[Hall Caine's brother Ralph threatens Lord Northcliffe's Amalgamated Press with legal action for 'stealing my idea' on popular publishing.] Two Typed Letters Signed from 'Ralph' to his 'Papa & mama', with his Typed 'complete [solicitors'] statement'.

Author: 
Ralph Hall Caine (1865-1939), Isle of Man author and journalist; brother of novelist Hall Caine [Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe; Sir Harold Harmsworth; Amalgamated Press]
Publication details: 
Letters on letterhead of 2 Tudor Street, London E.C. [Amalgamated Press Ltd offices] 15 March and 18 April 1907. Statement without place or date.
£200.00
SKU: 20888

The three items are in good condition, lightly aged. ONE: TLS, 15 March 1907. 4pp., 4to. He is sending a copy (i.e. Item Three below) of 'a complete statement of what has taken place up to date. In fact it is the actual statement I placed before my Solicitor this afternoon […] Of course this is what we might have expected from these people, and it does not come as a very great surprise. | It is a direct attempt to get out of their obligations, as they have done before, as they can get this new man, and have got him – at something like £500 a year without an interest'. He explains that the previous afternoon he 'was asked by Sutton over the telephone to hand over the department to Leslie Wilson, but I thought that before doing this, I would see exactly what my legal position in the matter was, and whether my acquiescing in this would prejudice my case.' He names two firms of solicitors he cannot consult because of their association with Amalgamated Press, and gives details of the firm he has chosen, Fraser & Co., together with the opinion of 'Mr. Fraser' that 'Sutton's telphone message of yesterday afternoon instructing me to hand over the department to Leslie Wilson was tantamount to instant dismissal, as I have not yet received my notice'. He reports Fraser's advice on how to proceed, and asks 'to know now what you think I had better do […] Everybody who knows me thinks they are behaving disgracefully, but that it is only typical of them, and the only consolation one gets from people is “what did you expect”.' He does not believe 'for one moment that they intend to stop the cloth covers, but what they would dearly love and what they will never get is my resignation'. They should not 'worry over this affair', as he is 'particularly bright', has 'these people on the hip', and is 'determined to make them pay for stealing my idea'. He reports that 'Lord Northwick is at present away, and can do nothing about the affair, he does not return for another six or eight weeks.' He turns to 'Derwent' (1891-1971), the son of his brother the novelist Hall Caine, who, having commenced on an acting career, is 'sending out letters broadcast to all the managers, past, present and future, and having exhausted all the second and third class managers is now circulating the “fit ups”', and will write to them himself to tell them 'how “The Prodigal” is going'. He ends by reassuring them that he 'will not be out of a job for I think Mr. Gruneisen has discovered a man willing to put up £5,000 to £10,000 to back the Frank Lovell scheme of publishing [Lovell, was a New York publisher noted for his cheap editions], and a literary agent with a great many well-known authors is willing to find us all the novels we require'. TWO: TLS, 18 April 1907. 2pp., 4to. He begins by expressing astonishment at the mystery of how Northcliffe 'or his people discovered that I had consulted a Solicitor […] I feel strongly that this is only an excuse to help them out of an otherwise hopeless situation. However, I think that an interview between Northcliffe and yourself might go a long way towards settling a dispute without the necessity of bringing the matter before a Judge and Jury'. He announces that he intends to postpone his trip to America until the autumn, as he would like 'to fix up with you and Mrs Humphrey Ward before leaving. I have already placed a proposal before Mrs Ward for her new book, and I believe she is very much inclined to look favourably upon it.' He next turns to Helen Mathers, who has 'practically decided to put her Novel with us.' He expects to hear from Mathers in the following days. While he anticipates 'having no difficulty in obtaining good works', he would like to see them 'and Mr. Sears together'. He ends with news of 'Derwent', who is 'doing nothing until your return'. THREE: Typed 'statement' referred to in Item One above. Undated. 3pp., 4to. Beginning: 'Early in September I proposed to Lord Northcliffe two schemes, one for publishing 2/6 novels and the other for publishing sixpenny reprints in cloth covers. He liked the scheme, but referred me to his brother Mr. Harold Harmsworth who he said would go into the financial aspect and decide whether they would undertake either or both of the schemes. | Lord Northcliffe at the time asked me what I proposed my position should be, and I told him that I should require to be the Editor, whereupon he said “and head of the department”, to which I answered “yes”, and he agreed that if arrangement was made this should be my position.' He continues with a description of the commencement of the scheme, with reference to 'Mr. G. N. Sutton', his 'offices at 2 & 4, Tudor Street', and 'Mr. Leslie Wilson'. Concludes: 'I also claim that if I do receive notice I have a very good case against the Amalgamated Press for it is easy to understand that when I undertook this work and gave my ideas, I did not anticipate being dismissed at the end of the first six months of my service i.e. that for six months pay I have given them an idea upon which they can make anything from £15,000 to £18,000.' Also included are a childish pencil note by RHC to his parents, regarding his schooling, and an ALS, written from Skye, in envelope postmarked 21 August 1905, in which he thanks them for the 'splendid birthday present' (of £50).