Summary of Legislative Debate on “A Bill to Provide for the Payment of Interest,” 14 December 18401
Mr. HICKS on leave introduced a bill to provide for the payment of the January and July interest, which was read twice. (The Bill sets apart certain funds as a perma[n]ent Fund to meet the interest; and as to so much of Interest as it is disputed whether it should or should not be paid, the bill requires the amount to be deposited in some Bank until the question shall be judicially determined
Mr. LINCOLN wished to know if there was any provision providing for the increase of the State Revenue; we had no funds to set aside out of that Revenue, which was not more than enough for present requirements. Mr. L explained how he had contrived that the measure he had proposed on a former occasion would not take away from the necessary supplies.
Mr. HARDIN stated that interest for only part of our debt was provided for: there was however the Canal debt and State House debt, to be pro-
<Page 2>vided for. It would not be just to set asides all our resources for the Internal Improvement debt alone. Our credit would suffer by neglecting to pay one debt as well as another.
Mr. MURPHY of Cook deemed the sale of Canal lands competent to provide for the interest of the canal debt without causing any difficulty.
Mr. HARDIN questioned the adequacy of the canal land sales for the purposes alleged.
Mr. KITCHELL could not vote for the Bill; there was no limitation to the pledging of our bonds.
Mr. CAVARLY wished to know if the bill contained provisions for the sale of the internal improvement property? Mr C. went into a calculation of the amount proposed to be set aside. Mr. C would vote for any measure which would rescue the State from disgrace, he called on the friends of the State to rally and save it from dishonour.
Mr. ORMSBEE went into a calculation of the adequacy of the funds to be set apart by the bill. He was in favor of the bill.
Mr. TRUMBULL was opposed to the provision that the Agent should make a deposit of the interest as to which there was a doubt, until a judicial determination of the doubt be made. He thought it idle to raise money to be deposited in such a manner as to lie idle. Mr. T. moved to strike out the aforesaid proviso. Agreed to Ayes 47.
Mr. THRELK[E ]LD wished to inform the House of a source of revenue which had escaped notice; the burden of taxation seemed to him to fall mainly on the farmers. Mechanics of all sorts measurably escape taxation; so also do the officers of the Government; he would make these suggestions, in the view of giving a lift to the waggon of the State which seemed sunk deeply in the mire. The question on the engrossment of the bill was then taken and decided in the negative, Ayes 40, Noes 45.
So the Bill was rejected.
1On December 14, 1840, Stephen G. Hicks introduced his second bill related to paying the state’s debt. The House amended the bill and then voted against reading it a third time, by a vote of 40 ayes to 45 nays, with Abraham Lincoln voting nay. There is no extant text of the bill.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 116-17.
Printed Document, 2 page(s), Illinois State Register (Springfield), 18 December 1840, 2:7; 3:1.