[D8946ABI], Letter from George Edward Gouraud to Thomas Alva Edison, May 4th, 1889


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[D8946ABI], Letter from George Edward Gouraud to Thomas Alva Edison, May 4th, 1889

Editor's Notes

My dear Edison, As regards your letter of 20th April, the apparent discrepancy between the paragraph you quote from my letter to Mr. Hammer, of 2nd April and that which you quote from my letter to yourself of 26th March, explained as follows:- My arrangement with you as to a division of the expenses of the Paris exhibit of the Phonograph was perfectly well known to Mr Hammer, because I read to him in this office the entice correspondence between yourself and myself on that point. The large surplus possible suggested in my letter to Mr Hammer -- in which I proposed to give him "substantial interest" for his personal supervision referred solely to the probable surplus of receipts over expenses that would result directly. And exclusively from the proposed lectures and exhibitions, all of which I had in mind as keeping entirely separate from the general expenses incidental to the exhibition at the Exposition, or any other expenses connected with the introduction of the Phonograph.in Paris. I referred to it in the specific way I did, so that Mr Hammer would understand that if that course were adopted, and he could give it his personal supervision and without prejudice to his other duties at the Exposition the substantial interest referred to would be from the net receipts of that of which he should have charge, and for which "personal supervision' I would obviously have to pay somebody else. The opinion expressed in my letter to Mr Hammer that there might be a large surplus from this, I certainly meant, and belived would be the case considered only from the point of view that against the receipts from such an exhibition of the Phonograph there would be charged to it only the expenses directly pertaining to it, and the words in the same paragraph "entirely eliminate. The question of expenses from Mr Edison and myself" meant exactly what it says, that if that plan were adopted I should have out of this same receipts first paid the expenses - not only mine, but yours which might be incurred from the exhibition of the Phonograph, in the Exposition, and in my conversation with Mr Hammer before he left Don-don for Paris and before I wrote the letter in question/I made it perfectly clear to him that the suggestion of the lectures and exhibition outside should not necessarily be to the total exclusion of the exhibition of the Phonograph, inside, in your general exhibit as I already agreed with you should be the case. The apparent conflict in my intentions upon this point as suggested by the words you underline in my letter to Mr Hammer, the words you underline in my letter to yourself 4:explained by my having on the 26th March written to you under the idea that. As should take the risk of this exhibit I should take any profits that might result therefrom. I had on the 2nd April come to the conclusion that although I took the risk of the outside lectures and exhibitions, if profits should result therefrom, it would be only fair to apply these profits first to the reduction, or total elimination of our share of the expenses of the Phonograph exhibit inside the Exposition, and before counting anything as profits to myself in the outside exhibition, the whole of the expenses your share and mine - inside the Exposition, should first be cancelled. I hope you will see that 'this is a perfectly straightforward explanation, and the apparent descrepancy is on the face of it, if you will think of it, utterly inconceivable, unless I have lost all sense of honor, and common sense as well, of having written you something with the intention to deceive, almost at the same time of my writing your confidential representative in Paris, with a perfect knowledge that anything I wrote to him must be the same as writing anything to yourself. Still wishing to take no undue offence, and being far from angry With you, I not only do not blame you for asking my explanation in this connection, but I am grateful to you for enabling me at once to correct a wrong impression, under which I should be very sorry to rest, and must have rested in ignorance had you not informed me as you have. However you may have understood my intentions with regard to the Outside exhibition of the Phonograph, or even of its exhibition within the Exposition, because although you did not mention it , I did contemplate - and may have written the same to Mr Hammer - that arrangements might be made within the Exposition limits for an exhibition of the Phonograph, and lectures upon it to be paid for, in ignorance of the fact that no payments were to be allowed of any kind whatever within the Exposition grounds. It was equally my intention - and only my intention in connection with the proposed exhibit outside - to have it done by competent lecturers in various languages, and this I still think should be done in Paris, notwithstanding your opinion to the contrary, but of course I do not insist on this against your wishes. I cannot refrain from one general observation in connection with your extreme sensitiveness upon this subject of exhibitions of the Phonograph as I proposed, with all the dignity that comes of lectures upon the scientific principles, as well as exhibitions of the practical uses and demonstrations of the same, that on the occasion of the introduction into Europe of your first Phonograph, which occurred by singular coincidence at the time of the previous International Exposition in Paris, that the Phonograph throughout that Exhibition was open to the public all day long, and all the evening, for I grant admission only to hear a few words, and discordant metallic tones in reproduction of a Cornet. I am told that as much as 160,000 Francs profit was made on that exhibition, and I suppose, or rather had supposed, that it was done with your knowledge and approval. Indeed upon this whole question I have been more sensitive that I had reason for suppossing you were yourself. I mention this not to alter your present views, but to make as clear as possible to you the whole subject as it presents itself to me. I am reminded by all this correspondence of a remark that Mr Hammer made to me while here to the effect - in answer to my enquiries re the Gilliland, Tomlinson episode, in connection with which other names of old associates of yours were mentioned with doubt and suspicion - that you had said you did not know who you could trust any longer, and this I fancy affords a large measure of both explanation and excuse for the state of mind under which both your letters of I2th, and 20th April were written. You have my sincerest sympathies for the rude shock you have received in the connection referred to, and I beg you to put your mind at ease and mot anticipate an extension of the experiences in question, so as to include myself. If no other motives or principles existed for your protection in my case I can only assure you that the value I attach to my long and intimate association and identification with you, and my respect and affection for you will of themselves constitute all the security you will ever need, an in saying good bye to you at this time I will beg you to do in the future as you have done in this case, so far as promptly asking for any explanation




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