Summary of Legislative Debate on Bill to Establish Circuit Courts, 18 February 18411
The Judiciary committee reported back the bill establishing circuits under the new Judiciary law, with sundry amendments.2
Several amendments were offered and adopted in relation to the times of holding courts.
Mr. Cox moved to amend by striking out $1,500 as the salary of the new Judges, and inserting $1,000; lost.3
Mr. Trumbull moved the previous question, which was not sustained.
Mr. Drummond moved to strike out the name T. C. Browne as Judge of the 6th circuit, and insert the name of S. H. Treat.4
M. Henderson moved to re-committ the bill to the Judiciary committee with instructions to amend the bill to require the Judges to sit in each district without doing duty twice in succession in the same circuit.
Mr. Trumbull moved to lay both motions on the table.5
The question on laying Mr. Henderson’s motion on the table was taken and carried.6
The question on laying Mr. Drummond’s motion on the table was taken up and lost...7
The consideration of the motion of Mr. Drummond was resumed.
After some discussion between Messrs. Lincoln, Trumbull and White,
Mr. Trumbull moved the previous question which was sustained.
The question was then taken on striking out the name T. C. Browne, and inserting that of S. H. Treat, and decided in the negative—ayes 41, nays 45.8
The question was then taken on striking out the name of S. H. Treat, and inserting that of T. C. Browne, and decided in the negative—ayes 41, nays 46.9
The question was then taken on agreeing with the Judiciary committee in their amendments to the bill; agreed to, and bill ordered to a third reading.10
1A longer version of this debate appeared in the Illinois State Register on January 26, 1841.
2On February 10, 1841, the Illinois General Assembly overrode the objections of the Council of Revision and passed an act which reorganized the judiciary of the state. Section one of this act repealed all acts or parts of acts establishing circuit courts. Section three divided the state into nine judicial circuits. On February 9, 1841, a day before the House of Representatives and Senate passed the judiciary act in its final form, Adam W. Snyder introduced a bill in the Senate to create nine circuit courts. The Senate passed the bill on February 11. The House of Representatives referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary on February 13. The committee reported back on February 18 with several amendments, and this debate would be over these amendments.
Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 279, 286, 288-89, 295; Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 374, 392, 393, 424-26; “An Act Establishing A Circuit Court North of the Illinois River,” 8 January 1829, Revised Code of Laws, of Illinois (1829), 38-39; An Act to Establish a Uniform Mode of Holding Circuit Courts; An Act Dividing the State into Judicial Circuits; An Act Forming an Additional Judicial Circuit; An Act Dividing the State into Judicial Circuits.
3The House rejected the amendment by a vote of 17 yeas to 68 nays, with Abraham Lincoln voting nay. Section two of the judiciary act called for the election of five additional associate justices of the Supreme Court. On February 15, the General Assembly elected Sidney Breese, Thomas Ford, Samuel H. Treat, Walter B. Scates, and Stephen A. Douglas the new five justices. Section five of the circuit court bill stipulated a salary of $1500 annually for the new justices. The act kept the salary at $1,500.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 406, 425.
4Drummond also proposed striking out the name “Samuel H. Treat” as judge of the eighth circuit, and inserting the name “Thomas C. Browne.”
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 425.
5Lincoln moved a division of the question in order to take a vote separately on each amendment.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 425.
6The House tabled Henderson’s amendment by a vote of 47 yeas to 35 nays, with Lincoln voting nay.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 425.
7The House rejected Drummond’s motion by a vote of 37 yeas to 44 nays, with Lincoln voting nay. The House delayed further debate pending the call of the House.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 426.
8The House Journal recorded the vote as ayes 42, nays 45, with Lincoln voting aye.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 426-27.
9Lincoln voted aye. As result of these two negative votes, Browne would handle circuit duties in the sixth circuit, and Treat in the eighth, which included Sangamon County.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 427; An Act to Establish Circuit Courts.
10The judiciary committee’s amendments as altered amended the bill by removing the original eighth section and adding new sections eight through twenty-three. The House passed three more amendments on February 19 and passed the bill. That same day, the Senate referred the amended bill to the Committee of the Whole, which recommended several amendments, to which the Senate concurred along with the House amendments, and passed the bill. The Council of Revision approved the bill on February 23 and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 426-27, 440, 462, 464; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 353-54, 356-57, 375, 381, 383.

Printed Document, 1 page(s), Sangamo Journal , (Springfield, IL) , 26 February 1841, 2:4