Great Fortunes, and How They Were Made eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 694 pages of information about Great Fortunes, and How They Were Made.
boots and shoes, clothing, caps, hats, articles of commerce and of pleasure, mechanical, scientific, and surgical instruments, toys, belting for machinery, packing for the steam-engine, and many other articles now in common use, made of the material, the discovery and perfection of which cost him long and sorrowful years of toil.  He lived to hear his name mentioned by millions as one of their greatest benefactors; to know that he had conferred upon the world benefits of which those who had robbed him could not deprive his fellow-men; and to feel that he had at length accomplished his mission—­a mission which has been productive of good alone.

[Illustration:  “THE MADHOUSE IS THE PROPER PLACE FOR HIM.”]

CHAPTER XV.

ELI WHITNEY.

At the close of the Revolution the States of South Carolina and Georgia presented large tracts of land to the gallant General Nathaniel Greene, to whose genius they were indebted for their relief from British tyranny.  Soon after this grant was made, General Greene removed his family to Mulberry Grove, a fine plantation on the Georgia side of the Savannah River.  Here he died in 1786, from sunstroke, but his family continued to reside on the place.  The mansion of Mrs. Greene was noted for its hospitality, and was frequently filled with guests who came to pay their respects to the widow of the most brilliant and best trusted subordinate of the immortal Washington.

To this mansion there came one day, in the year 1792, ELI WHITNEY, then a young man recently from New England.  He was a native of Westborough, Massachusetts, where he was born on the 8th of December, 1765.  Of his youth but little is known, save that he was gifted with unusual mechanical genius, the employment of which enabled him to overcome some of the difficulties incident to his poverty, and to acquire the means of obtaining a good common school education.  Adding to this the labors of a teacher, he earned a sum sufficient to carry him through Yale College, where he was graduated in the summer of 1702, a few months before his arrival in Georgia.  He had come South to accept the offer of a situation as teacher, but the place had been filled before his arrival, and, being without friends in that section, he sought employment from Mrs. Greene.  Though pleased with his modesty and intelligence, that lady could not avail herself of his services as a tutor, but invited him to make her house his home as long as he should desire to remain in Georgia.  He was sick in body and disheartened by his first failure, and gladly accepted her invitation.  While her guest he made her a tambour frame of an improved pattern, and a number of ingenious toys for her children, which so delighted the good lady that she enthusiastically declared him capable of doing any thing.

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Great Fortunes, and How They Were Made from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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