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[64] the worth of the thing; but it is securing something. It will enable Miller & Whitney to pay all their debts, and divide something between them. It establishes a precedent which will be valuable as it respects our collections in other States, and I think there is now a fair prospect that I shall in the event realize property enough to render me comfortable, and, in some measure, independent.

He was mistaken. The next Legislature of South Carolina nullified the contract, suspended payment on the thirty thousand still due, and instituted a suit for the recovery of the twenty thousand that had been already paid! The pretenses on which this remarkable course was taken are more fully set forth in the action of the Legislature of Georgia in 1803, based on a Message from the governor, urging the inexpediency of granting any thing to Miller & Whitney. The Committee to whom this matter was referred, made a report, in which they--

cordially agreed with the governor in his observations, that monopolies are at all times odious, particularly in free governments, and that some remedy ought to be applied to the wound which the Cotton-Gin monopoly has given, and will otherwise continue to give, to the culture and cleaning of that precious and increasing staple. They have examined the Rev. James Hutchinson, who declares that Edward Lyon, at least twelve months before Miller & Whitney's machine was brought into view, had in possession a saw or cotton-gin, in miniature, of the same construction; and it further appears to them, from the information of Doctor Cortes Pedro Dampiere, an old and respectable citizen of Columbia county, that a machine of a construction similar to that of Miller & Whitney, was used in Switzerland at least forty years ago, for the purpose of picking rags to make lint and paper.

This astonishing Committee closed their report with the following resolution:

Resolved, That the Senators and Representatives of this State in Congress be, and they hereby are, instructed to use their utmost endeavors to obtain a modification of the act, entitled, “An act to extend the privileges of obtaining Patents for useful discoveries and inventions, to certain persons therein mentioned, and to enlarge and define the penalties for violating the rights of patentees,” so as to prevent the operation of it to the injury of that most valuable staple, cotton, and the cramping of genius in improvements on Miller & Whitney's patent Gin, as well as to limit the price of obtaining a right of using it, the price at present being unbounded, and the planter and poor artificer altogether at the mercy of the patentees, who may raise the price to any sum they please.

And, in case the said Senators and Representatives of this State shall find such modification impracticable, that they do then use their best endeavors to induce Congress, from the example of other nations, to make compensation to Miller & Whitney for their discovery, take up the patent right, and release the Southern States from so burthensome a grievance.

North Carolina, to her honor be it recorded, in December, 1802, negotiated an arrangement with Mr. Whitney, whereby the legislature laid a tax of two shillings and sixpence upon every saw 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 avails were faithfully paid over to the patentee. The old North State was not extensively engaged in cotton-growing, and the pecuniary avails of this action were probably not large; but the arrangement seems to have been a fair one, and it was never repudiated. South Carolina, it should in justice be said, through her legislature of 1804, receded from her repudiation, and fulfilled her original contract.

Mr. Miller, the partner of Whitney. died, poor and embarrassed, on the 7th of December, 1803. At the term of the United States District Court for Georgia, held at Savannah

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