something which I can call my own, appear to be absolutely necessary, before it will be admissible for me even to think of family engagements.
Probably a year and a half, at least, will be required to perform that tour, after it is entered upon.
Life is but short, at best, and six or seven years out of the midst of it is, to him who makes it, an immense sacrifice.
My most unremitted attention has been devoted to our business.
I have sacrificed to it other objects, from which, before this time, I might certainly have gained twenty or thirty thousand dollars. My whole prospects have been embarked in it, with the expectation that I should, before this time, have realized something from it.
At length the ridiculous prejudice against cotton cleaned by Whitney
's gin gradually and slowly gave way, and the value of the invention began to be perceived and acknowledged.
's first suit against infringers now came to trial, before a Georgia jury; and, in spite of the judge's charge directly in the plaintiffs' favor, a verdict was given for the defendant — a verdict from which there was no appeal.
When the second suit was ready for trial at Savannah
, no judge appeared, and, of course, no court was held.
Meantime, the South
fairly swarmed with pirates on the invention, of all kinds and degrees.
In April, 1799, Miller
writes to Whitney
The prospect of making anything by ginning in this State is at an end. Surreptitious gins are erected in every part of the country; and the jurymen at Augusta have come to an understanding among themselves that they will never give a cause in our favor, let the merits of the case be as they may.
It would not be surprising if the firm would now have gladly relinquished the working of their machines, and confined themselves to the sale of patent rights.
But few would buy what they could safely steal, and those few gave notes which they generally took care not to pay. If sued, juries would often return a verdict of no consideration, or a trial would be staved off until collection was barred by the statute of limitation, which outlawed a debt that had existed through a period of four years. On one occasion, the agent of the patentees, who was dispatched on a collecting tour through the State of Georgia
, was unable to obtain money enough to pay his expenses, and was compelled to draw on his employers for nearly the full amount.
Finally, in 1801, this agent wrote to his principals that, though the planters of South Carolina
would not pay their notes, many of them suggested a purchase of the right of the patentees for that State by its Legislature; and he urged Mr. Whitney
to come to Columbia
, and try to make an arrangement on this basis.
did so, taking some letters and testimonials from the new President
, and his Secretary of State
, which were doubtless of service to him in his negotiations.
His memorial having been duly submitted to the Legislature, proposing to sell the patent right for South Carolina
for one hundred thousand dollars, the Legislature debated it, and finally offered for it fifty thousand--twenty thousand down, and ten thousand per annum for three years. Whitney
, in a letter written the day after the passage of the act, says:
The use of the machine here is amazingly extensive, and the value of it beyond all calculation.
It may, without exaggeration, be said to have raised the value of seven-eighths of all the three Southern States from fifty to one hundred per cent. We get but a song for it in comparison with