The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 11397
Date: 29 September 1880
Author: Philip Gilbert Hamerton[1]
Place: Autun, France
Recipient: Editor[2], New York Tribune
Place: New York
Repository: [Published][3]
Document Type: PLc

Sir, -

A friend in America has sent me the letter from Mr Whistler[4] which refers to my article[5] in Scribner on Mr Haden's[6] etchings. The letter begins as follows:

In Scribner's Magazine for this month there appears an article on Mr Seymour Haden, the eminent surgeon etcher by a Mr Hamerton, and in this article I have stumbled upon a curious statement concerning - strangely enough - my own affairs, offered pleasantly in the disguise of an anecdote habitually 'narrated' by the Doctor himself, and printed effectively in inverted commas, as here shown.

Here Mr Whistler accuses me of disguising something which I choose to tell, as if it came from Mr Haden, by printing it in inverted commas. The statement is "offered pleasantly in the disguise of anecdote," and "printed effectively in inverted [p. 2] commas." I used inverted commas because it is the custom to do so when making a quotation. I quoted Mr Haden's own words from one of his lectures on etching, and they will be found printed[7], as I quoted them, in Cassell's Magazine of Art. I beg to be permitted to observe that a writer who quotes a passage, as I did, in perfect good faith, ought not to be accused of offering matter in disguise. There was no disguise about it. Mr Haden's words may be compared with my quotation. Again, to prevent any possible inaccuracy, a proof of the article in Scribner was sent to Mr Haden before it was published. It is scarcely necessary that I should allude to Mr Whistler's studied discourtesy in calling me "a Mr Hamerton." It does me no harm, but it is a breach of ordinary good manners in speaking of a well-known writer!

Yours obediently,

P. G. Hamerton.


Sept. 29, 1880.

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1.  Philip Gilbert Hamerton
Philip Gilbert Hamerton (1834-1894), author, critic and artist [more]. This relates to a sequence of letters initiated by JW's response to Hamerton's article on F. S. Haden (see note below). It replies to JW's letter to the Editor, New York Tribune, #04281 of 12 September 1880. See also JW to P. G. Hamerton, #11396 and P. G. Hamerton to JW, #11395. Later, Haden joined the fray (see F. S. Haden to New York Tribune, 17 October 1880, p. 5).

2.  Editor
This letter was published in the New York Tribune on 11 October 1880, p. 5 under the title 'Mr Whistler's Thames Etchings.'

3.  [Published]
The letter sequence was published in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, pp. 81-9.

4.  letter from Mr Whistler
See JW to Editor, New York Tribune, #04281.

5.  article
See Philip Gilbert Hamerton, 'Mr. Seymour Haden's Etchings,' Scribners Monthly, vol. 20, no. 4, August 1880, pp. 586-601.

6.  Mr Haden's
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

7.  found printed
See 'Mr Seymour Haden on Etching,' Magazine of Art, December 1879, p. 262.