[X154A8AK], Letter from Edward Hibberd Johnson to Uriah Hunt Painter, March 4th, 1889


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[X154A8AK], Letter from Edward Hibberd Johnson to Uriah Hunt Painter, March 4th, 1889

Editor's Notes

My Dr U.H. Your favor was duly recd & I have waited utnil V's return to observe the good effects of your interview. I regret to say that they are not apparent. Mr V seems to have acquired from you the opposite of a rosy view of the propsects of the Sprague Co and also that I am in such pecuniary straits as justifies him in driving a hard bargan with me. I havent in fact any longer a shadow of a chance for the independent Electric Railway Co which He, Edison & I had agreed upon, but am simply to become an attache of the General Edison Co. I spent about 2 hours with him yesterday & came away from it with the firm conviction that some Agency has been at work to shift his position in the matter as well as his personal opinion of me. I note in your letter an undertone of conviction that I should sell out [unload] &c &c Now this is just the ground V. takes. It is new ground and is precisley what Edison wants & what I do not. This is what comes of serving a firend in the matter of business at long range with meagre information= DM&Co have stood by me nobly and continue to dod so, but it is an awkward situation for me to be in. I don't like the Idea of subordinating such lare general interests to my own personal & private affairs and have today said so to them--but they say this is not my private affair tht it is the Shareholders of the Sprague Co U.v.s. those of the Edison Co &c-- V. insists upon my saying to DM&Co that I am satisfied--as to which they are inquiring before going on with the big deal-- If I do & they issue their circular this deal is accomplished. And He can then throw me overboard They tell me to get my affairs Concluded with him first= He insists upon their withdrawing any such condition But Morgan stands right there. This perhaps is leading V. to drive a harder bargain with me--and what I need is some one to support me aas against this tendency--not some one to give him additional reason for believing that I can be compelled to take anything that will give me relief-- Of course I appreciate your motive--but as I said in a former letter no good can be accomplished in a matter of this kind except by persons on the ground and familiar with every move What I want is not crude help but the nicest kind of pioneering in a delicate situation-- If you want to lend me a hand at that you will have to come here at once. No good can be accomplished--but a great deal of harm may at a distance##You are wanted here also by Bergman You & he are pulling in different directions and I don’t know whether I am in the enterprize or not. In fact I am told by him One thing & by you another--which is all very unsatisfactory I don't know whether I owe you money or you owe me in the Phonograph matter All of which adds to my burdens instead of lightening them. I am & have been silent in this matter because I have said you were welcome to my share in it if you would settle the matter one way or another. You have never indicated to me whether or to what extent you purpose accepting any proposition Bergmann wants me to say definitely whether I will or will not go in with him I can't do it--Y this makesthings unpleasant all of which is uncalled for & could be put striaght if you were here##I had a letter from Reiff--or from you about the $1000. B. sent him--which I didn't read--being in a great hurry-- I now don't know what I did with it Did you send it to me & what was it? Did you ever give R. anything on my a/c? Yours truly E H Johnson




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