Eight items relating to royalties due from Richards for Lucas's 'The Open Road' following Richards' bankruptcy.

Edward Verrall Lucas (1868-1938), English author; Grant Richards (1872-1948), English publisher
Publication details: 
London; 9 March to 7 April 1905.
SKU: 4980

The collection as a whole is in good condition, although lightly creased in places and somewhat dusty and aged. All items have unobtrusive pinholes, and Item Seven has fraying and closed tears to extremities. An interesting correspondence casting light on publishing practices at the turn of the nineteenth century. ITEMS ONE TO FIVE: 12mo letters from Lucas's solicitors Field, Roscoe & Co., each on the firm's letterhead, to the 'Receiver and Manager appointed to carry on [Richards'] business', H. C. K. Stileman, dated 9, 11, 18 and 21 March, and 1 April 1905. ITEM SIX: unsigned one-page 12mo typescript copy of letter from Stileman of 10 March [1905], replying to Item One. ITEM SEVEN: one-page quarto typescript copy, with manuscript additions and corrections, of letter of 5 April 1905 from Richards to Field, Roscoe & Co, on his letterhead, replying to Item Five. ITEM EIGHT: one-page octavo manuscript copy of letter of 7 April 1905 from Field Roscoe & Co. to Stileman. Item One is a three-page letter in which Lucas's solicitors point out that Stileman has 'been selling to booksellers' copies of 'The Open Road', despite the fact that 'the Copyright of this book is the property of Mr. Lucas who merely granted to Mr. Richards a personal licence to sell on certain terms. Such a right is of course not assignable. [...] We are at a loss to understand in respect of what right you have sold the volumes in question & as at present advised have informed Mr. Lucas that in our opinion the Sales are a breach of his copyright'. In Item Six Stileman replies 'I fail to see how any damage can have been done to your client in carrying out the arrangement [...] Am I to understand that it is your client's desire that no further copies should be sold?' In Item Two (two pages) Lucas's solicitors ask for 'a list of all Sales with dates & the numbers of Copies sold & the names of the purchasers'. In Item Three (one page) they ask for the 'usual account'. In Item Four (one page) they ask for 'the statement upon which the half profit [...] is brought out at £29. 6. 10.' In Item Five (three pages) they ask whether Stileman intends to pay royalties on the books of Lucas, Thomas Cobb and Thompson Seton. '[W]e may as well point out now that in our opinion upon no view of [Lucas's] case can the charge of £13. 2. 6 for lien be upheld - Your rights as receiver cannot be greater than those of Mr Grant Richards & he clearly could not have made such a deduction as against the author. It is in effect charging part of his general debts against this particular book.' In Item Seven Richards claims that the 'arrangement' (corrected in manuscript from 'verbal agreement') was that 'Mr. Lucas was to have half profits on the sale of the book, and as I had to pay lien in order to continue the sale, I included it in the account.' He concludes by setting out conditions under which he is willing to delete the item. In Item Eight Lucas's solicitors dismiss 'the lien charge' as 'entirely wrong in principle': 'we cannot make its deletion dependent on the assent of the Trustee. You will doubtless communicate with the Trustee if you think it desirable for your own protection to do so but this has nothing to do with Mr. Lucas. [...] We had hoped by this time to have been able to tell you what we were prepared to do, but we cannot get the figures we want from Mr. Moncrieff.' 'The Open Road' was published by Richards in 1899 and reprinted in 1904. An edition was published by Methuen (the firm of which Lucas later became chairman) in 1905.