Fragment of A Bill for the Early Completion of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, [26 February 1841]1
Sec[Section]: 9 It is hereby expressly declared, that no state lands shall in any case be disposed of for ^canal purposes for^ any less than authorized by this act; nor shall any money be paid ^or lands delivered^ upon any contract made or to be made, which is or may be above the estimated cost already made by the chief engineer, nor upon any contract hereafter to be made, unless the above be made with the Canal Contractors Association according to the 10th section of this act—2
1Abraham Lincoln wrote this fragment.
On February 20, 1841, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution calling for the appointment of a select committee of seven members to report on the best means to pay interest on the state debt and for continuation of work on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The House appointed a select committee of nine representatives, of which Abraham Lincoln was a member. On February 23 the select committee, pursuant to the resolution, issued majority and minority reports, which the House tabled. Cyrus Edwards of the aforesaid select committee introduced HB 290, which accompanied the majority report. The House tabled the bill and ordered 150 copies printed. On February 24, the House took up the bill, placed it in the orders of the day, and tabled it. On February 26, the House took up the bill, and Lincoln moved to strike out all after the enacting clause and to insert a substitute. The House concurred with Lincoln’s substitute by a vote of 41 yeas to 32 nays, with Lincoln voting yea. The House ordered the bill engrossed as substituted by a vote of 42 yeas to 34 nays, with Lincoln voting yea. On February 27, the House amended the nineteenth section, but rejected an amendment to strike out all after the ninth section by a vote of 35 yeas to 36 nays, with Lincoln voting nay. The House passed the bill as amended by a vote of 37 yeas to 33 nays, with Lincoln voting yea. On February 27, the Senate indefinitely postponed further consideration by a vote of 18 yeas to 17 nays. The Senate ceased consideration largely thanks to a spirited denunciation of the bill by William J. Gatewood, who described the bill’s provisions as “monstrous.” Gatewood compared the canal commissioners with the East India Company, assuring his fellow senators that passing the bill would severely hamper the liberties of the people.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 455, 478-79, 480, 491, 518, 521, 547-49; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 435, 439; Illinois State Register (Springfield), 12 March 1841, 1:2.
2The connection of this fragment to the legislative history of the bill in the House of Representatives is uncertain. It seems clear that it is part of Lincoln’s substitute adopted on February 26. It could be an early draft of that substitute or the missing section nine of the bill that the House engrossed and passed on February 27--which was an amended version of Lincoln’s substitute.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 548-49.
Handwritten Document, 1 page(s), Private Collection, John Taylor (Virginia, IL).