Grant Goodrich to Abraham Lincoln, 24 May 1Chicago 24th MayHon A LincolnDr[Dear] Sir
My wife is so ill I shall not be able to go to Springfield to Court– I have advised Mr Chas Hoit to employ you in a case of Z Parker vs him. It is for violation of a patent for Reaction percussion water wheels–2 The testimony will be on hand Hoit will be there with his witnesses latter part of next week– I will send you in a few days a brief & the points as I suppose they will come up, By looking at narr[narratio] & notices you will see the main points– I presume you have the Patent Laws & decissions which were published I believe by Congress last winter–3
The first point which we shall make is 1st that reaction wheels were in use long before his patent, & 2 or more on a horizontal shaft, and that when there are different combinations of old machinery or principles to produce a given result, they must show we used all the combinations you will find a case in 16 Peters to this effect.4 It is an important case & Hoit is able & willing to pay a good fee– Our court is sitting, & as soon as I can get time I will write a full history of the case & give the points– Barber5 will be there & he will explain every thing clearly6Yours in hasteGrant Goodrich
<Page 2>CHICAGO Ill.[Illinois]
5Hon. A. LincolnSpringfieldIlls[Illinois]
2Zebulon Parker sued Charles Hoyt in the U.S. Circuit Court, District of Illinois, for violating Parker’s patent, which he secured in October 1829.
Newspaper Report, Document ID: 129692, Parker v. Hoyt, 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=137697; List of Patents for Inventions and Designs, Issued by the United States, From 1790 to 1847 (Washington, DC: J. & G. S. Gideon, 1847), 234; H.R. Exe. Doc. No. 59, 33rd Cong., 2nd Sess. (1855).
3Reference to the volume arranged and compiled by Commissioner of Patents Edmund Burke entitled Laws of the United States Relating to Patents and the Patent Office; Together with the Decisions of the Courts of the United States and of the Several States Relating to the Same Subjects; also the Opinions of the Hon. William Cranch, Chief Justice of the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Columbia, upon Appeals from the Decisions of the Commissioner of Patents; to Which Is Added a Brief Abstract of the Patent Laws of Various Foreign Countries 1848 (Washington, DC: Commissioner of Patents), 1848.
4Reference to the case of David Prouty and John Mears v. Draper Ruggles et al., decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in its January term, 1842.
Prouty v. Ruggles, 41 U.S. (16 Peters) 336-41 (1842).
6Hoyt retained Goodrich, Abraham Lincoln, and George W. Meeker to argue his case. The suit came to trial on July 9, 1850, and concluded on July 24. The jury found for Parker, and Hoyt requested a new trial. The court granted Hoyt’s motion. In the second trial, the jury found for Hoyt, and Parker motioned for a new trial. The court granted his motion. The case lingered on through the early 1850s. In November 1854, Hoyt wrote Lincoln two letters asking for word on his suit. In July 1855, Lincoln succeeded in having the case dismissed in the U.S. Circuit Court, Northern Division of Illinois.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 9 July 1850, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1850-07-09; 24 July 1850, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1850-07-24; Newspaper Report, Document ID: 129692; Newspaper Report, Document ID: 132922; Newspaper Report, Document ID: 129693, Parker v. Hoyt, 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=137697; Charles Hoyt to Abraham Lincoln; Charles Hoyt to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Charles Hoyt.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).