A Bill in relation to Taking of Depositions and in relation to Menard and Logan Counties, [30 January 1840]
A bill for an act relative to the taking of depositions, and to the Collector of Menard county—1
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois represented in the General Assembly. That hereafter in any suit at law or in Equity wherein the defendant or defendants shall reside without the limits of this state, or shall have gone without the limits of this state with the intention of removing himself or themselves, or his or their personalty property and effects without the limits of the same, and shall have no attorney known to the plaintiff or complainant within the limits of the state, it shall be lawful for the plaintiff or complainant in such suit to take depositions to be used in the same, in the same manner, as is now provided by law, excepting that the notice now required by law to be served on such defendant or defendants shall not be required to be given; Provided that in every such case the plaintiff or complainant shall, before taking such depositions, file with the clerk of the court wherein such suit shall be defending the affidavit of himself or some other credible person, stating that he verrily believes that said defendant or defendants resides without the limits of this state, or has gone beyond the limits of this state with the intention of removing himself, or
<Page 2>his personal property or effects beyond the limits of the same, and has no known attorney residing in this state
Sec:[Section] 2nd That the Collector of Menard county be authorized to collect all taxes now due ^for the year 18392 1839^ from the inhabitants of, or on real estate situated within that portion of Sangamon county, which lies within the following boundaries, towit: Begining at the South West corner of Section Three in Township Seventeen North of Range Six West, thence North four miles by the surveys; thence East ten miles by the surveys; thence South two miles by the surveys; thence West nine miles by the surveys; thence South two miles by the surveys; thence West one mile by the surveys to the begining—
Sec: 3rd That said collection shall be made in accordance with the assessment heretofore made under the authority of Menard county; and said collector shall pay over the state revenue collected in said district to the state as in other cases; and shall pay one ^half^ [
?] collected therefrom, for county purposes into the county Treasury of Sangamon county,
other half, into the county Treasury of Menard county—3
1Abraham Lincoln introduced the bill, originally entitled “A Bill to Authorize the Collector of --- County to Collect Taxes,” in the House of Representatives on December 10, 1839. On Lincoln’s motion, the House referred the bill to a select committee that included Lincoln. Lincoln of the select committee reported back the bill on January 28, 1840, with an amendment. The House amended the select committee’s amendment by adding an additional section relating to the collector of Ogle County. The House adopted the select committee’s amendment as amended. On January 30, the House passed the bill as amended, on Lincoln’s motion amending the title so as to read, “A Bill in relation to Taking Depositions, and in relation to Menard and Logan Counties.” The House informed the Senate of the bill’s passage, but the latter took no action.
Illinois House Journal. 1839. 11th G. A., special sess., 6, 270-71, 296, 298; Illinois Senate Journal. 1839. 11th G. A., special sess., 220.
3It appears that this is the version of the bill Lincoln of the select committee reported back to the House on January 28, 1840. The select committee added sections one and three, and incorporated the substance of Lincoln’s original bill with amendments--the committee filled in the blank with “Menard County” and added “for the year 1839”--as the second section. Missing from this version is the additional section added by the House concerning the collector of Ogle County.
Lincoln presumably left the county name blank in his original bill, leaving it to the select committee to fill in the name, and the select committee added the third section, because questions remained over the boundary between Sangamon and Menard counties. Section one of the act establishing Menard County set its boundaries, but the Senate inserted a proviso in the fourth section altering the boundaries if the commissioners selected for the task located the county seat on the west or left side of the Sangamon River. The House passed an amendment, authored and moved by Lincoln, modifying the proposed Senate boundaries, and the proviso with Lincoln’s amendment became part of the act. (The first clause of boundaries delineated in Lincoln’s amendment and the original bill are identical.)
The proviso shifted a portion of the boundary between Sangamon and Menard counties further north and west, leaving more territory to the north and west of Athens. On May 18, 1839, the commissioners appointed for the task located the county seat at Petersburg, on the western side of the river, activating the proviso. The status of approximately 22 sections west and north of Athens, however, remained in question. The affected area did not include the town of Athens, which remained in Sangamon County. In 1840, Thomas J. Nance unsuccessfully attempted to address the confusion by introducing a bill that repealed this proviso and designated this area as part of Menard County. A year later, John Bennett introduced a bill to settle the boundary between Sangamon and Menard counties. After the House refused to engross it, Bennett tried again unsuccessfully to enact its main provisions in another bill. The General Assembly did not resolve the issue until it passed an act in 1843 adding land west of the Sangamon River to Menard County and an additional act in 1847 adding land east of the Sangamon River, including Athens, to Menard County.
Illinois House Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 357; Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 287; Illinois House Journal. 1839. 11th G. A., special sess., 270-71; Menard County Illinois History (Petersburg, IL: History of Menard County, Inc., 1988), 289; “An Act to define the boundary lines of Menard county,” 2 March 1843, Laws of Illinois (1843), 94; “An Act to add part of Sangamon to Menard county,” 28 February 1847, Private and Special Laws of Illinois (1847), 39.
Handwritten Document, 2 page(s), Box 2, Folder 15, Lincoln Collection, Illinois State Archives (Springfield, IL)