System Number: 11980
Date: 9 July 1867
Author: William McNeill Whistler
Recipient: George Aloysius Lucas
Repository: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Call Number: 04 folder W-Lucas file
Document Type: ALS
[monogram with motto:] 'WMcNW / VINCERE AUT MORI'
14 Old Burlington St.
July 9th 1867
My Dear Mr Lucas -
I have to apologize to you for having left your letter so long unanswered - I should have written immediately upon its receipt to thank you for your kind attention to my request but I have for the last 3 weeks been so unwell that I have not [p. 2] been able to attend to anything - Just after I wrote you I was seized with an attack of neuralgia & facial paralysis & was obliged to go to Brighton to recruit -
My friend Miss Traer begs me to express her thanks to you - I think that she will have her brother's body removed here before very long -
I saw Jim this morning - He is very busy with a lot of new pictures - He desires to be remembered -
Please present my kind regards to Madame & believe me
Very truly Yours
Wm M. Whistler
Envelope:Monsieur G. Lucas.
41 Rue de l'Arc de triomphe
[postmark:] LONDON-S.W / 5 / JY10 / 67
[postmark:] ANGL. / [...] CALAIS / 11 / JUIL / [67?]
'Dr Whistler'[postmark on verso:] PARIS [..] / 2E 11 / JUIL. / 67
'Whistler Brother 2'
3. WMcNW / VINCERE AUT MORI
Monogram with the motto 'VINCERE AUT MORI' (Lat., 'conquer or die') under the crest of a mailed arm and hand holding a dagger. This is the crest and motto of the McNeills of Colonsay, who were not, as far as is known, related to JW. See #07452, where JW claims to be related to the McNeills of Barra.
6. Mr. Smith
George Smith, undertaker.
In April 1867, Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more], James Reeves Traer (ca 1834 - d.1867), partner in F. S. Haden's medical practice [more], and William Whistler visited Paris for a medical conference. JW was also in Paris, as his works were on view in the American section of the Paris Exposition. During the trip, Traer died suddenly, allegedly in a brothel. Haden hastily arranged burial rites in Paris in what JW and William Whistler regarded as a disrespectful manner. This led to a violent quarrel between Haden and the Whistler brothers. Soon afterwards, the brothers made fresh arrangements to have Traer's body returned to his sister in England. Smith seems to have been the agent or undertaker (see #09562) who arranged for the exhumation and shipment to England of the body.
10. new pictures
12. 'via Calais'
Added by W. G. Whistler in left margin of envelope.
13. 'Dr Whistler'
Added (probably) by G. Lucas in right margin of envelope.
14. 'Whistler Brother 2'
Added in an unknown hand on verso of envelope.