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better suited to his purpose, and drew his own wire, of which the teeth of the earliest gins were made, which was an article not at that time to be found in the market of Savannah. Mrs. Greene and Mr. Miller-a gentleman, who, having first come into the family of General Greene as a private tutor, afterwards married his widow—were the only persons admitted into his workshop, who knew in what way he was employing himself. The many hours he spent in his mysterious pursuits afforded matter of great curiosity, and often of raillery, to the younger members of the family. Toward the close of the winter, the machine was so nearly completed as to leave no doubt of its success. Mrs. Greene then invited to her house gentlemen from different parts of the state ; and on the first day after they had assembled, she conducted them to a temporary building which had been erected for the machine, and they saw with astonishment and delight that more cotton could be separated from the seed in one day, by the labor of a single hand, than could be done in the usual manner in the space of many months.

The machine which Mr. Whitney thus constructed, consisted chiefly of a process of circular saws, which, by a rotatory motion, dragged the cotton betwixt wires, leaving the seeds to fall to the bottom, while the cotton so cleaned was carried off by a rotatory brush playing upon the saws. An invention so important to the agricultural interest, and, as it has proved, to every department of human industry, could not long remain a secret. The knowledge of it soon spread through the state ; and so great was the excitement on the subject, that multitudes of persons came from all quarters of it to see the machine ; but it was not deemed prudent to gratify their curiosity until the patent right had been secured.

So determined, however, were some of the populace to possess this treasure, that neither law nor justice could restrain them; they broke open the building by night, and carried off the machine.

In this way the public became possessed of the invention; and before Mr. Whitney could complete his model and secure his patent, a number of machines were in successful operation, constructed with some slight deviation from the original, with the hope of evading the penalty for violating the patent right. A short time after this, he entered into partnership with Mr. Miller, who, having considerable funds at command, proposed to him to become his joint adventurer, and to be at the whole expense of maturing the invention until it should be patented. If the machine succeeded in its intended operation, the parties agreed to share equally all the profits and advantages accruing from it. The instrument of their partnership bears date May 27th, 1793.

Immediately afterwards, Mr. Whitney repaired to Connecticut, where, as far as possible, he was to perfect the machine, obtain a patent, and manufacture and ship for Georgia such a number of machines as would supply the demand. On the 20th of June, 1793, he presented his petition for a patent to Mr. Jefferson, then secretary of state ; but the prevalence of the yellow fever in Philadelphia, at that period the seat of government, prevented his concluding the business

until several months afterwards. We have not space sufficient to give a satisfactory detail of the obstacles and misfortunes which for a long time hindered the partners from reaping those advantages from the invention which it should have procured for them, and which they had an ample right to expect. These difficulties arose principally from the innumerable violations of their patent right, by which they were involved in various, almost interminable, lawsuits. The legislature of South Carolina purchased, in 1801, their right for that state, for the sum of fifty thousand dollars-a mere “song,” to use Whitney's own phrase, “in comparison with the worth of the thing; but it was securing something.” It enabled them to pay the debts which they had contracted, and divide something between them.

In the following year, Mr. Whitney negotiated a sale of his patent right with the state of North Carolina, the legislature of which laid a tax of two shillings and sixpence upon every saw—and some of the gins had forty saws-employed in ginning cotton, to be continued for five years, which sum was to be collected by the sheriffs in the same manner as the public taxes; and, after deducting the expenses of collection, the proceeds were faithfully paid over to the patentees. No small portion, however, of the funds thus obtained in the two Carolinas, was expended in carrying on the fruitless lawsuits which it was deemed necessary to prosecute in Georgia. A gentleman, who was well acquainted with Mr. Whitney's affairs in the south, and sometimes acted as his legal adviser, observed, that in all his experience in


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the thorny profession of the law, he had never seen a case of such perseverance under such persecution; "nor," he adds, “do I believe that I ever knew any other man who would have met them with equal coolness and firmness, or who would have obtained even the partial success which he had.”

There have indeed been but few instances in which the author of such inestimable advantages to a whole country as those which accrued from the invention of the cotton gin to the Southern States, was so harshly treated, and so inadequately compensated, as the subject of this sketch. He did not exaggerate when he said that it raised the value of those states from fifty to one hundred per cent. “If we should assert," said Judge Johnson, "that the benefits of this invention exceed one hundred millions of dollars, we can prove the assertion by correct calculation." Besides the violations of his right, he had to struggle against the efforts of malevolence and self-interest to deprive him of the honor of the invention, which he did triumphantly. In 1803, the entire responsibility of the whole concern devolved upon him, in consquence of the death of Mr. Miller. In 1812, he made application to congress for the renewal of his patent, but unfortunately without success--though he set forth that his invention had been a source of opulence to thousands of the citizens of the United States; that, as a labor-saving machine, it would enable one man to perform the work of a thousand.

Some years before, in 1799, Mr. Whitney, impressed with the uncertainty of all his hopes founded on the cotton gin, had engaged in another enterprise,

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which conducted him, by slow but sure steps, to a competent fortune. This was the manufacture of arms for the United States, which, he contracted for and furnished to a large amount.

In January, 1817, he married the youngest daughter of the celebrated Pierpont Edwards, judge of the District Court for the state of Connecticut. For the five subsequent years he continued to enjoy domestic happiness, a competent fortune, and an honorable reputation, when he was attacked by a fatal maladyan enlargement of the prostate gland—which, after causing great and protracted suffering, terminated his life on the 8th of January, 1825.

In person, Mr. Whitney was considerably above the ordinary size, of a dignified carriage, and of an open, manly, and agreeable countenance.

His manners were conciliatory, and his whole appearance such as to inspire respect. He possessed great serenity of temper, though he had strong feelings, and a high sense of honor. Perseverance was a striking trait in his character. Everything that he attempted, he effected as far as possible. In the relations of private life, he enjoyed the affection and esteem of all with whom he was connected.


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