The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 13 of 26

System Number: 02125
Date: [7/14 April 1889?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Editor, Herald[2]
Place: [New York?]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H226
Document Type: ALd

Sir -

Three copies of the Herald have been forwarded to me here and I read with with [sic] astonishment and some amusement that a battle royal is

I deprecate exceedingly the

The story of the

Three copies of the Herald have been sent to me here and I find to my dismay, that a battle royal is going on more or less over my absent body - for this condition of things I was scarcely prepared -

Sir -

I have just read in a copy of the Her   I beg that you will print immediately these my regrets that the Gallant Genl. Rush Hawkins[3] should have been spurred into unbecoming & unwonted expression by what I myself read with considerable annoyance bewilderment under the head of "Whistler's Grievance" -

I can assure the gallant officer soldier that I have no grievance - I never keep a grievance -  how should I   remains  for all is ever for the best. Had I known that when with over what takes the place of wine and walnuts in Holland - beer I believe and Dutch Stock fish - I remembered in lightly the military methods of the Jury, I was being interviewed, I should have furnished you adopted as serious as a tone as the original farce would admit of, or I might have refused to have been a party at all to so old and threadbare a story as the raid upon the works of Art sent for at the [illegible] Exhibition -

Your correspondent I fancy felt much much more warmly wrongs that after all are doubtless rights in the Army - and my sympathies I confess are completely with the Genl. who after all[4] did only when even England expects every man should do - his duty in that state[5] of life in which it had pleased God & the War Department to call him - who according to order he signed that devilish doosed impudent note - circular warrant or what not for he did irretrievably fasten his name to it - whether with pen or printed or print, thereby hopelessly [making?] the letter -   According to order did sign He [illegible]signed the [illegible] note - circular or warrant - thereby [making?] the the letter his own - to his present astonishment - Then have we[6] responsability [sic] like greatness sometimes thrust upon us - Thus[7] I came, [8]and I saw the Commanding Officer, who until now I trust I was convinced remembers me as pleasantly as I do himself - and I then and there carried relieved him of the troublesome etchings[9] - together with & carried off the Portrait[10] - saying as knowing that in all military matters despatch was of first importance

[p. 2] It is therefore a  It[11]  shock painful sad shock to find that the good Genl. Hawkins speaks of our interview in    has been urged into    should have   been driven to the verge of irritation   irritated   speaks of me without affection - and that his he evinces even joy at the  as he offers    even me as he offers his [re?] difficult clinching argument - when he says with a view to my complete[12] discomforture:

Now he is wrong[13] - the Genl. is wrong - I had been was invited to send to the [illegible] etchings that are hanging in the English Sect. and perfect [14]is their hanging - I am told, notwithstanding Genl Hawkins flattering anxiety are the only ones that I ever sent - There was no  It had never been  I never proposal [sic] to submit them to a "Jury of his peers"[.] I was asked had invited to send to the   supposed I had been as I  with in the English [or Am?] -

I looked upon thought liked the gentle [sweet?] embarrassment of of this finished officer as most thinking it most seemly - and part of the ["]good form" of a West Point man who is taught that official duties should be drum head court martials, to[15] (what else in his experience should so fit him for sitting in judgement upon pictures) and doubtless this Jury sitting in judgement upon pictures was to him the same, should be presided at with grave and softened demeanor - If and and not an holding in holding in horror all - the execution of the

The     [anon?]   All swashbuckling and triumph of manner to be avoided -

If I mistook the Genl. manner it is another illusion gone -

and I am Sir -

We all know[16] that the Space alloted [sic] to the English depart[ment] was comparatively limited and each one refrained from abusing it - And here I would point out again hoping this time to be clearly understood, that had the method employed in the American side been more civil if less military, all [divide?] trouble might have been avoided - Had I been properly advised that the room was less than the demand for place, I would have of course instantly have begged the Gentlemen of the Jury to choose from among the number what etchings they pleased - & this would have ended this absurd difficulty -

It is by this in the [illegible] I am supposed to have said that I sent all my etchings withdrawn for the -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [7/14 April 1889?]
This letter comes after one dated 6 April 1889, in which JW responded to the rejection of his work (#04409).

2.  Editor, Herald
Possibly the New York Herald Tribune.

3.  Genl. Rush Hawkins
Gen. Rush Christopher Hawkins (1831-1920), U. S. commissioner for Fine Art at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1889 [more].

4.  after all
Added in pencil.

5.  in that state...
'in that state ... making the letter' added in pencil in the left margin, at right angles to the main text.

6.  we
Added in pencil.

7.  Thus
Added in pencil.

8.  I came
A paraphrase of Julius Caesar's words on arriving in Britain, 'Veni, vidi, vinci!' (Lat., I came, I saw, I conquered).

9.  etchings
Not identified.

10.  Portrait
Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242), which was awarded a gold medal in the English section of the Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1889.

11.  It
Added in pencil.

12.  complete
Added in pencil.

13.  Now he is wrong...
This paragraph added in pencil.

14.  and perfect
'and perfect ... anxiety' was added at the bottom of the sheet with a line indicating where it should be inserted above.

15.  to
'to (what else ...upon pictures' was written in ink below the valediction, with a line indicating where it should be inserted above.

16.  We all know...
Rest of letter in pencil.