Amendment to “A Bill to Vacate the Town Plat of Livingston,” [12 December 1840]1
Amend the Bill by adding the following additional sections, towit:2
Sec:[Section] 2nd That the town plat of the town of Cicero in the county of Sangamon be vacated Provided that John Latham and Archibald Constant, or the heirs of them or either of them be the sole proprietors of said town at the passage of this act—3
Sec: 3rd That Blocks numbered Six, Seven, eight, and nine, of the Plat of the town of Caledonia in the county of Putnam, are hereby vacated, Provided that P G. Young be the sole proprietor of said Blocks at the passage of this act—
Sec. 4. That the south End of Charles Street from first to Second South Streets in Coleman's addition to the Town of Belleville in the County of St. Clair, is hereby vacated.4
Amendmt[Amendment] H. R.
S. B # 2
S. B # 2
2Introduced in the Senate on November 27, 1840, the Senate passed SB 2 on December 5. On December 9, Abraham Lincoln moved that the House of Representatives refer the bill to a select committee. The House concurred and placed Lincoln on that committee. On behalf of the select committee, Lincoln reported back the bill on December 12 with these amendments, in which the House concurred. The House passed the bill as amended on December 14. The Senate concurred with the House amendments on December 17. The Council of Revision vetoed the bill as unsuitable to become a law on December 19, and returned it to the Senate with its report that objected to the fourth section as a violation of private rights. The Senate concurred and re-passed the bill without the fourth section on December 21. On December 22, the House re-passed the bill. The Council of Revision approved the amended bill on January 7, 1841, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 88, 94, 112, 115, 131, 146, 149; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 46, 78, 87, 92, 93, 102, 107, 128, 147.
3Illinois experienced a time of intense land speculation in the 1830s that resulted in a number of “paper towns,” settlements that were platted and available for sale but where few or no people actually lived. Many of the proprietors of these settlements abandoned them during and after the Panic of 1837. As a result, the General Assembly received a large number of petitions for vacation during their sessions from 1838 to 1841. In 1841, the legislature passed an act setting parameters for proprietors to vacate town plats themselves. Vacating a plat gave owners greater flexibility in the use, fencing, and sale of the property.
An Act to Vacate Town Plats; Alasdair Roberts, America’s First Great Depression: Economic Crisis and Political Disorder after the Panic of 1837 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2012), 19, 33, 38; James E. Davis, Frontier Illinois (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), 210-12; Robert P. Howard, Illinois: A History of the Prairie State (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1972), 196.
4The House of Representatives added sections two, three, and four to the bill on December 12, 1840. The Council of Revision objected to section four, and the Senate struck out that section on December 21.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 112; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 93, 102.
Handwritten Document, 2 page(s), Lincoln Collection, SB 2, GA Session 12-2, Illinois State Archives (Springfield, IL).