A Bill concerning the State Bank of Illinois, [22 February 1841]1
Sec.[Section] 1 Be it enacted by the People of the state of Illinois: That the twentyfifth section of an act entitled an act to incorporate the subscribers to the Bank of the state of Illinois ^Approved February 12 1835^ be and the same is hereby repealed; and any and all forfeiture or forfeitures, which may have accrued under said section, hereby set aside—2
Sec: 2 That the said Bank be authorized to receive interest at the rate of eight per cent per annum, on all indebtedness ^hereafter created^ for shorter time than seven months, and on all other indebtedness, as now fixed by law—3
Sec: 3rd That said be Bank be authorized to issue and circulate bills or notes of less denomination than five dollars—
Sec: ^3^ 4th If the said Bank shall avail itself of the foregoing provisions, it shall do so upon the condition, that it advance to the state the sum of one ^two^ hundred thousand dollars in each year till ^before^ the next regular meeting of the General Assembly, for which advances it shall receive six per cent state bonds at par— said advances to be made at such times, and in such sums not exceeding the whole, as may be necessary ^for the redemption of bonds hypothecated and^ for paying interest on the state indebtedness, other than that due said Bank; ^and to the redemptions of hypothecated bonds^ to which purpose, and no other said advances shall be faithfully applied.4
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 482; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 418-19.
Sec: ^4^ 5 To avail said bank Bank of the provisions of this act, the President and Directors thereof shall pass an order accepting the same, at their first meeting after the passage of this act.5
No 189 H R
A bill for an act concerning the State Bank of Illinois—
ord. Eng.[ordered to be Engrossed]
1Abraham Lincoln wrote the text of the bill and the bill title on page two.
Peter Green of the Committee on Banks and Other Corporations, to which the House of Representatives had referred a memorial from the State Bank of Illinois, introduced HB 286 in the House on February 22, 1841. The House tabled the minority report of the Committee, which condemned the bill as legalizing the suspension of specie payments, and refused to print 2500 copies of the memorial by a vote of 25 yeas to 51 nays, with Abraham Lincoln voting nay. The House also refused to print 500 copies by a vote of 27 yeas to 48 nays, Lincoln voting nay. The House refused to engross the bill by a vote of 38 yeas to 38 nays, with Lincoln voting nay. The House later rescinded this vote. On February 24, a representative offered an amendment, authored and written by Lincoln, striking out the third section and inserting a new section, which the House adopted. The House also adopted an amendment adding two additional sections. On Lincoln’s motion, the House rejected an additional amendment by a vote of 45 yeas to 32 nays, with Lincoln voting yea. On February 25, a representative offered an amendment to add an additional section, which representatives sought to amend with an amendment. Lincoln moved the previous question, which the House rejected by a vote of 34 yeas to 47 nays, with Lincoln voting yea. The House tabled the bill and proposed amendments, agreeing to rescind the rule requiring two-thirds vote to amend a bill upon its passage by a vote of 58 yeas to 20 nays, with Lincoln voting yea. The House subsequently took up the bill and proposed amendments, tabling the amendment to the amendment, but refusing to table the amendment by a vote of 32 yeas to 50 nays, with Lincoln voting nay. The House adopted the amendment by a vote of 41 yeas to 35 nays, with Lincoln voting yea. The House rejected the bill as amended by a vote of 14 yeas to 63 nays, with Lincoln voting nay. The House later agreed to re-consider this vote by a vote of 44 yeas to 30 nays, with Lincoln voting nay. The House referred the bill to a select committee of five by a vote of 49 yeas to 26 nays, with Lincoln not voting. The select committee reported back the bill with amendments, in which the House concurred by a vote of 45 yeas to 34 nays, with Lincoln voting yea. The House passed the bill as amended by a vote of 43 yeas to 38 nays, with Lincoln voting nay. On February 25, the Senate referred the bill to the Committee of the Whole. The Committee of the Whole reported back the bill with amendments, in which the Senate concurred by a vote of 25 yeas to 14 nays. The Senate further amended the bill by adding a proviso to the sixth section by a vote of 33 yeas to 5 nays. It also added a seventh section by a vote of 31 yeas to 6 nays. The Senate passed the bill as amended by a vote of 21 yeas to 18 nays. On February 27, the House concurred with the Senate amendments by a vote of 43 yeas to 35 nays, with Lincoln not voting. On February 27, the Council of Revision approved the bill and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 457, 459-60, 481-87, 503, 505-7, 507-8, 510-11, 544, 545, 555; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 408, 415, 417, 418-19, 430; Illinois State Register (Springfield), 5 March 1841, 1:7.
2The General Assembly amended this section by adding the following proviso: “Provided, That when said bank shall resume specie payments for its evidences of indebtedness, if at any time after such resumption, the bank shall again suspend such payment for a longer period of time than is now allowed by its charter, then and in such case the General Assembly shall have the power to declare said charter forfeited.”
Section twenty-five of the bank’s incorporation act stipulated that if the bank refused or neglected to redeem, for ten days after demand, its notes or evidence of debt in specie, the bank would discontinue operations and its charter would be forfeited. An act supplementary to the incorporation act gave the bank an additional fifty days to suspend specie payments. Under provisions of the incorporation act and an act supplementary thereto, if the bank did not resume specie payments within sixty days after suspension, it would lose its charter. In May 1837, the bank suspended specie payments in response to the Panic of 1837. In July, a special session of the legislature commenced to deal with the banking crisis. On July 21, the General Assembly passed an act suspending until the end of the next general or special session of the legislature provisions of the law requiring the bank to forfeit its charter for refusing to redeem its notes in specie for sixty days. In December 1839, the state’s debt crisis forced the bank to again suspend specie payments. Governor Thomas Carlin called the legislature into special session to deal with the crisis. In his message to the General Assembly, Carlin attacked the bank and demanded an investigation of its affairs. The legislators complied by establishing a joint select committee. Despite Carlin’s hostility, the legislature passed an act on January 31, 1840, resuscitating the bank with, as Lincoln described in a letter to John T. Stuart, “some trifling modifications.” The act revived the bank’s charter and suspending stipulations on specie payments until the end of the next legislative session.
Illinois House Journal. 1839. 11th G. A., special sess., 30, 51, 69, 219-20, 221, 222; Illinois Senate Journal. 1839. 11th G. A., special sess., 25, 26, 41, 156, 159, 163, 166; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:138, 147; Charles Hunter Garnett, “State Banks of Issue in Illinois” (essay, University of Illinois, 1898), 30-35.
3The General Assembly amended this section by reducing the rate of interest to seven percent and the duration of time to six months. For loans or discounts longer than six months, the bank was authorized to receive nine percent interest annually.
4On February 24, 1841, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment striking out the third section and inserting a new section. On February 25, the Senate replaced this amendment with a new third section giving the Bank the right to issue notes of the denomination of one, two, and three dollars upon its agreement to five conditions. The House amendment became condition four, and another House amendment became condition five. This new section and became part of the act that became law.
5On February 24, 1841, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment that added a fifth and sixth section. On Lincoln’s motion, the House rejected an amendment adding a seventh section by a vote of 45 yeas to 32 nays, with Lincoln voting yea. On February 25, 1841, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment specifying that the bank’s charter would expire within five years after the passage of this bill by a vote of 41 yeas to 35 nays, with Lincoln voting yea. It also amended the amendment creating the sixth section by raising the liability amount from $4000 to $5000. On February 26, the Senate amended the bill taking the House amendment creating the sixth section and making it the new fourth section. by adding this seventh section that would appear in the act that became law. It approved a new sixth section, and further amended the section, which dealt with dividends paid by the State Bank of Illinois and the Bank of Illinois, by adding a proviso suspending the thirty-first section of the incorporation act of the State Bank be suspended until the resumption of specie payments. Section thirty-one read as follows: “The Legislature of this State shall never pass any law retarding, obstructing, staying, protracting, or in any wise suspending the collection of any debt or debts due the said Bank.” It also added a new seventh section.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 483-84, 505-7, 510-11; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 418; Amendment to “A Bill concerning the State Bank of Illinois”; Amendment to “A Bill concerning the State Bank of Illinois”.
Handwritten Document, 2 page(s), Lincoln Collection, HB 286, Illinois State Archives (Springfield, IL)