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tion of 1818; providing for the election of all
State, judicial and county officers by popular
vote: prohibiting the State from incurring in-
debtedness in excess of S50,000 without a special
vote of the people, or granting the credit of the
State in aid of any individual association or cor-
poration; fixing the date of the State election
on the Tuesday after the first Monday in Novem-
ber in every fourth year, instead of the first
Monday in August, as liad been the rule imder
the old Constitution. The tenure of office of all
State officers was fixed at four years, except that
of State Treasurer, which was made two years,
and the Governor alone was made ineligible to
immediate re-election. The number of members
of the General Assembly was fixed at twenty-five



in the Senate and seventy-five in tlie House,
subject to a certain specified ratio of in-
crease when the population should exceed

As the Constitution of 1818 had been modeled
upon the fomi then most popular in the Southern
States — especially with reference to the large
number of officers made appointive by the Gov-
ernor, or elective by the Legislature — so the new
Constitution was, in some of its features, more in
harmony with those of other Northern States,
and indicated the growing influence of New Eng-
land sentiment. This was especially the case
with reference to the section providing for a sys-
tem of township organization in the several
counties of the State at the pleasure of a majority
of the voters of each county.

Elections of 18-18.— Besides tlie election for
the ratification of the State Constitution, three
other State elections were held in 1848, viz.: (1)
for the election of State officers in August; (2)
an election of Judges in September, and (3) the
Presidential election in November. At the first
of these. Governor French, whose first term had
been cut short two years by the adoption of the
new Constitution, was re-elected for a second
term, practically without opposition, the vote
against him being divideil between Pierre Menard
and Dr. C. V. Dyer. French thus became his
own successor, being the first Illinois Governor
to be re-elected, and, though two years of his
first term had been cut off by the adoption of the
Constitution, lie served in the gubernatorial
office six years. The other State officers elected,
were William McMurtry, of Knox, Lieutenant-
Governor; Horaces. Cooley, of Adams, Secretary
of State; Thomas H. Campbell, of Randolph,
Auditor; and Milton Cari)enter, of Hamilton,
Sta,te Treasurer — all Democrats, and all but
McMurtry being their own successors. At the
Presidential election in November, the electoral
vote was given to Lewis Cass, the Democratic
candidate, who received .56,300 votes, to r)3,047
for Taylor, the Whig candidate, and l.'),T74 for
■ Martin Van Buren. the candidate of the Free
Democracy or Free-Soil party. Thus, for the first
time in the history of the State after 1824, the
Democratic candidate for President failed to
receive an absolute majority of the popular vote,
being in a minority of 12,.j21, while having a
plurality over the Whig candidate of 3.2.53. The
only noteworthy results in the election of Con-
gressmen this year were the election of Col. E. D.
Baker (Whig), from the Galena District, and
that of Maj. Thomas L. Harris (Democrat), from

tlie Springfield District. Both Baker and Harris
had been soldiers in the Mexican War, which
probably accounted for their election in Districts
usually opposed to them politically. The other
five Congressmen elected from the State at the
same time — including John Wentworth, then
chosen for a fourth term from the Chicago Dis-
trict — were Democrats. The Judges elected to
the Supreme bench were Lyman Trumbull, from
the Southern Division ; Samuel H. Treat, from
the Central, and John Dean Caton, from the
Northern — all Democrats.

A leading event of this session was the election
of a United States Senator in place of Sidney
Breese. Gen. James Shields, who had been
severely wounded on the battle-field of Cerro
Gordo; Sidney Breese, wlio had been the United
States Senator for six years, and John A. Mc-
Clernand, then a member of Congress, were
arrayed against each other before the Democratic
caucus. After a bitter contest, Shields was
declared the choice of liis party and was finally
elected. He did not immediately obtain his seat,
however. On presentation of his credentials,
after a heated controversy in Congress and out of
it, in which he injudiciously assailed his prede-
cessor in very intemperate language, he was
declared ineligible on the ground that, being of
foreign birth, the nine years of citizenship
re(iuired by the Constitution after naturalization
had not elapsed previous to his election. In
October, following, the Legislature was called
together in .special session, and. Shields' disabil-
ity having now been removed by the expiration
of the constitutional period, he was re-elected,
though not without a renewal of the bitter con-
test of the regular session. Another noteworthy
event of this special session was the adoption of
a joint resolution favoring the principles of the
"Wilmot Proviso." Although this was rescinded
at the next regular session, on the ground tliat the
points at issue had been settled in the Compro-
mise measures of 1850, it indicated the drift of
sentiment in Illinois toward opposition to the
spread of the institution of slavery, and this was
still more strongly emphasized by the election of
Abraham Lincoln in 1860. «

Illinois Central Railroad.— Two important
measures which passed the General Assembly at
the session of 1851, were the Free-Banking Law,
and the act incorporating the IlUnois Central
Railroad Company. The credit of first suggest-
ing this great thoroughfare has been claimed for
William Smith W^aite. a citizen of Bond County.
111., as early as 1835. although a .special charter



for a road over a part of this line had been passed
by the Legislature in 1834. W. K. Ackerman, in
his "Historical Sketch" of the Illinois Central
Railroad, awards the credit of originating this
enterprise to Lieut. -Gov. Alexander M. Jenkins,
in the Legislature of 1833, of wliicli he was a
member, and Speaker of the House at the time.
He afterwards became President of the first Illi-
nois Central Railroad Company, organized under
an act passed at the session of 183G, which pro-
vided for the construction of a line from Cairo to
Peru, 111. , but resigned the next year on the sur-
render by the road of its charter. The first step
toward legislation in Congress on this subject
was taken in the introduction, by Senator Breese,
of a bill in March, 1843 ; but it was not until 1850
that the measure took the form of a direct grant
of lands to the State, finally passing the Senate
in May, and the House in September, following.
The act ceded to the State of Illinois, for the pur-
pose of aiding in the construction of a line of
railroad from the junction of the Ohio and Mis-
sissippi, with branches to Chicago and Dubuque,
Iowa, respectively, alternate sections of land on
each side of said railroad, aggregating 3,595,000
acres, the length of the main line and branches
exceeding seven hundred miles. An act incorpo-
rating the Illinois Central Railroad Company
passed the Illinois Legislature in February, 1851.
The company was thereupon promptly organized
with a number of New York capitalists at its
head, including Robert Schuyler, George Gris-
wold and Gouverneur Morris, and the grant was
placed in the hands of trustees to be used for the
purpose designated, under the pledge of the
Company to build the road by July 4, 1854, and
to pay seven per cent of its gross earnings into
the State Treasury perpetually. A large propor-
tion of the line was constructed through sections
of country either sparsely settled or wholly
unpopulated, but which have since become
among the richest and most populous portions of
the State. The fund already received by the State
from the road exceeds the amount of the State
debt incurred under the internal improvement
scheme of 1837. (See Illinois Central Railroad.)
Election of 1853.— Joel A. Matteson (Demo-
crat) was elected Governor at the November
election, in 1853, receiving 80,645 votes to 64,405
for Edwin B. Webb, Whig, and 8,809 for Dexter
A. Knowlton, Free-Soil. The other State ofiicers
elected, were Gustavus Koerner, Lieutenant-
Governor ; Alexander Starne, Secretary of State ;
Thomas H. Campbell, Auditor ; and John Moore,
Treasurer. Tlie Whig candidates for these

offices, respectively, were James L. D. Morrison,
Buckner S. Morris, Charles A. ^Retts and Francis
Arenz. John A. Logan appeared among the new
members of the House chosen at this election as
a Representative from Jackson County ; while
Henry W. Blodgett, since United States District
Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, and
late Counsel of the American Arbitrators of the
Behring Sea Commission, was the only Free-Soil
member, being the Representative from Lake
County. John Reynolds, who had been Gov-
ernor, a Justice of the Supreme Court and Mem-
ber of Congress, was a member of the House and
was elected Speaker. (See Webb, Edwin B.;
Knowlton, Deleter A. ; Koerner, Gusfaiuis; Starne,
Alexander; Moore, John; Morrison, James L. D ;
Morris, Buckner S.; Arenz, Francis A.; Blodgett
Henry W.)

Reduction of State Debt Begins.— The
State debt reached its maximum at the beginning
of Matteson's administration, amounting to
§16,734,177, of which §7,359,833 was canal debt.
The State had now entered upon a new and pros-
perous period, and, in the next four years, the
debt was reduced by tlie sum of §4,564,840,
leaving the amount outstanding, Jan. 1, 1857,
§13,834,144. The tliree State institutions at
Jacksonville — tlie Asylums for the Deaf and
Dumb, the Blind and Insane — had been in suc-
cessful operation several years, but now internal
dissensions and dissatisfaction with their man-
agement seriously interfered with their prosperity
and finally led to revolutions which, for a time,
impaired their usefulness.

Kansas-Nebraska Excitement.— During Mat-
teson's administration a period of political ex-
citement began, caused by the introduction in
the United States Senate, in January, 1854, by
Senator Douglas, of Illinois, of the bill for the
repeal of the Jlissouri Compromise — otherwise
known as the Kansas- Nebraska Bill. Although
this belongs rather to National history, tlie
prominent part played in it by an Illinois states-
man who had won applause three or four years
before, by the service he had performed in secur-
ing the passage of the Illinois Central Railroad
grant, and the effect which his course had in
revolutionizing the politics of the State, justifies
reference to it here. After a debate, almost
unprecedented in bitterness, it became a law.
May 30, 1854. The agitation in Illinois was
intense. At Chicago, Douglas was practicall.v
denied a hearing. Going to Springfield, where
the State Fair was in progress, during the first
week of October, 1854, he made a speech in the




State Capitol in his defense. This was replied to
by Abraham Lincoln, then a private citizen, to
whom Douglas made a rejoinder. Speeches were
also made in criticism of Douglas" position by
Judges Breese and Trumbull (both of whom had
been prominent Democrats), and other Demo-
cratic leaders were understood to be ready to
assail the champion of the Kansas- Nebraska Bill,
though they afterwards reversed their position
under partisan pressure and became supporters of
the measure. The first State Convention of the
opponents of the Nebraska Bill was held at the
same time, but tlie attendance was small and the
attempt to effect a permanent organization was
not successful. At the session of the Nineteenth
General Assembly, which met in January, fol-
lowing, Lyman Trumbull was chosen the first
Republican United States Senator from Illinois,
in place of General Shields, whose term was about
to expire. Trumbull was elected on the tenth
ballot, receiving fifty-one votes to forty-seven
for Governor Matteson, though Lincoln had led
on the Republican side at every previous ballot,
and on the first had come within six votes of an
election. Although he was then the choice of a
large majority of the opposition to the Demo-
cratic candidate, when Lincoln saw that the
original supporters of Trumbull would not cast
their votes for himself, he generously insisted
that his friends should support his rival, thus
determining the result. (See Matteson, Joel A.:
TnimbuU. Lrjman. and Lincoln. Abraham.)

Decatur Editorial Convention,— On Feb.
22, 1856, occurred the convention of Anti-Neb-
raska (Republican) editors at Decatur, which
proved the first effective step in consolidating
the opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Bill into a
compact political organization. The main busi-
ness of this convention consisted in the adoption
of a series of resolutions defining the position of
their authors on National questions — especially
with reference to the institution of slavery — and
appointing a State Convention to be held at
Bloomington, May 29, following. A State Cen-
tral Committee to represent the new party was
also appointed at this convention. With two or
three exceptions the Committeemen accepted and
joined in the call for the State Convention, which
was held at the time designated, when the
Republican State ticket was put in the field.
Among the distinguished men who participated
in this Convention were Abraham Lincoln, O. H.
Browning. Richard Yates. Owen Lovejoy, John
51. Palmer, Isaac N. Arnold and John Went
worth. Palmer presided, while Abraham Lin-

coln, who was one of the chief speakers, was one
of tlie delegates appointed to the National Con-
vention, held at Philadelphia on the ITth of June.
The candidates put in nomination for State oftices
were: William H. Bissell for Governor; Francis
A. Hoffman for Lieutenant-Governor (afterward
replaced bj- John Wood on account of Hoffman's
ineligibility); Ozias M. Hatch for Secretary of
State; Jesse K. Dubois for Auditor; James H.
Miller for State Treasurer, and William H. Powell
for Superintendent of Public Instruction. The
Democratic ticket was composed of William A.
Richardson for Governor; R. J. Hamilton, Lieu-
tenant-Governor; W. H. Snyder, Secretary of
State ; S. K. Casey, Auditor ; John Moore, Treas-
urer, and J. H. St. JIatthew, Superintendent of
Public Instruction. The American organization
also nominated a ticket headed by Buckner S.
Morris for Governor. Although the Democrats
carried the State for Buchanan, their candidate
for President, by a plurality of 9,159, the entire
Republican State ticket was elected by pluralities
ranging from 3,031 to 20,213 — the latter being the
majority for Miller, candidate for State Treas
urer, whose name was on both the Republican and
American tickets. (See Anti-Nebraska Editorial
Convention, and Bloomington Convention of
1S56. )

Administration of Governor Bissell. —
With the inauguration of Governor Bissell, the
Republican part}' entered upon the control of the
State Government, which was maintained with-
out interruption until the close of the administra-
tion of Governor Fifer, in January, 1893 — a period
of thirty-six years. On account of phj'sical disa-
bility Bissell's inauguration took place in the
executive mansion, Jan. 12, 1857. He was
immediately made the object of virulent personal
abuse in the House, being charged with perjury
in taking the oath of office in face of the fact
that, while a member of Congress, he had accepted
a challenge to fight a duel with Jefferson Davis.
To this, the reply was made that the offense
charged took place outside of the State and be-
yond the legal jurisdiction of the Constitution of
Illinois. {See Bissell. William H.)

While the State continued to prosper under
Bissell's administration, the most important
events of this period related rather to general
than to State policy. One of these was the deliv
ery by Abraham Lincoln, in the Hall of Repre-
sentatives, on the evening of June 17, 1858, of the
celebrated speech in which he announced the
doctrine that "a house divided against itself can-
not stand," This was followed during the next


few months by the series of memorable debates
between those two great champions of their
respective parties — Lincoln and Douglas— which
attracted the attention of the whole land. The
result was the re-election of Douglas to the
United States Senate for a third term, but it
also made Abraham Lincoln President of the
United States. (See Lincoln and Douglas
Debates. )

About the middle of Bissell's term (February,
1859), came the discovery of what has since been
known as the celebrated "Canal Scrip Fraud."
This consisted in the fraudulent funding in State
bonds of a large amount of State scrip which had
been issued for temporary purposes during the
construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal,
but which had been subsequently redeemed. A
legislative investigation proved the amount ille-
gally funded to have been §323, 183, and that the
bulk of the bonds issued therefor— so far as they
could be traced — had been delivered to ex-Gov.
Joel A. Matteson. For this amount, with ac-
crued interest, he gave to the State an indemnity
bond, secured by real-estate mortgages, from
which the State eventually realized §238,000 out
of 8253,000 then due. Further investigation
proved additional frauds of like character, aggre-
gating S165,846, which the State never recovered.
An attempt was made to prosecute Matteson
criminally in the Sangamon County Circuit
Court, but the grand jury failed, by a close vote,
to find an indictment against him. (See Canal
Scrip Fraud. )

An attempt was made during Bissell's adminis-
tration to secure the refunding (at par and in
violation of an existing law) of one hundred and
fourteen 81,000 bonds hypothecated with Macalis-
ter & Stebbins of New York in 1841, and for
which the State had received an insignificant
consideration. The error was discovered when
new bonds for the principal had been issued, but
the process was immediately stopped and tlie
new bonds surrendered — the claimants being
limited by law to 38.64 cents on the dollar. This
subject is treated at length elsewhere in this vol-
ume. (See Macalister & Stebbins Bonds. ) Governor
Bissell's administration was otherwise unevent-
ful, although the State continued to prosper
under it as it had not done since the "internal
improvement craze" of 1837 had resulted in im-
posing such a burden of debt upon it. At the
time of his election Governor Bissell was an
invalid in consequence of an injury to his spine,
from which he never recovered. He died in
office, March 18, 1860, a little over two months

after having entered upon the last year of his
term of office, and was succeeded by Lieut. -Gov.
John Wood, who served out the unexpired term.
(See Bissell, William H. ; also Wood, John. )

PoLiTic.\L Campaign of 1860. — The political
campaign of 1860 was one of unparalleled excite-
ment throughout the nation, but especially in
Illinois, which became, in a certain sense, the
chief battle-ground, furnishing the successful
candidate for the Presidency, as well as being the
State in which the convention which nominated
him met. The Republican State Convention,
held at Decatur, May 9, put in nomination
Richard Yates of Morgan County, for Governor ;
Francis A. Hoffman for Lieutenant-Governor.
O. M. Hatch for Secretary of State, Jesse K.
Dubois for Auditor, William Butler for Treasurer,
and Newton Bateman for Superintendent of Pub-
lic Instruction. If this campaign was memorable
for its excitement, it was also memorable for the
large number of National and State tickets in the
field. The National Republican Convention
assembled at Chicago, May 16, and, on the third
ballot, Abraham Lincoln was nominated for
President amid a whirlwind of enthusiasm unsur-
passed in the history of National Conventions, of
which so many have been held in the "conven-
tion city" of the Northwest. The campaign was
what might have been expected from such a
beginning. Lincoln, though receiving consider-
ably less than one-half the popular vote, liad a
plurality over his highest competitor of nearly
half a million votes, and a majority in the elect-
oral colleges of fifty-seven. In Illinois he
received 173,161 votes to 160,315 for Douglas, his
leading opponent. The vote for Governor stood :
Yates (Republican), 173,196; Allen (Douglas-
Democrat), 159,253; Hope (Breckinridge-Demo-
crat), 3,049; Stuart (American), 1,626.

Among the prominent men of different parties
who appeared for the first time in the General
Assembly chosen at this time, were William B.
Ogden, Richard J. Oglesby, Washington Bushnell,
and Henry E. Dummer, of the Senate, and Wil-
liam R. Archer, J. Russell Jones, Robert H.
McClellan, J. Young Scammon. William H.
Brown, Lawrence Weldon, N. M. Broadwell, and
John Scholfield, in the House. Shelby M. Cul-
lom, who had entered the Legislature at the
previous session, was re-elected to this and was
chosen Speaker of the House over J. W. Single-
ton. Lyman Trumbull was re-elected to the
United States Senate by the votes, of the Repub-
licans over Samuel S. Marshall, the Democratic



Beginning of the Rebellion.— Almost simul
taneously with the accession of the new State
Government, and before the inauguration of the
President at Washington, began that series of
startling events which ultimately culminated iu
the attempted secession of eleven States of the
Union — the first acts in the great drama of war
which occupied the attention of the world for the
next four years.' On Jan. 14, 1861, the new
State administration was inaugurated ; on Feb. 2,
Commissioners to the futile Peace Conven-
tion held at Wasliington. were appointed from
Illinois, consisting of Stephen T. Logan, John M.
Palmer, ex-Gov. John Wood, B. C. Cook and T. J.
Turner; and on Feb. 11, Abraham Lincoln
took leave of his friends and neighbors at Spring-
field on his departure for Washington, in that
simple, touching speech which has taken a place
beside his inaugural addresses and his Gettysburg
speech, as an American classic. The events
which followed ; the firing on Fort Sumter on the
twelfth of April and its surrender ; the call for
75,000 troops and the excitement which prevailed
all over the country, are matters of National his-
tory. lUinoisans responded with promptness and
enthusiasm to the call for six regiments of State
militia for three months' service, and one week
later (April 21), Gen. R. K. Swift, of Chicago, at
the head of seven companies numbering 595 men,
was en route for Cairo to execute the order of tlie
Secretary of War for the occupation of that
place. The offer of military organizations pro-
ceeded rapidly, and by the eighteenth of April,
fifty companies had been tendered, while the
public-spirited and patriotic bankers of the prin-
cipal cities were offering to supply the State with
money to arm and equip the hastily organized
troops. Following in order the six regiments
which Illinois had sent to the Mexican War,
those called out for the three months' service in
1861 were numbered consecutively from seven to
twelve, and were commanded by the following
officers, respectively: Cols. John Cook, Richard
J. Oglesby, Eleazer A. Paine, James D. Morgan,
W. H. L. Wallace and John McArthur, with
Gen. Benjamin M. Prentiss as brigade com-
mander. The rank and file numbered 4,680 men,
of whom 2,000, at the end of their term of serv-
ice, re-enlisted for three j-ears. (See War of Die

Among the many who visited the State Capilcil
in the early months of war to off'er their services
to the Government in suppressing the Rebellion,
one of the most modest and unassuming was a
gentleman from Galena who brought a letter of

introduction to Governor Yates from Congress-
man E. B. Washburne. Tliougli lie had been a
Captain in the regular army and liad seen service
in the war with Jlexico, he set up no pretension
on that account, but after days of patient wait-
ing, was given temporary employment as a clerk
in the office of tlie Adjutant-General, Col. T. S.
Mather. Finally, an emergency having arisen

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