To Frederic Ouvry, 12 May 1860

Period: 
1851-1860

To FREDERIC OUVRY,1 12 MAY 1860

MS Peter Ward.

TAVISTOCK HOUSE,

TAVISTOCK SQUARE, LONDON. W.C.

Saturday Twelfth May, 1860.

My Dear Ouvry.

My impression of the Household Words transaction was, throughout, simply this:2 That I terminated a partnership which I had the right of terminating, because I could not have any thing more to do with Bradbury and Evans. That I took Wills from the first, into my confidence as to this intention, because I meant, in a new periodical, to replace him in his old position – greatly improved by the new periodical being freed from the incubus of Bradbury and Evans’s charges, and Bradbury and Evans’s conduct of the business, absolutely without control. That I gave to the destroyed publication, an adventitious value, for the sake of the new publication. That the destroyed one was absolutely worthless but for me. That I ran up its price and made it valuable, in the interests of the new publication. That the purchase of it was my act solely, and was of immense advantage to the new publication of which I gave3 Wills a fourth share.

I should most assuredly not have parted with that fourth share, if I had for a moment supposed myself to be committing such an absurdity [ ]4 as giving an exaggerated and fictitious value to the destroyed publication, and recognizing Wills’s interest in such value, and an obligation in myself to pay him [ ]5 accordingly. The strict law of the thing as between Wills and me never entered my head. I considered it throughout as a matter of plain equity and reason.

 

Frederic Ouvry Esquire

 

Faithfully Yours always 

 CHARLES DICKENS

  • 1. Frederic Ouvry (1814-81), CD’s solicitor from 1856: see Pilgrim Letters 7, p. 273n.
  • 2. For CD’s break with Bradbury & Evans, the termination of Household Words, and initiation of All the Year Round, see Pilgrim Letters 8 (including Appx J) and 9 (including Appx B) and Robert L. Patten, CD and His Publishers, 1978, chs 13, pp. 260-3, and 14, pp. 267-9.
  • 3. Written above “had given” deleted.
  • 4. Illegible word deleted.
  • 5. Illegible word deleted.