[X154A8DI], Letter from Uriah Hunt Painter to Josiah Custer Reiff, November 24th, 1889


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[X154A8DI], Letter from Uriah Hunt Painter to Josiah Custer Reiff, November 24th, 1889

Editor's Notes

Yours of 11, 22 to hand, and I am surprised at its contents. ## When you say 'there is something not right in the matter of the phonograph settlement' it shows how dangerous it is to express an opinion on something that relates entirely to others in which you are not fully informed. ## If Mr. Johnson is sacrificing his Bergman interest, it is of his own volition; it is not necessity. ## When you say that the Phonograph business cost him the friendship of Mr. Edison, because he stood by me, you state something that is without a shadow of foundation, and I am tired of having it thrown at me, after the sacrifices that I have made in the matter, to gratify Mr. Johnson. ## Then enmity between he and Mr. Edison arose out of the Sprague Motor business, and instead of Mr. Edison having been injured by anything Mr. Johnnson or I did in relation to the Phonograph, it is a matter of history that it was my indulgence, and leniency that allowed him to collect for himself and his agents $750,000., when he was not entitled either to have organized a Company which Mr. Johnson advised him to do, or to have interfered in any manner with the old Company, whose majority of stock I owned or represented. ## If Mr. Johnson has surrendered the control of the Sprague Co., it is because he chose to do it from a pecuniary standpoint. It was not necessity as he wrote me within a week that he was absolute master of the situation; I having told him some time ago, that whatever assistance he wanted in that direction, he could have, but as the concern had never made a dollar, and is conducted at a general expense of $75,000 per annum, without being able to stop Daft or others fromputting all the m otors they wanted on the market at a less price, I thought it was his interest to realize on his stock and get rid of a load that was worrying him to death. ## If he has chosen to do so I do not understand by what right you can make a raid on me on account of it. ## You have received all that Mr. Johnson directed to be paid to you for the 100 shares of stock that he desired you to receive the benefit of, and therein your interest in the matter ceased. ## You never had any 'right' to dicate in the matter. ## I am always glad to receive your opinions or criticisms whether they are palitable or otherwise, and nothing that you can say or do will give me any offense, no matter how plaintly it is put, but as every time I have been driven from my own judgment by pressure, and acted upon the advice of others to gratify other ends than those which alone should have been considered, I have made a mistake, and made mistakes that have involved a large sum of money to me as well as to others, but I do not complain of that and should not have mentioned it but for you savage criticsms on me. ## From this out to the end I propose to try some experiments on my own hook, and am satisfied that the loss will not been any greater than it has been in the past by taking others suggestions instead of my own. ## I do not know of any one who is so much responsible for the backward condition of the Phonograph settlement than yourself. ## Your surrendered the stock certificates to Mr. Lippincott without my authority, and although he has never attempted to have the certificates transferred or claimed any ownership in them, he has sit down and done nothing. ## There are a number of matters that you do not understand and will not at present. ## If you will produce a power of attornty from Mr. Johnson substituting yourself for him in his business I would just as soon talk to you as to him, but u nil you do, it is useless to skirmish along the edges.






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