The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 13199
Date: 19 October [1898]
Author: William Heinemann[1]
Place: London
Recipient: Douglas Straight[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Published[3]
Document Type: PLc

Dear Sir, -

Some extracts, including a garbled version of the title-page of Mr. Whistler's forthcoming book, have found their way into the pages of the New York Critic, and have been copied in some of this morning's papers. May I say that this publication bears but the slightest resemblance to the original, and is entirely misleading and incorrect? The book will make its appearance in due course. I am unable at present to account for this leakage, and am almost forced to suspect somewhere the methods of Major von Schwarzkoppen[4]'s concierge.

I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully.

21, Bedford-street, W. C.,

Oct. 19

William Heinemann.

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  William Heinemann
William Heinemann (1863-1920), publisher [more]. This letter relates to the publication of JW's account of his dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408): Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24]. JW became agitated when premature publicity about the American edition of the book appeared and he changed the first place of publication from London to Paris (#10806, #10807). JW and Heinemann 'staged' this event through their letters to the press. See also JW's response to this letter, #02257.

2.  Douglas Straight
Douglas Straight (1844-1914), lawyer, politician and editor of the Pall Mall Gazette [more].

3.  Published
Published under the heading 'A Garbled Whistler" in the Pall Mall Gazette, vol. 67, no. 10,473, 20 October 1898, p. 3, and several other papers including the Westminster Gazette (GUL, Whistler PC, vol. 17, p. 3).

4.  Major von Schwarzkoppen
On 20 July 1894, Major Count Ferdinand Walsin-Esterhazy (1847-1923), commander of a battalion of the French Army stationed at Rouen, offered his services as a spy to Colonel Maximillian von Schwarzkoppen (1850-1917), German military attaché in Paris. Major Hubert Joseph Henry (1847-1898) discovered a document that was said to implicate Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935), army officer [more]. Dreyfus was accused of espionage, tried on 19-23 December 1894, and convicted. On 15 March 1896, a French intelligence officer procured a 'petit bleu' (a French telegram) from the pocket of Schwarzkoppen's overcoat, in the cloakroom of a Paris restaurant. Presumably this is the 'concièrge' to whom Heinemann refers. The telegram revealed Esterhazy's treachery, but this was concealed by the authorities and on 9 January 1898, Esterhazy was acquitted. Esterhazy invented some 'evidence' and Henry forged some documents and suppressed others. However, the truth gradually emerged, and the publication of Zola's J'Accuse in the Paris newspaper L'Aurore on 31 January 1898 re-awakened the controversy. In August 1898, after admitting that he had forged documents, Henry committed suicide. Thus at the time of Heinemann's letter, the case was once again under discussion in all quarters. In August 1899 Dreyfus was tried again by military court at Rennes and on 9 September, he was found 'guilty of treason, but with extenuating circumstances.' His sentence was reduced to ten years in prison. Finally in 1906 he accepted a pardon. In 1931, further proof of Dreyfus' innocence came to light when the posthumous papers of Schwarzkoppen were published.