[LB031337], Letter from Samuel Insull to Alfred Ord Tate, July 18th, 1889


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[LB031337], Letter from Samuel Insull to Alfred Ord Tate, July 18th, 1889

Editor's Notes

"You will get a confirmation of the various cablegrams which have passed between us from my Dey St. office. It is, therefore, unnecessary for me to confirm them again in this letter. ### With reference to Connery and the [unclear] Company, I enclose herewith some copies of letters which we have received from Mr. Connery, and on these letters Mr. Edison extended Mr. Connery's option for two months. I wired you last night to this effect and asked you to get Mr. Gouraud's confirmation of the matter. ### I also enclose herewith letter form Glass, with relation to some territory which he has been in communication with Gouraud about. I have written Glass, stating that I have forwarded his letter to you, with the request that you see Mr. Gouraud and cable me the reply. I will advise Glass by wire as soon as I get your telegram. ### Referring to the Seligman matter, you entirely remember seeing Jessie Seligman with me on the day of the Naval Parade. You will also, I am sure, remember me absolutely refusing to make an offer for the phonograph as coming from Mr. Edison. I told Mr. Seligman that he would have to deal with Gouraud first, and when Mr. Seligman pressed me for a figure at which his Syndicate could purchase Mr. Edison's interest in Gouraud contracts, I told him that it was useless to try to deal with Mr. Edison until he had dealt with Mr. Gouraud. You will probably recollect that finally I named seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars for Mr. Edison's interest, plus manufacature, and the contract to provide for certain limitations so far as the use of Mr. Edison's name is concerned. This was named entirely upon my own responsibility. In doing so you will recollect that I refused absolutely to involve Mr. Edison. ### Under these circumstances, Mr. Moriarty might almost be complimented in the same manner in which the illustrous [sic] O'Connell complimented Mr. Disraeli, when he politely referred to that gentleman's connection with one of the participants in the little crucification affair that occurred about eighteen hundred years ago. I would like you to have been present at the interview that occurred right after the receipt of the first telegram, detailing what Moriarty was doing. It so happened that prior to your telegram getting here, the Seligmans had sent for me, and when I went to their office I had the advantage of the information which you had sent. Of course Seligman disclaimed all responsibility for Mr. Moriarty's threats, and I told them that it was nonsense to talk about any such figure as $200,000 for Mr. Edison and Mr. Gouraud's interest. ### Directly I finish dictating this letter I am going to see Seligman again, and answering bluff with bluff, I am to tell them, on behalf of Mr. Edison, that they can either deal with Mr. Gouraud or else go ahead with their own business, and we will go ahead with ours. ### While the Seligmans' position may be very strong financially—and is undoubtedly very strong financially—they realize the great importance of Mr. Edison's name, to enable them to successfully launch Companies in Europe. You will remember that at the conversation at the Phonograph Works, on the Saturday before you left, I intimated that the Seligmans could probably frustrate our efforts to establish Companies if they so desired. The clannishness of the Jew bankers of Europe is proverbial. On the other hand, you should also remember that people whose influence may be very great to do us harm, may not be equally great in preventing us from doing them harm. The scaring of investors is a role which we are just as capable of filling as Seligman Brothers and their Jewish friends. Nobody realizes this better than Mr. Gouraud, I am sure. ### We are particularly anxious to hear from you as to Mr. Gouraud's "other connections." My own opinion is that he has none, and that the letter which he wrote out here, and on which you really went to London, was written in consequence of overtures made by the Seligman people or their representatives. ### We have a letter from Gouraud which says: "I now give you a firm order for 1,000 machines." Nothing is said whatever about payment, and we wired you in consequence, asking you to arrange a [unclear] here in New York; so we can get our money on presentation of invoices and bills of lading. I hope to hear from you on this subject within a day or two. ### Tomlinson, Gilliland and Toppan sailed for Europe last Saturday. I have no definite information as to the cause of their visit to London, but I have always believed that Seligman originally went into the Graphophone business at the solicitation of Tomlinson. You may remember my suggesting such a thing last May. I have absolutely no evidence that this is a fact, but I consider that these three gentlemen will be worth watching. Gilliland used to stay at the Langham. Anyway you can find out a good deal about their movements I am sure at the American Exchange in London. If you want any assistance in finding out what these gentlemen are doing, my father will very gladly help you in watching their movements. ### We have got a great deal of correspondence here from Gouraud. There is nothing in it of very great consequence, and in view of the fact that you are in London and fully posted as to what we want, I think that I will allow the enemy to answer the letters, and simply put them on file. Anyway we don't want to have any communication with Gouraud, except through you, and if we answer his letters, it will end in our getting a great deal of correspondence from him, about which you will know nothing. ### There is nothing particularly new to write you about so far as general business is concerned. The Phonograph Works is running along pretty well, and I think that by the time Mr. Edison gets back from Europe, we will be able to show him a pretty good balance sheet. ### I enclose you herewith extracts from some letters, which indicate that the phonograph is rapidly forging ahead of the graphophone. ### Mr. Edison has been away for a week in Pennsylvania and returned last Sunday. If all he says and all Livor says, turns out so, the iron concentrating business will be a tremendous bonanza, and I shall retire to the solitude of a country seat in the South of England upon the income which I will get from my interest in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Works. ### I hope before you get this letter you will have seen some of the people I gave you introductions to and will have posted us as to the general state of affairs of phonograph matters, and the exact negotiations which Mr. Gouraud has in hand." [unsigned; 2 pages of letter extracts regarding the phonograph follow]





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