machine was so nearly perfected that its success was no longer doubtful.
, too eager to realize and enjoy her friend's triumph, in view of the existing stagnation of Georgian industry, invited an assemblage at her house of leading gentlemen from various parts of the State
, and, on the first day after their meeting, conducted them to a temporary building, erected for the machine, in which they saw, with astonishment and delight, that one man with Whitney
's invention could separate more cotton from the seed in a single day than he could without it by the labor of months.
Mr. Phineas Miller
, a native of Connecticut
and a graduate of Yale, who had come to Georgia
as the teacher of General Greene
's children, and who, about this time, became the husband of his widow, now proposed a partnership with Mr. Whitney
, by which he engaged to furnish funds to perfect the invention, secure the requisite patents, and manufacture the needed machines; the partners to share equally all profits and emoluments thence resulting.
Their contract bears date May 27, 1793; and the firm of Miller
immediately commenced what they had good reason to expect would prove a most extensive and highly lucrative business.
thereupon repaired to Connecticut
, there to perfect his invention, secure his patent, and manufacture machines for the Southern
But his just and sanguine hopes were destined to signal and bitter disappointment.
His invention was too valuable to be peacefully enjoyed; or, rather, it was the seeming and urgent interest of too many to rob him of the just reward of his achievement.
He ought not to have expected that those who lived idly and luxuriously by stealing the wife from her husband, and the child from its mother, would hesitate to steal, also, the fruit of his
brain-work, in order to render thereby the original theft ten-fold more advantageous than it otherwise could be. Reports of the nature and value of his invention were widely and rapidly circulated, creating intense excitement.
Multitudes hastened from all quarters to see his original machine; but, no patent having yet been secured, it was deemed unsafe to gratify their curiosity; so they broke open the building by night, and carried off the wonderful prize.
Before he could complete his model and secure his patent, a number of imitations had been made and set to work, deviating in some respects from the original, in the hope of thus evading all penalty.
had been three days on his northward trip, a letter from his partner followed on his track, which said:
It will be necessary to have a considerable number of gins made, to be in readiness to send out as soon as the patent is obtained, in order to satisfy the absolute demands, and make people's heads easy on the subject; for I am informed of too other claimants for the honor of the invention of the cotton gins, in addition to those we knew before.
's plan of operations was essentially vicious.
They proposed to construct and retain the ownership of all the machines that might be needed, setting one up in each cotton-growing neighborhood, and ginning all the staple for every third pound of the product.
Even at this rate, the invention would have been one of