[Abraham Lincoln] Edwin Stanton Autograph Letter Signed to Associate Justice of the Supreme Court John McLean. One page, 7.75" x 10", July 18, 1859, Washington, concerning Hussey v. McCormick. Age-toned with two small marginal nicks, else fine.

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    In part: "Your favor of the 14th has just been received, and I hasten to say that, whatever importance it may be to the parties, to have the case of Hussey v McCormick disposed of, it is of still greater importance to your friends and Country, that nothing should induce you to overtax your strength, or endanger your health by excessive labor. . . . I trust, therefore, that so far as I am concerned, you will not think of devoting to the case that has been mentioned a single moment of labor, beyond what shall be consistent with your perfect health and convenience."


    Obed Hussey and Cyrus McCormick competed viciously in the mechanical reaper market. They went to trial in the late 1850s over patent infringements, with Justice John McLean handing down a ruling in favor of McCormick two months after this letter.


    Edwin Stanton had been involved in an earlier 1855 case also involving McCormick and reaper patent infringements likewise presided over by Judge McLean. Also involved in that trial was a tall, young lawyer from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln. When Stanton, a successful and arrogant lawyer, first saw Lincoln, he haughtily whispered to an associate, "Why did you bring that damned long armed Ape here[?]" Six years later, President Lincoln magnanimously offered Edwin Stanton the cabinet position of secretary of war during the Civil War.

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    June, 2009
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