Dayton, December 13, 1905
Your letters of 9th and 11th & 12th received. I am afraid my opinion of Capt. Ferber would not look well in writing. He seems to be following the example of his commander in chief, Gen. Brugere, who is now suffering arrest for discussing confidential matters with newspaper men.
Several weeks ago we concluded that too much time was being wasted by England & France in coming to close quarters, so we decided to apply a mild outside pressure. At the same time that we released you, we wrote to Dienstbach, Besancon, and Alexander, as well as to Col. Capper, giving a detailed statement of our later experiments.1 The desired effect seems to have been produced in France, at least, as Ferber's cablegram shows. We wrote Col. Foster three weeks ago that we feared the delay resulting from referring back to the London office the question of whether or not an actual sight of the machine in flight should necessarily precede any discussion of terms would result in the arrival of a crisis in our other negotiations before the British government had made up its mind to proceed. They have no doubt learned from the Paris papers that our hint was not a mere "bluff," but we have no word from London as yet.
Mr. Dienstbach informs us that his article in N.Y. paper has not yet appeared.
The inclosed cablegram will answer your inquiry regarding a reply to Ferber.
I also inclose a few clippings which may amuse you.
1 To a large extent these letters duplicate accounts of the flights of 1904 and 1905 given elsewhere, particularly in the Wright Chanute correspondence, and so are not included in this work. The letters were all written on Nov. 17, 1905, with the possible exception of the letter to Capper, no copy of which has been found.
Two letters were written to Carl Dienstbach, one for publication. The latter is printed in full in Kelly, Miracle at Kitty Hawk, pp. 153 154. Both letters were published in Illustrierte Aeronautische Mitteilungen for Feb. 1906 under the title "Das zweite Lebensjahr der praktischen Flugmaschine,"
The letter to Georges Besancon, publisher of Aerophile, offered to supply the names of witnesses, if desired. It was published in Aerophile, Dec. 1903. Besancon answered this letter on Nov. 30, 1905, and the Wrights responded on Dec. 13, giving additional details relating to the flights and appending a list of the names of witnesses.
The letter to Patrick Y. Alexander was read before the December 15, 1905, meeting of the British Aeronautical Society, and published in the Aeronautical Journal, Jan, 1906.
Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright,
December 14, 1905