[D8750AAO], Letter from Uriah Hunt Painter to Thomas Alva Edison, December 4th, 1887


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[D8750AAO], Letter from Uriah Hunt Painter to Thomas Alva Edison, December 4th, 1887

Editor's Notes

"I have your endorsement upon my letter of 11, 30. ## I do not concede that the Phonograph patents in this country are void. ## I do not know except as you now tell me what you thought or what you are doing. ## I do not know of any insinuations of dishonesty that have been made against you. ## None have been made in my presence, nor to me. ## I have no desire to see Mr. Tomlinson or to make his acquaintance any further as it has neither been pleasant nor profitable to me what I do know of him. ## I do not know of any reason why you and I cannot transact any business that we might have without the intervention of any lawyer. ## You say that if I will have Tomlinson explain the whole situation, I will see that "You"; "have been treated outrageously." ## I do not understand who is meant by "You". ## If you mean the Old Phonograph Co., I can only reply that it consists of seven directors, a majority of them put there at your request. ## Five of the seven are as follows: ## Thomas A. Edison, ## Charles Batchelor, ## Edward H. Johnson, ## Josiah C. Reiff, ## U. H. Painter, ## If you will show me one instance where they have, acting collectively, done anything of an outrageous nature, or in fact done any thing except under your directions, I will make you a present of my stock. ## There is not one of those men who does not have an unimpeachable record as having been and are today your friends against the world. ## There is not one of those men who has not shown in the past their willingness to go it blind for anything that you wanted so far as I know, so that I come inevitably to the conclusion that some one has wickedly misrepresented their action to you. ## Now about myself, There are some things that are dearer to me than money, and one of them, is my reputation for fair dealing. ## If I have ever before been charged with having treated any one outrageously, I never heard of it. ## If you will establish any specific outrage, that I have committed against you, I will present you with a majority of the stock in the old Company. ## I have been very particular recently to express no opinion whatever except what I expressed in a letter to Mr. Johnson, which he forwarded to you with my consent. ## There is certainly nothing in that letter to which you can take exceptions, unless you do not concede to me the right to differ with you under any circumstances on a legal point. ## There is one thing, in view of your letter, that I want you to frankly state to me now, and that is, if I have ever acted other than thoroughly just to you in every transaction or relation I have had with you? ## Second. Since we succeeded in getting control of the old Phono Co. is there a single act of that Company of which you complain? ## Whether I ever make money out of the Phonograph or not is a matter of minor importance with me. ## Last September when Mr. Johnson wrote to me and stated that you wanted to have a meeting of the Company called for the purpose of submitting a reorganization scheme, I replied by return mail telling him that he could have my proxy [although I did not know what he wanted with it,] but telling him that he would make a mistake if he called a meeting without being sure that he had a majority of the stock. ## To show my confidence in him and in you, I did not even ask what your programme was. ## I shall be very sorry if nothing comes out of the Phonograph of a pleasant or a profitable nature. I shall be sorry on Mr. Johnsons account because of the faith he has always had in it and in you. It was so strong at once time that he took all the money he had in the world and put in to help buy out stock enough to control the Company, with the belief that as soon as the control of the company was put into your hands, you would again take it up and develop something out of it. ## I can stand disappointment for I am used to it. I have a private cemetary into which I turn down my disappointment and losses, and I can if necessary tuck the old Phonograph away into a quiet corner and soon forget it, but I have no rrom for the lodgement of a charge that either the Company or myself have treated you outrageously in any matter on earth."






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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
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