Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 3.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Peter H. Watson [1]

P.H. Watson, Esq., Chicago,
My dear Sir: March 2, 1859.

At last I am here to give some attention to the suit of Haines and Haines vs. Talcott [2] and others. I write chiefly now to get up a correspondence with you by which, if possible, the labor may be lightened, and the time shortened, in getting the case ready for trial. I have looked over your answer, and filed a Replication. By the Answer you lay a foundation to take, and, I suppose, intend to take a great deal of proof, all which must be by depositions. We will have to take some on our part to begin with, besides rebutting yours as well as we may be able. In all this it is desirable that we agree upon times and places, without the labor and delay of formal notices.

Besides this, it occurs to me that we might manage to get the opinion of the Court on our branch of the law, even if that be forPage  371 you, it would save all the labor as to the other. I mean for us, with the consent of the Court, to first make the question of infringement, if our right be as it apparently is, on the face of the patent, have you infringed it? If this be decided for you, it is an end of the case. If for us, we can then enter upon the larger and more laborious plan of trying whether our apparent right is or is not a real one---whether it is substantially the same as are now on older things.

Consider this and write me, at Springfield, as soon as you conveniently can. Make any suggestions of your own with the same frankness as I have done. Yours truly,



[1]   Tracy, pp. 101-102. See Lincoln's letters to Watson, July 23, 1855, and to Jonathan Haines, November 24, 1856, November 25, 1857, March 27, 1858, supra, and June 9, infra.

[2]   Alfred Haines and Jonathan Haines of Pekin, Illinois, v. Wait Talcott, John H. Manny, et al., a suit over patent infringements. Haines' letters to Lincoln contain data concerning the suit (see particularly, July 26, August 15, and September 7, 1858, DLC-RTL).