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that the invention was conceived, and that the author began to embody it, as early as 1764. Hargreaves, though illiterate and humble, must be regarded as one of the greatest inventors and improvers in the cotton manufacture. His principal invention, and one which showed high mechanical genius, was the jenny. Hargreaves is said to have received the original idea of this machine, from seeing a one-thread wheel overturned upon the floor, when both the wheel and the spindle continued to revolve. The spindle was thus thrown from a horizontal into an upright position; and the thought seems to have struck him, that if a number of spindles were placed upright, and side by side, several threads might be spun at once. He contrived a frame, in one part of which he placed eight rovings in a row, and in another part a row of eight spindles. With this admirable inachine, though at first rudely constructed, Hargreaves and his family spun west for his own weaving. Aware of the value of the invention, but not extending his ambition to a patent, he kept it as secret as possible for a time, and used it merely in his own business. A machine of such powers could not however, be long concealed; but when it became the subject of rumour, instead of gaining for its author admiration and gratitude, the spinners raised an outcry that it would throw multitudes out of employment, and a mob broke into Hargreaves' house, and destroyed his jenny. So great was the persecution he suffered, and the danger in which he was placed, that this victim of popular ignorance was compelled to flee his native county, as the inventor of the fly-shuttle had been before him. Thus, the neighbourhood where the machine was invented, lost the benefit of it; yet without preventing its general adoption—the common and appropriate punishment of the ignorance and selfishness which oppose mechanical improvements. The number of spindles in the jenny was at first eight, when the patent was obtained it was sixteen ; it soon came to be twenty or thirty, and no less than one hundred and twenty have since been used. Before quitting Lancashire for Nottingham, Hargreaves had made a few jennies for sale, and the importance of the invention being universally appreciated, the interests of the manufacturers and weavers brought it into general use, in spite of all opposition. It is mentioned, that Crompton, the inventor of the mule, learned to spin upon a jenny of Hargreaves' make, in 1769. Notwithstanding the outrage and violence against him, Hargreaves was enabled to live in comfort though not in affluence, on the fruits of his invention.
FROM s AMUEL SI, ATER’s LEAv ING ENGLAND To HIS MARRIAGE WITH HANNAH wilkinson, of North PRov IDENCE, R. i.
“He that wishes to be counted among the benefactors of posterity, must add, by his own toil, to the acquisition of his ancestors.”
The preceding chapter is designed to show, that every attempt to spin cotton warp or twist, or any other yarn, by water power, till 1790, had totally failed, and every effort to import the patent machinery of England had proved abortive." Much interest had been excited in Philadelphia, New York, Beverly, Massachusetts, and in Providence, Rhode Island; but they found it impossible to compete with the superior machinery of Derbyshire. Distrust and despondency had affected the strongest minds; disappointment and repeated losses of property, had entirely disheartened those brave pioneers in the production of homespun cloth. At this moment, Mr. Slater had left Belper, and was on his passage to America, with a full and decided plan to construct and erect the Arkwright machinery in the United States. The evidence adduced in this chapter, is designed to show, that previous to 1790, no such machinery existed in this country; and that Samuel Slater, without the aid of any one who had ever seen such machinery, did actually, from his personal knowledge and skill, put in motion the whole series of Arkwright's patents; and that he put them in such perfect operation, as to produce as good yarn, and cotton cloth of various descriptions, equal to any article of the kind produced in England at that time. This is the claim that we make for the subject of this memoir, and if we are successful in proving this point, we lay a foundation for sufficient praise for any one individual.
Mr. Slater's passage from London to New York extended to sixty-six days. This was a considerable imprisonment to a landsman who had never seen a ship before.
* Tench Coxe entered into a bond with a person who engaged to send him, from London, complete brass models of Arkwright's patents; the machinery was completed and packed, but was detected by the examining officer, and forfeited, according to the existing laws of Great Britain, to prevent the exportation of machinery.
f Immediately on his arrival, he was introduced to the New
York Manufacturing Company, and engaged in their employment. But the state of their business was low and inferior, compared with what he had been accustomed to in his own country; so that he was dissatisfied with his prospects, and he did not like the water privileges which were shown him in this section of the country, to commence any new works.
A captain of one of the Providence packets informed him of Moses Brown, who was endeavouring to do something in the cotton business, and advised Mr. Slater to write by him and offer his services; which advice he followed, and turned his attention from Philadelphia, to which he had been first directed, as appears by the following letter, dated—
New York, December 2d, 1789.
Sir, A few days ago I was informed that you wanted a manager of cotton spinning, &c. in which business I flatter myself that I can give the greatest satisfaction, in making machinery, making good yarn, either for stockings or twist, as any that is made in England; as I have had opportunity, and an oversight, of Sir Richard Arkwright's works, and in Mr. Strutt's mill upwards of eight years. If you are not provided for, should be glad to serve you; though I am in the New York manufactory, and have been for three weeks since I arrived from England. But we have but one card, two machines, two spinning jennies, which I think are not worth using. My encouragement is pretty good, but should much rather have the care of the perpetual carding and spinning. My intention is to erect a perpetual card and spinning. (Meaning the Arkwright patents.) If you please to drop a line respecting the amount of encouragement you wish to give, by favour of Captain Brown, you will much oblige, sir, your most obedient humble servant, SAMUEL SLATER.
N. B.—Please to direct to me at No. 37, Golden Hill, New York.
Mr. Brown, Providence.
It appears from the above letter, that Mr. Slater claimed to have a full knowledge of the business of Messrs. Arkwright and Strutt; that he could make the machinery, and superintend the works when erected; and that such were the works he wished to be engaged in ; that he could make as good yarn either for stocking or twist, as any that was made in England at that time. The machinery in New York was very inferior, jennies on the Hargreave's plan ; but the Arkwright patent was not in existence, and every attempt to establish it had been unsuccessful, as appears by the following letter:
Providence, 10th 12th month, 1789.
Friend,-I received thine of 2d inst. and observe its contents. I, or rather Almy & Brown, who has the business in the cotton line, which I began, one being my son-in-law, and the other a kinsman, want the assistance of a person skilled in the frame or water spinning. An experiment has been made, which has failed, no person being acquainted with the business, and the frames imperfect. We are destitute of a person acquainted with water-frame spinning; thy being already engaged in a factory with many able proprietors, we can hardly suppose we can give the encouragement adequate to leaving thy present employ. As the frame we have is the first attempt of the kind that has been made in America, it is too imperfect to afford much encouragement; we hardly know what to say to thee, but if thou thought thou couldst perfect and conduct them to profit, if thou wilt come and do it, thou shalt have all the profits made of them over and above the interest of the money they cost, and the wear and tear of them. We will find stock and be repaid in yarn as we may agree, for six months. And this we do for the information thou can give, if fully acquainted with the business. After this, if we find the business profitable, we can enlarge it, or before, if sufficient proof of it be had on trial, and can make any further agreement that may appear best or agreeable on all sides. We have secured only a temporary water convenience, but if we find the business profitable, can perpetuate one that is convenient. If thy prospects should be better, and thou should know of any other person unengaged, should be obliged to thee to mention us to him. In the mean time, shall be glad to be informed whether thou come or not. If thy present situation does not come up to what thou wishest, and, from thy knowledge of the business, can be ascertained of the advantages of the mills, so as to induce thee to come and work ours, and have the credit as well as advantage of perfecting the first water-mill in America, we should be glad to engage thy care so long as they can be made profitable to both, and we can agree. I am, for myself and Almy & Brown, thy friend, Moses BRowN. Samuel Slater, at 37, Golden Hill, New York.
In the above letter, Moses Brown offers Samuel Slater, if he could work the machinery they had on hand, all the profits of the business. On the proviso, that he was what he professed, and would erect machinery such as he described, he should become concerned with him as they might agree.
He holds out to him the promise of the credit, as well as the advantages of perfecting the first water-mill in America. Under these inducements and assurances, Mr. Slater left New York, expecting to find the water-frame ready for operation. When he came to Providence, he assured Mr. Brown that he could do all that he had promised in his letter; for proof of which he showed him “his indenture” with Mr. Strutt, who had been a partner with Arkwright, and who spun the best yarn, both for stockings and twist, that was at that time spun in England. Moses Brown took Mr. Slater to Pawtucket, and showed him the machinery that he had described in his letter, which they had failed to operate, not finding any person who had wrought on the Arkwright patent, or had seen any one that had wrought on it.
Moses Brown told me, that, “when Samuel saw the old machines, he felt down-hearted, with disappointment—and shook his head, and said “these will not do ; they are good for nothing in their present condition, nor can they be made to answer.” It appears that Mr. Anthony had tried them, and was unsuccessful; and different persons, who had seen these works, have informed me that they were worth nothing more, than so much old iron;” these were the words of Wm. Almy, when speaking to me on the subject. Such particulars may to some appear frivolous; but such transactions as tend to illustrate the progress of the wealth or manners of our country, merit the utmost attention. Even minute events are objects of consequence when they tend to establish important points in national history, and national aggrandisement. After various disapointments, it was proposed that Mr. Slater should erect the series of machines, called the Arkwright patents, which he would not listen to, till he was promised a man to work on wood, who should be put under bonds not to steal the patterns, or disclose the nature of the works. “Under my proposals,” says he, “if I do not make as good yarn, as they do in England, I will have nothing for my services, but will throw the whole of what I have attempted over the bridge.”
The following document will show what was finally determined on between the parties:—
“The following agreement, made between William Almy and Smith Brown of the one part, and Samuel Slater of the other part, Witnesseth that the said parties have mutually agreed to be concerned together in, and carry on, the spinning of cotton by water, (of which the said Samuel professes himself a workman, well skilled in all its branches;) upon the following terms, viz:—that the said Almy and Brown, on their part, are to turn in the machinery, which they have already purchased, at the price they cost them, and to furnish materials for the building of two carding machines, viz:—a breaker and a finisher; a drawing and roving frame; and to extend the spinning mills, or frames, to one hundred spindles. And the said Samuel, on his part, covenants and engages, to devote his whole time and service, and to exert his skill according to the best of his abilities, and have the same effected in a workmanlike manner, similar to those used in England, for the like purposes. And it is mutually agreed between the said parties, that the said Samuel shall be considered an owner and proprietor in one half of the machinery aforesaid, and accountable for one half of the expense that hath arisen, or shall arise, from the building, purchasing, or repairing, of the same, but not to sell, or in any manner dispose of any part, or parcel thereof, to any other person or persons, excepting the said Almy and Brown;