[ May, 1949]
Dear John: 1
As I read his accusation, Mr. Hackett appears to charge me with having plagiarized, or stolen, parts of three works of his: (1) a biography of Henry the VIIIth, (2) a novel about Anne Boleyn, and (3) a play about Henry the VIIIth. He does not make it quite clear which of these works he is quoting when he writes the list of phrases or ideas which he thinks I appropriated from him--but I wish to make one thing quite clear at the beginning. I read Mr. Hackett's biography of Henry the VIIIth, along with other histories and biographies, as part of my preparation for writing "Anne of the Thousand Days." I did not read his novel or his play on this subject nor did I know till after my play was finished that he had written the novel or the play. I affirm this quite deliberately, and I am willing to take oath to it. If Mr. Hackett accuses me of so much as looking into his play or novel--or even of hearing about them from others before my play was finished--he is accusing me of perjury. I did not know of either one, even by hearsay, before my play was complete and ready for production.
I first heard of Mr. Hackett's novel when Bretaigne Windust, who had been engaged to stage my play, brought the book to my house. 2 I did not read it then, and have never read it. As for the play, I heard