In force, 2nd March, 1837.
AN ACT encouraging volunteer companies.1
Adopt constitution, not inconsistent with laws.
Sec.[Section] 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That whenever any volunteer or independent company has become organized, or shall hereafter become organized, according to the laws
<Page 2>of this State, it shall be lawful for such company, at any regular meeting thereof, to adopt a constitution and by-laws for the regulation and government of said company, which shall not be inconsistent with the constitution of the United States or of this State.2
Duty of acting sergeant.
Sec. 2. It shall be the duty of the acting orderly sergeant of the company to keep a perfect and complete record of the constitution and by laws of said company, which shall be signed by the acting captain of the company, and countersigned by the acting orderly sergeant, and said constitution and by-laws shall, at all times, be subject to the inspection of any member of the company, and of all militia officers, and any person interested therein.3
Failure to parade.
Sec. 3. Said constitution and by-laws may fix the fines and penalties which shall be imposed on any member of the company for an infraction of any of the provisions of said constitution or by-laws, and may also fix the fines which shall be imposed on any member for a failure to parade at any muster which may be called, according to the constitution or bye-laws of the company.
Sec. 4. No company shall be entitled to any of the benefits of this law, which shall not provide in its constitution or by-laws for 4company musters during the year.
To bring suit.
Sec. 5. When any member of the company shall have been guilty of a violation of any of the provisions of the constitution or by-laws of the company and a fine shall have been assessed on him in accordance with the provisions of said constitution and by-laws, it shall be the duty of the acting orderly sergeant of the company, or in case he is interested, then of the next serjeant of the company, to demand of such member said fine, and in case of his neglect or refusal to pay the same, it shall be lawful to bring suit for the same in the name of the company before any justice of the peace of the county, subject to an appeal to the circuit court, as in cases of debt or assumpsit: Provided, however, that when said suit shall be brought, security for costs shall be given by some responsible person or persons, in case said suit shall be determined against said company.
Sec. 6. It shall be sufficient evidence that the constitution or by-laws have been regularly adopted if they are signed by the acting captain and countersigned by the acting orderly sergeant of the company, and any member of said company may be a witness in all cases brought under the provisions of this law.
Sec. 7. All fines collected under this law shall be received by the acting orderly sergeant or acting captain of the company and shall be used for the benefit and under the direction of the company.
Two or more companies to be organized into an odd battalion.
Four companies in one county may form a regiment.
Sec. 8. It shall be lawful for any two or more volun[teer] companies to organise themselves into an odd battalion, and elect their major and all other staff officers; Provided, the parade grounds of said companies are in the same county and not more than twenty-five miles apart, and in case there shall be four or more volunteer companies in one county, they may organise themselves into a regiment and two battalions, and elect their colonel and staff officers in such manner as may be mutually agreed upon by the respective companies.
Sec. 9. Whenever any battalion or regiment shall become organised as aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the same to adopt a constitution and bye-laws for their government, as is above provided for in the cases of companies, the acting colonel or major, (as the case may be,) supplying the place of the acting captain and the acting adjutant the place of the acting orderly serjeant.
Eight years service shall exempt from military duty.
Sec. 10. Any person serving eight years in one or more volunteer or independent companies, shall be exempt from performing any military duty in time of peace, upon obtaining a certificate or certificates, that he has faithfully discharged his duty as a member of said company.
Sec. 11. So much of the 8th section of an act entitled an act for the organization and government of the militia of this State, in force July 2d, 1833, as requires a volunteer to give notice in writing, to the commanding officer of the company in which he was enrolled, and authorises commandants of regiments to disband independent companies, be, and the same is hereby repealed.
“An Act for the Organization and Government of the Militia of this State,” 2 March 1833, 9.
This act to take effect from and after its passage.5
Approved 2d March, 1837.
1John Harris introduced HB 187 in the House of Representatives on February 8, 1837. The House amended the fourth section by striking out the word “six” and inserting in lieu thereof the word “four.” On February 17, the House amended the bill by adding an additional section and concluding sentence. The House further amended the bill by adding to the second section the words “And all militia officers, and any persson interested therein.” The House passed the bill as amended. The Senate passed the bill on February 28. On March 2, the Council of Revision approved the bill and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1836. 10th G. A., 1st sess., 511, 611, 762, 792, 807; Illinois Senate Journal. 1836. 10th G. A., 1st sess., 457, 496, 553, 589.
2Section eight and nine of the 1833 militia law governed the raising and arming of voluntary companies. The 1833 militia law came in the aftermath of the Black Hawk War.
“An Act for the Organization and Government of the Militia of this State,” 2 March 1833, The Act of the Organization and Government of the Militia of this State, Passed 2d March 1833, Together with the Articles of War, and the Rules and Regulations for the Government of the Army of the United States (1833), 8-10. The militia act was published separately from the Revised Laws of 1833.
3On February 17, 1837, the House of Representatives amended the bill by adding the text after “member of the company.”
Illinois House Journal. 1836. 10th G. A., 1st sess., 611.
4On February 8, 1837, the House of Representatives amended the bill by striking out the word “six” and inserting in lieu thereof the word“four.” The act has a blank space here, which was presumably a printing error.
Illinois House Journal. 1836. 10th G. A., 1st sess., 511.
5On February 17, 1837, the House of Representatives amended the bill by adding the eleventh section and the concluding sentence.
Illinois House Journal. 1836. 10th G. A., 1st sess., 611.
Printed Document, 3 page(s), Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Tenth General Assembly (Vandalia, IL: William Walters, 1837), 165-67, GA Session: 10-1