AN ACT for the Construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal.1
Governor authorized to negotiate a loan for the construction of said canal.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That the Governor of this State be, and he is hereby authorized and empowered to negotiate a loan, solely on the pledge of the canal lands and tolls, as hereinafter provided, for the purpose of aiding, in connection with such other means as may be hereafter received from the government of the United States, in the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, a sum of money not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars, which shall be required to be paid at such times, by instalments, as the same may be needed in the progress of the said work, as near as the same can be estimated.2
Shall cause certificates of stock to be created.
Sec. 2. The Governor shall cause to be constituted certificates of stock for the said loan, to be called the “Illinois and Michigan Canal Stock,” signed by the Auditor and countersigned by the Treasurer, bearing an interest not exceeding five per cent. per annum, payable semi-annually,
<Page 2>at Vandalia, or at some bank in the city of New York, or either, as may be agreed upon, and reimbursable at the pleasure of the State, at any time after the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty.3
Sec. 3. The Governor shall take and use all proper means and measures for the transferring of the said stock.
Certificates of stock to be sold.
Sec. 4. It shall be deemed a good execution of the said power to borrow, for the Governor to cause the said certificates of stock, when created, to be sold: Provided, That the said stock shall not, in any case, be sold for less than its par value.
Money when advanced to be deposited in some bank.
Sec. 5. It shall be the duty of the Governor to cause the said moneys, from time to time, when paid or advanced, to be deposited in some safe bank or banks, until wanted for use, at the best interest that can be obtained for it, to be drawn out as hereinafter provided, taking therefor the proper securities for the safe keeping of the same.
What shall constitute the canal fund.
Used for canal purposes only.
Sec. 6. The money thus loaned, the premiums arising from the sale of any stock thus created, the proceeds of the canal lands and town lots, and all of the moneys in any way arising from the contemplated canal, shall constitute the canal fund, and shall be used for canal purposes, and for no other whatever, until the said canal shall have been completed: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to prevent appropriations from being made, out of the said fund, for the semi-annual payment of the interest upon the canal stock herein authorized to be created; and the Governor is hereby authorized to cause the said interest to be paid out of the said fund.
Pledges for payment of loan.
Sec. 7. That the revenue arising from the “Illinois and Michigan Canal,” and from the lands granted, or that may hereafter be granted to the State of Illinois by the congress of the United States, for the construction of the said canal, and the nett tolls thereof, are hereby pledged for the payment of the interest accruing on the stock that may be created in pursuance of this act, and for the reimbursement of the principal of the same.4
Governor to appoint a board of canal commissioners.
Sec. 8. The Governor of the State, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint five practical, skillful persons to constitute a board, to be known under the style and description of “The Board of Commissioners of the Illinois and Michigan Canal,” and he shall designate one of such commissioners to be President thereof, one to be Treasurer, and one to be Acting Commissioner; and the Governor shall fill such vacancies as may occur in the board during the recess of the legislature.5
May remove the same from office.
Sec. 9. The Governor shall have power to remove from office any canal commissioner at his discretion.
Compensation of commissioners.
Sec. 10. The acting commissioner shall be allowed a
<Page 3>salary of twelve hundred dollars per annum, and the rest of the board shall each be allowed a compensation of three dollars per day while necessarily employed in the business of the canal.
Declared a body corporate.
Sec. 11. The said board of commissioners is hereby constituted a body politic and corporate, with full power and authority, in their corporate name, to contract and be contracted with, sue and be sued, defend and be defended, plead and be impleaded, in all the matters and things relating to them as canal commissioners; and they shall have and use a common seal of such device as the Governor may direct.
Shall appoint a secretary.
Sec. 12. The board shall appoint a secretary, whose duty it shall be to keep a true record of all of their proceedings. They shall hold quarterly meetings, and special meetings whenever any two of them, or the acting commissioner, may desire it, and any three of them shall constitute a quorum to do business.
Shall be sworn.
And give bonds.
Sec. 13. Before entering upon the duties of their office, each of the said commissioners shall make oath or affirmation faithfully, honestly and truly to execute and discharge all the duties and obligations herein imposed upon them, and each of them, as canal commissioners; and they shall severally give bonds to the Governor in the sum of ten thousand dollars, with sufficient sureties, for the faithful discharge of the duties imposed upon them by this act: Provided, That the Governor may, at any time, require additional bonds of the said treasurer, whenever he may think that the safety of the funds require it.
When payments on contracts become due.
Sec. 14. Whenever all or any part of the money upon any contract shall become due, it shall be the duty of the treasurer to draw his warrant or check therefor, in favor of the contractor, upon the bank or banks in which the canal fund shall have been deposited; which warrant or check, shall be countersigned by the acting commissioner, and shall be under the seal of the board.
Cashier of deposite bank to make a quarterly report to the acting commissioner.
To be compared with the accounts of the treasurer.
Sec. 15. It shall be the duty of the acting commissioner to obtain from the cashier of the bank or banks, in which the said fund shall have been deposited, a quarterly report, exhibiting a true account of all moneys received in deposite on account of the canal fund, and paid out of the said fund during the previous quarter, which report shall be laid before the board of canal commissioners, and within twenty days thereafter, shall be examined by the said board, and compared with the accounts of the treasurer, and an entry shall be made in the books of the said board, that the said examination has been made by them, and that the two amounts correspond, if such be the case, and each commis-
<Page 4>sioner present shall sign his name to the record of such examination.
Duties of the acting commissioner.
Sec. 16. It shall be the duty of the acting commissioner, 1st: To make, under the direction of the board, all necessary contracts for the supply of materials, and the performance of labor.
2d: To inquire into the official conduct of the agents, clerks, superintendents, and all subordinate officers, and to receive and hear all complaints that may be preferred against them.
3d: To enforce the faithful execution, by all persons concerned, of the duties and obligations imposed upon them by this act.
4th: To examine, frequently and carefully, into the state of the canal, and the progress of the works thereon.
5th: To have the immediate care and superintendence of the canal and all matters relating thereto.
Dimensions of the canal.
Sec. 17. The said canal shall not be less than forty-five feet wide at the surface, thirty feet at the base, and of sufficient depth to insure a navigation of at least four feet, to be suitable for ordinary canal boat navigation, to be supplied with water from Lake Michigan and such other sources as the canal commissioners may think proper, and to be constructed in the manner best calculated to promote the permanent interest of the country.6
Immediate measures shall be taken for its construction.
Sec. 18. They shall take efficient and proper measures for the immediate construction of the said canal; shall put such parts of it, as they may deem proper, under contract, as herein provided, and shall have the general care and superintendence thereof.
Commissioners to examine accounts of treasurer and acting commissioner.
Sec. 19. They shall inspect and examine into the accounts, books, state of the treasury, and all of the proceedings of the treasurer, and of the acting commissioner.
Sec. 20. They shall furnish the acting commissioner with all proper means and facilities that may be necessary to enable him to discharge the duties herein imposed upon him.
Sec. 21. They shall have full power and authority, in their good judgment, to do, in relation to the construction and completion of the said canal, all things not otherwise herein expressly provided for.
May enter upon lands, &c.[etc.]
Sec. 22. It shall be lawful for them to enter upon and use any lands, waters, streams, and materials of any description, necessary for the prosecution of the works contemplated by this act.
May employ such agents as they may deem necessary.
Sec. 23. They may employ such, and so many agents, engineers, surveyors, draftsmen, and other persons, as they may judge necessary to enable them to discharge their duties as commissioners, and may pay such compensation as they shall judge reasonable to each person so employed.
Notice to be given of time and place of entering into contracts.
Sec. 24. Public notice shall be given of the time and place at which proposals will be received for entering into contracts; which notice shall be previously published, for at least six weeks, in the newspaper printed at Chicago, and in such other papers, either in this State or elsewhere, as may be deemed proper.
Proposals to be sealed.
Sec. 25. Proposals for contracts shall be sealed, and shall be for a sum definite and certain, as to the price to be paid or received, and shall be accompanied with good and sufficient security for the faithful performance of such contract.
Shall take security for the performance of all contracts.
Sec. 26. The commissioners shall not enter into any contract for the supply of materials, or the performance of labor, without previously taking satisfactory security for the faithful performance of such contract, according to its terms.
May retain one half of amount due upon any contract.
Sec. 27. The board may, if they think the interest of the State requires it, retain one half the amount due upon any contract, until the contract shall have been completed, at which time all arrears shall be paid up; and in no case shall more than three-fourths of the amount due upon any contract, be paid, until the work shall have been completed.
Contracts to be made in writing.
Sec. 28. All contracts concerning the contemplated canal, shall be made in writing, under the seal of the board; and of each contract, three copies shall be executed by the parties, one of which shall be retained by the board, and one shall be immediately forwarded to the Auditor of Public Accounts, and by him filed in his office.
Materials procured for said canal, exempt from execution.
Sec. 29. All materials procured, or partially procured, under a contract with the commissioners, shall be exempt from execution; but it shall be the duty of the commissioners to pay the money due for such materials, to the judgment creditor of the contractor, under whose execution such materials might have been sold, upon his producing to them due proof that his execution would have so attached, and such payment shall be held a valid payment on the contract.
In case of the death of a contractor.
Sec. 30. In case of the death of any canal contractor, who shall, at the time of his decease, be indebted to any laborers for work done on the canal, it shall be lawful for the board, if they think proper, to pay such laborers out of any money that may be due to the deceased contractor, and the receipt of such laborers shall be a good voucher in offset to the sum due to the deceased contractor from the board, on the final settlement between them and his executors and administrators: Provided, That the said person shall first obtain a judgment against the administrator of such deceased contractor, and produce a certificate from the court that the said judgment was rendered for work done on the canal, or for materials furnished therefor, and for no other cause.
May make rules and regulations concerning the works on said canal.
Sec. 31. The board shall, from time to time, make such rules and regulations, not inconsistent with the laws of this State, in respect to the persons employed about the canal, injury done to the said canal or locks, and the management and navigation of the same, and impose such forfeitures of money for the breach of such rules and regulations, as they may judge reasonable; but no forfeiture imposed, shall, for a single offence, exceed the sum of fifty dollars, over and above the amount of actual damage done.
Shall cause them to be posted up.
Sec. 32. They shall cause a sufficient number of such rules and regulations to be posted up for public inspection, and shall transmit a copy of them, from time to time, to the Governor, as they may be made in their next quarterly and annual reports.
Shall file the same in auditor’s office.
Sec. 33. All rules, regulations, and forfeitures established by them as aforesaid, shall be filed in the office of the Auditor, and a copy thereof certified by him, under his hand and seal of office, shall be received in all courts of law as due proof that such rules, regulations, and forfeitures, were by them established.
Sec. 34. The commissioners shall examine the whole canal route, and select such places thereon as may be eligible for town sites, and cause the same to be laid off into town lots, and they shall cause the canal lands, in or near Chicago, suitable therefor, to be laid off into town lots.
May sell the same.
Sec. 35. They may, from time to time, proceed to sell such portions of the town lots, on the canal route, as may be necessary to pay the interest that may be due upon the loan herein authorized to be created, deducting therefrom the premiums that may arise upon the sale of canal stock: Provided, That none of the said canal lots shall be sold for the next five years, unless the Governor and a majority of the “The Board of Canal Commissioners” shall decide that it will be for the interest of the canal to do so; and if they shall determine not to sell, then the Governor shall cause the interest on the said loan, as it becomes due, to be paid out of the canal fund, as required in the sixth section of this act.7
Public notice of all such sales to be given.
Sec. 36. Public notice of all sales of canal lots or lands, shall be given in such newspapers, (not less than three in number,) either in this, or in other States, as the board may think best, at least six weeks prior to any sale.8
All lots appraised prior to such sale.
Sec. 37. All lots shall be appraised prior to the sale thereof, and shall be sold at public auction for cash; but they shall not, in any case, be sold for less than the appraised value thereof.
Secretary and treasurer to act as register and receiver.
Sec. 38. In all sales of canal lots, the secretary and treasurer shall act as register and receiver, and shall be governed by the same rules that now govern the registers and re-
<Page 7>ceivers in the United States land offices in this State, except as is herein provided.9
Treasurer to grant certificates of purchase.
Governor to grant patent upon presentment of same.
Sec. 39. It shall be the duty of the treasurer, upon the payment of the purchase money, to grant to the purchaser or purchasers, a certificate containing a description of the land or lots purchased, and the price for which the same was sold, and shall forward a duplicate of such certificates to the Auditor of the State, who shall record the same; and the persons holding such certificate, shall, upon presenting the same to the Governor, receive a patent for the land described therein, signed by the Governor, and countersigned by the Secretary of State, with the seal of the State affixed thereto.
Treasurer to make deposite.
Sec. 40. All moneys paid to the treasurer for the purchase of any canal lands or lots, shall be by him immediately deposited in some bank, under the direction of the Governor, for the payment of the interest on the canal loan.
Sec. 41. None of the board of canal commissioners shall be allowed to purchase any of the canal lands or lots herein authorized to be sold, nor shall they, or either of them, in any way, either directly or indirectly, be concerned in any such purchase, or have any manner of interest therein, and all sales in which the said commissioners, or any of them, shall be in any way interested, shall be absolutely null and void, the purchase money shall be forfeited, and the land shall revert to the canal fund. Any commissioner guilty of a violation of the provisions of this section, shall be deemed to have perpetrated a fraud, and upon indictment and conviction thereof, in any court having competent jurisdiction, shall be punished by forfeiture of his office, and fined in a sum not less than one thousand, nor more than five thousand dollars: Provided, That a prosecution for such offence shall be commenced within ten years after the commission of the same.
Combinations at any such sale deemed a fraud.
Sec. 42. If any two or more persons shall combine themselves together for the purpose of lessening competition at the sale of any of the canal lands or lots, or if they shall agree or have any understanding among themselves, that they will not bid upon one another at any such sale, for the purpose of obtaining the said canal lands or lots, at a low price, the same shall be deemed a fraud, and any person or persons convicted thereof, in any court having competent jurisdiction, shall be fined in a sum not less than one hundred, nor more than one thousand dollars; one moiety thereof to the use of the person informing, and the other moiety to the canal fund; and any patent issued for any lands or lots purchased as aforesaid, shall be absolutely null and void, the money paid therefor shall be forfeited, and the lands or lots so purchased, shall revert to the canal fund;
<Page 8>and it is hereby declared to be the duty of the State’s Attorney to prosecute for all such offences: Provided, That all such prosecutions shall be commenced within ten years after the commission of the offence.
Commissioners shall make quarterly reports to Governor.
Shall be published.
Sec. 43. The board of commissioners shall, quarterly, viz: On the first Monday of March, June, September, and December, in each year, make a minute and and particular report to the Governor, which report shall set forth, in a plain and intelligible manner, all of their acts and doings in relation to the said canal, and the canal lands and lots, all the money received and expended, the work done, and the price allowed for the various kinds of work, the contracts made, with whom made, and the security given, the number of engineers, draftsmen, clerks, and agents of every description by them employed, and the amount of compensation paid to each, the progress of the canal, their contemplated plans for the next three months, with an estimate of the probable amount of money that will be required to be expended for canal purposes during that time; together with such other matters and things as they may see fit to add; and also, the amount, time, and rate of any loan made by virtue of this act, which report, or the outlines thereof, the Governor shall cause to be published.
Shall make annual reports.
Sec. 44. They shall, annually, on the first Monday of December, make a report to the Governor, setting forth all their acts and doings in relation to the canal, and canal lands and lots, during the previous year, in like manner as is required of them in their quarterly reports, containing such statements and estimates for the year, as their quarterly reports do for the quarter.
Approved, Feb. 10, 1835.
1On December 5, 1834, the Senate referred to the Committee on Internal Improvements the messages of the acting Governor and Governor relating to the Illinois and Michigan Canal. On December 16, the Senate passed a resolution directing the Committee on Internal Improvements to investigate rail and water transportation options between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River. On January 13, 1835, George Forquer of the Committee on Internal Improvements introduced SB 56 in the Senate. The Senate tabled the bill and ordered 200 copies printed. The Senate considered the bill as a Committee of the Whole and reported back the bill on January 26 with an amendment. The Senate voted 14 to 13 against amending the eighth section, and also rejected amendments to the eleventh and fourteenth sections. Senators offered amendments to the fourteenth and eighteenth sections, and the Senate referred the bill and proposed amendments to a select committee. The select committee reported back the bill on January 27 with further amendments. The Senate concurred in the first, second, third, fifth, sixth, and last amendments. It rejected the seventh amendment, which proposed striking out Section 42. The Senators amended the select committee’s amendments by amending Sections 18 and 44. On January 28 the Senate passed the bill 14 to 10 as amended. On January 29, the House of Representatives referred the bill to a select committee. The select committee reported back the bill on January 31 without amendment, and the House voted 25 to 21 to read it a third time, Abraham Lincoln voting yea. On February 2 the House amended the first section and debated an amendment to Section 7. On February 3, the House referred the bill and proposed amendment to a select committee. The select committee reported back the bill with further amendments, in which the House concurred. The House voted 45 to 6 to amend the 8th section, Lincoln voting yea. The House passed the bill as amended. On February 4, the Senate voted 19 to 6 to concur in the House amendments. On February 5, the Senate voted 13 to 12 not to reconsider its concurrence in the House amendments. On February 6, the House passed a resolution requesting that the Senate return the bill to the House. The Senate reconsidered its concurrence in the House amendments on February 6. Senators proposed amendments to the House amendments to the first section. The Senate tabled the House resolution, the Senators proposing amendments to the House amendments to the first section withdrew them, and the Senate returned the bill to the House. On February 7, the House reconsidered its passage of the bill and referred the bill to a select committee. On February 9, the House voted to pass the bill as originally amended by a vote of 40 to 12, Lincoln voting yea. On February 9, the Senate concurred in the House amendments. On February 10, the Council of Revision approved the bill and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1835. 9th G. A., 1st sess., 421-22, 432, 458-459, 470-71, 472, 501, 503, 507, 512, 518; Illinois Senate Journal. 1835. 9th G. A., 1st sess., 38, 99-100, 227-249, 250, 293, 311, 314-315, 317, 321, 323, 328, 330-331, 349-350, 360-361, 435, 440, 444, 446, 447-448, 451-452, 467, 474, 483, 484; Illinois House Journal. 1835. 9th G. A., 2nd sess., 373, 378, 405, 412.
2General Assembly members debated at length whether to back this loan with the full faith of the state’s treasury or simply to pledge value of the canal lands and future tolls as collateral. In a message to the Senate on January 12, Governor Joseph Duncan firmly stated his conviction that the canal lands and future tolls would be more than enough to pay the loan. He stated that other canal-building states like New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio had secured loans similarly. Duncan also believed that the federal government would eventually provide further aid, as the canal was in the best interests of the entire nation. He therefore recommended that the General Assembly pledge only the value of the canal lands and tolls to secure a loan to begin construction. The Senate Committee on Internal Improvements, which introduced this bill the next day, agreed with Duncan. The Committee judged that the construction costs had been greatly over-estimated and that the State could repay a loan, secured only on the canal lands and lots, without resorting to taxation.
Illinois Senate Journal. 1835. 9th G. A., 1st sess., 223-25; 228-49; John H. Krenkel, Illinois Internal Improvements, 1818-1848 (Cedar Rapids, IA: Torch Press, 1958), 37-38.
5In 1836, the General Assembly changed the Board of Commissioners to three members, with two constituting a quorum.
6From 1829 onward, government officials debated whether to build a shallow canal that would accommodate only canal boats or to build a “deep-cut” canal that would allow larger boats and steamboats to pass. The language in the section here refers to a shallow canal. However, the Board of Commissioners and the engineers they hired soon became convinced that all previous cost projections had been greatly underestimated. They determined that a deep-cut canal was more sensible despite being more expensive at the outset, because any canal would eventually have to be enlarged to carry the steamboat traffic they expected.
John H. Krenkel, Illinois Internal Improvements, 1818-1848 (Cedar Rapids, IA: Torch Press, 1958), 40-42.
9In 1831, Congress set out rules for registers and receivers of the General Land Office.
“An Act to Establish a Land Office in the Territory of Michigan, and for Other Purposes,” 19 February 1831, Statutes at Large of the United States, 4:442-44.
Printed Document, 8 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at their First Session (Vandalia, IL: J. Y. Sawyer, 1835), 222-29, GA Session: 9-1