Abraham Lincoln to Unknown, [1848-1849]1
It is a matter of great personal consequence to me that our Illinois Rail Road bill should be acted on this session– May I hope you will help me suspend the rule to take it up?A Lincoln2
2Roy P. Basler, editor of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, dated this note to Lincoln’s time in the U.S. House of Representatives. An examination of the congressional records lends strong credence to his contention. On January 17, 1848, Representative Robert Smith of Illinois introduced H.R. 87, a bill to grant the State of Illinois a right of way through public lands owned by the United States, in aid of constructing the Northern Cross Railroad. The House referred the bill to the Committee on Public Lands, which did not report back the bill. On January 31, 1849, the U.S. Senate passed a bill granting Illinois a right of way through public lands, and for other purposes. The Senate bill came before the House on February 8, and the House referred it to the Committee on Public Lands. The Committee reported back the bill on February 27 without amendment, and the House read the bill a third time. Jacob Collamer moved its passage, but received no second. A day later, Representative Samuel F. Vinton moved to reconsider the vote ordering the third reading. The House postponed consideration of the motion. On March 3, the House, on the motion of John Wentworth, took up Vinton’s motion and, after much debate, tabled the motion. The bill did not receive any further consideration.
Illinois House Journal. 1848. 30th Cong., 1st Sess., 257-58; Illinois House Journal. 1848. 30th Cong., 2nd Sess., 406, 537, 556, 669-70; U.S. Senate Journal. 1849. 30th Cong., 2nd Sess., 170-71; Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 8:419.
Autograph Note Signed, 1 page(s), Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL)