UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Record 11 of 92

System Number: 05844
Date: [26 November 1878][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: James Jacques Tissot[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler T189
Document Type: ALdS[3]


'Tissot[4]'

THE WHITE HOUSE,
CHELSEA EMBANKMENT.

Mon pauvre Tissot -

Je crois remplir mon dernier devoir d'ami en vous faisant savoir que malgré mes efforts, vous êtes peutêtre encore sous le joug de la loi, - et capable de passer quelque jours en prison! -

Le clerc de mon "Solicitor"[5] est pret à déclarer qu'il vous avait servi avec mis entre les mains un "summons" - qui tient encore - quoique j'avais fait tout mon possible pour vous absoudre, en expliquant à ces messieurs que dans [p. 2] votre état pitoyable vous n'auriez nullement pu nous être utile! -

J'avais ajouté que vous seriez incapable de soutenir même les cadres de Whistler, dont vous vous servez! -

Enfin j'ai usé de mon eloquence pour prier l'avocat de vous rendre la liberté plutôt que de montrer en public à mes juges le spectacle fatal d'un ami "malgré lui"! -

Inutile mon cher! - La loi est sevère - ainsi fuyez!

Absentez-vous pour quelques jours pendant qu'il est encore temps - et ne revenez que lorsque les Tribunaux vous auront oublié! -

J A McN. Whistler


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

THE WHITE HOUSE,
CHELSEA EMBANKMENT.

My poor Tissot -

I believe I am carrying out my final duty of friendship by letting you know that despite my efforts, you are perhaps still at the mercy of the law, with the possibility of spending several days in prison! -

My "Solicitor"'s clerk is ready to affirm that he had served given you in person a "summons" which still holds - despite my having done everything in my power to excuse you, by explaining to these gentlemen that in your pitiable state you would have been of no use to us at all! -

I had added that you would be incapable of holding up those Whistler frames that you use!

Finally I used my eloquence to beg the lawyer to give you back your freedom rather than show my judges in public the fatal spectacle of a friend "despite himself"! -

Useless my dear fellow! - the law is severe -

Go away for a few days while there is still time - and do not come back until the Courts have forgotten you! -

J A McN. Whistler


Notes:

1.  [26 November 1878]
This relates to the case of Whistler v. Ruskin, which was heard at the Queen's Bench of the High Court on 25-26 November 1878. A subpoena was served on Tissot on 23 November 1878. Tissot's response, offering to write to the jury, has been lost, but there are several drafts of JW's reply (#05846, #05843, the latter dated 26 November) (see Merrill, Linda, A Pot of Paint: Aesthetics on Trial in 'Whistler v. Ruskin', Washington and London, 1992, pp. 86-87 and 347-48, n. 57-58).

2.  James Jacques Tissot
Jacques ('James') Joseph Tissot (1836-1902), painter and etcher [more].

3.  ALdS
This letter was published in MacDonald, Margaret F. and Joy Newton, 'Letters from the Whistler Collection (University of Glasgow). Correspondance with French Painters,' Gazette des Beaux Arts, no. 128, December 1986, pp. 201-214, at pp. 204-05.

4.  Tissot
Written upside down in another hand.

5.  Le clerc de mon Solicitor
Lawson James McCreary, clerk to the solicitor, J. A. Rose [more]. James Anderson Rose (1819-1890), solicitor [more], listed Tissot among possible witnesses, but in the end he was not called to give evidence.