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by a direct tax now, money enough could not be collected to pay the accruing interest. The bill proposed to provide in this way for interest not otherwise provided for. It was not intended to apply to those bonds for the interest on which a security had already been provided.
“ He hoped the House would seriously consider the proposition. He had no pride in its success as a measure of his own, but submitted it to the wisdom of the House, with the hope, that, if there was any thing objectionable in it, it would be pointed out and amended."
Mr. Lincoln's measure did not pass. There was a large party in favor, not only of passing the interest on the State debt, which fell due in the coming January and July, but of repudiating the whole debt outright. Others thought the State ought to pay, not the full face of its bonds, but only the amount received for them; while others still contended that, whereas, many of the bonds had been irregularly, illegally, and even fraudulently disposed of, there ought to be a particular discrimination made against these, and these only.. “At last Mr. Cavarly, a member from Green, introduced a bill of two sections, authorizing the Fund Commissioners to hypothecate internal-improvement bonds to the amount of three hundred thousand dollars, and which contained the remarkable provision, that the proceeds were to be applied by that officer to the payment of all interest legally due on the public debt; thus shifting from the General Assembly, and devolving on the Fund Commissioner, the duty of deciding on the legality of the debt. Thus, by this happy expedient, conflicting opinions were reconciled without direct action on the matter in controversy, and thus the two Houses were enabled to agree upon a measure to provide temporarily for the interest on the public debt. The Legislature further provided, at this session, for the issue of interest bonds, to be sold in the market at what they would bring; and an additional tax of ten cents on the hundred dollars' worth of property was imposed and pledged, to pay the interest on these bonds. By these contrivances, the interest for January and July, 1841, was paid. The Fund Commissioner hypothecated internal-improvement bonds for the money first due; and his successor in office, finding no sale for Illinois stocks, so much had the credit of the State fallen, was compelled to hypothecate eight hundred and four thousand dollars of interest bonds for the July interest. On this hypothecation he was to have received three hundred and twenty-one thousand six hundred dollars, but was never paid more than two hundred and sixty-one thousand five hundred dollars. These bonds have never been redeemed from the holders, though eighty of them were afterwards repurchased, and three hundred and fifteen thousand dollars of them were received from the Shawneetown Bank for State stock in that institution.” 1
This session (the session of 1840-1) had been called two weeks earlier than usual, to provide for the January interest on the debt. But the banks had important business of their own in view, and proceeded to improve the occasion. In 1837, and every year since then, the banks had succeeded in getting acts of the Legislature which condoned their suspension of specie payments. But, by the terms of the last act, their charters were forfeited unless they resumed before the adjournment of the next session. The Democrats, however, maintained that the present special session was a session in the sense of the law, and that, before its adjournment, the banks must hand out “the hard," or die. On the other hand, the Whigs held this session, and the regular session which began on the first Monday in December, to be one and the same, and proposed to give the banks another winter's lease upon life and rags. But the banks were a power in the land, and knew how to make themselves felt. They were the depositories of the State revenues. The auditor's warrants were drawn upon them, and the members of the Legislature paid in their money. The warrants were at a discount of fifty per cent; and, if the banks refused to cash them, the members would be compelled to go home more impecunious than they came. The banks, moreover, knew how to make “opportune loans to Democrats;" and, with all these aids, they organized a brilliant and eventually a successful campaign. In the eyes of the Whigs they were “ the institutions of the coun. try,” and the Democrats were guilty of incivism in attacking them. But the Democrats retorted with a string of overwhelming slang about rag barons, rags, printed lies, bank vassals, ragocracy, and the “ British-bought, bank, blue-light, Federal, Whig party.” It was a fierce and bitter contest; and, witnessing it, one might have supposed that the very existence of the State, with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, depended upon the result. The Democrats were bent upon carrying an adjournment sine die; which, according to their theory, killed the banks. To defeat this, the Whigs resorted to every expedient of parliamentary tactics, and at length hit upon one entirely unknown to any of the standard manuals : they tried to absent themselves in sufficient numbers to leave no quorum behind. “If the Whigs absented themselves,” says Mr. Gillespie, a Whig member, " there would not be a quorum left, even with the two who should be deputed to call the ayes and noes. The Whigs immediately held a meeting, and resolved that they would all stay out, except Lincoln and me, who were to call the ayes and noes.
1 Ford's History of Illinois.
We appeared in the afternoon: motion to adjourn sine die was made, and we called the ayes and
The Democrats discovered the game, and the sergeant-at-arms was sent out to gather up the absentees. There was great excitement in the House, which was then held in a church at Springfield. We soon discovered that several Whigs had been caught and brought in, and that the plan had been spoiled ; and we-Lincoln and I - determined to leave the hall, and, going to the door, found it locked, and then raised a window and jumped out, but not until the Democrats had succeeded in adjourning. Mr. Gridley of McLean accompanied us in our exit. . . . I think Mr. Lincoln always regretted that he entered into that arrangement, as he deprecated every thing that savored of the revo. lutionary."
In the course of the debate on the Apportionment Bill, Mr. Lincoln had occasion to address the House in defence of “The Long Nine,” who were especially obnoxious to the Democrats. The speech concluded with the following characteristic passage:
“ The gentleman had accused old women of being partial to the number nine; but this, he presumed, was without foundation. A few years since, it would be recollected by the House, that the delegation from this county were dubbed by way of eminence • The Long Nine,' and, by way of further distinction, he had been called The Longest of the Nine.' Now," said Mr. Lincoln, “I desire to say to my friend from Monroe (Mr. Bissell), that if any woman, old or young, ever thought there was any peculiar charm in this distinguished specimen of number nine, I have as yet been so unfortunate as not to have discovered it.” (Loud applause.)
But this Legislature was full of excitements. Besides the questions about the public debt and the bank-charters, the Democrats proposed to legislate the Circuit judges out of office, and reconstruct the Supreme Court to suit themselves. They did this because the Supreme judges had already - decided one question of some political interest against them, and were now about to decide another in the same way. The latter was a question of great importance; and, in order to avoid the consequences of such a decision, the Democrats were eager for the extremest measures.
The Constitution provided that all free white male inhabitants should vote upon six months' residence. This, the Democrats held, included aliens; while the Whigs held the reverse. On this grave judicial question, parties were divided precisely upon the line of their respective interests. The aliens numbered about ten thousand, and nine-tenths of them voted steadily with the Democracy. Whilst a great outcry concerning it was being made from both sides, and fierce disputes raged in the newspapers and on the stump, two Whigs at Galena got up an amicable case, to try it in a quiet way before a Whig judge, who held the Circuit Courts in their neighborhood. The judge decided for his friends, like a man that he was.
The Democrats found it out, and raised a popular tumult about it that would have put Demetrius the silversmith to shame. They carried the case to the Supreme Court, where it was argued before the Whig majority, in December, 1839, by able and distinguished counsellors, — Judge Douglas being one of them; but the only result was a continuance to the next June. In the mean time Judge Smith, the only Democrat on the bench, was seeking favor with his party friends by betraying to Douglas the secrets of the consultation-room. With his aid, the Democrats found a defect in the record, which sent the case over to December, 1840, and adroitly secured the alien vote for the great elections of that memorable year. The Legislature elected then was overwhelmingly Democratic; and, having good reason to believe that the aliens had small favor to expect from this court, they determined forth with to make a new one that would be more reasonable. There were now nine Circuit judges in the State, and four Supreme judges, under the Act of 1835. The offices of the Circuit judges the Democrats concluded to abolish, and to create instead nine Supreme judges, who should perform circuit duties. This they called “reforming the judiciary;” and “thirsting for vengeance,” as Gov. Ford says, they went about the work with all the zeal, but with very little of the disinterested devotion, which reformers are generally supposed to have. Douglas, counsel for one of the litigants, made a furious speech “in the lobby," demanding the destruction of the court that was to try his cause; and for sundry grave sins which he imputed to the judges he gave Smith — his friend Smith — as authority. It was useless to oppose it: this “reform” was a foregone conclusion. It was called the “Douglas Bill;" and Mr. Douglas was appointed to one of the new offices created by it. But Mr. Lincoln, E. D. Baker, and other Whig members, entered upon the journal the following protest:
" For the reasons thus presented, and for others no less apparent, the undersigned cannot assent to the passage of the