In force, Jan.[January] 7, 1841.
An ACT making compensation to the persons therein named.1
Appropriation to Wm. Mitchell
Sec[Section]. 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That the Auditor shall issue his warrant in favor of William Mitchell, a witness, summoned by the House of Representatives at this session of the General Assembly to testify in the case of the contested election in Peoria county, for the sum of two dollars and fifty cents2 for each day such witness was compelled to attend, and three dollars for every twenty miles necessary travel to and from the seat of Government, the said witness being sworn before some qualified person of the number of days he has been in attendance, and the number of miles necessary travel to and from the seat of Government, and also a like compensation to the messenger despatched with the subpoena to the said William Mitchell, upon his making a similar oath.
Approved, January 7, 1841.3
1Ebenezer Peck introduced HB 48 on December 21, 1840, and the House amended the bill by adding “two dollars” by a vote of 50 yeas to 27 nays, Abraham Lincoln voting yea, and then amended it again by adding “and fifty cents” by a vote of 47 yeas to 30 nays, Lincoln voting yea. The House then passed the bill as amended. The Senate passed the bill on December 24. The Council of Revision approved the bill on January 7, 1841, and the act became law.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 143-44, 158, 166, 200; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 104, 115-16.
2The House of Representatives passed two amendments on December 21, 1840, that changed “three dollars” in Section 1 to “two dollars and fifty cents.”
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 144.
3The contested election involved William J. Phelps and Norman H. Purple. In August 1840 Phelps, the Whig candidate, had defeated Purple, the Democrat, by a meager seven votes, and Purple had contested the canvass, claiming that fifteen voters had cast illegal ballots for Phelps, whereas he had only received eight illegal votes. Purple also purported that election officials had rejected two of his supporters at the polls without cause. On November 25, 1840, the House of Representatives appointed a select committee to investigate Purple’s contentions. This select committee had five Democrats and four Whigs. As part of their investigation, the select committee had subpoenaed William Mitchell, clerk of the County Commissioners Court of Peoria County, to bring with him the respective poll books in his custody listing the votes given the election. On December 4, Ebenezer Peck presented the Democratic majority report, which concluded with a resolution declaring Purple the winner of the election. John J. Hardin presented the Whig minority report, which declared Phelps the winner. These competing reports prompted a spirited debate in the House, in which Abraham Lincoln participated. Both reports were referred to the Committee of the Whole. On December 21, the House adopted a resolution affirming that Phelps was rightly entitled to the seat.
Illinois House Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 8, 9-10, 59-67, 90, 93, 131, 132-34, 138-39; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 8 December 1840, 2:7, 3:1.
Printed Document, 1 page(s),
Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly (Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841), 206, GA Session 12-2,