The following is a Report made by Senator James, of Rhode Island, in the Senate, on the 3rd inst., and which has been published in the " National Intelligencer :"— " The Committee on Patents and the Pa tent Office, to whom was referred the memo rial of Levi L. Hill, in reference to his alleg ed discovery in Heliochrome, or sun-painting, as denominated by Mr. Hill, ask leave to sub mit the following report: Mr. Hill, having been before the commit tee, explained to them the history and prin ciples ot his invention, and submitted to their inspection numerous specimens of the produc tions of his art or invention. The committee have formed the opinion that those specimens afforded sufficient proofs that the inventor has solved the problem of photographic colora tion. The committee had in their hands the plates, unprotected by glass or any other cov ering, and saw them freely rubbed and oth erwise tested, confirming in their minds the fact of the invention and the durability of the pictures. It is believed that most ot the philosophers, both in Europe and America, long since gave up, as hopeless, the search af ter this branch of science, which has now been discovered by one ot our citizens, in one of the wild valleys of the Catskill mountains, far removed from the schools of art. The committee learn that Mr. Hill has arrived at this discovery, by which the works of nature may be copied in their original hues, through three years of persevering toil. The com mittee is informed by Mr. Hill that his dis covery has not yet been perfected in its prac tical details, which is not surprising, it being but little more than two years since he ob tained his first result. But the beauty ot the results to which the process has already at tained would seem to afford evidence that it will be perfected at no very distant day. The prospective utility and importance of this invention are very apparent in its appli cation to portraits, landscapes, botany, morbid anatomy, mineralogy, conchology, aboriginal history, the reproduction of valuable paintings, and to various ornamental purposes. The committee are satisfied of Mr. Hill's claim to originality and priority of invention, and deem it but just and right that he should be suitably protected and encouraged ; and they deem it more particularly so, seeing that a ri val claim has been set up in France since the announcement of his discovery was made. The means by which this process is carried out being strictly chemical, it would seem that the existing patent laws would not afford to the inventor the security required. Owing, however, to the short period remaining of the present session of Congress, and the press of business, the committee have been unable to devise any better or more efficient mode by which to recognise the claim ot Mr. Hill, than by recommending that his memorial, together with this report, be placed on the records of the Senate." [We would respectfully state that the Se nate had better take charge of the Patent Of fice at once, make all the examinations and grant all the patents. If it does so in one case, out of the proper and just order of busi ness, why not in every case ? The claims ot one inventor are just as sacred as those of another. Mr. Hill's course has certainly been a singular one; he has never revealed how he colored his daguerreotypes, but merely shows his pic tures, and hence his claims are recognized, and the Committee reports that he should be suit ably protected. Let him take out a patent, then, in the usual way. The coloring of da guerreotypes, is now public property, and would be so decided by law ; the art was dis covered in France and given to the world, so far a? it is perfected. Mr. Hill is apparently afraid of this, hence his singular mode of pro cedure. What his claims are we do not know. The U. S. Supreme Court has decided that an art is not patentable; whatever new means he has adopted—his chemical, &c.—are patentable, and no more. Mr. James has made one mistake—France has set up no ri val claim to that of Mr. Hill—none. M. Niepce,the favorite nephew of the discoverer of Daguerreotyping, has colored some pictures and giYen the result of his experiments to the world, which have been published in our columns, and from said descriptions an Ameri can in Ohio, Mr. Campbell, has tested the same and produced some striking results, which have also been given to the world through our columns, along with some ot his own improvements. Does Mr. Hill employ any of the processes described in our columns1 If so, let us know it; if not, he is entitled to what is his own, and no more.
This article was originally published with the title "The Heliochromy" in Scientific American 8, 28, 224 (March 1853)