UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Armstrong, Thomas
Record 2 of 14

System Number: 06975
Date: 17 July 1868
Author: Thomas Lowe Whistler[1]
Place: Bray, Ireland
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W964
Document Type: ALS


3 Prince of Wales Terrace
Bray, Ireland

17. July 1868.

My dear Sir

I feel very great pleasure indeed in acknowledging your letter[2], and recognising you, if not as a relative, of which I should be much pleased, at all events as being one of my name, which in Ireland is, as far as I know, confined to my own family, and the continuance of which, rests with my only boy[3], now between 16 and 17 years old. It would indeed be more than interesting, if a relationship was established between us, to show why, I shall briefly mention, some circumstances, and also would remark that the inscription on the monument[4] at Magherafelt to which you refer, erected I believe in the reign of James [2d?], is to the memory of Gabriel Whistler[5] [p. 2] an unusual christian name and had been the name of my Grandfather[6], and one of my uncles.

With the exception of my Father, I never saw of any of his family except my Uncle Gabriel[7], all others having died before, and shortly after I was born, which took place in Galway, where my Father removed to from Dublin, having at a very early age been commissioned as Staff Surgeon to the Forces and Hospitals in Ireland and having Galway assigned as his district, where he died universally and most deservedly respected. What I wish particularly to mention is, that there were four brothers, Gabriel, William[8], Robert Gore[9], and my Father, Thomas Lowe[10]; my uncle Gabriel, was a solicitor practising in Dublin, my Uncle William I often heard from, was a great favourite, wild, and always bent [p. 3] upon an adventurous life, and in opposition to all a devoted mothers entreaties, would go to sea; when this took place I cannot tell, and now have no one to refer to, but one thing is certain, from the time he sailed, up to this moment, no intimation of what became of him, ever reached his Irish relatives[.] The subject of interest is, could this Uncle of mine be in any way connected with your Father[11] or Grandfather[12], or if not shipwrecked, what became of him, the other Uncle, Robert Gore Whistler was a clergyman, and for very many years curate of Wesburghs church in Dublin from whence on leaving, he was presented with a Cup with and an inscription he well well merited, now in my possession; this uncle had one child who died shortly after her Father and was not married - My Father had three [p. 4] daughters[13], (all dead) and myself.

I have an old and rather rude Portrait of my Grandfather in the Uniform of the Irish Volunteers, and also an oil painting representing my Grandmother, my Uncles Gabriel, William, Robert, and my Father, all taken when they were boys in a group. My Wife[14] is alive, and I have two girls[15], (14 and 12). My boy is now in Paris, with my Wifes sister and Husband, to learn the French for the purpose of putting him to some occupation in which he may soon support himself, as I do not wish for him my own profession, which in Ireland, except under peculiar circumstances, is not, I think, a desireable [sic] one.

I am sure these hastily put together remarks may not be altogether devoid of interest, and whether I may claim you[16] as a relation, a connection or a name sake, I shall be most happy to make your acquaintance and to hear from you at any time.

Believe me very sincerely yours

Thos. Lowe Whistler


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Notes:

1.  Thomas Lowe Whistler
Thomas Lowe Whistler, Jr (fl. 1840-1868), surgeon [more].

2.  letter
Untraced. However, JW seems to have obtained the name of T. L. Whistler through Thomas Armstrong (1832-1911), artist and Director of Art, South Kensington Museum [more] (see T. Armstrong to JW, #00196).

3.  boy
Unidentified.

4.  monument
The monument was dated A. D. 1651 and bore a gilded armorial shield (see C. K. Irwin to G. Wm. Whistler, #02371).

5.  Gabriel Whistler
T. L. Whistler later wrote to JW explaining that the monument was in fact to Ralph Whistler, a remote relative of the Whistlers and not Gabriel Whistler (see T. L. Whistler to JW, #06976).

6.  my Grandfather
Gabriel Whistler, grandfather of T. L. Whistler, served with the Irish Volunteers.

7.  Gabriel
Gabriel Whistler, solicitor, uncle of T. L. Whistler.

8.  William
William Whistler, uncle of T. L. Whistler, sailor.

9.  Robert Gore
Robert Gore Whistler (d. before 1868), clergyman, uncle of T. L. Whistler [more].

10.  Thomas Lowe
Thomas Lowe Whistler, Sr, staff surgeon to the Forces and hospitals in Ireland.

11.  Father
George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more].

12.  Grandfather
John Whistler (d. 1829), father of George Washington Whistler [more].

13.  daughters
Unidentified.

14.  Irish Volunteers
A militia organised to defend Ireland against a possible French invasion leading up to and after the French Revolution between 1787 and 1799.

15.  Wife
Unidentified.

16.  two girls
Unidentified.

17.  claim you
JW was not directly related to this Irish branch of the Whistlers.