Abraham Lincoln to Jonathan Haines, 25 November 18571Springfield, Nov. 25. 1857.Jonathan Haines, Esq[Esquire]Dear Sir:
I have now determined to go to Chicago on saturday the 28th Inst to remain about a week, and if you and Rugg can be on hand I suppose we can find a chance to get your case in– I can not name a certain day, because I am going up for a case which is to begin the 1st Dec[December]; and if I could the court might not agree.2Yours trulyA Lincoln–
2It is unclear what case Lincoln attended to in Chicago, Illinois beginning December 1, 1857. He was back in Springfield, Illinois at least as early as December 7.
Jonathan Haines and Lincoln exchanged at least seven letters related to Haine’s legal case, which was Haines v. Rugg. In the fall of 1856, Haines sued George H. Rugg in the U.S. Circuit Court, Northern District of Illinois for infringing upon his patent on a reaper (a kind of harvesting machine). Lincoln represented Haines and T. Lyle Dickey represented Rugg. The case ultimately went to trial in March 1858 and lasted just four days. Judge Thomas Drummond ruled for the plaintiff and awarded Haines $2,300 in damages. Rugg appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case, Rugg v. Haines. Lincoln represented Haines until he was elected president in the 1860 Federal Election. Rugg v. Haines commenced December 9, 1862. On December 15, 1862, Justice Roger B. Taney upheld the lower court’s decision and awarded Haines $2,300 in damages as well as costs expended in the suit.
In 1858, Haines also sued Wait Talcott, along with the other surviving representatives of Manny and Company, in a separate case for infringement upon his reaper patent. For additional information on that case, see Haines & Haines v. Talcott et al., Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137699.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 7 December 1857, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1857-12-07; Abraham Lincoln to Jonathan Haines; Abraham Lincoln to Jonathan Haines; Jonathan Haines to Abraham Lincoln; Jonathan Haines to Abraham Lincoln; Ansel Haines and Jonathan Haines to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Jonathan Haines; Jonathan Haines to Abraham Lincoln; Law Journal, Document ID: 87003; Newspaper Report, Document ID: 132925, Haines v. Rugg, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137748; Mandate, Document ID: 67773; Engrossed Docket, Document ID: 67777, Rugg v. Haines, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137749.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Andre De Coppet Collection, Princeton University (Princeton, NJ).