[the letter is in the NMM and its envelope is in the BL]
13 June 1854
After a three years absence in South America which I spent to revive my spirits after the failure of the firm W.& F. Langenheim, of which I was the junior partner, I returned here a short time ago and find the ground and prospects for Photography considerably changed. The application of the Collodion process has changed the prospects in the Portrait line to the greatest advantage, and many operators have now begun the business, which has had the tendency to bring this art into more general notice. As far as I can judge there would be a chance for me to recover part of the lost for myself as well as for my creditors, if your Patent would be renewed. I find that in the laws for renewal a patent there is a clause which says that a foreign Patent will not be renewed unless it is renewed in the country for which it has been originally patented. An application for renewal from our side would therefore be useless, unless you had applied for a renewal in England.
As very little time is to be lost to file the application for renewal I would ask the favor of you to advise me if you have made or intend to make an application for renewal in England, and if you think it advisable to furnish me with a copy of your application, partly to convince
me of the Commissioners of Patents that you have made such application, and partly to furnish me with additional information to justify the renewal, allthough the principal point is very clear and simple for me, the firm of W. & F. Langenheim not alone not having made any money by the Patent but lost all they possessed.
I have yet another favor to ask which is to give me the leading points on which you rest your right to stop infringers to work the Collodion process, as I find here that all the operators work in opposition to Talbots Patent, and in my opinion are all of them infringing on your original Patent. As I understand there is a process now pending between you and an Operator in London in regard to your Patent, the result of which is of course of the highest importance to me.
The only way to regain the lost money from your Patent would be to proceed against all infringers, which however requires money. I am without this all important article, but in case your patent can be renewed here, I will be able to find parties here, who are willing to invest money, time and talent to carry the Patent right through the unavoidable difficulties.
I find my brother downcast in spirit and I have therefore resolved to move in the matter to my best ability and I beg you to assist me with your counsel and advice in which hope I remain.
Yours very respectfully
Care of Mr. Heaton, 78 Wallnut St. Philadelphia
Henry Fox Talbot Esq
Lacock Abbey, England
Per first Steamer.
W. Henry Fox Talbot Esq