The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06663
Date: 9 September 1848
Author: George Washington Whistler[1]
Place: St Petersburg
Recipient: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler W657
Document Type: ALS

St Petersburg

Saturday 9th Sepr 48

Your precious letter of 29th Annie dearest

enclosing ours for darling James[3], did not reach me as you expected, and as it might - by the Stella Steamer which arrived Wednesday morning because "Via Hamburg" was written on it - letters to reach the Stella Steamer leaving London should go Via [Ostend?] - I only got your letter yesterday by land mail - a letter [drop?] [illegible] is not a bad thing. I seemed [illegible] to enjoy the [illegible]fish when it does come - and today I shall no doubt get your fridays letter by the Lubeck Steamer which should arrive today - I sent you a note to the country by Mr Ropes[4] yesterday - and I hope to go myself today - I was quite prepared dearest as you ask me by my last letter to him that you would leave James in England. I cannot but think if I can only feel assured that he feels so too - and is happy - I shall be quite happy. I'm sure he will neglect [p. 2] nothing, & to improve this opportunity to advance this Education - in English. and to acquire good habits of regularity of application - yet my dear James I would not bear you do anything that night in the slightest degree interfere with the progress of improvement in your health - this is the first object - and I am sure you will for all our sakes be prudent and take every care of yourself - you know dear you were wont to be forgetful sometimes - [here?] - and obliged to be reminded by [our?] Kind Mary[5] - what to put on when going out - and [illegible] a dispute you will remember we [illegible] had to detain this [illegible] - think them of dear boy of what are should be likely to recommend -and do it- if you are diligent. I am sure you will be happy, and if you are happy I think you will improve in every way - I can see a great improvement in your means of expressing yourself in your letters - indeed my dear James a very great improvement and I am satisfied if you give your attention to learning to write - clearly your ideas. you will have every reason to be satisfied with your progress - this my dear boy is one of the most important branches of your education - you can scarcely possess any faculty [p. 3] most valuable, than to express, readily - & clearly your ideas - reading and writing - with care will give you this facility, which of course your masters will aid and advise you - You must be careful Master James not to neglect the handwriting - I see a better change in that too - but I confess I don't think it for the better - it is quite [illegible] to write [illegible] - else it gives great trouble to read - be careful of this - you may make scratches with good effect in your [sketches?] but your writing is a little too [sketchy?] but I thank you for it - and am very much gratified with the improvement in the most important part - the sketches are good too - you should not forget [however?] that I have not seen these places and therefore a few more touches would make them a much better illustration of what you had seen - Annie dearest I think I mentioned to you in one of my other letters that I should rather incline to a School - a good School - than private family - I am sure that so far as knowledge [illegible] of [illegible] development of ideas - the School is the place - I know it is said often that boys have had in the same proportion of School - I know which it is [illegible] at School - there are always [p. 4] facilities for developing the [illegible] every where as work & as at School - at a good School - this [proportion?] [illegible] of [God?] is always [ducale?] - Although it exists and the influence of the Opinion of the good boys is always a correction and this early influence of Opinion has the best possible effect upon a boy - it teaches him English and [illegible] them - soon them any rules - and it makes him think - Lately Annie dear we [have?] [illegible] fear for the principles of our James - he will always act honorably, and this good Son will [illegible] him [illegible] - boys - and especially boys like James are happier at School - than in a family - Tho the only reason I am sure for [illegible] the family is, if it [in?] any way be thought better for his health - because after all that is the object of his stay in England this winter and that should be looked to if education was entirely postponed for the [illegible] what does Master James think himself [dear?] Annie, whatever you arrange for will no doubt be the best - so I will not pretend to dictate - you always do right dearest - oh my dear dear Annie. I hope you will not stay in London. I'm sure [illegible] does ask you [with you?] - your [are?] ill almost unavoidable there - I shall be so disappointed dearest if when[6] you [illegible] No 8 - good colours - I should like [them?] - remember me to Fairbanks[7] - I shall write him in [illegible] - Love to all - may God bless you

Your own


very little cholera here now - all is quiet [illegible] the weather clear but cool I am [illegible] every evening

I think Mr & Mrs Harrison[8] will ask your [illegible words] they expected - all a [illegible] of [illegible]

[added in left margin of p. 4] [illegible words]

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1.  George Washington Whistler
George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more].

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

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

4.  Ropes
Probably William Hooper Ropes (1811-1891), merchant [more].

5.  Mary
Mary Brennan (b. 1825), AMW's servant [more].

6.  when
'when ... George' is written in the left margin of p. 1; 'very ... evening' in the left margin of p. 2; 'I think ... of [illegible] in the left margin of p. 3.

7.  Fairbanks
Fairbanks, a merchant.

8.  Harrison
Joseph Harrison (1810-1874), jr, partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more].