Dec. 15 1846
I received this evening your note of Dec 11, <1> and regret exceedingly the determination you have come to, as it seems like putting an end at once to our association. It would be the height of folly in me to invest so much money in the purchase of a patent, <2> of the details of which I know nothing, and of which consequently it is impossible for me to form any idea of the value.
The ground on which you base you refusal to make me acquainted with these details is that you cannot enter a caveat in America. This would seem to imply that you doubt my integrity in the matter, and if such be your meaning after the letters <3> I had the honor to bring you from Mr Haight and Mr Gliddon,<4> I could not in justice to those gentlemen, do otherwise than retire at once from the negociation. As however it may all have arisen from an excess of caution on your part without any intention to impugn my motives, I send you herewith the letter <5> which Mr Haight requested me to bear to you in person, trusting that it will do away with all difficulties.
I should be well pleased to introduce your invention to the American public, but I am not willing to make a speculation of it; and if any arrangement is effected between us, it must be such an one, as that, while each party receives his just share of the proceeds, neither shall be subjected to the risk of loss.
I will await your answer in Paris, merely remarking in conclusion, that whatever business is transacted between us, must be as between men who have confidence in each other. On no other basis am I willing to act.
With sincere wishes for your continued health and prosperity
I remain, sir, Your Obt Servt
H. Fox Talbot Esq
H. Fox Talbot Esq
1. Not located.
4. Richard Kip Haight (1798-1862), American merchant, poet & traveler. WHFT was keen on applying photography to reproduction of both images and text and freely gave his permission to the Devonshire-born George Robbins Gliddon (1809-1857), an Egyptologist and American diplomat to use photography. He had Nicolaas Henneman produce prints for The Talbotype Applied to Hieroglyphics (Reading: 1846), comprising three photographs of hieroglyphs and his text. See Ricardo A. Caminos, "The Talbotype Applied to Hieroglyphics," Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, v. 52, 1966, pp. 65-70 and Plates XIII-XV. The ink ‘originals’ and accompanying loose prints are in the Talbot Collection of the National Media Museum, Bradford, and at the time Camino thought these were unique survivors; the copy in the British Library was lost to the Blitz. However, several other copies have been subsequently discovered. Three are in the Richard Lepsius collection in the State Library of Berlin. Gliddon dedicated one copy to Lepsius on 18 August 1846 and another (undated) to Joseph Bonomi; the third is not inscribed. On 18 August 1846, Gliddon dedicated a copy to the French Egyptologist Émile Prisse d’Avennes (1807-1879); it is bound into v. 219 of his diaries in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. A single plate is preserved in the Library Company of Philadelphia in the collection of Samuel Morton (1819-1850), a craniologist and ethnologist. On 17 June 1846, Gliddon wrote to Morton about Talbot’s new invention, enthusing that “if you introduced the Talbotype at Philadelphia, you need no longer employ an Artist in Skull-drawing, but save great expense and ensure supernatural accuracy in your Plates. Tis worth your consideration; for you can multiply ‘ad infinitum,’ at the mere cost of iodized paper.”