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ness as always to satisfy, and not unfrequently to astonish his employers.

The inhabitants of the New England states, and more especially those in the class in which Whitney's father was, have always been celebrated for a certain species of thrift, by which they are enabled to turn such circumstances as present themselves to their account. An instance of this is exhibited in the life of Whitney when about sixteen years of age. The revolutionary war by shutting ont imports to a great extent, raised the price of nails, which were much in demand, and exclusively wrought by hand. Whitney easily persuaded his father to furnish him with the necessary implements, and to allow him to engage in their manufacture. The father took good care, however, to reserve to himself all the profits resulting from his son's labor. We find him engaged in this occupation for upwards of two years, until the termination of the war, which by bringing foreign imports in competition with him, greatly reduced the profits of his laqor and induced him to relinquish the business.

About this period he determined to acquire a collegiate education, and set himself steadfastly to the task of accomplishing this object. By dint of much perseverance and labor, both as a mechanic and in conducting a small school, he succeeded in procuring the means necessary to defray his expenses, as well as the education requisite to enable him to enter the Freshmen class at Yale College, in the spring of 1789, when about twenty-four years of age. It is needless to say that young Whitney, who was opposed in his scheme of college education by his family, and thus obliged to procure, by his own individual exertions, the means of sustaining himself while engaged in its prosecution, was a diligent and laborious pupil. In his studies as elsewhere, his favorite propensity manifested itself. The classics and polite literature were studied by him from necessity, but mathematics, and especially those branches immediately relating to mechanics, from choice. In the former he was never remarkable, in the latter he was a proficient. With the chaste diction, and exquisite poetical imagery of the ancient writers, he had little sympathy. The sweet toned sentences of Theocritus, the pleasing harmony of Virgil, or the graceful measure of Horace, failed to inspire his mind with their lofty and soul-stirring aspirations. Nor could he drink in those lessons of wisdom which flow in such abundant streams into the minds of others differently constituted, from the perusal of the works of Aristotle, Quintilian, Cicero and Tacitus. His mind possessed too much mathematical precision to derive gratification from these writers, and he gladly turned from them to bury himself in the abstruse theories of Euclid, Hugens, Newton and Euler.

During his continuance at college, he did not abandon his craft in practical mechanism, which he frequently applied to very useful purposes. One of the teachers mentioning on one occasion, his regret at being unable to exhibit to the class a very interesting experiment, on account of the condition of the philosophical apparatus, which no mechanic in the village was able to rectify, young Whitney volunteered the task, and soon placed the apparatus in complete order, very much to the gratification of his teachers, who warmly commended him for it.

He graduated in 1792, and in the autumn of the same year entered into an engagement with a gentleman who resided in the state of Georgia, to become a private tutor to his children. Ile shortly after set out for that state, in order to comply with his engagement. Unfortunately he found the position he had left his home to till, occupied by another, and he was thus left without occupation or means, and almost friendless. It had been his good fortune, however, to accompany a southern lady who, with her family, was returning from a northern tour, from New York to Savannah. This lady, who was the widow of General Greene, a distinguished officer of the Revolution, took a deep interest in the welfare of Whitney, and no sooner heard of his disappointment, than she kindly proposed to him to make her house his home, and immediately to commence the study of the law, as was his original intention. Whitney accepted this offer, and took up his residence with her accordingly.

An incident occurred here which completely changed all his views for life in relation to himself, and called out that invention which will in all time rank his name among the greatest benefactors of his kind, and place him in the foremost rank of inventive geniuses. It is this: a party of gentlemen from the northern part of the state, who were on a visit to Mrs. Greene, were deprecating the almost perfect impracticability of so separating the seed from the upland cotton as to make its cultivation an object of importance. Mrs. Greene, who had on more occasions than one, witnessed Whitney's wonderful mechanical genius, advised her guests to appeal to him, assuring them at the same time, that he was able to accomplish whatever mechanical task he sat himself about. The guests and the future inventor of the cotton-gin, were accordingly made acquainted with each other, and he was urged by them, as well as by his kind friend and patroness, to undertake the task. lle modestly disclaimed any great knowledge of mechanics, but nevertheless agreed to make the attempt. From the impulse thus imparted to his mind he never swerved, but continued to prosecute it with untiring zeal, until his labors were crowned with a success which even the inventor himself could hardly have dared to anticipate.

His first object was to procure a sample of the upland cotton, containing the seed, which as yet he had never seen. For this purpose he made a visit to Savannah, and having succeeded in procuring the cotton in this condition, he returned to commence his experiments upon it. His intentions were confined to his patroness, Mrs. Greene, and Mr. Miller, a New England gentleman, who was then a tutor in Mrs. Greene's family, and who afterwards became her husband. This gentleman not only warmly entered into his views, but on the completion of his model, became his partner in business, and furnished him with the capital necessary to carry on his operations. A separate room was assigned to him as his workshop, into which no persons were admitted except his two confidants, Mrs. Greene (who appears to have kept his secret,) and Mr. Miller. Within this workshop, as secretly and mysteriously engaged as the ancient alchymist in his charmed laboratory, he passed the winter months in devising and perfecting his machine.

He thus speaks of his operations at this time, in a letter addressed to Mr. Jefferson, then Secretary of State, dated 21 Nov., 1793: “Within about ten days after my first conception of the plan, I made a small, though imperfect, model. Experiments with this encouraged me to make one on a larger scale; but the extreme difficulty of procuring workmen and proper materials in Georgia, prevented my completing the large one until some time in April last.” The model machine, on a scale sufliciently large to test its practicability, was made entirely with his own hands, and with the rudest instruments. lle was even obliged to draw out the wire which entered into its composition,—no wire being sold at that early day in Savannah.

In the spring of 1793, he had so far tested his machine as to place its value beyond a question of doubt, and his two friends were burning with impatience to proclaim a result so gratifying to himself, and so important to those engaged in the occupation of cotton planting. Accordingly, Mrs. Greene invited a number of guests, from different parts of the state, to her house, and the charmed doors of his sacred retreat being thrown open, he exhibited for the first time in public, the wonder-working powers of his new invention, which astonished and delighted those who witnessed its operations.

In order to understand the value of Whitney's invention, it will be necessary to give the reader a cursory view of the condition of the cotton growing interest at the time of its appearance. The cotton plant, (Gossypium,) is indigenous to many warm countries, and it has been cultivated and spun and wove into clothing, in India and the islands of the Indian ocean, from periods of the remotest antiquity. Pliny speaks of the cotton used by the Egyptians in his day, and Columbus relates that the natives of the American continent possessed cotton clothes on his first discovery of the Western world. The most exte ive manufacturers of cotton, however, during the middle ages, were the Spaniards; and at that period, when Spain ranked foremost in civilization and refinement, the delightful plains of Seville and Granada were no less celebrated for their picturesque beanty and high state of cultivation, than for the excellence of their cotton fabrics. England, at present the great manufacturing nation of the world, did not embark in this business before the middle of the seventeenth century. Its progress was exceedingly slow before the patent of Arkwright for spinning was obtained in 1769, and even with this additional aid its advance was far from rapid, until the discovery of Whitney, by rendering its culture an object of importance to the American states, at once inspired new life into this branch of English industry.

An idea of the estimate in which the cultivation of cotton was held at the termination of the last century, by our government, may be formed from the circumstance that Mr. Jay, our then Minister to England, in negotiating a commercial treaty with that government, permitted an article to be introduced into the treaty, in which the export was prohibited in American vessels, from the United States, of such articles as had formerly been supplied by the West Indies. Cotton was included among these articles; its export at that period not being considered of importance enough attract the particular attention of our distinguished minister.

There was at that period, as now, two distinct species of cotton grown in the United States, known by the appellations of the long and short stapled cotton. The best specimens of the former were called sea-island coiton, and were cultivated on the sandy islands which dot the shores of the lower Carolina and Georgia. It is supposed that the spray of the


sea exercises a peculiar influence upon it, rendering its filaments longer and more silky, for when the plants are transplanted beyond the iníluence of the salt water, these qualities deteriorate. The upland cotton, or that grown in the interior, is known by the name of short staple or bowed cotton. This latter appellation was given to it on account of the process formerly made u:e of to separate the seeds from the filaments. This was by striking masses of the cotton pods violently with bows, to which strings were attached, for the purpose of loosening them before attempting to separate the seeds by hand. This cotton also goes by the name of green seed cotton, which adheres with much more tenacity to the filaments of cotton than the black seeds, which characterize the sea-island species. The soil adapted to the growth of the sea-island cotton, is necessarily limited, while almost every acre of land in the Southern tier of the United States, is fitted for the culture of the short stapled cot

It was for the purpose of separating the seed from this latter that the gin of Whitney was invented, and on its success depended the ap-. plicability of the entire range of southern states to the culture of this article.

It is not surprising, therefore, that this invention should have been hailed with the greatest raptures of delight, and that those who witnessed its capacity to perform in a single day the labors of many months, should have indulged in the most brilliant imaginings as to the future prospects of the cotton-planting interest of the United States; nor could it be otherwise th in that its young inventor should have felt almost within his grasp that golden harvest which all were assured would flow in upon him through the medium of his auspicious and well-timed invention. Who then could have imagined that this brilliant picture was soon to be succeeded by one blackened with the clouds of misfortune and disappointment;- but we anticipate.

Whitney's machine consists of a cylinder whose surface is covered with iron teeth about three-fourths of an inch apart, presenting a serrated appearance. During the revolutions of the cylinder, these teeth seize npon the cotton wool, and draw it through the openings in a number of iron straps placed in contact with them, from the hopper into which the cotton is placed. These openings are made too narrow to permit the seeds to pass through, and they are brushed from the plates into a receiver below. The revolving cylinder, with the cotton attached, meets with a second cylinder, moving in an opposite direction, supplied with brushes, which remove the cotton from the teeth of the first cylinder. The teeth of the first gins were made of wire. The execution of this machine is as effective as its construction is simple. It may be worked by men, oxen or water. A gin worked by oxen will clean from 600 to 900 lbs. of cotton in a day. Before this invention it required the labor of a hand a day to separate the seed from fifty pounds of cotton.

Mr. Whitney, in a correspondence between himself and Fulton, with great justice remarks: “My invention was new and distinct from every other—it stood alone. It was not interwoven with any thing known before; and it can seldom happen that an invention or an improvement is so strongly marked, and can be so clearly and specially identified."

It had been deemed prudent not to exhibit the machine to the public



until Mr. Whitney had secured his right to it by patent; but before he could complete his model, his workshop was broken open and the machine stolen. In this manner it became public before it was patented, and a horde of imitators immediately set to work 10 manufacture new ones upon his principle, but varying in some slight degree in order to avoid prosecutions under a paten. Considerable delay occurred in obtaining the patent, for although he presented his petition to the government, praying for its issue on the 20th June, 1793, it was not until nearly the close of that year that letters were issued confirming his right. In the meantime, a number of persons were engaged in manufacturing the gins, and were boldly claiming a title to the invention. By an arrangement which had been entered into between Mr. Miller (why had become his partner,) and himself, he was to repair to New England immediately after filing his petition with the government for his patent, and commence the manufacture of gins, to meet the demand in Georgia. Unfortunately they did not confine their views to the manufacture and sale of the gin itself, but aimed to engross the entire business of cleaning the cotton to themselves. The cotton planters were perfectly willing for this, and the following year planted greatly increased crops of cotton, on the faith that they would be made marketable by the gin. The profits to be derived from the gin, one-third of the entire cotton crop, which was then selling at twenty-five cents per pound, seemed to open to them a road to magnificent and speedy wealth; but a series of misfortunes occurred which closed up their inmediate avenue t« prosperity, and involved their concerns in a long train of perplexities and embarrassments.

In the spring of 1791, Whitney visited Georgia, for the purpose of effecting arrangements to clean the cotton crop from seeds with such machines as he had previously caused to be made. He returned shortly after to New Haven, Conn., and with the limited means at his command set about preparing gins to meet the demand upon them, but so greatly had the crop increased, that he found himself unable to do so. The planters were therefore glad to resort to other machines, and in a short ti ne they met with a formidable competition in several others based upon Whitney's original principle. The most pressing embarrassment under which ihey labored, was a want of money; for although Mr. Miller had advanced some means, they seem, from the correspondence which was carried on between them at this time, to have been obliged to resort to all manner of expedients to supply the expenditures incident to the manufacture of the gins, frequently borrowing it at the most ruinous rates of interest. To add to his misfortunes, while on a visit to New York, he received information that his shop, together with all its contents, including a number of newly manufactured machines, and all his books and papers, had been consumed by fire, by which he was reduced to a state of complete insolvency.

As if to crush every remaining hope, a prejudice was excited in the minds of the manufacturers in England against the cotton cleaned by the gin. It was admitted to be freer from seeds than that picked by hands, but it was said to render the cotton fibre brittle, and thus weaken the texture of the fabric manufactured from it. The manufacturers refused to purchase it, and Mr. Miller writes to Mr. Whitney that “Every one is

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