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skewers on which it was fixed, by one pair of rollers, which were made to move at a comparatively slow rate, and which formed it into threads of the first and coarser quality ; but, at a little distance from the first, was placed a second pair of rollers, revolving three, four, or five times as fast, which took it up when it had passed through the others, the effect of which would be to reduce the thread to a degree of fineness so many times greater than that which it originally had. The first pair of rollers might be regarded as the feeders of the second, which could receive no more than the others sent to them; and that, again, could be no more than these others themselves took up from the skewers. As the second pair of rollers, therefore, revolved, we will say, five times for every revolution of the first pair, or, which is the same thing, required for their consumption in a given time five times the length of thread that the first did, they could obviously only obtain so much length by drawing out the common portion of cotton into thread of five times the original fineness. Nothing could be more beautiful or more effective than this contrivance, which, with an additional provision for giving the proper twist to the thread, constitutes what is called the water-frame, or throstle.
It would be needless to enter here into the history of Arkwright's legal contests, which, after various success, he finally lost, and that only because the specifications of his patents were obscure, or mysteriously expressed. The world at large, however, readily acknowledged the originality of his invention, the public doing him that justice which the law de
nied. Whether he was the actual discoverer of the process, is, we think, of little moment. He made the invention known under all kinds of embarrassments, and at the risk of great loss; and thus, though he were proved to be merely the publisher of the invention, he would, as such, deserve more praise than the pusillanimous beings, who laid no claim to the discovery till it was established as successful.
The most marked traits in the character of Arkwright were his wonderful ardor, energy, and perseverance. He commonly labored in his multifarious concerns from five o'clock in the morning till nine at night; and, when considerably more than fifty years of age, feeling that the defects of his education placed him under great difficulty and inconvenience in conducting his correspondence, and in the general management of his business, he encroached upon his sleep, in order to gain an hour each day to learn English grammar, and another hour to improve his writing and orthography! He was impatient of whatever interfered with his favorite pursuits; and the fact is too strikingly characteristic not to be mentioned, that he separated from his wife, not many years after their marriage, because she, being convinced that he would starve his family by scheming when he should have been shaving, broke some of his experimental models of machinery!
Arkwright was a severe economist of time; and, that he might not waste a moment, he generally travelled with four horses, and at a very rapid speed. He had extensive concerns in Derbyshire, Lancashire, and Scotland; and his speculative schemes, which
were vast and daring, generally proved advantageous. The exertions which he put forth in establishing his machinery were the more remarkable, from being made while in bad health. During the whole of his career, he was laboring under a very severe asthmatic affection. A complication of disorders at length terminated his truly useful life, in 1792, at his works at Cromford, in the sixtieth year of his age. He was high sheriff of Derbyshire in 1786; and, having presented a congratulatory address to his majesty on his escape from the attempt upon his life by Margaret Nicholson, received the honor of knighthood, and hence had the title of Sir Richard Arkwright.
WHILE Arkwright and others were engaged in improving the manufacture of cotton in Great Britain, another genius was at work in America, having the great object in view of preparing the cotton from its raw state, for the processes to be employed in its subsequent manufacture. Of this genius we have now to speak. Eli Whitney, one of the most intrepid and persevering improvers that ever lived, was the son of a respectable farmer at Westborough, Worcester county, Massachusetts, where he was born in the year 1765. Very early, young Eli gave striking indications of the mechanical genius for which he was afterwards so distinguished. His education was of a limited character until he had reached the age of nineteen, when he conceived the idea of entering a college. Accordingly, notwithstanding the opposition of his parents, he prepared himself-partly by means of the profits of his manual labor, partly by teaching a village school—for the College of New Haven, which he entered May, 1789. Soon after he took his degree, in the autumn of 1792, he entered into an engagement with a gentleman of Georgia, to reside in his family as a private teacher; but, on his arrival in that state, he found that another teacher had been employed, and he was left entirely without resources. Fortunately, however, among the passengers in the vessel in which he sailed, was Mrs.
Greene, the widow of the celebrated general, who had given him an invitation to spend some time at her residence at Mulberry Grove, near Savannah; and, on learning his disappointment, she benevolently insisted upon his making her house his home until he had prepared himself for the bar, as was his intention.
Whitney had not been long in her family before a complete turn was given to his views. of gentlemen, on a visit to Mrs. Greene, having fallen into a conversation upon the state of agriculture among them, expressed great regret that there was no means of cleansing the green seed cotton, or separating it from its seed, remarking, that, until ingenuity could devise some machine which would greatly facilitate the process of cleansing, it was in vain to think of raising cotton for market. “Gentlemen," said Mrs. Greene, "apply to my young friend, Mr. Whitney; he can make anything.” She then conducted them into a neighboring room, where she showed them a number of specimens of his genius. The gentlemen were next introduced to Whitney himself; and, when they named their object, he replied that he had never seen either cotton or cotton seed during his life. But the idea was engendered; and, it being out of season for cotton in the seed, he went to Savannah, and searched among the warehouses and boats until he found a small portion of it. This he carried home, and set himself to work with such rude materials and instruments as a Georgia plantation afforded.
With these resources, however, he made tools