[X154A8DR], Letter from John Hall McClement to Edward Hibberd Johnson, December 28th, 1889


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[X154A8DR], Letter from John Hall McClement to Edward Hibberd Johnson, December 28th, 1889

Editor's Notes

My Dear Mr. Johnson:-- In accordance with your request I have been examining the status of your personal affairs, and find that you in common with many other business men, have been giving your attention to other than your own personal interests, and the time has come when your best attention should be given to putting your own house in order.##In your efforts to carry the Sprague businesses you have assumed a dangerously large personal liability, in the purchase of shares &c. amounting now to upwards of $125,000. to secure which requires all your personal negotiable securities as collateral. Having all your securities thus tied up, seriously handicaps you in any business venture you may wish to develop, and necessitates your accepting one of two horns of a dilemma viz: either sell out your present interest in the Edison Genl. Elec. Co., after you receive the stock for your present Sprague holdings thus sacrificing it at a time when everything points to higher prices; or raise more money (if you can) by additional loans, (thus increasing your liabilities and consequently the attendant dangers.)##Independent of the above liabilities there is one to Bergman, on acct of his new factory, amounting approximately to $75,000., which you say is to be adjusted by Mr. Painter on account of the Phonograph deal, an account of which, or any evidence of Mr. Painters liability I fail to find among your papers. On the contrary however, I find that you are apparently indebted to Mr. Painter in the sum of $15,000. secured by 100 shares of Sprague Stock. Whenever I have mentioned this subject to you, you persist in replying that Mr. Painter will make this all right, but I would be failing my duty to you as a friend if I longer delay placing myself on record against allowing this matter to drift any longer; and you will be doing your family and others dependent upon you an injustice, if you do not exercise ordinary business prudence and have it put in proper shape at once.##Suppose Bergman dies? His estate will call upon you for subscription (as Bergman himself is doing unsuccessfully) you may be forced into an assignment,and the consequent sacrifice of your property. Suppose Painter dies? You will not only lose the amount of his debt to you, but will be forced to meet the $15,000. due him. Suppose you die? Who can settle the matter? In any event the complications and emabarrassments may prove fatal to your present fortunes. You may answer that Mr. Painter will take care of your money when the proper time arrives. Is there, or can there be a better time than the present when its possession will save you from sacrificing present valuable interests, and prevent greater sacrifices in the future?##I trust that you will give the matter your most serious consideration, you need this money and need it badly, and I feel sure that Mr. Painter would pay it if the matter was presented to him in the proper light. In the mean time I will endeavor to realize on what little property you have free and would advise you to sell your stock on the Interior Electric Conduit Co. as you cannot afford to carry it longer.##Trusting that this communication will be received in the same spirit as it is written, and I amy not suffer the fate of a meddlesom friend, believe me, Sincerely yours, J. McClement.




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