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that State and reside in his employer's | trouble and expense incurred in sepfamily as a private teacher. On his arating the seed from the fiber. These way thither, he had as a traveling representations impelled Mrs. Greene companion Mrs. Greene, widow of the to say: “Gentlemen, apply to my eminent Revolutionary general, Na- young friend, Mr. Whitney--he can thaniel Greene, who was returning make any thing." She thereupon took with her children to Savannah, after them into an adjacent room, where spending the summer at the North. she showed them her tambour-frame His health being infirm on his arri- and several ingenious toys which Mr. val at Savannah, Mrs. Greene kindly W. had made for the gratification of invited him to the hospitalities of her her children. She then introduced residence until he should become fully them to Whitney himself, extolling restored. Short of money and in a his genius and commending him to land of strangers, he was now coolly their confidence and friendship. In informed by his employer that his the conversation which ensued, he services were not required, he (B.) observed that he had never seen cothaving employed another teacher in ton nor cotton-seed in his life. his stead! Mrs. Greene hereupon Mr. Whitney promised nothing and urged him to make her house his gave little encouragement, but went home so long as that should be de- to work. No cotton in the seed besirable, and pursue under her roof ing at hand, he went to Savannah the study of the law, which he then and searched there among warecontemplated. He gratefully accept- houses and boats until he found a ed the offer, and commenced the small parcel. This he carried home study accordingly.

and secluded with himself in a baseMrs. Greene happened to be en- ment room, where he set himself at gaged in embroidering on a peculiar work to devise and construct the imframe known as a tambour. It was plement required. Tools being few badly constructed, so that it injured and rude, he was constrained to make the fabric while it impeded its pro- better-drawing his own wire, beduction. Mr. Whitney eagerly vol-cause none could, at that time, be unteered to make her a better, and bought in the city of Savannah. Mrs. did so on a plan wholly new, to her Greene and her next friend, Mr. Milgreat delight and that of her chil- ler, whom she soon after married, dren.

were the only persons beside himself A large party of Georgians, from who were allowed the entrée of his Augusta and the plantations above, workshopin fact, the only ones who soon after paid Mrs. G. a visit, sev- clearly knew what he was about. His eral of them being officers who had mysterious hammering and tinkering served under her husband in the Rev- in that solitary cell were subjects of olutionary war. Among the topics infinite curiosity, marvel, and rididiscussed by them around her fireside cule among the younger members of was the depressed state of Agricul- the family. But he did not interfere ture, and the impossibility of profit- with their merriment, nor allow them ably extending the culture of the to interfere with his enterprise; and, green-seed Cotton, because of the before the close of the winter, his

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machine was so nearly perfected that him of the just reward of his achieveits success was no longer doubtful. ment. He ought not to have ex

Mrs. Greene, too eager to realize pected that those who lived idly and and enjoy her friend's triumph, in luxuriously by stealing the wife from view of the existing stagnation of her husband, and the child from its Georgian industry, invited an assem- mother, would hesitate to steal, also, blage at her house of leading gentle- the fruit of his brain-work, in order men from various parts of the State, to render thereby the original theft and, on the first day after their meet- ten-fold more advantageous than it ing, conducted them to a temporary otherwise could be. Reports of the building, erected for the machine, in nature and value of his invention which they saw, with astonishment were widely and rapidly circulated, and delight, that one man with creating intense excitement. MultiWhitney's invention could separate tudes hastened from all quarters to more cotton from the seed in a single see his original machine; but, no day than he could without it by the patent having yet been secured, it labor of months.

was deemed unsafe to gratify their Mr. Phineas Miller, a native of curiosity; so they broke open the Connecticut and a graduate of Yale, building by night, and carried off the who had come to Georgia as the wonderful prize. Before he could teacher of General Greene's children, complete his model and secure his and who, about this time, became patent, a number of imitations had the husband of his widow, now pro- been made and set to work, deviating posed a partnership with Mr. Whit in some respects from the original, in ney, by which he engaged to furnish the hope of thus evading all penalty. funds to perfect the invention, secure Before Whitney had been three days the requisite patents, and manufac- on his northward trip, a letter from ture the needed machines; the part. his partner followed on his track, ners to share equally all profits and which said: emoluments thence resulting. Their

"It will be necessary to have a consideracontract bears date May 27, 1793; ble number of gins made, to be in readiness and the firm of Miller & Whitney to send out as soon as the patent is obtained,

in order to satisfy the absolute demands, immediately commenced what they

and make people's heads easy on the subject; had good reason to expect would for I am informed of two other claimants prove a most extensive and highly prove most extensive and highly for the honor of the invention of the cotton

y gins, in addition to those we kner before." lucrative business. Mr. Whitney thereupon repaired to Connecticut, / Messrs. Miller and Whitney's there to perfect his invention, secure plan of operations was essentially his patent, and manufacture machines vicious. They proposed to construct for the Southern market

and retain the ownership of all the But his just and sanguine hopes machines that might be needed, setwere destined to signal and bitter ting one up in each cotton-growing disappointment. His invention was neighborhood, and ginning all the too valuable to be peacefully enjoyed; staple for every third pound of the or, rather, it was the seeming and product. Even at this rate, the urgent interest of too many to rob invention would have been one of

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enormous benefit to the planters- I was greatly injured by the ginning cotton being then worth from twenty- process! And now no one would five to thirty-three cents per pound. touch the ginned cotton ; and blockBut no single manufactory could turn heads were found to insist that the out the gins so fast as wanted, and roller-gin -a preposterous rival to planters who might readily have con- Whitney's, whereby the seed was sented to the terms of the patentees, crushed in the fibre, instead of being had the machines been furnished so separated from it-was actually a fast as required, could hardly be ex- better machine than Whitney's! In pected to acquiesce so readily in the the depths of their distress and innecessity of doing without machines solvency, Miller wrote (April 27, altogether because the patentees could | 1796) from Georgia to Whitney, urgnot, though others could, supply them. ing him to hasten to London, there And then the manufacture of ma- to counteract the stupid prejudice chines, to be constructed and worked

which had been excited against by the patentees alone, involved a very ginned cotton; adding: large outlay of money, which must “Our fortune, our fate, depends on it. mainly be obtained by borrowing. Mil The process of patent ginning is now quite ler's means being soon exhausted, their

at a stand. I hear nothing of it except the

condolence of a few real friends, who exfirst loan of two thousand dollars was press their regret that so promising an inmade on the comparatively favorable vention has entirely failed.”. condition of five per cent. premium, Whitney endeavored to obey this in addition to lawful interest. But injunction, but could nowhere obtain they were soon borrowing at twenty the necessary funds; though he had per cent. per month. Then there several times fixed the day of his dewas sickness ; Mr. Whitney having parture, and on one occasion had a severe and tedious attack in 1794; actually engaged his passage, and after which the scarlet fever raged in taken leave of some of his friends. New Haven, disabling many of his October 7, 1797, Mr. Whitney wrote workmen ; and soon the lawsuits, to an intimate friend a letter, whereinto which they were driven in de- from the following is an extract: fense of their patent, began to devour

“The extreme embarrassments which all the money they could make or have been for a long time accumulating borrow. In 1795, Whitney had upon me are now become so great that it

will be impossible for me to struggle against another attack of sickness; and, on

them many days longer. It has required his return to New Haven, from three my utmost exertions to exist, without maweeks of suffering in New York,

king the least progress in our business. I

have labored hard against the strong current learned that his manufactory, with of disappointment, which has been threatenall his machines and papers, had just

ing to carry us down the cataract; but I

have labored with a shattered car, and been consumed by fire, whereby he

struggled in vain, unless some speedy relief found himself suddenly reduced to is obtained. I am now quite far enough utter bankruptcy. Next came a re

advanced in life to think seriously of marry

ing. I have ever looked forward with pleaport from England that the British

sure to an alliance with an amiable and virmanufacturers condemned and re tuous companion, as a source from whence jected the cotton cleaned by his ma

I have expected one day to derive the great

est happiness. But the accomplishment of chines, on the ground that the staple my tour to Europe, and the acquisition of

me ever

WHITNEY AND HIS COTTON-GIN.

63 something which I can call my own, appear., they generally took care not to pay. to be absolutely necessary, before it will be te

If sued, juries would often return a engagements. Probably a year and a half, verdict of no consideration, or a trial at least, will be required to perform that

would be staved off until collection tour, after it is entered upon. Life is but short, at best, and six or seven years out of

was barred by the statute of limitathe midst of it is, to him who makes it, an | immense sacrifice. My most unremitted at

existed through a period of four tention has been devoted to our business. I have sacrificed to it other objects, from years. On one occasion, the agent which, before this time, I might certainly of the patentees, who was dispatched have gained twenty or thirty thousand dollars. My whole prospects have been em

on a collecting tour through the barked in it, with the expectation that I State of Georgia, was unable to ob

tain money enough to pay his exthing from it."

| penses, and was compelled to draw At length the ridiculous prejudice on his employers for nearly the full

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gin gradually and slowly gave way, Finally, in 1801, this agent wrote and the value of the invention began to his principals that, though the to be perceived and acknowledged.

planters of South Carolina would not But Miller & Whitney's first suit

pay their notes, many of them sugagainst infringers now came to trial,

gested a purchase of the right of the before a Georgia jury; and, in spite

patentees for that State by its Legisof the judge's charge directly in the

lature; and he urged Mr. Whitney plaintiffs' favor, a verdict was given

to come to Columbia, and try to for the defendantm-a verdict from

make an arrangement on this basis. which there was no appeal. When

Whitney did so, taking some letters the second suit was ready for trial at

and testimonials from the new PresiSavannah, no judge appeared, and, of

dent, Jefferson, and his Secretary of course, no court was held. Mean

State, Madison, which were doubttime, the South fairly swarmed with

less of service to him in his negotiapirates on the invention, of all kinds

tions. His memorial having been and degrees. In April, 1799, Miller

duly submitted to the Legislature, writes to Whitney as follows:

proposing to sell the patent right for “ The prospect of making anything by South Carolina for one hundred ginning in this State is at an end. Surrep

thousand dollars, the Legislature detitious gins are erected in every part of the country; and the jurymen at Augusta have

bated it, and finally offered for it come to an understanding among themselves fifty thousand -- twenty thousand that they will never give a cause in our

| down, and ten thousand per annum favor, let the merits of the case be as they may."

for three years. Whitney, in a letter It would not be surprising if the

written the day after the passage of firm would now have gladly relin

the act, says: quished the working of their ma

"The use of the machine here is ama

zingly extensive, and the value of it beyond chines, and confined themselves to all calculation. It may, without exaggerathe sale of patent rights. But few tion, be said to have raised the value of

seven-eighths of all the three Southern would buy what they could safely

States from fifty to one hundred per cent. steal, and those few gave notes which We get but a song for it in comparison with

ald safely seven bigheid to have

the worth of the thing; but it is securing 1 of the act, entitled, "An act to extend the something. It will enable Miller & Whit- | privileges of obtaining Patents for useful

ey to pay all their debts, and divide some- | discoveries and inventions, to certain perthing between them. It establishes a pre- sons therein mentioned, and to enlarge and cedent which will be valuable as it respects define the penalties for violating the rights our collections in other States, and I think of patentees,' so as to prevent the operation there is now a fair prospect that I shall in of it to the injury of that most valuable stathe event realize property enough to render ple, cotton, and the cramping of genius in me comfortable, and, in some measure, inde improvements on Miller & Whitney's patent pendent.”

Gin, as well as to limit the price of obtain

ing a right of using it, the price at present He was mistaken. The next Legis- / being unbounded, and the planter and poor lature of South Carolina nullified the artificer altogether at the mercy of the pa

tentees, who may raise the price to any sum contract, suspended payment on the

they please. thirty thousand still due, and insti 6 And, in case the said Senators and Retuted a suit for the recovery of the

presentatives of this State shall find such

modification impracticable, that they do twenty thousand that had been

then use their best endeavors to induce Con

gress, from the example of other nations, to which this remarkable course was

make compensation to Miller & Whitney for

their discovery, take up the patent right, taken are more fully set forth in the and release the Southern States from so action of the Legislature of Georgia burthensome a grievance." in 1803, based on a Message from North Carolina, to her honor be it the governor, urging the inexpediency recorded, in December, 1802, negoof granting any thing to Miller & tiated an arrangement with Mr. Whitney. The Committee to whom Whitney, whereby the legislature this matter was referred, made a laid a tax of two shillings and sixreport, in which they

pence upon every saw employed in "cordially agreed with the governor in his ginning cotton, to be continued for observations, that monopolies are at all five years, which sum was to be coltimes odious, particularly in free governments, and that some remedy ought to be

lected by the sheriffs in the same applied to the wound which the Cotton-Gin manner as the public taxes; and, monopoly has given, and will otherwise

after deducting the expenses of colleccontinue to give, to the culture and cleaning of that precious and increasing staple. They

tion, the avails were faithfully paid have examined the Rev. James Hutch over to the patentee. The old inson, who declares that Edward Lyon, at least twelve months before Miller & Whit

North State was not extensively enney's machine was brought into view, had gaged in cotton-growing, and the in possession a saw or cotton-gin, in minia

pecuniary avails of this action were ture, of the same construction, and it further appears to them, from the information probably not large; but the arrangeof Doctor Cortes Pedro Dampiere, an old ment seems to have been a fair one, and respectable citizen of Columbia county,

and it was never repudiated. South that a machine of a construction similar to that of Miller & Whitney, was used in Swit Carolina, it should in justice be said, zerland at least forty years ago, for the pur through her legislature of 1804, pose of picking rags to make lint and paper.

receded from her repudiation, and This astonishing Committee closed their report with the following reso- Mr. Miller, the partner of Whitlution:

ney, died, poor and embarrassed, on .66 Resolved, That the Senators and Repre- the 7th of December, 1803. At the sentatives of this state in Congress be, and

term of the United States District they hereby are, instructed to use their utmost endeavors to obtain a modification Court for Georgia, held at Savannah

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