LINCOLN, ABRAHAM, President. Autograph letter signed ("A Lincoln") WITH A DRAFT LEGAL DOCUMENT, to Samuel Marshall of Shawneetown, Springfield, 3 March 1846. ½ page, folio, 315 x 200 mm. (12½ x 8 in.), light blue paper, stain along central fold, a few tiny losses at folds. [With:] LINCOLN. Autograph draft legal document, Springfield, 3 March 1846. ½ page, written on the lower portion of the same sheet as the above letter. A draft legal document of some 120 words, headed "Dorman & wife vs. Lane Petition to sell real estate."
A PLEA IN BAR: LINCOLN'S ADVICE ON HOW TO SAVE SUPREME COURT FEES
A letter, incorporating a draft plea in bar, in which Lincoln instructs his client on a manoeuver to avoid paying expensive Supreme Court costs: "I herewith send you the draft of a plea for our case. By consultation with Judge Logan, I draw it in the form I do, to compel Lane [the defendant], in order to get round it, to reply that the case has been brought to, and reversed & remanded by the Supreme court, upon his doing which, you join issue with him; and that will compel him to pay the cost in the Supreme court in order to get the Record to prove his replication with. If I were to set out the whole facts in a plea in statement, we should have to pay the Supreme court cost, in order to get the record to prove the plea with. This we wish to avoid. This, that I send, is a plea in bar. You will, of course, put in all... manner of other pleas in bar, particularly as to lapse of time..." Basler, I:370-71.
In the lower portion of the sheet, Lincoln meticulously outlines the exact plea in bar that his colleague should submit. The case in question, Dorman vs. Lane, dated from 1842. Lincoln represented the plaintiff, his friend Trumbull the defendant. The lower court's decision was overturned, and Lincoln accepted a portion of the land in question as part payment for his legal services (he subsequently sold the land for $100 in 1853).