The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 09704
Date: 15 February 1893
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[1]
Place: [New York]
Repository: New York Public Library
Call Number: E. G. Kennedy I/37
Credit Line: Edward Guthrie Kennedy Papers / Manuscripts and Archives Division / The New York Public Library / Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Document Type: ALS

'Feb 15/'93'[2]

110. Rue du Bac. Paris.

Dear Mr Kennedy.

I enclose a note that you can deliver with the picture[3] to the buyer - He may keep it with his archives, or have it let into the back of the frame -

I have remained silent since last I heard from you, simply because I was absolutely, for once in my life, dazed with astonishment at your letter[4]! - Indeed I will not hide from you that I never was more shocked -

You first send me a long account of Mr Bancroft's[5] offensive allegations - and you so thoroughly acquiesce in his assertions, that he has been "morally," if not "legally" wronged by me, that you are ready to give up your pictures to him[6]! - As a business man no one could possibly more completely testify his earnestness -

You thus show your readiness to admit that the distinguished gentleman who is attacked in your place might well be capable of the doubtful dealings of which he is accused, and thereby, as far as in your power lies, deliberately give me away -

And after yourself springing a mine under my very feet, you amusedly write to say that you are astonished that I should have made such a fuss about so small a matter!! - that no one shall hear any more about it! - - - And that you shall of course keep the pictures -

Do you suppose that after having hearkened to Mr Bancroft, and sufficiently entertained his assertions and given them weight by referring the matter to Mr Whistler, as though witholding [sic] his judgment until he should be heard, do you suppose, now that Mr Whistler has most "exhaustively" as you yourself say, made a clear exposée of Mr Bancroft's pretentions, not only "morally" but "legally," do you suppose, I say, that his reply[7] is to be kept hidden from Mr Bancroft -

Is your desire for peace then so [p. 2] great that you would, to secure yourself from further "bother," leave this man go about with his abominable complainings and, by your silence, allow it to be supposed that his story was uncontradicted, rather than fulfill the part you have taken upon yourself by practically stating that you awaited my reply? -

Of course the correspondence, in its entire completeness, is for you to show to Mr Bancroft - I begged you to do so - and I certainly did not send you the opinion of my lawyers[8] in order that you should lock it up in your desk that "no one shall ever see it"! -

Kindly inform Mr Bancroft of your having received my answer - and that it is ready for his inspection together with the legal opinion - and say that upon these papers you have resolved that his claim to the pictures is preposterous, & entirely without foundation - & that you, who have bought them of Mr Cavafy & paid for them, shall discuss their possession with no one further -

Now that[9] is the end of the matter -

When do you expect to come over? We shall be delighted to see you - and meanwhile, with our kindest regards, believe me

Very Sincerely

J. McNeill Whistler.

Feb. 15 - 1893.

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1.  Edward Guthrie Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

2.  'Feb 15/'93'
Written in another hand.

3.  picture
Possibly Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56), bought by Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more].

4.  letter

5.  Bancroft's
John Chandler Bancroft (1822-1907), politician, diplomat and collector [more].

6.  ready to give up your pictures to him
The Last of Old Westminster (YMSM 39), Battersea Reach (YMSM 45) and Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56).

7.  reply
JW to Kennedy, 19 December 1892, #09828.

8.  lawyers
George and William Webb to JW, 17 December 1892, #09841.

9.  that
Double underlined.