W.T. Stead to John Hyslop Bell (July, 1871)
Quoted in Frederick Whyte, The Life of W.T. Stead, (1925) vol I, p. 32
I thank you for your frank declaration that you would think a request to write anything contrary to conviction as “dishonourable as an attempt to pick a pocket,” but you must be aware that many newspaper proprietors have very different ideas upon the subject. With regard to my “inexperienced suggestions,” I am perfectly willing to admit that they were inexperienced, but being entirely ignorant of the established customs of the Press I must be forgiven for thinking that matters of business arrangement could never be too clearly defined between gentlemen in any profession.
I am aware that you risk much in engaging me. I risk myself which I must confess is of considerable importance to me. But, however we may have stumbled over the preliminaries, I trust that it may be the only misunderstanding between us, and that by twelve months’ loyal and hearty service I may prove to you that you were justified in accepting the risk of installing me in such a responsible position.