Eli Whitney

Eli Whitney ALS Re: Savannah Cotton Contacts?

Eli Whitney ALS Re: Savannah Cotton Contacts?


2pp autograph letter inscribed overall by American inventor Eli Whitney (1765-1825), and signed by him as "Eli Whitney" at center right of the second page. Written in Charlestown on March 3, 1802. An unusual and particularly desirable example in that Whitney has also incorporated his name, "Eli Whitney", into the body of the text at the bottom of the first page. Docketed verso. On watermarked cream laid paper. With expected paper folds and wrinkles. Light and isolated bleed-through from verso. A few chipped edges, else very good to fine. 8" x 10.25".


Eight years after Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, he sent this letter to Jonathan Burrall, the cashier of the New York branch of the National Bank, or the Bank of the United States, in full:


"Charleston 3d March 1802


Jonathan Burrall Esquire,

Cashier of the National Bank

New York,




You will find enclosed the first of three Setts of Exchange for two thousand Dollars Each - (viz)


1 Bill Drawn by Carpenter + Havens at 60 Days sight - on Do -


1 Do Drawn by Do - on Do payle at 120 Days -


1 Do Drawn by Arnold Sweet & Co. on Richd H. Morris payle at 60 Days.


- all in fav. of Wm Belcher of Savannah & by him endorsed -


I have to request your attention to the enclosed Bills - to collect them + place the proceeds to the Credit of Eli Whitney of New Haven Connecticut -


Should any difficulty occur in the collection you will correspond with William Hunter Esq. of Savannah & consult with Amasa Jackson Esq. of Nyork as my Agents on the Subject -


I am Respectfully


Your Obdt Servt


Eli Whitney"


Whitney invented the cotton gin after visiting Georgia. The cotton gin, first patented in 1794, efficiently separated short fiber cotton from seeds, enabling cotton to be processed more quickly and in spectacularly larger quantities. It ushered in the Industrial Revolution and increased the antebellum economy's dependence on slavery. The proliferation of the cotton gin, for instance, is directly linked to the American cotton export boom of the early nineteenth century, in which export increased from around 500,000 lbs in 1793 to 93 million lbs in 1810!


The Yankee businessman expected $6,000 in funds (the equivalent of $143,000 in 2019 currency) to be directed to his account from contacts in Savannah. Were these funds related to cotton gin licensing? Perhaps.


This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.



Item: 67707

Price: $3,500.00
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Eli Whitney
Eli Whitney
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