Every step in the progress of modern achievement has been met with strong resistance and hostile contest. There is in business an actual firing line where continuous conflict wages, and so fierce does the struggle become that it requires a certain class of men possessing qualities, not only of energy and perseverance, but of tenacity and combativeness, aggressive and determined to fight to the last ditch for commercial supremacy. Such men do not always rely upon the merits of their cause, nor do they stop to question the justice or injustice of their methods. They have but one goal, commercial supremacy, and every effort is bent and every man and method utilized to attain that end.
Men of inventive genius are rarely of that type. They are more often unassuming and averse to anything like a personal combat. Such a man was Obed Hussey, inventor of the reaper. Honest and conscientious, enured to hard and unremitting toil, with the inspiration of a new idea for the benefit of mankind burning in his brain, he applied himself in the face of immense difficulties to the production and perfection of the great gift which he gave to the world. He was a man at once so humble and so broad in his kindness, so loyal to his Quaker ideals of righteousness and justice, that he offered no protests, or arguments against his rivals and opponents other than the superiority of his own machine. Only his great genius which produced the superior machine (a fact which no one could possibly contradict) could have saved him from the fierce opposition of his more powerful rivals. One has only to read from some of his own letters reproduced in this narrative, to witness the fairness of his attitude, or to gain a knowledge of his scruples.
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