in December, 1807, Mr. Whitney
obtained a verdict against the pirates on his invention; his patent being now in the last year of its existence.
, in entering judgment for the plaintiff, said:
With regard to the utility of this discovery, the court would deem it a waste of time to dwell long upon this topic.
Is there a man who hears us, who has not experienced its utility?
The whole interior of the Southern States was languishing, and its inhabitants emigrating for want of some object to engage their attention, and employ their industry, when the invention of this machine at once opened views to then which set the whole country in active motion.
From childhood to age, it has presented to us a lucrative employment.
Individuals who were depressed with poverty, and sunk in idleness, have suddenly risen to wealth and respectability.
Our debts have been paid off. Our capitals have increased, and our lands trebled themselves in value.
We cannot express the weight of the obligation which the country owes to this invention.
The extent of it cannot now be seen.
Some faint presentiment may be formed from the reflection that Cotton is rapidly supplanting Wool, Flax, Silk, and even Furs, in manutactures, and may one day profitably supply the use of specie in our East India trade.
Our sister States also participate in the benefits of this invention; for, beside affording the raw material for their manufacturers, the bulkiness and quantity of the article afford a valuable employment for their shipping.
's patent expired in 1808, leaving him a poorer man, doubtless, than though he had never listened to the suggestions of his friend Mrs. Greene
, and undertaken the invention of a machine, by means of which the annual production of cotton in the Southern States
has been augmented from some five or ten thousand bales in 1793 to over five millions of bales
, or one million tons, in 1859; this amount being at least three-fourths in weight, and seven-eighths in value, of all the cotton produced on the globe.
To say that this invention was worth one thousand millions of dollars to the Slave States
of this country, is to place a very moderate estimate on its value.
petitioned Congress, in 1812, for a renewal of his patent, setting forth the costly and embarrassing struggles he had been forced to make in defense of his right, and observing that he had been unable to obtain any decision on the merits of his claim until he had been eleven years in the law, and until thirteen of the fourteen years lifetime of his patent had expired.
But the immense value of his invention stood directly in the way of any such acknowledgment of its merits and his righteous claims as the renewal he sought would have involved.
Some liberal members from the cotton-growing region favored his petition, but a majority of the Southrons fiercely opposed it, and it was lost.
, in the course of a correspondence with Robert Fulton
, inventor of the first successful steamboat, remarks:
The difficulties with which I have had to contend have originated, principally, in the want of a disposition in mankind to do justice.
My invention was new and distinct from every other: it stood alone.
It was not interwoven with anything before known; and it can seldom happen that an invention or improvement is so strongly marked, and can be so clearly and specifically identified; and I have always believed that I should have had no difficulty in causing my rights to be respected, if it had been less valuable, and been used only by a small portion of the community.
But the use of this machine being immensely profitable to almost every planter in the cotton districts, all were interested in trespassing upon the patent right, and each kept the other in countenance.
Demagogues made themselves popular by misrepresentation and unfounded clamors, both against the right and the law made for its protection.
Hence there arose associations and combinations to oppose both.
At one time, but few men in Georgia dared to come into court and testify to the most simple