The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: war, Spanish
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System Number: 04731
Date: [5 July 1898[1]]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Rosalind Birnie Philip[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P371
Document Type: ALS

'July 5th 1898.'



I got over right enough Major - but all my beautiful paints I had mixed were in a sort of soup!! -

It was very nice of Heinemann[3] to send Payne[4] to the station to meet me - & he came up to the Hotel & unpacked for me and saved the trunk with the floating Prussian blue! -

Tell your Mother[5] [p. 2] from me that as she really does take an interest in the war I am sending her a lot of things from the papers -

Meanwhile the enclosed letter from an English Naval authority is especially for Bunnie[6] - though your Mama will see the point of the marvellous victory with one man killed! -

Tell Bunnie that I hope I never shall be "just" - but I delight in being generous! - and I really think with her that we have heard a good deal of Spanish bravery! -

Neither she nor I in our superficial pleasant way took in at all the fact that while we read that on land the Spaniards were occupying the worlds admiration, they were always under cover - and behind breast works

Nothing was said of the valour of the Americans who were always out in the open!

Now I think is the time to slightly hint at what is the real interest of the whole campagne - The world now sees what is the meaning of West Point, and Anapolis[7]! -

West Point makes an army out of the men [p. 4] of the street, or from the hay field, that conducts itself like the veterans in the prettiest bits of history - and does this in a month!! -

As to the Anapolis - Since the beginning of time there has been nothing like the artistic perfection of this work!

Only London is really too American for me! Miss Hensham[8] recommends all the whiskies of the land with tears of enthusiasm about the 4th of July glorious! -

But certainly it was a beautiful business that as they said, it should be completed for the "glorious 4th" -

The Admiral's[9] message was perfect! - "a fourth of July present"! -


The General -

This document is protected by copyright.


'JULY 5th 1898'

Mademoiselle Birnie-Philip
aux soins de
Monsieur McNeill Whistler
110. Rue de Bac
[stamp:] POSTAGE & REVENUE / 6d
[postmark:] CONTINENTAL NIGHT MAIL / JY 5 / 98


1.  5 July 1898
Dated from the postmark; the same date was written by the recipient on letter and envelope.

2.  Rosalind Birnie Philip
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more]. JW called her 'Major' and himself 'General'.

3.  Heinemann
William Heinemann (1863-1920), publisher [more].

4.  Payne
Payne, employee or servant of W. Heinemann.

5.  your Mother
Frances Philip (1824-1917), née Black, JW's mother-in-law [more].

6.  Bunnie
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

7.  West Point, and Anapolis
Annapolis was the US naval and West Point the US military academy (from which JW had failed to graduate).

8.  Miss Hensham
Miss A. Hensman, an employee at Garlant's Hotel [more].

9.  The Admiral's
The US battleship Maine had been blown up in Havana harbour in Cuba, possibly by a mine. President McKinley issued an ultimatum to the Spanish to withdraw from Cuba. On 3 July 1898 the Spanish Fleet was destroyed at Santiago by Admiral Sampson. Santiago was surrendered a few days later.