poem by Caroline Elizabeth Sarah (Sheridan) Norton (1808–1877); see AMW to JW, 30 October [1854], #06444.

10.  He tempers the trials
This echoes George Whitefield's (1714-1770) sermon 48, Satan's Devices, 'Consider, that it is necessary such inward trials should come, to wean us from the immoderate love of sensible devotion, and teach us to follow Christ, not merely for his loaves, but out of a principle of love and obedience.' See The Works of the Reverend George Whitefield, M.A., London, printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, in the Poultry; and Messrs Kincaird and Creech, at Edinburgh, 1771-1772, vol. 6, p. 248.

11.  no continuing city, no home
This probably derives from 'For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.' Heb. 13.14.

12.  brother
Charles Johnson McNeill (1802-1869), brother of AMW [more].

13.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more]. He was an assistant Surgeon in the 1st South Carolina Regiment of Rifles, 'Orr's Rifles.' The regiment was organized on 20 July 1861 at Sandy Springs and sent to Virginia in April 1862.

14.  Richmond
In 1863 AMW stayed for at least five months at Mrs Genet's; see her letter to Deborah Delano Haden, 4 August 1863, #06521.

15.  wife
Ida Bayard Whistler, née King (d. 1863), JW's sister-in-law [more].

16.  Mr King
Ralph King (1801-1878), broker, father-in-law of W. McN. Whistler [more].

17.  Georgia
Ralph King was born in Darien, GA. Roswell King, Ralph King's father, was the founder of the town Roswell, GA. In July 1864, more than 36,000 Union troops occupied Roswell. They burned the Roswell mills (named after its founder) and deported the workers and managers to Indiana. Many Roswell families fled before the catastrophe, including the families of the two brothers of Ralph King, William King (b. 1804) and Barrington King (1798-1866). William King remained in the town of Roswell during the July events of 1864, having offered his house to the Union Army to be used as a hospital. See Historic Roswell @ http://www.cvb.roswell.ga.us/index.html.

18.  Mr Wann
Samuel Wann (b. 1820), merchant, brother-in-law of J. H. Gamble [more].

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

20.  holy bond
Probably confirmation. Despite AMW's wish for JW to receive the sacrament of confirmation, it is unlikely that he ever received it; see AMW to JW, 26 and 27 November [1854], #06446, and 1 August 1858, #06498.

21.  picture
Perhaps Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: the Balcony, (YMSM 56); see AMW to James H. Gamble, 5 May 1864, #06523.

22.  Aunt Daville
Aunt Daville, James H. Gamble's aunt.

23.  Mr Robinson
Rev. William Woolhouse Robinson (fl. 1826-1867), pastor of Christ's Church, Chelsea [more].

24.  Sister
Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more].

25.  Miss Cammann
Catherine Julia Cammann, a relation of Dr G. P. Cammann [more].

26.  Sunday schools at St Pauls
Annual festival of the 'Charity Children' at St Paul's; see The Times, London, 10 June 1864, p. 12.

27.  Royal Academy
JW exhibited Wapping (YMSM 35) and Purple and Rose: The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks (YMSM 47) in the 96th Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Academy, London, 1864.

28.  daughter
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

29.  Annie
Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more].

30.  three boys
Francis Seymour Haden (1850-1918), Arthur Charles Haden (1852-1910), musician and Harry Lee Haden (1855-1877).

31.  Margaret Hill
Margaret Getfield Hill (1802-1881), a friend of AMW, of Scarsdale, NY [more].

32.  death of her Sister
Sarah Stewart Hill (1800-1864), sister of M. G. Hill [more].

33.  M H
i.e. Margaret Hill.