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upholding the Federal administration. The
majority report was adopted in the House on
Feb. 12, by a vote of fifty-two to twenty-eight,
and the resolutions which it embodied were at
once sent to the Senate for concurrence. Before
they could be acted upon in that body a Demo-
cratic Senator — J. M. Rodgers, of Clinton County
— died. This left the Senate politically tied, a
Republican presiding officer having the deciding
vote. Consequently no action was taken at the
time, and, on Feb. 14, the Legislature adjourned
till June 2. Immediate!}' upon re-assembling,
joint resolutions relating to a sine die adjourn-
ment were introduced in both houses. A disagree-
ment regarding the date of such adjournment
ensued, when Governor Yates, exercising the
power conferred upon him by the Constitution in
such cases, sent in a mes.sage (June 10, 1863)
proroguing the General Assembly until "the
Saturday next preceding the first Monday in
January, 186.5."' The members of the Republican
minority at once left the hall. The members of
the majoritj' convened and adjourned from day
to day until June 24, when, h.aving adopted an
address to the people setting forth their grievance
and denouncing the State executive, they took a
recess until the Tuesday after the first Monday of
January, 1864. The action of the Governor, hav-
ing been submitted to the Supreme Court, was
sustained, and no further session of this General
Assembly was held. Owing to the prominence
of political issues, no important legislation was
effected at this session, even the ordinary appro-
priations for the State institutions failing. This
caused much embarrassment to the State Govern-
ment in meeting current expenses, but banks and
capitalists came to its aid, and no important
interest was permitted to suffer. The total
length of the session was fifty daj-s — forty-one
days before the recess and nine days after.

Twenty-fourth Gener.\l Assembly convened
Jan. 2, 1865, and remained in session forty-six

days. It consisted of twenty-tive Senators and
eighty-five Representatives. The Republii'ans
had a majoritj' in both houses. Lieutenant-Gov-
ernor Bross presided over the Senate, and Allen
C. Fuller, of Boone County, was chosen Speaker
of the House, over Ambrose M. Miller, Democrat,
the vote standing 48 to 23. Governor Yates, in
his valedictory message, reported that, notwitli-
standing the heavy expenditure attendant upon
the enlistment and maintenance of troops, etc.,
the State debt had been reduced .5987,786 in four
years. On Jan. 4, 186.5, Governor Yates was
elected to the United States Senate, receiving
sixty-four votes to forty three cast for James C.
Robinson. Governor Oglesby was inaugurated Jan.
16. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution was ratified by this Legisla-
ture, and sundry special appropriations made.
Among the latter was one of .?3,000 toward the
State's proportion for the establishment of a
National Cemetery at Gettysburg; §25,000 for
the purchase of the land on which is the tomb
of the deceased Senator Douglas; besides sums
for establishing a home for Soldiers' Orphans and
an experimental scliool for the training of idiots
and feeble-minded children. The first act for
the registry of legal voters was passed at this

Twenty-fifth Gener.^l Assembly. This
body held one regular and two special sessions.
It first convened and organized on Jan. 7, 1867.
Lieutenant-Governor Bross presided over the
upper, and Franklin Corwin, of La Salle County,
over the lower house. The Governor (Oglesby),
in his message, reported a reduction of 82,607,958
in the State debt during the two years preceding,
and recommended various appropriations for pub-
lic purposes. He also urged the calling of a Con-
vention to amend the Constitution. On Jan. 15,
Lyman Trumbull was chosen United States Sena-
tor, the complimentary Democratic vote being
given to T. Lyle Dickey, who received thirty-
three votes out of 109. The regular session lasted
fifty-three days, adjourning Feb. 28. The Four-
teenth Amendment to the United States Constitu-
tion was ratified and important legislation enacted
relative to State taxation and the regulation of
public warehouses: a State Board of Equalization
of Assessments was established, and the office of
Attorney-General created. (Under this law
Robert G. Ingersoll was the first appointee.)
Provision was made for the erection of a new
State House, to establish a Reform School for
Juvenile Offenders, and for the support of other
State institutions. The first special session con-



vened on June 11, 1867, having been summoned
to consider questions relating to internal revenue.
The lessee of the penitentiary having surrendered
his lease without notice, the Governor found it
necessary to make immediate provision for the
management of that institution. Not having
included this matter in his original call, no ne-
cessity then existing, he at once summoned a
second special session, before the adjournment
of the first. This convened on June 14, remained
in session until June 28, and adopted what is
substantially the present penitentiary law of the
State. This General Assembly was in session
seventy-one days— fifty-three at the regular,
three at the first special session and fifteen at the

Twenty-sixth General Assembly convened
Jan. 4, 1869. The Republicans had a majority in
each house. The newly elected Lieutenant-Gov-
ernor, John Dougherty, presided in tlie Senate,
and Franklin Corwin, of Peru, was again chosen
Speaker of the House. Governor Oglesby sub-
mitted his final message at the opening of the
session, showing a total reduction in the State
debt during his term of $4,743,821. Governor
John M. Palmer was inaugurated Jan. 11. The
most important acts passed by this Legislature
were the following: Calling the Constitutional
Convention of 1869; ratifying the Fifteenth
Amendment to the United States Constitution ;
granting well behaved convicts a reduction in
their terms of imprisonment ; for the prevention
of cruelty to animals ; providing for the regula-
tion of freights and fares on railroads; estab-
lishing the Southern Normal University; pro-
viding for the erection of the Northern Insane
Hospital; and establishing a Board of Com-
missioners of Public Charities. The celebrated
"Lake Front Bill," especially affecting the
interests of the city of Chicago, occupied a
great deal of time during this session, and
though finally passed over the Governor's veto,
was repealed in 1873. This session was iuter-
rvipted by a recess which extended from March
12 to April 13. The Legislatm-e re-assem-
bled April 14, and adjourned, sine die, April 20,
having been in actual session seventy-four days.

Twenty-seventh General Assembly had
four sessions, one regular, two special and one
adjourned. The first convened Jan. 4, 1871, and
adjourned on April 17. having lasted 104 days,
when a recess was taken to Nov. 15 following.
The body was made up of fifty Senators and 177
Representatives. The Republicans again con-
trolled both houses, electing William M. Smith,

Speaker (over William R. Morrison, Democrat),
while Lieutenant-Governor Dougherty presided in
the Senate. The latter occupied thq^all of Rep-
resentatives in the old State Capitol, while the
House held its sessions in a new church edifice
erected by the Second Presbyterian Church.
John A. Logan was elected United States Sena-
tor, defeating Thomas J. Tm-ner (Democrat) by a
vote, on joint ballot, of 131 to 89. This was the
first Illinois Legislature to meet after the adoption
of the Constitution of 1870, and its time was
mainly devoted to framing, discussing and pass-
ing laws required by the changes in the organic
law of the State. The first special session opened
on May 34 and closed on June 22, 1871, continu-
ing thirty days. It was convened by Governor
Palmer to make additional appropriations for the
necessary expenses of the State Government and
for the continuance of work on the new State
House. The purpose of the Governor in sum-
moning the second special session was to provide
financial relief for the city of Chicago after the
great fire of Oct. 9-11, 1871. Members were sum-
moned by special telegrams and were In their
seats Oct. 13, continuing in session to Oct. 34
— twelve days. Governor Palmer had already
suggested a plan by which the State might
aid the stricken city without doing violence
to either the spirit or letter of the new Con-
stitution, which expressly prohibited special
legislation. Chicago had advanced §2,500,000
toward the completion of the Illinois & Michigan
Canal, under the pledge of the State that this
outlay should be made good. The Legislature
voted an appropriation sufficient to pay both
principal and interest of this loan, amounting, in
round numbers, to about 83,000,000. The ad-
journed session opened on Nov. 15, 1871, and came
to an end on April 9, 1873 — having continued 147
days. It was entirely devoted to considering and
adopting legislation germane to the new Consti-
tution. The total length of all sessions of this
General Assembly was 393 days.

Twenty-eighth General Assembly convened
Jan. 8, 1873. It was composed of fifty -one Sena-
tors and 153 Representatives; the upper house
standing thirty-three Republicans to eighteen
Democrats, and the lower, eighty -six Republicans
to sixty-seven Democrats. The Senate chose
John Early, of Winnebago, President pro tempore,
and Shelby M. CuUom was elected Speaker of the
House. Governor Oglesby was inaugurated Jan.
13, but, eight days later, was elected to the United
States Senate, being succeeded in the Governor-
ship by Lieut. -Gov. John L. Beveridge. An



appropriation of $1,000,000 was made for can-ying
on the work on the new capitol and various otlier
acts of a public character passed, the most impor-
tant being an amendment of the railroad law of
the previous session. On May 6, the Legislature
adjourned until Jan. 8, 1874. The purpose of tlie
recess was to enable a Commission on the Revision
of the Laws to complete a report. Tlie work was
duly completed and nearly all the titles reported
by the Commissioners were adopted at tlie
adjourned session. An adjournment, sine die,
was taken March 31, 1874 — the two sessions
having lasted, respectively, 119 and 83 days —
toUl 202.

Twenty-ninth Gener.\l Assembly convened
Jan 6, 1875. While the Republicans had a plu-
rality in both houses, they were defeated in an
effort to secure tlieir organization through a
fusion of Democrats and Independents. A. A.
Glenn (Democrat) was elected President pro tem-
pore of the Senate (becoming acting Lieutenant-
Governor), and Elijah M. Haines was chosen
presiding officer of the lower house. The leaders
on both sides of the Chamber were aggressive,
and the session, as a whole, was one of the most
turbulent and disorderly in the history of the
State. Little legislation of vital importance
(outside of regular appropriation bills) was
enacted. This Legislature adjourned, April 15,
having been in session 100 days.

Thirtieth General Assembly convened Jan.
3; 1877, and adjourned, sine die. on May 24. The
Democrats and Independents in the Senate united
in securing control of that body, although tlie
House was Republican. Fawcett Plumb, of La
Salle County, was chosen President pro tempore

Online LibraryNewton BatemanHistorical encyclopedia of Illinois → online text (page 40 of 207)