[LM022166], Letter from Charles Patterson Bruch to Ezra Torrance Gilliland, September 24th, 1888


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[LM022166], Letter from Charles Patterson Bruch to Ezra Torrance Gilliland, September 24th, 1888

Editor's Notes

"Your letter written just before leaving London, with check for $500 received this morning. I have not written you since the 14th for the reason that I expected you would have started home before this. As far as I know, matters are in just the same shape as they were then. I saw Mr. Lippincott as few hours after writing you. It seems that Mr. Edison learned of your arrangement in regard to the sale of the stock and sent Mr. Lippencott a letter, which he read to me, to the effect that Mr. Edison had learned that you and his attorney, Tomlinson, who had conducted the negotiations for the sale of the Phonograph, had executed personal contracts with Lippincott; that he had been deceived in regard to the terms, and stating that Lippencott would be held responsible for any further payments of money that might be made to you on account of such personal contracts, and requesting that Lippencott comply with the letter and thus avoid litigation. Mr. Lippencott stated that he was not prepared to say that he would not carry out his contract but that he was anxious to avoid having to pay the amount twice and must defer action in the matter until he had consulted his attorney. I saw him again last Wednesday and again this morning and he is still awaiting his attorney’s advice in the matter. He informs me that Mr. Edison claims that you contract with the Phonograph Company was a personal contract, which you had no right to transfer without the consent of the Phonograph Company and it is on that ground that he notifies Lippencott not to make further payments. ### Until yesterday, when I went to see Mr. Toppan in regard to your message, I have not spoken to anybody on the subject and have no information as to the steps that Mr. Edison may be taking. I know that Mr. Insull has been in town and in charge of the matter. Mr. Tate having been absent in Canada when the thing first came up and I think that Mr. Edwin M. Fox is perhaps acting as Mr. Edison’s legal adviser. ### Mr. Toppan says that he does not know whether or not the N.A.P. Company have made Mr. Edison’s payment and that if he were to ask Mr. Edison the question direct it would at once be apparent that his question was asked for a purpose and it would not be answered; he says that he was to have received some money when the payment was made which he has not received. In his position as [unclear] of Mr. Edison’s [unclear] cannot communicate with you, although you [unclear] here he could perhaps talk to you freely. ### I saw Mr. Tate this morning and told him that I was [unclear] some trouble between you and Mr. Edison but had not been fully informed as to its details and would like him to tell me for my own guidance, as much as was proper in consideration of the fact that I am in your employ. He said that he was not himself informed [unclear] see them on his way to learn all about it. He has been in [unclear] but has given me no information. I gather, however from my conversations with Mr. Lippencott and Mr. Toppan, that Mr. Edison’s charges against you are very serious and it seems to me that you should return at once to meet and explain them, as every day’s delay gives those who are unfriendly to you, just so much more time to make matters worse and widen the breach between you and Mr. Edison. I am afraid, too, that your absence will be misconstrued into evidence that you are afraid to come here and face the thing. ### Although I said very little to Mr. Toppan, I learned that he thinks as I do about your absence and after seeing him, I sent you the cable saying, that I think you should return as your absence is damaging. I would not presume to give you my opinion on this subject if I knew just how fully you are informed. Of course, all that I know is what I have learned from your communications to me and from keeping my ears and eyes open, and that is not very much, but it is enough to convince me that the things is very serious and I fear that it may not seem quite so much so to you. I know, however, that you will take my opinion for just what it is worth and will understand that I give it, not through any desire to be officious, but because I am anxious to promote your interests in the matter as far as possible. ## I have, and shall [unclear] out your instructions in regard to information and delivering stock; so far, no attempt has been made to gain any information here and no demand has been made for the stock or other papers. ### I send by this mail with letter postage, small code book. I have added a few phrases, as you will see. The code is much more complete than the old one and will doubtless answer our purpose better. ### Mr. Maguire has just stopped in here and chatted for about half an hour. He asked if you had received his letter, which he stated he had registered in order that he might receive an acknowledgment but as he has not received the acknowledgment he thinks you did not get it. I told him I do not know whether you had or not. He says he is going to China and Japan with the Phonograph for Mr. Edison and that he has secured Ill. And Ind. From the new Company. He appears quite pleased with his arrangements and considers himself lucky. ### Mr. Samuel Holmes, a ship broker, wrote me asking if the “Edith” were for sale. I explained that you were absent and that I did not know whether you wished to sell her or not, but allowed him to have his customer inspect her and got steam on her to show to Mr. Wolf, a mechanical engineer, who is a friend of the customer, G. Sidenbeg, of 47 Mercer St.. I had George and the Captain posted and everything done to show her up to the best advantage possible. Mr. Sidenberg writes me today to know the price and I have cabled you accordingly. He understands that she had not been put upon the market and that it is quite possible that you may not desire to sell her. Upon receipt of your reply, if you quote price and give me authority to sell, I will make the necessary preliminary arrangements and you can execute the proper papers when you return. ### I have made all the arrangements for having her hauled out at Lenox on Thursday and will do so unless she is sold in the meantime. Everything at the house is in good shape. ### I am now expecting to hear from you at any moment that you have sailed and I think it very likely that you will not receive this letter. If, however, your plans should be changed and you are likely to remain longer than the middle of Oct., I wish to write you in regard to my position with the Insurance Association, as I must decide concerning it about that date. ### I have papers from Gaston & Marsh which say that their Phonograph Exhibition on Thursday last was a great success. ### Will continue to keep you fully advised by cable and mail as to what is going on, in case you do not return." Yours very truly, Chas. P. Bruch




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