System Number: 06463
Date: 11 July 1855
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W458
Document Type: ALS
Jemie's birthday. Wednesday morning. July 11th 1855
My own precious first born.
Maternal affection is not easily distanced, or your indifference to my appeals for a letter might have so wounded as to make writing too painful, faithful to your best interests I doubt not dear Jemie your heart is right towards Mother, & tho your indolence is inexcusable, I upbraid you not, "hoping on, hoping ever" that you will requite me when the heyday of youth subsides. Wishes offered to you on your coming of age, would be vain indeed without prayer for blessings from above, that you may remember you are an heir of a heavenly inheritance so that you deny not Him who has purchased it for you, or forfeit your priviliges [sic], which are so opposite to what votaries of worldly enjoyments seek. Jemie dear I would not be prosy or make this birthday greeting a tiresome or canting lecture. If I were in your Studio how cheerfully we'd chat yet I would press in many a sacred admonition from my own experience of the blindness of youth I would fain lead you lovingly & gently to fasten your Anchor of hope on "The Rock of Ages" for it is inevitable that you must encounter rough gales & be often threatened with destruction. Your natal [p. 2] day "Jemie my boy" what a rush of memory comes with it! The fond father whose tenderness deepened till utterance failed him to reiterate it in messages of death's adieu, I pray that his earnest endeavours to lead you to choose & keep the straight path may never be slighted by you. his example, his precepts, think them over when you are alone sometimes, for it is too late to resolve on a course of conduct when temptation comes, youth follows impulse, unless principles are established. Do you not remember dear Jemie how earnestly Dynley Prince urged your fathers example for your consideration? that friend who delighted in you from infancy, is associated with you gratefully, by me, as I look back upon all his proofs of friendship. Soon death may tender this sacred & solemn! Cousin Kate in her last weeks report, startles me painful [sic] by his sudden stroke of Paralysis. As his parents & Bishop Eastburn were at this table sunday before last, he having helped all but himself, put down the knife & fork & said he would recline on the sofa not feeling quite well. his right side was instantly paralysed, his hearing became clearer than for years & his consciousness was unclouded, what a mercy to the anxious watchers! all hope of his recovery was over Kate adds when her beloved Mother last had written her "the brother who had recently returned from attending his suffering James, solacing him, holding his hand & closing his eyes in death, so soon to follow him, & join the [p. 3] blessed family circle in the eternal world" Cousin Kate remarks upon Dynleys attachment for "Jamie" & is sure you will sympathise in his family bereavement.
I was shocked to hear two evenings since upon Mr Pophams return from the city of the sudden death of Mr Henry Rodewalde of Balt at Mobile, dear Jacks must share the sorrow of his friend Fred, and my heart enters into that of the gentle widowed mother. I wish to offer my sincere sympathy to Mrs R , I respect & love her character[,] will you let Jacks share this letter as I have been prevented writing him & get him to send by Fred a message to the afflicted ladies, I remember when Mr R told me of his intention of winding up his business at N Orleans never to spend another winter away from his family, I felt the uncertainty of human plans, but I hoped sincerely so benevolent a man might be spared to find his rewards in making all happy within his circle, his beautiful country seat may now be a retreat to his mourners, that in rural quiet they may hear the voice of Him who over came death & opens the way to eternal life. I purpose going as far as Fordham tomorrow to spend a few hours with Doct Cammans family, having heard of his being on the invalid list. Aunt Kate's fortnight ends in my accompanying her that far on her way to the city, we shall go by the seven oclock train, then she will have five hours between the two Cammann neighbours. Aunt Kate unites in love with me to you & dear Jacks, she hopes after you have practised on other portraits you will take mine as a gift to her. Remember I claim Annie Dennys as your first assay[,] if your Patron wants it & you think the Major would not be offended, copy it for Mr T Winans, but tell him I expect him not to interfere with my claim [p. 4] to that one. her Grandmother will be coming here to see it, so take care of it for my room. Do you look after the Picture frame I left for repair at Barretts in Howard St - Paul & Peter too know the place, if you decide to have your copy of Turners put in it B [i.e. Barretts] can pack & send it per Propelle line care of W R Palmer, NY & N H RR office corner of Elm & Franklin St. & write William by mail when it is sent. I heard from Willie yesterday, the Exam to take place the 19th. so he expects to be here in time for his birthday, 22nd. I do not allow myself to expect you yet awhile, I would not disturb you till your portraits are finished, I dont know when I may accept Uncle Palmers invitation, not till Augt certainly. Aunt Alicia lately cheered me with report of Debos benefit by her stay in Lancashire. All send you love & expect much of you now you are really applying your talent. Remember me to the Perines, it comforts me to think you spend your Sundays at Homeland. I wrote Mrs P & expect one of her delightful home reports soon. Do you go to the Glenns country seat? When you call at the Ducatels offer my love, & kisses to Georgie, To Mrs Th Winans & her children, regards to Mr W. This is a day for your review, have you written Hunt? or to West Point about my family seal? if not, delay no longer I beg. Aunt Kate says there could not be a happier arrangement for my recovery than that of sharing with my friends this quiet retreat. I have been free from fatigue since settling here, as we pray to pass our days sincerely, so we do thro the tender mercy of our Lord. Tell Jacks we depend upon his visiting Scarsdale when he comes North.
For a treat dear Jemie write
Mary sends you her love.
1. Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881) née McNeill, JW's mother.
AMW was living in Margaret Getfield Hill's cottage in Scarsdale, NY.
JW was in Baltimore, working under the patronage of Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more]; see AMW to JW, 24 April 1855, #06459; Thomas D. Winans to JW, 24 April 1855, #07077.
5. hoping on, hoping ever
Probably 'Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.' Ps. 131.3.
6. heir of a heavenly inheritance
Alluding to Romans 8.16-17 - 'we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.'
The studio in Alexandroffsky, T. Winans's villa in Baltimore.
8. Anchor of hope on 'The Rock of Ages'
'Rock of Ages,' hymn by Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778), published later in Augustus Montague Toplady, Hymns and Sacred Poems, on a Variety of Divine Subjects, Comprising the whole of the Poetical Remains of the Rev. Augustus M. Toplady, London, 1868, p. 163.
9. Jemie my boy
A familiar phrase used by JW's father George W. Whistler to 'reconcile JW to self denial & obedience.' See AMW to JW, 10 May 1849, #06392, and AMW to JW, 15 and 16 January 1852, #06409.
17. Mr Henry Rodewalde
Heinrich Friedrich Carl Rodewald (1796-1855), relation of J. F. Rodewald.
Frederick Rodewald, son of H. Rodewald, of Baltimore.
Eliza Rodewald (d. 1859), wife of H. F. C. Rodewald.
23. the two Cammann neighbours
Throw's New York City Directory, New York, 1861, p. 136, shows that both George Philip Camman and his brother Oswald Cammann, banker, lived in Fordham, NY.
28. Picture frame
Probably a picture frame from the time of Peter Romanov I (1672-1725), Tsar of Russia, called 'Peter the Great'. It was probably brought in St Petersburg, where AMW lived between 1843-1849.; see AMW's letter to JW, 18 July 1855, #06461.
Barrett & De Beet, looking glass & frame makers, 72 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore; see Wood's Baltimore Directory for 1858-59, Baltimore, pp. 10 and 79.
30. Paul & Peter
The Winans's servants.
31. copy of Turners
Copy after Turner's 'Rockets and blue lights (close at hand) to warn steamships of shoal water' (M.176) was probably painted in New York from a chomolithograph by Robert Carrick dated 1852, which JW's step-brother George bought in 1854 (see #06461).
Propeller Line, shipping line.
35. your portraits
No other portraits are known.
The family of Mrs J. T. Ducatel, mother-in-law of George William Whistler.
43. Mrs -Th Winans & her children
Celeste Winans (1823-1861), née Revillon, wife of Thomas De Kay Winans; they had three boys, George Winans; Ross Revillon Winans (1851-1912), husband of Neva Whistler; William George (b. 1853), and a daughter, Celeste Winans (1855-1916), later Mrs Hutton.
Frank Larned Hunt (1825-1903), a friend of JW in Washington, DC [more], a Washington friend of JW. Hunt wrote to JW on 3 May 1855, 18 May and 15 June 1855 (#02197, #02198, #02199). He probably knew JW when he worked at the US Coast Survey in Washington, DC.
46. family seal
JW seems to have left AMW's seal at West Point. A seal is now in Glasgow University Library, Whistler Collection.