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Full text of "A history of Illinois, from its commencement as a state in 1814 to 1847 : containing a full account of the Black Hawk War, the rise, progress, and fall of Mormonism, the Alton and Lovejoy riots, and other important and interesing [sic] events"

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Given in Memory of 
Coral Windsor Barnes (1900-! 
M.A. '33, a descendar>tAJSr 
central Illinois pioneers, 

his son 
A. Barnes, 

University of Illinois 
at Urbana-Champaign 


sf~ /,' 












Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by 

S. C. GRIGGS & CO., 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Northern District of 
New York. 



216 William St. 49 Ann St. 

7/7. .5 J.U.. HIST- 

F75h ^WP 


IN 1850, while the author of this work was on his 
death-bed, he placed in my hands a manuscript, with 
the contents of which I was then wholly unacquainted, 
with the injunction that after his decease I should have 
it published for the benefit of his family. He soon after 
departed this life, leaving his orphan children in a des- 
titute condition. 

In compliance with his dying request, I made re- 
peated efforts to have the work published on terms that 
might secure some percentage to the orphans, but until 
my arrangements with the present publishers, all these 
efforts proved unsuccessful. By this arrangement the 
children will receive a liberal percentage on the sales of 
the work. 

The author, during his whole life, had very favorable 
opportunities for observing events and collecting infor- 
mation connected with the history of his State. He 
was yet a child when his parents emigrated to Illinois. 
On arriving at maturity he was there admitted to the 
bar, and practised his profession for many years with 


very considerable success. He was afterwards elected 
an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the State, 
and discharged the duties of that responsible station 
with distinguished ability. Subsequently he was chosen 
Governor of the State, which was the last public office 
he held. From this office he retired to private life, and 
during his retirement prepared this history for publica- 
tion. His opinions of men and measures are very freely 
and unreservedly expressed ; but they may be regarded as 
the opinions of a man of strong feelings, who took such 
an active part in many of the scenes which he repre- 
sents, that it was impossible for him to describe them 
with ordinary moderation. 

I regret the severity of some of the author's judg- 
ments, and the censure with which he assails the char- 
acter of some of our public men, who are both my per- 
sonal and political friends ; but I feel it to be incumbent 
upon me, by the very nature and circumstances of the 
trust, not only to have the work published according to 
his injunction, for the purpose intended by him, but 
also to abstain from making any alteration in the text. 
I therefore give it to the public just as I received it 
from the hands of the author, and with the sincere 
hope, for the sake of his destitute children, that it may 
meet with an indulgent and generous reception. 

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3d, 1854. 




Petition of the Territorial Legislature to Congress to be admitted into the Union Bill 
reported by Judge Pope, the territorial Delegate Amendments proposed by him 
Boundaries of the State enlarged Ordinances of 1787 Claim of Wisconsin to the 
fourteen northern counties Reasons for extending the boundaries Call of a Con- 
vention Constitution adopted E. K. Kane Petition of the Covenanters Organi- 
zation of the State Government Gov. Bond recommends the Canal to Lake Mich- 
iganJudge Foster Judge Thomas Legislature of 1819 Code of laws Removal 
of the Seat of Government to Vaudalia Origin of the name Vandalia Charac- 
ter of the people Notice of the French villages and of the early American set- 
tlers Schools, learned professions The early preachers Pursuits and business of 
the people Their ingenuity Anecdote of James Lemon Commerce Money 
Speculation Banks in Ohio and Kentucky General indebtedness Money crisis 
Creation of the State Bank of 1821 Its history Col. Menard John M'Lean 
Judge Young First duel Judge Lockwood 19 


Gov. Coles, Judges Philips and Brown, and Gen. Moore The question of Slavery 
The Missouri question Immigrants from the Slave States to Missouri Growing 
desire for the introduction of Slavery The Slavery party Effort for a Convention 
to amend the Constitution Hanson and Shaw Resolution for a Convention pass- 
ed The riotous conduct of the Slave party The free State party rally Contest be- 
tween them in the election of 1824 Principal men of each party The Convention 
defeated Character of early political contests No measures ;" and no parties of 
Whig or Democrat, Federalist or Republican Effect of regular political parties 
Reorganization of the Judiciary Circuit Courts established First case of pro- 
scription Causes the repeal of the Circuit Courts Road law and School law pro- 
viding for a tax ; operated well, but were repealed Hatred of taxation School 
law of 1840; of 1845 Wm. Thomas, H. M. Wood, John S. Wright, and Thomp- 
son Campbell Present state of Schools Revision of the laws by Judges Lock- 
wood and Smith Gov. Edwards Mr. Sloe Lieut. Gov. Hubbard His speech, 
aa a candidate for Governor His speech about Wolf scalps The old State Bank 
again Effort to investigate its management Resisted by the Bank officers Gov. 
Edwards' messages A packed committee report against the Governor Power of 
a broken Bank Combinations to commit crime or resist law Daniel P. Cook 
Gov. Duncan Change of political parties Gen. Jackson's defeat, aud subsequent 
election Influence of this upon parties Gov. Duncan's change Winnebago War 
Galena" Suckers"" Pukes" The chief, Red Bird Gov. Edwards' claim to 
the public lands Sale of School lands Borrowing of the School fund 50 


Review Election of State Treasurer in 1827 Election and defalcation of Sherifls 
Courts Judges Sentence of Green Instructions to juries The hung jury Law 
of 1846 Eminent lawyers Character of litigation Election by ballot The keep- 
dark system The " butcher-knife boys" Influences in the Legislature Greasing 



and swallowing, &.c Aims of politicians and of the people Anecdote of Senator 
Crozier Good and bad self-government Rule to test the capacity of the people 
for either Educated ministers of the Gospel Ill-will towards them of some of 
the old ministers Room enough for both Benevolent institutions and education 
--Colleges Change of dress among young people Regrets of the old folks Ef- 
fects of attending church on Sundays Effects of not attending church on Sundays 
upon young people Progress in cpmmerce-j-Character of first merchants Sell- 
Ing for money supplied by emigration Nothing raised for or shipped to foreign 
markets Flat-boats Farmers taking their own crops to market, and bad effects 
of it Foreign markets Steamboats and high rates of exchange encourage the 
merchants to become exporters Bad effects of farmers holding their produce from 
market, expecting a higher price This practice contrasted with the New England 
practice of selling at the market price Good effects of this practice Prosperity 
of northern Illinois in a great measure owing to this 81 


Extent of settlements in 1830 Election for Governor that year Judge John Rey- 
noldsWilliam Kinney Further development of party Description of an elec- 
tion of contest Reynolds elected by Jackson and anti-Jackson men Legislature 
of 1831 bound to redeem the notes of the old State bank Horror of increasing 
taxes Fears of the Legislature The Wiggins' loan All the members broke down 
The little bull law Penitentiary punishments Curious contest for State Treas- 
urer Indian disturbances-^-Treaties with the Indians Black Hawk's account of 
them His character He invades the Rock river country Call for volunteers 
March to Rock Island Escape of the Indians New treaty with them Next year 
Black Hawk returns Volunteers again called for March of Gov. Reynolds and 
Gen. Whiteside Burning of Prophet's town Arrival at Dixon Majors Stillman 
and Bailey Route at Stillman's run Account of it by a volunteer Colonel Coun- 
cil of war Gen. Whiteside marches in pursuit of the Indians Massacre of In- 
dian Creek Two young ladies captured and restored Gen. Whiteside buries the 
dead and marches back to Dixon Meets Gen. Atkinson Dissatisfaction of the 
men Marches to Ottawa Army discharged New call for volunteers Volunteer 
regiment left as a guard of the frontiers Col. Jacob Fry Capt. Snyder Battle 
with the Indians Bravery of Gen. Whiteside Gen. Semple and Capt. Snyder 
Indian murders St. Vrain and others Siege of Apple-river Fort Col. Strode 
Galena Martial law there Gen. Dodge's successful attack Capt. Stephenson 
Martial spirit of the Indians Major Dement Defence of Kellogg's Grove Gen. 
Posey's march Gen. Alexander Gen. Atkinson Gen. Henry March up Rock 
river Turtle village Burnt village Lake Keshkonong Search for the Indians 
Two regular soldiers Bred on Expedition to the "trembling lands" Army dis- 
persed in search of provisions 102 


Gen. Posey marches to Fort Hamilton Gens. Henry and Alexander, and Major Dodge, 
to Fort Winnebago Gen. Atkinson remained behind to build a fort Description of 
the country and the rivers at Fort Winnebago Gen. Henry informed as to the posi- 
tion of Black Hawk Council of war Agreement to violate orders and march after 
the Indians Alexander's men refuse to march Dodge's horses broke down Ar- 
rival of Craig's company Protest of officers and signs of mutiny Put down by 
Gen. Henry His character as a military man March for Rock river Description 
of Rock river March for Cranberry lake Express to Gen. Atkinson Discovery 
of the retreat of Black Hawk to the Wisconsin Confession of the Winnebagoes 
March for the Wisconsin Thunder storm Privations of the men Arrival at 
the four lakes False alarm Description of the four lakes Gen. Ewing and the 
spies Major Dodge Ardor of the men Come close upon the Indians Battle of 
the Wisconsin heights Defeat of the Indians Their retreat across the river 
Reasons why Gen. Henry and the Illinois volunteers never received credit abroad 
for what they deserved Gen. Henry's death His singular modesty Return of 
the troops to the Blue Mounds Bad treatment of Henry and his brigade by Gen. 


, . 1. PAGE 

Atkinson Gen. Atkinson pursues the Indians across the Wisconsin Order of 
march Henry's men put in charge of the baggage They resent, but submit 
Gen. Atkinson in front decoyed by the Indians Drawn off on a false scent Henry 
advances on the main trail Comes upon the main body of the Indians, and again 
defeats them before Gen. Atkinson arrived with the rest of the army Retreat of 
Black Hawk Indians Sent in pursuit of him The one-eyed Decori Capture of 
Black Hawk and the Prophet Description of the Prophet Indian speeches 
Gen. Scott Discharge of the volunteers Treaty of peace Black Hawk and other 
prisoners taken to Washington Makes the tour of the Union, and are returned to 
their own country, west of the Mississippi 136 


First efforts for a Railroad system Central Railroad Impeachment of Judge Smith 
Benjamin Mills Other efforts to impeach judges Effect on the public mind 
Election of Governor Gov. Duncan Creation of a new State Bank Conrad Will 
Means of passing its charter Road tax Hooking timber Preachers employed 
to preach against trespasses Veto power Banking in Illinois Increase of the 
Bank Stock Stock readily taken Intrigues of the subscribers State Bank goes 
into the hands of Thomas Mather and his friends Effort to build up Alton The 
Lead trade ^Unfortunate speculations Real estate fund Hostility of the Demo- 
cratsIllinois and Michigan canal George Forquer's report Bill to borrow mo- 
ney Passed with an amendment to borrow on the credit of canal lands Great 
speculation in 1835-'6 Internal Improvement system Means of passing it Cal- 
culations of its funds Election of Board of Public Works Bank suspensions, ne- 
gotiationsElection of Governor in 1838 Thomas Corlin Cyrus Edwards Max- 
im of politicians Explosion of the Internal Improvement system Presidential 
election of 1840 Further history of parties Work on the canal Payment of in- 
terest Mr. Cavarly's bill 166 


Reform of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Wilson Justices Lockwood and Brown 
Secretary of State and alien questions Alexander P. Field John A. McClernand 
Decision of the Supreme Court Popular excitement Decision of a Circuit Judge 
on the alien question Commotion among the Democrats Suspicions of the Su- 
preme Court Mode of deciding political questions Mode of reforming the Court 
Violence of the measure Reluctance of some Democrats Obstinacy of others 
How a polilician must work in a party Judge Douglass' speech in the lobby 
Evasive decision of the Court Judge Smith's intrigues and character Passage of 
the bill Motives of both parties Prejudice against the Supreme Court Moral 
power with the people of the Judges of the Supreme and Circuit Courts Break- 
ing of the banks Causes which lead to it Bank suspensions Power of the State 
Bank over the Legislature Special session Struggle to forfeit the Bank Charters 
Whigs secede Call of the House Jumping out of the windows Democratic 
victory Thrown away before the end of the session New suspensions Small bills 
Fierceness of parties against each other Views of both parties concerning bank- 
ing, and of each other 


Progress of settlements Colleges Education Society Religion Literature John 
M. Peck James Hall John Russell Newspapers Effects of speculation Plenty 
of money Credit Debts Usury High rates of interest History of mobs Alton 
Mob Lovejoy Abolitionists Mobs in Pope county Mobs in the north Ogle 
county mob Cause of mobs in free countries Joe Smith Origin of the Mormons 
Their settlement iu Missouri Troubles there Settlemnnt in Ohio Kirtland 

* ^t 



Bank Mormons return to Missouri Mormon war there Expulsion from Mis- 
souriSettlement of the Mormons in Illinois Politics of the Mormons Martin 
Van Buren Henry Clay John J. Stuart Dr. Bennett Senator Little Stephen 
A. Douglass Mormon Charters Nauvoo Legion Popular clamor against the 
Mormons Arrest of Joe Smith Trial before Judge Douglass Nomination of Mr. 
Snyder as the democratic candidate for Governor Go v. Duncan again a candidate 
The Mormons declare for the Democrats Gov. Duucan attacks the Mormons 
and the Mormon Charters Death of Snyder His character Nomination of the 
author in his place Reasons for this nomination Further examination into the 
practical operations of government Election of the author The Governor, Audi- 
tor, and Treasurer forbid the receipt of Bank paper for Taxes Condition of the 
State in 184-2 228 


Character of the people North and South Causes of discord Principle upon which 
elections were made Character of candidates Reasons for preference Further 
maxims of politicians John Grammar Want of unity in the democratic party 
Want of great leaders Members of the Legislature Legislative elections Neg- 
lect of other business Love of popularity Account of lobby members Their 
motives and influence Professional politicians Ultraists and " Milk and water 
men" tending to repudiation Plans for public relief Illinois Canal Justus But- 
terfleld Michael Ryan Arthur Bronson Compromise with the Banks Proposed 
repeal of their Charters Gov. Carlin's message Arguments for compromise and 
for repeal Ayes and Noes in the House^ John A. McClernand Lyman Trumbull 
James Shields Feuds among politicians growing out of the appointment of 
Secretary of State Amalgamation of the co-ordinate branches of government 
Opposition to the Compromise Bill in the Senate Character of the leader of this 
opposition Removal of Trumbull from the office of Secretary of State Humbug 
set off against humbug Improvement of public affairs Execution laws ; debtor 
and creditor 259 


Mormons New warrant for the arrest of Joe Smith Tried before Judge Pope In- 
trigues of the Whigs The Mormons determine to vote for Whig candidates for 
Congress Cyrus Walker Joseph P. Hoge Dr. Bennett Prejudices against the 
Mormons New demand for the arrest of Joe Smith Arrest and discharge by the 
Municipal Court Walker's speech Walker's and Hoge's opinion Mormons al- 
ways prefer bad advice Demand for a call of the Militia Reasons for not calling 
the'm Intrigues of the Democrats Backinstos Hiram Smith William Law 
Revelation in favor of Hoge Joe Smith's speech Hoge elected Indignation of 
the Whigs Determination to expel the Mormons Stephen A. Douglass City or- 
dinancesInsolence of the Mormons Joe Smith a candidate for President Con- 
ceives the idea of making himself a Prince Danite band Spiritual wives At- 
tempt on William Law's wife Tyranny of Joe Smith Opposition to him" Nau- 
voo Expositor" Trial of the press as a nuisance Its destruction Secession of the 
refractory Mormons Warrant for Joe Smith and Common Council Their arrest 
and discharge by the Municipal Court Committee of anti-Mormons Journey to 
Carthage Militia assembled Complaints against the Mormons Cause of popular 
fury False reports and camp news Pledge of the troops to protect the prisoners 
Martial law Conduct of a Constable and Civil Posse Council of officers The 
great flood of 1841 Surrender of Joe Smith and the Common Council Warrant 
for treason Commitment of Joe and Hiram Smith Preparations to march into 
Nauvoo Council of officers Militia disbanded Journey to Nauvoo Guard left 
for the protection of the prisoners Further precautions The leading anti-Mor- 
mons by false reports undermine the Governor's influence Governor's speech in 
Nauvoo Vole ot the Mormons News of the death of the Smiths Preparation 
for defence of the country Mischievous influence of the press 313 




Account of the assassination of the Smiths Done by the forces at AVaraw Treach- 
ery of the Carthage Greys Franklin A. Worrell Attack on the Jail Murder of 
Joe and Hiram Smith Character of Joe Smith Character of the leading Mormons 
Character of the Mormon people Affairs of the Church Sidney Rigdon's proph- 
eciesThe Twelve Apostles Triumph of the Twelve Increase of Mormonism 
Causes of it Gov. Ford and Herod and Pilate The Mormons quit preaching to 
the Gentiles Character of their preaching Increased hostility of the " Saints" 
Determination to expel the Mormons Both parties ready to set aside free govern- 
mentNatural inclination to despotism Presidential election of 1844 Infatuation 
of the people State election Col. Taylor's visit to the Mormons induces them to 
vote the democratic ticket The fault laid on the Governor Fresh determination 
to expel the Mormons Conduct of the Whig press Pusillanimity of politicians 
Gen. Hardin Col. Baker Col. Wealherford Col. Merriman Anti-Mormon wolf- 
hunt Military expedition to Hancock Militia infected with an'i-Mormonism 
Surrender of two persons accused of the Murder Terms of surrender arranged by 
Col. Baker Incompetency of a Mililia force in such cases Prosecution of the mur- 
derers Riotous trials Constitution in relation to changes of venue Trial of the 
Mormons for destroying the press Both parlies get a Jury to suit them All ac- 
quitted Anarchy in Hancock 353 


Canal Negotiations Appointment of Oakley and Ryan to go tf Europe-^Factious- 
ness of the letter-writers and newspapers Proceedings of ihe Commissioners- 
David Leavitt Meeting of American Bond-hoklers Journey to Europe Condi- 
tional agreement there Appointment of Gov. Davis and Capt. Swift to examine 
and report on the Canal Gov. Davis attacked by the Globe newspaper Ryan's 
answer and attack on the Globe Favorable Report Ryan's second trip to Europe 
Gov. Davis sent for Failure of the negotiation Ryan's attack on Gov. Davis 
Letter from Baring, Brothers & Oo. to Ryan Letter of Wm. S. Wait, Esq., against 
taxation Answer thereto Visit of Mr. Leavitt and Col. Oakley to Europe New 
negotiations successful Opposition to the Governor likely to defeat the Canal 
Nature of this opposition How to get up an opposition to any Administration 
Scandalous conduct of a Committee of Investigation Trumbull and others Con- 
duct of the opposition All their projects defeated Visit of Gov. Davis and Mr. 
Leavitt to Springfield Jealousy of the Legislature against monied men and foreign 
influence They are well received Propositions of the public creditors Opposi- 
tion arrayed Miserable intrigues of George T. M. Davis and other Whigs Patri- 
otic conduct of Judge Logan and other Whigs North and South again Messrs. 
Strong, Adams, Janney, and Dunlap The Canal Bill defeated in the Senate Talk 
of bribery Vote reconsidered and divided Good management of Senator Kil- 
patrick The Canal Bill passed The money for the Canal obtained Election and 
organization of the Board of Trustees Rate of Interest reduced to six per cent. 
Repeal of the Mormon Charters Resolution calling on the Governor and Judges 
to relinquish their Salaries The Governor's answer Mistaken notions of Econo- 
my Buncomb resolutions and speeches on this subject Shawneetown Bank- 
Conditional contract with that Institution Dr. Anderson The true art of riding 
hobbies 370 


The city of Nauroo The Temple New causes of quarrel The " Oneness' 1 '' Anti- 
Mormon meeting fired at by themselves Character of the anti-Mormons New 
mobs House burning Sheriff's posse Backinstus Plundering McBratney 
Death of Worrell Danbeneyer Durfee Trial of the Sheriff for murder Gen. 
Hardiu sent over with 500 men Stops the disorders on both sides Autl Mormon 
Convention The Mormons agree to leave the State Maj. Warren with two com- 
panies left as a Guard Good conduct of Major Warren Indictments against the 



Twelve Apostles for counterfeiting Exodus of the Mormons Anti-Mormons anx- 
ious to expel the few that were left Cause of a new quarrel Writs sworn out 
Old trick of calling the posse The matter adjusted Mormon vote in 1846 New 
excitements New writs sworn out The posse again The new citizens petition 
for protection Order to Major ParkerOrder to Mr. Brayman Treaty between 
the parlies Not agreed to by the Anti-Mormons Mr. Brayman's letter James 
W. Singleton Thomas S. Brockman Order to Major Flood His proceedings 
under it Numbers of each party Battles Not many hurt The Mormons sur- 
. render the City Triumphant entry of the anti-Mormons Their brutal conduct 
Sufferings of the Mormons Excitement against the anti-Mormons Moderate men 
not to be relied on in times of excitement Difficulties of the Executive Expedi- 
tion to Nauvoo The anti-Mormon posse dispersed Violence of the anti-Mormons 
against the Governor Anti-Mormon meetings Their resolutions Anti-Mormon 
Committee of rogues and blackguards The Irish Justice and Constable Capt. Al- 
len's expedition to Carthage Major Webber Attempts to arrest a Spy Writs 
sworn out to arrest him and Capt. Allen The old trick of the posse again Insta- 
bility of popular feeling No disposition anywhere to assist, but a disposition 
everywhere to censure government, for not performing impossibilities Popular 
notions of Martial Law Like master like man Anarchy and despotism Lib- 
erty and slavery 403 


Riots in Massac county in 1846 Robbery in Pope county The regulators Their pro- 
ceedingsArrests made by them^The torture and confession of their prisoners 
The rogues vote for the county officers of Massac in 1846 Extorted and bribed 
evidence to implicate the sheriff and others, by the opposing candidates The sher- 
iff and others ordered to leave the county Many whipped, tarred and feathered, 
and some drowned Arrest of the rioters They" are rescued by the regulators- 
Judge Scales' charge to the grand jury Indictments against the regulators 
Threats to lynch the judge and the grand jury Order to Dr. Gibbs, and reason 
for such an order His proceedings under it The Militia refuse to turn out In- 
efficiency of well-disposed moderate men in such times A few bold, violent men 
can govern a county, and how they do it The reasons why the Militia would not 
turn out Attack on old Mathis, his wife shot, he is carried away, supposed to 
have been murdered The regulators arrested, given up by tb sheriff, prisoners 
taken to Kentucky Some of them drowned Proceedings of the new Governor 
and the Legislature, then in session District Courts provided to evade the Consti- 
tution against changes of the venue in criminal cases The disturbances die away 
of themselves The situation in 1842 compared with its condition in December, 
1846.... .437 



THE author of this history has lived in Illinois from 
the year 1804 up to this time ; he attended the first ses- 
sion of the Legislature under the State government, at 
Kaskaskia, in 18 18-' 19 ; and has heen present at every 
session from 1825 up to 1847. He has not only had the 
means of becoming acquainted with events and results, 
but with the characters and motives of those who were 
the most active in bringing them about, which is the 
hidden soul and most instructive part of history. The 
events of such a government as that of Illinois, and the 
men of its history, must necessarily be matters of small 
interest in themselves. But the author has been encour- 
aged to give some account of them by remembering 
that history is only philosophy teaching by examples ; 
and may, possibly, teach by small as well as large ones. 
Observation of the curious habits of small insects has 
thrown its light upon science, as much as the dissection 
of the elephant. Therefore, if any one is curious to see 
what very great things may be illustrated by very small 
matters, this book will give him some aid. 


The author has written about small events and little 
men for two reasons : first, there was nothing else in the 
history of Illinois to write about ; secondly, these small 
matters seemed besfc calculated to illustrate what he 
wanted to promulgate to the people. The historical 
events and personages herein recorded and described, are 
related and delineated gravely and truthfully ; and by 
no means in a style of exaggeration, caricature, or ro- 
mance, after the fashion of Knickerbocker's amusing 
history of New York ; but like a tale of romance, they 
are merely made a kind of thread upon which to string 
the author's speculations ; being his real, true, and genu- 
ine views, entertained as a man, not as a politician, con- 
cerning the practical operation of republican government 
and the machinery party, in the new States of the West. 
He has not ventured to call his book a history, for the 
reason that much heavy lumbering matter, necessary to 
constitute it a complete history, but of no interest to the 
general reader, has been omitted. Indeed, every history 
is apt to contain much matter not only tiresome to read, 
but mischievous to be remembered ; and it is often the 
unprofitable task of the antiquarian to busy himself in 
raking and carefully saving from oblivion some stupid 
or mischievous piece of knowledge, which the good 
sense of the cotemporary generation of mankind had 
made them forget. 


The account of our very unimportant mobs and wars, 
and particularly the Mormon wars, in which the au- 
thor had the misfortune to figure in a small way him- 
self, is here introduced, with the single remark, that 
little events are recorded with a minuteness and particu- 
larity which, it is hoped, will not tire, but will certainly 
astonish the reader, until he sees the great principles 
which they illustrate. The author has earnestly endeav- 
ored to be as faithful and impartial as he well could, 
considering that he was himself an actor in some of the 
scenes described. For the history of the last four years, 
embracing the term of his own administration of the 
State government, the most difficult period of our his- 
tory, he must bespeak some forbearance. The internal 
improvement system, the banks, the great plenty of 
money, had made every one morally drunk. The fail- 
ure of all these brought about a sobering process, which 
just began when the author came into office. The dif- 
ferent modes of relief for unparalleled calamity, brought 
about by unparalleled folly, which were proposed ; the 
hideous doctrine of repudiation, and its apposite of in- 
creasing the taxes to pay our just debts ; the everlasting 
intrigues of politicians with the Mormons ; the serious 
disturbances and mobs which these lead to ; and the 
strife between the north and the south about the canal, 
and their contests for power, were difficult subjects to 



deal with. The author aimed to act positively, and not 
negatively, in all these matters, which brought him into 
fierce collision with many prominent men. He will go 
down to the grave satisfied, in his own mind, that he 
was right, and they wrong ; and therefore it may be, 
that he has not spoken so flatteringly of some of them 
as they may have wished. But he has set nothing 
down in malice. It is believed that many public men 
in Illinois aim to succeed only for the present, and have 
acted their parts, with no idea of being responsible to 
history ; and of course they have acted much worse than 
they would have done, had they dreamed that history 
some time or other would record their selfish projects, 
and hand them down to another age. They were en- 
couraged, by their insignificance, to hope for oblivion ; 
and it is, perhaps, after all, not very fair to take them 
by surprise, by recording their miserable conduct, giving 
a small immortality to their littleness. 

In all those matters in which the author has figured 
personally, it will be some relief to the reader to find, 
that he has not attempted to blow himself up into a 
great man. He has no vanity of that sort ; and no one 
thinks more humbly of him than he does of himself. 
If he has been solicitous about anything concerning 
himself, it has been to be considered " a well-meaning 
sort of person ;" though he knows that this, of all oth- 



ers, is the most uncommon character in public life, and 

is the most despised by your men of rampant ambition. 
Insignificant as he may be, yet, during his public life, 
many volumes of billingsgate, in the newspaper style, 
have been written against him ; but he has all the time 
had the satisfaction of knowing his own errors and im- 
perfections better than did his revilers. And, like an 
Indian warrior about to be tortured, he could have point- 
ed out vulnerable places and modes of infliction which 
even the active, keen eye of malice itself failed to dis- 
cover. He has effectually abandoned all aim to succeed 
in public life in the future, having learned by long ex- 
perience that in the pursuit of public honors " the play 
is not worth the candle." He will therefore but little 
regard malicious criticisms which may be the effect of 
the remains of bad feelings excited by former contests ; 
being assured that no such criticisms can in any wise 
affect injuriously any of his plans for the future. 

PBOEIA, Illinois, April 12, 1847. 



Petition of the Territorial Legislature to Congress to be admitted into the Union Bill 
reported by Judge Pope, the territorial Delegate Amendments proposed by him 
Boundaries of the State enlarged Ordinance of 1787 Claim of Wisconsin to the 
fourteen northern counties Reasons for extending the boundaries Call of a Con- 
vention Constitution adopted E. K. Kane Petition of the Covenanters Organi- 
zation of the State Government Governor Bond recommends the Canal to Lake 
Michigan Judge Foster Judge Thomas Legislature of 1819 Code of laws B^- 
moval of the Seat of Government to Vandalia Origin of the name Vandalia Char- 
acter of the people Notice of the French villages and of the early American set- 
tlersSchools, learned professions The early preachers Pursuits and business of 
the people Their ingenuity Anecdote of James Lemon Commerce Money 
Speculation Banks in Ohio and Kentucky General indebtedness Money crisis 
Creation of the State Bank of 1821 Its history Ool. Menard John M'Lean Judge 
Young First duel Judge Lockwood. 

IN the month of January, 1818, a petition was received from 
the territorial Legislature of Illinois by Nathaniel Pope, the 
delegate in Congress, (now district judge,) praying for the ad- 
mission of the territory into the Union as an independent State. 
Judge Pope immediately brought the subject before Congress ; 
and at an early day thereafter was instructed, by the proper 
committee, to report a bill in pursuance of the petition. Ow- 
ing to the great amount of business which had matured, this 
bill was not acted on until the month of April, when it became 
a law, with certain amendments proposed by Judge Pope. 
The amendments were, 1st, to extend the northern boundary of 
the new State to the parallel of 42 30' north latitude ; and, 


2d, to apply the three per cent, fund, arising from the sales of 
the public lands, to the encouragement of learning, instead of 
the making of roads leading to the State, as had been the case 
' on the admission of Ohio and Indiana. These important changes 
were proposed and carried through both houses of Congress 
by Judge Pope, upon his own responsibility. The territorial 
Legislature had not petitioned for them ; no one at that time 
having suggested or requested the making of them ; but they 
met the unqualified approbation of the people of Illinois. 

By the Ordinance of 1787, there were to be not less than 
three, nor more than five States in the territory north-west of 
the Ohio river. The boundaries of these States were defined 
by that law. The three States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois 
were to include the whole territory, and were to be bounded by 
the British possessions in Canada on the north. But Congress 
reserved the power, if they thereafter should find it expedient, 
to form one or two States in that part of the territory which 
lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly 
bend of Lake Michigan. That line, it was generally supposed, 
was to be the north boundary of Illinois. Judge Pope, seeing 
that the port of Chicago was north of that line, and would be 
excluded by it from the State ; and that the Illinois and Michi- 
gan canal (which was then contemplated) would issue from 
Chicago, to connect the great northern lakes with the Missis- 
sippi, and thus be partly within and partly without the State of 
Dlinois, was thereby led to a critical examination of the Ordi- 
nance, which resulted in a clear and satisfactory conviction, 
that it was competent for Congress to extend the boundaries 
of the new State as far north as they pleased ; and he found 
no difficulty in convincing others of the correctness of his views. 

As it is now understood that the new State of Wisconsin 
puts in a claim under the Ordinance to the fourteen northern 
counties in Illinois, embracing the richest and most populous 
part of the State, it may be worth while to examine a little 


whether Judge Pope and the Congress of 1818 were right in 
their conclusions. 

It appears that Congress retained the power, under the Ordi- 
nance, if they should thereafter deem it expedient, to establish - 
a State north of Illinois, in that part of the north-western ter- 
ritory which lies north of the parallel running through the 
southern bend of the Lake. Upon this provision is founded 
the claim of Wisconsin. But there is nothing in the Ordinance 
requiring such additional State to be formed of the territory 
north of that line. Another State might be formed in that dis- 
trict of country, but not o/it ; it need not necessarily include 
the whole. By extending the limits of Illinois north of the 
disputed line, Congress still had the power to make a new State 
in that district of country north of it, not including the portion 
given to Illinois. But the fallacy of the claim for Wisconsin 
is further apparent from the facts, that the Ordinance establish- 
ed the northern limits of Illinois to extend to the British pos- 
sessions in Canada, in other words, to the northern boundary 
of the United States ; that the creation of a new State north 
of it, was made to depend upon the subsequent discretion of 
Congress, and upon their .ideas of expediency. Undoubtedly, 
Illinois could have been limited to the southern bend of Lake 
Michigan. But Congress has never, as yet, established that line ; 
but, on the contrary, has established one upwards of fifty 
miles north of it, which line so established by Congress, the 
people of Wisconsin say is void, as being against the Ordi- 
nance. If we take the ground assumed by Wisconsin as the 
true one, and admit that the line of 42 30' is void, as being 
against the Ordinance, then it is plain that there is no northern 
limit to Illinois, except the British possessions in Canada ; thus 
making Illinois include all Wisconsin. If the people of Wis- 
consin can show that the line of 42 30' is void, they do not es- 
tablish any other ; their line was not established by the Ordi- 
nance ; that law merely authorized Congress to establish it if 


they saw proper and deemed it expedient. But Congress has 
never deemed it expedient to establish it. If, therefore, the 
only line which Congress ever did establish is void, then Dli- 
nois cannot be limited by a line which has never been establish- 
ed, but must extend to the northern boundary of the Union, in- 
cluding all Wisconsin. Premises from which such arguments 
can fairly be drawn, must necessarily be suicidal to the claim 
of the new State of Wisconsin, as they inevitably result in its 
annihilation, and in extending the jurisdiction of Illinois over 
the whole of its territory. 

But there were other and much more weighty reasons for 
this change of boundary, which were ably and successfully urged 
by Judge Pope upon the attention of Congress. It was known 
that in all confederated republics there was danger of dissolu- 
tion. The great valley of the Mississippi was filling up with a 
numerous people; the original confederacy had already ad- 
vanced westward a thousand miles, across the chain of moun- 
tains skirting the Atlantic ; the adjoining States in the western 
country were watered by rivers running from every point of 
the compass, converging to a focus at the confluence of the 
Ohio and Mississippi at Cairo ; the waters of the Ohio, Cum- 
berland and Tennessee rivers, carried much of the commerce 
of Alabama and Tennessee, all of Kentucky, considerable por- 
tions of that of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York, and the 
greater portion of the commerce of Ohio and Indiana, down by 
the Point at Cairo, (situate in the extreme south of Illinois,) 
where it would be met by the commerce to and from the lower 
Mississippi with all the States and territories to be formed in 
the immense country on the Missouri, and extending to the 
head waters of the Mississippi. Illinois had a coast of 1 50 miles 
on the Ohio river, and nearly as much on the Wabash ; the 
Mississippi was its western boundary for the whole length of 
the State ; the commerce of all the western country was to pass 
by its shores, and would necessarily come to a focus at the 


mouth of the Ohio, at a point within this State, and within the 
control of Illinois, if, the Union being dissolved, she should see 
proper to control it. It was foreseen that none of the great 
States in the west could venture to aid in dissolving the Union, 
without cultivating a State situate in such a central and com- 
manding position. 

What then was the duty of the national government ? Illi- 
nois was certain to be a great State, with any boundaries which 
that government could give. Its great extent of territory, its 
unrivalled fertility of soil, and capacity for sustaining a dense 
population, together with its commanding position, would in 
course of time give the new 'State a very controlling influence 
with her sister States situate upon the western rivers, either in 
sustaining the federal union as it is, or in dissolving it, and es- 
tablishing new governments. If left entirely upon the waters 
of these great rivers, it was plain that, in case of threatened 
disruption, the interest of the new State would be to join a 
southern and western confederacy. But if a large portion of 
it could be made dependent upon the commerce and navigation 
of the great northern lakes, connected as they are with the eastern 
States, a rival interest would be created, to check the wish for 
a western and southern confederacy. 

It therefore became the duty of the national government, not 
only to make Illinois strong, but to raise an interest inclining 
and binding her to the eastern and northern portions of the 
Union. This could be done only through an interest in the 
lakes. At that time the commerce on the lakes was small, but 
its increase was confidently expected, and indeed it has exceeded 
all anticipations, and is yet only in its infancy. To accomplish 
this object effectually, it was not only necessary to give to Il- 
linois the port of Chicago and a route for the canal, but a con- 
siderable coast on Lake Michigan, with a country back of it 
sufficiently extensive to contain a population capable of exer- 
cising a decided influence upon the councils of the State. 


There would, therefore, be a large commerce of the north, 
western, and central portions of the State afloat on the lakes, 
for it was then foreseen that the canal would be made ; and 
this alone would be like turning one of the many mouths of 
the Mississippi into Lake Michigan at Chicago. A very large 
commerce of the centre and south would be found, both upon 
the lakes and the rivers. Associations hi business, in interest, 
and of friendship would be formed, both with the north and 
the south. A State thus situated, having such a decided in- 
terest in the commerce, and in the preservation of the whole 
confederacy, can never consent to disunion ; for the Union can- 
not be dissolved without a division and disruption of the State 
itself. These views, urged by Judge Pope, obtained the un- 
qualified assent of the statesmen of 1818 ; and this feature of 
the bill, for the admission of Illinois into the Union, met the 
unanimous approbation of both houses of Congress. 

These facts and views are worthy to be recorded in history, 
as a standing and perpetual call upon Illinoisians of every age 
to remember the great trust which has been reposed in them, 
as the peculiar champions and guardians of the Union, by the 
great men and patriot sages who adorned and governed this 
country in the earlier and better days of the^republic. 

In pursuance of this Act of Congress, a Convention was called 
hi Illinois, in the summer of 1818, which formed our present 
Constitution. The principal member of it was Elias K. Kane, 
late a senator in Congress and now deceased, to whose talents 
we are mostly indebted for the peculiar features of the Con- 
stitution. Mr. Kane was born in the State of New York, and 
was bred to the profession of the law. He removed in early 
youth to Tennessee, where he rambled about for some time, 
and finally settled in the ancient village of Kaskaskia, in Dlinois, 
about the year 1815, when he was about twenty years of age. 
His talents were both solid and brilliant. After being appointed 
Secretary of State under the new government, he was elected 


to the Legislature, from which he was elected and again re-elect- 
ed to the United States Senate. He died a member of that body, 
in the autumn of 1835 ; and in memory of him the County of 
Kane, on Fox river, was named, as was also the County of 
Pope, on the Ohio river, in honor of Judge Pope, the able and 
faithful delegate in Congress from the Illinois territory. Dur- 
ing the sitting of the Convention of 1818, the Keverend Mr. 
Wiley and his congregation, of a sect called Covenanters, in 
Randolph county, sent in their petition, asking that body to 
declare in the Constitution about to be made, that "Jesus 
Christ was the head of the government, and that the Holy 
Scriptures were the only rule of faith and practice." It does 
not appear by the journals of the Convention that this petition 
was treated with any attention ; wherefore the Covenanters have 
never yet fully recognized the State government. They have 
looked upon it as " an heathen and unbaptized government" 
which denies Christ ; for which reason they have constantly re- 
fused to work the roads under the laws, serve on juries, hold 
any office, or do any other act showing that they recognize the 
government. For a long time they refused to vote at the elec- 
tions ; and never did vote until the election in 1824, when the 
question was, whether Illinois should be made a slave State, 
when they voted for the first time, and unanimously against 
slavery. In the election of members to the Convention, the 
only questions made before the people were, the right of the 
constituent to instruct his representative, and the introduction 
of slavery, which were debated with great earnestness during 
the canvass. 

The Constitution, as formed, required the Governor and 
Lieutenant Governor to have been citizens of the United States 
for thirty years before their election. It also gave power to the 
governor to nominate, and the Senate to confirm, all officers 
whose appointments were not otherwise provided for by the 
Constitution ; the only exceptions to this rule being the judges 


of the supreme and inferior courts, State treasurer, and public 
printer. But motives of favor to particular persons, who were 
looked to to hold office under the new government, induced the 
Convention to make exceptions in both these cases, which in 
the case of appointments to office in the hands of the legislature, 
became the general rule. 

Col. Pierre Menard, a Frenchman, and an old settler in the 
country, was generally looked to to fill the office of lieutenant 
governor ; but as he had not been naturalized until a year or 
so before, the Convention declared in a schedule to the Consti- 
tution, that any citizen of the United States who had resided in 
the State for two years might be eligible to this office. 

It was expected that Shadrach Bond would be the first gov- 
ernor ; and the Convention wished to have Elijah C. Berry for 
the first auditor of public accounts, but as it was believed that 
Governor Bond would not appoint him to the office, the Con- 
vention again declared in the schedule that " an auditor of pub- 
lic accounts, an attorney general, and such other officers of the 
State as may be necessary, may be appointed by the General 
Assembly." The Constitution, as it stood, vested a very large 
appointing power in the governor ; but for the purpose of get- 
ting one man into office, a total change was made, and the 
power vested in the legislature. It was for many years a ques- 
tion, what was an " officer of the State." Were States' attor- 
neys of the circuits ? Were the canal commissioners officers 
for the State ? The legislature afterwards decided that all these 
were State offices, and passed laws from time to time, vesting 
in their own body all the appointing powers they could lay 
their hands on. In this mode they appointed canal commis- 
sioners, fund commissioners, commissioners of the board of 
public works, bank directors for the principal banks and branch- 
es, canal agents, States' attorneys, and all sorts of agencies 
which seemed to be necessary. Sometimes such agents were 
appointed by election, then again the legislature would pass a 


law enacting them into office by name and surname. They 
contrived to strip the governor of all patronage not positively 
secured to him by the Constitution ; such as the appointment 
of a secretary of State, and the filling of vacancies during the 
recess of their sessions. At first the legislature contented them- 
selves with the power to elect an auditor and attorney general. 
The governor appointed all the States' attorneys, the recorders 
of counties, all State officers and agents occasionally needed, 
and many minor county officers. But in the administration of 
Governor Duncan he was finally stripped of all patronage, ex- 
cept the appointment of notaries public and public administra- 
tors. Sometimes one legislature, feeling pleased with the gov- 
ernor, would give him some appointing power, whiclt their 
successors would take away, if they happened to quarrel with 
him. This constant changing and shifting of powers, from one 
co-ordinate branch of the government to another, which rendered 
it impossible for the people to foresee exactly for what purpose 
either the governor or legislature were elected, was one of the 
worst features of the government. It led to innumerable in- 
trigues and corruptions, and for a long time destroyed the har- 
mony between the executive and legislative departments. 
And all this was caused by the Convention of 1818, in the at- 
tempt to get one man into an office of no very considerable 

According to general expectation, Shadrach-Bond was elected 
the first governor, and commenced his term of four years in 
October, 1818. Governor Bond was a native of Maryland, 
was bred a farmer, and was a very early settler amongst the 
pioneers of the Illinois territory. He settled on a farm in the 
American Bottom, in Monroe County, near the Eagle Creek. 
He was several times elected to the territorial legislature, and 
once a delegate to represent the territory in Congress. He was 
also receiver of public moneys at Kaskaskia, but was never 
elected or appointed to any other office after his term as gov- 


ernor. Indeed, of the seven first governors of Illinois only one 
has ever held any office since the expiration of their respective 
terms of service ; though I believe they have all, except myself, 
tried to obtain some other office. Governor Bond was a sub- 
stantial, farmer-like man, of strong, plain common sense, with 
but little pretensions to learning or general information. He 
was a well-made, well-set, sturdy gentleman, and what is re- 
markable at this day, his first message to the legislature con- 
tains a strong recommendation in favor of the Illinois and 
Michigan canal. At that early day the people north of Kas- 
kaskia, then the seat of government, were northern people, and 
in favor of northern interests. The inhabited parts of the State 
then extended north, a little above Alton ; and at that time the 
people of Randolph, Monroe, St. Clair and Madison, then north- 
ern but now southern counties, were as anxious for the canal as 
the people of Lasalle have been since. In like manner when 
the seat of government was removed, first to Vandalia, and 
afterwards to Springfield, the people north of those places, re- 
spectively, whilst the seat of government remained at them, 
were in favor of the canal and northern interests ; but when re- 
moved from Vandalia to Springfield, the northern men between 
Springfield and Vandalia were immediately converted into 
Southerners, and most of them ever afterwards opposed the 
canal. It seems that an imaginary east and west line will, in 
the imagination of politicians, be drawn through the seat of 
government, and all north of it will be north, and all south of 
it will be south, with some trifling exceptions. Governor Bond 
died about the year 1834 ; and for him was named the county 
of Bond, lying on the waters of Shoal Creek. 

The legislature was convened at Kaskaskia in October, 1818, 
and organized the government by the election of Joseph Phil- 
ips to be chief justice, Thomas C. Brown and John Reynolds, 
and William P. Foster associate justices of the Supreme Court. 
Judges Brown and Reynolds will be spoken of hereafter. Phil- 


ips had been a captain in the regular army, and was afterwards 
appointed secretary of State of the territory ; and, being a 
lawyer and a man of high order of talent, was therefore elected 
chief justice. Being afterwards a candidate for governor and 
defeated, he left the State in such disgust as defeat is apt to 
inspire, and went to reside in Tennessee, where he is yet alive. 
Foster, who was elected one of the judges, was almost a total 
stranger in the country. He was a great rascal, but no one 
knew it then, he having been a citizen of the State only for 
about three weeks before he was elected. He was no lawyer, 
never having either studied or practised law ; but he was a man 
of winning, polished manners, and was withal a very gentle- 
manly swindler, from some part of Virginia. It might be said 
of him, as it was of Lambro, " he was the mildest mannered 
man that ever scuttled ship or cut a throat, with such true 
breeding of a gentleman, that you never could divine his real 
thought." He was believed to be a clever fellow, in the 
American sense of the phrase, and a good-hearted soul. He 
was assigned to hold courts in the circuit on the Wabash; 
but being fearful of exposing his utter incompetency, he never 
went near any of them. In the course of one year he resigned 
his high office, but took care first to pocket his salary, and 
then removed out of the State. He afterwards became a noted 
swindler, moving from city to city, and living by swindling 
strangers, and prostituting his daughters, who were very beau- 

Ninian Edwards, now no more, and Jesse B. Thomas, who 
at this time resides in the State of Ohio, were elected our first 
senators in Congress. Elias K. Kane was appointed secretary 
of State, Daniel P. Cook was elected the first attorney general, 
Elijah C. Berry auditor of public accounts, and John Thomas 
State treasurer. Under the auspices and guidance of these 
names, was Illinois launched on her career of administration, 
as an independent State of the American Union. Among these 


gentlemen, I will at this time speak of Judge Thomas only. 
He is first distinctly known when he resided in the territory 
of Indiana, and was a member of the territorial legislature at 
the time Indiana territory included all the Illinois country. 
William Biggs and John Messenger, of St. Clair county, rep- 
resented the Illinois country in that legislature, and were de- 
sirous to obtain a division of that territory, and to erect a 
separate territorial government for Illinois. The Indiana leg- 
islature then met at Vincennes, a town on the Wabash, for 
which reason it was long afterwards, by the vulgar, known by 
the name of the " Vinsan kgislater ;" and the laws of the ter- 
ritory during that period were called the laws of the " Vinsan 
legislater." The Illinoisians wanted a legislature of their own 
to meet at Kaskaskia, then vulgarly known by the name of 
" Kusky," a corruption and contraction of the real name. 
Whether the territory could be divided or not, depended upon 
the election of a delegate to Congress. The Illinoisians were 
anxious to elect one favorable to a division, and they selected 
Mr. Thomas for this purpose. But being determined not to 
be cheated, they made him give his bond to be in favor of a 
division. With the aid of the Illinois vote and his own, Mr. 
Thomas had a bare majority, and was elected. True to his 
pledges and his bond, Mr. Thomas procured a division of the 
territory, the erection of a separate territorial government for 
Illinois, and came home with the appointment of one of the 
judgeships of the supreme court of the new territory for him- 
self. Judge Thomas then removed to Illinois, where he con- 
tinued to be one of the judges during the existence of the ter- 
ritory. He was elected from St. Clair county a member of the 
Convention which formed the Constitution, and had the honor 
to be chosen president of that body. He was twice elected to 
the United States Senate, and hi the year 1827 left the State 
to reside in Ohio. During his senatorial career, he was a great 
favorite with William H. Crawford, the secretary of the treas- 


my, and was a warm advocate of Mr. Crawford's election to 
the presidency ; but after Mr. Adams was declared to be elected 
by the House of Representatives, he came over to the support 
of Mr. Adams' administration. He was a large, affable, good- 
looking man, with no talents as a public speaker ; but he was 
a man of tact, an adroit and winning manager. It was a maxim 
with him, that no man could be talked down with loud and bold 
words, " but any one might be whispered to death." 

It appears by the journals of this first legislature that a 
committee was appointed to contract for stationery, who re- 
ported that they had purchased a sufficient stock at the cost of 
$13 50. For every dollar then paid, we now pay hundreds 
for the same articles ; but this was in the days of real frugality 
and economy, and before any of the members had learned the 
gentlemanly art of laying in, from the public stock, a year or 
two's supply at home. The assembly having organized the 
State government and put it in motion, adjourned, to meet again 
in the winter of 181 8-' 19. At this adjourned session a code 
of statute law was passed, mostly borrowed from the statutes 
of Kentucky and Virginia. Upon examining the laws of that 
day, it will be seen that they are generally better drawn up 
than those which were passed at a later and more enlightened 
period. The members were mostly ignorant and unpretending 
men ; there was then some reverence for men of real knowl- 
edge and real abilities ; the world was not then filled with au- 
dacious and ignorant pretenders ; and the sensible and unpre- 
tending members were content to look to men of real talents 
and learning to draw their bills. But in these days of empir- 
icism and quackery in all things, when every ignorant pretender 
who has the luck to " break" into the legislature imagines him- 
self to be a Lycurgus or a Mpses, very few good laws have been 
made ; and those which have, were drawn by men of talents 
who were not members, for the most part. 

But this code, as a whole, did not stand long. For many 


sessions afterwards, in fact until the new revision in 1827, all 
the standard laws were regularly changed and altered every two 
years, to suit the taste and whim of every new legislature. For 
a long time the rage for amending and altering was so great, 
that it was said to be a good thing that the Holy Scriptures did 
not have to come before the Legislature ; for that body would 
be certain to alter and amend them, so that no one could tell 
what was or was not the word of God, any more than could 
be told what was or was not the law of the State. A session 
of the legislature was like a great fire in the boundless prairies 
of the State ; it consumed everything. And again, it was like 
the genial breath of spring, making all things new. 

One of the most remarkable laws of this first code was the 
act concerning negroes and mulattoes. It is to be observed 
that the ordinance of Congress of the year 1787, and the deed 
of cession of the country from Virginia, were interpreted so as 
to secure the French settlers in a right to their slaves, and 
the legislatures of the Indiana and Illinois territories had passed 
laws allowing a qualified introduction of slavery. For instance, 
it had been enacted that emigrants to the country might bring 
their slaves with them, and if the slaves, being of lawful age 
to consent, would go before the clerk of a county, and volun- 
tarily sign an indenture to serve their master for a term of 
years, they should be held to a specific performance of their 
contracts. If they refused to give such consent, their masters 
might remove them out of the territory in sixty days. The 
children of such slaves, being under the age of consent, might 
be taken before an officer and registered ; and then they were 
bound by those laws to serve their masters until they were 
thirty-two years old. Such slaves were then called indentured 
and registered servants ; the French negroes were called slaves. 
Many servants and slaves were held under these laws, but 
the number of negroes was very small, compared with the num- 
ber of the white inhabitants. Nevertheless, this first legislature 


re-enacted in Illinois all the severe and stringent laws to be 
found in a slave State, where the number of negroes was equal 
to, or greater than the number of white people, and where such 
severity might be necessary to prevent rebellion and servile 
war. For instance, it was enacted that no negro or mulatto 
should reside in the State until he had produced a certificate of 
freedom, and given bond, with security, for good behavior, and 
not to become a county charge. No person was to harbor or 
hire a negro or mulatto who had not complied with the law, 
under the penalty of five hundred dollars fine. All such free 
negroes were to cause their families to be registered. Every 
negro or mulatto not having a certificate of freedom, was to 
be deemed a runaway slave ; was liable to be taken up by any 
inhabitant ; committed by a justice of the peace ; imprisoned 
by the sheriff; advertised ; sold for one year ; and, if not 
claimed within that time, was to be considered a free man, un- 
less his master should afterwards reclaim him. Any person 
bringing a negro into the State, to set him free, was liable to a 
fine of two hundred dollars. Kiots, routs, unlawful assemblies, 
and seditious speeches of slaves, were to be punished with 
stripes, not exceeding thirty-nine, at the discretion of any jus- 
tice of the peace ; also, slaves were to be punished with thirty- 
five lashes for being found ten miles from home without a pass 
from their master ; also, it was made lawful for the owner of 
any dwelling or plantation to give, or order to be given, to 
any slave or servant coming upon his plantation, ten lashes upon 
his bare back ; and persons who should permit slaves and ser- 
vants to assemble for dancing or revelling, by night or day. 
were to be fined twenty dollars. It was made the duty of all 
sheriffs, coroners, judges, and justices of the peace, on view of 
such an assemblage, to commit the slaves to jail, and to order 
each one of them to be whipped, not exceeding thirty-nine 
stripes, on the bare back, to be inflicted the next day, unless 
the same should be Sunday, and then on the next day after. 



In all cases where free persons were punishable by fine under 
the criminal laws of the State, servants were to be punished by 
whipping, at the rate of twenty lashes for every eight dollars 
fine. No person was to buy of, sell to, or trade with a slave or 
servant, without the consent of his master ; and for so doing, 
was to forfeit four times the value of the article bought, sold, 
or traded. Lazy and disorderly servants were to be corrected 
by stripes, on the order of a justice of the peace. 

These provisions have been continued in all the revisions of 
the law since made, and are now the law of the land. It was 
partly the object of these laws to prevent free negroes from be- 
coming numerous in the State, by discouraging their settlement 
here, and discouraging runaway slaves from coming to Illinois, 
to become free ; and when we consider the importance, for the 
purposes of harmony and good government, of preserving a 
homogeneous character amongst the people, such an object was 
a wise one. But for what purpose such severities were de- 
nounced against slaves and servants, when their numbers were 
so few that they could not be dangerous, can only be conjec- 
tured. The most plausible account of the matter may be, that 
as the early legislators were from the slave States ; they im- 
ported this law, as they did others, without considering its want 
of application to the condition of the country. In the same 
manner, we find early laws imported from the slave States for 
the inspection of hemp and tobacco, when there was neither 
hemp nor tobacco raised in the country. And no doubt the 
feeling and habit of domination over the slave acquired in a 
slave State, and brought by the settlers into a free one, had its 
full share of influence. These laws would have been modified 
or repealed long ere this, if it had not been for the abolition 
excitement of modern times, which has made it dangerous to 
the popularity of politicians to propose their repeal, since such 
a proposition might indicate a leaning to that unpopular party. 
But as it is, the severe points of them are now, and for a long 


time past have been, a dead letter upon the pages of the statute 
book, there being no instance, within the memory of the pres- 
ent generation, of putting them in force. 

This legislature also provided for the removal of the seat of gov- 
ernment from the town of Kaskaskia, the ancient seat of empire 
for more than one hundred and fifty years, both for the French 
and American inhabitants. Commissioners were appointed to 
select a new site, who made choice of a place, then in the midst 
of the wilderness, on the Kaskaskia river, north-east of the set- 
tlements, which they called " Vandalia." After the place had 
been selected, it became a matter of great interest to give it 
a good sounding name, one which would please the ear, and at 
the same time have the classic merit of perpetuating the mem- 
ory of the ancient race of Indians by whom the country had 
first been inhabited. Tradition says that a wag who was pres- 
ent, suggested to the commissioners that the " Vandals" were 
a powerful nation of Indians, who once inhabited the banks of 
the Kaskaskia river, and that " Vandalia," formed from their 
name, would perpetuate the memory of that extinct but re- 
nowned people. The suggestion pleased the commissioners, 
the name was adopted, and they thus proved that the name of 
their new city (if they were fit representatives of their con- 
stituents) would better' illustrate the character of the modern 
than the ancient inhabitants of the country. 

In the year 1818, the whole people numbered about forty- 
five thousand souls. Some two thousand of these were the 
descendants of the old French settlers in the villages of Kaskas- 
kia, Prairie Du Rocher, Prairie Du Pont, Cahokia, Peoria, and 
Chicago. These people had fields in common for farming, and 
farmed, built houses, and lived in the style of the peasantry in 
old France an hundred and fifty years ago. They had made 
no improvements in anything, nor had they adopted any of 
the improvements made by others. They were the descend- 
ants of those French people who had first settled the country, 


more than a hundred and fifty years before, under Lasalle, Ib- 
berville, and the priests Alvarez, Rasles, Gravier, Pinet, Marest, 
and others, and such as subsequently joined them from New 
Orleans and Canada ; and they now formed all that remained of 
the once proud empire which Louis XIV., king of France, and 
the regent Duke of Orleans, had intended to plant in the Illi- 
nois country. The original settlers had many of them inter- 
married with the native Indians, and some of the descendants 
of these partook of the wild, roving disposition of the savage, 
united to the politeness and courtesy of the Frenchman. In 
the year 1818, and for many years before, the crews of keel 
boats on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers were furnished from 
the Frenchmen of this stock. Many of them spent a great part 
of their time, in the spring and fall seasons, in paddling their 
canoes up and down the rivers and lakes in the river bottoms, 
on hunting excursions, in pursuit of deer, fur, and wild fowl, 
and generally returned home well loaded with skins, fur, and 
feathers, which were with them the great staples of trade. 
Those who stayed at home, contented themselves with culti- 
vating a few acres of Indian corn, in their common fields, for 
bread, and providing a supply of prairie hay for their cattle 
and horses. No genuine Frenchman, in those days, ever wore 
a hat, cap, or coat. The heads of both men and women were 
covered with Madras cotton handkerchiefs, which were tied 
around, in the fashion of night-caps. For an upper covering 
of the body the men wore a blanket garment, called a " capot," 
(pronounced cappo) with a cap to it at the back of the neck, 
to be drawn over the head for a protection in cold weather, or 
in warm weather to be thrown back upon the shoulders in the 
fashion of a cape. Notwithstanding this people had been so 
long separated by an immense wilderness from civilized so- 
ciety, they still retained all the suavity and politeness of their 
race. And it is a remarkable fact, that the roughest hunter and 
boatman amongst them could at any time appear in a ball- 


room, or other polite and gay assembly, with the carriage and 
behavior of a well-bred gentleman. The French women were 
remarkable for the sprightliness of their conversation and the 
grace and elegance of their manners. And the whole popula- 
tion lived lives of alternate toil, pleasure, innocent amusement, 
and gaiety. 

Their horses and cattle, for want of proper care and food 
for many generations, had degenerated in size, but had acquired 
additional vigor and toughness ; so that a French pony was a 
proverb for strength and endurance. These ponies were made 
to draw, sometimes one alone, sometimes two together, one 
hitched before the other, to the plough, or to carts made en- 
tirely of wood, the bodies of which held about double the con- 
tents of the body of a common large wheel-barrow. The oxen 
were yoked by the horns instead of the neck, and in this mode 
were made to draw the plough and cart. Nothing like reins 
were ever used in driving ; the whip of the driver, with a han- 
dle about two feet, and a lash two yards long, stopped or guided 
the horse as effectually as the strongest reins. 

The French houses were mostly built of hewn timber, set 
upright in the ground, or upon plates laid upon a wall, the in- 
tervals between the upright pieces being filled with stone and 
mortar. Scarcely any of them were more than one story high, 
with a porch on one or two sides, and sometimes all around, 
with low roofs extending with slopes of different steepness from 
the comb in the centre to the lowest part of the porch. These 
houses were generally placed in gardens, surrounded by fruit- 
trees of apples, pears, cherries, and peaches ; and in the villages 
each enclosure for a house and garden occupied a whole block 
or square, or the greater part of one. Each village had its 
Catholic church and priest. The church was the great place 
of gay resort on Sundays and holidays, and the priest was the 
adviser and director and companion of all his flock. The peo- 
ple looked up to him with affection and reverence, and he upon 


them with compassion and tenderness. He was ever ready to 
sympathize with them in all their sorrows, enter into all their 
joys, and counsel them in all their perplexities. Many good 
Protestant ministers, who stoutly believed these Catholic priests 
to be the emissaries of Satan, would have done well to imitate 
their simple-hearted goodness to the members of their flocks. 

The American inhabitants were chiefly from Kentucky, Vir- 
ginia, and Pennsylvania. Some of them had been the officers 
and soldiers under General George Rogers Clark, who conquer- 
ed the country from the British in 1778, and they, with others 
who afterwards followed them, maintained their position in 
the country during the Indian wars in Ohio and Indiana in the 
times of Harmar, St. Clair, and Wayne. This handful of peo- 
ple, being increased in the whole to about twelve thousand 
souls, by subsequent emigration, with the aid of one company 
of regular soldiers, defended themselves and their settlements, 
during the war of 1812, against the then numerous and power- 
ful nations of the Kickapoos, Sacs, and Foxes, Pottawattomies 
and Shawnees, and even made hostile expeditions into the heart 
of their territories, burning their villages, and defeating and 
driving them from the country. In the year 1818, the settled 
part of the State extended a little north of Edwardsville and 
Alton ; south, along the Mississippi to the mouth of the Ohio ; 
east, in the direction of Carlysle to the Wabash ; and down the 
Wabash and the Ohio, to the mouth of the last-named river. 
But there was yet a very large unsettled wilderness tract of 
country, within these boundaries, lying between the Kaskaskia 
river and the Wabash ; and between the Kaskaskia and the 
Ohio, of three days' journey across it. There were no schools 
in the county, except for reading, writing, and arithmetic, and 
one school for surveying and book-keeping. The lawyers and 
professional men came from abroad. Preachers of the gospel 
frequently sprung up from the body of the people at home, 
without previous training, except in religious exercises and in 


the study of the Holy Scriptures. In those primitive times it 
was not thought to be necessary that a teacher of religion 
should be a scholar. It was thought to be his business to preach 
from a knowledge of the Scriptures alone, to make appeals warm 
from the heart, to paint heaven and hell to the imagination of 
the sinner, to terrify him with the one, and to promise the 
other as a reward for a life of righteousness. However igno- 
rant these first preachers may have been, they could be at no 
loss to find congregations still more ignorant, so that they were 
still capable of instructing some one. Many of them added to 
their knowledge of the Bible, a diligent perusal of Young's 
Night Thoughts, Watts' hymns, Milton's Paradise Lost, and 
Hervey's Meditations, a knowledge of which gave more com- 
pass to their thoughts, to be expressed in a profuse, flowery lan- 
guage, and raised their feelings to the utmost height of poetical 

Sometimes their sermons turned upon matters of controver- 
sy ; unlearned arguments on the subject of free grace, baptism, 
free will, election, faith, good works, justification, sanctification, 
and the final perseverance of the saints. But that in which they 
excelled, was the earnestness of their words and manner, leav- 
ing no doubt of the strongest conviction in their own minds, 
and in the vividness of the pictures which they drew of the in- 
effable blessedness of heaven, and the awful torments of the 
wicked in the fire and brimstone appointed for eternal punish- 
ment. These, with the love of God to sinful men, the sufferings 
of the Saviour, the dangerous apathy of sinners, and exhorta- 
tions to repentance, furnished themes for the most vehement 
and passionate declamations. But above all, they continually 
inculcated the great principles of justice and sound morality. 

As many of these preachers were nearly destitute of learning 
and knowledge, they made up in loud hallooing and violent ac- 
tion what they lacked in information. And it was a matter of 
astonishment to what length they could spin out a sermon em- 


bracing only a few ideas. The merit of a sermon was meas- 
ured somewhat by the length of it, by the flowery language of 
the speaker, and by his vociferation and violent gestures. Nev- 
ertheless, these first preachers were of incalculable benefit to 
the country. They inculcated justice and morality, and to the 
sanction of the highest human motives to regard them, added 
those which arise from a belief of the greatest conceivable 
amount of future rewards and punishments. They were truly 
patriotic also ; for at a time when the country was so poor 
that no other kind of ministry could have been maintained in 
it, they preached without charge to the people, working week 
days to aid the scanty charities of their flocks, in furnishing 
themselves with a scantier living. They believed with a posi- 
tive certainty that they saw the souls of men rushing to per- 
dition ; and they stepped forward to warn and to save, with 
all the enthusiasm and self-devotion of a generous man who 
risks his own life to save his neighbor from drowning. And 
to them are we indebted for the first Christian character of the 
Protestant portion of this people. 

The long, loud, and violent declamations of these early 
preachers, seemed to be well adapted to the taste of the in- 
habitants. In course of time their style became the standard 
of popular eloquence. It was adopted by lawyers at the bar, 
and by politicians in their public harangues ; and to this day, 
in some of the old settled parts of the State, no one is accounted 
an orator unless he can somewhat imitate thunder in his style 
of public speaking. From hence, also, comes the vulgar notion 
that any bellowing fellow, with a profusion of flowery bombast, 
is a " smart man," a man of talents, fit to make laws, govern 
the country, and originate its policy. The public exercises in 
religion were greatly aided by the loud and wild music made 
by the singing of untutored voices. He was considered the 
best singer, who could wake up the echoes to his voice from 
the greatest distance, in the deep woods around ; so that in pro- 



cess of time, when the New England singing masters began to 
establish singing schools, many people looked upon their scien- 
tific and chastened performances with perfect scorn. One of 
these itinerant teachers of music called his scholars together, 
they being large, loud-voiced young men and women, trained 
to sing at camp meetings. As he stood out in their midst, and 
began a tune in a low, melodious voice, sawing the air with his 
hand, to beat the time, sliding gracefully about the room, after 
the fashion of a singing master, his scholars lifted up their loud 
voices, and struck into the tune before him, overwhelming him 
with a horrible din of sound, such as he had never heard be- 
fore, drowning his feeble voice and his fine music, both together. 
The scholars were vastly pleased with their own performance, 
and held that of their teacher in utter contempt. Whereupon, 
they all concluded with one accord, that each one of them was 
already far superior to his teacher, and the school broke up. 

The pursuits of the people were agricultural. A very few 
merchants supplied them with the few necessaries which could 
not be produced or manufactured at home. The farmer raised 
his own provisions ; tea and coffee were scarcely used, except 
on some grand occasions. The farmer's sheep furnished wool 
for his winter clothing ; he raised cotton and flax for his sum- 
mer clothing. His wife and daughters spun, wove, and made 
it into garments. A little copperas and indigo, with the bark 
of trees, furnished dye stuffs for coloring. The fur of the rac- 
coon, made him a hat or a cap. The skins of deer or of his 
cattle, tanned at a neighboring tan-yard, or dressed by himself, 
made him shoes or moccasins. Boots were rarely seen, even 
in the towns. And a log cabin, made entirely of wood, with- 
out glass, nails, hinges, or locks, furnished the residence of many 
a contented and happy family. The people were quick and in- 
genious to supply by invention, and with their own hands, the 
lack of mechanics and artificers. Each farmer, as a general 
thing, built his own house, made his own ploughs and harness, 


bedsteads, chairs, stools, cupboards, and tables. The carts and 
wagons for hauling, were generally made without iron, without 
tires, or boxes, and were run without tar, and might be heard 
creaking as they lumbered along the roads, for the distance of 
a mile or more. 

As an example of the talents of this people to supply all de- 
ficiencies, and provide against accidents by a ready invention, 
the following anecdote is related of James Lemon, one of the 
old sort of baptist preachers, formerly of Monroe county, but 
now deceased. Mr. Lemon was a farmer, and made all his own 
harness. The collars for his horses were made of straw or corn 
husks, plaited and sewed together by himself. Being engaged 
in breaking a piece of stubble ground, and having turned out 
for dinner, he left his harness on the beam of his plough. His 
son, a wild youth, who was employed with a pitchfork to clear 
the plough of the accumulating stubble, staid behind, and hid 
one of the horse collars. This he did that he might rest whilst 
his father made a new collar. But the old man, returning in 
the afternoon and missing his collar, mused for a few minutes, 
and then, very much to the disappointment of his truant son, 
he deliberately pulled off his leather breeches, stuffed the legs 
of them with stubble, straddled them across the neck of his 
horse for a collar, and ploughed the remainder of the day, as 
bare-legged as he came into the world. In a more civilized 
country, where the people are better acquainted with the great 
laws which control the division of labor, a half day would have 
been lost in providing for such a mishap. 

Such a thing as regular commerce was nearly unknown. 
Until 1817, everything of foreign growth or manufacture had 
been brought from New Orleans in keel boats, towed with ropes 
or pushed with poles, by the hardy race of boatmen of that 
day, up the current of the Mississippi ; or else wagoned across 
the mountains from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and from thence 
floated down the Ohio to its mouth in keel boats ; and from 


there shoved, pushed, and towed up the Mississippi, as from 
New Orleans. Upon the conclusion of the war of 1812 the 
people from the old States began to come in, and settle in the 
country. They brought some money and property with them, 
and introduced some changes in the customs and modes of liv- 
ing. Before the war, such a thing as money was scarcely ever 
seen in the country, the skins of the deer and raccoon supplying 
the place of a circulating medium. The money which was now 
brought in, and which had before been paid by the United 
States to the militia during the war, turned the heads of all the 
people, and gave them new ideas and aspirations ; so that by 
1819 the whole country was in a rage for speculating in lands 
and town lots. The States of Ohio and Kentucky, a little be- 
fore, had each incorporated a batch of about forty independent 
banks. The Illinois territory had incorporated two at home, 
one at Edwardsville and the other at Shawneetown ; and the 
territory of Missouri added two more, at St. Louis. These 
banks made money very plenty ; emigrants brought it to the 
State in great abundance. The owners of it had to use it in 
some way ; and as it could not be used in legitimate commerce 
in a State where the material for commerce did not exist, the 
most of it was used to build houses in towns which the limited 
business of the country did not require, and to purchase land 
which the labor of the country was not sufficient to cultivate. 
This was called " developing the infant resources of a new 

The United States government was then selling land at two 
dollars per acre ; eighty dollars on the quarter section to be 
paid down on the purchase, with a credit of five years for the 
residue. For nearly every sum of eighty dollars there was in 
the country, a quarter section of land was purchased ; for in 
those days there were no specie circulars to restrain unwar- 
rantable speculations ; but, on the contrary, the notes of most 
of the numerous banks in existence, were good in the public 


land offices. The amount of land thus purchased, was increased 
by the general expectation that the rapid settlement of the 
country would enable the speculator to sell it for a high price, 
before the expiration of the credit. This great abundance of 
money also, about this time, made a vast increase in the amount 
of merchandise brought into the State. When money is plenty 
every man's credit is good. The people dealt largely with the 
stores on credit, and drew upon a certain fortune in prospect 
for payment. Every one was to get rich out of the future 
emigrant. The speculator was to sell him houses and lands ; 
and the farmer was to sell him everything he wanted to begin 
with and to live upon, until he could supply himself. Towns 
were laid out all over the country, and lots were purchased by 
every one on a credit ; the town maker received no money for 
his lots, but he received notes of hand, which he considered to be 
as good as cash; and he lived and embarked in other ventures, 
as if they had been cash in truth. In this mode, by the year 
1820, nearly the whole people were irrecoverably involved in 
debt. The banks in Ohio and Kentucky broke, one after an- 
other, leaving the people of those States covered with indebted- 
ness, and without the means of extrication. The banks at home 
and in St. Louis ceased business. The great tide of immigrants 
from abroad, which had been looked for by every one, failed to 
come. Real estate was unsaleable ; the lands purchased of the 
United States were unpaid for, and likely to be forfeited. Bank 
notes had driven out specie, and when these notes became 
worthless, there was no money of any description left in the 
country. And there was absolutely no commerce by means 
of which a currency could be restored. For in those days we 
exported nothing ; and if there had been any property fit for 
exportation, there was no market for it abroad, and if there had 
been a market, there was no capital with which to purchase it 
and take it to market. The people began to sue one another 
for their debts ; and as there was absolutely no money in the 


country, it was evident that scarcely any amount of property 
would pay the indebtedness. 

To remedy these evils, the legislature of 1821 created a 
State Bank. It was founded without money, and wholly on 
the credit of the State. Tt was authorized to issue one, two, 
three, five, ten and twenty dollar notes, in the likeness of bank 
bills, bearing two per cent, annual interest, and payable by the 
State in ten years. A principal bank was established at Van- 
dalia, and four or five branches in other places ; the legislature 
elected all the directors and officers ; a large number of whom 
were members of the legislature, and all of them professional 
politicians. The bank was directed by law to lend its bills to 
the people, to the amount of one hundred dollars, on personal 
security ; and upon the security of mortgages upon land for a 
greater sum. These bills were to be receivable in payment of 
all State and county taxes, and for all costs and fees, and sala- 
ries of public officers; and if a creditor refused to endorse on 
his execution his willingness to receive them in payment of 
debt, the debtor could replevy or stay its collection for three 
years, by giving personal security. So infatuated were this 
legislature with this absurd bank project, that the members 
firmly believed that the notes of this bank would remain at par 
with gold and silver ; and they could readily prove their be- 
lief to be well-founded; for the most difficult argument to an- 
swer is one founded partly upon fact, but mostly upon guess 
work and conjecture. As an evidence of the belief of the legis- 
lature to this effect, the journals show that a resolution was 
passed, requesting the secretary of the treasury of the United 
States, to receive these notes into the land offices in payment 
for the public lands. When this resolution was put to the vote 
in the Senate, the old French lieutenant-governor, Col. Menard, 
presiding over that body, did up the business as follows : " Gen- 
tlemen of de Senate, it is moved and seconded dat de notes of 
dis bank be made land office money. All in favor of dat mo- 


tion, say aye ; all against it, say no. It is decided in de affirm- 
ative. And now, gentlemen, / bet you one hundred dollar he 
never be made land office money.' 1 '' The county of Menard, on. 
the Sangamon river, was named in honor of him; and the 
name could not have been more worthily bestowed. 

John McLean, of Shawneetown, was then the speaker of the 
House of Representatives. He was opposed to this bank, and 
was possessed of a fertility of genius, and an overpowering 
eloquence, of which the bank party were justly afraid. For 
this reason, that party being in the majority in the House, re- 
fused to go into committee of the whole, so as to allow Mr. 
McLean to participate in the debate. Mr. McLean, indignant 
at such treatment, resigned his office of speaker, and in a speech 
remarkable for its ability and eloquence, predicted all the evil 
consequences which resulted from the bank, and put in motion 
an opposition to the prevailing policy of crippling creditors in 
the collection of their debts, which thereafter prevented the 
repetition of such measures during that generation. But the 
majority were for the bill. The governor and judges, acting 
as a council of revisidh, objected to it as being unconstitutional 
and inexpedient, but it was afterwards repassed through both 
houses, by the constitutional majorities. It was passed in the 
spirit of brute force triumphing over the power of intellect. 
The Supreme Court of the United States afterwards decided, in 
the case of Craig against the State of Missouri, that the bills 
payable at a future day of all such banks representing a State 
only, were bills of credit, and prohibited by the constitution. 

The most distinguished advocate for the creation of this bank, 
amongst the members of the House of Representatives, was 
Judge Richard M. Young, who has since been so prominent in 
Illinois ; and who is one of the very many examples in our 
history of the forgiving disposition of the people, to such of 
their public servants as have been so unfortunate as to be in 
favor of bad measures, or opposed to good ones. Mr. McLean 


was also afterwards, as long as he lived, very prominent in the 
politics of Illinois. He was several times elected to the legis- 
lature, once elected to the lower house of Congress, and twice 
to the United States Senate, and died a member of the Senate 
in 1830. He was naturally a great, magnanimous man, and 
a leader of men. The county of McLean was named in honor 
of him. 

In the summer of 1821, the new bank went into operation. 
Every man who could get an endorser borrowed his hundred 
dollars. The directors, it is believed, were all politicians ; and 
either were then, or expected to be, candidates for office. Lend- 
ing to everybody, and refusing none, was the surest road to 
popularity. Accordingly, three hundred thousand dollars of 
the new money was ' soon lent without much attention to secu- 
rity or care for eventual payment. It first fell twenty-five 
cents, then fifty, and then seventy cents below par. And as 
the bills of the Ohio and Kentucky banks had driven all other 
money out of the State, so this new issue effectually kept it out. 
Such a total absence was there of the silver coins, that it be- 
came utterly impossible, in the course of trade, to make small 
change. The people, from necessity, were compelled to cut 
the new bills into two pieces, so as to make two halves of a 
dollar. This again further aided to keep out even the smallest 
silver coins, for the people must know that good money is a 
very proud thing, and will not circulate, stay, or go where bad 
money is treated with as much respect as the good. For about 
four years there was no other kind of money but this uncur- 
rent State bank paper. In the meantime, very few persons 
pretended to pay their debts to the bank. More than half of 
those who had borrowed, considered what they had gotten from 
it as so much clear gain, and never intended to pay it from 
the first. 

By the year 1824, it became impossible to carry on the State 
government with such money as the bills of this bank. The 


State revenue varied from twenty-five to thirty thousand dol- 
lars per annum, which was raised almost exclusively by a tax 
on lands, then owned by non-residents, in the military tract 
lying north-west of the Illinois river. The resident land tax in 
other parts of the State, was paid into the county treasuries. 
The annual expenditures of the State government were about 
equal to the annual revenues ; and as the taxes were collected 
in the bills of the State bank, the legislature, to carry on the 
government, were compelled to provide for their own pay, and 
that of all the public officers, and the expenses of the govern- 
ment, by taking and giving enough of the depreciated bills to 
equal in value the sums required to be paid. So that each 
member, instead of receiving three dollars per day, received 
nine dollars per day. The salaries of the governor and judges, 
and all other expenses, were paid in the same way. So that 
if $30,000 were required to pay the expenses of government 
for a year, under this system it took $90,000 to do it. And 
thus, by the financial aid of an insolvent bank, the legislature 
managed to treble the public expenses, without increasing the 
revenues or amount of service to the State. In fact, this State 
lost two-thirds of its revenue, and expended three times the 
amount necessary to carry on the government. In the course 
of ten years, it must have lost more than $150,000 by receiving 
a depreciated currency, $150,000 more by paying it out, and 
$100,000 of the loans, which were never repaid by the borrow- 
ers, and which the State had to make good, by receiving the 
bills of the bank for taxes, by funding some at six per cent, in- 
terest, and paying a part in cash in the year 1831. 

The year 1820 was signalized by the first and last duel 
which was ever fought in Illinois. This took place in Belleville, 
St. Clair county, between Alphonso Stewart and William Ben- 
nett, two obscure men. The seconds had made it up to be a 
sham duel, to throw ridicule upon Bennett, the challenging par- 
ty. Stewart was in the secret ; but Bennett, his adversary, 


was left to believe it a reality. They were to fight with rifles ; 
the guns were loaded with blank cartridges ; and Bennett some- 
what suspecting a trick, rolled a ball into his gun, without the 
knowledge of the seconds, or of the other party. The word to 
fire was given, and Stewart fell mortally wounded. Bennett 
made his escape, but two years afterwards he was captured in 
Arkansas, brought back to the State, indicted, tried and convict- 
ed of murder. A great effort was made to procure him a par- 
don ; but Governor Bond would yield to no entreaties in his 
favor ; and Bennett suffered the extreme penalty of the law, by 
hanging, in the presence of a great multitude of people. This 
was the first and last duel ever fought in the State by any of its 
citizens. The hanging of Bennett made duelling discreditable 
and unpopular, and laid the foundation for that abhorrence of 
the practice which has ever since been felt and expressed by 
the people of Illinois. The present Judge Lockwood was then 
the Attorney General of the State, and prosecuted in this case. 
To his talents and success as a prosecutor, the people are in- 
debted for this early precedent and example, which did more 
than is generally known, to prevent the barbarous practice of 
duelling from being introduced into this State. 



Governor Coles, Judges Philips and Brown, and General Moore The question of Slave- 
ry The Missouri question Immigrants from the Slave States to Missouri Growing 
desire for the introduction of Slavery The Slavery party Effort for a Convention 
to amend the Constitution Hanson and Shaw Resolution for a Convention passed 
The riotous conduct of the Slave party The free State party rally ; contest be- 
tween them in the election of 1824 Principal men of each party The Convention 
defeated Character of early political contests No measures ; and no parties of 
Whig or Democrat, Federalist or Republican Effect of regular political parties 
Reorganization of the Judiciary Circuit Courts established First case of proscrip- 
tionCauses the repeal of the Circuit Courts Road law and School law providing 
for a tax, operated well but were repealed Hatred of taxation School law of 
1840; of 1845; William Thomas, H. M. Wood, John S. Wright, and Thompson 
Campbell Present state of Schools Revision of the laws by Judges Lockwood and 
Smith Governor Edwards, Mr. Sloe, Lieutenant Governor Hubbard His speech, 
as a candidate for Governor His speech about Wolf scalps. The old State Bank 
again Effort to investigate its management Resisted by the Bank officers Gov- 
ernor Edwards' messages A packed committee report against the Governor Power 
of a broken Bank Combinations to commit crime or resist law Daniel P. Cook 
Governor Duncan Change of political parties General Jackson's defeat, and sub- 
sequent election Influence of this upon parties Governor Duncan's change Win- 
nebago War Galena " Suckers" " Pukes" The chief, Red Bird Governor Ed- 
wards' claim to the public lands Sale of School lands Borrowing of the School 

IN the year 1822, another Governor was elected, and this re- 
sulted in again agitating the question of the introduction of 
slavery. There were four candidates for the office, Joseph 
Philips, the chief Justice ; Thomas C. Brown, one of the judges 
of the Supreme Court ; Major-General James B. Moore, and 
Edward Coles, who was at that time Register of the Land office 
at Edwardsville. Mr. Gales was a Virginian, had been private 
secretary to Mr. Madison, had travelled in Europe, was well 
informed, well bred, and valuable in conversation ; had emanci- 
pated his slaves in Virginia, was appointed to a land office in 


Illinois, through the influence of Mr. Crawford, the Secretary of 
the Treasury, had brought his slaves -with him to Illinois, and 
settled them on farms, and was a thorough opponent of slavery. 
At that early day, Mr. Crawford and John C. Calhoun, of South 
Carolina, and others, were looking forward as candidates for the 
Presidency. Ninians Edwards, one of our Senators, favored 
Mr. Calhoun ; and Jesse B. Thomas, our other Senator, was in 
favor of Mr. Crawford. To counteract the influence of Edwards, 
Mr. Coles was sent out to Illinois. Philips and Brown were 
from the slave States, and were in favor of slavery. General 
Moore run also, as an opponent to slavery. Mr. Coles was 
elected by a mere plurality vote over Philips, his highest com- 
petitor ; and, of course, was so unfortunate as to have a majority 
of the legislature against him during his whole term of service. 
This election took place not long after the settlement of the 
great Missouri question ; a question which convulsed the whole 
nation, and came near dissolving the Union. The Illinois Sen- 
ators in Congress had voted for the admission of Missouri into 
the Union as a slave State, without restriction, whilst Mr. Cook, 
then our only representative in the lower House, voted against 
it. This all helped to keep alive some questions for or against 
the introduction of slavery. About this time, also, a tide of im- 
migrants was pouring into Missouri through Illinois, from Vir- 
ginia and Kentucky. In the fall of the year, every great road 
was crowded and full of them, all bound to Missouri, with their 
money, and long trains of teams and negroes. These were the 
most wealthy and best-educated immigrants from the slave States. 
Many of our people who had land and farms to sell, looked 
upon the good fortune of Missouri with envy ; whilst the lordly 
immigrant, as he passed along with his money and droves of ne- 
groes, took a malicious .pleasure in increasing it, by pretending 
to regret the short-sighted policy of Illinois, which excluded him 
from settlement amongst us ; and from purchasing the lands of 
our people. In this mode, a desire to make Illinois a slave 


State, became quite prevalent. Many persons had voted for 
Brown or Philips with this view ; whilst the friends of a free 
State had rallied almost in a body for Coles. 

Notwithstanding the defeat of the party at this election, they 
were not annihilated. They had only been beaten for Governor 
by a division in their own ranks ; whilst they had elected a 
large majority in each house of the Assembly, and were now 
determined to make a vigorous effort to carry their measure, 
at the session of the legislature to be held in 1822-3. Gov- 
ernor Coles, in his first message, recommended the emancipa- 
tion of the French slaves. This served as the spark to kindle 
into activity all the elements in favor of slavery. 

Slavery could not be introduced, nor was it believed that the 
French slaves could be emancipated, without an amendment of 
the constitution ; the constitution could not be amended with- 
out a new convention ; to obtain which, two-thirds of each 
branch of the legislature had to concur in recommending it to 
the people ; and the voters, at the next election, had to sanction 
it by a majority of all the votes given for members of the leg- 
islature. When the legislature assembled, it was found that 
the Senate contained the requisite two-thirds majority ; but in 
the House of Representatives, by deciding a contested election 
in favor of one of the candidates, the slave party would have 
one more than two-thirds ; but by deciding in favor of the other, 
they would lack one vote of having that majority. These two 
candidates were John Shaw and Nicholas Hanson, who claimed 
to represent the county of Pike, which then included all the 
military tracts, and all the country north of the Dlinois river 
to the northern limits of the State. 

The leaders of the slave party were anxious to re-elect Jesse 
B. Thomas to the United States Senate. Hanson would vote 
for him, but Shaw would not ; Shaw would vote for the Con- 
vention, but Hanson would not. The party had use for both 
of them, and they determined to use them both, one after the 


other. For this purpose, they first decided in favor of Han- 
son, admitted him to a seat, and with his vote elected their 
United States Senator ; and then, towards the close of the ses- 
sion, with mere brute force, and in the most barefaced manner, 
they reconsidered their former vote, turned Hanson out of his 
seat, and decided in favor of Shaw, and with his vote carried 
their resolution for a convention. 

The night after this resolution passed, the convention party 
assembled to triumph in a great carousal. They formed them- 
selves into a noisy, disorderly, and tumultuous procession, 
headed by Judge Philips, Judge Smith, Judge Thomas Eey- 
nolds, late governor of Missouri, and Lieutenant Governor Kin- 
ney, followed by the majority of the legislature, and the hang- 
ers-on and rabble about the seat of government ; and they 
marched, with the blowing of tin horns and the beating of 
drums and tin pans, to the residence of Governor Coles, and to 
the boarding houses of their principal opponents, towards whom 
they manifested their contempt and displeasure by a confused 
medley of groans, wailings, and lamentations. Their object 
was to intimidate, and crush all opposition at once. 

But they were mistaken : the anti-convention party took new 
courage, and rallied to a man. They established newspapers to 
oppose the convention ; one at Shawneetown, edited by Henry 
Eddy ; one at Edwardsville, edited by Hooper Warren, with 
Gov. Coles, Thomas Lippincott, George Churchill, and Judge 
Lockwood, for its principal contributors ; and finally, one at 
Vandalia, edited by David Blackwell, the secretary of State. 
The slave party had established a newspaper at Kaskaskia, un- 
der the direction of Mr. Kane and Chief Justice Reynolds ; and 
one at Edwardsville, edited by Judge Smith ; and both parties 
prepared to appeal to the interests, the passions, and the intel- 
ligence of the people. The contest was mixed up with much 
personal abuse ; and now was poured forth a perfect lava of 
detraction, which, if it were not for the knowledge of the peo- 


pie that such matters are generally false or greatly exaggerated, 
would have overwhelmed and consumed all men's reputations. 
Morris Birkbeck, an Englishman, who settled an English colony 
in Edwards' county, Gov. Coles, David Blackwell, George 
Churchill, and Thomas Lippincott, wrote fiery hand-bills and 
pamphlets, and the old preachers preached against a convention 
and slavery. Elias K. Kane, Judge Thomas Eeynolds, Judge 
Samuel M'Roberts, Judge Smith, and others, wrote hand-bills 
and pamphlets in its favor. These missive weapons of a fiery 
contest were eagerly read by the people. The State was al- 
most covered with them ; they flew everywhere, and everywhere 
they scorched and scathed as they flew. This was a long, ex- 
cited, angry, bitter, and indignant contest. It was to last from 
the spring of 1823 until the August election of 1824 ; the rank 
and file of the people were no less excited than their political 
leaders. Almost every stump in every county had its bellow- 
ing, indignant orator, on one side or the other ; and the whole 
people, for the space of eighteen months, did scarcely anything 
but read newspapers, hand-bills, and pamphlets, quarrel, argue, 
and wrangle with each other whenever they met, and meet to- 
gether to hear the violent harangues of their orators. 

The principal partisans in favor of a convention, were Judges 
Philips, Brown, and John Reynolds, Jesse B. Thomas and Gov. ' 
Edwards, our senators in Congress, Lieut. Gov. Kinney, Judge 
Smith, Chief Justice Thomas Reynolds, John M'Lean, Elias 
K. Kane, Judge M'Roberts, and Gov. Bond. And the princi- 
pal men opposed to a convention and slavery, were Morris 
Birkbeck, Gov. Coles, Daniel P. Cook, our member of Congress, 
David Blackwell, George Churchill, Samuel D. Lockwood, 
Thomas Lippincott, Hooper Warren, George Forquer, Thomas 
Mather, and Henry Eddy. The odds in the array of great 
names seemed to be in favor of the convention party. The 
question of slavery was thoroughly discussed. The people took 
an undivided and absorbing interest in it ;- they were made to 


understand it completely ;. and as this was long before the 
abolition excitement of modern times, the introduction of slavery 
was resisted, not so much upon the ground of opposition to 
it in general, as simply upon the grounds of policy and expe- 
diency. The people decided, by about two thousand majority, 
in favor of a free State. Thus, after one of the most bitter, 
prolonged, and memorable contests which ever convulsed the 
politics of this State, the question of making Illinois a slave 
State was put to rest, as it is hoped, forever. 

Nothing of any interest occurred after this struggle until 
the session of the legislature in 1824-'5. The people had been 
so long under the influence of an intense excitement, that they 
required rest. And as a general thing, they had not then be- 
come inured to a political warfare, which has latterly become 
interminable. The contests in those days were of short dura- 
tion, and were scarcely ever repeated on the same grounds or 
questions. There were no parties of Whig and Democrat, 
Federalist and Eepublican. The contests were mostly personal, 
and for men. As for principles and measures, with the excep- 
tion of the convention question, there were none to contend 
for. Every election turned upon the fitness and unfitness, the 
good and bad qualities of the candidates. The only mode of 
electioneering for a friend then known, was to praise one set 
of men, and blacken the characters of the other. The candi- 
dates were not announced until within a few weeks of the elec- 
tion; the contest was soon over, and then peace and quiet 
reigned until the next election, two years afterwards. 

There are those who are apt to believe that this mode of 
conducting elections is likely to result in the choice of the best 
materials for administering government. But experience did 
not prove the fact to be so. The idea of electing men for 
their merit has an attractive charm in it to generous minds ; 
but in our history it has been as full of delusion as it has 
been attractive. Nor has the organization of regular parties, 


and the introduction of the new principle in elections of 
" measures not men," fully answered the expectation of its 
friends. But if the introduction of such parties, supposed to 
be founded on a difference in principles, has done no other good, 
it has greatly softened and abated the personal rancor and as- 
perity of political contests, though it has made such contests 
increasing and eternal. It is to be regretted, however, if there 
be evils attending the contests of party, that society cannot re- 
ceive the full benefit from them by the total extinction of all 
mere personal considerations, personal quarrels, and personal 
crimination, not necessary to exhibit the genius and tendency 
of a party as to measures, and which are merely incidental to 
contests for office. The present doctrine of parties is measures, 
not men, which if truly carried out would lead to a discussion 
of measures only. But parties are not yet sufficiently organ- 
ized for this ; and, accordingly, we find at every election much 
personal bitterness and invective mingled with the supposed 
contests for principle. The political world is still full of those 
men who believe, and perhaps believe correctly, that the at- 
tachment to principle is not yet so general and perfect as to de- 
stroy all chance of overthrowing the principles of a candidate 
by overwhelming his reputation with falsehood. Perhaps the 
time may come when all these personal contests will be con- 
fined to the bosom of one party, in selecting the best candidates 
to carry out its principles. 

At the session of 1824-'5, the legislature, under the provis- 
ions of the Constitution, re-organized the judiciary, by creating 
five circuit court judges, who were to hold all the circuit courts 
in the State ; and the supreme court, composed of four judges, 
was to be held twice a year at the seat of government. Wil- 
liam Wilson was elected chief justice ; Thomas C. Brown, Sam- 
uel D. Lockwood, and Theophilus W. Smith were elected asso- 
ciate judges of the supreme court ; John York Sawyer, Samuel 
M'Roberts, Richard M. Young, James Hall, and James O. 


Wattles, were elected judges of the circuits ; and James Tur- 
ney to be attorney general. Of these ten great officers, it is 
believed that Wilson, Brown, Smith, Sawyer, M'Roberts, 
Young, Hall, and Turney, had belonged to the convention 
party ; but such was the nature of party, at that day, that they 
had not lost their popularity even with the party opposed to 
them. The anti-convention party had a large majority in this 
legislature ; but upon the principle of men, not measures, they 
put their opponents into office. 

Proscription for opinion's sake was then but little known. 
The first instance of it was shortly afterwards put in practice by 
one of the circuit judges. Judge M'Roberts removed Joseph 
Conway, an opponent, and appointed Emanuel J. West, a friend 
of his own, to be clerk of the circuit court of Madison county. 
Mr. Conway was well known, and popular in several of the 
adjacent counties. The people of his own county elected him 
to the Senate without opposition, and kept him there, by re- 
election, for eight years. A great outcry was raised against 
the extravagance of the judiciary system, the prodigal waste of 
the public money to pension unnecessary life officers upon the 
people ; and a talented young lawyer, of stirring eloquence in 
the southern part of the State, a man possessing many qualities 
which admirably fitted him for a demagogue of the highest 
order, mounted the hobby, and rode it in a storm of passion 
through several counties in the south. The legislature of 1826-'7 
repealed the circuit system, turned the circuit judges out of 
office, and required the judges of the 'supreme court to hold 
the circuit courts. The chief reasons for the repeal of the 
system, were its cost and the proscription of a popular clerk. 
It was thought to be the height of extravagance to maintain 
nine judges, though the salaries of all of them together amounted 
only to six thousand two hundred dollars. The salary of a 
judge of the supreme court was eight hundred dollars, and that 
of a circuit judge was six hundred dollars. Such were then the 



popular notions of economy and extravagance in public expen- 

The effort to repeal the circuit judges out of office was aided 
by a decision of Judge M'Eoberts on the circuit. It has been 
said before that Gov. Coles had emancipated his negroes. The 
law required him to give a bond for their good behavior, and 
that they should not become a county charge. This he omitted 
to do, and thereby subjected himself to a penalty of two hun- 
dred dollars for each negro, to be sued for by the county in 
which they were set free. The county commissioners of Madi- 
son county, during the convention contest, were instigated to 
bring a suit against him* for this penalty, and obtained the ver- 
dict of a jury in the suit for two thousand dollars ; but before 
any judgment was rendered, the legislature, by law, released 
him from the penalty. At the next term of the court, Gov. 
Coles, in pursuance of the act of the legislature for his relief, 
plead it in bar of a judgment on the verdict. But Judge 
M'Roberts, being under the erroneous belief that the legal doc- 
trine of vested rights was applicable to municipal corporations 
created solely for purposes of government, decided that the law 
was unconstitutional and void. The decision made a great noise 
at the time, as it naturally would directly after a fierce contest 
about slavery. It was taken to the supreme court and reversed, 
as a matter of course. 

At the session of 1825, also, William S. Hamilton introduced 
a new road law, which passed the legislature. Hitherto the 
law had required every able-bodied man to work on the roads 
five days in the year. The new law levied a tax in proportion 
to property, to be applied in money or labor to the construc- 
tion and repair of roads. Gov. Duncan, then a member of the 
Senate, introduced a bill which became a law, for the support 
of schools by a public tax. Both of these laws worked ad- 
mirably well. The roads were nevci', before nor since, in such 
good repair, and schools flourished in almost every neighbor- 


hood. But it appears that these valuable laws were in advance 
of the civilization of the times. They were the subject of much 
clamorous opposition. The very idea of a tax, though to be 
paid in labor as before, was so hateful, that even the poorest 
men preferred to work five days in the year on the roads 
rather than to pay a tax of twenty-five cents, or even no tax 
at all. For the 'same reason, they preferred to pay all that was 
necessary for the tuition of their children, or to keep them in 
ignorance, rather than submit to the mere name of a tax by 
which their wealthier neighbors bore the brunt of the expense 
of their education. Both of these laws were repealed and the 
old systems restored, by the legislature of 1826-'7. Since 
then, the legislature has been constantly engaged in making and 
amending laws for roads and schools, but there has been no 
good system of either. Each subsequent attempt has been only 
a vain effort to accomplish its purpose by inadequate means. 
To come forward a little, in 1840 Judge William Thomas, of 
Jacksonville, prepared a school bill which became a law, but 
for want of the taxing power, which the legislature refused to 
grant, it had but little effect. In the summer of 1844, John 
S. Wright, of Chicago, H. M. Weed, of Lewiston, Thomas M. 
Kilpatrick, of Winchester, and others, got up a common school 
convention at Peoria, which prepared a very enlightened memo- 
rial to the legislature in favor of common schools ; and as a 
means of furthering the common object, the governor, at the 
session of 1844, recommended the appointment of a superin- 
tendent of common schools, to stir up the people and to col- 
lect information for the use of the legislature. The whole re- 
sulted in a new school law, making the secretary of State ex 
officio the superintendent of common schools, and authorizing 
a school tax to be levied in each district. Mr. Thompson 
Campbell, the secretary of State, made an able report to the 
legislature of 1846-'7, from which it appears that information 
had been collected from fifty-seven counties only, out of the 


ninety-nine in the State, and that, with the exception of Chicago 
and some other places, the common schools were nowhere in a 
very flourishing condition. The school commissioners and other 
agents of schools in the counties, receiving no compensation 
for their services, were generally negligent of their duties, or 
not qualified to perform them. Almost everywhere the people 
had refused to tax themselves under the law ; and in almost 
all the south part of the State there were complaints that the 
legal standard of qualifications for teachers was too high, the 
law requiring a knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic, 
English grammar, geography, and history ; and the people, 
being scarce of materials for such learned teachers, were de- 
sirous of getting back to the old standard of reading, writing, 
and ciphering, to the rule of three, or at farthest through the 

And now to go back again ; at the session of 1824-'5, the 
judges of the supreme court were appointed to prepare a re- 
vision of the laws, and present it at the next session. At the 
session of 1826-'7, Judges Lock wood and Smith presented the 
result of their labor, which was adopted, and the laws then 
presented by them, have been standard laws in every revision 
since. It is believed that they were the authors of the laws in 
the revised code, under the titles Abatement, Account, Amend- 
ments and Jeofails, Apprentices, Attachments, Attorneys, Bail, 
Bills of Exchange, Chancery, Conveyances, Courts, Criminal 
Code, Depositions, Detinue, Dower, Evidence, Forcible Entry 
and Detainer, Fugitives from Justice, Habeas Corpus, Jails 
and Jailors, Limitations, Mandamus, Minors and Orphans, Ne 
Exeat and Injunctions, Oaths and Affirmations, Practice, Prom- 
issory Notes, Replevin, Right of Property, and Sheriffs and 
Coroners. Judge M'Roberts prepared the act concerning 
frauds and perjuries; Judge Sawyer, the act concerning in- 
solvent debtors; Judge Young, the act concerning wills and 
testaments ; and Henry Starr, Esq., now of Cincinnati, pre- 



pared the act concerning judgments and executions. It is most 
probable that all these laws were more perfect when they came 
from the hands of their authors, than after they were amended, 
somewhat out of shape and system, by the legislature. 

A new election for governor took place in 1826, for which 
office there were three candidates Thomas C. Sloe, now of 
New Orleans, was one of them. He was a well-informed mer- 
chant, and a man of good character and strong sense, and 
withal was a well-bred, courteous gentleman. Ninian Ed- 
wards, and the then lieutenant-governor, Adolphus Frederick 
Hubbard, were the other two candidates. As a part of a pic- 
ture of the times, and as illustrative of what a candidate for 
governor thought of himself and the people, I preserve a few 
words of one of Mr. Hubbard's public addresses during the 
canvass. In his speeches he said : " Fellow-citizens, I offer my- 
self as a candidate before you, for the office of governor. I do 
not pretend to be a man of extraordinary talents ; nor do I 
claim to be equal to Julius Caesar or Napoleon Bonaparte, nor 
yet to be as great a man as my opponent, Governor Edwards. 
Nevertheless, I think I can govern you pretty well. I do not 
think that it will require a very extraordinary smart man to 
govern you ; for to tell you the truth, fellow-citizens, I do not 
think you will be very hard to govern, no how." Mr. Hub- 
bard could not have made this last assertion with much show 
of truth, for several years part. 

This gentleman had made himself famous for a number of 
odd sayings, and by a speech in the legislature on a bill to pay 
a bounty on wolf-scalps. Tradition has preserved this speech 
as follows : " Mr. Speaker, I rise before the question is put on 
this bill, to say a word for my constituents. Mr. Speaker, I 
have never seen a wolf. I cannot say that I am very well ac- 
quainted with the nature and habits of wolves. Mr. Speaker, 
I have said that I had never seen a wolf. But now I remem- 
ber that once on a time, as Judge Brown and I were riding 


across the Bonpas prairie, we looked over the prairie about 
three miles, and Judge Brown said, Hubbard ! look ! there 
goes a wolf ! And I looked, and I looked, and I looked, and I 
said, Judge, where ? And he said there ; and I looked again, 
and this time, in the edge of a hazle thicket, about three miles 
across the prairie, I think I saw the wolf's tail. Mr. Speaker, 
if I did not see a wolf this time, I think I never saw one. But 
I have heard much and read more about this animal. I have 
studied his natural history. By-the-bye, history is divided 
into two parts ; there is, first, the history of the fabulous, and 
secondly, of the non-fabulous, or unknown ages. Mr. Speaker, 
from all these sources of information, I learn that the wolf is a 
very noxious animal ; that he goes prowling about, seeking 
something to devour ; that he rises up in the dead and secret 
hours of the night, when all nature reposes in silent oblivion, 
and then commits the most terrible devastations upon the rising 
generation of hogs and sheep. Mr. Speaker, I have done, and 
return my thanks to the house for their kind attention to my 
remarks." These speeches are truly characteristic of the man ; 
and they are given as being illustrative of the state of civiliza- 
tion which existed, when such a man could be elected to the 
office of lieutenant-governor, and gain such popularity in his 
office as to be encouraged to become a candidate for governor. 
Ninian Edwards, the other candidate at this election, was 
born in Maryland and brought up in Kentucky. He was bred 
to the legal profession, and became attorney-general of Ken- 
tucky at an early age. At the age of twenty-eight, he was ap- 
pointed chief justice of the High Court of Appeals. He held 
this office when the late Chief Justice Boyle, of Kentucky, was 
appointed the first governor of the Illinois territory in 1809. 
Mr. Edwards preferred to be governor of the territory, and 
Mr. Boyle preferred to be chief justice ; so in the end they ex- 
changed offices. Edwards was sent out to Illinois by the pres- 
ident as first governor of the territory, and Boyle was made 


chief justice by the Governor of Kentucky. Edwards was a 
large, well-made man, with a noble, princely appearance, which 
was a circumstance greatly in his favor, as governor over a rude 
people, of whom it may be said, that the animal greatly predom- 
inated over the intellectual man. In fact, it may well be ques- 
tioned whether mankind ever will become so intellectual and 


spiritual, that mere size, vigor of muscle, and consequent ani- 
mal spirits, will cease to have more influence with the multi- 
tude than mere intellect, unaided by these fleshly advantages. 
Gov. Edwards had been governor of the Illinois territory for 
nine years, and was then elected to the United States Senate. 
In this office he showed an extensive knowledge of public affairs, 
and became distinguished as a man of fine talents throughout 
the Union. Whilst in the Senate, he was appointed by Mr. 
Monroe to be minister to Mexico, and shortly after this ap- 
pointment, whilst on his way home to Illinois, to prepare for 
his mission, he wrote out and sent back to the House of Rep- 
resentatives in Congress, various charges against William H. 
Crawford, secretary of the treasury, accusing him of a corrupt 
administration of the treasury department, in aid of his election 
to the presidency. A committee of investigation was appointed, 
a messenger of the House was sent after Mr. Edwards, with 
whom he was required to return to Washington. Mr. Edwards 
failed to make good his charges to the satisfaction of the com- 
mittee, and as this happened just before the presidential election 
of 1824, when the whole country was convulsed with excitement, 
it resulted in prostrating his character abroad, and very much 
affected his standing at home. Public opinion was so much 
against him in the nation, that he resigned his mission to Mex- 
ico. Gov. Edwards has often informed me himself, that he 
made the charges against Mr. Crawford under a promise of 
support from President Monroe, Gen. Jackson, John C. Cal- 
noun, and John Quincy Adams. I merely give his words, 
without pretending to know whether he spoke the truth or not. 


But one thing makes his statement the more probable. Mr. 
Crawford had been nominated for the presidency by a caucus 
of fifty or sixty of the republican members of Congress. Before 
that time, this had been the usage of the republican party. But 
Gen. Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Henry Clay, were in- 
dependent candidates, John C. Calhoun had been one and de- 
clined ; and many people believing caucus nominations by 
members of Congress to be utterly corrupt and corrupting, a 
powerful party was formed to break up the usage. Upon this 
principle all the other candidates and their friends were rallied 
against Mr. Crawford. 

This defeat very much injured the influence of Gov. Edwards, 
and now, when, as a candidate for Governor he attacked the finan- 
cial system which had hitherto prevailed ; and committed him- 
self to press an investigation into the corruptions of the old 
State bank, he was not listened to, or confided in to the extent 
required by a reformer, in the work of reforming public abuses. 
He was opposed by all the old members of the legislature, 
who had supported the many unwise measures of finance, and 
by the whole bank influence, from the Presidents down to the 
lowest agents, who had in anywise cause to fear an investiga- 
tion. But his great talents and fine personal appearance en- 
abled him to triumph over his adversaries. He was elected by 
a mere plurality vote over Mr. Sloe, his principal opponent. 
It is worthy of remark here, that he never condescended to the 
common low arts of electioneering. Whenever he went out 
among the people, he arrayed himself in the style of a gentle- 
man of the olden times, dressed in fine broadcloth, with short 
breeches, long stockings, and high, fair-topped boots ; was drawn 
in a fine carriage, driven by a negro ; and for success he relied 
upon his speeches, which were delivered with great pomp, and 
in a style of diffuse and florid eloquence. 

When he was inaugurated in 1826, he appeared before the 
General Assembly wearing a gold-laced cloak, and with great 


pomp he pronounced his first message to the two houses of 
the legislature. In this address he merely repeated the grounds 
which he had taken as a candidate. But in several messages 
afterwards, he pointed out to the House of Representatives 
specific acts of mismanagement and corruption on the part of 
the officers of the old bank. A committee of investigation was 
appointed. The bank directors and officers, new and old, were 
sent for from every quarter. The charges of corruption were 
directed more particularly against Judge Smith, who, as cashier, 
had administered the Edwardsville branch. Smith was a saga- 
cious, active and blustering politician, and managed to make all 
persons who had been connected with the bank, believe that 
they were all involved in a common danger. A powerful com- 
bination of influential men was thus formed to thwart the in- 
vestigation, and ensure their common safety from impeachment. 
And now commenced such a running to and fro, about the seat 
of government by day and night, as can only be equaled by 
a swarm of bees when rudely attacked in their hive. The Gov- 
ernor was openly and boldly charged with base motives ; and 
that kind of stigma was attempted to be cast on him, which is 
apt to fix itself upon a common informer. His charges against 
Mr. Crawford were remembered ; and he was now charged with 
being influenced by hostility towards Judge Smith, who had 
been a friend to Mr. Crawford's election. Judge Smith, with 
others involved in the charges, as a sure mode of defence raised 
a cry of persecution, and alleged that the whole weight of the 
executive power and influence, directed by the spirit of revenge, 
had been pointed to overwhelm them. Without pronouncing 
here upon either the guilt or innocence of the accused, it may 
be remarked that it is no uncommon thing for rogues, when 
about to be held accountable for crime, to seek sympathy and 
aid by raising a cry of persecution. And as strength is sup- 
posed to be on the side of men in high office, and weakness on 
the side of private persons, it is sure to happen that in contests 


between them the public sympathy inclines in favor of the 
weakest party ; so that the strength of the one, is apt to make 
him weak, and the weakness of the other, makes him strong. 
And now, at this day, if a politician can get up a cry of perse- 
cution to operate in his favor, it is a tower of strength ; although 
in truth he be only suffering an exposure of his folly or villany. 

The evidence before the committee undoubtedly showed great 
mismanagement of the bank. But a committee of investigation 
had been packed for the purpose, and such was the influence of 
a combination of the officers of even an insolvent bank, that a 
report was made without hesitation against the Governor's 
charges. Such was the influence of a bank conducted by public 
officers, being the first, but not the last time in the history of 
Illinois, in which it was proved that any considerable number 
of men of influence, acting in combination, to whom the monied 
affairs of the State are entrusted, are above all accountability ; for 
which reason it has not as yet been safe for the State to have 
any great complicated interests to be managed by public offi- 
cers ; nor was it the last time, when it has been proved that any 
considerable combination of men are irresistible, and not to be 
made accountable when associated to commit crime, or to pro- 
cure impunity from punishment. See future chapters upon the 
history of banking in this State, fund commissioners, internal 
improvements, mobs and Mormons, for this proof. 

It was during Gov. Edwards' administration in the summer 
of 1827, that the first Indian disturbances occurred, since the 
war of 1812. This was called the Winnebago war. The Win- 
nebagoes, Sacs and Foxes, Sioux, Menominies, and other north- 
ern nations towards the head waters of the Mississippi, had been 
at war with each other* most of the time for more than a centu- 
ry ; and the United States had undertaken to act as mediators 
between them, and restore peace. In fact, it has been the policy 
of the United States government latterly, to compel the Indian 
tribes to live in peace with one another ; for experience has 


shown that war cannot exist amongst the Indians without its 
being inconvenient and dangerous to white people. But despite 
all the remonstrances of the United States government, hostili- 
ties were continued, and murders frequently committed. In 
the summer of this year, a party of twenty-four Chippeways 
were surprised by a war party of the Winnebagoes, and eight 
of them were killed or wounded. The United States command- 
er at Saint Peter's, caused four of the offending Winnebagoes to 
be arrested and delivered to the Chippeways, by whom they 
were shot for the murder. The white people had also a little before 
begun to overrun the Winnebago lands in the lead mines above 
Galena ; many of the miners having pushed their searches for 
mineral as far as the Wisconsin river. This was a further 
source of irritation to the Winnebagoes. Red Bird, a Winne- 
bago chief, was determined to revenge the shooting of the four 
Winnebagoes, and for this purpose he lead a war party against 
the Chippeways, by whom he was defeated ; and now returning 
disgraced and disappointed of his vengeance, he resolved to re- 
pair his disaster by an attack on the white people who had 
abetted his enemies, and, as he "believed, invaded his country. 
On the 27th of June, two white men were killed and another 
wounded, near Prairie Du Chien ; and on the 30th of July, two 
keel-boats carrying supplies to Fort Snelling, situate at the 
mouth of the St. Peter's, were attacked by the Indians, and two 
of the crew were killed and four wounded. 

The intelligence of these murders alarmed the frontier settle- 
ments at Galena, and in the mining country around it. Galena, 
as a town, had been settled about eighteen months before. Col. 
James Johnson of Kentucky, had gone there with a party of 
miners in 1824, and had opened a lead mine about one mile 
above the present town. His great success drew others there 
in 1825 ; and in 1826 and 1827, hundreds and thousands of 
persons from Illinois and Missouri, went to the Galena country 
to work the lead mines. It was estimated that the number of 


miners in the mining country in 1827, was six or seven thou- 
sand. The Illinoisans run up the Mississippi river in steam- 
boats in the spring season, worked the lead mines during warm 
weather, and then run down the river again to their homes, in 
the fall season ; thus establishing, as was supposed, a similitude 
between their migratory habits and those of the fishy tribe 
called " Suckers." For which reason the Illinoisans were called 
" Suckers," a name which has stuck to them ever since. There 
is another account of the origin of the nick-name " Suckers," as ap- 
plied to the people of Illinois. It is said that the south part of 
the State was originally settled by the poorer class of people 
from the slave States, where the tobacco plant was extensively 
cultivated. They were such as were not able to own slaves in a 
slave State, and came to Illinois to get away from the imperious 
domination of their wealthy neighbors. The tobacco plant has 
many sprouts from the roots and main stem, which if not strip- 
ped off, suck up its nutriment and destroy the staple. These 
sprouts are called " suckers," and are as carefully stripped off 
from the plant and thrown away, as is the tobacco worm itself. 
These poor emigrants from the* slave States were jeeringly and 
derisively -called " suckers," because they were asserted to be a 
burthen upon the people of wealth ; and when they removed to 
Illinois, they were supposed to have stripped themselves off 
from the parent stem, and gone away to perish like the " sucker" 
of the tobacco plant. This name was given to the Illinoisans at 
the Galena mines, by the Missourians. Analogies always abound 
with those who desire to be sarcastic ; so the Illinoisans, by way 
of retaliation, called the Missourians " Pukes." It had been 
observed that the lower lead mines in Missouri had sent up to 
the Galena country whole hoards of uncouth ruffians, from 
which it was inferred that Missouri had taken a " Puke," and 
had vomited forth to the upper lead mines, all her worst popu- 
lation. From thenceforth the Missourians were regularly called 
" Pukes ;" and by these names of " Suckers " and " Pukes," the 


Illinoisans and Missourians are likely to be called, amongst the 
vulgar, forever. 

The miners in all the surrounding country, upon the alarm 
of Indian hostilities, collected into Galena. By order of Gov. 
Edwards, Gen. Tom M. Neale marched there with a regiment 
of volunteers from Sangamore county ; a considerable mounted 
force was raised amongst the miners, which elected Gen. Dodge 
to be their commander. The inhabitants fortified the town of 
Galena, and Gen. Atkinson, of the U. S. army, with a body of 
regulars and volunteers, marched into the Winnebago country, 
on the Wisconsin river, in pursuit of the offending Indians. 
The chief, called " Red Bird," with six other Indians of the 
tribe, voluntarily surrendered themselves prisoners, to save 
their nation from the miseries of war. They were kept in jail 
a long time at Prairie Du Chien, awaiting their trials for mur- 
der. Some of them were acquitted, and some were convicted 
and executed. It was the fate of " Red Bird," who is described 
as having been a noble-looking specimen of the savage chieftain, 
to pine away and die in prison, not from the fear of death, but 
by a gradual wasting away, the victim of regret and sorrow for 
the loss of his liberty, as he had been accustomed to ejijoy it in 
the fresh green woods. 

By the session of the legislature of 1828-'9, the excitement 
of the politicians at the previous session had somewhat sub- 
sided, as men had time to forget and forgive each other for the 
causes of their animosity. Gov. Edwards, in the electioneering 
campaign previous to his election, had run athwart the views 
and conduct of many of his best friends, by attacking the vari- 
ous public abuses ; and his attempt to impeach the managers 
of the old State bank had resulted in a signal failure. The 
lieutenant-governor, Kinney, one of his opponents, truly said of 
him, " that he was like unto an old crippled horse, which being 
no longer able to jump a fence, had fallen over into a corn-field, 
but was hurt so much by the fall that he was not able to eat 


the corn after he had thus broken into it." So the governor 
sought to repair this disaster, by starting a new hobby at this 
session. It is true that there was but little of political party in 
those days, but this did not prevent great men from having 
their hobbies, or rather from proposing measures upon the con- 
sideration of which they preferred the elections should turn, 
rather than on their own merits ; and it was singular that Gov. 
Edwards, the gifted and eminent man of talents, with every 
personal advantage necessary to command success, should think 
it necessary to ride a hobby. With a person and manner well 
calculated to win popular admiration and favor, and talents ac- 
knowledged by all to be superior to any of his competitors, it 
was somewhat strange that he could not be content to throw 
himself -before the people upon his own merits, upon his repu- 
tation for talents, as an aspirant for office. As it was, his 
course could not be sensibly justified upon any ground, except 
that of pointing the public attention to matters with which he 
stood connected, and thereby diverting it from himself. 

Generally it is the men without merit, the men of small pre- 
tensions, without natural gifts to conciliate favor, who ride hob- 
bies and most insist upon measures as artificial helps to dis- 
tinction. But if such appliances are necessary to make small 
things great, so they may be used to lift great weights from the 
low level of bad character, to high and respectable positions in 

The hobby which Gov, Edwards selected on this occasion, 
was to claim for the State all the public lands of the United 
States lying within its limits. This claim was put forth in his 
message at this session with great earnestness, and is elabo- 
rately sustained upon the ground of State sovereignty, to which 
eminent domain it must necessarily belong ; and upon the 
ground that Illinois had been admitted into the Union upon an 
equal footing with the original States. 

1 have been informed on good authority, that the governor 


put forth this claim, without having any confidence in its valid- 
ity, and that it was fabricated in the first instance only to em- 
barrass his enemies. The question was new ; it had never been 
discussed before the people, and it was unknown whether they 
would regard it with favor or otherwise. However, the gov- 
ernor's enemies were not to be entrapped ; they were too cun- 
ning to oppose what might be a popular measure, out of mere 
spite against its author. It is believed that no one had any 
confidence in the claim, and yet the legislature were nearly 
unanimous in sustaining it. But this resulted in breaking down 
the opposition to Gov. Edwards' administration, for the mem- 
bers, thinking themselves compelled to support his humbug, 
were more than ordinarily docile and obsequious, supporting 
all his measures and electing all his candidates to office. 
Having laid a broad foundation to enrich the State with the 
public lands, they returned to their constituents swelling with 
importance and high expectations of future favor. But the peo- 
ple were not such big fools as they were believed to be, for 
many of them were indifferent on the subject, and most of them 
laughed at their representatives in very scorn of their preten- 
sions. Governor Edwards died of the cholera in Belleville, in 
the year 1833. The county of Edwards, in the Wabash coun- 
ty, and the town of Edwardsville, in Madison county, were 
named in honor of him ; and I had forgotten to mention in its 
proper place, that the county of Coles, on the head waters of 
the Embarrass river (pronounced Ambraw) was named in 
honor of Governor Coles. 

In looking back over this period of time, and calling to mind 
the prominent actors in the scenes of that day, the fierce strug- 
gles and quarrels amongst them, the loves and the hatreds, the 
hopes, fears, successes and disappointments of men, recently, 
but now no more on the stage of action, one cannot but be 
struck with the utter nothingness of mere contests for office. 
Of the men who then figured, Jesse B. Thomas, Gov. Coles, 


Chief Justice Philips, Henry Starr, and Judge Hall, have left 
the State ; John McLean, Morris Birkbeck, Governor Bond, 
Elias K. Kane, Governor Edwards, Daniel P. Cook, Governor 
Duncan, Chief Justice Reynolds, George Forquer, Samuel 
M : Roberts, and John Yorke Sawyer, are dead, reposing in their 
graves. But whilst they lived they were full of bustle and agi- 
tation, contending with each other for pre-eminence and place, 
as if they divided the earth amongst them, and office was im- 
mortal. Since their time, they have had successors in the con- 
test who have fluttered and shone for a few years, and then dis- 
appeared forever, either by death, removal from the country, 
or loss of popularity. It is somewhat melancholy, but highly 
instructive, to look back upon the long list of popular names 
of those who, for a time, rioted in power, with a fair prospect 
of continued pre-eminence, but who have gone the way of all 
flesh, to the grave, or to oblivion, the way of the great mass of 

About these times political parties began to form in Illinois. 
Hitherto Governor Edwards, Daniel P. Cook, and Judge Pope, 
had constituted the heads of one party ; whilst Governor Bond, 
Elias K. Kane, John M'Lean, Judge Thomas, and Judge Smith, 
constituted the heads of the other. The parties which called 
forth their struggles were merely personal, and for men ; meas- 
ures and principles of national politics had nothing to do with 
them. Upon the election of Mr. Monroe in 1816, and during 
his long, successful, and glorious administration, the angry ele- 
ments of party were quelled, and the nation rested in peace. 
The noise of the battle between federalist and republican had 
never reached Illinois. It is true that during the war of 1812 
we had heard a rumor of the existence of such a people as the 
federalists in the old States. We had heard of their opposition 
to the war, of the Hartford Convention, and of the burning of 
blue lights in Connecticut as a signal to the enemy, and the 
unsophisticated republicans of the territory, being at war with, 



and surrounded by thousands of hostile savages, naturally con- 
cluded that the federalists were second in atrocity only to the 
great beast with the seven heads and ten horns. A federalist 
was hated with a most fervent hatred, as being an enemy to his 
country, and an aider and abettor of the savages in slaughter- 
ing defenceless women and children ; but as there were none 
of them in Illinois, it was impossible to rally parties here upon 
the principles of federalists and republicans. I have already 
mentioned Daniel P. Cook as being the first attorney general. 
He was elected to Congress in 1819, and was re-elected bi-en- 
nially until 1826, when he was beaten by the late Gov. Dun- 
can. Mr. Cook was a man of eminent talents and accomplish- 
ments. In person he was small and erect. He was a man of 
great social powers, wholly without guile, and kindness, sin- 
cerity, and truth animated every motion of his body, making 
his face to shine, and giving his manners a grace and a charm 
which the highest breeding will not always give. He was a 
complete gentleman, and in all his electioneering intercourse 
with the people he had the rare talent of making himself sin- 
gularly acceptable and agreeable, without stooping to anything 
low, or relaxing in the slightest degree the decorum or the car- 
riage of a high-bred gentleman. His mind was uncommonly 
supple, wiry, and active, and he could, as he pleased, shoot his 
thoughts readily over the great field of knowledge. As a 
speaker, his voice, though not strong, was soft, melodious, and 
of great compass and variety of tone. He rose to a high 
reputation in Congress, and the last session he was there, he 
acted as chairman of the important committee of Ways and 
Means of the lower house. To his services, at this last session, 
the people of Illinois are indebted for the donation by Con- 
gress of 300,000 acres of land, for the construction of the Illi- 
nois and Michigan canal. For him the county of Cook was 
appropriately named, as more than half of its great prosperity 
is owing to his exertions in Congress in favor of the canal. 



The defeat of Mr. Cook, in 1826, by Gov. Duncan, makes a 
kind of turning point in the politics of Illinois. It is a new era 
in our elections, and marks the origin, though not the comple- 
tion, of a great revolution in men's motives for political action. 
It is the point where the old system of electing public officers 
upon merit and personal preference was about to terminate, 
and the new principle of " measures, not men," was to begin. 
The opponents of Mr. Cook had run a candidate against him at 
every election ; first John M'Lean, after him Elias K. Kane, 
and after him Gov. Bond. They had even endeavored to make 
Illinois a slave State, somewhat with a view to his eventual 
defeat. But they had failed on every occasion. Defeat only 
inspired new courage, and prompted them to the use of addi- 
tional energy. They kept up their organization from year to 
year, and as parties were founded on the principle of personal 
affection to one set of men, and personal hatred of another, and 
as men are more attached to their friends than to their principles, 
it followed that there was less defection and treachery in the 
ranks, and more fidelity and devotion to leaders, than have been 
since, under the new system. 

At last the time came for the Cook and Edwards party to go 
down, and their enemies to rise. And this was the occasion 
of the revolution. Gen. Jackson, John Quincy Adams, Wil- 
liam H. Crawford, and Henry Clay, were candidates for Presi- 
dent of the United States at the election of 1824. No one of 
the candidates received a majority of the electoral votes. The 
election, therefore, came into the House of Eepresentatives in 
Congress. Mr. Cook gave the vote of Illinois to Mr. Adams, 
by which he was elected. Gen. Jackson had received more of 
the electoral votes than any other candidate. He had received 
two in Illinois, and Mr. Adams had received but one. The 
people believed that Gen. Jackson had been cheated out of his 
election by bargain, intrigue, and corruption ; and whether their 
belief was well or ill-founded, they resented his defeat with a 


generous indignation which consumed all opposition, and which 

has continued to burn and consume until this day. The old 
opposition to the Cook and Edwards party, and all the Craw- 
ford men, now rallied in favor of Gen. Jackson. They brought 
out the late Gov. Duncan as a candidate against Mr. Cook, 
and by means of Gen. Jackson's great popularity, and the re- 
sentment of the people against the vote for Mr. Adams, he was 
elected by a small majority. 

At this time Gov Duncan was a thorough Jackson man, as 
the friends of Gen. Jackson were then called. He was what 
was called an original Jackson man, that is, he had been for 
Gen. Jackson the first time Gen. Jackson was a candidate. 
He was attached to Gen. Jackson from admiration of his char- 
acter, and the glory of his military achievements. As yet, 
there were no principles or measures, nor even the names of 
federalist and republican, involved in the election. Gen. Jack- 
son had not as yet declared his opinions on the tariff, except 
that he was in favor of " a judicious tariff;" nor upon internal 
improvements by Congress, the bankrupt law, the distribution 
of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands ; nor upon the 
constitutionality or expediency of a United States Bank. Nor 
did parties, in Illinois, rally upon these subjects for some years 
afterwards. A few years after Gov. Duncan's first election, 
Gen. Jackson attacked the United States Bank, vetoed its char- 
ter, and removed from it the deposits of the public moneys. 
He also vetoed appropriations for the Maysville road, and for 
the improvement of the Wabash river. Gov. Duncan now, 
differing from him in opinion on these subjects, began to with- 
draw from his support ; and his aversion to Gen. Jackson's ad- 
ministration was finally completed by his objections to Mr. 
Van Buren, an influential favorite of the President, likely to 
succeed him in office, and in the control of the Jackson party. 
A public man has a perfect right to his own opinions and 
predilections. Gov. Duncan was a brave, honest man, a gen- 


tleman in his intercourse with society, and possessed a rare 
talent for conciliating affection and inspiring confidence. But 
his great error was in becoming attached to a party and a 
cause, in the first instance, without knowing the principles by 
which he was to be governed. Thousands of others were in 
the same predicament, many of whom, both before and after 
Gov. Duncan, left as he did, when the Jackson policy began 
to be developed ; and many, equally ignorant when they began 
in favor of Gen. Jackson, finding themselves suited by his 
measures and principles, adhered to him with more devotion 
than ever. Afterwards, when Gov. Duncan had thoroughly 
identified himself with the opponents of Gen. Jackson, an old 
friend of his rebuked him and lamented over him as follows : 
" Now, Gov. Duncan, we Jackson men took you up when you 
was young, poor, and friendless ; we put you into high office, 
and enabled you to make a fortune ; and for all this you have 
deserted us, and gone over to the Adams men. You was like 
a poor colt. We caught you up out of a thicket, fed you on 
the best, combed the burrs out of your mane and tail, and 
made a fine horse of you ; and now you have strayed away 
from your owners." Such were, and are likely to be, the 
opinions of mankind upon changes of political relations. No 
allowance is made for the altered circumstances of the times, 
for the oblivion of old questions of dispute, or the springing up 
of new ones not dreamed of in former contests. Neither is 
any allowance made amongst fierce partisans for the fallibility 
of human judgment, nor for the results of a more matured, 
careful, and candid examination of political questions. Man- 
kind adopt their principles when they are young, when the pas- 
sions are strong, the judgment weak, the mind misinformed, 
and are generally influenced in their adoption by mere prejudice 
arising from attachment to friends. The mind has nothing to 
do with it. If afterwards they attain to more knowledge and 
capacity, they are required to persevere in their first impress- 


ions, or to be branded with inconsistency. Without asserting 
that Gov. Duncan was right in his change, for such would not 
be my opinion, yet it would seem from his example and that 
of many others, that it would be better for politicians, if they 
could reverse the order of their existence, come into the world 
in their old age, and go out when they are young. As it really 
is, a man comes into the world without knowledge, experience, 
or capacity to think, and before he gets them, under the influ- 
ence of his attachments to men, he is required to make up his 
opinions upon all the grave questions which are to affect him- 
self or his country. He is to take a party name, and however 
much he may afterwards become enlightened, or parties shift 
grounds, he is never to change, under the penalty of being 
branded as a traitor to his party. But perhaps this is one of 
the means appointed by providence, and implanted in man's 
nature, to keep the opinions of the men of the governing or 
majority party united, and give some stability to the councils 
of republican government. The fact that there is such a num- 
ber who even down to old age are never capable of forming 
opinions of their own, would seem to favor such a conclusion. 

In the year 1828, and afterwards, the policy of selling the 
school lands and borrowing the school fund, was adopted. 
From the very first organization of the State government, the 
legislature had been too fearful of its popularity to provide ade- 
quate revenues by taxation. At first the State treasury relied 
upon taxes upon lands in the military tract, then unsettled and 
owned by non-residents. The land tax in other parts was given 
to the counties to aid them in building court-houses and jails, 
and paying county expenses. This system kept the State treas- 
ury in debt. But it so happened that Congress had donated to 
the State a township of land for a seminary of learning ; three 
per cent, of the nett proceeds of the sale of the public land, and 
the sixteenth section in every township, for the support of com- 
mon schools ; that is, they had granted to the State one whole 


township of six miles square, and the thirty-sixth part of all the 
residue of the land in the State, and three per cent, of the nett 
proceeds of the sales of the remainder to promote education in 
this new country. This was a most magnificent provision for 
education. The sixteenth section, amounting to near a million 
of acres, is destined to be worth a large sum of money. The 
man is now alive and full grown, who will see the day when 
these lands will be worth from fifteen to twenty millions of 
dollars. So far as the sales have proceeded, it may be judged 
that the whole of them will not sell for more than one million 
and-a-half, or two millions of dollars ; and before the end of this 
generation, it is to be feared that, under the system adopted of 
selling, and then lending out the price, most frequently on per- 
sonal security, there will be no trace or vestige of this beneficent 
donation remaining either in money or lands. 

Laws were first made for leasing out these lands, the rents 
to be paid in improvements ; but the lessees soon desired a 
more permanent title. Every township throughout the inhab- 
ited parts had settlers on the school section, either as lessees 
or squatters, who were entitled to a vote at elections ; and in a 
newly-settled country where the whole people came merely to 
better their individual fortunes as to property, with but little 
devotion to the public interest, or to that of posterity, these 
lessees and squatters were likely to have great influence in gov- 
ernment. And this is only one instance out of a thousand in 
Illinois in which a very small minority, united by interest, pas- 
sion, prejudice, or clanship, and acting with bold vigor, has 
controlled the majority, and sacrificed the public interest to in- 
dividual interest. I speak what I know when I say that the 
laws to sell school lands were passed to please the people who 
were settled on them, who wanted to purchase them at the Con- 
gress price, whilst the other inhabitants being divided into little 
factions, and thinking more of success at one election, than the 
interest of all posterity; and acting upon the principle that, 


what is everybody's business is nobody's business, aided or suf- 
fered the mischief to be done. It is true that other reasons 
were alleged in the legislature. It was said that if these lands 
were not sold, the children of that generation must lose all 
benefit from them, and their value would be destroyed by be- 
ing stripped of their timber. These were the reasons assigned 
in debate, but they were not the true reasons for these laws. It 
has been often the case in an Illinois legislature that a majority 
of the members, for secret and selfish reasons of their own, first 
resolve upon a measure and then invent the reasons to be given 
to the public for it afterwards ; and these invented and artificial 
reasons are always the reasons assigned in debate. So, too, to 
relieve the State treasury from debt, the legislature, to save the 
popularity of members by avoiding the just and wholesome 
measure of levying necessary taxes, passed laws for the sale of 
the seminary township, and for borrowing the proceeds of the 
sale and the three per cent, school fund ; and for paying them 
out as other public moneys, and for paying an annual interest 
thereon to the several counties, for the use of schools. By 
which means the debt of the State, for these moneys alone, 
amounted, in 1842, to $472,493. Thus, as I conscientiously be- 
lieve, was a township of land sacrificed at low prices ; the school 
fund robbed, and a debt of near half a million of dollars fixed 
upon the State, rather than that the members would run the 
risk of not getting back to the legislature, or of being defeated 
for some other office. This money was paid into the treasury 
in sums averaging $20,000 per annum. The annual interest 
now paid on it is $28,000. And so, to save the popularity of 
members of the legislature, the State has received about $20,000 
a year for about twenty-five years ; by which she has become 
bound to pay $28,000 per annum, forever ; the difference against 
the State being the difference between twenty thousand dollars 
borrowed, and twenty-eight thousand dollars annual interest ; 
and the difference between eternity and tweirty-five years. The 


only good which can result from these unwise and selfish meas- 
ures is, that they will inevitably compel the State into a system 
of taxation for the support of schools ; and the payment of in- 
terest on these borrowed moneys will furnish the pretext and 
excuse for it. 


ReviewElection of State Treasurer in 1827 ;' election and defalcation of Sheriffs- 
Courts Judges Sentence of Green Instructions to juries The hung jury Law 
of 1840 Eminent lawyers Character of litigation Election by ballot The keep- 
dark system The " butcher-knife boys "Influences in the Legislature Greasing 
and swallowing, &c Aims of politicians and of the people Anecdote of Sen- 
ator Cro/.ier Good and bad self-government Rule to test the capacity of the people 
for either Educated ministers of the Gospel Ill-will towards them of some of 
the old ministers Room enough for both Benevolent institutions and education 
Colleges Change of dress among young people Regrets of the old folks 
Effects of attending Church on Sundays Effects of not attending Church on Sun- 
days upon young people Progress in commerce Character of first merchants- 
Selling for money supplied by emigration Nothing raised for or shipped to foreign 
markets Flat-boats Farmers taking their own crops to market, and bad effects of 
it Foreign markets Steamboats and high rates of exchange encourage the mer- 
chants to become exporters Bad effects of farmers holding their produce from 
market, expecting a higher price This practice contrasted with the New England 
practice of selling at the market price Good effects of this practice Prosperity of 
northern Illinois in a great measure owing to this. 

NOTHING more of importance occurred in the history of the 
State than what is related in the last chapter, until 1830. A 
few miscellaneous facts and a slight review of the progress of 
society and the workings of government during this time, may 
not be uninteresting. 

In 1827, there was a very excited election before the legisla- 
ture for a State treasurer, in which the former incumbent of the 
office was defeated. After the election was over the Assembly 
immediately adjourned ; but before the members got out of the 
house, the unsuccessful candidate walked into their chamber 
and administered personal chastisement upon four of the largest 
and strongest of his opponents, who had voted against him. 
The members generally broke one way or another out of the 



house, and fled like sheep from a fold, invaded by a wolf. No 
steps were ever taken to bring the offender to punishment, 
but the same session he was appointed clerk of the circuit 
court, and recorder for Jo Davies' county. 

During all this time, from 1818 to 1830, a very large num- 
ber of sheriffs elected by the people, were defaulters to the 
State or to counties for taxes, or to individuals for moneys col- 
lected on execution. The practice was to take the moneys col- 
lected on execution, and with them pay up for taxes, for without 
getting certificates of having paid all moneys charged to them 
for taxes, the sheriffs were not allowed to be commissioned 
when re-elected. The people generally felt but little interest 
in the collection of moneys for debt, and paying it over, so that 
a defalcation here was not apt to injure the popularity of an 
officer, who would tend the people money to pay their taxes, 
and who was compelled, by his official duty, to be constantly 
around among them, giving him ample opportunity to make 
friends, contradict charges, and thus secure his election. 

In those days justice was administered without much show, 
parade, or ceremony. In some countries, the people are so 
ignorant and stupid, that they have to be humbugged into a 
respect for the institutions and tribunals of the State. The 
judges and lawyers wear robes, and gowns, and wigs, and ap- 
pear before them with all the " excellent gravity" described by 
Lord Coke. Wherever means like these are really necessary 
to give authority to government, it would seem that the bulk 
of the people must be in a semi-barbarous state at least, and 
must so lack intelligence and capacity, as to be influenced more 
by mere outside show than by the realities of wisdom and real 
dignity of character in the judge. The judges in early times in 
Illinois, were gentlemen of considerable learning and much good 
sense, and held their courts mostly in log-houses, or in the bar- 
roomB of taverns, fitted up with a temporary bench for the 
judge, and chairs or benches for the lawyers and jurors. At 


the first circuit court in Washington county, held by Judge 
John Reynolds, the sheriff, on opening the court, went out into 
the court-yard and said to the people : " Boys, come in, our 
John is going to hold court." This was the proclamation for 
opening the court. In general, the judges were averse to de- 
ciding questions of law if they could possibly avoid doing so. 
They did not like the responsibility of offending one or the 
other of the parties, and preferred to submit everything they 
could to be decided by the jury. They never gave instructions 
to a jury unless expressly called for ; and then only upon the 
points of law raised by counsel in asking for them. They never 
commented upon the evidence, or undertook to show the jury 
what inferences and presumptions might be drawn from it ; for 
which reason they delivered their instructions hypothetically, 
stating them thus : " If the jury believe from the evidence that 
such a matter is proved, then the law is so and so." This was 
a clear departure from the practice of the judges in England 
and most of the United States ; but the new practice suited the 
circumstances of the country. It undoubtedly requires the 
highest order of talent in a judge to " sum up" the evidence 
rightly to a jury, so as to do justice to the case, and injustice to 
neither party. Such talent did not exist to be put on the bench 
in these early times ; or at least the judges must have modestly 
believed that they did not possess it. 

I knew one judge, who when asked for instructions, would 
rub his head and the side of his face with his hand, as if per- 
plexed, and say to the lawyers, " Why, gentlemen, the jury 
understand the case ; they need no instructions ; no doubt they 
will do justice between the parties." This same judge presided 
at a court in which a man named Green was convicted of mur- 
der ; and it became his unpleasant duty to pronounce sentence 
of death upon the culprit. He called the prisoner before him, 
and said to him : "Mr. Green, the jury in their verdict say you 
are guilty of murder, and the law says you are to be hung. 


Now I want you and all your friends down on Indian Creek, to 
know that it is not I who condemns you, but it is the jury and 
the law. Mr. Green, the law allows you time for preparation, 
and so the court wants to know what time you would like to 
be hung." To this the prisoner replied, " May it please the 
court, I am ready at any time ; those who kill the body have 
no power to kill the soul ; my preparation is made, and I am 
ready to suffer at any time the court may appoint." The judge 
then said, " Mr. Green, you must know that it is a very serious 
matter to be hung ; it can't happen to a man more than once 
in his life, and you had better take all the time you can get ; 
the court will give you until this day four weeks. Mr. Clerk, 
look at the almanac, and see whether this day four weeks comes 
on Sunday." The clerk looked at the almanac, as directed, and 
reported that " that day four weeks came on Thursday." The 
judge then said, " Mr. Green, the court gives you until this 
day four weeks, at which time you are to be hung." The case 
was prosecuted by James Turney, Esq., the attorney-general of 
the State, who here interposed and said : " May it please the 
court, on solemn occasions like the present, when the life of a 
human being is to be sentenced away for crime, by an earthly 
tribunal, it is usual and proper for courts to pronounce a formal 
sentence, in which the leading features of the crime shall be 
brought to the recollection of the prisoner, a sense of his guilt 
impressed upon his conscience, and in which the prisoner should 
be duly exhorted to repentance, and warned against the judg- 
ment in a world to come." To this the judge replied : " O ! 
Mr. Turney, Mr. Green understands the whole matter as well 
as if I had preached to him a month. He knows he has got to 
be hung this day four weeks. You understand it in that way, 
Mr. Green, don't you ?" " Yes," said the prisoner ; upon which 
the judge ordered him to be remanded to jail, and the court 
then adjourned. 

If some judges were unwilling to risk censure by giving in- 


structions to juries, there was at least one who was very posi- 
tive in his mode of instructing them. This one being more am- 
bitious to show his learning and ability, gave very pointed in- 
structions on one occasion ; but the jury could not agree on a 
verdict. The judge asked to know the cause of their difference, 
whereupon the foreman answered, with great apparent honesty 
and simplicity, " Why, judge, this 'ere is the difficulty. The 
jury want to know whether that ar what you told us, when we 
first went went out, was raly the law, or whether it was onyjist 
your notion." The judge of course informed them that it was 
really the law, and they found a verdict accordingly. 

Some other judges through fear of doing wrong, or feeling a 
timid anxiety to avoid censure if they were compelled to give 
instructions, which might decide the verdict on one side, were 
careful to accompany them with such exceptions and explana- 
tions as served to mystify what they had previously said, and 
destroy its force with the jury. Others again were accused of 
partiality, and when a principle of law was in favor of the party 
whom they desired to lose the case, they took this mode when 
compelled to give instructions, of rendering them of no force or 
value. To this day some of the judges are reluctant to give 
proper instructions to juries. This arises from a want of con- 
fidence felt by the judge in his own capacity ; from a pusillan- 
imous fear of giving offence, or a desire to avoid doing any- 
thing in favor of a side which the judge has determined shall 
not win if he can help it. It appears that this practice must 
have continued down to a late period, for the legislature of 
1846 passed a law, requiring all instructions to juries to be 
given in writing, and that there should be no exceptions or ex- 
planations but such as should be given in writing also. Whether 
this will be an improvement of the law remains to be seen. 

In this period there were many eminent lawyers in the State. 
Messrs. Cook, M'Lean, Starr, Hears, Blackwell, Kane, Lock- 
wood, Mills, and Chief Justice Thomas Reynolds, would have 


ranked respectably as lawyers at any bar in the United States. 
The character of the litigation was somewhat different from 
what it has been since. Except during one time of general 
indebtedness, the lawsuits were principally small appeal cases, 
actions of trespass, trover replevin, slander, indictments for as- 
sault and battery, affrays, riots, selling liquor without license, 
and card playing ; but there was a natural leaning on the part 
of jurors against convictions for these minor offences, and so it 
was a rare thing that any one was convicted. There was now 
and then an indictment for murder or larceny, and other felo- 
nies, but in all cases of murder arising from heat of blood or 
in fight, it was impossible to convict. The juries were willing 
enough to convict an assassin, or one who murdered by taking 
a dishonorable advantage, but otherwise if there was a conflict 
and nothing unfair in it. This same spirit prevailed in Ken- 
tucky and Tennessee, and was the cause of the great success 
of Clay, Rowan, and Grunday, in defending trials for murder. 

During a part of this time, all elections were by ballot. 
This mode of voting has always been most insisted on in old 
settled countries, in which wealth is accumulated in the hands 
of the few, where there are a few landlords, and the great body 
of the people tenants, where some are capitalists and employers, 
and others laborers and dependents. In such countries, the 
ballot is supposed to preserve the independence of the poor, 
and make them irresponsible to their wealthy superiors. But 
in Illinois, the ballot mode of voting came near destroying all 
manly independence and frankness. As there were no meas- 
ures to be contended for in elections, suffrage was bestowed as 
a matter of favor. To vote against a candidate was equivalent 
to an insult, by telling him that he was not so worthy or so 
well qualified as his opponent. Therefore many of the voters 
never let it be known how they voted at elections. And this 
was the origin of the " keep dark" system of former times, 
which is thus explained. Each candidate for office, and his 


more immediate friends, kept their preference for other candi- 
dates for other offices, to be filled at the same election, a pro- 
found secret. There were many offices to be filled at each 
election, and the candidates made secret combinations amongst 
each other for mutual support, a few days before, or on the day 
of election. But as these engagements for mutual support were 
secret, and could only be carried out and fulfilled in secret, 
many were the frauds and breaches of faith among the candi- 
dates and their friends. That candidate who was the most in- 
triguing and unprincipled, in common cases, was the most likely 
to be elected. In the course of a few years' practice under the 
system, it was difficult to find any aspirant for office who would 
risk the expression of an opinion about any person or thing. 
Each one sought to keep himself in a position of non-commit- 
talism, in which he would be at liberty to make the best bar- 
gains for himself, to fulfil such engagements as would result 
most to his advantage, and to cheat such other candidates as he 
might be obliged to sacrifice. This " keep dark" system less 
or more pervaded the whole office-seeking tribe, from the high- 
est to the lowest, so that it was a rare thing to find amongst 
the humble expectants of the office of constable any degree of 
frankness of conversation or independence in the expression of 
opinion. No doubt this result was as much produced by the 
want of the influence of " measures," the want of party lines, as 
by the ballot mode of voting ; but the two together made an 
election, so far as the candidates and their immediate friends 
were concerned, one great fraud, in which honor, faith, and truth 
were freely sacrificed, and politicians were debased below the 
standard of the popular idea of that class of men. The ballot 
system of voting was repealed in 1828-'9. 

In the primary elections by the people, many influences were 
at work to thwart the stablishment of a wise policy. In almost 
every county there was a race of the original pioneers, many 
of whom were ignorant, illiterate, and vicious. These were apt 


to be such as wore the hunting-shirt, the buckskin trowsers, the 
raccoon skin cap, and leather moccasins. These delighted to 
wear a butcher knife, as an appendage of dress. They claimed 
unbounded liberty, and were naturally hostile to any action of 
government tending to their improvement and civilization. It 
is true that this class of people formed but a small minority, 
but the better informed and more civilized portion were so di- 
vided by faction, and split up by contests amongst themselves 
for power and office, that these " butcher knife boys," as they 
were called, made a kind of balance of power party. These 
people, from their propensity to fight and to lead uproarious 
lives, were also called " the half horse and half alligator men." 
In all elections, and in all enactments of the legislature, great 
pains were taken by all candidates and men in office to make 
their course and measures acceptable to these " butcher knife 
boys ;" and most of the elections in early times were made un- 
der " butcher knife influence ;" not that these instruments were 
actually wielded to force an election, but only the votes of those 
who carried them. The candidate who had the " butcher knife 
boys" on his side was almost certain to be elected. Since the 
butcher knife has been disused as an article of dress, the fash- 
ion has been, to call this class of people " the bare-footed boys," 
" the flat-footed boys," and " the huge-pawed boys," names with 
which they seem to be greatly tickled and pleased, and their in- 
fluence is yet considerable in all elections. 

Personal politics, intrigue, and a disregard of the public wel- 
fare, were carried from the primary elections into the legisla- 
ture. Almost everything there was done from personal mo- 
tives. Special legislation for the benefit of friends occupied 
members, and diverted their attention from such measures as 
were for the general benefit. The man of the most tact and 
address, who could make the most friends and the most skilful 
combinations of individual interests, was always the most suc- 
cessful -in accomplishing his purposes. A smooth, sleek, supple, 


friendly manner, which by gaming favor imposed upon credu- 
lity, made a politician formidable. Truly, the man who could 
approach another with a graceful and friendly impudence, and 
readily conciliate good-will, was potent indeed. The genius 
and humor of the times invented or imported a slang language, 
very expressive of the achievements of these political heroes. 
Such an operator in politics was said to carry " a gourd of pos- 
sum fat" with which to " grease" the members. It is not known 
why the fat of the opossum was selected for the emblem of 
this kind of tact, unless because it was the most fluid and slip- 
pery of oils then known in the country. The easy, facile, 
credulous fool who was the victim of artful fascination, was 
said to be " greased and swallowed" A man was " greased" 
when he was won over to the purposes of another by a feigned 
show of friendship and condescension ; and he was " swallow- 
ed" when he was made to act to suit the purposes of " the in- 
trigue," whatever it might be. Sometimes the act of lubrica- 
tion, by which a man was fitted to be " swallowed," was sup- 
posed to be performed with " soft soap." It was no uncommon 
thing to hear that such a one " had a great deal of soft soap 
about him," and was a " great hand to swallow people." Gov. 
Edwards was said to be the greatest hand to swallow people 
in all the country ; and when he was last a candidate for gov- 
ernor, it was charged on him that he had not only swallowed 
a great many of his former enemies, but that he had actually 
performed the grand operation of swallowing himself. The 
simpleton who suffered himself to be made a mere instrument 
in the hands of another to do something discreditable or un- 
popular, whereby he was unable to be elected again, was said 
to be " used up," meaning that he had been used like the afore- 
said soft soap, or other household article, until there was no 
more of him left. 

During this period of twelve years, neither the people nor 
their public servants ever dreamed that government might be 


made the instrument to accomplish a higher destiny for the 
people. There seemed to be no aim to advance the civilization 
and real happiness of the human family. Government was 
supposed to be necessaiy, not because any one understood or 
cared for its true object, but because men had been in the habit 
of living under government. The people looked around, and 
they saw that everybody, everywhere else, lived under some 
kind of government, and they merely submitted to it, to be in 
the fashion with other States and nations ; but they did not 
want government to touch them too closely, or in too many 
places : they were determined upon the preservation and enjoy- 
ment of their liberties. So that government made no encroach- 
ment upon liberty, they inquired no further into its true aim 
and object. But not so with politicians ; they had a definite 
destiny to accomplish, not for the people, but for themselves. 
In fact, the great mass of the people, politicians and all, had a 
mere selfish destiny in view. The people were, most of them, 
pioneers and adventurers, who came to a new country hoping 
to get a living with more ease than they had been accustomed 
to, or to better their condition as to property. Such persons 
cared but little for matters of government, except when stirred 
up by their demagogues ; and then they had no definite object 
to accomplish except to punish their representatives for a single 
act or vote, which was, nine times out of ten, a good one. The 
politicians took advantage of this lethargic state of indifference 
of the people to advance their own projects, to get offices and 
special favors from the legislature, which were all they busied 
their heads about. The people asked nothing and claimed no- 
thing but to be let alone, and the politicians' usually went to 
work to divide out the benefits and advantages of government 
amongst themselves ; that is, amongst the active men, who 
sought them with most tact and diligence. Offices and jobs 
were created, and special laws of all kinds for individual, not 
general benefit, were passed, and these good things were divided 


out by bargains, intrigues, and log-rolling combinations, and 
were mostly obtained by fraud, deceit, and tact. 

It is related of Mr. Samuel Crozier, a former Senator from 
Randolph county, who was a remarkable example of the most 
pure, kind, and single-hearted honesty, that after serving two 
sessions in the Senate, at the close of the second, and after he 
had been bought and sold a hundred times without knowing it, 
he said he " really did believe that some intrigue had been 
going on." So little as this are honest men aware of the ne- 
cessity of keeping their eyes open, in sleepless watchfulness, or 
otherwise the few will monopolize all the advantages of govern- 
ment, and it will be done in the most unfair and corrupt man- 
ner. Thus it was that a corrupt, cunning, and busy activity, 
blinded the eyes of the people and their representatives, gov- 
erned in the name of the people, and divided out amongst those 
who practiced it, nearly all the benefits and advantages of gov- 
ernment. In every government the administration of it will, 
in the long run, reflect the true character of the people ; and 
this is one thing which I desire to illustrate in this history. 
Many persons erroneously believe that good laws will make a 
good government ; whereas, if the genius of the people will 
permit it, the best laws will be badly administered, and will 
make a bad government. Reformation is not to begin with 
the laws or with the politicians, but with the people themselves; 
and when they are reformed, they will reform everything else. 
An indifferent, selfish, and ignorant people, will be made known 
by selfish and corrupt politicians, who administer their govern- 
ment and pervert the best of laws to the worst of purposes. 
If we could find a people truly wise, incapable of being misled, 
deceived, or humbugged, we should find statesmen instead of 
intriguing politicians, and a government where all the people 
enjoyed equal benefits and advantages arising from it, and 
where none would be permitted by fraud, tact, deceit and hum- 
bug, to exceed their just share. If this rule be observed, it will 


be the true test by which to judge of the capacity of a people 
for a good or bad self-government. Up to the year 1840, 1 can 
say with perfect truth, that considerations of mere party, men's 
condescensions, agreeable carriage, and professions of friendship, 
had more influence with the great body of the people, than the 
most important public services. The capacity to be grateful 
for public services, short of fighting the battles of the country, 
existed to but a limited extent. But some could be grateful 
for individual benefits, and all resented individual injury. 

About the year 1820, and perhaps a little before, one or two 
educated ministers of the gospel removed to this State. The 
Eev. John M. Peck, of Rock Spring, in St. Clair county, I be- 
lieve, was the first one. By the year 1830, quite a number of 
them had come in from other States. They were either sent 
or encouraged to come by the missionary societies at the North 
and East ; and being animated themselves by the principles of 
charity, which have formed the religious world into benevolent 
societies of various sorts, they immediately began to make ac- 
tive eiforts to get up Bible societies, tract societies, missionary 
societies, and Sunday-schools hi Illinois. For a long time they 
were looked upon with jealousy and bad feeling by some of 
the old race of uneducated preachers. These last had been the 
pioneers of the gospel, at a time when educated ministers, with 
salaries, could not have been supported. They had preached 
the doctrine of a free salvation, truly and literally without 
money and without price. At their own expense had they 
traversed the wilderness, slept in the open air, swam rivers, 
suffered cold and hunger, travelled on horseback and on foot, 
to preach the gospel and establish churches. They were now 
about to be superseded, as some of them feared, and thrown 
aside, for nice, well-dressed young men from college, whom 
they stigmatized as having no religion in their hearts, and with 
knowing nothing about it, except what they had learned at 
school. A daintier taste for preaching had grown up in the 


towns, which could be satisfied only by a more polished and 
intellectual ministry. The new preachers settled themselves 
mostly in the villages and towns, where a more enlightened 
preaching was most in demand. They obtained here what lit- 
tle salary the people were willing and able to pay ; but drew 
their chief support from the contributions of charitable societies 
in the old States ; and from the towns they occasionally made 
short excursions to preach in the country places. They were 
charged by some of the old ministers with exercising their min- 
istry for the lucre of gain ; with selling the gospel to those who 
were able to pay for it ; with desiring the salvation of the gen- 
teel, well-dressed, rich people who lived in the towns, and with 
being utterly unconcerned about the salvation of the rough poor 
people in the country, who were unable to pay them a salary. 
Nevertheless, the new ministers persevered in their labors, 
without taking any notice of these persecutions, and rapidly 
succeeded in forming congregations, organizing churches, and 
building places of worship. And now at this day the truth is 
apparent, that both sorts of preachers were needed. Compe- 
tition between them was not" called for by the interest of either. 
The educated minister of the town, with his learning and better 
information, and his more chaste and subdued style of elo- 
quence, would have been but an indifferent teacher of religion 
in many country places ; whilst the unlearned, rough and bois- 
terous speaker of former times, was as little suited to carry 
the message of grace to " ears polite" in town. 

I have said already that these new ministers were active in 
establishing all those kinds of societies, which have been made 
to illustrate the spirit of benevolent enterprise, characteristic 
of the first part of the nineteenth century. Everywhere they 
endeavored to promote education among the people, and in a 
few years they undertook to build colleges and seminaries of 
learning ; and to obtain acts of incorporation for them from the 
legislature. But such was the prejudice against them, on the 


part of the people, that they did not succeed in getting any 
charters for several years, and when they did get them, each 
charter contained a prohibition of a theological department, so 
determined were the people that no institution should be en- 
couraged by law, for educating a sectarian ministry at home. 

A most remarkable change occurred during this period and a 
little before, in the habits of dress and appearance of the peo- 
ple. Before the year 1830, a man dressed in The costume of 
the territory, which was a raccoon-skin cap, linsey hunting-shirt, 
buckskin breeches and moccasins, with a belt around the waist, 
to which the butcher-knife and tomahawk on the side and back 
were appended, was rarely to be seen. The blue linsey hunting- 
shirt with red or white fringe, had given place to the cloth coat ; 
the raccoon-skin cap with the tail of the animal dangling down 
behind, had been thrown aside for hats of wool or fur. Boots 
and shoes had supplanted the deer-skin moccasin, and the leather 
breeches strapped tight around the ancle, had disappeared be- 
fore unmentionables of more modern material. The female 
sex had made a still greater progress in dress. The old sort 
of cotton or woollen frocks, spun, wove and made with their 
own fair hands, and striped and cross-barred with blue dye and 
turkey red, had given place to gowns of silk and calico. The 
feet, before in a state of nudity, now charmed in shoes of calf- 
skin or slippers of kid ; and the head formerly unbonnetted but 
covered with a cotton handkerchief, now displayed the charms 
of the female face, under many forms of bonnets of straw, silk 
or leghorn. The young ladies, instead of walking a mile or two 
to church on Sunday, carrying their shoes and stockings in their 
hands to within a hundred yards of the place of worship as 
formerly, now came forth arrayed complete in all the pride of 
dress, mounted on fine horses, and attended by their male ad- 

With the pride of dress came ambition, industry, the desire 
of knowledge, and a love of decency. It has been said that 


civilization is a forced state of man, to which he is stimulated 
by a desire to gratify artificial wants ; and it may be truly said 
that the young people of that day were powerfully advanced in 
the way of civilization by the new wants created by the new 
spirit by which they were animated. But the old people re- 
gretted the change. They would have been better contented to 
live in their old log cabins, go bare-footed, and eat hog and 
hominy. From such were heard complaints that the spinning- 
wheel and the loom were neglected, and that all the earnings 
of the young people were expended in the purchase of finery. 
The old world political economist foretold the ruin of the coun- 
try. He was certain that all these new trappings and orna- 
ments should be disused or manufactured at home ; for if pur- 
chased from other States, all the money which came in must be 
sent out of the country as fast as it came. 

But to the philosophical observer it appeared that those who 
adopted the new habits were more industrious and thrifty than 
those were who held on to the old ones. For this advancement 
in civilization, the young people were much indebted to their 
practice of attending church on Sundays. Here they were reg- 
ularly brought together at stated times ; and their meeting, if 
it effected no better end, at least accustomed them to admire 
and wish to be admired. Each one wanted to make as good a 
figure as he could ; and to that end came to meeting well-dressed 
and clean, riding on a fine horse elegantly caparisoned. This 
created in them a will to exert more than the old measure of 
industry ; and taught them new notions of economy and ingenui- 
ty in business, to get the means of gratifying their pride in this 
particular. This again lead to settled habits of enterprise, econ- 
omy and tact in business, which once acquired and persevered 
in, were made the cause of a thriftiness unknown to their fathers 
and mothers. 

As to the practice of attending church on Sunday, I am confi- 
dent that it produced these effects I have observed very care- 


fully, in the course of thirty-five years spent on the extreme 
frontiers ; that in those neighborhoods where the people habit- 
ually neglect to attend public worship on Sundays, such im- 
provements rarely, if ever, take place. In such places the young 
people feel no pride, and do not desire improvement. They 
scarcely -ever throw aside their every-day rough apparel to 
dress up neat and clean on Sunday. On that day the young 
men are seen with uncombed heads, unshorn beards, and un- 
washed linen, strolling in the woods hunting ; or on the race- 
course, or at a grocery contracting habits of intoxication, or 
lounging sullenly and lazily at home. The young women 
in appearance, dress, manners and intelligence, are the fit com- 
panions for their brothers. Sunday to them brings no bright 
skies, no gladness, no lively and cheerful thoughts, and no 
spirits renovated by mixing in the sober, decent, quiet, but 
gay assemblage of youth and beauty. Their week of labor is 
not cheered by anticipations of the gay and bright fete with 
which it is to close. Labor through the week to them is a drudge- 
ry ; and is performed with surliness and grudging ; and their 
Sabbaths are spent in heedless sleepy stupidity. The young 
people of both sexes are without self-respect, and are conscious 
of not deserving the respect of others. They feel a crushing 
and withering sense of meanness and inferiority mingled with 
an envious malignity towards all excellence in others, who ex- 
hibit an ambition for improvement. Such neighborhoods are 
pretty certain to breed up a rough, vicious, ill-mannered and 
ill-natured race of men and women. 

Commerce from 1818 to 1830, made but a small progress. 
Steamboats commenced running the western waters in 1816, 
and by the year 1830, there were one or two small ones run- 
ning on the Illinois river as far up as Peoria, and sometimes 
further. The old keel-boat navigation had been disused ; but 
as yet there was so little trade as not to call for many steam- 
boats to supply their place. The merchants of the villages, few 



in number at first, were mere retailers of dry-goods and grocer- 
ies ; they purchased and shipped abroad none of the produc- 
tions of the country, except a few skins, hides and furs, and a 
little tallow and beeswax. They were sustained in this kind of 
business by the influx of immigrants, whose money being paid 
out in the country for grain, stock and labor, furnished the 
means of trade. The merchant himself rarely attempted a 
barter business, and never paid cash for anything but his 
goods. There was no class of men who devoted themselves to 
the business of buying and selling, and of making the exchanges 
of the productions at home, for those of other States and coun- 
tries. The great majority, in fact nearly all the merchants, were 
mere blood-suckers, men who with a very little capital, a small 
stock of goods, and with ideas of business not broader than 
their ribbands, nor deeper than their colors, sold for money 
down, or on a credit for cash, which when received they sent 
out of the country. Since their time a race of traders and mer- 
chants has sprung up, who use the money they receive for 
goods in purchasing the wheat, corn, beef, and pork of the farm- 
ers ; and ship these articles to the eastern cities. Mather Lamb 
& Co., late of Chester, in Kandolph county, but now of Spring- 
field, were the first to engage in this business ; and they were 
lead to it by the refusal of the United States Bank at St. Louis 
to grant them the usual facilities of trade. As they could get 
no accommodation from the bank, they fell upon this course to 
avoid going to St. Louis to purchase eastern enchange. 

The money which they received being again paid out, re- 
mained in the country, and the produce went forward in its 
place, to pay for stocks of goods. The traders in this way 
made a profit on their goods which they brought into the State, 
and another profit on the produce which they sent out of it. 

But, as yet, the merchants generally had neither the capital 
nor the talents for such a business ; and it was not until a more 
recent period, upon the going down of the United States Bank, 



the consequent withdrawal of facilities for exchange in money, 
and the high rates of exchange which came in with local banks 
of doubtful credit, that they have been very extensively forced 
into it. When they could no longer get either money for re- 
mittance to their eastern creditors, or bills of exchange, except 
at ruinous rates of premium, they at once saw the advantage of 
laying out the local currency received for their goods in pur- 
chasing the staples of the country and forwarding them in the 
place of cash. In very early times there were many things to 
discourage regular commerce. A want of capital, a want of 
capacity for the business, the want of a great surplus of pro- 
ductions, the continual demand for them created by immigrants, 
and facility of carrying on a small commerce with the money 
supplied by emigration alone, all stood in the way of regular 
trade. New Orleans, at that time, was our principal market 
out of the State. It was then but a small city, and shipped 
but a trifle of the staple articles of Illinois to foreign countries. 
Such shipments as were made to it were intended for the sup- 
ply of the local market ; and here the Illinoisians had to com- 
pete with Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and Missouri. 
Any temporary scarcity in this market was soon supplied, and 
the most of the time it was completely glutted. 

For want of merchants or others who were to make a busi- 
ness of carrying our staples to market, our farmers undertook 
to be their own merchants and traders. This practice prevailed 
extensively in the western country. A farmer would produce 
or get together a quantity of corn, flour, bacon, and such arti- 
cles. He would build a flat-bottomed boat on the shore of some 
river or large creek, load his wares into it, and, awaiting the 
rise of water, with a few of his negroes to assist him, would 
float down to New Orleans. The voyage was long, tedious, 
and expensive. When he arrived there, he found himself in a 
strange city, filled with sharpers ready to take advantage of 
his necessities. Everybody combined against him to profit by 



his ignorance of business, want of friends or commercial con- 
nexions ; and nine times out of ten he returned a broken mer- 
chant. His journey home was performed on foot, through 
three or four nations of Indians inhabiting the western parts of 
Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky. He returned to a deso- 
late farm, which had been neglected whilst he was gone. One 
crop was lost by absence, and another by taking it to market. 
This kind of business was persevered in astonishingly for sev- 
eral years, to the great injury and utter ruin of a great many 

In later times, after the steamboat had taken the place of 
other species of navigation, after regular dealers and business 
men had made their appearance on the theatre of trade, and 
after New Orleans had become a great city, and a great mart 
of foreign commerce, there were still other difficulties to be en- 
countered of a very formidable character. These were, the 
disposition of the people not to sell their produce for the mar- 
ket price, and to raise no surplus whatever unless the prices 
were high. If the trader offered one price, the farmer would 
ask a little more, and more than the trader could afford to 
give and make a reasonable profit. Let the price be what it 
might, many would hold up their commodity a whole year, ex- 
pecting a rise in the market ; and if the price was low, they 
would cease producing. If a farmer had a surplus of corn, 
wheat, hogs, or cattle, in the fall season, and could not sell 
them for the full price he demanded, he would keep them until 
next year, expecting to get more for them then. In the mean- 
time, he would lose more by the natural loss and waste of his 
property, than he could possibly gain by increased prices the 
next season. I have known whole stacks of wheat and whole 
fields of corn to rot, or to be dribbled out and wasted to no pur- 
pose ; and whole droves of hogs to run wild in the woods so 
as never to be reclaimed, whilst the owner was saving them 
for a higner price. He suffered, also, by laying out of the 


present use of the money, and by being compelled to purchase 
many necessary articles on a credit, at a higher price than they 
could be bought for with cash. By holding back for a higher 
price, he suffered loss by the natural waste of his property, by 
laying out of the use of his money, by losing the many good 
bargains he could have made with it in the meantime, and by 
being compelled to purchase dear on a credit, and pay a high 
interest on the debt if not paid when due. In all these ways he 
lost more than he would by borrowing money on compound 
interest. And yet he could never be persuaded that it was 
for his advantage to sell as soon as his article became market- 
able, and at the market price. 

This practice of holding up property from the market unless 
the owner can receive more than the market price, still prevails 
extensively in the southern and some of the eastern parts of 
the State, and fully accounts for much of the difference in the 
degree of prosperity which is found there, and in the middle 
and northern part of the State. 

The New England population make it a rule to sell all their 
marketable property as soon as it becomes fit for market, and 
at the market price. By this means the farmer avoids the loss 
and expense of keeping it on hand. He has the present use 
of its value in money, and makes many good bargains and 
speculations which could not be made without a little ready 
money. He avoids buying on credit, or rather, paying interest 
on his debts after they become due. Money is more plenty, 
and the whole people are enabled to be more punctual in the 
payment of their debts. The local merchant is enabled to do 
an active business. He is always sure that he can purchase 
to the extent of his capital, and at rates which will put it in his 
power to sell at a profit. In this manner the farmer prospers, 
the local merchant prospers, the miller and manufacturer pros- 
per. Towns grow up rapidly. Employment is furnished for 


mechanics and laborers. By such means our northern people 
are enabled to build up a country village in three or four 
years as large as a country seat in the south of twenty years' 

* The people in many parts of the State have another practice which 
they must abandon before money can be plenty among them. They 
make their contracts to be paid in " trade at trade rates." This prac- 
tice, by dispensing with the use of money in business, discourages its 
presence : whereas, the opposite course, by creating a necessity for 
money, is the means of forcing it into the country. And accordingly, 
in all those countries where debts are punctually paid in cash, bar- 
gains all made to be paid in cash, laborers all paid in cash, at short 
intervals, say at the end of the week, money is always the most plenty ; 
and in those countries where the contrary course is pursued, it is the 
most scarce. It is useless to say that plenty of money enables one 
country to do a cash business, and that scarcity prevents it in the 
other. Money will go where it is most prized, used, and needed in 
business, and will refuse to go where its use is dispensed with, or to 
be used only to be hoarded. If any people want to be prosperous and 
have plenty of money, let them remember this. 


Extent of settlements in 1830 Election for Governor that year Judge John Reynolds, 
William Kinney ; further development of party Description of an election of contest 
Reynolds elected by Jackson and anti-Jackson men Legislature of 1831 bound 
to redeem the notes of the old State Bank Horror of increasing taxes Fears of the 
legislature The Wiggins' loan All the members broke down The little bull law 
Penitentiary punishments Curious contest for State Treasurer Indian disturbances 
Treaties with the Indians Black Hawk's account of them His character He 
invades the Rock river country Call for volunteers March to Rock Island Escape 
of the Indians New treaty with them Next year Black Hawk returns Volunteers 
again called for March of Governor Reynolds and Gen. Whiteside Burning of 
Prophet's town Arrival at Dixon Majors Stillman and Bailey Route at Stillman's 
run Account of it by a volunteer Colonel Council of war Gen. Whiteside marches 
in pursuit of the Indians Massacre of Indian Creek, two young ladies captured and 
restored Gen. Whiteside buries tbe dead and marches back to Dixon Meets Gen. 
Atkinson Dissatisfaction of the men Marches to Ottawa Army discharged New 
call for volunteers Volunteer regiment left as a guard of the frontiers Col. Jacob 
Fry Captain Snyder Battle with the Indians, bravery of Gen. Whiteside Gen. 
Semple and Capt. Snyder Indian murders St. Vrain and others Siege of Apple- 
river Fort Col. Strode Galena Martial law there Gen. Dodge's successful attack 
Capt. Stephenson Martial spirit of the Indians Major Dement, defence of Kel- 
logg's Grove Gen. Posey's march Gen. Alexander Gen. Atkinson Gen. Henry 
March up Rock river Turtle village Burnt village Lake Keshkonong Search 
for the Indians Two regular soldiers flred on Expedition to the "trembling 
lands" Army dispersed in search of provisions. 

THE population of the State had increased by the year 1830, 
to 157,447; it had spread north from Alton as far as Peoria, 
principally on the rivers and creeks ; and in such places there 
were settlers sparsely scattered along the margin of the Missis- 
sippi river to Galena, sometimes at the distance of an hundred 
miles apart ; also on the Illinois to Chicago, with long intervals 
of wilderness ; and a few sparse settlements were scattered 
about all over the southern part of the military tract. The 
country on the Sangamon river and its tributaries had been 
settled, and also the interior of the south ; leaving a large wil- 


derness tract yet to be peopled between Galena and Chicago ; 
the whole extent of the Kock river and Fox river countries, 
and nearly all the lands in the counties of Hancock, M'Donough, 
Fulton, Peoria, Stark, Warren, Henderson, Knox, Mercer, 
Henry, Bureau, Livingston, Champaign, Piatt, and Iroquois, 
comprising one-third of the territory of the State. As yet but 
few settlements had been made anywhere in the open wide 
prairies, but were confined to the margins of the timber in the 
vicinity of rivers and streams of water. 

A new election for governor was to be held in August, 1830. 
The candidates for the office were John Reynolds, late a judge 
of the supreme court, and William Kinney, then lieutenant- 
governor, both of them of the dominant party. All general 
elections since 1826, had resulted in lavor of the friends of Gen. 
Jackson. The legislature always contained a large majority of 
Jackson men ; but parties were not as yet thoroughly drilled 
and consolidated. On the one side, there was a kind of idol- 
atrous devotion to General Jackson ; on the other, a mere per- 
sonal opposition and dislike, with but little reference on either 
side to the principles of government. When the great popular 
movement commenced, which resulted in the elevation of Gen- 
eral Jackson to power, many politicians ranged themselves 
under his banner as that of a popular and fortunate leader, 
upon whose shoulders they themselves could climb into power 
and office. Such persons were influenced in but a small degree 
by the spite and malice of party ; so that if they could provide 
for themselves, they were disposed to be kind and tolerant to 
their opponents. With many such it was the height of ambi- 
tion to get to the legislature ; and when they got there, the 
sleek, smooth, pleasant men of tact and address in the minority, 
seduced them from the majority ; and so the legislative acts of 
public officers were as likely to result in favor of one party as 
the other. This was a matter of wonder and astonishment to 
the new immigrants from the older States, who came blazing hot 


like brands plucked from the burning, heated with the fiery con- 
tests, in the States from whence they came, between the old 
organized parties of federalists and republicans. 

But party lines were so far drawn that no anti-Jackson man 
could be elected to Congress, to the United States Senate, or 
to be governor of the State. For this reason the anti-Jackson 
party proposed no candidate for governor at this election ; some 
of them preferred one candidate of the dominant party, and 
some the other ; but the great body of the anti-Jackson party 
supported Governor Eeynolds. Mr. Kinney was one of the old 
sort of Baptist preachers ; his morality was not of that pinched 
up kind, which prevented him from using all the common arts 
of a candidate for office. It was said that he went forth elec- 
tioneering with a Bible in one pocket and a bottle of whiskey 
in the other ; and thus armed with " the sword of the Lord and 
the spirit," he could preach to one set of men and drink with 
another, and thus make himself agreeable to all. In those days 
the people drank vast quantities of whiskey and other liquors ; 
and the dispensation of liquors, or " treating," as it was called, 
by candidates for office, was an indispensable element of success 
at elections. In many counties, the candidates would hire all 
the groceries at the country seats and other considerable vil- 
lages, where the people could get liquor without cost for several 
weeks before the election. In such places, during the pending 
of elections, the voters in all the neighboring country turned 
out on every Saturday, to visit the country seat, to see the can- 
didates, and hear the news. They came by dozens from all 
parts, and on every road, riding on their ponies, which they 
hitched up or tied to the fences, trees, and bushes in the village. 
The candidates came also, and addressed the people from wag- 
ons, benches, old logs, or stumps newly cut, from whence comes 
the phrase " stump speeches," used to signify a popular harangue 
to the people, by a candidate for office. The stump speeches 
being over, then commenced the drinking of liquor, and long 


before night a large portion of the voters would be drunk and 
staggering about town, cursing, swearing, hallooing, yelling, 
huzzaing for their favorite candidates, throwing their arms up 
and around, threatening to fight, and fighting. About the time 
of this election, I have seen hundreds of such persons in the 
town of Springfield, now the polished seat of government of the 
State. Towards evening they would mount their ponies, go 
reeling from side to side, galloping through town, and throwing 
up their caps and hats, screeching like so many infernal spirits 
broke loose from their nether prison, and thus they departed 
for their homes. 

This had been the case for many years in many counties at 
all the circuit courts, elections, and public gatherings ; but thank 
God, such scenes are no more to be witnessed in Illinois. 

Mr. Kinney had the name of being a whole hog, thorough- 
going original Jackson man. Politicians in those days of the 
Jackson party were divided into whole hog men, and nominal 
Jackson men. Mr. Kinney belonged to the first division ; he 
possessed a vigorous understanding, an original genius, and was 
a warm and true friend, and a bitter enemy. He was a witty, 
merry and jovial man, who studied fun and was highly esteem- 
ed by his neighbors and acquaintances. The anti-Jackson men 
hated him more than they did Reynolds, and hence their prefer- 
ence for the latter. They did not so much vote^br Reynolds 
as against Kinney. They were like the man who said that he 
had not voted for any candidate for the last ten years, never- 
theless he had always voted at every election ; but instead of 
voting for any one person, he had always voted against some 

Judge Reynolds was made of more good-natured, easy and 
pliable materials. He had received a classical education, and 
was a man of good talents in his own peculiar way ; but no one 
would suppose from hearing his conversation and public ad- 
dresses, that he had ever learned more than to read and write 



and cypher to the rule of three ; such acquisitions being sup- 
posed to constitute a very learned man in the times of his early 
life. He had been a farmer, a lawyer, and a soldier, a judge, 
and a member of the legislature. He had passed his life on 
the frontiers among a frontier people ; he had learned all the 
bye-words, catch-words, old sayings and figures of speech in- 
vented by vulgar ingenuity, and common among a backwoods 
people ; to these he had added a copious supply of his own, and 
had diligently compounded them all into a language peculiar to 
himself, which he used on all occasions, both public and private. 
He was a man of remarkably good sense and shrewdness for 
the sphere in which he chose to move, and possessed a fertile 
imagination, a ready eloquence, and a continual mirthfulness and 
pleasantry when mingling with the people. He had a kind 
heart, and was always ready to do a favor and never harbored 
resentment against any human being. Such a man was certain 
to be successful against the Baptist preacher, and sure enough 
he was elected by a most triumphant majority. 

A new legislature was elected at the same time ; it contained 
a majority of Jackson men ; a majority of whom again had 
been opposed to Eeyriolds' election ; but the union of Reynolds' 
Jackson friends with the anti-Jackson members, constituted a 
small majority of the legislature. It is not remembered that 
the new governor put forth or advocated any measure of pub- 
lic policy, as a measure of his administration. But during this 
first session the legislature had to make provision for the re- 
demption of the notes of the old State Bank, which became due 
in the course of the next summer. No former legislature had 
dared to risk their popularity by providing for the redemption 
of these notes, by taxation or otherwise. 

The subject had been put off from time to time, each legisla- 
ture willing to shift the odious task upon their successors in of- 
fice, until further delay would amount to a breach of the public 
faith. Something must now be done, and that immediately. 


The popularity-loving members of this legislature came up to 
the work with fear and trembling. They feared to be denounced 
as a band of perjured and faithless men if they neglected their 
duty, and they dreaded to meet the deep roar of indignant dis- 
approbation from their angry constituents, by performing it. 
But a majority in each house acted like men. They passed a 
law authorizing the celebrated Wiggins' loan of one hundred 
thousand dollars. The money was obtained and the notes of 
the bank were redeemed, the honor of the State was saved, but 
the legislature was damned for all time to come. The mem- 
bers who voted for the law were struck with consternation and 
fear at the first sign of the public indignation. Instead of bold- 
ly defending their act and denouncing the unprincipled dema- 
gogues who were inflaming the minds of the people, these mem- 
bers, when they returned to their constituents, went meanly 
sneaking about like guilty things, making the most humble ex- 
cuses and apologies. A bolder course by enlightening the pub- 
lic mind might have preserved the standing of the legislature, 
and wrought a wholesome revolution in public opinion, then 
much needed. 

But as it was. the destruction of great men was noticeable for 
a great number of years. The Wiggins' loan was long a bye- 
word in the mouths of the people. Many affected to believe 
that Wiggins had purchased the whole State, that the inhabit- 
ants, for generations to come, had been made over to him like 
cattle ; and but few found favor in their sight who had anything 
to do with the loan. There has never been anything like this 
destruction of great men in Illinois, except on a subsequent oc- 
casion, when the legislature passed a law for the improvement 
of the breed of cattle, by which small bulls were prohibited, 
under severe penalties, from running at large. On this last oc- 
casion no one dreamed that a hurricane .of popular indignation 
was about to be raised, but so it was : the people took sides 
with the little bulls. The law was denounced as being aristo- 


cratic, and intended to favor the rich, who, by their money, had 
become possessed of large bulls, and were to make a profit by 
the destruction of the small ones ; and besides this, there was 
a generous feeling in the hearts of the people in favor of an 
equality of privileges even among bulls. These two laws over- 
threw many a politician, never to recover again or be seen in 
the public councils. The " Wiggins' loan" and " the little bull 
law" will be long remembered by numerous aspirants for of- 
fice, who were sunk by them so low in the public favor, that 
the " hand of resurrection has never reached them." 

At this session of 1830-'!, the criminal code was first adapted 
to penitentiary punishment, and ever after the old system of 
whipping and pillory for the punishment of crimes has been 
disused. In the course of fifteen years' experience under the 
new system, I am compelled to say that crime has increased out 
of all proportion to the increase of inhabitants. 

At this session there was a curious contest in the election 
of a State Treasurer. Judge Hall was the candidate of the 
Kinney men ; John Dement was the candidate of Governor 
Reynolds. Hall was a violent anti-Jackson man, but had been 
editor of a newspaper in favor of Kinney. Dement was an 
original Jackson man, but had warmly supported Governor 
Reynolds. The Kinney men were the ultraists, the proscrip- 
tionists, and the whole-hog-men of the party, but yet they 
fought manfully for Hall, whilst the anti-Jackson members 
fought as manfully for Dement. On this question the two par- 
ties exchanged positions and candidates. 

Not long Sfter the adjournment of this session, news came 
of disturbances by the Indians, in the Rock river country. It 
appears that a treaty had been made by Gen. Harrison at St. 
Louis, in November, 1804, with the chiefs of the Sac and Fox 
nations of Indians, by which those Indians had ceded to the 
United States all their land on Rock river, and much more 
elsewhere. This treaty was confirmed by a part of the tribe 


in a treaty with Gov. Edwards and Auguste Chouteau, in Sep- 
tember, 1815, and by another part in a treaty with the same 
commissioners in May, 1816. The United States had caused 
some of these lands, situate at the mouth of Rock river, to be 
surveyed and sold. These lands included the great town of 
the nation, near the mouth of the river. The purchasers from 
the government moved on to their lands, built houses, made 
fences and fields, and thus took possession of the ancient me- 
tropolis of the Indian nation. This metropolis consisted of 
about two or three hundred lodges made of small poles set up- 
right in the ground, upon which other poles were tied trans- 
versely, with bark at the top, so as to hold a covering of bark 
peeled from the neighboring trees, and secured with other strips 
of bark, with which they were sewed to the transverse poles. 
The sides of the lodges were secured in the same manner. The 
principal part of these Indians had long since moved from their 
town to the west of the Mississippi. 

But there was one old chief of the Sacs, called Mucata Mu- 
hicatah, or Black Hawk, who always denied the validity of 
these treaties. Black Hawk was now an old man. He had 
been a warrior from his youth. He had led many a war party 
on the trail of an enemy, and had never been defeated. He 
had been in the service of England in the war of 1812, and had 
been aid-de-camp to the great Tecumseh. He was distinguished 
for courage and for clemency to the vanquished. He was an 
Indian patriot, a kind husband and father, and was noted for his 
integrity in all his dealings with his tribe and with the Indian 
traders. He was firmly attached to the British, and cordially 
hated the Americans. At the close of the war of 1812 he had 
never joined in making peace with the United States, but he 
and his band still kept up their connection with Canada, and 
were ever ready for a war with our people. He was in his 
personal deportment grave and melancholy, with a disposition 
to cherish and brood over the wrongs he supposed he had re- 


ceived from the Americans. He was thirsting for revenge 
upon his enemies, and at the same time his piety constrained 
him to devote a day in the year to visit the grave of a favorite 
daughter buried on the Mississippi river, not far from Oquaka. 
Here he came on his yearly visit, and spent a day by the grave, 
lamenting and bewailing the death of one who had been the 
pride of his family and of his Indian home. With these feel- 
ings was mingled the certain and melancholy prospect of the 
extinction of his tribe, and the transfer of his country, with 
its many silvery rivers, rolling and green prairies, and dark 
forests, the haunts of his youth, to the possession of a hated 
enemy ; whilst he and his people were to be driven, as he sup- 
posed, into a strange country, far from the graves of his fa- 
thers and his children. 

Black Hawk's own account of the treaty of 1804 is as fol- 
lows. He says that some Indians of the tribe were arrested 
and imprisoned in St. Louis for murder, that some of the chiefs 
were sent down to provide for their defence ; that whilst there, 
and without the consent of the nation, they were induced to sell 
the Indian country ; that when they came home, it appeared 
that they had been drunk most of the time they were absent, 
and could give no account of what they had done, except that 
they had sold some land to the white people, and had come 
home loaded with presents and Indian finery. This was all that 
the nation ever heard or knew about the treaty of 1804.* 

* It may be well here to mention, that some historians of the Black 
Hawk war have taken much of the matter of their histories from a life 
of Black Hawk written at Rock Island in 1833 or 1834, purporting to 
have been his own statements written down on the spot. This work 
has misled many. Black Hawk knew but little, if anything, about it. 
In point of fact, it was got up from the statements of Mr. Antoine Le 
Clere and CoL Davenport, and was written by a printer, and was never 
intended for anything but a catch-penny publication. Mr. Le Clere 
was a half-breed Indian interpreter, and Col. Davenport an old Indian 
trader, whose sympathies were strongly enlisted in favor of the Indiana, 


Under the pretence that this treaty was void, he resisted the 
order of the government for the removal of his tribe west of 
the Mississippi. In the spring of 1831, he recrossed the river, 
with his women and children and three hundred warriors of 
the British band, together with some allies from the Pottawat- 
omie and Kickapoo nations, to establish himself upon his an- 
cient hunting-grounds and in the principal village of his nation. 
He ordered the white settlers away, threw down their fences, 
unroofed their houses, cut up their grain, drove off and killed 
their cattle, and threatened the people with death if they re- 
mained. The settlers made their complaints to Governor Rey- 
nolds. These acts of the Indians were considered by the gov- 
ernor to be an invasion of the State. He immediately addressed 
letters to Gen. Gaines of the United States army, and to Gen. 
Clark the superintendent of Indian affairs, calling upon them to 
use the influence of the government to procure the peaceful re- 
moval of the Indians, if possible ; at all events to defend and 
protect the American citizens who had purchased those lands 
from the United States, and were now about to be ejected by 
the Indians. Gen. Gaines repaired to Rock Island, with a few 
companies of regular soldiers, and soon ascertained that the In- 
dians were bent upon war. He immediately called upon Gov- 
ernor Reynolds for seven hundred mounted volunteers. The 

and whose interest it was to retain the Indians in the country for the 
purposes of trade. Hence the gross perversion of facts in that book, 
attributing this war to the border white people, when in point of fact 
these border white people had bought and paid for the land on which 
they lived from the government, which had a title to it by three dif- 
ferent treaties. They were quietly and peaceably living upon their 
lands when the Indians, under Black Hawk, attempted to dispossess 
them. As yet, I have seen no excuse for Black Hawk's second inva- 
sion of the State in breach of his own treaty with Gen. Gaines in 1831 ; 
but the sympathizers with the Indians skip over and take no notice of 
that treaty, so determined have they been to please their own country- 
men at all hazards. 


governor obeyed the requisition. A call was made upon some 
of the northern and central counties, in obedience to which fif- 
teen hundred volunteers rushed to his standard at Beardstown, 
and about the 10th of June were organized and ready to be 
marched to the seat of war. The whole force was divided into 
two regiments, an odd battalion and a spy battalion. The 1st 
regiment was commanded by Col. James D. Henry, the 2d 
by Col. Daniel Lieb, the odd battalion by Major Nathaniel 
Buckmaster, and the spy battalion by Major Samuel Whiteside. 
The whole brigade was put under the command of Major Gen- 
eral Joseph Duncan, of the State Militia. This was the largest 
military force of Illinoisians which had ever been assembled in 
the State, and made an imposing appearance as it traversed the 
then unbroken wilderness of prairie. 

The army proceeded in four days to the Mississippi, at a place 
now called Rockport, about eight miles below the mouth of 
Rock river, where it met Gen. Gaines in a steamboat, with a 
supply of provisions. Here it encamped for one night, and 
here the two generals concerted a plan of operations. Gen. 
Gaines had been in the vicinity of the Indian town for about a 
month, during which time it might be supposed that he had 
made himself thoroughly acquainted with the localities and 
topography of the country. The next morning the volunteers 
marched forward, with an old regular soldier for a guide. 
The steamboat with Gen. Gaines ascended the river. A battle 
was expected to be fought that day on Vandruff's Island, oppo- 
site the Indian town. The plan was for the volunteers to cross 
the slough on to this island, give battle to the enemy if found 
there, and then to ford the main river into the town, where they 
were to be met by the regular force coming down from the 
fort. The island was covered with bushes and vines, so as to 
be impenetrable to the sight at the distance of twenty feet. 
General Gaines ran his steamboat up to the point of the island, 
and fired several rounds of grape and canister shot into it to 


test the presence of an enemy. The spy battalion formed in 
line of battle, and swept the island ; but it was soon ascertained 
that the ground rose so high within a short distance of the bank, 
that General Gaines's shot could not have taken effect one hun- 
dred yards from the shore. The main body of the volunteers, 
in three columns, came following the spies ; but before they had 
got to the northern side of the island, they were so jammed up 
and mixed together, officers and men, that no man knew his 
own company or regiment, or scarcely himself. Gen. Gaines 
had ordered the artillery of the regular army to be stationed on 
a high bluff which looked down upon the contemplated battle- 
field a half mile distant, from whence, in case of battle with 
the Indians in the tangled thickets of the island, their shot were 
likely to kill more of their friends than their enemies. It 
would have been impossible for the artillerists to distinguish 
one from the other. And when the army arrived at the main 
river, they found it a bold, deep stream, not fordable for a half 
mile or more above by horses, and no means of transportation 
was then ready to ferry them over. Here they were in sight 
of the Indian town, with a narrow but deep river running be- 
tween, and here the principal part of them remained until scows 
could be brought to ferry them across it. 

When the volunteers reached the town they found no enemy 
there. The Indians had quietly departed the same morning in 
their canoes for the western side of the Mississippi. Whilst in 
camp twelve miles below the evening before, a canoe load of 
Indians came down with a white flag to tell the General that 
they were peaceable Indians, that they expected a great battle 
to come off next day, that they desired to remain neutral, and 
wanted to retire with their families to some place of safety, and 
they asked to know where that was to be. General Gaines an- 
swered them very abruptly, and told them to be off and go to 
the other side of the Mississippi. That night they returned to 
their town, and the next morning early the whole band of hos- 


tile Indians re-crossed the river, and thus entitled themselves to 

It has been stated to me by Judge William Thomas, of Jack- 
sonville, who acted as quartermaster of the brigade of volun- 
teers, that Gaines and Duncan had reason to believe, before the 
commencement of the march from the camp on the Mississippi, 
that the Indians had departed from their village, that measures 
had been taken to ascertain the fact before the volunteers cross- 
ed to Vandruff 's Island, that Gen. Duncan in company with the 
advanced guard, following the spies preceded the main army 
in crossing, and that this will account for the want of order and 
confusion in the march of the troops. 

I was myself in company with the spies, I arrived at the river 
a mile in advance of the army, I saw Gen. Gaines ascend with 
his boat to the point of the island, was within one hundred 
yards of him when he fired into the island to test the presence 
of the Indians ; I marched ahead with the spies across the island, 
saw with my own eyes the elevation of the land near the shore, 
which would have prevented cannon-shot taking effect more 
than one hundred yards. I also know the condition of the island 
as to bushes and vines, and saw the artillery force from the fort 
stationed on the high bluff on the opposite side of the river. I 
was on the bank of the main river when Gen. Duncan came up, 
followed, soon after, by his brigade in the utmost confusion, and 
heard him reprimand John S. Miller, a substantial and worthy 
citizen of Rock Island, for not letting him know that the main 
river was on the north side of the island ; and I heard Miller 
curse him to his face at the head of his troops, for refusing his 
services as guide when offered the evening before ; and then 
censuring him for not giving information which he had refused 
to receive. I give the facts as I personally know them to be 
true, and leave it to others to judge whether the two Generals 
knew of the departure of the Indians ; had taken proper meas- 
ure to ascertain the presence of an enemy, or had made the 


best disposition for a battle if the Indians had been found either 
at their village or on the island. Much credit is undoubtedly 
due to Gov. Reynolds and Gen. Duncan for the unprecedented 
quickness with which the brigade was called out, and organized, 
and marched to the seat of war, and neither of them are justly 
responsible for what was arranged for them by Gen. Gaines. 

The enemy having escaped, the volunteers were determined 
to be avenged upon something. The rain descended in torrents, 
and the Indian wigwams would have furnished a comfortable 
shelter ; but notwithstanding the rain, the whole town was soon 
wrapped in flames, and thus perished an ancient village which had 
once been the delightful home of six or seven thousand Indians ; 
where generation after generation had been born, had died and 
been buried ; where the old men had taught wisdom to the 
young ; whence the Indian youth had often gone out in parties 
to hunt or to war, and returned in triumph to dance around the 
spoils of the forest, or the scalps of their enemies ; and where 
the dark-eyed Indian maidens, by their presence and charms, 
had made it a scene of delightful enchantment to many an ad- 
miring warrior. 

The volunteers marched to Rock Island next morning, and 
here they encamped for several days, precisely where the town 
of Rock Island is now situated. It was then in a complete 
state of nature, a romantic wilderness. Fort Armstrong was 
built upon a rocky cliff on the lower point of an island near the 
centre of the river, a little way above ; the shores on each side 
formed of gentle slopes of prairie extending back to bluffs of 
considerable height, made it one of the most picturesque scenes 
in the western country. The river here is a beautiful sheet of 
clear, swift-running water, about three quarters of a mile wide, 
its banks on both sides were uninhabited, except by Indians 
from the lower rapids to the fort, and the voyage up-stream af- 
ter several days' solitary progress through a wilderness country 
on its borders came suddenly in sight of the white- washed walls 


and towers of the fort, perched upon a rock surrounded by the 
grandeur and beauty of nature, which at a distance gave it the 
appearance of one of those enchanted castles in an uninhabited 
desert, so well described in the Arabian-Nights Entertainments. 

General Gaines threatened to pursue the Indians across the 
river, which brought Black Hawk, and the chiefs and braves of 
the hostile band, to the fort to sue for peace. A treaty was here 
formed with them, by which they agreed to remain forever after 
on the west side of the river, and never to recross it without 
the permission of the president or the governor of the State. 
And thus these Indians at last ratified the treaty of 1804, by 
which their lands were sold to the white people, and they agreed 
to live in peace with the government. 

But notwithstanding this treaty, early in the spring of 1832, 
Black Hawk and the disaffected Indians prepared to reassert 
their right to the disputed territory. 

The united Sacs and Fox nations were divided into two parties. 
Black Hawk commanded the warlike band, and Keokuk, another 
chief, headed the band which was in favor of peace. Keokuk 
was a bold, sagacious leader of his people, was gifted with a wild 
and stirring eloquence, rare to be found even among Indians, by 
means of which he retained the greater part of his nation in 
amity with the white people. But nearly all the bold, turbu- 
lent spirits, who delighted in mischief, arranged themselves 
under the banners of his rival. Black Hawk had with him the 
chivalry of his nation, with which he recrossed the Mississippi 
in the spring of 1832. He directed his march to the Rock river 
country, and this time aimed, by marching up the river into 
the countries of the Pottawattomies and Winnebagoes, to make 
them his allies. Governor Reynolds, upon being informed of 
the facts, made another call for volunteers. In a few days 
eighteen hundred men rallied under his banner at Beardstown. 
This force was organized into four regiments and a spy bat- 
talion. Col. Dewit commanded the 1st regiment, Col. Fry 


the 2d, Col. Thomas the 3d, Col. Thompson the 4th, and Col. 
James D. Henry commanded the spy battalion. The whole 
brigade was put under the command of Brigadier Gen. Samuel 
Whiteside, of the State militia, who had commanded the spy 
battalion in the first campaign. 

On the 27th of April, Gen. Whiteside, accompanied by Gov. 
Reynolds, took up his line of march. The army proceeded by 
way of Oquaka, on the Mississippi, to the mouth of Rock river, 
and here it was agreed between Gen. Whiteside and Gen. At- 
kinson, of the regulars, that the volunteer^ should march up 
Rock river, about fifty miles to the Prophet's town, and there 
encamp to feed and rest their horses, and await the arrival of 
the regular troops in keel boats with provisions. Judge Wil- 
liam .Thomas, who again acted as quartermaster to the volun- 
teers, made an estimate of the amount of provisions required 
until the boats could arrive, which was supplied, and then Gen. 
W T hiteside took up his line of march. But when he arrived at the 
Prophet's town, instead of remaining there, his men set fire to 
the village, which was entirely consumed, and the brigade 
marched on in the direction of Dixon, forty miles higher up the 
river. When the volunteers had arrived within a short dis- 
tance of Dixon, orders were given to leave the baggage wagons 
behind, so as to reach there by a forced march. And for the 
relief of the horses, the men left large quantities of provisions 
behind with the wagons. At Dixon, Gen. Whiteside came to 
a halt, to await a junction with Gen. Atkinson, with provis- 
ions and the regular forces ; and from here parties were sent 
out to reconnoitre the enemy and ascertain his position. The 
army here found upon its arrival two battalions of mounted 
volunteers, consisting of 275 men, from the counties of M'Lean, 
Tazewell, Peoria, and Fulton, under the command of Majors 
Stillman and Bailey. The officers of this force begged to be 
put forward upon some dangerous service, in which they could 
distinguish themselves. To gratify them they were ordered 


up Rock river to spy out the Indians. Major Stillman began 
his march on the 12th of May, and pursuing his way on the 
south-east side, he came to " Old Man's" creek, since called 
" Stillman's Run," a small stream which rises in White Rock 
Grove, in Ogle county, and falls into the river near Blooming- 
ville. Here he encamped just before night ; and in a short 
time a party of Indians on horseback were discovered on a 
rising ground about one mile distant from the encampment. 
A party of Stillman's men mounted their horses without orders 
or commander, and were soon followed by others, stringing 
along for a quarter of a mile, to pursue the Indians and attack 
them. The Indians retreated after displaying a red flag, the 
emblem of defiance and war, but were overtaken and three of 
them slain. Here Major Samuel Hackelton, being dismounted 
in the engagement, distinguished himself by a combat with one 
of the Indians, in which the Indian was killed, and Major Hack- 
elton afterwards made his way on foot to the camp of Gen. 
Whiteside. Black Hawk was near by with his main force, and 
being prompt to repel an assault, soon rallied his men, amount- 
ing then to about seven hundred warriors, and moved down 
upon Major Stillman's camp, driving the disorderly rabble, the 
recent pursuers, before him. These valorous gentlemen, lately 
so hot in pursuit, when the enemy were few, were no less hasty 
in their retreat, when coming in contact with superior numbers. 
They came with their horses in a full run, and in this manner 
broke through the camp of Major Stillman, spreading dismay 
and terror among the rest of his men, who immediately began 
to join in the flight, so that no effort to rally them could possi- 
bly have succeeded. Major Stillman, now too late to remedy 
the evils of insubordination and disorder in his command, did 
all that was practicable, by ordering his men to fall back in 
order, and form on higher ground ; but as the prairie rose be- 
hind them for more than a mile, the ground for a rally was 
never discovered ; and besides this, when the men once got 


their backs to the enemy, they commenced a retreat, without 
one thought of making a further stand. A retreat of undis- 
ciplined militia from the attack of a superior force, is apt to be 
a disorderly and inglorious flight ; and so it was here, each man 
sought his own individual safety, and in the twinkling of an eye 
the whole detachment was in utter confusion. They were pur- 
sued in their flight by thirty or forty Indians, for ten or twelve 
miles, the fugitives in the rear keeping up a flying fire as they 
ran, until the Indians ceased pursuing. 

But there were some good soldiers and brave men in Still- 
man's detachment, whose individual efforts succeeded in check- 
ing the career of the Indians, whereby many escaped that night 
who would otherwise have been the easy victims of the enemy. 
Amongst these were Major Perkins and Captain Adams, who 
fell in the rear, bravely fighting to cover the retreat of their 
fugitive friends. But Major Stillman and his men pursued 
their flight without looking to the right or the left, until they 
were safely landed at Dixon. The party came straggling into 
camp all night long, four or five at a time, each fresh arrival 
confident that all who had been left behind had been massacred 
by the Indians. The enemy was stated to be just behind in full 
pursuit, and their arrival was looked for every moment. Eleven 
of Stillman's men were killed, and it is only astonishing that 
the number was so few. 

It is said that a big, tall Kentucldan, with a very loud voice, 
who was a colonel of the militia, but a private with Stillman, 
upon his arrival in camp gave to Gen. Whiteside and the won- 
dering multitude the following glowing and bombastic account 
of the battle : " Sirs," said he, " our detachment was encamped 
amongst some scattering timber on the north side of Old Man's 
creek, with the prairie from the north gently sloping down to 
our encampment. It was just after twilight, in the gloaming 
of the evening, when we discovered Black Hawk's army coming 
down upon us in solid column ; they displayed in the form of a 


crescent upon the brow of the prairie, and such accuracy and 
precision of military movements were never witnessed by man ; 
they were equal to the best troops of Wellington, in Spain. I 
have said that the Indians came down in solid column, and dis- 
played in the form of a crescent ; and what was most wonder- 
ful, there were large squares of cavalry resting upon the points 
of the curve, which squares were supported again by other 
columns fifteen deep, extending back through the woods and 
over a swamp three-quarters of a mile, which again rested upon 
the main body of Black Hawk's army bivouaced upon the 
banks of the Kishwakee. It was a terrible and a glorious sight 
to see the tawny warriors as they rode along our flanks at- 
tempting to outflank us with the glittering moonbeams glisten- 
ing from their polished blades and burnished spears. It was a 
sight well calculated to strike consternation into the stoutest 
and boldest heart, and accordingly our men soon began to break 
in small squads, for tall timber. In a very little time the route 
became general, the Indians were upon our flanks and threaten- 
ed the destruction of the entire detachment. About this time 
Major Stillman, Col. Stephenson, Major Perkins, Capt. Adams, 
Mr. Hackelton, and myself with some others, threw ourselves 
into the rear to rally the fugitives and protect the retreat. But 
in a short time all my companions fell, bravely fighting hand 
to hand with the savage enemy, and I alone was left upon the 
field of battle. About this time I discovered not far to the left 
a corps of horsemen which seemed to be in tolerable order. J 
immediately deployed to the left, when leaning down and 
placing my body in a recumbent posture upon the mane of my 
horse, so as to bring the heads of the horsemen between my 
eye and the horizon, I discovered by the light of the moon that 
they were gentlemen who did not wear hats, by which token I 
knew they were no friends of mine. I therefore made a retro- 
grade movement and recovered my former position, where I 
remained some time meditating what further 1 could do in the 


service of my country, when a random-ball came whistling by 
my ear and plainly whispered to me, ' stranger, you have no 
further business here.' Upon hearing this, I followed the ex- 
ample of my companions in arms, and broke for tall timber, 
and the way I run was not a little, and quit." 

This colonel was a lawyer, just returning from the circuit 
with a slight wardrobe and Chitty's Pleadings packed in his 
saddle-bags, all of which were captured by the Indians. He 
afterwards related, with much vexation, that Black Hawk had 
decked himself out in his finery, appearing in the wild woods, 
amongst his savage companions, dressed in one of the colonel's 
ruffled shirts drawn over his deer-skin leggings, with a volume 
of Chitty's Pleadings under each arm. 

Major Stillman and his men were for a long-time afterwards 
the subject of thoughtless merriment and ridicule, which were 
as undeserved as their battle, if so it may be called, had been 
unfortunate. The party was raw militia ; it had been but a 
few days in the field ; the men were wholly without discipline, 
and, as yet, without confidence in each other, or in their officers. 

This confidence they had not been long enough together to 
acquire. Any other body of men, under the same circum- 
stances, would have acted no better. They were as good a 
material for an army, if properly drilled and disciplined, as 
could be found elsewhere. 

In the night, after their arrival at Dixon, the trumpet sounded 
a signal for the officers to assemble at the tent of Gen. White- 
side. A council of war was held, in which it was agreed to 
march early the next morning to the fatal field of that even- 
ing's disaster. In consequence of the ill-advised and misjudged 
march from the Prophet's town, the wastefulness of the volun- 
teers, and leaving the baggage wagons behind to make a forced 
march without motive or necessity, there were no provisions in 
the camp, except in the messes of the most careful and ex- 
perienced men. The majority had been living upon parched 



corn and coffee for two or three days. But Quartermaster 
Thomas, anticipating the result of the council, went out in 
search of cattle and hogs, which were obtained of Mr. John 
Dixon, then the only white inhabitant on Rock river, above its 
mouth. By this means, before daylight the next morning the 
army was supplied with some fresh beef, which they ate with- 
out bread; and now they began their march for the scene of 
the disaster of the night before. When the volunteers arrived 
there the Indians were gone. They had scattered out all over 
the country, some of them further up Rock river, and others 
towards the nearest settlements of white people. 

A party of about seventy Indians made a descent upon the 
small settlement of Indian creek, a tributary of Fox river, and 
there, within fifteen miles of Ottawa, they massacred fifteen 
persons, men, women, and children, of the families of Messrs. 
Hall, Davis, and Pettigrew, and took two young women pris- 
oners. These were Silvia and Rachel Hall, the one about sev- 
enteen and the other about fifteen years old. 

This party of Indians immediately retreated into the Win- 
nebago country, up Rock river, carrying the scalps of the slain 
and their prisoners with them. Indian wars are the wars of a 
past age. They have always been characterized by the same 
ferocity and cruelty on the part of the Indians. To describe 
this massacre is only to repeat what has been written a hundred 
times ; but the history of this war would be imperfect without 
some account of it. The Indians approached the house in 
which the three families were assembled, in the day time. 
They entered it suddenly, with but little notice. Some of the 
inmates were immediately shot down with rifles, others were 
pierced through with spears or despatched with the tomahawk: 
The Indians afterwards related with an infernal glee, how the 
women had squeaked like geese when they were run through 
the body with spears, or felt the sharp tomahawk entering their 
their heads. All the victims were carefully scalped ; their 


bodies were mutilated and mangled ; the little children were 
chopped to pieces with axes ; and the women were tied up by 
the heels to the walls of the house ; their clothes falling over 
their heads, left their naked persons exposed to the public 

The young women prisoners were hurried by forced marches 
beyond the reach of pursuit. After a long and fatiguing jour- 
ney with their Indian conductors, through a wilderness country, 
with but little to eat, and being subjected to a variety of for- 
tune, they were at last purchased by the chiefs of the Winne- 
bagoes, employed by Mr. Gratiot for the purpose, with two 
thousand dollars, in horses, wampum, and trinkets, and were 
safely returned to their friends. 

Gen. Whiteside, finding no Indians in the vicinity of the 
recent battle-field, and being destitute of provisions, contented 
himself with burying the dead. He gathered up their muti- 
lated bodies as well as he could, and buried them in a common 
grave, on a ridge of land on the old trace, south of " Stillman's 
run," and put up a rude board, hewn from a tree, as a memo- 
rial of the slain. He then returned to Dixon, where, on the 
next day, Gen. Atkinson arrived with provisions and the regu- 
lar forces. The army now amounted to twenty-four hundred, 
and had the men been willing to serve longer, the war could 
have been ended in less than a month, by the capture or de- 
struction of all Black Hawk's forces. But the volunteers were 
anxious to be discharged. Their term of service had nearly 
expired. Many of them had left their business in such a con- 
dition as to require their presence at home ; and besides this, 
there was much dissatisfaction with the commanding general. 
To require further service from unwilling men was worse than 
useless, for a militia force will never do any good unless their 
hearts prompt them to a cheerful alacrity in performing their 
duty. The militia can never be forced to fight against their 
will. Their hearts as well as their bodies must be in the 


service ; and to do any good, they must feel the utmost con- 
fidence in their officers. They were first marched back to the 
battle-field in pursuit of the Indians, and then, by Pawpaw 
Grove and Indian creek, to Ottawa, where the whole, at their 
urgent request, were discharged by Governor Reynolds, on the 
27th and 28th of May. 

The governor had previously issued orders for raising two 
thousand additional volunteers, to rendezvous at Beardstown 
and Hennepin. In the meantime, he called for a volunteer 
regiment from amongst those recently discharged, to remain in 
defence of the country until the new forces could be assembled. 
Such a regiment was readily raised, of which Jacob Fry was 
elected colonel, James D. Henry lieutenant-colonel, and John 
Thomas major. Whiteside, the late commanding general, vol- 
unteered as a private. The different companies of this regiment 
were so disposed of as to guard all the frontiers. Captain Adam 
W. Snyder was sent to range through the country between 
Rock river and Galena; and whilst he was encamped not far 
distant from Burr Oak Grove, on the night of the 17th of June, 
his company was fired upon by the Indians ; the next morning 
he pursued them, four in number, and drove them into a sink- 
hole in the ground, where his company charged on them and 
killed the whole of the Indians, with the loss of one man mor- 
tally wounded. As he returned to his camp, bearing his 
wounded soldier, the men suffering much from thirst, scattered 
in search of water, when they were sharply attacked by about 
seventy Indians, who had been secretly watching their motions, 
and awaiting a good opportunity. His men, as usual in such 
cases, were taken by surprise, and some of them commenced a 
hasty retreat. Captain Snyder called upon Gen. Whiteside, 
then a private in his company, to assist him in forming his 
men ; the general proclaimed, in a loud voice, that he would 
shoot the first man who attempted to run. The men were soon 
formed into rank. Both parties took position behind trees. 


Here General Whiteside, an old Indian fighter and a capital 
marksman with a rifle, shot the commander of the Indians, and 
they from that moment began to retreat. As they were not 
pursued, the Indian loss was never ascertained ; but the other 
side lost two men killed and one wounded. Captain Snyder, 
General Whiteside, and Colonel (now General) Semple, are 
particularly mentioned as having behaved in the most honor- 
able and courageous manner in both these little actions. 

On the 15th of June, the new levies had arrived at the places 
of rendezvous, and were formed into three brigades ; General 
Alexander Posey commanded the 1st, General Milton K. Alex- 
ander the 2d, and General James D. Henry commanded the 
3d. On the march each brigade was preceded by a battalion 
of spies, commanded by a major. The whole volunteer force 
this time amounted to three thousand two hundred men, besides 
three companies of rangers, under the command of Major Bo- 
gart, left behind to guard the frontier settlements. The object 
in calling out so large a force was to overawe the Pottawatto- 
mie and Winnebago Indians, who were hostile in their feelings 
to the whites, and much disposed to join Black Hawk's party. 

But before the new army could be brought into the field, the 
Indians had committed several murders. One man was killed 
on Bureau creek, some seven or eight miles above Princeton ; 
another in Buffalo Grove ; another between Fox river and the 
Illinois ; and two more on the east side of Fox river, on the 
Chicago road, about six miles north-east of Ottawa. On the 
22d of May, Gen. Atkinson had despatched Mr. St. Vrain, the 
Indian agent for the Sacs and Foxes at Eock Island, with a few 
men, as an express to Fort Armstrong. On their way thither, 
they fell in with a party of Indians led by a chief well known 
to the agent. This chief was called " The little bear," he had 
been a particular friend of the agent, and had adopted him as a 
brother. Mr. St. Vrain felt no fear of one who was his friend, 
one who had been an inmate of his house, and who had adopted 


him as a brother, and approached the Indians with the greatest 
confidence and security. But the treacherous Indian, untrue in 
war to the claims of gratitude, friendship, and brotherhood, no 
sooner got him in his power, than he murdered and scalped 
him and all his party, with as little compassion as if he had 
never known him or professed to be his friend. 

Not long after the new forces were organized on the Illinois 
river, Black Hawk, with a hundred and fifty warriors, made 
an attack on Apple River Fort, situate about a quarter of a mile 
north of the present village of Elizabeth, within twelve miles 
of Galena, and defended by twenty-five men, under the com- 
mand of Captain Stone. This fort was a stockade of logs stuck 
in the ground, with block-houses at the corners of the square, 
by way of towers and bastions. It was made for the protection 
of a scattering village of miners, who lived in their houses in 
the vicinity during the day, and retired into the fort for protec- 
tion at night. The women and children, as usual in the day- 
time, were abroad in the village, when three men on an express 
from Galena to Dixon, were fired on by the Indians lurking in 
ambush within a half mile of the village, and retreated into 
the fort. One of them was wounded ; his companions stood 
by him nobly, retreating behind him, and keeping the Indians 
at bay by pointing their guns first at one and then at another 
of those who were readiest to advance. The alarm was heard 
at the fort in time to rally the scattered inhabitants ; the In- 
dians soon came up within firing distance ; and now commenced 
a fearful struggle between the small party of twenty -five men 
in the fort, against six times their number of the enemy. The 
Indians took possession of the log-houses, knocked holes in the 
walls, through which to fire at the fort with greater security to 
themselves, and whilst some were firing at the fort, others 
broke the furniture, destroyed the provisions, and cut open the 
beds and scattered the feathers found in the houses. The men 
in the fort were excited to the highest pitch of desperation ; 


they believed that they we re contending with an enemy who 
never made prisoners ; and that the result of the contest must 
be victory or death, and a horrid death too, to them and their 
families ; the women and children moulded the bullets and 
loaded the guns for their husbands, fathers, and brothers, and 
the men fired and fought with a fury required by desperation 
itself. In this manner the battle was kept up about fifteen 
hours, when the Indians retreated. The number of their killed 
and wounded, supposed to be considerable, was never ascer- 
tained, as they were carried away in the retreat. The loss in 
the fort was one man killed and one wounded. One of the men 
who first retreated to the fort, immediately passed on to Galena, 
and there gave the alarm. Col. Strode of the militia, who com- 
manded in Galena, lost no time in marching to the assistance 
of the fort, but before his arrival the Indians had raised the 
siege and departed. Galena itself had been in imminent danger 
of attack ; at that time it was a village of four hundred inhab- 
itants, surrounded on every side by the enemy. Col. Strode, 
like a brave and prudent commander, took every possible 
measure for its defence. Even here in this extremity of dan- 
ger, a number of the inhabitants yielded their assistance un- 
willingly and grudgingly. There were a number of aspirants 
for office and command ; and quite a number refused obedience 
to the militia commander of the regiment ; but Col. Strode 
took the most effectual mode of putting down these discontents. 
He immediately declared martial law ; the town was converted 
Into a camp ; men were forced into the ranks at the point of 
the bayonet ; and a press warrant from the colonel, in the hands 
of armed men, procured all necessary supplies ; preparations 
for defence were kept up night and day ; and the Indian spies 
seeing no favorable opportunity for attack, no considerable 
body of Indians ever came nearer the town than Apple Fort. 

About the time of the siege of the fort a party of Indians 
made an attack on three men near Fort Hamilton in the lead 


mines, two of the men were killed and the other escaped. Gen. 
Dodge, of Wisconsin, who happened to arrive at the fort soon 
after with twenty men under his command, made quick pursuit 
after these Indians, who were chased to the Pekatonica, and 
there took shelter under the high bank of the river. General 
Dodge and his party charged upon them in their place of con- 
cealment and shelter and killed the whole party, eleven in num- 
ber, with the loss of three of his own brave men mortally 
wounded, and one who afterwards recovered. This little action 
will equal any for courage, brilliancy and success, in the whole 
history of Indian wars. 

About this time, also, Capt. James W. Stephenson, of Galena, 
with a part of his company, pursued a party of Indians into a 
small dense round thicket in the prairie. He commenced a 
severe fire upon them at random, within firing distance of the 
thicket, but the Indians having every advantage, succeeded in 
killing a few of his men, he ordered a retreat. Neither he nor 
the men were willing to give up the fight ; and they came to 
the desperate resolution of returning and charging into the 
thicket upon the Indians. The command to charge was given ; 
the men obeyed with ardor and alacrity ; the captain himself 
lead the way ; but before they had penetrated into the thicket 
twenty steps, the Indians fired from their covert ; the fire was 
instantly returned ; the charge was made a second and third 
time, each time giving and receiving the fire of the enemy, until 
three more of his men lay dead on the ground, and he himself 
was severely wounded. It now became necessary to retreat, as 
he had from the first but a small part of his company along 
with him. This attack of Capt. Stephenson was unsuccessful, 
and may have been imprudent ; but it equalled anything in 
modern warfare, in daring and desperate courage. 

The Indians had now shown themselves to be a courageous, 
active and enterprising enemy. They had scattered their war 
parties all over the north, from Chicago to Galena, and from 


the Illinois river into the territory of Wisconsin ; they occupied 
every grove, waylaid every road, hung around every settle- 
ment, and attacked every party of white men that attempted to 
penetrate the country. But their supremacy in the field was of 
short duration ; for, on the 20th, 21st and 22d of June, the 
new forces assembled on the Illinois river, were put in motion 
by Gen. Atkinson of the regular army, who now assumed the 
command over the whole. Maj. John Dement, with a battalion 
of spies attached to the first brigade, was sent forward in ad- 
vance, whilst the main army was to follow and concentrate at 
Dixon. Maj. Dement pushed forward across Rock river, and 
took position at Kellogg's Grove, in the heart of the Indian 

Major Dement, hearing by express, on the 25th of June, that 
the trail of about five hundred Indians leading to the south, 
had been seen within five miles the day before, ordered his 
whole command to saddle their horses and remain in readiness, 
whilst he himself, with twenty men, started at daylight next 
morning to gain intelligence of their movements. His party 
had advanced about three hundred yards when they discovered 
seven Indian spies ; some of his men immediately made pursuit, 
but their commander fearing an ambuscade, endeavored to call 
them back. In this manner he had proceeded about a mile ; 
and being followed soon after by a number of his men from the 
camp, he formed about twenty-five of them into line on the 
prairie, to protect the retreat of those yet in pursuit. He had 
scarcely done this before he discovered three hundred Indians 
issuing from the grove to attack him. The enemy came up 
firing, hallooing and yelling, to make themselves more terrific, 
after the Indian fashion ; and the major seeing himself in great 
danger of being surrounded by a superior force, slowly retired 
to his camp, closely pursued by the Indians. Here his whole 
party took possession of some log-houses, which answered for a 
fort, and here they were vigorously attacked by the Indians for 



nearly an hour. There were brave soldiers in this battalion, 
among whom were Major Dement himself, and Lieut. Gov. 
Casey, a private in the ranks, who kept up such an active fire 
upon their assailants, and with such good aim, that the Indians 
retreated with the certain loss of nine men left dead on the field, 
and probably five others carried away. The loss on the side 
of the whites was five killed and three wounded. Major De- 
ment had previously sent an express to Gen. Posey, who 
marched with his whole brigade at once to his relief; but did 
not arrive for two hours after the retreat of the Indians. Gen. 
Posey moved next day a little to the north in search of the In- 
dians, then marched back to Kellogg's Grove, to await the ar- 
rival of his baggage- wagons ; and then to Fort Hamilton, on the 

When the news of the battle at Kellogg's Grove reached 
Dixon, where all the volunteers and the regular forces were then 
assembled under command of Gen. Atkinson, Alexander's brig- 
ade was ordered in the direction of Plumb river, a short stream 
with numerous branches, falling into the Mississippi thirty-five 
miles below Galena, to intercept the Indians if they attempted 
in that direction to escape by re-crossing the river. Gen. At- 
kinson remained with the infantry at Dixon two days, and then 
marched, accompanied by the brigade of Gen. Henry, towards 
the country of the four lakes, farther up Rock river. Colonel 
Jacob Fry, with his regiment, was despatched in advance by 
Gen. Henry, to meet some friendly Indians of the Pottawatto- 
mie tribe, commanded by Caldwell, a half-bred, and Shaubanie, 
the war-chief of the nation. 

Gen. Atkinson having heard that Black Hawk had concen- 
trated his forces at the four lakes and fortified his position, with 
the intention of deciding the fate of the war by a general battle, 
marched with as much haste as prudence would warrant when 
invading a hostile and wilderness country with undisciplined 


forces, where there was no means of procuring intelligence of 
the number or whereabouts of the enemy. 

On the 30th of June he passed through the Turtle village, a 
considerable town of the Winnebagoes, then deserted by its 
inhabitants, and encamped one mile above it, in the open prai- 
rie near Eock river. He believed that the hostile Indians were 
in that immediate neighborhood, and prepared to resist their 
attack, if one should be made. That night the Indians were 
prowling about the encampment tiU morning. Continual 
alarms were given by the sentinels, and the whole command 
was frequently paraded in order of battle. The march was 
continued next day, and nothing occurred until the army arrived 
at Lake Kuskanong, except the discovery of trails and Indian 
signs, the occasional sight of an Indian spy, and the usual abun- 
dance of false alarms amongst men but little accustomed to 
war. Here the army was joined by Gen. Alexander's brigade ; 
and after Major Ewing and Col. Fry, with the battalion of the 
one and the regiment of the other, had thoroughly examined 
the whole country round about, and had ascertained that no 
enemy was near, the whole force again marched up Rock river 
on the east side, to the Burnt village, another considerable town 
of the Winnebagoes, on the White Water river, where it was 
joined by the brigade of Gen. Posey, and a battalion of a hun- 
dred men from Wisconsin, commanded by Major (now Gen- 
eral) Dodge. 

During the march to this place the scouts had captured an 
old blind Indian of the hostile band, nearly famished with hun- 
ger, who had been left behind by his friends, (for want of ability 
to travel,) to fall into the hands of his enemies, or to perish 
by famine. Being, as he said, old, blind, and helpless, he was 
never consulted or advised with by the other Indians, and could 
give no account of the movements of his party, except that they 
had gone further up the river. One historian of the war says 
that the army magnanimously concluded not to kill him, but 


to give him plenty to eat, and leave him behind to end his life 
in a pleasant way by eating himself to death. The old man, 
however, was denied this melancholy satisfaction ; for falling 
in the way of Posey's men as they were marching to the camp, 
he was quickly despatched, even before he had satisfied his nat- 
ural hunger. This barbarous action is an indelible stain upon 
the men of that brigade. At this place, also, Captain Dunn, 
at present a judge in Wisconsin, acting as officer of the day 
of one of the regiments^was shot by a sentinel, and dangerously 

Up to the time of reaching the burnt village, the progress of 
the command had been slow and uncertain. The country was 
comparatively an unexplored wilderness of forest and prairie. 
None in the command had ever been through it. A few, who 
professed to know something of it, volunteered to act as guides, 
and succeeded in electing themselves to be military advisers to 
the commanding general. The numbers of the hostile party 
were unknown ; and a few Winnebagoes who followed the camp, 
and whose fidelity was of a very doubtful character, were from 
necessity much listened to, but the intelligence received from 
them was always delusive. Short marches, frequent stoppages, 
and explorations always unsatisfactory, were the result, giving 
the enemy time to elude the pursuing forces, and every oppor- 
tunity of ascertaining their probable movements and intentions. 

The evening the army arrived at the Burnt village, Captain 
Early, with his company of spies, returned from a scout, and 
reported the main trail of the Indians, not two hours old, to be 
three miles beyond. It was determined to pursue rapidly next 
morning. At an early hour next day, before the troops were 
ready to march, two regular soldiers, fishing in the river one 
hundred and fifty yards from camp, were fired upon by two 
Indians from the opposite shore, and one of them dangerously 
wounded. A part of the volunteers were immediately marched 
up the river in the direction indicated by Captain Early, and 


Col. Fry's regiment, with the regulars, were left behind to con- 
struct bridges, and cross to the point from whicli the Indians 
had shot the regular soldier. A march of fifteen miles up and 
across the river, (fordable above,) proved Captain Early's re- 
port to be incorrect : no trail was discoverable. On crossing 
the river, the troops entered upon the trembling lands, which 
are immense flats of turf, extending for miles in every direction, 
from six inches to a foot in thickness, resting upon water and 
beds of quicksand. A troop, or even a single horseman passing 
over, produced an undulating and quivering motion of the land, 
from which it gets its name. Although the surface is quite 
dry, yet there is no difficulty in procuring plenty of water by 
cutting an opening through the stratum of turf. The horses 
would sometimes, on the thinner portions, force a foot through, 
and fall to the shoulder or ham ; yet, so great is the tenacity 
of the upper surface, that in no instance was there any trouble 
in getting them out. In some places the weight of the earth 
forces a stream of water upwards, which carrying with it and 
depositing large quantities of sand, forms a mound. The 
mound, increasing in weight as it enlarges, increases the press- 
ure upon the water below, presenting the novel sight of a foun- 
tain in the prairie pouring its stream down the side of a mound, 
then to be absorbed by the sand and returned to the waters be- 

Discovering no sign of an enemy in this direction, the de- 
tachment fell back to the Burnt village, and the bridges not 
being yet completed, it was determined to throw over a small 
force on rafts the next day. The Winnebagoes had assured the 
general that the shore beyond was a large island, and that the 
whole of Black Hawk's forces were fortified on it. In conse- 
quence of this information, Captain Early's company were 
crossed on rafts, followed and supported by two companies of 
regulars, under the command of Captain Noel of the army, 
which last were formed in open order across the island, while 


Captain Early proceeded to scour it, reporting afterwards at 
Head Quarters that he had found the trail of a large body of 
Indians ; but Col. William S. Hamilton, having crossed the 
main river three miles below with a party of Menominies, re- 
ported the trail of the whole tribe on the main west shore, about 
ten flays old, proceeding northward ; and it was afterwards as- 
certained that no sign had been seen upon the island but that 
of the two Indians who had fired upon the regular soldiers. 

Eight weeks had now been wasted in fruitless search for the 
enemy, and the commanding general seemed further from the 
attainment of his object than when the second requisition of 
troops was organized. At that time Posey and Alexander 
commanded each a thousand men, Henry took the field with 
twelve hundred and sixty-two, and the regular force under Col. 
Taylor, now Major General, amounted to four hundred and fifty 
more. But by this time the volunteer force was reduced nearly 
one half. Many had entered the service for mere pastime, and 
a desire to participate in the excellent fun of an Indian cam- 
paign, looked upon as a frolic ; and certainly but few volun- 
teered with well-defined notions of the fatigues, delays, and 
hardships of an Indian war in an unsettled and unknown country. 
The tedious marches, exposure to the weather, loss of horses, 
sickness, forced submission to command, and disgust at the un- 
expected hardships and privations of a soldier's life, produced 
rapid reductions in the numbers of every regiment. The great 
distance from the base of operations ; the difficulties of trans- 
portation either by land or water, making it impossible at any- 
time to have more than twelve days' provisions beforehand, 
still further curtailed the power of the commanding general. 
Such was the wastefulness of the volunteers, that they were 
frequently one or two days short of provisions before new sup- 
plies could be furnished. 

At this time there were not more than four days' rations in 


the hands of the commissary, the enemy might be weeks in ad- 
vance ; the volunteers were fast melting away, but the regular 
infantry had not lost a man. To counteract these difficulties, 
Gen. Atkinson found it necessary to disperse his command, for % 
the purpose of procuring supplies. 


Gen. Posey marches to Fort Hamilton Generals Henry and Alexander, and Major Dodge, 
to Fort Winnebago Gen. Atkinson remained behind to build a fort Description of 
the country and the rivers at Fort Winfcebago Gen. Henry informed as to the posi- 
tion of Black Hawk Council of war Agreement to violate orders and march after 
the Indians Alexander's men refuse to march Dodge's horses broke down Arri- 
val of Craig's company Protest of officers and signs of mutiny Put down by Gen. 
Henry His character as a military man March for Rock river Description of 
Rock.river March for Cranberry lake Express to Gen. Atkinson Discovery of the 
retreat of Black Hawk to the Wisconsin Confession of the Winnebagoes March 
for the Wisconsin Thunder storm Privations of the men Arrival at the four 
lakes False alarm Description of the four lakes Gen. Ewing and the spies Maj. 
Dodge Ardour of the men Come close upon the Indians Battle of the Wisconsin 
heights Defeat of the Indians Their retreat across the river Reasons why Gen. 
Henry and the Illinois volunteers never received credit abroad for what they deserv- 
ed Gen. Henry's death His singular modesty Return of the troops to the Blue 
mounds Bad treatment of Henry and his brigade by Gen. Atkinson Gen. Atkinson 
pursues the Indians across the Wisconsin Order of march Henry's men put in 
charge of the baggage They resent but submit Gen. Atkinson in front decoyed by 
the Indians Drawn off on a false scent Henry advances on the main trail Comes 
upon the main body of the Indians and again defeats them before Gen. Atkinson ar- 
rived with the rest of the army Retreat of Black Hawk Indians Sent in pursuit of 
him The one-eyed Decori Capture of Black Hawk and the Prophet Description 
of the Prophet Indian speeches Gen. Scott Discharge of the volunteers Treaty 
of peace Black Hawk and other prisoners taken to Washington Makes the tour 
of the Union, and are returned to their own country, west of the Mississippi. 

ACCORDING to previous arrangements, the several brigades 
took up their lines of march on the 10th of July, for their re- 
spective destinations. Col. Ewing's regiment was sent back to 
Dixon as an escort for Captain Dunn, who was supposed to be 
mortally wounded ; Gen. Posey marched to Fort Hamilton on 
the Peckatonica, as a guard to the frontier country. Henry, 
Alexander and Dodge, with their commands, were sent to Fort 
Winnebago, situate at the Portage, between the Fox and the 
Wisconsin rivers ; whilst Gen. Atkinson himself, fell back with 


the regular forces near to Lake Kush-Konong, and erected a fort, 
which he called by the name of the lake. There he was to re- 
main until the volunteer generals could return with supplies. 
Henry and Alexander made Fort Winnebago in three days, 
Major Dodge having preceded them a few hours by a forced 
march, which so fatigued and crippled his horses, that many of 
them were unable to continue the campaign. Their route had 
been in a direct line, a distance of eighty miles, through a coun- 
try which was remarkably swampy and difficult. On the night 
of the 12th of July, a stampede occurred amongst the horses. 
This is a general wild alarm, the whole body of them breaking 
loose from their fastenings, and coursing over the prairie at full 
speed, their feet all striking the ground with force and sounding 
like rolling thunder, and by this means an hundred or more of 
them were lost or destroyed in the swamps, or on a log cause- 
way, three miles in length, near the fort. 

A view of the country from the camp at Fort Winnebago, 
presented the most striking contrariety of features. Looking 
towards the fort, a neat and beautiful erection among the green 
hills east of Fox river, were seen the two streams, the Fox and 
the Wisconsin, with sources several hundred miles apart, the 
former in the east, the latter in the north, gliding as if to mingle 
their waters, until, when within three miles of each other they 
sweep, the one to the northeast, the other to the southwest, as if 
they had met only to take a gallant adieu before parting in 
their adventurous journey, the one to deposite his sweet and 
limpid waters in the gulf of St. Lawrence, the other to contrib- 
ute his stained and bitter flood to the gulf of Mexico. The 
course of the Fox is short, crooked, narrow and deep, and 
abounds with the finest varieties of fish ; whilst the Wisconsin 
is long, wide, and comparatively straight, and is said to have no 
fish; this, perhaps, is owing to its passage through the cypress 
swamps which render it unwholesome to the finny tribes, and 
is also the cause of the discoloration of its waters. This river 


is shallow, and abounds in sand -bars, which, by constant shifting 
renders its navigation by steamboats, dangerous, if not impracti- 
cable. Besides the rivers, the face of the country is no less re- 
markable. The strip of land between the two rivers is low, flat, 
and swampy, with no other growth but a coarse variety of rush, 
and at high-water so completely overflowed by the two streams as 
to convert all that part of the United States east of the Missis- 
sippi into a great island ; a wisp of straw being thrown into the 
flood where the two currents meet, will be divided, and one 
portion floated to the northern, the other to the southern sea. 
East of Fox river, the land is gently undulating, presenting an 
equable distribution of prairie of the richest mould, and timber 
of the finest growth, unobstructed by underbrush, and furnish- 
ing an abundance of a plant called pea- vine, an excellent food 
for cattle. West of the Wisconsin, at the water's edge, com- 
mence those frowning steps of rugged and barren rock, garnish- 
ed with black and bristling pines and hemlock, which, as the 
hunter progresses towards the Mississippi, he finds to terminate 
in a region mountainous, dreary, terrific, and truly alpine, in all 
its features. 

Two days were occupied at the fort in getting provisions ; on 
the last of which the Winnebago chiefs there reported that 
Black Hawk and his forces were encamped at the Manitou vil- 
lage, thirty-five miles above Gen. Atkinson, on Rock river. In 
a council held between Alexander, Henry, and Dodge, it was 
determined to violate orders, by marching directly to the en- 
emy, with the hope of taking him by surprise ; or at least put- 
ting him between them and Gen. Atkinson ; thus cutting off 
his further retreat to the north. Twelve o'clock on the 15th, 
was appointed as the hour to march. Gen. Henry proceeded 
at once to reorganize his brigade, with a view to disencumber 
himself of his sick and dismounted men, that as little as possi- 
ble might impede the celerity of his march. Gen. Alexander 
soon announced that his men were unwilling, and had refused 


to follow ; and Major Dodge reported his horses so much dis- 
abled by their late inarch, that he could not muster a force 
worth taking along. Gen. Henry was justly indignant at the 
insubordination and defection of his companions in arms, and 
announced his purpose to march in pursuit of the enemy alone, 
if he could prevail upon but fifty men to follow him. But 
directly after this, a company of mounted volunteers, under the 
command of Capt. Craig, from Apple river and Galena, in Illi- 
nois, with fresh horses, arrived at Fort Winnebago to join Major 
Dodge's battalion, which now made his force of men and horses 
fit for service, one hundred and twenty in the whole. General 
Henry's brigade, exclusive of Dodge's battalion, amounted to 
between five and six hundred men, but not more than four 
hundred and fifty had horses fit for service. On returning to 
his own brigade, Gen. Henry discovered that his own men, 
infected by association with those of Gen. Alexander, were on 
the point of open mutiny. 

Lieutenant-colonel Jeremiah Smith, of Fry's regiment, pre- 
sented to Gen. Henry a written protest, signed by all the offi- 
cers of the regiment, except the colonel, against the intended 
expedition ; but these mutineers had to deal with an officer of 
rare abilities as a commander of militia. General Henry was 
a complete soldier ; he was gifted with the uncommon talent 
of commanding with sternness, without giving offence ; of for- 
cing his men to obey, without degrading them in their own esti- 
mation ; he was brave without rashness, and gave his orders 
with firmness and authority, without any appearance of bluster. 
In his mere person he looked the commander ; in a word, he 
was one of those very rare men, who are gifted by nature with 
the power to command militia ; to be at the same time feared 
and loved : and with the capacity of inspiring the soldiery with 
the ardor, impetuosity, and honorable impulses of their com- 
mander. General Henry made no other reply to this protest 
than to order the officers under arrest for mutiny ; appointing 


at the same time Collins' regiment as a guard, to escort them 
to Gen. Atkinson. Colonel Smith, in great trepidation, pro- 
tested that he did not know what the paper contained when he 
signed it, and implored the general's permission to consult a 
few moments with the officers before further steps were taken. 
This being accorded, in less than ten minutes they were all col- 
lected at the general's quarters, manifesting the utmost contri- 
tion, many of them with tears, and pledging themselves, if for- 
given, to return to their duty and never be guilty of the like 
offence again. The general, than whom none better understood 
human nature, or had more capacity to act on it, made them a 
few remarks, tempered with dignity and kindness ; the officers 
returned to their duty, and it is but doing them justice to say, 
that from that hour, no men ever behaved better. Alexander's 
brigade marched back to General Atkinson. 

From this place Gen. Henry took up his line of march on 
the 15th of July, accompanied by Poquette, a half-breed, and 
the " White Pawnee," a Winnebago chief, as guides, in quest 
of the Indians. On the route to the head waters of Rock river 
he was frequently thrown from a direct line by intervening 
swamps extending for miles. Many of them were crossed, but 
never without difficulty and the loss of horses. After three 
days' hard marching, his forces encamped upon the beautiful 
stream of Rock river. This river is not exceeded by any 
other in natural beauty. Its waters are clear ; its bottom and 
banks rocky or pebbly. The country on each side is either 
rolling, rich prairie, or hills crowned with forests free from un- 
dergrowth, and its current sweeps to the Mississippi, deep and 
bold. Here three Winnebagoes gave intelligence that Black 
Hawk was encamped at Cranberry lake, further up the river. 
Relying upon this information, it was settled by Gen. Henry 
to make a forced march in that direction the next morning. 
Doctor Merryman of Springfield, and W. W. Woodbridge of 
Wisconsin, were despatched as expresses to Gen. Atkinson. 


They were accompanied by a chief called Little Thunder, as 
guide ; and having started about dark, and proceeded on their 
perilous route about eight miles to the south-west, they came 
upon the fresh main trail of the enemy, endeavoring to escape 
by way of the Four Lakes across the Wisconsin river. At the 
sight of the trail, the Indian guide was struck with terror, and, 
without permission, retreated back to the camp. Merriman 
and Woobbridge returned also, but not until Little Thunder 
had announced his discovery in the Indian tongue to his coun- 
trymen, who were in the very act of making their escape when 
they were stopped by Major Murray M'Connell, and taken to 
the tent of Gen. Henry, to whom they confessed that they had 
come into camp only to give false information, and favor the 
retreat of the Indians ; and then, to make amends for their per- 
fidy, and perhaps, as they were led to believe, to avoid imme- 
diate death, they disclosed all they knew of Black Hawk's 
movements. Gen. Henry prudently kept the treachery of 
these Indians a secret from his men, for it would have taken all 
his influence and that of all his officers to save their lives, if 
their perfidious conduct had been known throughout the camp. 
The next morning (July 19th) by daylight, everything was 
ready for a forced march, but first another express was despatch- 
ed to Gen. Atkinson. All cumbrous baggage was thrown away. 
The tents and most of the camp equipage were left in a pile in 
the wilderness. Many of the men left their blankets and all 
their clothes, except the suit they wore, and this was the case 
in every instance with those who had been so unfortunate as to 
lose their horses, such as these took their guns, ammunition, 
and provisions upon their backs, and travelled over mountain 
and plain, through swamp and thicket, and kept up with the 
men on horseback. All the men now marched with a better 
spirit than usual. The sight of the broad, fresh trail, inspired 
every one with a lively hope of bringing the war to a speedy 
end ; and even the horses seemed to share somewhat in the 


general ardor. There was no murmuring, there was no excuse 
or complaining, and none on the sick report. The first day, in 
the afternoon, they were overtaken by one of those storms 
common on the prairies, black and terrific, accompanied by 
torrents of rain, and the most fearful lightning and thunder ; 
but the men dashed on through thickets almost impenetrable, 
and swamps almost impassable, and that day marched upwards 
of fifty miles. During this day's march, Gen. Henry, Major 
M'Connell, and others of the General's staff, often dismounted 
and marched on foot, giving their horses to the footmen. 

That night, the storm raged till two o'clock in the morning. 
The men, exhausted with fatigue, threw themselves supperless 
upon the muddy earth, covered with water, for a little rest. 
The rain made it impossible to kindle a fire or to cook, so 
that both officers and men contented themselves with eating 
some raw meat and some of the wet flour which they carried 
in their sacks, and which was converted into a soft dough by 
the drenching rains. A similar repast served them next 
morning for breakfast. The horses had fared but little better 
than the men. The government furnished nothing for them 
to eat, and they were obliged to subsist that night upon a 
scanty grazing, confined within the limits of the camp. 

Next morning (July 20), the storm had abated, and all were 
on the march 'by daylight, and after a march as hard as that 
on the day before, the army encamped at night upon the 
banks of one of the four lakes forming the source of the 
Catfish river in Wisconsin, and near the place where the In- 
dians had encamped the previous night. At this place the men 
were able to make fires and cook their suppers, and this they 
did with a hearty good will, having travelled about one hun- 
dred miles without tasting anything but raw food, and without 
having seen a spark of fire. That night they again laid upon the 
ground, many of them with nothing but the sky for a covering, 
and slept soundly and sweetly, like men upon their beds at 


home. All were in fine spirits and high expectation of over- 
taking the Indians next day, and putting an end to the war by 
a general battle. The night did not pass, however, without an 
alarm. One of the sentinels posted near the bank of the lake, 
fired upon an Indian gliding in his canoe slyly and stealthily to 
the shore. Every man was aroused and under arms in an in- 
stant, but nothing followed to continue the alarm. A small 
black speck could be seen by aid of the star-light on the sur- 
face of the lake, but no enemy was visible. 

The march was continued by early light in the morning, (July 
21,) with unabated ardor ; passing round the lake on the edge 
of the water ; and after crossing a tongue of land running 
down between two of the lakes, the army forded a considerable 
stream, the outlet of one lake running into another. After 
this, they ascended a rising ground from whence could be seen, 
at one view, three of these beautiful sheets of water. The 
lakes and the surrounding country of sloping prairies and wood- 
ed hills stretching away in the distance, presented some very 
striking and beautiful scenery. The hand of civilization had 
not then disfigured its natural beauty. The smoke of the log 
cabin and the ragged worm fence were not then to be seen. 
All was wild and silent save the distant roar of surging waters 
lashed into motion by the constant, but ever-varying winds. 
The men, however, had but little time to contemplate the beauty 
of the scenery around them. They were hurried forward by 
the continual cry of " Close up your ranks," as the officers, 
whose duty it was to direct and accelerate the march, rode 
along the lines, admonishing them to keep up with the advanced 
guard. This day's march was still harder than any which pre- 
ceded it. The men on foot were forced into a run to keep up 
with the advancing horsemen. The men on horseback carried 
their arms and baggage for them by turns. 

Major William Lee D. EwSng (since a Major General) com- 
manded the spy battalion, and with him was joined the battalion 


of Major Dodge, of Wisconsin. These two officers, with their 
commands, were in the advance ; but with all their ardor they 
were never able to get out of sight of the main body. Geii. 
Henry, who remained with the main body, despatched Major 
M'Connell with the advance guard, so as to get the earliest 
intelligence of any unusual occurrence in front. About noon 
of this day, the advance guard was close upon the rear-guard of 
the retreating enemy. It is to be regretted "that we have no 
account of the management, the perils, and hair-breadth escapes 
of the Indians in conducting their retreat. All that we know 
is, that for many miles before they were overtaken their broad 
trail was strewn with camp kettles and baggage of various kinds, 
which they had thrown away in the hurry of their flight. The 
sight of these articles encouraged Henry's men to press for- 
ward, hoping soon to put an end to this vexatious border war 
which had so much disturbed the peace of our northern frontier 
settlements. About noon, also, the scouts ahead came sud- 
denly upon two Indians, and as they were attempting to escape 
one of them was killed and left dead on the field. Doctor 
Addison Philleo coming along shortly after, scalped this Indian, 
and for a long time afterwards exhibited the scalp as an evi- 
dence of his valor. Shortly after this, the rear guard of the 
Indians began to make feint stands, as if to bring on a battle. 
In doing so, their design was merely to gain time for the main 
body to reach a more advantageous position. A few shots 
would be exchanged, and the Indians would then push ahead, 
whilst the pursuing force would halt to form in the order of 
battle. In this way the Indians were able to reach the broken 
grounds on the bluffs of the Wisconsin river, by four o'clock in 
the afternoon, before they were overtaken. 

About this time, whilst the advanced guard was passing over 
some uneven ground, through the high grass and low timber, 
they were suddenly fired upon by a body of Indians who had 
here secreted themselves. In an instant Major Ewing's battal- 


ion dismounted and were formed in front, their horses being 
removed into the rear. The Indians kept up a fire from behind 
fallen trees, and none of them could be discovered except by 
the flash and report of their guns. In a few minutes Gen. 
Henry arrived with the main body. The order of battle was 
now formed. Col. Jones' regiment was placed on the right, 
Col Collins' on the left, and Col. Fry's in the rear, to act as a 
reserve. Major Ewing's battalion was placed in front of the 
line, and Major Dodge's on the extreme right. In this order 
Gen. Henry's forces marched into battle. An order was given 
to charge upon the enemy, which was handsomely obeyed by 
Ewing's battalion and by Jones' and Collins' regiments. 

The Indians retreated before this charge obliquely to the 
right, and concentrated their main force in front of Dodge's 
battalion, showing a design to turn his flank. General Henry 
sent an order by Major M'Connell to Major Dodge, to advance 
to the charge ; but this officer being of opinion that the foe was 
too strong for him, requested a reinforcement. Col. Fry's 
regiment was ordered to his aid, and formed on his right. And 
now a vigorous charge was made from one end of the line to 
the other. 

Colonel Fry's regiment made a charge into the bush and high 
grass where the Indians were concealed, and received the fire 
of their whole body. This fire was briskly returned by Fry 
and Dodge and their men, who continued to advance, the In- 
dians standing their ground until the men came within bayonet 
reach of them, then fell back to the west, along the high broken 
bluffs of the Wisconsin, only to take a new position amongst 
the thickest timber and tall grass in the head of a hollow, lead- 
ing to the Wisconsin river bottom. Here it seemed, they were 
determined to make a firm stand ; but being charged upon in 
their new position, by Ewing's battalion, and by Collins' and 
Jones' regiments, they were driven out of it, some of them 
being pursued down the hollow, and others again to the west, 



along the Wisconsin heights, until they descended the bluffs to 
the Wisconsin bottom, which was here about a mile wide and 
very swampy, covered with thick tall grass, above the heads 
of men on horseback. It being now dark night, further pursuit 
was stopped, and Gen. Henry and his forces lay upon the field 
of battle. That night, Henry's camp was disturbed by the 
voice of an Indian, loudly sounding from a distant hill, as if 
giving orders or desiring a conference. It afterwards appeared 
that this was the voice of an Indian chief, speaking in the Win- 
nebago language, stating that the Indians had their squaws and 
families with them, that they were starving for provisions, and 
were not able to fight the white people ; and that if they were 
permitted to pass peaceably over the Mississippi, they would 
do no more mischief. He spoke this in the Winnebago tongue, 
in hopes that some of that people were with Gen. Henry, and 
would act as his interpreter. No Winnebagoes were present, 
they having run at the commencement of the action ; and so 
his language was never explained until after the close of the war. 

Next morning early, Gen. Henry advanced to the Wisconsin 
river, and ascertained that the Indians had all crossed it, and 
made their escape into the mountains between that and the 
Mississippi. It was ascertained after the battle, that the Indian 
loss amounted to sixty-eight left dead on the field, and a large 
number of wounded, of whom twenty-five were afterwards found 
dead along the Indian trail leading to the Mississippi. General 
Henry lost one man killed and eight wounded. It appeared 
that the Indians, knowing that they were to fight a mounted 
force, had been trained to fire at an elevation to hit men on 
horseback ; but as Gen. Henry had dismounted his forces, and 
sent his horses into the rear, the Indians overshot them ; and 
this will account for the very few men killed and wounded by 

We have now to account for the fact that Gen. Henry never 
received abroad the credit which was due him as the com- 


mander, in this battle, or in any other during the war. In the 
morning after the battle, Col. Fry heard Major Dodge and Dr. 
Philleo consulting privately about writing an account of it to 
be published. He immediately conveyed this intelligence to 
Gen. Henry, suggesting that Dodge would claim all the credit, 
and advising Gen. Henry, as the only means of securing his 
rightful claim, to send an express immediately to Galena, with 
his own account of the battle. This prudent advice Henry 

Doctor Philleo was the editor of a newspaper at Galena, 
called " the Galenian," then the only newspaper published north 
of Springfield, either in Illinois or Wisconsin. The war news 
always appeared first in this paper. The editor belonged to 
Dodge's battalion, and when he wrote home the news to be 
published in his paper, he never mentioned Henry, except as a 
subordinate, or any other officer but Dodge. His letters chron- 
icled the doings of Gen. Dodge only, and by calling him Gen- 
eral Dodge, it was made to appear that he was the commander 
of the whole brigade, instead of a single battalion attached to it. 
These letters were copied into all other newspapers throughout 
the United States, as the authentic news of the war ; and never 
having been contradicted, the people abroad were thus deluded 
into the belief that Dodge was the great hero of the war. 
Henry was lost sight of; and now, in many histories, we find 
it asserted that Dodge was the commander in this war ; thus 
throwing out of sight both Generals Henry and Atkinson, as 
well as General Zachary Taylor, who, as colonel, commanded 
the regular force. The world loves to be humbugged. This 
delusion was of immense advantage to Gen. Dodge; for al- 
though he was a man of very high merit, yet would he have 
been more fortunate than thousands of others equally meritori- 
ous, if this delusion did not assist much in getting the great 
name he afterwards obtained. He was first appointed a colo- 
nel of dragoons ; then to be governor of Wisconsin territory ; 


then he was elected a delegate from the territory to Congress ; 
and after this he was again appointed governor of the territory. 
And it is but just to say of him, that independently of the re- 
nown he acquired in the Black Hawk war, he enjoyed great 
popularity and influence.* 

* DODGEVILLE, March 17th, 1847. 

SIR, The enclosed paragraph taken from the " Milwakee Senti- 
nel and Gazette," of the 17th ult., purports to have been a lecture read 
by you in the Senate chamber, during the late session of the Illinois 
legislature, giving the " true history of the Black Hawk war." Will 
you please inform me at your earliest convenience, if you made the 
statements attributed to you in the paragraph in question ? 

Respectfully, your servant, 


April 13, 1847. j 

SIR, After an absence of two weeks, on my return to this place, I 
had the honor to receive your note of the 7th ult., which was forward- 
ed to me from Springfield. The extract cut from the Wisconsin paper, 
endorsed in your letter, does not contain a correct account of my lec- 
ture on the Black Hawk war. It is erroneous in many important par- 
ticulars. That lecture was prepared from my own personal knowledge 
of the campaign in 1831 ; and from information of the various opera- 
tions in 1832, from various persons ; more particularly from Maj. Gen. 
Jacob Fry, of Lockport ; Maj. Murray McConnell, of Jacksonville ; Dr. 
E. H. Merriman, of Springfield ; Maj. Gen. Wm. Lee D. Ewing, late of 
Springfield, and the Hon. John J. Stewart, late a member of Congress. 
Gen. Fry commanded a regiment under Gen. Henry ; Gen. Ewing com- 
manded the spy battalion of Henry's brigade; Maj. McConnell was 
brigade-major of Henry's brigade; Dr. Merriman was adjutant of Col- 
lins' regiment in Henry's brigade ; and Mr. Stewart commanded a bat- 
talion in it. I have not had an opportunity to see and converse with 
Cols. Collins and Jones, who commanded the other two regiments be- 
longing to Henry's command in the battle of the Wisconsin. But Gen. 
Fry, Gen. Ewing and Maj. McConnell, were with Gen. Henry through- 
out the war. In collecting the facts and writing out the history of this 
war, my only object has been to arrive at, and state the truth ; for his- 


General Henry's subsequent career was less brilliant, but 
this was because it was cut short by death. Although he was 
a man of very powerful and muscular make, not long after the 
war he was attacked with the consumption. He went to the 
South for his health, and died at New Orleans on the 4th day 

tory without truth, is of but little value. I concluded, therefore, be- 
fore publishing anything on the subject, I would deliver this portion 
of the history of Illinois as a lecture, at Springfield, during the session 
of the legislature, there being then many persons present, who had 
been out in the war, and who might be able to correct me when I-might 
be in error. Such corrections were invited ; and accordingly I have 
received many, of which I have freely availed myself since. 

It is my intention to publish a history of Illinois in the course of the 
summer, but as yet I have neither directly nor indirectly authorized any 
of the newspaper notices of it made last winter ; nor have I given any 
sort of publicity to the matter more than a lecture can give. In the mean- 
time, I will be glad to avail myself of any information which you may 
have it in your power to communicate ; and if I cannot, consistently 
with other evidence, follow your statements implicitly, they will be 
published entire, if not too voluminous. 

According to my present information I have felt it to be my duty to 
insist that Gen. Henry was the principal man in this war ; that he com- 
manded and directed all the movements of the troops from Fort Winne- 
bago to Rock river, and from thence to the Wisconsin, and throughout 
the battle which there ensued ; that he commanded a brigade of three 
regiments and a spy battalion ; and that you commanded but a single 
battalion of one hundred and twenty men. I have stated that on the 
march, your command, and the spies commanded by the late Gen. Ew- 
ing, were in front as the advance guard ; that in the battle you was 
stationed on the extreme right, but when a charge of the whole line 
was ordered by Gen. Henry, the Indians collected on the right in front 
of your battalion, showing a design to turn your flank, which caused 
Gen. Henry to order Col. Fry's regiment to form on your right; which 
being done, you and Gen. Fry charged upon and drove the Indians into 
the head of a hollow leading down from the bluffs of the Wisconsin, and 
from thence, upon the charge of the whole brigade they were routed, and 
fled down the bluffs and across the bottom to the Wisconsin river. 
Gen. Fry and Maj. McConnell say, that your battalion did not come 


of March, 1834. Such was the amiable modesty and unpre- 
tending merit of this man, that he never let it be known to the 
strangers among whom he resided, in his last sickness, that he 
was Gen. Henry of the Black Hawk war. This fact was dis- 
covered to them only after his death. He left no family to in- 

into the action until re-enforced by Fry's regiment. Maj. McConnell 
says that he bore the order from Gen. Henry to you to charge on the 
Indians, but that you thought you was not strong enough. He return- 
ed with this answer to Gen. Henry, and then Henry sent Fry to re-en- 
force you. Gen. Fry says, that when the Indians first began the attack 
you was in advance with Gen. Ewing's battalion, and that you and 
your battalion immediately fell back into line. This last fact, I see 
that I omitted to state in my lecture. I have also been informed that 
you would not agree to march from Fort Winnebago in pursuit of the 
Indians, thereby disobeying the orders of Gen. Atkinson, without a 
written order from Gen. Henry. This, also, I see I have omitted in my 
lecture. I see upon examination, that I said nothing whatever about 
written orders. 

I have also stated that when Gen. Atkinson pursued the Indians 
across the "Wisconsin, your battalion was put in advance with the reg- 
ulars; and that Gen. Henry's brigade was put in the rear with the bag- 
gage, by way of degrading him and his men, as they understood the 
matter ; that when Atkinson's advance reached within four or five 
miles of the Mississippi, it was fired on by about twenty Indians ; that 
he pursued them with all his forces, (yours included,) except Henry's 
brigade, to a place on the river, about two or three miles above the en- 
campment of the main body of Indians ; that Henry coming up in the 
rear, and as yet being without orders, pursued the main trail of the In- 
dians directly to the river, where his brigade was the first to attack 
their main body, and had killed or driven the principal part of them 
into the river, or over a slough on to a little willow island, before Gen. 
Atkinson came up with his forces, including your battalion. These are 
the principal matters stated by me, so far as you and Gen. Henry are 

I have been informed by Gen. Fry, that directly after the battle of 
the Wisconsin, he heard you and Dr. Philleo, talking about writing out 
and sending away an account of the battle ; that he mentioned the cir- 
cumstance to Gen. Henry, and urged Henry immediately to write out 


herit his honors and vindicate his fame. After his death, the 
selfishness of the many suffered the matter to rest. No one 
felt interested to vindicate the rights of the dead against the 
false claims of the living. If I had not undertaken to write 
this history, I am certain that I never should have thought of 

his report, and send it to Galena by express to be published, as the only 
mode of securing the credit due to himself ; but Henry neglected to do 
so. This I have stated. I am informed also, by Fry, Merriman, Mc- 
Connell and Stuart, that you did write a letter to Gen. Street, or some 
other person, giving an account of the battle, in -which you said nothing 
of Gen. Henry. But as I do not remember seeing the letter, I have not 
attempted to speak of its contents. It is said that this letter was pub- 
lished in the St. Louis papers, and from them was extensively copied 
throughout the Union, I have made no search as yet in St. Louis for it, 
and do not intend to speak of its contents unless I can find it ; and then 
they will be stated correctly. 

I do not personally know that Doctor Philleo -was with you in this 
campaign ; but during the war I was a reader of the " Galenian" news- 
paper of which he was editor. It contained many letters from the Doc- 
tor giving accounts of your operations, and saying but little of other 
officers. I remember, also, that these letters in the " Galenian" were 
extensively republished in other papers, from which I have inferred 
that this is the true cause why Gen. Henry and the Illinois volunteers 
have never received credit abroad for what they deserved in this war. 

It is not true that I stated you were first brought into notice by this 
war, as is asserted in the Wisconsin paper; or that honors and offices 
were showered upon you and your family in consequence of your re- 
nown acquired in this war. But it is true that I have traced the par- 
allel between your good fortune and that of Gen. Henry, and I stated 
expressly in my lecture that independently of the renown which you 
acquired in the Black Hawk war, you have enjoyed great popularity 
and influence. 

It has been stated to me that after the war you endeavored to get 
Doctor Philleo the appointment of surgeon in the army, but that he 
could not pass an examination before the Medical Board. Will you 
allow me to ask you how is this ? 

Doctor Merriman has informed me in writing, that when Henry, Alex- 
ander, and yourself, were sent to Fort Winnebago fot supplies, you pre- 


doing it. And now whilst I attempt it, I wish to do General 
Dodge no injustice. That he is a brave, meritorious officer, I 
make no doubt ; and in this history I have cheerfully given him 
all the credit he is entitled to. But / deny most positively that 
he was the principal man, either in rank or. merit, in the Black 

ceded the others a few hours by a forced march, by which most of your 
horses were disabled ; that after agreeing to march with Henry in pur- 
suit of the Indians, and after Alexander's brigade had mutinied and 
refused to march, you reported to Gen. Henry that you could raise no 
more than forty horses ; that Henry insisted that you should go even 
with that number ; that you replied you would see what you could do ; 
and just at that time some fresh horsemen came up, making your com- 
mand, which you took along, one hundred and twenty effective men. 
I would be pleased to have your statement concerning this. 

I have noticed in the most flattering manner your engagement, or 
rather charge upon the Indians at Peckatonica. A short statement of 
this affair will be thankfully received. 

The Illinois volunteers, when they returned from the war, unani- 
mously gave Gen. Henry the credit of being the principal man in it, 
and such has been the current and universal belief in this State ever 
since now nearly fifteen years. This has undoubtedly had its influ- 
ence on my mind, and as yet I perceive no good reason why it ought 
not to have an influence. Be pleased to direct your future correspon- 
dence to Peoria, to which place I intend to remove my family in a few 

I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Dodgeville, Wisconsin. f 

I regret exceedingly that after waiting about five months, nothing 
has been received from Gov. Dodge in answer to the foregoing letter. 
From the evidence before me, I have been conscientiously of opinion 
that Gov. Dodge was not, and that Gen. Henry was, entitled to the 
credit of being the hero of the Black H.awk war ; that Dodge, whether 
designedly or not on his part, has been for the last fifteen years wear- 
ing the laurels due to Henry ; and I have endeavored to set forth that 
opinion with manly independence. If, however, Gen. Dodge, after 


. Hawk war. In doing so, I have no motive but a generous one. 
It is simply to do justice to the memory of the great and meri 
torious dead to the memory of him who, being removed from 
the scene of action, has no further power to do me either good 
or harm. And in doing so, I may be fortunate not to expose 
myself to the enmity of the powerful living, who can do me 
both or either. 

In Illinois, General Henry's merits have been always duly 
appreciated. He was the idol of the volunteers and the people, 

commencing a correspondence on the subject, had seen proper to con- 
tinue it in answer to the foregoing letter, and had communicated any 
facts calculated to weaken the force of that opinion, he should have had 
the full benefit of his communications. 

Since writing the foregoing, I have found the following in Files' 
Register of the 18th August, 1832 : " INDIAN WAR. We have received 
the ' Missouri Republican' extra of the 1st instant, confirming the in- 
telligence published in our paper of Thursday of the defeat of the In- 
dians by General Dodge at the Wisconsin. The following letter from 
General Dodge gives a hope that the remnant of the Indians may be 
overtaken : 

"CAMP WISCONSIN, July 22, 1832. 

" We met the enemy yesterday near the Wisconsin river, and oppo- 
site the old Sack village, after a close pursuit for near a hundred miles. 
Our loss was one man killed and eight wounded. From the scalps taken 
by the Winnebagoes as well as those taken by the whites, and the In- 
dians carried from the field of battle, we have killed forty of them. 
The number of wounded is not known. We can only judge from the 
number of killed, that many were wounded. From their crippled sit- 
uation, / think we must overtake them, unless they descend the Wis- 
consin by water. If yoa could place a field-piece immediately on the 
Wisconsin that would command the river, you might prevent their 
escape by water. Gen. Atkinson will arrive at the Blue Mounds on 
the 24th, with the regulars and a brigade of mounted men. 7 will 
cross the Wisconsin to-morrow, and should the enemy retreat by land, 
he will probably attempt crossing some twenty miles above Prairie 
du Chien. In that event the mounted men would want some boats for 
the transportation of their arms, ammunition, and provisions. If you 


and if he had lived, his numerous friends would never have per- f 
mitted him to submit to the unworthy artifices used to deprive 
him abroad and in history, of his well-earned glory. If he 
had lived, he would have been elected governor of the State in 
1834, by more than 20,000 majority, and this would have been 
done against his own will, by the spontaneous action of the 

The next day after the battle of the Wisconsin, for want of 
provisions, it was determined to fall back to the Blue Mounds. 
The Winnebagoes, who accompanied Henry during his forced 
march, had displayed their usual treachery and cowardice, by 
retreating at the commencement of the battle. No one, then 
in the brigade, knew enough of the country to act as guide. 
Henry had marched one hundred and thirty miles through an 
unknown and hitherto unexplored country, without roads or 

could procure for us some Mackinaw boats in that event, as well &a 
some provision supplies, it would greatly facilitate our views. Excuse 
great haste. I am, with great respect, your obedient servant, 

Col. commanding Michigan Volunteers." 

The fact that Gen. Dodge wrote the foregoing letter, beginning, " We 
met the enemy," continuing " Our loss was," <fcc., " We have killed 
forty of them," "/think we must overtake them," "/ will cross the 
Wisconsin," <fec., the fact that he points out to the officer at Prairie du 
Chien what to do to intercept the Indians and aid the whites, as if 
Dodge was in reality the commander, the fact that he signs himself 
" Col. commanding Michigan Volunteers," when he only commanded 
a small battalion, the fact that he says nothing of Gen. Henry, who 
was present, but does speak of Gen. Atkinson, who was absent, the fact 
that this letter was republished as war news in all the newspapers 
in the United States, and the fact that Henry himself never made any 
report of the battle, will, whether Gen. Dodge designed it or not, suf- 
ficiently explain the reason why Gen. Henry did not get the credit 
abroad which was and is justly due him, and also the reason why Gen. 
Dodge did get credit, which he never was entitled to, of being the 
bero of the Black Hawk war. 


land-marks, and now found himself in a position from which no 
one with him could direct his way to the settlement. He was 
without provisions for his men, or surgeons or accommodations 
for the wounded ; horses and men were worn down with fatigue, 
and they might be a week or more blundering through the wil- 
derness, before they found their way out. A council was called 
to consider these difficulties; and whilst it was debating the 
course to be pursued, some Indians approached with a white 
flag, who were ascertained to be friendly Winnebagoes. Their 
services were secured as guides. Litters were made for the 
wounded ; and the army was soon on the march for the Blue 
Mounds, which were reached in two days. Here Gen. Henry 
met Gen. Atkinson, with the regulars and Alexander's and^Po- 
sey's brigades. It was soon apparent to Gen. Henry and all 
his officers, that Gen. Atkinson and all the regular officers, 
were deeply mortified at the success of the militia. They did 
not intend that the militia should have had any of the credit in 
the war. The success of Henry, too, was obtained by a breach 
of orders, and in defiance of the counsels of those who professed 
exclusive courage and knowledge in the military art. The reg- 
ular officers evidently envied those of the militia. General At- 
kinson had always relied most upon the regulars ; they had all 
the time been kept in advance, and now it was too much to be 
borne, that whilst they were forted at Lake Kushkowng, the 
Indians had been discovered, pursued, overtaken, and victory 
obtained, by the Illinois militia. 

After spending two days in preparation at the Blue Mounds, 
the whole force, now under the direction of Gen. Atkinson, was 
again on the march in pursuit of the Indians. The Wisconsin 
river was crossed at Helena, and the trail of the Indians was 
struck in the mountains on the other side. And now again the 
regulars were put in front ; Dodge's battalion, and Posey's and 
Alexander's brigades, came next ; and Henry was placed in the 
rear, in charge of the baggage, the commanding general thus 


making known the ungenerous envy which burned in his bosom 
against the brave men who had distinguished themselves in the 
previous battle. It was plain that if other laurels were to be 
won, they were to be worn on other brows. Henry's brigade 
felt that they had been visited with undeserved insult, for they 
well knew that they deserved better treatment, and with one 
voice claimed the post of honor and of danger. But Henry 
was too good an officer to utter a word of complaint, and his 
officers and men, though lately the victors in a well-fought field, 
following his noble example, quietly trudged on in the rear, 
doing the drudgery of the army by taking charge of the bag- 
gage trains. 

Day after day the whole force toiled in climbing and descend- 
ing mountains covered with dense forests, and passing through 
swamps of deep, black mud lying in the intervening valleys. 
But the march was slow compared with that preceding the bat- 
tle of the Wisconsin. In this march were found, all along the 
route, the melancholy evidences of the execution done in that 
battle. The path of the retreating Indians was strewn with 
the wounded who had died on the march, more from neglect 
and want of skill in dressing their wounds than from the mor- 
tal nature of the wounds themselves. Five of them were found 
dead at one place where the band had encamped for the night. 

About 10 o'clock in the morning of the fourth day after 
crossing the Wisconsin, Gen. Atkinson's advance reached the 
bluffs on the east side of the Mississippi. The Indians had 
reached the bank of the river some time before. Some had 
crossed, and others were now making preparations to cross it. 
The steamboat " Warrior," commanded by Captain Throck- 
morton, descended to that place the day before. As the steam- 
boat neared the camp of the Indians, they raised a white flag ; 
but Captain Throckmorton, believing this to be treacherously 
intended, ordered them to send a boat on board, which they 
declined doing. In the flippant language of the Captain, after 


allowing them fifteen minutes to remove their squaws and chil- 
dren, he let slip a six-pounder at them, loaded with canister shot, 
followed by a severe fire of musketry ; " and if ever you saw 
straight blankets, you would have seen them there." Accord- 
ing to the Captain's account, the " fight" continued for an hour, 
and cost the lives of twenty-three Indians, and a large number 
wounded. The boat then fell down the river to Prairie du 
Chien ; and before it could return the next morning^ the land 
forces under Gen. Atkinson had come up and commenced a 
general battle. 

It appears that the Indians were encamped on the bank of 
the Mississippi, some distance below the mouth of the Bad Axe 
river. They were aware that Gen. Atkinson was in close pur- 
suit ; and to gain time for crossing into the Indian country west 
of the Mississippi, they sent back about twenty men to meet 
Gen. Atkinson, within three or four miles of their camp. 
This party of Indians were instructed to commence an attack, 
and then to retreat to the river three miles above their camp. 
Accordingly, when Gen. Atkinson, the order of march being as 
before*, came within three or four miles of the river, he was 
suddenly fired upon from behind trees and logs, the very tall 
grass aiding the concealment of the attacking party. Gen. At- 
kinson rode immediately to the scene of action, and in person 
formed his lines and directed a charge. The Indians gave way, 
and were pursued by Gen. Atkinson with all the army, except 
Henry's brigade, which was in the rear, and in the hurry of 
pursuit left without orders. When Henry came up to the place 
where the attack had been made, he saw clearly that the wily 
stratagem of the untutored savage had triumphed over the 
science of a veteran general. The main trail of the Indians was 
plain to be seen leading to the river lower down. He called 
a hasty council of his principal officers, and by their advice 
marched right forward upon the main trail. At the foot of the 
high bluff bordering the river valley, on the edge of a swamp 


densely covered with timber, drift-wood, and underbrush, 
through which the trail led fresh and broad, he halted his com- 
mand and left his horses. The men were formed on foot, and 
thus advanced to the attack. They were preceded by an ad- 
vanced guard of eight men, who were sent forward as a forlorn 
hope, and were intended to draw the first fire of the Indians, 
and to disclose thereby to the main body where the enemy was 
to be found, preparatory to a general charge. These eight men 
advanced boldly some distance, until they came within sight of 
the river, where they were fired upon by about fifty Indians, 
and five of the eight instantly fell wounded or dead. The other 
three, protected behind trees, stood their ground until the ar- 
rival of the main body under Gen. Henry, which deployed to 
the right and left from the centre. Immediately the bugle 
sounded a charge, every man rushed forward, and the battle 
became general along the whole line. These fifty Indians had 
retreated upon the main body, amounting to about three hun- 
dred warriors, a force equal if not superior to that now contend- 
ing with them. It was soon apparent that they had been taken 
by surprise. They fought bravely and desperately, but seem- 
ingly without any plan or concert of action. The bugle again 
sounded the inspiring music of a charge. The Indians were 
driven from tree to tree, and from one hiding-place to another. 
In this manner they receded step by step, driven by the ad- 
vancing foe, until they reached the bank of the river. Here 
a desperate struggle ensued, but it was of short duration. The 
bloody bayonet, in the hands of excited and daring men, pur- 
sued and drove them forward into the waters of the river. 
Some of them tried to swim the river ; others to take a tem- 
porary shelter on a small willow island near the shore. 

About this time Gen. Atkinson, with the regulars and 
Dodge's battalion, arrived, followed by Posey's and Alexan- 
der's men. But the main work had been done before they 
came up. It had been determined that Henry's men should 


have no share in this day's glory, but the fates, taking advan- 
tage of a blunder of Gen. Atkinson, had otherwise directed. 
After the Indians had retreated into the river and on to the 
island, Henry despatched Major McConnell to give intelligence 
of his movements to his commander, who, whilst pursuing the 
twenty Indians in another direction, had heard the firing where 
Henry was engaged. Gen. Atkinson left the pursuit of the twenty 
Indians, and hastened to share in the engagement. He was met 
by Henry's messenger near the scene of action, in passing through 
which, the dead and dying Indians lying around bore fright- 
ful evidence of the stern work which had been done before his 
arrival. He, however, lost no time in forming his regulars and 
Dodge's battalion for a descent upon the island. These forces, 
together with Ewing's battalion and Fry's regiment, made a 
charge through the water up to their armpits on to the island, 
where most of the Indians had taken their last refuge. All 
the Indians who attempted to swim the river were picked off 
with rifles or found a watery grave before they reached the op- 
posite shore. Those on the island kept up a severe fire from 
behind logs and drift-wood upon the men, as they advanced to 
the charge ; and here a number of regulars and of volunteers 
under Dodge, were killed and wounded. But most of the In- 
dians there secreted were either killed, captured, or driven into 
the water, where they perished miserably, either by drowning 
or by the still more fatal rifle. During these engagements a 
number of squaws were killed. They were dressed so much 
like the male Indians, that, concealed as they were in the high 
grass, it was impossible to distinguish them. It is estimated 
that the Indian loss here amounted to one hundred and fifty 
killed, and as many more who were drowned in the river, and 
fifty prisoners were taken, mostly squaws and children. The 
residue of the Indians had escaped across the river before the 
commencement of the action. The twenty men who first com- 
menced the attack, led by Black Hawk in person, escaped up 


the river. The American loss amounted to seventeen killed, 
one of them a captain of Dodge's battalion and one a lieutenant 
of Fry's regiment, and twelve wounded. 

It appears that Black Hawk, with his twenty men, after the 
commencement of the battle by Gen. Henry, and after Gen. 
Atkinson had ceased pursuit, retreated to the Dalles on the 
Wisconsin river. A number of Sioux and Winnebago Indians 
were sent in pursuit of him. These tribes, though sympathiz- 
ing with the hostile band, were as accomplished in treachery 
to their friends, when friendship was most needed, as are a more 
civilized people. They had lately seen so striking a display of 
the strength of the white man, that, like a more polished race, 
their mean and crafty natures clung to the side of power. 
Headed by the one-eyed Decori, a Winnebago chief, they went 
hi pursuit of Black Hawk and his party, and captured them 
high up on the Wisconsin river. The prisoners were brought 
down to Prairie du Chien and delivered up to Gen. Street, the 
United States Indian Agent. Amongst them was a son of Black 
Hawk, and also the Prophet, a noted chief who formerly re- 
sided at Prophet's town, in Whiteside county, and who was one 
of the principal instigators of the war. He has perhaps been 
correctly described as being about forty years old, tall, straight, 
and athletic ; with a large, broad face ; short, blunt nose ; large, 
full eyes ; broad mouth ; thick lips ; and an abundance of thick, 
coarse, black hair. He was the priest and prophet of his tribe, 
and he mingled with his holy character the cruel feelings of a 
wild beast of the feline tribe ; exhibiting in his looks a delib- 
erate ferocity, and embodying in his person all our notions of 
priestly assassination and clerical murder. He was dressed in 
a suit of very white deer-skin, fringed at the seams, and wore 
a head-dress of white cloth, which rose several inches above his 
head, and held in one hand a white flag, whilst the other hung 
carelessly down by his side. 

The prisoners were presented by the two chiefs, Decori and 


Cheater. The Decori said to Gen. Street : " My father, I now 
stand before you ; when we parted, I told you we would return 
soon. We had to go a great distance, to the Dalles of the 
Wisconsin. You see that we have done what we went to do. 
These are the two you told us to get (pointing to Black Hawk 
and the Prophet). We always do what you tell us, because 
we know it is for our good. My father, you told us to get 
these men, and it would be the cause of much good to the 
Winnebagoes. We have brought them, but it has been very 
hard for us to do it. That one, Mucatah Muhicatah, was a 
great way off. You told us to bring them alive ; we have done 
so. If you had told us to bring their heads alone, we would 
have done it. It would have been easier to do than what we 
have done. My father, we deliver these men into your hands ; 
we would not deliver them even to our brother, the chief, of the 
warriors, but to you, because we know you, and believe you 
are our friend. We want you to keep them safe. If they are 
to be hurt, we do not wish to see it. My father, many little 
birds have been flying about our ears of late, and we thought 
they whispered to us, that there was evil intended for us ; but 
now we hope the evil birds will let our ears alone. My father, 
we know you are our friend, because you take our part ; this 
is the reason we do what you tell us to do. My father, you 
say you love your red children ; we think we love you more 
than you love us. My father, we were promised much good 
if we would take these people. We wait to see what good will 
be done for us. My father, we have come in haste, and are 
tired and hungry ; we now put these men in your hands." 

The foregoing is not given as a specimen of Indian eloquence ; 
but may serve as a fair example of the mean spirit, cringing, 
fawning, and flattering of these rude barbarians, when their nat- 
ural ferocity is overpowered by fear. 

It may at this day be interesting to hear the answer of the 
great Gen. Taylor, who was then a colonel of the regulars, to 


this speech. He said : " The great chief of the warriors told 
me to take the prisoners, when you should bring them, and 
send them to him at Rock Island. I will take them and keep 
them safe, and use them well ; and will send them down by 
you and Gen. Street, when you go down to the council, which 
will be in a few days. Your friend, Gen. Street, advised you 
to get ready and go down to the council. I advise you to do 
so too. I tell you again, that I will take the prisoners, keep 
them safe, and do them no harm. I will deliver them to the 
great chief of the warriors, and he will do with them and use 
them as he may be directed by your great father the president." 
Cheater addressed Gen. Street as follows ; " My father, I am 
young, and don't know how to make speeches. This is the sec- 
ond time I have spoken to you, before the people. My father, 
I am no chief, I am no orator, but I have been allowed to speak 
to you. My father, if I should not speak as well as others, still 
you must listen to me. My father, when you made the speech 
to the chiefs Waugh-kon Dacori, Caramanee, the one-eyed Da- 
cori and others, the other day, I was there and heard you. I 
thought what you said to them you also said to me. You said 
if these two (pointing to Black Hawk and the Prophet) were 
brought to you, a black cloud would never again hang over the 
Winnebagoes. My father, your words entered into my ears 
and into my heart. I left here that very night, and you have 
not seen me since until now. My father, I have been a great 
way. I have had much trouble. But when I remember what 
you said, knowing you were right, I kept right on, and did 
what you told me to do. Near the Dalles on the Wisconsin 
river, I took Black Hawk. No one did it but me. I say this 
in the ears of all present ; they know it to be true. My father, 
I am no chief, but what I have done is for the benefit of my 
nation ; and I now hope for the good that has been promised 
us. My father, that one, Wabokishick, (the prophet,) is my 
kinsman. If he is hurt, I do not wish to see it. The soldiers 


sometimes stick the ends of their guns into the backs of the 
Indian prisoners, when they are going about in the hands of the 
guard. I hope this will not be done to these men." This is a 
more manly specimen of Indian oratory, showing much gener- 
ous feeling, delicately expressed. 

General Atkinson, with the regulars, had gone down to 
Prairie Du Chien, in the steamboat Warrior ; the volunteers 
had marched down by land. Here they met Gen. Scott, who 
had been ordered from the East to take the chief command in 
this war. In eighteen days, Gen. Scott had transported a reg- 
ular force from Fortress Monroe, on the Chesapeake Bay, to 
Chicago. On their route up the lakes, they were dreadfully 
afflicted with the Asiatic cholera, then a new and strange dis- 
ease, making its first appearance on the continent of America. 
It suddenly broke out among his troops at Detroit, about forty 
miles from which place two hundred and eight men were landed, 
under the command of Colonel (now General) Twiggs, of whom 
it is said only nine survived. The main body under Gen. Scott 
came on to Chicago, but were attacked with the same disease at 
Mackinaw, and by the time they arrived at Chicago, the con- 
tagion was general ; and within thirty days, ninety more were 
carried to their graves. Gen. Scott staid at Chicago about a 
month, and reached the Mississippi at Rock Island, some time 
in August 1832 ; but not until the decisive affair at the Bad 
Axe had terminated the war. 

Upon the arrival of the troops at Prairie Du Chien, the vol- 
unteers were ordered to Dixon, where they were discharged, 
and then each merry, brave man, hastened as he pleased to his 
home, his kindred and friends. Black Hawk and his son, 
Naapape, Wishick, and the Prophet, were sent down to Rock 
Island ; and with them went many of the Winnebago chiefs to 
meet Keokuk, and the other chiefs of the Sacs and Foxs. 
But when they arrived at Rock Island, the place appointed for 
a treaty, the cholera had broken out there, so that Gen. Scott 


and Gov. Reynolds, with the prisoners and other chiefs, fell 
down to Jefferson Barracks ; where a treaty was made, by 
which the Sacs and Foxs ceded to the United States a large 
tract of land bordering on the Mississippi, from the Desmoine 
to Turkey river, in the territory of Iowa. The prisoners named 
were held as hostages, for the peaceable behavior of the hostile 
Indians. They were taken to Washington City, where they had 
an interview with President Jackson, to whom, it is reported, 
Black Hawk said : " I am a man and you are another. We 
did not expect to conquer the white people. I took up the 
hatchet to revenge injuries, which could no longer be borne. 
Had I borne them longer, my people would have said, Black 
Hawk is a squaw ; he is too old to be a chief. He is no Sac. 
This caused me to raise the war-whoop. I say no more of it. 
All is known to you. Keokuk once was here ; you took him 
by the hand, and when he wanted to return you sent him back 
to his nation. Black Hawk expects, that like Keokuk, we will 
be permitted to return too." The President told him, that 
when he was satisfied that all things would remain quiet, they 
should return. He then took them by the hand and dismissed 
them. They were then sent to Fortress Monroe, where Black 
Hawk became much attached to Col. Eustiss, the commander 
at the fort. On parting with him, Black Hawk said : " The 
memory of your friendship will remain until the Great Spirit 
says, that it is time for Black Hawk to sing his death song ;" 
then presenting him with a hunting-dress, and some feathers 
of the white eagle, he said : " Accept these, my brother ; I 
have given one like them to the White Beaver," (Gen. Atkin- 
son.) " Accept them from Black Hawk, and when he is far 
away, they will serve to remind you of him. May the Great 
Spirit bless you and your children. Farewell." 

By order of the President, these Indian prisoners, on the 4th 
day of June, 1833, were returned to their own country. They 
were taken to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and other 


cities, to show them the numbers and power of the white peo- 
ple. In all these places they attracted great attention ; crowds 
everywhere collected to see them ; and they even divided the 
attention and curiosity of the public with Gen. Jackson him- 
self, who was then making the tour of the northern States. 
Amongst others, the ladies universally sought their acquaint- 
ance ; and one young lady, (said to be respectable,) in her ad- 
miration of Black Hawk's son, actually kissed him, before 
crowds of people. In return for their politeness and sympathy, 
Black Hawk told them that they were " very pretty squaws." 
They were returned by way of the New York canal and the 
northern lakes, to their own people in the wilderness west of 
the Mississippi. Black Hawk lived until the 3d of October, 
1840, when he was gathered to his fathers at the age of eighty 
years, and was burried on the banks of the great river where 
he had spent his life, and which he had loved so much. 


First efforts for a Railroad system Central Railroad Impeachment of Judge Smith- 
Benjamin Mills Other efforts to impeach judges Effect on the public mind Elec- 
tion of Governor Governor Duncan Creation of a new State Bank Conrad Will 
Means of passing its charter Road Tax Hooking timber Preachers employed to 
preach against trespasses Veto power Banking in Illinois Increase of the Bank 
Stock Slock readily taken Intrigues of the subscribers State Bank goes into the 
hands of Thomas Mather and his friends Effort to build up Alton The Lead trade 
Unfortunate speculations Real estate fund Hostility of the Democrats Illinois 
and Michigan canal George Forquer's report Bill to borrow money Passed with 
an amendment to borrow on the credit of canal lands Great speculation in 1835-'6 
Internal Improvement system Means of passing it Calculations of its funds 
Election of Board of Public Works Bank suspensions, negotiations Election of 
Governor in 1838 Thomas Corlin Cyrus Edwards Maxim of politicians Explo- 
sion of the Internal Improvement system Presidential election of 1840 Further 
history of parties Work on the canal Payment of interest Mr. Cavarly's bill. 

AFTER the Black Hawk war, nothing of importance occurred 
until the session of the legislature of 1832-'3 ; which was dis- 
tinguished for the first efforts seriously made to construct rail- 
roads, and to impeach one of the judges. Several charters 
passed to incorporate railroad companies; and an effort was 
made to procure a charter for a railroad from Lake Michigan 
to the Illinois river, in place of a canal. The stock in none of 
these companies was ever taken. At this session also were 
first proposed in the Senate, surveys for a railroad across the 
State through Springfield ; and the central railroad from Peru 
to Cairo. George Forquer proposed the first, and the last was 
proposed by Lieutenant Governor Jenkins, though the central 
railroad had before been suggested in a newspaper publication 
by Judge Breese, now Senator in Congress. 

Numerously signed petitions from the people were sent up 
to this legislature, praying the impeachment of Theophilus W. 


Smith, one of the justices of the Supreme Court, for oppressive 
conduct and misdemeanors in office. Witnesses were sent for, 
and examined by the House of Representatives. Articles of im- 
peachment were voted and sent up to the Senate, charging the 
judge with selling a clerk's office, of one of the circuit courts ; 
with swearing out vexatious writs returnable before himself, for 
the purpose of oppressing innocent men by holding them to 
bail, and then continuing the suits for several terms in a court 
of which he was judge ; with imprisoning a Quaker for not 
taking off his hat in court ; and with suspending a lawyer from 
practice for advising his client to apply for a change of venue 
to some other circuit, where Judge Smith did not preside. A 
solemn trial was had before the Senate, which sat as a high 
court of impeachment, and which trial lasted for several weeks. 
The judge was prosecuted by a committee of managers from 
the House of Representatives, of which Benjamin Mills was 
chairman. This highly-gifted man shone forth with uncommon 
brilliancy, in three days summing up, by way of conclusion, on 
the side of the prosecution. At last the important day and 
hour came when a vote was to be taken, which was to be a 
sentence of doom to one of the magnates of the land, or was to 
restore him to his high office, and to the confidence of his 
friends. But during the progress of the trial, Judge Smith pro- 
cured some one to go into the Senate chamber regularly after 
every adjournment and gather up the scraps of paper on the 
desks of the senators, upon which they had scribbled during the 
trial. From these, much information was obtained as to the 
feelings of senators, their doubts and difficulties ; and this en- 
abled him and his counsel to direct their evidence and arguments 
to better advantage. The whole country looked with anxious 
expectation for the result of this trial. The vote being taken, 
it appeared that twelve of the senators concurred in believing 
him guilty of some of the specifications ; ten were in favor of 
acquitting him ; and four were excused from voting. It ap- 


pears from the journals, that fifteen senators, being a majority 
of two-thirds of the senators voting, had voted him guilty of 
one or the other of the specifications ; but as twelve was the 
highest vote against him, on any one specification, he was ac- 
quitted. The House of Representatives, by a two-thirds vote, 
immediately passed a resolution to remove him by address, but 
the resolution failed in the Senate. 

Afterwards, other efforts were made to impeach judges for 
misconduct, but without success. So that latterly the legisla- 
ture has refused even to make an effort to bring a judge to trial ; 
knowing that whether guilty or innocent, such an effort can 
have no other result, than to increase the length and expenses 
of the session. This conviction has been so general among in- 
telligent men, that it has had a wonderful effect in creating a 
feeling in favor of limiting the term of service of the judges. 

In Aiigust, 1834, another election came on for Governor, 
which resulted in the choice of Governor Duncan. Lieutenant 
Governor Kinney was again the opposition candidate. By this 
time Governor Duncan had become thoroughly estranged from 
the friends and administration of Gen. Jackson. But as he was 
absent in Congress when he became a candidate, and never re- 
turned until after the election, the rank and file of the Jackson 
party had no means of ascertaining his defection. It was known 
to the anti-Jackson men, and to the leading men of the Jackson 
party. These last had not credit enough with their party friends 
to make them believe it, nor would they believe it, until the 
publication of the new governor's inaugural message, which 
took bold and strong ground against the measures of Gen. Jack- 
son's administration. About this time the anti-Jackson party 
began generally to take the name of Whigs ; and attempted to 
base it, as did the whigs of the revolution, upon opposition to 
the executive power. It may be well here to give some further 
account of Governor Duncan. He was a native of Kentucky ; 
and when quite young, obtained an ensign's commission during 


the war of 1812. He was with Col. Croughan and his handful 
of men, at the defence of Fort Stephenson, against ten times 
their number of British and Indians. This brilliant affair was 
the means of distinguishing all the inferior officers engaged in 
it, and immortalized their commander. 

Governor Duncan was a man of genteel, affable, and manly 
deportment ; with a person remarkably well adapted to win 
the esteem and affections of his fellow-citizens. He had not 
been long a citizen of this State, before he was elected major- 
general of the militia, and then a State Senator, where he dis- 
tinguished himself in the session of 1824-'5, by being the author 
of the first common school law which was ever passed in this 
State. He was next elected to Congress, in wnich he continued 
as a member of the House of Eepresentatives, until he was 
elected governor in 1834. He was a man of but little educa- 
tion or knowledge, except what he had picked up during his 
public services, and he had profited to the utmost by these ad- 
vantages. He had a sound judgment, a firm confidence in his 
own convictions of right, and a moral courage in adhering to 
his convictions, which is rarely met with. 

A new legislature was elected at the same time with Gover- 
nor Duncan, which met at Vandalia hi Dec. 1834. At that 
time, the State was in a very flourishing and prosperous condi- 
tion. Population and wealth were pouring into it from all the 
old States. The great speculation in lands and town lots, 
shortly afterwards so rife, had made only a beginning, and that 
at Chicago alone. The people were industrious, and contented 
with the usual profits of labor, skill, and capital. They were 
free from debt ; and the treasury of the State, for once, had 
become solvent, paying all demands in cash. If the prevalent 
speculations, further east, had not commenced in Illinois, there 
were certainly very many persons who were anxious that they 
should begin ; for at this session, the legislature undertook to 
better the condition of public and private affairs, by chartering 



a new State Bamc, with a capital of one million five hundred 
thousand dollars ; and by reviving the charter of the bank at 
Shawneetown, with a capital of three hundred thousand dollars, 
which had once broke, and had ceased to do business for twelve 
years. This was the beginning of all the bad legislation which 
followed in a few years, and which, as is well known, resulted 
in general ruin. At the commencement of this session, no one 
could have anticipated the creation of a bank. The people, 
with one accord, ever since the failure of the old State Bank of 
1821, had looked upon local banks with disfavor. And the 
whigs at that time, contending as they were, for a national 
bank, were thought to be hostile to banks of any other kind. 
But a large majority of them hi both branches of the legisla- 
ture, voted for these bank charters. The United States Bank, 
vetoed by Gen. Jackson, was about to go out of existence. Mr. 
Woodbury, the United States secretary of the treasury, had 
encouraged the State and local banks to discount liberally, with 
a view to supply the deficiency of currency, anticipated upon 
the discontinuance of the United States Bank. From this, very 
many democrats inferred it to be the wish of Gen. Jackson's 
administration, that State banks should be created where they 
did not exist ; and with this view, these democrats were now 
in favor of the creation of -banks. The intrigues practised to 
pass these charters, are but imperfectly known to me. The 
charter for the State Bank was drawn by Judge Smith, and 
presented in the Senate by Conrad Will, of Jackson county. 
It was in honor of him that the county of Will was subse- 
quently named. He was not remarkable for anything except 
his good-humor, and for having been long a member of the 
legislature. One member of the Senate, who was bitterly hos- 
tile to all banks, and was opposed to the Shawneetown Bank 
bill on constitutional grounds, as he declared from his place in 
the Senate, gave both the bank charters his hearty support hi 
consideration of assistance in passing a law to levy a tax on 


land in the military tract, for road purposes ; and a member 
of the House supported them, because the bank men made him 
a State's attorney. 

It may be thought strange, that an increase of taxes was so 
earnestly insisted on at that early day, as to be made the sub- 
ject of log-rolling in the creation of a bank. But it is to be 
remembered, that the military lands were then owned princi- 
pally by non-residents, who were unwilling to sell except at 
high prices. Every town built, farm made, road opened, bridge 
or school-house erected by the settlers in their vicinity, added 
to the value of these lands, at no expense to the non-resident. 
The people persuaded themselves that in improving their own 
farms, they were putting money into the pockets of men who 
did nothing for the country, except to skin it as fast as any hide 
grew on it. This tax was called for, to make the non-resident 
owner contribute his share to the improvement of the country, 
and thus by burdening his land with taxes, render him more 
willing to sell it. A very bad state of feeling existed towards 
the non-resident land-owners; the timber on their land was 
considered free plunder, to be cut and swept away by every 
comer ; the owners brought suits for damage, but where the 
witnesses and jurors were all on one side, justice was forced to 
go with them. The non-residents at last bethought themselves 
of employing and sending out ministers of the gospel, to preach 
to the people against the sin of stealing, or hooking timber, as 
it was called. These preachers each had a circuit, or district 
of country assigned them to preach in, and were paid by the 
sermon ; but I have never learned that the non-resident land- 
owners succeeded any better in protecting their property by 
the gospel, than they did at law. 

But to return to the banks. How many other converts were 
made in their favor, by similar means, must remain forever a 
secret. The State Bank charter was passed in the House of 
Representatives by a majority of one vote ; so that it may be 


said that making of a State's attorney made a State Bank. The 
vote in the legislature was not a party vote ; the banks were 
advocated and supported upon grounds of public utility and 
expediency ; and like on the vote upon the internal improve- 
ment system, which followed at the next session, both whigs 
and democrats were earnestly invited to lay party feelings 
aside, and all go, at least once, for the good of the country. 
Whenever I have heard this cry since, I have always suspected 
that some great mischief was to be done, for which no party 
desired to be responsible to the people. As majorities have 
the power, so it is their duty to carry on the government. The 
majority, as long as parties are necessary in a free government, 
ought never to divide, and a portion of it join temporarily with 
the minority. It should always have the wisdom and courage 
to adopt all the measures necessary for good government. As 
a general thing, if the minority is anything more than a faction, 
if it has any principles, and is true to them, it will rally an op- 
position to all that is done by the majority ; and even if it is 
convinced that the measures of the majority are right, it is 
safest for the minority to compel the majority to take the un- 
divided responsibility of government. By this means there 
will always be a party to expose the faults and blunders of our 
rulers ; and the majority will be more careful what they do. 
But if the minority mixes itself up with the majority in the 
support of great measures, which prove unfortunate for the 
country, neither party can expose the error without prostrating 
its own favorites. In this way, many persons now prominent 
as politicians in this State, have gone un whipped of justice, who 
otherwise would have been consigned to an unfathomable ob- 
livion. Certain it is, that if this course had been observed in 
the* enactment of the disastrous measures of this and the suc- 
ceeding session of the legislature, the dominant party would 
never have dared, as it did not afterwards dare, to risk the con- 
tinuance of popular favor, by supporting such a policy. 


These banks were brought into existence in violation of the 
plainest principles of political economy. The State was young. 
There was no social or business organization upon any settled 
principles. A large crowd of strangers, as it were, had met 
here for adventure. Our most sagacious citizens were of this 
sort. We had no cities, no trade, no manufactures, and no 
punctuality in the payment of debts. We exported little or 
nothing. We had no surplus capital, and consequently the 
capital for banking must come from abroad. Some few then 
foresaw, what proved true, that it would be difficult to find di- 
rectors and officers for two banks and numerous branches, who, 
from their known integrity and financial knowledge, would be 
entitled to the public confidence. The stockholders would (as 
they did) reside abroad, in other States. They could not su- 
pervise the conduct of the directory in person. It was probable 
that many improvident loans would be made, and that the banks 
would be greatly troubled in making their collections. 

It appears to me that banking cannot be successful in any 
country where the capital comes necessarily from abroad. The 
stockholders will be imposed on. They cannot conveniently 
meet in proper person to examine the banks, but must from 
year to year trust everything to agents, who, the whole world 
says, never manage other people's business as well as their own. 
Banking cannot succeed except in a state of settled, organized 
society, where honesty, truth, and fidelity are paramount ; 
where the merchants and business men have all received a 
regular commercial training ; where they have been educated 
from their youth upwards in the principles and practice of com- 
mercial honor and punctuality ; where a bank protest, by break- 
ing a man and closing his business, is more terrible than im- 
prisonment ; where the laws favor the collection of debts, and 
the whole people are in the habit of prompt payment. In such 
a society, honest and capable men may be readily found to 
manage banks, and those who deal with them may be relied on 


for punctuality. I place great stress upon punctuality, as the 
vital principle of safe banking. Because if the debtors of the 
bank do not pay, the bank itself cannot. 

Nor can banking succeed in a State where the great body of 
the people, or any considerable party of them, are opposed to 
banks. Some project to repeal their charter, or harass them, 
will be started at every session of the legislature, and they will 
be strongly tempted to extend their favors further than safety 
will warrant, for the purpose of silencing opposition. In a com- 
munity like Illinois, there are scores of men in every county 
who, from their business, or rather want of business, and want 
of punctuality, cannot with safety be favored by a bank. Yet 
such men are not destitute of political importance and influence, 
and can give the banks great trouble if a loan is refused. Fa- 
vor to such persons is a fraud upon the stockholders and the 
community which credits the circulation. Nevertheless, banks 
are driven to accommodate such persons, and, in fact, to abso- 
lute bribery, for the purpose of buying their peace. 

I aver, without fear of contradiction, that when these banks 
were chartered, there was, in a manner, no surplus capital in 
the State ; that the capital came mostly from abroad ; that the 
stockholders resided at a distance, and never had a meeting, in 
proper person, in this State ; that we had no cities, and but few 
large towns ; that, in a manner, we exported nothing, but im- 
ported everything except meat and breadstuffs, and indeed much 
of these. We had no settled society. The business men were 
not generally men of commercial training and education. The 
laws did not favor the collection of debts, nor did the public 
sentiment frown upon a want of punctuality. 

After the internal improvement system was adopted at a 
subsequent session, its friends increased the capital of these 
banks, by making the State a stockholder in each. The capi- 
tal of the State Bank was increased two millions of dollars, 
and the Illinois Bank one million four hundred thousand dollars. 


The stock in the State Bank was readily and greedily taken, 
and the subscriptions greatly exceeded the amount allowed by 
the charter. Early in the spring of 1835, John Tillson, jr., 
then of Hillsboro' ; Thomas Mather, then of Kaskaskia ; God- 
frey Oilman & Co., then of Alton ; Theophilus W. Smith, then 
one of the judges of the Supreme Court ; and Samuel Wiggins, 
of Cincinnati, made arrangements to obtain large sums of 
money in the eastern cities, principally in New York and Con- 
necticut, to be invested in this stock. The charter required the 
advance of five dollars on each share subscribed, and gave a 
preference to citizens of the State. It also provided against 
the undue influence of large stockholders, by reducing their 
(proportional) vote for directors. These provisions made it 
desirable, not only that all the stock should be subscribed by 
citizens of the State, but also, that all subscriptions should be 
small in amount. Accordingly, each of these gentlemen, with 
a view of monopolizing the stock and controlling the bank, em- 
ployed men all over the country to obtain powers of attorney 
from any and all who were willing to execute them, author- 
izing one or the other of these persons to act as their agents in 
subscribing for stock, and to transfer and control it afterwards. 

Many thousands of such subscriptions were made, in the names 
of as many thousands who never dreamed of being bankers, and 
who do not know to this day that they were ever, apparently, 
the owners of bank stock. 

The contest for the control of the bank was between Judge 
Smith, on the one side, and the other gentlemen named, on the 
other. When the commissioners met to apportion the stock, a 
motion was made, that all subscriptions by or for the use of 
citizens of the State, should be preferred to subscriptions made 
for the use of persons residing abroad, and requiring all hold- 
ers of proxies to make oath as to the fact of residence or non- 
residence. This resolution was advocated by Judge Smith, who 
stood ready, as it was said, to swear that all the stock subscrib- 


ed by him, in his own name or by power of attorney, bonafide 
belonged to him, and had been paid for by his own money. The 
other great operators could not make such an oath, and conse- 
quently opposed the resolution, which was defeated. Tillson, 
Mather, Wiggins, and Godfrey Gilman & Co., combined against 
Smith. They obtained a controlling portion of the stock. Math- 
er was made president, and a directory was elected, who were 
in the interest of the combination. The directors appointed 
were probably as good men for the trust as could have been 
found in the State. 

As I have said, the stock in the State Bank having been taken, 
it went into operation under the control of Thomas Mather and 
his friends, in 1835. The Alton interest in it was very large. 
Godfrey Gilman & Co., merchants of Alton, had obtained con- 
trol of a large part of the stock ; enough, in case of division, 
to control the election of directors. To conciliate them, the 
bank undertook to lend its aid to build up Alton, in rivalry of 
St. Louis. At this time, a strong desire was felt by many to 
create a commercial emporium in our own State ; and it was 
hoped that Alton could be made such a place. As yet, how- 
ever, nearly the whole trade of Illinois, Wisconsin, and of the 
Upper Mississippi, was concentrated at St. Louis. The little 
pork, beef, wheat, flour, and such other articles as the country 
afforded for export, were sent to St. Louis to be shipped. All 
the lead of the upper and lower lead-mines was shipped from 
or on account of the merchants of St. Louis. Exchange on the 
east to any amount could only be purchased at St. Louis ; and 
many of the smaller merchants all over the country went to St. 
Louis to purchase their assortments. 

The State Bank undertook to break up this course of things, 
and divert these advantages to Alton. Godfrey Gilman & Co. 
were supplied with about $800,000, to begin on the lead busi- 
ness. By their agents, they made heavy purchases of lead, and 
had it shipped to Alton. Stone, Manning & Co., another Alton 


firm, were furnished with several hundred thousand dollars, with 
which to operate in produce; and Sloo & Co. obtained large 
loans for the same purpose. The design of the parties, of course 
was not accomplished. Instead of building up Alton, enriching 
ts merchants, and giving the bank a monopoly of exchanges on 
the east, these measures resulted in crushing Alton, annihilating 
its merchants, and breaking the bank. This result ought to have 
been foreseen. The St. Louis merchants had more capital in 
business than ten such banks, and twenty such cities as Alton. 
They were intimately connected, either as owners or agents, in 
all the steamboats running on the Illinois and Upper Mississippi. 
These boats required an up-river as well as a down-river freight. 
The up-river freight could only be got in St. Louis, and would 
not be furnished to boats known to be engaged in the Alton con- 
spiracy. The merchants in Galena and throughout the Upper 
Mississippi and Illinois country, were connected in trade with 
the St. Louis merchants, many of them owing balances not con- 
venient to be paid, and enjoying standing credits which could 
not be dispensed with. 

The Alton merchants, however, commenced operations on the 
moneys furnished by the bank, and they were so anxious to ob- 
tain a monopoly of purchases, that prices rose immediately. 
The price of lead rose in a short time from $2 75 to $4 25 per 
hundred. This did not appear to be the best way of monopo- 
lizing the lead trade. Therefore, Godfrey Gilman & Co. fur- 
nished their agent in Galena some two or three hundred thou- 
sand dollars to purchase lead-mines and smelting establishments. 
This agent was a manly, frank, honorable, and honest man, but 
wild and reckless in the extreme. He bought all the mines and 
smelting establishments he could get, and some lots in Galena. 
He scattered money with a profuse and princely hand. The ef- 
fect was apparent in a short time. Property in Galena rose in 
a few months more than two thousand per cent. While such 
great exertions were making to divert the lead trade to Alton 



and while such lavish expenditures at Galena raised its price 
there, they could not keep up the price in the eastern cities, its 
destined market. The lead was kept in store in New York a 
year or two, in hopes the price would rise. The owners were 
at last compelled to sell at a great sacrifice, and the operation 
ruined all concerned. Stone, Manning & Co., and Sloo & Co., 
were equally unfortunate. 

I think the bank must have lost by all its Alton operations 
near a million of dollars, and was nearly insolvent before the 
end of the second year of its existence, though the fact was un- 
known to the people. This is an example of the danger of en- 
deavoring to force trade, wholly against nature, out of its accus- 
tomed channels. Let it be a warning also to all banks, not to 
engage, either by themselves or by their agents, in the ordinary 
business of trade and speculation. 

The democrats helped to make the banks, but the whigs con- 
trolled the most money, which gave them the control of the 
banks. The president and a large majority of the directors and 
other officers were whigs ; just enough of democrats had been 
appointed to avoid the appearance of proscription. Thus the 
democrats were defeated at least once in the contest for the 
" spoils," and probably it will always be thus when long purses 
are to decide who are the " victors." 

When the State Bank was created, its projectors, to make it 
popular, attached to it a provision for a real estate fund, to the 
amount of a million of dollars, to be lent out on mortgages of 
land. This was intended to conciliate the farmers, as thereby 
the bank would become a sort of farmers' bank, out of which 
the farmers could obtain money on a mortgage of their farms. 
But this was really the worst feature in the whole project. At 
this day it will be generally acknowledged that no farmer ought 
ever to borrow money to carry on his farm. The only mode 
in which a farmer can be benefited by a bank, is for merchants 
and traders to borrow money and pay it out to farmers for their 


produce. But very many farmers did borrow, and very few of 
them were able to pay. Their farms were taken away from 
them ; and so this popular lure to the farmers operated like set- 
ting out huge steel traps to catch their plantations. 

The fact that the presidents and cashiers of the principal 
bank and branches, and a very great majority of the directors 
and other officers, were whigs, was sufficient to dub the bank 
a whig concern. It was viewed with great jealousy by the 
democrats. Judge Smith headed an opposition to it ; and al- 
though he had written the charter, and urged its passage upon 
his friends in the legislature, he did not hesitate to declare it 
unconstitutional. He was joined by Judge McRoberts, Re- 
ceiver of public moneys at Danville, and many other leaders of 
the party. The bank made an effort to get the deposits of 
public money, but it had become so odious to the democrats, 
and such representations had been made at Washington, that 
the Secretary of the Treasury refused its application. The con- 
sequence was, that a continual run was made upon it for specie, 
to enter Government land. To avoid this continual drain of 
specie, the bank adopted the expedient of sending its notes, 
purporting to have been issued at one branch, to be loaned at 
another, and by this means keeping its circulation at a distance 
from the place of payment. 

Here I will leave the subject of the bank for the present, 
and notice another important matter acted upon by the legis- 
lature at the session of 1834-'5. This was the Illinois and 
Michigan canal. As early as 1821, the legislature appropriated 
$10,000 for a survey of the route of this canal. Judge Smith 
and others were appointed commissioners, and they again ap- 
pointed Rene Paul, of St. Louis, and Justice Post, now of Al- 
exander county, as engineers. A survey of the route was 
made. The work was reported eminently practicable, and the 
cost of construction was estimated at a sum near six or seven 
hundred thousand dollars. In 1826, Congress donated to the 


State about 300,000 acres of land on the route of the canal, 
in aid of the work In 1825, a law was passed incorporating a 
company to make the canal. The stock was never subscribed. 
And in 1828, another law was passed, providing for the sale of 
lots and lands, for the appointment of a board of canal com- 
missioners, and for the commencement of the work. Nothing 
was done under this law, except the sale of some land and 
lots, and a new survey of the route and estimate of costs, by 
the new engineer, Mr. Bucklin. The estimate this time ran into 
millions instead of thousands, but was yet too low, as expe- 
rience has subsequently demonstrated. After that time there 
were various projects of giving the work to a company, or of 
making a railroad instead of a canal. But nothing effectual was 
proposed to be done until the session of 1834-'5. 

At this session of the legislature, George Forquer, a senator 
for Sangamon county, as chairman of the committee on inter- 
nal improvements, prepared and made an elaborate report in 
favor of a loan of half a million of dollars, on the credit of the 
State, to begin with. I call the report an elaborate one, be- 
cause it is so : perhaps more able than any similar document 
submitted to any of the western legislatures. It contains evi- 
dence of vast research, and abundance of facts and probable 
conjectures, and is expressed in language at once pleasing, bril- 
liant, and attractive. The report was accompanied by a bill 
authorizing a loan on the credit of the State, which passed the 
Senate, and would certainly have passed the legislature, but for 
the fact that the governor, in his general message, and also in 
a special message, asserted with confidence that the money 
could be obtained upon a pledge of the canal lands alone. 
Amended in this particular, the bill passed, and has served as 
a model for all the subsequent laws on that subject. The re- 
port was justly liable to one criticism. The cost was estimated 
too low. The Senate ordered 5,000 copies of it to be published 
for the information of the people. This was the first efficient 


movement in favor of the canal. The loan under this law fail- 
ed ; but at a special session in 1835, a law was introduced by 
James M. Strode, then a senator representing all the country 
including and north of Peoria, authorizing a loan of half a mil- 
lion of dollars on the credit of the State. This loan was nego- 
tiated by Governor Duncan in 1836, and with this money a 
commencement was made on the canal in the month of June of 
that year. William F. Thornton, Gurdon S. Hubbard, and 
William B. Archer, all whigs, were appointed the first canal 
commissioners under this law. 

In the spring and summer of 1836, the great land and town 
lot speculation of those times had fairly reached and spread 
over Illinois. It commenced in this State first at Chicago, and 
was the means of building up that place in a year or two from 
a village of a few houses, to be a city of several thousand in- 
habitants. The story of the sudden fortunes made there, ex- 
cited at first wonder and amazement, next a gambling spirit of 
adventure, and lastly, an all-absorbing desire for sudden and 
splendid wealth. Chicago had been for some time only one 
great town market. The plats of towns, for a hundred miles 
around, were carried there to be disposed of at auction. The 
eastern people had caught the mania. Every vessel coming 
west was loaded with them, their money and means, bound for 
Chicago, the great fairy land of fortunes. But as enough did 
not come to satisfy the insatiable greediness of the Chicago 
sharpers and speculators, they frequently consigned their wares 
to eastern markets. Thus, a vessel would be freighted with 
land and town lots, for the New York and Boston markets, at 
less cost than a barrel of flour. In fact, hinds and town lots 
were the staple of the country, and were the only articles of 

The example of Chicago was contagious. It spread to all 
the towns and villages of the State. New towns were laid out 
in every direction. The number of towns multiplied so rapidly, 


that it was waggishly remarked by many people, that the whole 
country was likely to be laid out into towns ; and that no land 
would be left for farming purposes. The judgments of all our 
business men were unsettled, and their minds occupied only by 
the one idea, the all-absorbing desire of jumping into a fortune. 
As all had bought more town lots and lands than many of them 
could pay for, and more than any of them could sell, it was 
supposed that if the country could be rapidly settled, its re- 
sources developed, and wealth invited from abroad, that all the 
towns then of any note would soon become cities, and that the 
other towns, laid out only for speculation, and then without in 
habitants, would immediately become thriving and populous 
villages, the wealth of all would be increased, and the town lot 
market would be rendered stable and secure. 

With a view to such a consummation, a system of internal 
improvements began to be agitated in the summer and fall of 
1836. It was argued that Illinois had . all the natural advan- 
tages which constitute a great State ; a rich soil, variety of cli- 
mate, and great extent of territory. It only wanted inhabitants 
and enterprise. These would be invited by a system of im- 
provements ; timber would be carried by railroad to fence the 
prairies ; and the products of the prairies, by the same means, 
would be brought to market. The people began to hold public 
meetings and pass resolutions on the subject ; and before the 
next winter, most of the counties had appointed delegates to an 
internal improvement convention, to be assembled at the seat 
of government. This body of delegates assembled at the same 
time with the legislature of 1836-'7. It devised and recom- 
mended to the legislature a system of internal improvements ; 
the chief feature of which was, " that it should be commensurate 
with the wants of the people." Thus the general desire of 
sudden and unwarrantable gain ; a dissatisfaction with the slow 
but sure profits of industry and lawful commerce, produced a 
general phrenzy. Speculation was the order of the day, and 


every possible means was hastily and greedily adopted to give 
an artificial value to property. In accomplishing this object as 
to the manner and means, our people surrendered their judg- 
ments to the dictates of a wild imagination. No scheme was 
so extravagant as not to appear plausible to some. The most 
wild calculations were made of the advantages of a system of 
internal improvements ; of the resources of the State to meet 
all expenditures ; and of our final ability to pay all indebted- 
ness without taxation. Mere possibilities appeared highly 
probable ; and probability wore the livery of certainty itself. 

I have said that our people were moved by these influences ; 
but only those are meant who attended these meetings, and 
aided in sending and instructing delegates to the internal im- 
provement convention. It is not true that the whole people 
were thus moved or thus acted. These meetings were generally 
held in the towns, and mostly attended by the town people. 
The great body of the people in the country treated the subject 
with indifference. But this silence was taken for consent. The 
voice of these meetings was considered as the voice of the peo- 
ple, and the voice of the people as " the voice of God," and 
many of the members of the legislature felt themselves in- 
structed by it to vote for some system of internal improve- 

The legislature at this session took up the subject in full 
earnest ; and in the course of the winter passed a system pro- 
viding for railroads from Galena to the mouth of the Ohio ; 
from Alton to Shawneetown ; from Alton to Mount Carmel ; 
from Alton to the eastern boundary of the State, in the direc- 
tion of Terre Haute ; from Quincy on the Mississippi, through 
Springfield to the Wabash ; from Bloomington to Pekin ; and 
from Peoria to Warsaw; including in the whole about 1,300 
miles of road. It also provided for the improvement of the 
navigation of the Kaskaskia, Illinois, Great and Little Wabash, 
and Rock rivers. And besides this, two hundred thousand 


dollars were to be distributed amongst those counties through 
which no roads or improvements were to be made. The legis- 
lature voted $8,000,000 to the system, which was to be raised 
by a loan. , 

As a part of the system also, the canal from Chicago to Peru 
was to be prosecuted to completion, and a further loan of four 
millions of dollars was authorized for that purpose. The legis- 
lature had already established a board of canal commissioners. 
They now established a board of fund commissioners to nego- 
tiate the new loans for the railroads ; and a board of commis- 
sioners of public works, one for each judicial circuit, then seven 
in number, to superintend construction. And as a crowning 
act of folly, it was provided that the work should commence 
simultaneously on all the roads at each end, and from the cross- 
ings of all the rivers. 

It is very obvious now that great errors were committed. 
It was utterly improbable that the great number of public offi- 
cers and agents for the faithful prosecution of so extensive and 
cumbrous a system, could be found in the State ; or if found, 
it was less likely that the best material would be selected. But 
the legislature went on to create a multitude of officers, for a 
multitude of men, who were all to be engaged in the expendi- 
ture of money, and superintending improvements, as if there 
were a hundred De Witt Clintons in the State ; but there is no 
limit to the conceit of aspiring ignorance. Indeed, our past ex- 
perience goes far to show that it has not yet been safe for Illi- 
nois, as a government, to have any very complicated or exten- 
sive interests to manage, for the want of men to manage them ; 
and for the want of an enlightened public will to sustain able 
and faithful public servants, and to hold the unfaithful to a just 
and strict account. The legislature were to elect the members 
of the board of public works, and these offices were very near 
being filled by the election of members of the legislature. It 
is true, that the constitution made them ineligible, by providing 


that no member should be appointed to an office created during 
the term for which he had been elected. Governor Duncan 
announced his determination not to commission members of 
the legislature, if elected, to these offices. A law was attempted 
to be passed dispensing with a commission from the governor, 
although the constitution provides that all civil officers shall be 
commissioned by him. It had been too much the case, in the 
Illinois legislature, that when a majority were set upon accom- 
plishing their purpose, no constitutional barriers were sufficient 
to restrain them. Ingenious reasons were never wanting to 
satisfy the consciences of the more timid ; so that many regret- 
ted that there was any constitution at all, by the violation of 
which, members were forced to commit perjury to accomplish 
their utilitarian views. A vigorous effort was made in the two 
houses to elect members to these offices ; but not quite a ma- 
jority could be obtained in favor of it. The joint meeting was 
adjourned for one day, and on the next, persons were elected 
who were not members of the legislature. 

No previous survey or estimate had been made, either of the 
routes, the costs of the works, or the amount of business to be 
done on them. The arguments in favor of the system were of 
a character most difficult to refute, composed as they were part- 
ly of fact, but mostly of prediction. In this way I have heard 
it proved, to general satisfaction, by an ingenious orator in the 
lobby, that the State could well afford to borrow a hundred 
millions of dollars, and expend it in making internal improve- 
ments. The orators in favor of the system all aimed to argue' 
their way logically, and the end has showed, that the counsels 
of a sound judgment, guided by common sense, jumping at con- 
clusions, are to be preferred to ingenious speculation. Nothing 
is more delusive in public affairs than a series of ingenious rea- 
sonings. In this way John C. Calhoun, in his report on the Me- 
morial of the Memphis Convention, proved conclusively that it 
is constitutional to build a single pier on the lakes, but it would 


be unconstitutional to build two of them close together, and 
parallel, for then they would be a harbor. In the same man- 
ner he proved it to be constitutional to improve the channels 
of the great Western rivers, but utterly unconstitutional to im- 
prove them near shore, so that boats could have a landing ; and 
in the same manner he proved that it was constitutional to im- 
prove the navigation of rivers common to three or more States, 
but unconstitutional to improve a river running through a single 
State, although it might be the channel of trade for half the 

The means used in the legislature to pass the system, deserve 
some notice for the instruction of posterity. First, a large por- 
tion of the people were interested in the success of the canal, 
which was threatened, if other sections of the State were denied 
the improvements demanded by them ; and thus the friends of 
the canal were forced to log-roll for that work by supporting 
others which were to be ruinous to the country. Roads and 
improvements were proposed everywhere, to enlist every sec- 
tion of the State. Three or four efforts were made to pass a 
smaller system, and when defeated, the bill would be amended 
by the addition of other roads, until a majority was obtained 
for it. Those counties which could not be thus accommodated 
were to share in the fund of two hundred thousand dollars. 
Three roads were appointed to terminate at Alton, before the 
Alton interest would agree to the system. The seat of govern- 
ment was to be removed to Springfield. Sangamon county, in 
which Springfield is situated, was then represented by two sen- 
ators and seven representatives, called " the long nine," all whigs 
but one. Amongst them were some dexterous jugglers and 
managers in politics, whose whole object was to obtain the seat 
of government for Springfield. This delegation, from the be- 
ginning of the session, threw itself as a unit in support of, or op- 
position to, every local measure of interest, but never without 
a bargain for votes in return on the seat of government ques- 


tion. Most of the other counties were small, having but one 
representative, and many of them with but one for a whole dis- 
trict ; and this gave Sangamon county a decided preponderance 
in the log-rolling system of those days, It is worthy of exam- 
ination whether any just and equal legislation can ever be sus- 
tained where some of the counties are great and powerful and 
others feeble. But by such means " the long nine" rolled along 
like a snow-ball, gathering accessions of strength at every turn-, 
until they swelled up a considerable party for Springfield, which 
party they managed to take almost as an unit in favor of the 
internal improvement system, in return for which the active 
supporters of that system were to vote for Springfield to be the 
seat of government. Thus it was made to cost the State about 
six millions of dollars to remove the seat of government from 
Vandalia to Springfield, half which sum would have purchased 
all the real estate in that town at three prices ; and thus by log- 
rolling on the canal measure, by multiplying railroads, by ter- 
minating three railroads at Alton, that Alton might become a 
great city in opposition to St. Louis, by distributing money to 
some of the counties, to be wasted by the county commission- 
ers, and by giving the seat of government to Springfield, was 
the whole State bought up and bribed, to approve the most sense- 
less and disastrous policy which ever crippled the energies of a 
growing country. 

The examples of Pennsylvania and Indiana in adopting a sim- 
ilar system were powerfully urged by the deluded demagogues 
of this legislature, to delude their fellow members, and to quiet 
the fears of the people. Now was developed for the first time 
a principle of government, or rather a destiny for government 
to aim at, which was to keep pace with the grand ideas which 
had seized upon the people of other States, ideas having in 
view not the improvement of individual man, by increasing his 
knowledge and power of thought, but merely by enriching his 


It appears by a report of a committee of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, that it was believed that the people were expecting, 
and anxious for a system of internal improvements ; that the 
system would be of great utility in multiplying population and 
wealth ; that such a system was entirely practicable ; that the 
cost of it could be easily guessed at without previous surveys ; 
that even small sums could be profitably expended upon the 
rivers ; that estimates for the railroads could be ascertained by 
analogy and comparison with similar works in other States ; 
that the system would cause a great deal of land to be entered, 
and increase the land tax, a part of which could go to form a 
fund to pay interest ; that the tolls on parts of the roads as fast 
as they were completed both ways from the crossings of rivers 
and from considerable towns, would yield the interest on their 
cost; that the water-power made by improvements on the 
rivers, would rent for a large sum ; that lands were to be en- 
tered along all the roads by the State, which were to be re-sold 
for a higher price ; that eminent financiers were to be elected 
fund commissioners, whose high standing and eminent qualifica- 
tions were to reflect credit upon the State, and add to its re- 
sources ; and with all these resources at command, that no 
great financial skill would be required in any future legislature 
to provide for paying the interest on the loans and carry the sys- 
tem to completion, without burdening the people. Such were 
the ingenious devices of this legislature, in all of which they 
were totally mistaken, as experience afterwards proved. Not 
a solitary one of these propositions has borne the test of experi- 
ment ; but all have resulted just contrary to what was predict- 
ed. I will mention also, that it was confidently believed, in 
and out of the legislature, that the State stock to be issued, 
would command a premium of 10 per cent., which would go to 
swell the interest fund ; that the stock in the banks would yield 
enough to pay interest on the bank bonds and a surplus be- 
sides ; and that in fact the system was to be self-acting and self- 


sustaining ; to provide for its own liquidation and payment, and 
enrich the State treasury into the bargain. 

I mention these calculations, all of which so signally failed ; 
all of which were once so confidently believed, but which now 
appear so absurd and ridiculous, as a warning to all theoretical, 
visionary schemers in public affairs ; and against the counsels of 
all impracticable, dreaming politicians. Let posterity remem- 
ber it, and engrave it upon their hearts as a lesson of wisdom, 
that splendid abilities and the power of ingenious speculation 
are not statesmanship ; but they may lead a country to the 
verge of ruin, unless guided by solid judgment and plain com- 
mon sense ; by which they are rarely accompanied. 

As no system could be passed except by log-rolling, and 
without providing for a simultaneous expenditure of money all 
over the State, it followed that none of the roads were ever 
completed. Detached parcels of them were graded on every 
road, the excavations and embankments of which will long re- 
main as a memorial of the blighting-scathe done by this legisla- 
ture ; but nothing was finished, except the road from the Illinois 
river to Springfield, which cost about $1,000,000, and which 
now is not worth one hundred thousand dollars. 

I will here mention that this internal improvement law was 
returned by the Governor and council of revision, with their 
objections, but afterwards passed both houses by the constitu- 
tional majority. It is a singular fact, that all the foolish and 
ruinous measures which ever passed an Illinois legislature, 
would have been vetoed by the governor for the time being, 
if he had possessed the constitutional power. The old State 
Bank of 1821, which ruined the public finances and demoralized 
the people ; aqd by which the State lost in various ways, more 
than its entire capital, would have been vetoed by Governor 
Bond. The laws creating the late banks and increasing their 
capital by making the State a stockholder to a large amount, 
and the internal improvement system, would have been vetoed 


by Governor Duncan. In all these cases the veto power would 
have been highly beneficial. I am aware that demagogues and 
flatterers of the people, have so far imitated the supple parasites 
in the courts of Monarchs, whose maxim is that the " king can 
do no wrong," as to steal the compliment and apply it to the 
people. They are contending everywhere that the people never 
err. Without disputing the infallibility of the people, we know 
that their representatives can and have erred ; and do err most 
grievously. A qualified veto power in the executive, is a whole- 
some corrective. It can only operate to delay a good and pop- 
ular measure ; for if the people desire it with any unanimity, 
they will select representatives who will pass it, notwithstand- 
ing the veto. 

As I have already said, the capital stock of the State Bank 
was increased this session, in the whole, to the amount of 
$3,100,000, by making the State a stockholder. The stock of 
the Shawneetown Bank was increased to $1,700,000 in all. 
The Fund Commissioners were authorized to subscribe for this 
increase of stock, amounting to $3,400,000, a portion of which 
was to be paid for from the surplus revenues of the United 
States, and the residue by a sale of State bonds. And although 
the State was to have the majority of stock in both banks, yet 
were the private stockholders to have a majority of the direc- 
tors. The banks were made the fiscal agents of the canal and 
railroad funds ; and, upon the whole, it was a mere chance 
that the State did not lose its entire capital thus invested. It 
was supposed that the State bonds would sell for a premium 
of about 10 per cent., which would go to swell the interest 
fund ; and that the dividends upon stock would not only pay 
the interest on the bonds, but furnish a large surplus to be 
carried, likewise, to the interest fund. However, when these 
bonds were offered in market, they could not be sold, even at 
par. The banks were accommodating, and rather than the 
speculation should fail, they agreed to take the bonds at par, 


as cash, amounting to $2,665,000. The Bank of Illinois sold 
their lot of $900,000, but the $1,765,000 in bonds disposed of 
to the State Bank, it is alleged, were never sold. They were, 
however, used as bank capital, and the bank expanded its busi- 
ness accordingly. 

In the spring of 1837, the banks throughout the United States 
suspended specie payments. The banks of Illinois followed 
the example of others. I will not dwell upon the causes of 
this movement, as they belong more to the history of the whole 
country than to that of a single State. The charter of the State 
Bank contained a provision, that if the institution refused spe- 
cie payments for sixty days together, it should forfeit its char- 
ter. These banks were made the fiscal agents for the canal 
and the railroads. A large sum of public money was deposited 
in them, and if they went down, they would carry the canal and 
the internal improvement system hi their train of ruin. Two 
of the canal commissioners visited Governor Duncan, and re- 
quested a call of the legislature to avert the evil. A special 
session was called in July. The governor's message made a 
statement of the matter, without any direct recommendation to 
legalize the suspension, and did recommend a repeal or classi- 
fication of the internal improvement system. The legislature 
did legalize the suspension of specie payments, but refused to 
touch the subject of internal improvements. It was plain that 
nothing could be done to arrest the evil for near two years 
more. In the meantime all considerate persons hoped that the 
public insanity would subside, that the people would wake up 
to reflection, and see the utter absurdity of the public policy. 

They were disappointed. Loan after loan was effected, both 
in Europe and America. The United States Bank, then dealing 
in stocks, by which it was ruined, gave important aid to our 
negotiations. This bank itself took some of the loans, and lent 
its great credit to effect others. The loans made in America 
were at par, but those in Europe were at 9 per cent, discount. 


The banker paid 90 cents on the dollar to the State, and, as is 
alleged, 1 per cent, to the Fund Commissioners, for brokerage. 
A large contract was made for railroad iron at an extravagant 
price. The work continued to be prosecuted upon all the im- 
provements. A new governor and new legislature were to be 
elected in August, 1838, from whose second sober thoughts re- 
lief was to be expected, unless the State should be irretrievably 
ruined in the meantime. 

At this election the question of the continuance of the rail- 
road system was but feebly made. Cyrus Edwards, the whig 
candidate for governor, declared himself to be decidedly in 
favor of it. Thomas Carlin, the democratic candidate, was 
charged with secret hostility to it, but never so sufficiently ex- 
plained his views, during the pendency of the election, that he 
could be charged with entertaining an opinion one way or the 
other. A large majority of the legislature was for the sys- 
tem. And although Mr. Carlin was elected governor, and 
most probably was opposed to it, yet, finding that nothing 
could be done with such a legislature, he was at the first session 
forced to keep silence. 

This legislature not only refused to repeal or modify the 
system, but added other works to it, requiring an additional 
expenditure of about $800,000. Thus was presented the spec- 
tacle of a whole people becoming infatuated, adopting a most 
ruinous policy, and continuing it for three years ; in fact, until 
the whole scheme tumbled about their ears, and brought down 
the State to that ruin which all cool, reflecting men, saw from 
the first was inevitable. 

A special session was again called in 1838-'9. This session 
repealed the system, and provided for winding it up. By this 
time it became apparent that no more loans could be obtained 
at par. The Fund Commissioner, and those appointed to sell 
canal bonds, had adopted some ingenious expedients for raising 


money, all of which most signally failed. Upon the creation 
of the New York free banking system, a demand was at once 
created for State stocks, to set the swindling institutions under 
it in motion. The law required a deposit of State stocks of 
double the value of circulation and debt, together with a cer- 
tain per centage in specie. Our commissioner enabled several 
of these swindling banks to start, by advancing Illinois bonds 
on a credit, in hopes that when the banks came into repute, 
they would receive payment in their notes. These banks all 
failed, I believe, in a short time, and the amount they received 
was nearly a total loss. Other State bonds, to a large amount, 
were left in various places on deposit, for sale, and others again 
freely sold on a credit, although the law required ready pay- 
ment in cash at par. A large amount was left with Wright 
& Co. of London, for sale. Some half a million was sold, and 
then Wright & Co. failed, with the money and the residue of 
the bonds in their hands. 

The residue of the bonds was returned, but the State was ob- 
liged to come in as a creditor and share with others in their 
estate, for the money received. The State received a few shil- 
lings on the pound. 

I do not attempt to write a history of all the bungling, illegal 
and ill-advised negotiations of our commissioners. I mean to 
say enough to show that, at the special session in 1838-'9, the 
legislature was compelled by inevitable necessity to stop the 
system. And in fact that nearly the whole people obstinately 
shut their eyes to the perception of plain truths, until these 
truths burst upon them terrible as an army with banners. 

It may be supposed that this revulsion, this disappointment 
of cherished hopes, came upon the people with a crushing effect. 
It did so. Nevertheless > there was but little discontent. The 
people looked one way and another with surprise, and were as- 
tonished at their own folly. They looked about for some one 



to blame, but there was no one. All were equally to be con- 

It was a maxim with many politicians, just to keep along even 
with the humor of the people, right or wrong. Any measure 
was to be considered right which was popular for the time be- 
ing. The politician felt assured that if he supported a bad meas- 
ure when it was popular, or opposed a good one when it was 
unpopular, he would never be called to account for it by the 
people. It was believed that the people never blame any one 
for misleading them ; for it was thought that they had too good 
a conceit of themselves to suspect or admit that they could be 
misled. A misleader of the people, therefore, thought himself 
safe, if he could give present popularity to his measures. In 
fact it is true, that a public man will scarcely ever be forgiven 
for being right when the people are wrong. New contests, for- 
ever occurring, will make the people forget the cause of their 
resentment ; but their resentment itself, or rather a prejudice 
which it sinks into, will be remembered and felt when the cause 
of it is forgotten. It is the perfect knowledge of this fact by 
politicians which makes so many of them ready to -prostitute 
their better judgments to catch the popular breeze ; and so it 
will always be, until the people have the capacity and the will 
to look into their affairs more carefully. Any reform in this 
particular must begin with the people themselves, and not with 
politicians. Reformation must work upwards from the people 
through the government, and not from the politicians down. 
For I still insist, that, as a general thing, the government will 
be a type of the people. The following are the ayes and nays 
on the passage of the internal improvement system in the House 
of Representatives. The names of prominent men are given in 
full. Those in favor of it were : Able, Alduch, Atwater, Ball, 
Barnett, Charles, Courtright, Craig, John Crain, John Dough' 
erty, John Dawson, Stephen A. Douglass, Dunbar, Edmondson, 
Nurean W. Edwards, William F, Elkin, Augustus C, French, 


Galbreath, Green of Clay, Green of St. Clair, Hankins, William 
W. Happy, Hinshaw, John Hog an, Lagow, Leary, Abram Lin- 
coln, If. F. Linder, Logan, Lyons, McCormack, John A. Mc- 
Clernand, Madden, Morris, Minor, John Moore, Moore of St. 
Clair, Morton, Murphy of Perry, Murphy of Vermilion, Joseph 
Naper, James H. Ralston, Rawalt, Reddisk, James Shields, Rob- 
ert Smith, Smith of Wabash, Dan Stone, Stuntz, Turley, Qur- 
ney, Voris, Walker of Cook, Walker of Morgan, Watkins, Wil- 
son, Wood, and James Semple, the Speaker. Those opposed to 
it were : Bently, Milton Carpenter, Cullom, Davis, Dairman, 
Dollins, Dubois, English, Enloe, John J. Hardin, John Harris, 
Lane, McCown, William McMartry, William A. Minshall, Adam, 
O'Neil, Pace, Paullen, William A. Richardson, Stuart, Thomp- 
son, Wheeler, Whitten, and Witt.. And John Dement and Wil- 
liam A. Minshall afterwards voted to concur in the amendments 
of the senate. 

Of those who voted for the measure on the final passage, or 
by concurring with the senate, Messrs. Grain, Dougherty, Daw- 
son, Edwards, Elkin, Happy, Hogan, Naper, and Minshall, have 
been since often elected or appointed to other offices, and art 
yet all of them popular men. Hogan was appointed Commis- 
sioner of the Board of Public Works, and run by his party for 
Congress ; Moore was elected to the Senate, and to be Lieut.- 
Governor, and afterwards Lieut.-Colonel in the Mexican war : 
Stone and Ralston were elected to be Circuit Judges Ralston 
afterwards to be a Senator, and then run by his party for Con- 
gress ; Linder has been Attorney-General and Member of the 
Legislature ; Dement has been twice appointed Receiver of 
Public Moneys ; Semple, to be Charge des Affaires at New 
Grenada, Judge of the Supreme Court, and Senator in Con- 
gress ; Shields, to be Auditor, Judge of the Supreme Court, 
Commisssioner of the General Land office, and Brigadier- Gen- 
eral in the Mexican war ; French was elected Governor in Au- 
gust, 1846 ; Lincoln was several times elected to the Legisla- 


ture, and finally to Congress ; and Douglass, Smith, and Mo- 
Clernand have been three times elected to Congress, and Doug- 
lass to the United States Senate. Being all of them spared 
monuments of popular wrath, evincing how safe it is to a poli- 
tician, but how disastrous it may be to the country, to keep 
along with the present fervor of the people.* 

But the only hope now was that the State might not be able 
to borrow the money. This was soon taken away ; for the fund 
commissioners succeeded in negotiating a loan in the summer 
of 1837 ; and before the end of the year the work had begun at 
many points on the railroads. The whole State was excited to 
the highest pitch of phrenzy and expectation. Money was as 
plenty as dirt. Industry instead of being stimulated, actually 
languished. We exported nothing ; and everything from abroad 
was paid for by the borrowed money expended amongst us. 
And if our creditors have found us slow of payment, they have 
been justly punished for lending us the money. In doing so, 
they disappointed the only hope of the cool, reflecting men of 
the State. 

At the same time the work was going on upon the canal. 
The board of canal commissioners, in pursuance of law, project- 
ed a most magnificent work, and completed portions of it in a 
manner most creditable to the engineers and contractors. But 
here again the spirit of over-calculation did infinite mischief. 
The United States in 1826, had donated about 300,000 acres of 
land to this work. This land was estimated at the most exag- 
gerated price. It was thought that its value was illimitable. 
As the fund appeared to be so great, a very large and deep 

* These gentlemen have been excused upon the ground that they 
were instructed to vote as they did, and that they had every right to 
believe that they were truly reflecting the will of their constituents. 
But it appears to me that members ought to resign such small offices, 
to sacrifice a petty ambition, rather than become the willing tools of a 
deluded people, to bring so much calamity upon, the country. 


canal was projected, to be fed by the waters of Lake Michigan. 
Governor Duncan had recommended the commencement of a 
steamboat canal, which according to our present experience, 
would have cost some $20,000,000, as a means of improving 
the navigation of the Illinois river and rendering its shores 
more healthy ; and confidently relied upon Congress for addi- 
tional appropriations of money or land to complete it. Such a 
recommendation from a distinguished source, bewildered and 
depraved the public intellect, and contributed in no small de- 
gree to form the inflated and bombastic notions which led to 
the extravagances of the internal improvement system. The 
legislature refused to sanction a steamboat canal ; but neverthe- 
less projected the work after a style of grandeur far beyond the 
means of the State. Several magnificent canal basins, and a 
steamboat canal and basin at the termination on the Illinois, 
were provided for. To complete the whole about $9,000,000 
would be required. This sum, however, was regarded as a 
mere nothing, when compared with the then inflated ideas of 
the value of the canal lands. At the session of 1837, there 
were already great complaints of mismanagement on the parts 
of the banks ; committees were appointed to examine them, but 
the examination resulted in no discovery of any importance. The 
only thing worthy to be remembered concerning it, is that one 
of the committee to examine the Shawneetown Bank, after his 
return, being asked what discoveries he had made, verbally re- 
ported that he had seen plenty of good liquor in the bank, and 
sugar to sweeten it with. 

But to return to the internal improvement system. The 
fund commissioners, by taking from the principal sums bor- 
rowed, managed to pay interest on the State debt until the 
meeting of the legislature in 1840. During the interim be- 
tween the fall of the system and this meeting there was a terri- 
ble contest between the whigs and the democrats, for a Presi- 
dent of the United States. Gen. Harrison was the candidate 


on one side, and Mr. Van Buren on the other. Nothing was 
heard in this contest but United States Bank, sub-treasury, tariff, 
free trade, patriots, friends of the country, spoilsmen, gold 
spoons, English carriages, extravagance, defalcations, petticoat- 
heroes, aristocrats, coons, log-cabins, and hard cider. Not one 
word of our local affairs. Thus was substituted in the public 
mind one species of insanity for another, which had worn out ; 
and thus it was that both parties cheated themselves into a for- 
getfulness of the dreadful condition of the State. For previous 
to the explosion of the internal improvement system, a debt 
had been contracted for that and the canal of $14,237,348, not 
counting the debt to the school fund, or for deposits of surplus 
revenues ; all of which was to be paid by a population of 478,- 
929, according to the State census of 1840. 

And here is a proper place for some further account of politi- 
cal parties. In their origin, such parties seem to be founded 
partly in the nature of man, and much upon artifice. There is 
undoubtedly a difference in the mental and physical constitu- 
tion of men, inclining them one way or the other in political af- 
fairs. Some distrust the people, others confide in their capaci- 
ty for self-government. Some prefer a quiet government, others 
a stormy turbulence. The condition of men, also, has much to 
do with party ; some are poor and lowly as to property, but 
proud in their hearts ; others rich and well-born, with a power 
to make their pride felt by others. Some are ignorant and 
feeble-minded, others shrewd and intelligent ; some are rough 
and ill-bred, others polished and graceful. In a word, some 
have superior advantages, which create them into a caste of 
their own. That portion enjoying these superior advantages, 
are apt to look down upon their less-gifted fellow-citizens with 
contempt or indifference ; and to feel that as they are superior 
in some respects, they ought to be in all. They can have but 
little patience with the idea that the rabble is to govern the 
country. The people in humble condition look up to them 


with resentment and dete?! ation. These remarks are not in- 
variably true of either side, but it will be accorded to me that 
almost every neighborhood has some one richer than the rest, 
who puts on airs of importance, and manifests such a want of 
sympathy with his fellows, as to disgust his humbler neighbors ; 
amongst whom there are those who, full of ill-nature, look upon 
such pretensions with envious resentment. These little big 
men, on both sides, of the neighborhood sort, are apt to feel the 
most thorough hatred for each other ; their malice often supply- 
ing the place of principle and patriotism. They think they are 
devoted to a cause, when they only hate an opponent ; and the 
more thoroughly they hate, the more thoroughly are they par- 
tisans. Here originates the hostility between democracy and 
aristocracy, as it is said to exist in this country ; and here origin- 
ates the feeling of proscription, which is more violent amongst 
mere neighborhood politicians, men who never expect an office, 
than among politicians who have risen to distinction. The em- 
inent politicians on each side frequently feel a liberality, per- 
sonally to an adversary, which cannot be manifested without 
losing the confidence of their humbler friends. 

And this state of things are kept up by the party newspapers 
on each side, the editors of which well know that their most 
profitable harvest is during an excited contest. Newspapers 
are then more sought for and read ; and then it is that an ed- 
itor's funds best support him with money and patronage. It 
may be said with truth that a partisan editor is a continual 
candidate for the favor of his party ; for which reason, it is his 
interest to make political contests interminable. The great 
mass of the people, who take newspapers at all, generally con- 
tent themselves with one political paper of their own party. 
This and no other, except in the towns, they read from week 
to week, and from year to year, until they become thoroughly 
enlisted in all the quarrels of the editor, and imbued with all 
his malice and prejudice ; and thus they become bound up in 


the most ill-natured, narrow-minded, pedantic conceits; fully 
convinced that their way, and no other, is right, and that all 
persons of the opposite party know it to be so. They feel 
assured that their political opponents, and particularly those of 
them who are elected to office, are a set of insufferable rogues, 
bent upon the enslavement of the people, or the ruin of the 
country. The rascality of the whigs, in the opinion of the dem- 
ocrats, is to end in enslaving the people, or to transfer the gov- 
ernment to some foreign power ; and the rascality of the dem- 
ocrats, in the opinion of the whigs, is to ruin the country. It 
is probably true that in something like this, is the natural dif- 
ference, founded upon which parties will continue to be built, 
and that all efforts to get up third parties, not founded upon 
this difference, and all efforts to make new and merely tem- 
porary issues the permanent foundation of party, must be 

Some men are attached to one, and some to the other party, 
from conviction, interest, or the prejudices of education. I have 
already said that there was no question of principle, such as 
now divides parties, involved in the first election of Gen. Jack- 
son. I speak only of Illinois. But as the measures of Gen. 
Jackson's administration were unfolded, it was discovered that 
he favored the doctrines of the old republican party. His at- 
tack upon the United States Bank, his veto of its charter in 
1832, removal of the deposits in 1833, the expunging resolu- 
tions, and the specie circular, rallied all to his party who were 
of a nature to be hostile to the power of wealth. This is not to 
say that all wealthy men were excluded from, or all poor ones 
included in the democratic party. Many wealthy persons still 
remained democrats from principle, interest, or ambition ; and 
many poor men attached themselves to the opposite party for 
like reasons. There is a class of the poor, over whom it is 
natural for the wealthy to exercise an influence ; this class most 
generally lack the boldness and vigor to think and feel for 


themselves. Some are attached to the " rich and well-born," 
on account of their accomplishments and virtues, and others 
find it their interest to adhere to them. And there is always a 
class of wealthy men, who from pure benovolence, or from the 
love of the importance their wealth gives them as leaders, at- 
tach themselves to the democracy. The Jackson party had 
long called themselves democrats ; the other party called them- 
selyes democratic republicans. The democrats began to call 
their opponents federalists ; and these opponents, in 1833 or '4, 
began to call themselves whigs, a popular name of the rev- 
olution. The whigs, to be even with the democrats for call- 
ing them federalists, which they greatly resented, about the 
year 1837 gave to the democrats the name of locofocos, which 
they have persisted in calling the democrats ever since. The 
whigs, knowing the influence of mere words in all human affairs, 
gave this uncouth name to the democrats, in hopes thereby to 
make them ashamed of it, disavow it, and prefer the name of 
whig. It has had no effect whatever on elections; but the 
whigs still keep it up, as if it had a power in it to blister and 
destroy, and no consideration on earth can induce them to re- 
linquish it. In all this, there are just two things which are 
remarkable. It is remarkable that the whigs, by the mere in- 
fluence of the newspapers, without any open agreement, have 
from one end of the Union to the other, adopted this name for 
their opponents, and have -adhered to it now for nine years as 
the only name by which their opponents shall be known ; and 
it is remarkable that the democratic party should have no 
squeamish men in its ranks, to run away from, or be disgusted 
with a party having so uncouth a name. 

Our old way of conducting elections required each aspirant 
for office to announce himself as a candidate. The more pru- 
dent, however, always first consulted a little caucus of select, 
influential friends. The candidates then travelled around the 
county or State, in proper person, making speeches, conversing 



with the people, soliciting votes, whispering slanders against 
their opponents, and defending themselves against the attacks 
of their adversaries. But it was not always best to defend 
against such attacks. A candidate, in a fair way to be elected, 
should never deny any charge made against him ; for if he 
does, his adversaries will prove all they have said, and much 
more. As a candidate did not offer himself as the champion 
of any party, he usually agreed with all opinions, and promised 
everything demanded by the people ; and most usually prom- 
ised, either directly or indirectly, his support to all the other 
candidates for office at the same election. One of the arts was, 
to raise a quarrel with unpopular men, who were odious to the 
people ; and thus try to be elected upon the unpopularity of 
others, as well as upon his own popularity. These modes of 
electioneering were not true of all the candidates, nor perhaps 
half of them, very many of them being gentlemen of first-rate 

After party spirit arose so as to require candidates to come 
out on party grounds, there was for a time no mode of concen- 
trating the action of a party. A number of candidates would 
come out for the same office, on the same side. Their party 
would be split up and divided between them. In such a case, 
the minority party was almost sure of success, this being the 
only case in which one is stronger than many. As party spirit 
increased more and more, the necessity of some mode of con- 
centrating the party strength became more and more apparent. 
The large emigration from the old States, bringing with it the 
zeal and party organization in which it had been trained from 
infancy, gave a new impulse to the consolidation of the strength 
of party. An attempt at this was early made by the New 
England and New York people living in the north part of the 
State, by introducing the convention system of nominating can- 

This system was first tried in counties and districts in the 


north ; but, on account of the frauds and irregularities which 
first attended it, small progress was made in it from 1832, 
when its introduction was first attempted, until 1840, the pec^ 
pie generally preferring the election of independent candidates. 
In 1837, Judge Douglass was nominated for Congress in the 
Peoria district, and in the winter of 1837, Col. James W 
Stephenson was nominated by a State convention as a candi- 
date for governor; and upon his inability to serve, on account 
of sickness, Thomas Carlin was nominated in the same way in 
the summer of 1838. 

At first, the system encountered the furious opposition of the 
whigs, who, being in the minority, were vitally interested to 
prevent the concentration of the democratic strength The 
western democrats looked upon it with a good deal of suspicion 
A was considered a Yankee contrivance, intended to abridge 
liberties of the people, by depriving individuals, on their 
own mere motion, of the privilege of becoming candidates, and 
depriving each man of the right to vote for a candidate of his 
own selection and choice. The idea of conventions was first 
brought into the middle and lower part of the State by Eben- 
ezer Peck, Esq., a member of the bar at Chicago, a man of 
plausible talents, who had formerly resided in Canada He 
had there been elected to the provincial parliament by the lib- 
eral party, in opposition to the ultra monarchy party. But he 
had not been long in parliament before the governor of Canada 
appointed him King's Counsel, in return for which favor Mr 
Peck left his old friends, to support the ultra monarchists.' 
*s position was an uneasy one; so, before long, he resigned 
his offices and removed to Chicago. Here he attached him- 
lf to the democratic party, but, on account of his defection in 
Canada, anything coming from him was viewed with suspicion 
and prejudice by many. 


At a great meeting of the lobby, during the special session 
of 1835-'6, at Vandalia, Mr. Peck made the first speech ever 
m ade in the lower part of the State in favor of the convent* 
system. He was answered by William Jefferson Gatewood, 
democratic senator from Gallatin county, and some consu 
able interest was awakened on the subject among polit 
From this time the system won its way slowly, and 
the candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and men 
of Congress, are brought before the people by conventions, an, 
it pervades two-thirds of the State in nominating cand 

the legislature. . , . 

The system has some advantages and disadvantages in tl 
country. Those in favor of it say that it furnishes the only 
xnode of concentrating the action of a party, and giving e 
to the will of the majority. They justly urge, that since t 
organization of parties, the old system of electing from per- 
sonal preference is carried into each party in the mere select, 
of candidates, which distracts the harmony of a party by 11 
troducing competition amongst distinguished men for the 
privilege of becoming candidates, without any means of de< 
L between them, except at the polls. Accordingly, it 
strictly true that where two or more men of the same party- 
are candidates, without a nomination, they are apt to hate each 
other ten times as intensely as they do the prominent men o: 
the opposite party. A whig is to be elected by whigs, a demo- 
crat by democrats. The success of either depends upon the 
number and strength of their respective parties ; but an as- 
piring whig or democrat has still to seek support in his 
party, in opposition to his own prominent political friends 
L a canvass of his merits as a man. Such being the case, it 
is not likely that the ambitious men of the same party, who 
are excited against each other by mere personal coi 


decline in favor of others, so as to have but a single candidate 
for the same office in the same party. Without a nomination, 
a party may be greatly in the majority, but by being divided 
on men, the minority may succeed in the elections, and actually 
govern the majority. To remedy this evil, it was proposed by 
conventions of delegates, previously elected by the people, to 
provide but a single set of candidates for the same party. It 
was also urged by some, that these bodies would be composed 
of the best-informed and principal men of a party, and would 
be more competent than the people at large, to select good 
men for candidates. This body to the people, would be like a 
grand jury to a circuit court. As the court would have no 
power to try any one for crime without a previous indictment 
by the grand jury, so the people would have no right to elect 
any one to office without a nomination by a convention. In the 
one case innocent men could not be publicly accused and tried 
for crime, without a private examination of their guilt, and es- 
tablishing a probability of its existence ; so the people would 
be restrained from electing any one to office without a previous 
nomination of a body more fitted to judge of his qualifications. 
The convention system was said to be a salutary restraint 
upon universal suffrage, compelling the people to elect men of 
standing, who alone could be nominated by conventions. 

On the other side, it was urged, that the whole convention 
system was a fraud on the people ; that it was a mere fungus 
growth engrafted upon the constitution ; that conventions them- 
selves were got up and packed by cunning, active, intriguing poli- 
ticians, to suit the wishes of a few. The mode of getting them up, 
was for some active man to procure a few friends in each precinct 
of a county, to hold primary meetings, where delegates were 
elected to county conventions, who met at the county seats, and 
nominated candidates for the legislature and for county offices ; 
and appointed other delegates to district and $tate conventions, 
to nominate candidates for Congress and for governor. The great 


difficulty was in the primary meetings in the precincts. In the 
Eastern States, where conventions "originated, they had town- 
ship governments, little democracies, where the whole people 
met in person at least once a year, to lay taxes for roads and 
for the support of schools and the poor. This called the whole 
people of a township together, enlightened their minds and ac- 
customed them to take a lively interest in their government ; 
and whilst assembled they could and did elect their delegates to 
conventions. In this mode a convention reflected the will of a 
party, as much as the legislature reflected the will of the whole 
people. But how is it in Illinois ? We had no township gov- 
ernments, no occasions for a general meeting of the people, ex- 
cept at the elections themselves ; the people did not attend the 
primary meetings ; a few only assembled, who were nearest the 
places of meeting, and these were too often mere professional 
politicians, the loafers about the towns, who having but little 
business of their own, were ever ready to attend to the affairs 
of the public. This threw the political power out of the hands 
of the people, merely because they would not exercise it, into the 
hands of idlers of a few active men, who controlled them. If 
any one desired an office, he never thought of applying to the 
people for it ; but passed them by, and applied himself to con- 
ciliate the managers and idlers about the towns, many of whom 
could only be conciliated at an immense sacrifice of the public 
interest. It is true that a party had the reserved right of rebel- 
lion against all this machinery ; no one could be punished for 
treason in so doing, otherwise than by losing the favor of his 
party, and being denounced as a traitor ; which was almost as 
efficacious in restraining the refractory as the pains and penal- 
ties of treason, the hanging and embowelling of former times. 

My own opinion of the convention system is, that it can never 
be perfect in Illinois, without the organization of little township 
democracies, such as are found in New York and New England ; 
that in a State where the people are highly intelligent, and not 


indifferent to public affairs, it will enable the people themselves 
to govern, by giving full e'ffect to the will of the majority ; but 
among a people who are either ignorant of or indifferent to the 
affairs of their government, the convention system is a most ad- 
mirable contrivance to enable active leaders to govern without 
much responsibility to the people. 

By means of the convention system, and many exciting con- 
tests, the two parties of whigs and democrats were thoroughly 
organized and disciplined by the year 1840. No regular army 
could have excelled them in discipline. They were organized 
upon the principles of national politics only, and not in any de- 
gree upon those of the State. The first effect of this seemed to 
be, that all ideas of State rights, State sovereignty, State policy 
and interests, as party questions, were abolished out of men's 
minds. Our ancestors had greatly relied upon the organization 
of State sovereignties, as checks to anti-republican tendencies, 
and national consolidation. For this purpose, all the State con- 
stitutions, Illinois amongst the rest, had declared, that no person 
holding an office under the United States should hold an office 
under the State government. The object of this was, to sever 
all dependence of the State upon the national government. It 
was not permitted the President to appoint the officers of the 
State governments, for this would at once lay the State govern- 
ments at the feet of the President. But if the State officers 
were not appointed by the President, they were elected upon a 
principle which made them, if belonging to his political friends, 
as subservient to his will as if he had appointed them. The 
President was the leader of his party in the nation, and there 
was no principle of party in the State but this. Men were 
elected to office upon the popularity of the President, and upon 
the principles which the President put forth ; and they were 
thus compelled, in self-defence, to support and defend him, 
through good and evil, right or wrong, as much as if they owed 
their offices to his gift. Besides this, their parties absolutely 


required them to do so. It may be remarked here as a curious 
fact, that the politicians all over the nation, pretending to be 
most hi favor of State rights and State sovereignty, have con- 
tributed most to overthrow them, by forever insisting upon the 
organization of parties, purely upon national questions. 

This dependence of State upon national politics, and the ex- 
clusive devotion of State politicians to national questions, was 
the true cause why so little attention was paid to the policy of 
the State. These remarks are equally applicable to both poli- 
tical parties. But it is as necessary that the affairs of the United 
States should be attended to by the people as those of the State, 
and the misfortunes which a neglect of affairs at home has 
caused, may possibly have been the price of government in the 

A new legislature was elected in 1840, which, although they 
were chosen under the influence of the presidential election of 
that year, were obliged to think somewhat upon the public con- 
dition. The fund commissioners stated the difficulty of meeting 
the January interest of 1841. As yet the canal had not wholly 
stopped, and the canal men were interested to keep up the 
credit of the State ; and something desperate must be done for 
that purpose. 

The canal contractors had taken their jobs when all prices 
were high. By the fall of prices, they could make a large profit 
on their work, and lose twenty-five per cent. They, therefore, 
had agreed to take a million of State bonds at par, in payment 
of their estimates. Gen. Thornton was deputed to go to Europe 
with the bonds, and sell them for what they would bring, not 
less than seventy-five per cent.; the contractors suffering the 
loss. This they could well afford to do ; and by this expedient 
the work on the canal had been continued, long after that on 
the railroads had been abandoned. The canal was not yet 
looked upon as dead, and a great effort was to be made to raise 
the means to keep it in life, and sustain the credit of the State, 


without which it was known that the canal would not live an 

The time was short, only six weeks until the interest would 
become due ; and many expedients were proposed to raise the 
money ; but the one which met most general favor, was a new 
issue of bonds to be hypothecated for whatever they would 
bring in market. This was a desperate remedy, and showed 
the zeal of the legislature in sustaining the public honor. It 
proposed a plan of raising money, which, if pursued as the set- 
tled policy of the State, must end in utter ruin. Nevertheless, 
it was but feebly opposed on this ground. The principal ground 
of opposition was an objection to paying interest at all ; and 
particularly to paying interest upon bonds, for which the State 
had received nothing, or less than par. Now was heard for the 
first time, any very earnest complaints against the acts of the 
fund commissioners, in selling bonds on a credit, and for less 
than their face ; and it was seriously and earnestly contended, 
first, that the State was hopelessly insolvent, that any effort to 
pay would be ridiculous and futile, and secondly, that the State 
was not bound to pay interest on more money than had been 
actually received. An amendment to this effect was offered, 
and strenuously insisted on. 

On the other hand, it was insisted with reason, that the State 
was bound to do everything in its power to meet its engage- 
ments ; that if bonds had been erroneously issued, it had been 
done by the State agents, selected and chosen by the State it- 
self; for whose conduct the State must be responsible. It was 
admitted, that if such bonds remained in the hands of the orig- 
inal purchasers, as to them the State would be entitled to a 
deduction for money not actually received. But it was as 
earnestly contended, that if such bonds had passed into the 
hands of bonajide holders, who were no parties to the original 
deficiency of consideration, the State was liable in equity, as 
well as at law, to pay the face of the bond. There seems to be 


an obvious propriety in this view of the case. Because the 
bonds were issued by State agents, appointed by the State, not 
by its creditors. The constituted authorities of the State ought 
to have chosen better men for public trusts ; and if they did not 
do so, the State is justly responsible for their blunders. It 
seems to be a principle of law, as well as of equity, that if the 
State selects bad men, or those who are incompetent to act as 
its agents,' the State thus abusing its power, and not individuals 
who had no hand in their appointment, ought to suffer the con- 
sequences of its folly, or want of devotion to its own interests. 
This doctrine, if established, will be a lesson to the people, and 
teach them to be considerate and careful in electing their public 

These conflicting opinions were near preventing any action 
on the subject at this session. At last, Mr. Cavarly, a member 
from Greene, introduced a bill of two sections, authorizing the 
fund commissioner to hypothecate internal improvement bonds 
to the amount of $300,000, 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. And by this happy expedient conflicting opinions 
were reconciled, without direct action on the matter of contro- 
versy ; and thus the two houses were enabled to agree upon a 
measure to provide temporarily for the payment of 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 
for 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 contriv- 
ances 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- $804,000 of interest bonds for 
the July interest ; on this hypothecation he was to have received 
$321,600, but was never paid more than $261,500. These 
bonds have never been redeemed from the holders, though 
eighty of them were afterwards repurchased, and $315,000 of 
them were received from the Shawneetown Bank for State stock 
in that institution. 


Reform of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Wilson Justices Lockwood and Brown 
Secretary of State and alien questions Alexander P. Field John A. McClernand 
Decision of the Supreme Court Popular excitement Decision of a Circuit Judge 
on the alien question Commotion among the Democrats Suspicions of the Supreme 
Court Mode of deciding political questions Mode of reforming the Court Vio- 
lence of the measure Reluctance of some Democrats Obstinacy of others How 
a politician must work in a party Judge Douglass' speech in the lobby Evasive 
decision of the Court Judge Smith's intrigues and character Passage of the bill 
Motives of both parties Prejudice against the Supreme Court Moral power with 
the people of the Judges of the Supreme and Circuit Courts Breaking of the banks 
Causes which lead to it Bank suspensions Power of the State Bank over the 
Legislature Special session Struggle to forfeit the Bank Charters Whigs secede 
Call of the House Jumping out of the windows Democratic victory Thrown 
away before the end of the session New suspensions Small bills Fierceness of 
parties against each other Views of both parties concerning banking, and of each 

THERE were other measures of great interest to the people 
which came before the legislature of 1840, the principal of 
which was a bill to reform the Judiciary. 

The people of the State, at the election of 1840, had sustain- 
ed Mr. Van Buren, the democratic candidate for President, and 
both branches of the legislature were largely of the same party. 
The majority of the judges of the supreme court were whigs. 
Judge Smith was the only democratic member of the court, 
whilst Chief Justice Wilson, and his associates Lockwood and 
Brown, were of the minority party. It is due to truth here to 
say, that Wilson and Lockwood were in every respect amiable 
and accomplished gentlemen in private life, and commanded the 
esteem and respect of all good men for the purity of their con- 
duct and their probity in official station. Wilson was a Virgin- 
ian of the old sort, a man of good education, sound judgment, 
and an elegant writer, as his published opinions will show. 


Lock-wood was a New-Yorker. He was an excellent lawyer, a 
man of sound judgment, and his face indicated uncommon pur- 
ity, modesty, and intelligence, together with energy and strong 
determination. His face was the true index of his character. 
Brown was a fine, large, affable, and good-looking man, a toler- 
able share of tact and good sense, a complimentary, smiling 
and laughing address to all men, and had been elected and con- 
tinued in office upon the ground that he was believed to be a 
clever fellow. Two great political questions had been brought 
before this court, one of which they decided contrary to the 
views and wishes of the democratic party, and the other ques- 
tion was yet pending, but it was believed would be decided in 
the same way. 

These were the questions : When Governor Carlin was elect- 
ed in 1838, he claimed the power to appoint a new Secretary 
of State. Alexander P. Field was the old Secretary. He had 
been appointed by Governor Edwards ten years before, and had 
been continued in office without any new appointment under 
both Reynolds and Duncan. He was a whig, and Gov. Carlin 
was a democrat ; and as the Secretary of State is not only a 
public officer, but a sort of confidential helper and adviser of the 
executive, Gov. Carlin claimed the right of selecting this officer 
for himself, and from his own party. The governor nominated 
to the senate Mr. McClernand of Gallatin county. The whigs 
of the senate, and some democrats, enough to constitute the ma- 
jority, decided that the tenure of the office might be defined and 
limited by the legislature, but that until they did so the Secre- 
tary could not be removed and a new one appointed. The gov- 
ernor and his friends contended that he had the power of re- 
moval and appointment at all times, to be exercised at his dis- 
cretion. The governor made five or six different nominations, 
all of which were rejected by the senate. 

After the legislature adjourned, the governor again appointed 
Mr. McClernand, who demanded the office of the old Secretary 


of State, and was refused. Mr. McClernand then sued out his 
writ, to try his right to the office. The question was taken to 
the supreme court, and decided against him by Wilson and 
Lock wood ; Judge Smith dissenting, and Judge Brown giving 
no opinion, on account of relationship to Mr. McClernand. This 
at the time was supposed to be a great question. The ablest 
counsel in the State were employed, and the decision of the 
judge is elaborated to such a degree, as to show their opinion 
of its consequences. The decision raised a great flame of excite- 
ment, and the democrats contended that the odious doctrine of 
life-officers had been established by it. In 1840, the governor 
found no difficulty in getting his nomination confirmed. The 
senate was now largely democratic, probably caused by this de- 
cision of the court. But the other great question was still pend- 
ing ; and a fear that it might be decided against the democrats, 
determined that party to reform the Judiciary. 

The Constitution provides that all free white male inhabitants, 
over the age of twenty-one years, who have resided in the State 
for six months, shall be entitled to vote at all general and 
special elections. The whigs had long contended that this pro- 
vision did not authorize any but citizens to vote ; whilst the 
practice had been, ever since the Constitution was formed, to 
allow all to vote, whether citizens or aliens, who had been in the 
State six months. This question had been much talked of and 
canvassed in every part of the State. It produced much 
excitement, as it naturally would when two great parties were 
arrayed on it, and when it was believed by both parties that 
the alien vote in the State was sufficient to decide the elections. 

In this state of the case, two whigs of Galena made an agreed 
cause to be decided by the circuit court. It was not argued on 
either side, and the judge, who was a whig, decided that aliens 
were not entitled to vote. This was all done so quietly, that 
it was near passing without notice. But when the decision was 
published, it threw the leaders of the democratic party into 


perfect consternation. By this time the alien vote was sup- 
posed to be about 10,000 strong, nine-tenths of which was 

The leaders of the party took measures to carry the case to 
the supreme court. Numerous and able counsel on each side 
had been heard on it there in December, 1839, and it was con- 
tinued until the following June. It was universally believed, 
from certain intimations, that a majority of the judges had deter- 
mined to decide against the aliens. In June, the democratic 
lawyers succeeded in finding an imperfection in the record, 
which caused another continuance until December, 1840, and 
until after the presidential election. This was thought to be a 
great feat of dexterity and management, as by that means the 
alien vote was secured at all events for one more election, and 
more particularly for the presidential election of that year. In 
this, as well as in the other case of the Secretary of State, I 
think the whigs were clearly wrong. It is a principle in all 
our constitutions, that the appointing power, when exercised by 
a single person, or by a body of men who can conveniently 
act, must necessarily possess the power of removal from office ; 
and, in the other case, it was equally clear that the word in- 
habitant must mean an alien as well as a citizen. But it was 
also alleged that this provision of our constitution, if construed 
to allow an unnaturalized alien to vote, would come in conflict 
with the Constitution of the United States, which gives to Con- 
gress the power of passing uniform naturalization laws. It was 
contended, that as no foreigners by those laws could be natu- 
ralized without a residence in the country for five years, the 
State could not confer the elective franchise upon one who had 
resided in it only six months. The obvious answer to all this 
is, that the Constitution of the United States was never intended 
to give Congress the power of interfering with the right of 
suffrage. If it had contained such a provision, so various were 
the different State Constitutions on this subject at the time it 
-, *> 




was adopted, and so jealous were the States of their sovereignty, 
that the Constitution of the United States would never have been 
ratified. Besides this, citizenship alone was never construed in 
any State to confer the elective franchise ; there being many 
citizens in every State, in some more and in others less, who 
were not allowed to vote. And it seemed to be a legitimate 
and unanswerable argument, that if citizenship alone did not 
confer the right of voting, the want of it alone could not take 
it away. 

However, it was believed that the whig judges, right or 
wrong, would decide with their party. And here I would re- 
mark, that the highest courts are but indifferent tribunals for 
the settlement of great political questions, supposing such set- 
tlement no longer to rest on physical force, but to rely for its 
authority upon the conviction of the public judgment. In this 
sense, such questions can never be settled except by the con- 
tinued triumph of one party over the other, in which case the 
minority yields, from despair of success. The judges are but 
men. In all the great questions which arise, and which divide 
the people into parties, they will never fail to have their pre- 
conceived opinions, as well as others, and those opinions must 
necessarily be biased by their political predilections. But it is 
said that party men and politicians ought not to be judges of 
the courts. It would be better, if this were possible. At a 
time when the whole people are divided and convulsed by the 
agitation and discussion of great party measures and principles, 
it would be strange indeed if gifted and talented men could be 
found with a power of thought making them fit for the office, 
and yet who have never formed any opinions on such subjects. 
The most that the judge can do to disarm the public or party 
prejudice, is to conceal his opinions ; but the knowing persons 
of the opposite party are no less certain that he has them. 
It may, therefore, be said of the ablest and best judges, those 
most celebrated for dispensing equity and justice in common 


cases between individuals, that when any great political ques- 
tion on which parties are arrayed conies up for decision, the 
utmost which can be expected of them is, an able and learned 
argument in favor of their own party, whose views they must 
naturally favor, for the very reason that they prefer one party 
to the other. Such a decision, therefore, can never be satisfac- 
tory to the opposite party, which well knows that if the judges 
had been of a different political complexion, the decision would 
have been otherwise. And, therefore, no such party decisions, 
not based upon the power of majorities of the people, can ever 
be a satisfactory settlement of this description of questions. 

As I have said before, the legislature in 1835 had created 
circuit courts, and elected circuit judges, the number of whom 
had by this time increased to nine. The plan of reform now 
was to abolish these courts, repeal the judges out of office, and 
create five additional judges of the supreme court, all of whom 
were required to hold circuit courts in place of the circuit 
judges repealed out of office. This arrangement would give 
the democratic party a majority of two to one on the Supreme 
bench. The measure was introduced into the Senate by Adam 
W. Snyder, a senator from St. Clair county ; a district contain- 
ing a larger foreign vote than any other in the State. A long 
and violent struggle ensued; and at times it was doubtful 
whether it would pass. It was confessedly a violent and some- 
what revolutionary measure, and could never have succeeded 
except in times of great party excitement. The contest in the 
Presidential election of 1840 was of such a turbulent and fiery 
character, and the dominant party in this State had been so 
badly defeated in the nation at large, by the election of Gen. 
Harrison, that they were more than ever inclined to act from 
motives of resentment and a feeling of mortification. The 
dominant party therefore came to the work thirsting for re- 
venge, as well as with a determination to leave nothing undone 
to secure their power in this State at least. Notwithstanding 



this disposition on the part of the democracy, many members 
of the legislature belonging to that party, were drawn to the 
support of the measure with a great deal of difficulty ; others 
opposed it outright, and upon no terms, and with no appliances 
of party machinery and discipline, could be brought to support 
it. The fate of some of these democrats affords a melancholy 
lesson. They were denounced by their friends and turned over 
to the whigs. But, so far as I know, they have ever since been 
found acting with the party, though they have never been able 
to recover its confidence. The excitement has gone by ; the 
party itself has been pretty generally convinced that the sys- 
tem then adopted, ought to be abandoned; that the supreme 
court ought to be constituted as it was before ; yet these demo- 
crats, many of them, are still under the ban ; so true it is, that 
in all party matters, a breach of discipline, a rebellion against 
leaders, is regarded as infinitely more offensive than the mere 
support of wicked or unwise measures, or opposition to good 
ones. A party never holds its members to account for sup- 
porting the worst sort of measures, or opposing the best ones, 
unless the leaders have made them the test of fidelity to party ; 
but wo to him whose conscience is so tender that he cannot 
support, or opposes the measures decreed by his party. Wo to 
him who is guilty of a breach of discipline, or who rebels 
against leaders. In all matters of party, there are two things 
to be considered ; the principles of the party and its discipline. 
A man may hold all the principles of the party, but if he does 
not harmonize with its organization, he will not be considered 
as belonging to it. And he will be allowed much of his natural 
liberty to 'think for himself, and be forgiven much defection of 
principle, if he will only obey leaders, and work in the party 
harness. A party may entirely change its principles and meas- 
ures whenever the great leaders say the word ; but if it still 
keeps up the same organization and name, and has the same 
leaders, no member is to doubt but that it is the same party it 


was before. The privilege of changing principles and measures 
is only the privilege of the great leaders, upon consultation and 
agreement with the lesser ones ; and then all the lesser leaders 
and members of the party can safely follow in the change. But 
wo to the presumptuous small leader, who sets up to change on 
his own account ; or who undertakes to differ with his great 
leaders on the adoption of new measures, not before thought of 
in former contests. This, gentle reader, is government by moral 
means ; and it seems, in the present state of civilization, that 
without this kind of government, imperfect and abhorrent to 
the freedom of thought as it may be, we are to have our choice 
between anarchy and a government of stern force. In the 
democratic party, such rebellious, free-thoughted, independent 
little leaders, in the slang language of the day, are called 
" tender-footed democrats" and finally, no democrat, at all ; and 
this I believe to be the case with the other party whenever they 
have the majority. 

The bill was finally passed through both houses, and returned 
by the council of revision with their objections ; but was again 
re-passed through both houses, in the Senate by a large majori- 
ty, in the House by a majority of one vote. By this means the 
new Secretary of State was secured in his office, and the demo- 
cratic party were secured in the continued support of the alien 
vote ; for all the new judges elected at this session, were as 
thoroughly satisfied of the right of each governor to appoint his 
own Secretary of State, and of the right of alien inhabitants to 
vote, as the whig judges could be to the contrary. 

During the pendency of this question before the legislature, 
the whig judges decided the alien case from Galena. They, 
however, did not decide the main question. The case went off 
upon another point, which it was charged by the democrats' 
that the whig judges had hunted up on purpose to dispose of 
the case, without deciding it, in the hope that when the, domi- 
nant party could see that they were no longer threatened with 


a decision contrary to their wishes, they would abandon their 
reform measure. This charge was boldly made by Judge 
Douglass, in a speech in the lobby of the House, one evening 
after an adjournment. Douglass had been one of the counsel 
for the aliens ; and it appeared from his speech, that he and 
Judge Smith had been in constant communication in relation to 
the progress of the case. Judge Smith (I regret to say it of a 
man who is no more) was an active, bustling, ambitious, and 
turbulent member of the democratic party. He had for a long 
time aimed to be elected to the United States Senate ; his de- 
vices and intrigues to this end had been innumerable. In fact, 
he never lacked a plot to advance himself, or to blow up some 
other person. He was a laborious and ingenious schemer in 
politics ; but his plans were always too complex and ramified 
for his power to execute them. Being always unsuccessful him- 
self, he was delighted with the mishaps alike of friends and ene- 
mies ; and was ever chuckling over the defeat or the blasted 
hopes of some one. In this case he sought to gain credit with 
the leading democrats, by the part he took, and affected to take, 
in the alien case, as he had before in the case of the Secretary 
of State. He it was who privately suggested to counsel the 
defect in the record which resulted in the continuance in June, 
1840 ; and during the whole time the case was pending, with 
the same view he was giving out to Douglass and others, the 
probable opinion of the court. He affirmed that the judges at 
one term all had their opinions written ready to deliver, and 
all but himself deciding against the aliens ; and that the case 
would have been so decided, if he had not discovered the afore- 
said defect in the record. Upon his authority Douglass de- 
nounced the court, and brought all these charges against the whig 
judges, and endeavored to make it appear that they had now 
only evaded a decision for the time being, in the vain hope of 
stopping the career of the legislature. The judges, on their part, 
denied all these charges; and Judge Smith uniting with the 


whig judges, published their denial in the Sangamon Journal 
newspaper, at Springfield. Douglass was immediately sus- 
tained as to the statements of Judge Smith, by the published 
letters of a half dozen other gentlemen of veracity, to whom 
Judge Smith had made similar statements. 

But allowing all that was said to be true, and there is now 
no doubt that the whole of it was false, it is feared that if the 
right mode of reformation had been adopted, the legislature 
would have punished an offence which they had themselves 
caused the court to commit. The judges may possibly have 
feared being put upon the laborious duty of holding circuit 
courts, from which they had been relieved for several years ; 
and they may have supposed that the reform measure, as it was 
called, would be put an end to, as soon as the democrats ceased 
to fear a decision against them in the alien case. If they thought 
so, they had but little knowledge of the spirit and genius of 
party. The democrats, by a thorough change in the constitu- 
tion of the court, desired to obtain full security for the future. 
Independent of this, when a measure once becomes a party 
measure, it cannot be suddenly abandoned. And besides this, 
again, a party scarcely ever stops at the accomplishment of its 
wishes, unless brought about by its own favorite measures, and 
by something that it has done itself. I have more than once 
known a party to persist in urging a measure, long after its 
wishes had been accomplished by other means. 

Ever since this reforming measure, the judiciary has been 
unpopular with the democratic majorities. Many and most of 
the judges have had great personal popularity ; so much so as 
to create complaint of so many of them being elected or ap- 
pointed to other offices. But the bench itself has been the sub- 
ject of bitter attacks by every legislature since. The two houses 
have almost come to the opinion, that as they are numero%s 
bodies, fresh from the people every two and four years, the 
other departments of the government, the executive and judi- 


ciary, are mere excrescences on the body politic, which ought 
to be pruned away. As to Judge Smith, he made nothing by 
all his intrigues. By opposing the reform bill, he fell out and 
quarrelled with the leaders of his party. He lost the credit he 
had gained by being the democratic champion on the bench, 
and failed to be elected to the United States Senate ; and was 
put back to the laborious duty of holding circuit courts. Thus 
bringing upon himself, by his active efforts to destroy the char- 
acter and influence of the court of which he was a member, the 
just desert of his conduct. 

The judges of the supreme court had been withdrawn from 
holding circuit courts for six years ; consequently they had lost 
their political influence, which now attached itself to the circuit 
judges, who had a better opportunity of becoming acquainted 
and making friends among the people. The supreme court, as 
a co-ordinate branch of government, had become weak ; so true 
is it, that the actual power to be exercised by either branch of 
government, depends less upon the powers conferred in the 
Constitution, than upon the moral power of popularity and in- 
fluence with the people and their representatives. For this 
reason, many believed it to be necessary to restore the judges 
of the supreme court to circuit duties, in order to give political 
vigor to the judiciary department ; so as to enable them to act 
with independence, and thus preserve the balances of the con- 

No further attempt was made after July, 1841, to pay inter- 
est on the public debt. For want of full knowledge of her 
condition abroad, and of the condition of other new States, in 
a short time Illinois, and some others in the west, became a 
stench in the nostrils of the civilized world. The people at 
home began to wake up in terror ; the people abroad who wish- 
ed to settle in a new country, avoided Illinois as they would 
pestilence and famine ; and there was great danger that the fu- 
ture emigrants would be men who, having no regard for their 


own characters, would also have none for that of the State where 
they might live. The terrors of high taxation were before all 
eyes, both at home and abroad. Every one at home wanted to 
sell his property and move away, and but few, either at home 
or abroad, wanted to purchase. The impossibility of selling, 
kept us from losing population ; and the fear of disgrace or 
high taxes, prevented us from gaining materially. 

To add to the general calamity and terror of the people, in 
February, 1842, the State Bank, with a circulation of three mil- 
lions of dollars, finally exploded with a great crash, carrying 
wide-spread ruin all over the State, and into the neighboring 
States and territories. In June following, the bank at Shawnee- 
town " followed in the footsteps of its illustrious predecessor," 
leaving the people almost entirely without a circulating medium. 
The paper of these two banks had been at a discount for spe- 
cie ever since the United States refused to receive it for the 
public lands, and to make the banks depositories of the public 
moneys. At first the discount was small, two or three per 
cent., but in two or three years advanced to twelve and fifteen 
per cent., and then came the crash. The banks, however, man- 
aged to make their paper the standard of par ; and specie, and 
other paper of less credit, was above or below par. The dis- 
count was sufficient, for three years before, to banish all good 
money from circulation ; so that when the banks failed, the 
people were left without money until supplied by the course of 
trade, which, in a country so little commercial as Illinois at 
that time, was a slow process. When I came into office in 1842, 
I estimated that the good money in the State, in the hands of 
the people, did not exceed one year's interest on the public debt. 

That which contributed the last spark to the explosion of 
the State Bank, was the course of some of the State directors, 
who were contractors to finish the northern cross railroad, and 
who were to be paid in canal bonds, which at the time were 
unsaleable. These interested parties, joining with others in the 


directory, established it as a principle, that the bank could not 
issue an excess of its paper whilst in a state of suspension. 
This they did to get loans from the bank to carry on their 
work on the road ; and having obtained money themselves upon 
this principle, they were obliged to vote loans to all others. 
But experience soon showed that the principle was false, for no 
sooner was more paper put into circulation than could be sus- 
tained by the business of the country, than the bank exploded. 
It may be added to this, that the State Bank, to obtain favor 
from the legislature, was compelled to make loans to the State, 
and to advance its bills for auditor's warrants for a large amount, 
to defray the ordinary expenses of government ; the revenues 
being again insufficient, and the legislature afraid to increase 
the taxes. When I came into office, the State owed the bank, 
on this account, two hundred and ninety-four thousand dollars. 

A somewhat similar connection with the State assisted much 
to break the Shawneetown Bank. That bank was first induced 
to lend the State about $80,000 to finish the State House ; and 
in September, 1839, upon the recommendation and urgent re- 
quest of Governor Carlin, and upon his promise to deposit 
$500,000 in internal improvement bonds, as collateral security, 
which promise was never performed, the bank was induced to 
lend the Commissioners of Public Works the further sum of 
$200,000, which was never repaid to it.* 

Upon the whole, we have heard much said by demagogues 
about our swindling banks ; but it would be an easy matter to 
show, that if the banks had swindled only one quarter as much 
as they have been swindled by the State, and by individuals, 
they would have been perfectly solvent, and able to pay every 
dollar of their debt ; and what is most remarkable is, that 
those who have swindled the banks most, are the most loud in 
their cries against them for swindling. 

As I have elsewhere said, these .banks first suspended specie 
* See reports of House of Representatives, 1842-'3, pages 203, '4, '6. 


payments in the spring of 1837. In that year, the suspension 
was legalized to save the canal and internal improvement sys- 
tem. I do not know the reason why this favor was continued 
by the session of 1838-'9, or any of the following sessions until 
1841. But I do know that all, or nearly all, of the leading 
democrats opposed the measure. This was a new manifestation 
of hostility on the part of the democrats to these banks ; and 
this, again, was cause enough to rally the main body of the 
whigs in their favor ; and this, again, was of immense advan- 
tage to the banks in sustaining their credit. The merchants and 
business men all over the country were mostly whigs. They 
believed that the banks were unjustly persecuted by the demo- 
crats, that they were perfectly solvent, and that all the objec- 
tions of the democrats amounted to no more than senseless clamor. 
In the meantime the State Bank had been made the deposit- 
ory of the State revenues. The collectors had been required 
to pay the revenues arising from taxation into this bank, as into 
the public treasury. All auditors' warrants were drawn upon 
the bank, which were paid in its own paper. In this mode the 
legislature and all public officers were paid in the paper of the 
bank ; for, as nothing better was paid in, nothing better could 
be paid out. This gave the bank a decided advantage over the 
legislature. It was in the power of the bank to send the mem- 
bers home without their pay, except in auditors' warrants, at 
fifty per cent, discount, unless something should be done to sus- 
tain the credit of its paper. This lever, and a few opportune 
loans to some democrats, together with the aid of the whigs, 
commanded relief at the session of 1841. This session was 
called two weeks earlier than usual, for the purpose of provid- 
ing means to pay the interest on the public debt, becoming due 
in January, 1841. The democrats contended that this early com- 
mencement was a special session, and that the regular session 
must be commenced anew, on the first Monday of December 
following the first meeting. The whigs contended that the two 


sessions only made one, and refused to support a sine die ad- 
journment on the Saturday preceding the first Monday in De- 
cember. This was then supposed to be a very vital question. 
The democrats supposed that such an adjournment would put 
an end to the banks, as the previous law had provided for a re- 
sumption of specie payments before the adjournment of the 
next session of the general assembly, or otherwise they were to 
forfeit their charters. This was a session of much bitterness and 
personal hatred. The democrats came up from the people in- 
flamed with the highest degree of resentment against the banks 
and the judiciary ; and the whigs came with an equal hatred of 
the democrats, and a firm determination, as a general thing, to 
oppose whatever the democrats might favor. I believe it is a 
principle of all great political parties, that they cannot be very 
far wrong if they disagree to everything proposed by their ad- 
versaries. The whigs took ground in favor of the banks, the 
democrats against them. The question was on the sine die ad- 
journment of the special session. The whigs saw that the ad 
journment would carry. To defeat it, they began to absent 
themselves from the house, so as not to leave a quorum. A 
call of the house was made, and its officers were sent out to 
bring in and secure the attendance of the absent members. The 
doors were closed to prevent further escapes, but nevertheless 
some of the whigs jumped out of the windows, but not enough 
to defeat the purpose of the dominant party. The session was 
adjourned, and, according to the views of the democrats, the 
banks were at an end. The bank party had been defeated, and 
the democracy had obtained at last a great and glorious victory. 
But the victory could not be secured ; for before the end of the 
regular session in December the banks obtained a further priv- 
ilege of suspension, and the State Bank obtained an additional 
privilege which had never been granted to it before, that of issu- 
ing one, two, and three-dollar notes. So much for a democratic 
victory. This privilege of issuing small notes, it was thought, 


would aid the banks in making an earlier resumption. They 
immediately flooded the country with small notes in place of 
the large ones. This banished the silver dollar from circulation. 
It destroyed the specie basis all over the country, and made it 
impossible for the banks to increase their stock of precious met- 
als except by purchase. All deposits and payments were made 
in the only circulation th.en in the country. The banks might 
lose specie, but they could not increase it. I think I hazard no- 
thing in saying that this privilege of issuing small notes did as 
much mischief to the banks themselves as it did to the people 
at large. 

During the whole of this long and angry contest, the whigs 
accused the democrats of making war upon the commerce and 
the currency of the country. These banks were termed the in- 
stitutions of the country, and war upon them, in the language 
of the whigs, was war upon the institutions of the country. In 
whig estimation, the democrats were disloyal, destructive, and 
opposed to government. The whigs, in the estimation of the 
democrats, were a set of bank vassals, and were frequently call- 
ed by the democrats, the ragocracy. The presidents and direct- 
ors of banks were called rag-barons ; bank paper was called 
bank rags, and written or printed lies ; whilst the whole body 
of the whig party were, from an excess of hatred, termed the 
British-bought, Bank, blue-light, federal, whig party. 

Our whig friends contended that the continual and violent op- 
position of the democrats to the banks destroyed confidence ; 
which, by-the-bye, could only exist when the bulk of the people 
were under a delusion and believed in a falsehood. According 
to their views, if the banks owed five times as much as they 
were able to pay, and the people owed to each other and to the 
banks more than they were able to pay, and yet if the whole 
people could be persuaded to believe the incredible falsehood, 
that all were able to pay, this was " confidence," which, if once 
destroyed, could only be restored by the restoration of a sim- 
ilar general delusion. ''-? 


Progress of settlements Colleges Education Society Religion Literature John M. 
Peck James Hall John Russell Newspapers Effects of speculation Plenty of 
money Credit Debts Usury High rates of interest History of mobs Alton 
Mob Lovejoy Abolitionists Mobs in Pope county Mobs in the north Ogle 
county mob Cause of mobs in free countries Jo Smith Origin of the Mormons 
Their settlement in Missouri Troubles there Settlement in Ohio Kirtland Bank 
Mormons return to Missouri Mormon war there Expulsion from Missouri Settle- 
ment of the Mormons in Illinois Politics of the Mormons Martin Van Buren 
Henry Clay John J. Stuart Doctor Bennett Senator Little Stephen A. Douglass 
Mormon charters Nauvoo legion Popular clamor against the Mormons Arrest 
of Jo Smith Trial before Judge Douglass Nomination of Mr. Snyder as the demo- 
cratic candidate for Governor Governor Duncan again a candidate The Mormons 
declare for the democrats Governor Duncan attacks the Mormons and the Mormon 
charters Death of Snyder His character Nomination of the author in his place 
Reasons for this nomination Further examination into the practical operations of 
government Election of the author The Governor, Auditor and Treasurer forbid 
the receipt of Bank paper for taxes Condition of the State in 1842. 

BY the year 1840, the whole State had been settled, except 
some of the wide prairies far from timber. There was no longer 
any more wilderness. The country in Henry county, though 
as good as any other part of the State, I believe was the last to 
be settled in 1838. Several colleges and academies had been 
built and were in successful operation. The Illinois college, at 
Jacksonville, under the. direction of the Presbyterians, was 
built by an association of gentlemen of Boston. Shurtliff col- 
lege at Alton, was established under the direction of the Bap- 
tists ; McKendree college at Lebanon, under the direction of 
the Methodists ; and McDonough college at Macomb, and Kriox 
college, at Galesburg, were established also by the Presbyte- 
rians. The Catholics established a flourishing nunnery at the 
ancient town of Kaskaskia for the education of females; Bishop 


Chase, with the aid of contributions from the members of the 
Episcopal church and others, established Jubilee college in 
Peoria county; and the Methodists established a flourishing 
seminary at Mount Morris, in the county of Ogle. Beside 
these there were numerous academies and high schools in many 
parts of the State. Opportunities for education in the higher 
branches were good for all who were able and willing to profit 
by them. Common schools flourished in many places, more 
than could have been expected, when all efficient encourage- 
ment to them had been abandoned by the Government. 

Chicago, Alton, Springfield, Quincy, Galena, and Nauvoo, 
had become cities bqjore the year 1842. To these has since 
been added the city of Peoria. Most of the county seats had 
grown up to be towns of from five to fifteen hundred inhabit- 
ants ; and there were many other villages in many of the coun- 
ties containing a population of from one hundred to a thousand 
souls. The towns contained a good deal of intelligence, polish, 
and eloquence. It must not be thought that the people of this 
new country had just sprung up out of the ground, with no ad- 
vantages of education and society. They were nearly all of 
them emigrants from the old States, being often the most in- 
telligent and enterprising of their population. As such, they 
were just a slice off of the great loaf of the old States. But 
they were not apt to be so considered by the latest comers. 
These always imagined that they were come to a land of com- 
parative ignorance, and that they must necessarily be superior 
to the people already here, until they were convinced to the 
contrary by finding out that their pretensions had made them 
ridiculous ; and if their pretensions were noticed at all, it was 
only to be laughed at. It was no uncommon thing to find 
families of these last new comers scattered all over the country, 
forever complaining of the want of good society ; and of the 
many privations they endured in a new country. These com- 
plaints were uttered, not so much because they were true, as to 


let people know that those who made them, were somebodies 
where they came from. The same kind of people to show 
themselves off as something superior to others, were forever 
uttering sarcasms and slighting remarks of the State and the 
people. It was no uncommon thing to find them in all the 
taverns, stages-coaches and steamboats, letting on, that although 
their destiny compelled them to live in the State, yet they 
knew how degraded the rest of the people were as well as he 
who resided in a city, or lived in a palace. Indeed, the bodies 
only of a great many people and not their minds lived in the 
State. It was difficult to forget the father-land. Most of the 
emigrants remembered New York, or P^ew England, or their 
other places of nativity, with affection and lively interest. A 
man from Massachusetts took a newspaper from his native 
town, he watched the progress of politics, the success of men 
and parties, and the history of government there, with as much 
interest as if he had never removed. And so of the emigrants 
from other States. It was natural it should be so. But whilst 
it was so, it is to be feared that matters suffered at home. 
There was but little State pride for Illinois. Illinois could be 
abused anywhere with impunity. I hope yet to live to see the 
day in Illinois, as it is in Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, South 
Carolina, New York, and New England, that no one will be 
suffered to abuse the State without being scorned and insulted. 
It is true that a State pride must be deserved before it can 
exist. The people must have something to be proud of. The 
State will never really prosper without this State pride. It is 
the greatest incentive to excellence in government, and in every- 
thing else, for the people to be proud of their country.* 

* It seems to me that the people of Illinois may now justly be proud 
of their State. They have with great unanimity put down the hideous 
monster of repudiation ; contrary to the instigations of numerous dema- 
gogues they have submitted cheerfully to be taxed to pay their just 
debts ; they are about to see their canal, one of the greatest works in 


As new people came in they brought with them their religion 
and literature. Churches now began to be rapidly established 
in the towns, and in many country places. Pastors were regu- 
larly settled and paid ; church buildings were erected, divided 
off into pews, and the sound of the " church-going bell" began 
to be heard. It soon become fashionable to attend some church, 
and constant attendance induced many to join as members. 

During the previous period of our history, our literature was 
principally confined to mere newspaper writing, which discuss- 
ed mostly the mere affairs of party, or the claims of some man 
to an office ; or the demerit of an opponent. John M. Peck, 
of Rock Spring, in St. Clair county, published a State Gazetteer, 
a work of considerable labor and well written. John Russell, 
of Bluff Dale, published some fugitive essays and tales in the 
newspapers, which marked him as a man of genius and a fine 
writer ; and Judge James Hall early distinguished himself as a 
scholar and writer. He published at Vandalia, an Illinois 
monthly magazine of high merit ; and an annual called " the 
Western Souvenir," a collection of original tales and poetry, 
written principally by himself, evincing such merit as to make 
him distinguished all over the United States, as an author, But 
ttere was not sufficient patronage in Illinois at that time for the 
pursuits of literature ; so Judge Hall removed to Cincinnati, 

America, completed. Their legislatures have improved in knowledge, 
public spirit and patriotism, ever since 1840 ; which was about the 
darkest time in public affairs, And when the services of her sons were 
called for in the Mexican war, 8,370 of them in a few weeks answered 
the call, though only 8,720 (four regiments) could be taken. Every 
one of these regiments afterwards distinguished themselves for unheard- 
of courage in the severest battles ever fought on this continent. Har- 
din, Bisaell, Weatherford, Morrison, Trail, Warren, are proud names as- 
sociated with the glorious victory of Buena Vista. Shields, Baker, 
Harris, Coffey, and others, will be remembered as long as the capture 
of Vera Cruz, or the storming of Cerro Gordo, are remembered. What 
did Kentucky ever do more than this ? 


where he now resides. But before he left Illinois he had ac 
quired a high reputation as a writer. 

The great plenty of money brought here by the work on the 
canal and thej-ailroads, set up a great many merchants all over 
the country in ousiness ; it increased the stocks of goods brought 
to be sold; created unnatural competition amongst the mer- 
chants to sell ; who were forced to sell on a credit or not at all. 
The people were encouraged to buy on credit, and when their 
debts became due, for want of money to pay them, they gave 
their notes to the merchants with twelve per cent, interest, 
which the reader will observe hereafter was the cause of some 
strange legislation on the collection of debts, and caused the 
reduction of the rate of interest to six per cent. Until the year 
1833, there had been no legal 'limit to the rate of interest to be 
fixed by contract. But usury had been carried to such an un- 
precedented degree of extortion and oppression, as to cause the 
legislature to enact severe usury laws, by which all interest 
above twelve per cent, was condemned. It had been no un- 
common thing before this, to charge one hundred and one hun- 
dred and fifty per cent., and sometimes two and three hundred 
per cent. But the common rate of interest by contract had 
been about fifty per cent. 

In the year 1840, the people called Mormons came to this 
State, and settled in Hancock county, and as their residence 
amongst us led to a mobocratic spirit, which resulted in their 
expulsion, it is proper here to notice other incidents of this sort, 
in our previous history. 

In 1816 and '17, in the towns of the territory, the country 
was overrun with horse-thieves and counterfeiters. They were 
so numerous, and so well combined together in many counties, 
as to set the laws at defiance. Many of the sheriffs, justices of 
the peace, and constables, were of their number; and even 
some of the judges of the county courts ; and they had numer- 
ous friends to aid them and sympathize with them, even 


amongst those who were the least suspected. When any of 
them were arrested, they either escaped from the slight jails of 
those times, or procured some of their gang to be on the jury ; and 
they never lacked witnesses to prove themselves innocent. The 
people formed themselves into revolutionary tribunals in many 
counties, under the name of "Regulators;" and the governor 
and judges of the territory, seeing the impossibility of executing 
the laws in the ordinary way, against an organized banditti, who 
set all law at defiance, winked at and encouraged the proceed- 
ings of the regulators. 

These regulators in number generally constituted about a 
captain's company, to which they gave a military organization, 
by the election of officers. The company generally operated at 
night. When assembled for duty, they marched, armed and 
equipped as if for war, to the residence or lurking-place of a 
rogue, arrested, tried, and punished him by severe whipping 
and banishment from the territory. In this mode most of the 
rogues were expelled from the country ; and it was the opinion 
of the best men at the time, that in the then divided and dis- 
organized state of society, and the imperfect civilization which 
required such proceedings, were not only justifiable, but abso- 
lutely necessary for the existence of government. 

There yet remained, however, for many years afterwards, a 
noted gang of rogues in the counties of Pape and Massac, and 
other counties bordering on the Ohio river. This gang built a 
fort in Pape county, and set the government at open defiance. 
In the year 1831, the honest portion of the people in that re- 
gion assembled under arms in great numbers, and attacked the 
fort with small arms and one piece of artillery. The fort was 
taken by storm, with the loss of one of the regulators and three 
of the rogues killed in the assault. The residue of the rogues 
were taken prisoners, tried for their crimes, but I believe were 
never convicted. 

At a later time, a number of rogues who had located them- 


selves in the county of Edgar, were broken up, whipped, and 
expelled by a company of regulators from the Wabash valley, 
the present Governor French being a distinguished member of 
the regulators. 

In 1837 a series of mobs took place in Alton, which resulted 
in the destruction of an abolition press, and in the death of one 
of the rioters and one of the abolitionists. This affair has made 
a great noise in the world, and is deserving of a more extended 
notice. It appears that the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy, of the 
Presbyterian church, had attempted to publish an abolition 
paper in St. Louis, but his press had there been destroyed by 
a mob, and he himself had been expelled from the city. 

Mr. Lovejoy now determined to remove his establishment 
to Alton. The press for this purpose was landed on Sunday, 
but during that night was thrown into the river by the citizens. 
There was much excitement on the subject, and a public meet- 
ing was called on Monday evening to be held in the Presby- 
terian church, which was attended by an immense concourse of 

Mr. Lovejoy first addressed the meeting. He said he came 
to Alton to establish a religious newspaper. He was pleased 
with the place, and wished to remain ; there most of his sub- 
scribers resided in Illinois ; and it would best suit his purposes 
and theirs that he should do so. He disliked St. Louis, and he 
disliked slavery. He regretted that he had met with such a re- 
ception at Alton; he presumed that the people had miscon- 
ceived his object. He was no abolitionist; he believed the 
abolitionists were injuring the colored race ; he had repeatedly 
denounced them, and had been himself denounced by Garrison 
and others, as being in favor of slavery, because he was unwill- 
ing to go with the abolitionists in favor of all their measures. 
He was opposed to slavery to be sure ; he had ever been, and 
hoped he always would be opposed to it, and he wished to get 
away from the evil of it. Whilst at St. Louis, where slavery 


existed, he felt bound to oppose it. For so doing his press had 
been mobbed and himself insulted. He had resolved to come 
to a free State, and he thanked his God that he was now re- 
jnoved from slavery. He could now publish a religious news- 
paper without meddling with the subject of slavery ; he could 
entertain his opinions ; but being removed from the evil, he 
would have no cause to express them. Indeed, said he, it would 
look like cowardice to flee from the place where the evil existed, 
and come to a place where it did not exist, to oppose it. 

The people understood this to be a pledge of Mr. Lovejoy, 
that he would not mingle the question of slavery with the dis- 
cussions in his paper ; and upon this condition he was permitted 
to set up the " Alton Observer" without opposition. Time 
rolled on : the paper extended its circulation, but solely as a 
religious paper, heralding the peaceful gospel of the blessed 
God, which is peace on earth and good- will to men. After some 
time, slavery was very moderately referred to, and then de- 
nounced. Soon after, the paper became moderately abolition- 
ist. Next, some of the most respectable citizens were de- 
nounced as being in favor of slavery, and held up to public 
scorn because they dared to speak their opinions of the aboli- 
tionists ; and ultimately, in the course of a year it became 
decidedly an abolition paper of the fiercest sort, and religion 
was pressed into its service as a mere incident and auxiliary to 
the main cause of abolitionism. 

The mob spirit of Alton became aroused. The people 
thought that they had nurtured a viper to bite them and destroy 
their peace. The pledge of Mr. Lovejoy was remembered. 
He was urged by his friends to desist from his course, but no 
consideration could shake his inflexible resolution. He only 
became more violent, and his denunciations more personal. A 
public meeting was called to induce him, by peaceable means 
if possible, to return to his original pledge. A committee was 
appointed to wait on him, and call his attention to his original 


promises. He denied making such promises, and contended for 
the freedom of the press, and his right to unbounded liberty as 
one of its conductors. He read to the committee a long homily 
on mobs ; and appeared to think that the action of a mob, by 
creating sympathy for him, would spread his renown, and im- 
mortalize his labors. The positive denial of a minister of the 
gospel of what hundreds had heard him declare, increased the 
rage of the people, which was blown into a consuming fury by 
a letter which appeared in the "Plain Dealer," in -which the 
leading men of Alton were denounced because they did not 
throw themselves into the breach, and protect Mr. Lovejoy at 
the risk of their lives in conducting a press employed to vilify 
themselves, and to support a cause which they believed to be 
fraught with injury to all concerned. The people assembled 
and quietly took the press and types and threw them into the 
Mississippi. It now became manifest to all rational men that 
the " Alton Observer" could no longer be published in Alton 
as an abolition paper. The more reasonable of the abolitionists 
themselves thought it would be useless to try it again. How- 
ever, a few of them, who were most violent, seemed to think 
that the salvation of the black race depended upon continuing 
the publication at Alton. They called a private meeting to 
consult, into which were admitted Messrs. Godfrey and Gilman, 
and the Rev. Mr. Hogan, who were not abolitionists. All ex- 
pressed their opinions. Some were for re-establishing the press, 
and sustaining it at all hazards. Others thought it would be 
madness to make the attempt, and they believed that the efforts 
already made had come near destroying the religious feeling 
of the community, and breaking up the peace and harmony of 
the churches. Mr. Lovejoy complained that Mr. Godfrey, who 
was a leading Presbyterian, and the Rev. Mr. Hogan, had de- 
clared that if the " Observer" were again established they could 
do nothing to protect it from the mob ; but he forgot to state 
that these gentlemen could not recognize as the cause of God 


that which had done so much evil. They had seen the effect 
of abolitionism in the slave States, where, instead of breaking 
the fetters of the slave, it had increased their strength and se- 
verity. They conscientiously believed that abolitionism was 
wrong they could not risk their lives in its defence. 

The majority, however, determined to re-establish the " Ob- 
server" as an abolition paper ; and as preparatory thereto, they 
put out a call for a convention, to be held in Upper Alton, on 
the 26th of October, 1837, of all such persons in Illinois as 
were opposed to slavery, and in favor of free discussion. .. The 
convention assembled ; and although the call was for all per- 
sons opposed to slavery, yet an attempt was made to exclude 
all who would not avow themselves to be abolitionists, all 
others being set down as opposed to free discussion. The 
trustees of the Presbyterian church would not allow it to as- 
semble in their place of worship, unless all were allowed to 
come who were opposed to slavery. This was finally acceded 
to, and many such took seats in the convention. A committee 
was appointed to prepare business, and in the afternoon the 
Rev. Mr. Beecher, then President of Illinois College, was to 
preach a sermon before the convention. The committee of two 
abolitionists and one opposed to them, made a majority and 
minority report, and President Beecher held forth in a violent 
harangue against slavery. Mr. Beecher was a man of great 
learning and decided talents ; but he belonged to the class of 
reformers who disregard all considerations of policy and expe- 
diency. He believed slavery to be a sin and a great evil, and 
his indignant and impatient soul could not await God's own 
good time to overthrow it, by acts of his providence working 
continual -change and revolution in the affairs of men. He con- 
tended that slavery was wrong, sinfully and morally wrong, 
and ought not to be borne with an instant. No Constitution 
could protect it. If the Constitution sanctioned iniquity, the 
Constitution was wrong in the sight of God, and could not be 


binding upon the people of this country. For his part, he did 
not sanction the Constitution. It was not binding on him ; and 
whilst it tolerated slavery it could not be. Several other 
speeches of a like nature were made on the same side, which 
were answered by Usher F. lander, the Attorney General, and 
by the Eev. Mr. Hogan. 

The next day an abolition society was secretly formed at the 
house of the Eev. Mr. Hurlbut, in Upper Alton, believed to be 
the first ever formed in Illinois. Mr. Beecher was appointed to 
preach- in the Upper Alton Presbyterian church on the following 
Sunday. Here his lectures against slavery were continued un- 
til Monday evening. No outbreak had taken place, and Upper 
Alton was looked upon as conquered. This encouraged a sim- 
ilar effort in the main city on the bank of the river. Accord- 
ingly, it was announced that on Tuesday Mr. Beecher would 
deliver the same lectures in Lower Alton which he had deliv- 
ered in the upper town. On this day another abolition press 
was expected to arrive in a steamboat. The abolitionists an- 
nounced that they were organized with a company of forty 
men, armed with muskets, fully determined and. prepared to 
defend it at every hazard. The people, in a high state of ex- 
citement, flocked to the river in great numbers. The steamboat 
came, but no press was on board. The evening approached. 
Mr. Beecher was to deliver his address. The abolitionists as- 
sembled at.the church under arms. Armed to the teeth with 
muskets and other deadly weapons, they were seen wending 
their way to the house of God ; and at the close of the service, 
as the people returned to their homes, the moonlight was re- 
flected from the swords and guns of fifteen members of the 
church, stationed in the vestibule. Such was religion, when 
made the mere ally and auxiliary of fanaticism. This was too 
much. Men could not endure such an outrage. I do not apolo- 
gize for mobs, all of which I would crush forever, in every part 
of this free country. But no language can be loaded with suf- 


ficient severity for the fanatical leaders who, by their violence, 
by their utter disregard of honest prejudices, drove a peaceful 
community to a temporary insanity, and to the commission of 
enormous crimes. 

On Wednesday was to be observed that peculiar calm which 
indicates an approaching storm. The sayings and doings of 
Tuesday were talked over. Many who before had taken no 
part, were now active on the side of the mob. Indignation 
blazed on every face. As no outbreak had yet occurred, the 
abolitionists believed that they had triumphed. In a secret 
meeting, they determined to re-establish the press at the point 
of the bayonet. The people could not bear such threatenings, 
and now the waves of excitement rolled to the height of moun- 
tains. The Rev. Mr. Hogan, in taking the side he did, re- 
tained considerable power with the populace. He was appealed 
to, to allay the threatening storm. He called twenty or thirty 
of the most moderate on each side, to a meeting at his counting- 
house. One party seemed willing to compromise matters, 
and bring about an adjustment. Mr. Beecher, at the head 
of the other, was unwilling to make the slightest conces- 
sion. He contended for all their abstract rights, and demanded 
all the guarantees of the government and the Constitution, at 
the same time that he and his friends were contending for their 
right to trample upon both. He invoked the Constitution for 
his protection. He wanted others to be bound by it, whilst 
he refused to rendei it obedience himself. He insisted that 
all that he claimed should be awarded, to the slightest particu- 
lar. He would retract nothing, compromise nothing, and no 
consideration could induce him to accede to other terms. In 
all this Mr. Beecher displayed that heroic obstinacy, which, 
when accompanied by good sense and powerful talents, and 
working with the natural current of events, has overthrown gov- 
ernments and systems, and revolutionized the moral and almost 
the physical world. But here it was exerted in a cause which 


could not succeed, at least at that time. This meeting was 
about to adjourn, when it was proposed and resolved to appoint 
a committee to devise and report some means of adjustment 
to a meeting to be held next day at 2 o'clock. 

The committee met, and it was stated to be impossible, after 
what had transpired, for Mr. Lovejoy to continue bis paper. A 
resolution was passed proposing any other editor, and for Mr. 
Lovejoy to seek some other field of labor, which was reported 
to the meeting next day. It is believed that Lovejoy himself 
would have acceded to this arrangement, but not so with Mr. 
Beecher and his other friends. Pride and obstinacy were both 
aroused to demand a triumph, in which principle was less con- 
sidered than victory. Had they made the least concession, the 
scene which followed, resulting in the death of two human be- 
ings, would probably never have taken place. The hour of two 
having arrived, the people assembled in the court-house, and the 
committee, by their chairman, made their report, one calculated 
to still the troubled elements. Mr. Linder made some remarks 
calculated to restore peace, and prepared the large meeting then 
assembled to calmly consider the exceedingly serious matters 
then before them. 

Mr. Lovejoy now arose, and commenced his speech, which 
was very mild and affecting, in which he deprecated the action 
of the meeting and the report of the committee. He said he 
had thought of leaving Alton and going elsewhere, but a voice 
came to him from the east, urging him to remain ; here he would 
stay ; he could not leave his post, without being pursued by the 
Spirit of God to his destruction. The people might mob him, 
or do anything they pleased ; he could not, and he would not 
be driven away ; he would live there, and die there. The Spirit 
of God urged him to contend for his rights, and for a holy cause. 
He denied that he had ever given any pledges, and called on 
Mr. Hogan to sustain him in this denial. He never had yield- 
ed his rights (he had forgotten his flight from St. Louis), he 


never -would yield them, and he would die contending for 

Mr. Lovejoy closed his remarks in a state of great excite- 
ment, and the meeting was quite in an uproar, when Mr. Hogan 
rose, and endeavored to throw some oil on the troubled waters. 
He said that the meeting had been convened, not to consider 
each man's abstract rights, but to inquire into the doctrine of 
expediency, and how far we could relinquish the plea of right 
for the sake of peace. The great apostle had said, All things 
are lawful for me ; but all things are not expedient. If Paul 
yielded to the law of expediency, would it be wrong for them, 
for Mr. Lovejoy also, following his example 7 The Spirit of 
God did not pursue Paul to his destruction for thus acting ; but, 
on the contrary, had commended his course. Paul had never 
taken up arms to propagate the religion of his master, nor to 
defend himself against the attacks of his enemies. The people 
of Damascus were opposed to Paul, but did*he argue with the 
populace the question of his legal rights ? Did he tell them 
that he was a Roman citizen, and would do and say what he 
pleased ? Did he say, I am a minister of Christ, and must not 
leave the work of my master, to flee before the face of a mob* ? 
No ; he quietly let himself down in a basket, outside of the 
wall, and departed for another field of labor. And God com- 
mended and blessed him for his wisdom and humility. Mr. 
Hogan expressed himself strongly in favor of peace, and hoped 
all present would yield something of their determinations to se- 
cure it. 

The Rev. Mr. Graves next addressed the meeting. He wished 
to allude to the pledge of Mr. Lovejoy, so much spoken of. Mr. 
Lovejoy had never given such a pledge ; he could not give it, 
and he appealed to Mr. Hogan to bear him out in the assertion. 
He commended Mr. Lovejoy for his firmness ; he could make 
no compromise ; it was in vain to propose one. 

Mr. Hogan then repeated what Lovejoy had said at the first 


meeting. Mr. Graves admitted that Lovejoy had made such 
statements, but they were not binding. Mr. Lovejoy was not 
an abolitionist at the time, nor was he himself one then. Since 
that time, God had opened their eyes to see the great wicked- 
ness of slavery. They now felt it a duty to oppose it. If they 
had given such a pledge, they had sinned against God, and ought 
to repent of it and forsake it. Their decision was unalterably 
made ; they might die, but they could not compromise the per- 
formance of duty. 

By such specious arguments, many good men frequently de- 
lude themselves. These men had worked themselves up to a 
most heroical resolution, and indeed a generous mind finds much 
to admire in their inflexible obstinacy. It was the self-sacrificing 
spirit of the martyr and the patriot ; and although we may dis- 
agree with them, we cannot withhold our admiration from men 
who are nobly wrong, whilst we despise him who is meanly 
right. 9 

The abolition press was expected to arrive next day after this 
meeting, but it did not come. An outbreak was now confident- 
ly looked for ; all business was suspended ; nothing was talked 
of among the populace but the efforts of the abolitionists. These 
last armed themselves, formed a military company, and elected 
their officers ; and they mounted guard every night, in expecta- 
tion of the arrival of the boat from below with the fatal press. 
This great matter of discord arrived on the next Monday night, 
and was removed on Tuesday morning to the stone warehouse 
of Godfrey Gilman & Co., where its friends were assembled 
with arms to guard it. On Tuesday every one knew of its 
arrival, and the citizens were goaded on to madness by the 
taunts and threats of the abolitionists. They were told that 
they dare not touch the press, that powder and lead were not 
mere playthings, that the abolitionists were now organized by 
authority, and were supplied with thirty rounds of cartridges, 
and that the mob should feel their virtue. These threatenings 


were doubtless made against the wishes of the leaders, but they 
served powerfully to augment the spirit of rebellion. 

Towards evening, the excitement in the city had reached a 
pitch which made it evident to all that a violent struggle was 
soon to come, and blood be shed. The press was in the ware- 
house ; the abolitionists, and some others who were not aboli- 
tionists, were assembled with powder and ball to defend 4t unto 
death. Between nine and ten o'clock on Tuesday night, a mob 
assembled in front of the warehouse, and demanded the press 
to be given up to them. The night was clear and beautiful, the 
moon not quite risen, but so clear and bright was the sky, that 
both parties were distinctly visible during the parley. All crea- 
tion seemed to smile, and everything seemed divine but man, 
who that beautiful night was converted by his raging and surg- 
ing passions into a demon of obstinacy on the one side, and of 
destruction on the other. The assailed party returned for an- 
swer, that they were well provided with arms and ammunition, 
and would defend the press to the last extremity. The house 
was then assailed with a shower of stones, and the mob endeav- 
ored to carry it by storm. Some one in the building fired from 
the second story. This shot was fatal to a young man by the 
name of Bishop, producing almost instant death. Some of those 
in the house afterwards stated, that this first shot was fired by 
Lovejoy. Be this, however, as it may, the result was terrible ; 
for, as the populace bore the young man away, loud and bitter 
were their imprecations, and the death of all in the house was 
boldly threatened by the mob. 

Some went to the magazine for powder, to blow up the build- 
ing ; others procured ladders to set the roof on fire ; but by far 
the greater number retired to the neighboring grog-shops, to re- 
enforce their courage ; and then returned to the assault, with 
their hot blood made hotter still, by the power of intoxication. 
The bells of the city were loudly rung, and horns were blown, 
to assemble yet a greater multitude. Armed men everywhere 


came rushiug to the scene of action. Some were urging on the 
mob, and others sought to alloy the tumult. 

The ladders were placed on the vacant space, on the southern 
side of the building ; one man mounted with a torch to fire the 
roof. There were no windows on this side, from which the 
party within could fire at him as he ascended. At this time 
Mr. Lovejoy came, from the door fronting the river, around the 
corner of the building, and fired at the crowd. His shot did 
not take effect, and he instantly retreated into the building, where 
he urged his companions on to an attack, and upbraided them 
for their cowardice in refusing. A young man by the name of 
West, seeing the building on fire, ascended the ladder with a 
bucket of water, and extinguished the flames. Whilst he was 
so engaged, Mr. Lovejoy again made his appearance from the 
same place, again fired without effect, and returned to the build- 
ing. Meanwhile, several guns were fired by the mob and sev- 
eral by the party in the house through the windows, but all 
without effect on either side. 

The mob still increased. The ferocity grew upon it in pro- 
portion to the increase of its numbers and strength. Another 
attempt was made to fire the house, when Mr. Lovejoy and 
one of his companions made their appearance from the same 
door. The former shots from that quarter, had drawn attention 
to this door, and when the figures of two men were seen to 
emerge from it, one of them to raise his gun to fire again, they 
were fired upon by the mob with fatal precision ; one of them 
being wounded in the leg, and the other, the Rev. Mr. Lovejoy, 
mortally ; having only time to exclaim, "My God ! I am shot !" 
before he expired. With the fall of the chief or master spirit, 
the sinking courage of his party seemed utterly to die away. 
A general firing was now kept up by the mob ; the roof of the 
building was in flames, and the party within seemed to expect 
nothing less than utter destruction. In this extremity they 
were induced to surrender the obnoxious press. They were 


permitted to make a hurried escape down the river bank, their 
retreat being accelerated by several guns fired over their heads. 
The press was again thrown into the river. 

After the violence of feeling had somewhat subsided, both 
parties were indicted for their crimes arising out of these trans- 
actions, and all were acquitted ; making it a matter of record, 
that in fact the abolitionists had not provoked an assault ; that 
there had been no mob ; and that no one had been killed or 

Previous to the year 1840, other mobs were rife in the north- 
ern part of the State. The people there had settled without 
title, upon the public lands of the United States, which were 
then neither surveyed nor in market, and they had made valu- 
able improvements on these lands, by building mills worth ten 
thousand dollars, opening farms, frequently of four or five hun- 
dred acres, and whole villages of six or eight hundred inhab- 
itants, were built on them. By a conventional law of each 
neighborhood, the settlers were all pledged to protect each other 
in the amount of their respective claims. But there were 
mean men, who disregarded these conventional arrangements. 
Such as these belonged to that very honest fraternity, who 
profess to regulate all their dealings by the law of the land. 
Such men had but little regard for public opinion or abstract 
right ; and their consciences did not restrain them from "jump- 
ing" a neighbor's claim, if they could be sustained by law and 
protected against force. It soon became apparent to every 
one, that actual force was the only protection for this descrip- 
tion of property. And although the most of the settlers were 
from the eastern States ; from the land of steady habits, where 
mobs are regularly hated and denounced, and all unlawful fight- 
ing held in abhorrence ; yet seeing themselves left without le- 
gal protection, and subject to the depredations of the dishonor- 
able and unscrupulous, they resolved to protect themselves 
with force. Many were the riots and mobs in every county, 


arising from this state of things. Every neighborhood was sig- 
nalised by some brawl of the kind. The old peaceful, staid, 
puritan Yankee, walked into a fight in defence of his claim, or 
that of his neighbor, just as if he had received a regular back- 
woods education in the olden times. It was curious to witness 
this change of character with the change of position, hi emerg- 
ing from a government of strict law to one of comparative an- 
archy. The readiness with which our puritan population from 
the East adopted the mobocratic spirit, is evidence that men are 
the same everywhere under the same circumstances. That 
which any man will do, depends more upon his position upon 
the laws and government, and upon the administration of the 
laws, than to mental or physical constitution, or any peculiar 
trait of character or previous training. 

Then again the northern part of the State was not destitute 
of its organized bands of rogues, engaged in murders, robberies, 
horse-stealing, and in making and passing counterfeit money. 
These rogues were scattered all over the north ; but the most 
of them were located in the counties of Ogle, Winnebago, Lee, 
and De Kalb. In the county of Ogle, they were so numerous, 
strong, and well-organized, that they could not be convicted for 
their crimes. By getting some of their numbers on the juries, 
by producing hosts of witnesses to sustain their defence by per- 
jured evidence, and by changing the venue from one county to 
another, and by continuances from term to term, and by the 
inability of witnesses to attend from time to time at a distant 
and foreign county, they most generally managed to be acquit- 
ted. At the spring term, 1841, seven of them were confined 
in the Ogle county jail for trial. The judge and the lawyers 
had assembled at the little village of Oregon, preparatory to 
holding the court. The county had just completed a new court- 
house, in which court was to be held for the first time the next 
day. The jail stood near it, in which were the prisoners. The 
rogues assembled in the night, and set the court-house on fire, 


in the hope that as the prisoners would have to be removed 
from the jail, they might in the hurry and confusion of the peo- 
ple in attending to the fire, make their escape. The whole pop- 
ulation were awakened at a late hour of a dark and stormy 
night, to see the lurid flames bursting from the roof and win- 
dows of their newly-erected temple of justice. The building 
was entirely consumed, but none of the prisoners escaped. 

This produced a great excitement in the country, three of the 
prisoners were tried, convicted, and sent to the penitentiary for 
a year. But they managed to get one of their confederates on 
the jury, who refused to agree to a verdict, until the eleven 
others had threatened to lynch him in the jury room. The 
other prisoners obtained changes of venue, and were never con- 
victed. They all broke out of jail and made their escape. The 
honest and substantial portion of the people were now deter- 
mined to take the law into their own hands ; they were deter- 
mined that delays, insufficient jails, changes of venue, hung 
juries, and perjured evidence, should no longer screen the 
rogue from punishment. And here it is to be remarked that 
the new counties, such as Ogle, were so poor in revenue, and 
so much in debt, their orders at so great a discount, that they 
were not able to build good jails ; and the other counties which 
had them, refused to receive prisoners from the new counties, 
unless the cost of their keeping were paid in advance. The 
people formed themselves into regulating companies, both in 
Ogle and Winnebago counties, and proceeding in a summary 
way, they whipped some of the most notorious rogues, and 
ordered others into banishment. Amongst those who had been 
ordered away, were the family of the Driscolls, the old man 
and several of his sons. The old man and some of his sons had 
been in the Ohio penitentiary, and made their escape from it. 
The old man was a stout, well-built, hardened, deliberate man, 
and his sons had more than common boldness in the commis- 
sion of crime. This family were determined not to be driven 


away, and to this end they and several of their confederates 
held a private meeting, in which they resolved to strike terror 
into the regulators, by threatening death to all the leading men 
in their ranks, and by assassinating their captain. Some of the 
Driscolls went to the house of Capt. Campbell, who was a cap- 
tain of the regulators, just after dark, of a Sunday evening, just 
as the family had returned from church, and pretending to be 
strangers inquiring their way, they called Capt. Campbell out 
into his door-yard, and there deliberately shot him dead in the 
presence of his wife and children. Before day next morning, 
the news of the murder had run over the country like lightning. 
The people early assembled at the house of the murdered man, 
in White Rock Grove, in great numbers ; and there seeing the 
dead victim of this secret assassination, his blood yet fresh upon 
the ground, his wife and children in frantic agony, they were 
thrown into a wild uproar of excitement and frenzy, somewhat 
like that which seizes upon a herd of cattle, upon seeing and 
scenting the blood of a slaughtered bullock. They spread out 
all over the country, in search of the murderers. The actual 
murderers who had done the deed had escaped, but they seized 
upon the old man Driscoll, and the people of Winnebago coun- 
ty, coming down next day afterwards, had seized upon two of 
his sons. The prisoners were taken to Washington Grove, in 
Ogle county, for trial. The old man and one of his sons were 
convicted as being accessories to the murder, and the other was 
acquitted. The trial occupied nearly a whole day before the 
whole band of regulators, composed \>f about three hundred 
men, many of them being magistrates, and some of them min- 
isters of the gospel ; and is described as having been conducted 
with much solemnity and seriousness. The condemned were 
sentenced to be shot within an hour ; a minister of the gospel 
who was present, prayed with them and administered to them 
the consolations of religion ; and then they were brought out 
for execution. They were placed in a kneeling position, with 


bandages over their eyes, and were fired upon by the whole 
company present, that there might be none who could be legal 
witnesses of the bloody deed. About one hundred of these 
men were afterwards tried for murder and acquitted. These 
terrible measures put an end to the ascendancy of rogues in 
Ogle county. 

There can be no doubt but that the mobocratic spirit origin- 
ates in two causes. First, the laws fail to provide remedies for 
great evils. The administration of the laws, owing to the checks 
and balances in the Constitution, intended for the protection 
of innocence and liberty against arbitrary power, is necessarily 
slow and uncertain. In framing our governments, it seemed to 
be the great object of our ancestors to secure the public lib- 
erty by depriving government of power. Attacks upon liberty 
were not anticipated from any considerable portion of the peo- 
ple themselves. It was not expected that one portion of the 
people would attempt to play the tyrant over another. And 
if such a thing had been thought of, the only mode of putting 
it down was to call out the militia, who are, nines times out of 
ten, partisans on one side or the other in the contest. The 
militia may be relied upon to do battle in a popular service, 
but if mobs are raised to drive out horse thieves, to put 
down claim-jumpers, to destroy an abolition press, or to expel 
an odious sect, the militia cannot be brought to act against 
them efficiently. The people cannot be used to put down 
the people. The day may unfortunately come, when the States, 
as well as the nation, will be compelled to keep up a regular 

In fact, the principal strength of government in free coun- 
tries is, that the mass of the people do not need government 
at all. Each man governs himself, and, if need be, assists to 
govern his neighbor. Religious principles and feelings incline 
to justice. Industry inclines to peace. Early training begets 
submission to parents, and then to the magistrates and laws ; 



making government quite possible, without much authority in 
the magistrate. With the assistance of the well-affected, hon- 
est citizens, who are supposed to make a large majority of the 
people, the magistrate is able to bring to punishment the 
lesser sort of rogues, who belong to no great combination, and 
sometimes succeeds in breaking up the strongest combinations. 
But if an association of bankers, of public officers who are 
charged with public affairs to disburse money, swindle the 
public, or if a number of rogues associate to depredate upon 
the community, we are apt to find the old Athenian definition 
of law still to be true, " that law is a cobweb to catch the 
small flies, but the great ones break through it." The true 
reason why the great offenders and combinations of criminals so 
frequently go unpunished is, that they are too strong for the 
ordinary machinery of government, single handed, without a 
vigorous support of that government by the orderly and well- 
disposed. The government is too frequently left without this 
support. The peaceable and orderly many are so engaged in 
separate and selfish, but lawful projects of their own, that it is 
hard to get them to take part in putting down the disorderly 
few, except when the disorders become intolerable and insuffer- 
able ; and then the power of the many is exercised, as the 
limbs of the body are exercised in a spasm, which waits for 
neither law nor government. 

The second cause of mobs is, that men engaged in unpopular 
projects expect more protection from the laws than the laws 
are able to furnish in the face of a popular excitement. They 
read in the Constitution the guaranty of their rights, and they 
insist upon the enjoyment of these rights to the fullest extent, 
no matter what may be the extent of popular opposition against 
them. In such a case, it may happen that the whole people 
may be on one side, and merely the public officers on the other. 
The public officers are appealed to for protection, when it is 
apparent that, being separated from the strength of the people, 


they form the mere dead skeleton of a government. The 
men engaged in projects which may be odious to the people, 
call upon government for that protection which it cannot give. 
For if government cannot suppress an unpopular band of horse 
thieves, associated to commit crime, how is it to suppress a 
popular combination which has the people on its side ? I am 
willing enough to acknowledge that all this is wrong, but how 
is the evil to be avoided ? The Alton mob was provoked by 
the abolitionists. They read in the Constitution that they had 
a right to print and publish whatever they pleased, being re- 
sponsible to the laws for the abuse of that right ; and they 
planted themselves here as firmly as if government was omni- 
potent, or as if they intended, by way of experiment, to test 
the power of government to put down the people, on whom 
alone it rests for support. The same may be said of the Mor- 
mons. Scattered through the country, they might have lived in 
peace, like other religious sects, but they insisted upon their 
right to congregate in one great city. The people were de- 
termined that they should not exercise this right ; and it will 
be seen in the sequel of this history, that in their case, as in 
every other where large bodies of the people are associated to 
accomplish with force an unlawful but popular object, the gov- 
ernment is powerless against such combinations. This brings 
us to treat of the Mormons. 

The people called Mormons, but who call themselves " the 
Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints," began to figure in 
the politics of this State in 1840. They were a religious sect, 
the followers of a man familiarly called " Joe Smith," who was 
claimed by them to be a prophet. This man was born at Sha- 
ron, Windsor County, Vermont, on the 23d of December, 1805. 
His parents were in humble circumstances, and gave their son 
but an indifferent education. When he first began to act the 
prophet, he was ignorant of almost everything which belonged 
to science ; but he made up in natural cunning and in power of 


invention and constructiveness, for many deficiencies of educa- 
tion. When he was ten years old, his parents removed to 
Palmyra, Wayne County, New York. Here, his extreme 
youth was spent in an idle, vagabond life, roaming the woods, 
dreaming of buried treasures, and exerting himself to learn the 
art of finding them, by the twisting of a forked stick in his 
hands, or by looking through enchanted stones. He, and his 
father before him, were what are called " water witches," al- 
ways ready to point out the ground where wells might be dug 
and water found, and many are the anecdotes of his early life, 
giving bright promise of future profligacy. Such was Joe 
Smith when he was found by Sidney Rigdon, who was a man 
of considerable talents and information. Rigdon had become 
possessed of a religious romance, written by a Presbyterian 
clergyman in Ohio, then dead, which suggested to him the idea 
of starting a new religion. It was agreed that Joe Smith 
should be put forward as a prophet ; and the two devised a 
story that golden plates had been found, buried in the earth, 
in the neighborhood of Palmyra, containing a record inscribed 
on them, in unknown characters, which, when decyphered by 
the power of inspiration, gave the history of the ten lost tribes 
of Israel, in their wanderings through Asia into America, where 
they had settled and flourished, and where, in due time, Christ 
came and preached his gospel to them, appointed his twelve 
apostles, and was crucified here, nearly in the same manner in 
which he was crucified in Jerusalem. The record then pre- 
tended to give the history of the American Christians, for a few 
hundred years, until the great wickedness of the people called 
down the judgments of God pon them, which resulted in their 
extermination. Several nations and people, from the Isthmus 
of Darien to the extremities of North America, were arrayed 
against each other in war. At last the great battle of Cumorah 
was fought in Palmyra, New York, between the Lamanites, who 
were the heathen of this continent, and the Nephites, who were 


the Christians, in which battle there was a prodigious slaughter 
hundreds of thousands being killed on each side. The na- 
tion of the Nephites was destroyed, except a few who had de- 
serted, and a few who had escaped into the south country. 
Among this number were Mormon and his son Moroni, who 
were righteous men, and who, as was said, were directed by the 
Almighty to make a record of all these solemn and important 
events on plates of gold, and bury them in the earth, to be dis- 
covered in a future age, fourteen centuries afterwards. It is 
needless to add, that the pretended translation of the hierog- 
lyphics said to be inscribed on these pretended plates, was no 
more nor less than the religious romance already spoken of, 
but which now appeared as the book of Mormon. 

The prophet in after-life pretended that at an early age he 
became much concerned about the salvation of his soul. He 
went to the religious meetings of many sects to seek informa- 
tion of the way to heaven ; and was everywhere told, " this is 
the way, walk ye in it." He reflected upon the multitude of 
doctrines and sects, and it occurred to him that God could be 
the author of but one doctrine, and own but one church ; he 
looked amongst all the sects to see which was this one true 
church of Christ,- but he could not decide ; and until he became 
satisfied, he could not be contented. His anxious desires lead 
him diligently to search the scriptures, and he perused the 
sacred pages, believing the things that he read. He now saw 
that the true way was to enquire of God, and then there was a 
certainty of success. He therefore retired to a secret place in 
a grove near his father's house, and kneeling down, began to 
call upon the Lord ; darkness gave way, and he prayed with 
fervency of spirit. Whilst he continued praying the light ap- 
peared to be gradually descending towards him ; and as it drew 
nearer it increased in brightness and magnitude, so that by the 
time it reached the tops of the trees, the whole wilderness for 
quite a distance around, was illuminated in a glorious and bril- 


liant manner. He expected the leaves of the trees to be con- 
sumed, but seeing no such effect of the light, he was encouraged 
with the hope to endure its presence. It descended slowly 
until he was enveloped in the midst of it. Immediately he was 
caught away in a heavenly vision, and saw two glorious pe"rson- 
ages alike in their features ; and he was now informed that his 
sins were forgiven. Here he learned that none of the churches 
then in being, was the church of God ; and received a promise 
at some future time of the fulness of the Gospel, and a knowl- 
edge of the true doctrine. After this, being still young, he was 
entangled in the vanities of the world, of which he sincerely and 
truly repented. 

On the 23d of September, 1823, God again heard his prayers. 
His mind had been drawn out in fervent prayer for his accept- 
ance with God ; and for a knowledge of the doctrines of Christ, 
according to promise, in the former vision. While he was thus 
pouring out his desires, on a sudden a light burst into the room 
like the light of day, but purer and more glorious in appearance 
and brightness ; the first sight of it was, as though the house 
had been filled with consuming fire ; this occasioned a shock 
felt to the extremities of his body ; and then was followed by 
calmness of mind and overwhelming rapture of joy, when in a 
moment a personage stood before him, who, notwithstanding 
the light seemed to be surrounded by an additional glory, which 
shone with increased brilliancy. This personage was above the 
ordinary size of men, his raiment was perfectly white, and had 
the appearance of being without seam. This glorious being de- 
clared himself to be an angel sent to announce the forgiveness 
of his sins, and to answer his prayers by bringing the glad 
tidings, that the covenant of God with ancient Israel concerning 
posterity, was at last about to be fulfilled ; that preparation for 
the second coming of Christ, was speedily to commence ; that, 
the fulness of the Gospel was about to be preached in peace 



unto all nations, that a people might be prepared for the millen- 
ium of universal peace and joy. 

At the same time he was informed that he had been called 
and chosen as an instrument in the hands of God, to bring 
about some of his marvellous purposes in this glorious dispen- 
sation. It was made known to him that the American Indians 
were a remnant of Israel ; that when they first came here, they 
were an enlightened people, having a knowledge of the true 
God ; that the prophets and inspired writers amongst them had 
been required to keep a true record of their history, which had 
been: handed down for many generations, until the people fell 
into great wickedness ; when nearly all of them were destroy- 
ed, and the records by command of God, were safely deposited 
to preserve them from the hands of the wicked, who sought to 
destr6y them. If faithful, he was to be the highly-favored in- 
strument in bringing these records to light. 

The angel now disappeared, leaving him in a state of perfect 
peace, but visited him several times afterwards, instructing him 
concerning the great work of God about to commence on earth. 
He was instructed where these records were deposited, and re- 
quired to go immediately to view them. They were found on 
the side of a hill, slightly buried in the earth, secured in a stone 
box, on the road from Palmyra to Canandaigua, in New York, 
about three miles from the village of Manchester. The records 
were said to be engraved on gold plates in Egyptian charac- 
ters ; the plates were of the thickness of tin, bound together 
like a book, fastened at one side by three rings which run 
through the whole and formed a volume about six inches in 
thickness. And in the same box with them were found two 
stones, transparent and clear as crystal, the Urim and Thummim, 
used by seers in ancient times, the instruments of revelations 
of things distant, past, or future. 

When the prophet first saw these things, being filled with 
the Holy Ghost, and standing and admiring, the same angel of 



the Lord appeared in his presence and said, " look !" and he be- 
held the devil surrounded by a great train of his associates. 
He then, after receiving further directions from the angel, 
started home to his father's house where he was waylaid by two 
ruffians. One of them struck him with a club, but was re- 
pulsed ; but they followed him nearly home when they fled for 
fear of detection. The news of his discovery got abroad ; the 
new prophet was the sport of lies, slanders, and mobs, and vain 
attempts to rob him of his plates. He removed to the north- 
ern part of Pennsylvania, where he commenced ^with the aid of 
inspiration and the Urim and Thummim, to translate the plates. 
He finished a part which is called the Book of Mormon. It is 
pretended that Mormon hid all the old records up in the hill 
of Cumorah ; but had first made an abridgment of them, which 
was called the Book of Mormon, and which he gave to his son 
Moroni to finish. Moroni continued to serve his nation for a 
few years, and continued the writings of his father until after 
the great battle of Cumorah, when he kept himself hid ; for the 
Lamanites sought to kill every Nephite who refused to deny 
-Christ. The story is remarkably well gotten up, and may yet 
unhappily make the foundation of a religion which may roll 
back upon the world the barbarism of eighteen centuries passed 
away. Whilst there are fools and knaves, there is no telling 
\ what may be accomplished by such a religion. 

And the prophet was not without his witnesses. Oliver 
Cowdney, Martin Harris, and Daniel Whiteman, solemnly cer- 
tifiy " that we have seen the plates which contain the records ; 
that they were translated by the gift and power of God, for his 
voice hath declared it unto us, wherefore we know of a surety 
that the work is true ; and we declare with words of soberness 
that an angel of God came down from heaven and brought and 
laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates and the 
engravings thereon." Eight other witnesses certify that " Jo- 
seph Smith, the translator, had shown them the plates spoken 


of, which had the appearance of gold ; and as many of the plates 
as the said Smith had translated, they did handle with their 
hands, and they also saw the engravings thereon, all of which 
had the appearance of ancient work and curious workmanship." 
The most probable account of these certificates is, that the 
witnesses were in the conspiracy, aiding the imposture ; but I 
have been informed by men who were once in the confidence 
of the prophet, that he privately gave a different account of the 
matter. It is related that the prophet's early followers were 
anxious to see the plates ; the prophet had always given out 
that they could not be seen by the carnal eye, but must be spir- 
itually discerned ; that the power to see them depended upon 
faith, and was the gift of God, to be obtained by fasting, pray- 
er, mortification of the flesh, and exercises of the spirit ; that 
so soon as he could see the evidences of a strong and lively faith 
in any of his followers, they should be gratified in their holy 
curiosity. He set them to continual prayer, and other spiritual 
exercises, to acquire this lively faith by means of which the hid- 
den things of God could be spiritually discerned ; and at last, 
when he could delay them no longer, he assembled them in a 
room, and produced a box, which he said contained the precious 
treasure. The lid was opened ; the witnesses peeped into it, 
but making no discovery, for the box was empty, they said, 
" Brother Joseph, we do not see the plates." The prophet an- 
swered them, " O ye of little faith ! how long will God bear 
with this wicked and perverse generation 1 Down on your 
knees, brethren, every one of you. and pray God for the forgive- 
ness of your sins, and for a holy and living faith which cometh 
down from heaven." The disciples dropped to their knees, and 
began to pray in the fervency of their spirit, supplicating God 
for more than two hours with fanatical earnestness ; at the end 
of which time, looking again into the box, they were now per- 
suaded that they saw the plates. I leave it to philosophers to 
determine whether the fumes of an enthusiastic and fanatical 


imagination are thus capable of blinding the mind and deceiv- 
ing the senses by so absurd a delusion. 

The book of Mormon pretended to reveal the fulness of the 
Gospel of Jesus Christ, as he delivered it to his people in 
America. It was to be brought forth by the power of God, and 
carried to the Gentiles, of whom many were to receive it ; and 
after this the seed of Israel were to be brought into the fold 
also. It was pretended that pristine Christianity was to be re- 
stored, with the gift of prophecy, and the gift of tongues, with 
the laying on of hands to cure all manner of diseases. Many 
were the pretended prophets which this sect brought forth. 
Many of the disciples spoke an outlandish gibberish, which they 
called the unknown tongue ; others again acted as interpreters 
of this jargon, for it rarely happened that he who was gifted to 
speak in the unknown tongue was able to understand his own 
communications ; and many brilliant miracles were pretended 
to be wrought, in the cure of diseases, by the laying on of hands 
and the prayer of faith. 

By the 6th of April, 1830, Joe Smith and his associates had 
made a considerable number of converts to the new religion, 
who were assembled on that day in the village of Manchester, 
and formed into a church. Their numbers now increased rapid- 
ly, and in 1833 they removed from New York to Jackson Coun- 
ty, Missouri, where they began to build the town of " Indepen- 
dence." Here, by pretending that the Lord had given them all 
that country, and in fact the whole world, they being his saints, 
and by some petty offences, and by their general tone of arro- 
gance, the neighboring people became much excited against 
them. Some of them were ducked in the river ; some were 
tarred and feathered, and others killed ; and the whole of them 
were compelled to remove to the County of Clay, on the oppo- 
site side of the Missouri river. They also had a place of gath- 
ering together at Kirtland, near Cleaveland, in the State of Ohio. 
At this last place of gathering, Joe Smith established himself; 


and in 1836 a solemn assembly was held there of several hun- 
dred Mormon elders, who, in their own language, " had an inter- 
esting time of it, as it appeared by the reports of the elders that 
the work of God had greatly increased in America, in England, 
Scotland, and Wales, and in the islands of the sea." 

At this place Joe Smith got up a bank, called " The Kirtland 
Safety Bank," of which he was president ; and the notes of which 
were made to resemble the notes of the safety fund banks of 
New York. The bank failed, for a large amount, for want of 
capital and integrity in its managers ; and its failure was ac- 
companied by more than ordinary depravity. The residence 
of the prophet at this place, after the failure of the bank, became 
irksome and dangerous. He determined to leave it, and accord- 
ingly, accompanied by his apostles and elders, for he had apos- 
tles and elders, and the great body of the " saints," he shook the 
dust off his feet, as a testimony against Ohio, where he was 
about to be persecuted, and departed for Missouri. This time, 
the Mormons settled in Caldwell and Davis Counties in Mis- 
souri, far in the north-west part of the State. Here they pur- 
chased large tracts of land from the United States, and built 
the city of " Far West," and many smaller towns. Difficulties 
again attended them in their new place of residence. They did 
not fail to display here the usual arrogance of their pretensions, 
and were charged by the neighboring people with every kind 
of petty villany. In a few years the quarrel between the " saints" 
and the Gentiles became utterly irreconcilable. The Mormon 
leaders declared that they would no longer submit to the gov- 
ernment of Missouri. The clerk of the circuit court, being a 
Mormon, was ordered by the prophet to issue no more writs 
against the ' ; saints ;" and about this time Sidney Rigdon preach- 
ed before the prophet a Fourth of July sermon, called " The 
Salt Sermon," in which he held forth to the Mormons that the 
prophet had determined no longer to regard the laws and gov- 
ernment of Missouri. The neighboring people of Missouri as- 


sembled under arms, to drive the Mormons from the State. 
Armed Mormon parties patrolled the country, robbing and plun- 
dering the inhabitants ; all the plunder being deposited in one 
place, called " the Lord's treasury." One of these plundering 
parties met a hostile party, commanded by Captain Bogart, who 
had formerly been a Methodist preacher in Illinois. He had 
run away from Illinois, directly after the Black Hawk war, and 
was the same Major Bogart heretofore mentioned as command- 
ing a battalion of Rangers in the Black Hawk war, left to guard 
the frontiers. Bogart's party and the Mormons came to a battle, 
in which the Mormons were defeated. The Mormons, however, 
burnt and plundered two small towns belonging to their ene- 
mies, and plundered all the neighboring country. At last Gov. 
Boggs of Missouri called out a large body of militia, and order- 
ed that the Mormons should be exterminated or driven from 
the State. A large force was marched to their country, under 
Major-Gen. Lucas and Brig.-Gen. Doniphan, where the Mor- 
mons were all assembled under arms, with the declared inten- 
ion of resisting to the last extremity. They were soon sur- 
rounded in their city of " Far West" by a much superior 
force, and compelled to surrender at discretion. Much plunder 
was re-captured, and delivered to its former owners. The great 
body of the Mormons, in fact all except the leaders, were dis- 
missed under a promise to leave the State. The leaders, includ- 
ing the prophet, being arrested, were tried before a court-mar- 
tial, and sentenced to be shot for treason. But Gen. Doniphan, 
being a sound lawyer and a man of sense, knowing that such B 
proceeding was utterly unconstitutional and illegal, by boldly 
denouncing and firmly remonstrating against this arbitrary mode 
of trial and punishment, saved the lives of the prisoners.* 

* This is the same Gen. Doniphan who, as Colonel of a regiment of 
Missouri volunteers, afterwards conquered Chihuahua, and gained the 
splendid victories of Bracito and Sacramento. Among all the officers of 
the Missouri militia, operating against the Mormons, Gen. Doniphan 



The leaders were then carried before a circuit judge, sitting 
as an examining court, and were committed to jail for further 
trial, on various charges ; such as treason, murder, robbery, ar- 
son, and larceny, but finally made their escape out of jail and 
out of the State, before they could be brought to trial. Those 
who wish to consult a more minute detail of the history of this 
people, are referred to a volume of printed evidence and docu- 
ments published by order of the legislature of Missouri. 

The whole body of the Missouri Mormons came to Illinois 
in the years 1839 and 1840 ; and many of the leaders who had 
escaped, came through perils of flood and field, which, accord- 
ing to their own account, if written, would equal a tale of ro- 
mance. As they were the weaker party, much sympathy was 
felt and expressed for them by the people of Illinois. The 
Mormons represented that they had been persecuted in Mis- 
souri on account of their religion. The cry of persecution, if 
believed, is always sure to create sympathy for the sufferers. 
This was particularly so in Illinois, whose citizens, until some 
time after this period, were justly distinguished for feelings and 
principles of the most liberal and enlightened toleration in mat- 
ters of religion. The Mormons were received as sufferers in 
the cause of their religion. Several counties and neighborhoods 
vied with each other in offers of hospitality, and in endeavors to 
get the strangers to settle among them. 

At last the Mormons selected a place on the Mississippi river, 
afterwards called Nauvoo, in the upper part of the county of 
Hancock, as the place of their future residence. On this spot 
they designed to build up a great city and temple, as the great 
place of gathering to Zion, and as the great central rendezvous 
of the sect ; from whence was to originate and spread the most 
gigantic operations for the conversion of the world to the new 

was the only one who boldly denounced the intended assassination of 
the prisoners under color of law. So true is it that the truly brave 
man is most apt to be merciful and just 


religion. However, in this history I have nothing to do with 
the religious, but only the political considerations connected 
with this people. 

In the State of Missouri, the Mormons had always supported 
the democratic party. They had been driven out by a demo- 
cratic governor of a democratic State ; and when they appealed 
to Mr. Van Buren, the democratic President of the United 
States, for relief against the Missourians, he refused to recom- 
mend it, for want of constitutional power in the United States 
to coerce a sovereign State in the execution of its domestic 
polity. This soured and embittered the Mormons against the 
democrats. Mr. Clay, as a member of the United States Sen- 
ate, and John T. Stuart, a member of the House of Representa- 
tives in Congress, from Illinois, both whigs, undertook their 
cause, and introduced and countenanced their memorials against 
Missouri ; so that, when the Mormons came to this State, they 
attached themselves to the whig party. In August, 1840, they 
voted unanimously for the whig candidates for the Senate and 
Assembly. In the November following, they voted for the 
whig candidate for President ; and in August, 1841, they voted 
for John J. Stuart, the whig candidate for Congress in their 

At the legislature of 1840-'41, it became a matter of great 
interest, with both parties, to conciliate these people. They 
were already numerous, and were fast increasing by emigration 
from all parts. It was evident that they were to possess much 
power in elections. They had already signified their intention 
of joining neither party, further than they could be supported 
by that party, but to vote for such persons as had done or were 
willing to do them most service. And the leaders of both 
parties believed that the Mormons would soon hold the balance 
of power, and exerted themselves on both sides, by professions, 
and kindness and devotion to their interest, to win their sup- 


In this state of the case Dr. John C. Bennett presented him- 
self at the seat of government as the agent of the Mormons. 
This Bennett was probably the greatest scamp in the western 
country. I have made particular enquiries concerning him, and 
have traced him in several places in which he had lived before 
he had joined the Mormons in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and 
he was everywhere accounted the same debauched, unprincipled 
and profligate character. He was a man of some little talent, 
and then had the confidence of the Mormons, and particularly 
that of their leaders. He came as the agent of that people, to 
solicit a city charter ; a charter for a military legion ; and for 
various other purposes. This person addressed himself to Mr. 
Little, the whig senator from Hancock, and to Mr. Douglass, 
the democratic secretary of State, who both entered heartily 
into his views and projects. Bennet managed matters well for 
his constituents. He flattered both sides with the hope of 
Mormon favor ; and both sides expected to receive their votes. 
A city charter drawn up to suit the Mormons was presented to 
the Senate by Mr. Little. It was referred to the judiciary com- 
mittee, of which Mr. Snyder, a democrat, was chairman, who 
reported it back recommending its passage. The vote was 
taken, the ayes and noes were not called for, no one opposed it, 
but all were busy and active in hurrying it through. In like 
manner it passed the House of Representatives, where it was 
never read except by its title ; the ayes and noes were not 
called for, and the same universal zeal in its favor was mani- 
fested here which had been so conspicuously displayed in the 

This city charter and other charters passed in the same way 
by this legislature, incorporated Nauvoo, provided for the elec- 
tion of a Mayor, four Aldermen, and nine Counsellors ; gave 
them power to pass all ordinances necessary for the peace, 
benefit, good order, regulation, convenience, or cleanliness of 
the city, and for the protection of property from fire, which 


were not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States, or 
this State, This seemed to give them power to pass ordinances 
in violation of the laws of the State, and to erect a system of 
government for themselves. This charter also established a 
mayor's court with exclusive jurisdiction of all cases arising 
under the city ordinances, subject to an appeal to the municipal 
court. It established a municipal court to be composed of the 
mayor as chief justice, and the four aldermen as his associates ; 
which court was to have jurisdiction of appeals from the mayor 
or aldermen, subject to an appeal again to the circuit court of 
the county. The municipal court was also clothed with power 
to issue writs of habeas corpus in all cases arising under the 
ordinances of the city. 

This charter also incorporated the militia of Nauvoo into a 
military legion, to be called " The Nauvoo Legion." It was 
made entirely independent of the military organization of the 
State, and not subject to the command of any officer of the 
State militia, except the Governor himself, as commander-in- 
chief. It was to be furnished with its due proportion of the 
State arms ; and might enroll in its ranks any of the citizens of 
Hancock county who prefered to join it, whether they lived in 
the city or elsewhere. This last provision, I believe, was not 
in the original charter, but was afterwards passed as an amend- 
ment to a road law. The charter also established a court-mar- 
tial for the legion, to be composed of the commissioned officers 
who were to make and execute all ordinances necessary for the 
benefit, government, and regulation of the legion ; but in so do- 
ing, they were not bound to regard the laws of the State, but 
could do nothing repugnant to the constitution ; and finally, the 
legion was to be at the" disposal of the mayor in executing the 
laws and ordinances of the city. Another charter incorporated 
a great tavern to be called the Nauvoo House, in which the 
prophet Joe Smith, and his heirs, were to have a suite of rooms 


Thus it was proposed to re-establish for the Mormons a gov- 
ernment within a government, a legislature with power to pass 
ordinances at war with the laws of the State ; courts to execute 
them with but little dependence upon the constitutional judicia- 
ry ; and a military force at their own command, to be governed 
by its own by-laws and ordinances, and subject to no State 
authority but that of the Governor. It must be acknowledged 
that these charters were unheard-of, and anti-republican in many 
particulars ; and capable of infinite abuse by a people disposed 
to abuse them. The powers conferred were expressed in lan- 
guage at once ambiguous and undefined ; as if on purpose to 
allow of misconstruction. The great law of the separation of 
the powers of government was wholly disregarded. The mayor 
was at once the executive power, the judiciary, and part of the 
legislature. The common council, in passing ordinances, were 
restrained only by the constitution. One would have thought 
that these charters stood a poor chance of passing the legisla- 
ture of a republican people jealous of their liberties. Never- 
theless they did pass unanimously through both houses. Messrs. 
Little and Douglass .managed with great dexterity with their 
respective parties. Each party was afraid to object to them 
for fear of losing the Mormon vote, and each believed that it 
had secured their favor. These, I believe, were the principal 
subjects acted on by the session of 1840-'41. 

But we will continue a little farther the history of the Mor- 
mons. A city government under the charter was organized in 
1841. Joe Smith was elected mayor. In this capacity he pre- 
sided in the common council, and assisted in making the laws 
for the government of the city. And as mayor also he was to 
see these laws put into force. He was ex-officio judge of the may- 
or's court, and chief justice of the municipal court, and in these 
capacities he was to interpret the laws which he had assisted to 
make. The Nauvoo Legion was also orgaaized, with a great 
multitude .of high officers. It was divided into divisions, bri- 


gades, cohorts, regiments, battalions, and companies. Each di- 
vision, brigade, and cohort, had its general, and over the whole, 
as commander-in-chief, Joe Smith was appointed lieutenant-gen- 
eral. These offices, and particularly the last, were created by 
an ordinance of the court-martial, composed of the commission- 
ed officers of the Legion. 

The common council passed many ordinances for the punish- 
ment of crime. The punishments were generally different from, 
and vastly more severe than, the punishments provided by the 
laws of the State. 

In the fall of 1841, the governor of Missouri made a demand 
on Gov. Carlin for the arrest and delivery of Joe Smith and 
several other head Mormons, as fugitives from justice. An ex- 
ecutive warrant was issued for that purpose. It was placed in 
the hands of an agent to be executed ; but for some cause, un- 
known to me, was returned to Gov. Carlin without being exe- 
cuted. Soon afterwards the governor handed the same writ to 
his agent, who this time succeeded in arresting Joe Smith upon 
it. But before this time Mr. Douglass had been elected one of 
the judges of the supreme court, and was assigned to hold cir- 
cuit courts in Hancock and the neighboring counties. This had 
given the democratic party the advantage in securing the Mor- 
mon vote. Judge Douglass immediately appointed Dr. Ben- 
nett a master in chancery. Bennett was then an influential 
Mormon, and had, before he joined the Mormons, been appoint- 
ed by Gov. Carlin adjutant-general of the State militia. He 
had also been elected an alderman of the city, and a major-gen- 
eral in the Legion. Upon his arrest, Joe Smith was carried be- 
fore Judge Douglass, upon a writ of habeas corpus, and was 
discharged upon the ground that the writ upon which he had 
been arrested had been once returned, before it had been exe- 
cuted, and wasfunctus offido. Whether the decision was right 
or wrong, Joe Smith was not lawyer enough to know, and was 


therefore the more inclined to esteem his discharge as a great 
favor from the democratic party. 

The Mormons anticipated a further demand from Missouri, 
and a further writ from the governor of this State, for the arrest 
of their prophet and leaders. They professed to believe that 
the public mind in Missouri was so prejudiced against them, that 
a fair trial there was out of the question, and that if their lead- 
ers were taken to Missouri for trial, and not convicted upon 
evidence, they would be murdered by a mob before they could 
get out of the State. Some mode of permanent protection, 
therefore, against the demands of Missouri, became a matter of 
vital importance ; and they set their ingenuity to work to de- 
vise a scheme of protection, by means of their own city ordi- 
nances, to be executed by their own municipal court. Gov. 
Carlin had issued his writ again in 1842. Joe Smith was arrest- 
ed again, and was either rescued by his followers or discharged 
by the municipal court on a writ of habeas corpus. The com- 
mon council passed an ordinance, declaring, in effect, that the 
municipal court should have jurisdiction in all cases of arrests 
made in the city by any process whatever. The charter intend- 
ed to give the jurisdiction only in cases where imprisonment 
was a consequence of the breach of some ordinance. But it 
was interpreted by the Mormons to authorize the enlargement 
and extension of the jurisdiction of the court, by ordinance. 
This ordinance will figure very largely in the proceedings of the 
Mormons hereafter. 

In December, 1841, a State democratic convention assembled 
at Springfield, and nominated Adam W. Snyder as the demo- 
cratic candidate for governor, to be elected in August, 1842. 
Mr. Snyder was a native of Pennsylvania, and a distant rela- 
tive of Gov. Snyder of that State. In his early youth, he learn- 
ed the trade of a fuller and wool-carder. He came to Illinois 
when he was about eighteen years old ; settled in the French 
village of Cahokia ; followed his trade for several years ; stud- 


ied law ; removed to the county seat, where he commenced his 
profession, in which he was successful in getting practice. In 
1830 he was elected to the State Senate, and was afterwards 
elected to Congress, from his district ; and was again elected to 
the State Senate in 1840. Mr. Snyder was a very showy, plausi- 
ble and agreeable man in conversation, and was gifted with a 
popular eloquence, which was considerably effective. He was 
a member of the senate when the Mormon charters were passed, 
and had taken an active part in furthering their passage. In the 
spring of 1842, Joseph Duncan, former governor, became the 
candidate of the whig party for the same office. 

In a very short time after the two parties had their candidates 
fairly in the field, Joe Smith published a proclamation to his fol- 
lowers in the Nauvoo papers, declaring Judge Douglass to be 
a master spirit, and exhorting them to vote for Mr. Snyder for 
governor. The whigs had considerable hope of the Mormon 
support until the appearance of this proclamation. The Mor- 
mons had voted for the whig candidate for Congress in August, 
1841. But this proclamation left no doubt as to what they 
would do in the coming contest. It was plain that the whigs 
could expect their support no longer, and that the whig party 
in the legislature had swallowed the odious charters without 
prospect of reward. 

The Mormons, however, were becoming unpopular, nay 
odious, to the great body of the people. As I have already 
said, their common council had passed some extraordinary or- 
dinances calculated to set the State government at defiance. 
The Legion had been furnished with three pieces of cannon and 
about two hundred and fifty stand of small arms ; which popu- 
lar rumor increased to the number of thirty pieces of cannon 
and five or six thousand stand of muskets. The Mormons 
were rapidly increasing by emigration. The great office of 
Lieutenant General had been created for the commander of 
the Legion, of higher rank, as was said, than any office in the 


militia, and higher than any office in the regular army. A 
vast number of reports were circulated all over the country, to 
the prejudice of the Mormons. They were charged with nu- 
merous thefts and robberies, and rogueries of all sorts ; and it 
was believed by vast numbers of the people, that they enter- 
tained the treasonable design, when they got strong enough, of 
overturning the government, driving out the old population, 
and taking possession of the country, as the children of Israel 
did in the land of Canaan. 

The whigs, seeing that they had been out-generaled by the 
democrats in securing the Mormon vote, became seriously 
alarmed, and sought to repair their disaster by raising a kind of 
crusade against that people. The whig newspapers teemed with 
accounts of the wonders and enormities of Nauvoo, and of the 
awful wickedness of a party which would consent to receive the 
support of such miscreants. Governor Duncan, who was really 
a brave, honest man, and who had nothing to do with getting 
the Mormon charters passed through the legislature, took the 
stump on this subject in good earnest, and expected to be 
elected governor almost on this question alone. There is no 
knowing how far he might have succeeded, if Mr. Snyder had 
lived to be his competitor. 

However, Mr. Snyder departed this life, much lamented by 
numerous friends, in the month of May preceding the election. 
The democratic party had now to select another candidate for 
governor. The choice fell upon me. I hope to be excused 
from saying anything in these memoirs in relation to my own 
personal qualities and history. If it should ever be thought 
important that a knowledge of such humble matters should 
be perpetuated, I will trust the task of doing it to other 
hands. I will merely mention, that at the time I was nomi- 
nated as a candidate for governor, I was one of the judges of 
the Supreme Court engaged in holding a circuit court on Fox 
river, in the north. So soon as I heard of my nomination, I 



hastened to the seat of government, resigned the office of judge, 
and became the candidate of my party. Here permit me to 
remark, I had never before been much concerned in the politi- 
cal conflicts of the day, and never at all on my own account. 
It is true that I had been much in office. I had been twice ap- 
pointed to the office of State's Attorney, and four times elected, 
without opposition, to the office of judge by the legislature. 
I had never been a candidate for the legislature, for Congress, 
or for any office elective by the people, and had never wanted 
to be a candidate for such offices. I had never been an appli- 
cant for any office from the General Government, and had 
always avoided being a candidate for any office which was de- 
sired by any respectable political friend. 

And here again I must be permitted to indulge in some fur 
ther reflections upon the practical operation of republican gov 
ernment. The history of my administration but serves to illus- 
trate what has already been demonstrated by two administra- 
tions of the federal government. I mean the administrations 
of Tyler and Polk. Neither of these gentlemen were placed in 
the office of president because they were leaders of their respec- 
tive parties. Tyler was accidentally made vice-president by 
the whigs, and accidentally became president, by the death of 
Gen. Harrison. He had the position as to office to govern, but 
the moral power of government was in the hands of Henry 
Clay, the great leader of the whig party, and the embodiment 
of its principles. During all of Tyler's administration he ex- 
erted no moral force ; government was kept in motion merely 
by its previous impulse, and by the patriotism of Congress, 
voluntarily subduing so much of its factious spirit as was ab- 
solutely necessary to keep government alive. Polk was acci- 
dentally nominated by the Baltimore convention, after it was 
ascertained that none of the great leaders of the democratic 
party could be nominated ; and so far during his time the gov- 
ernment has been carried on by the mere force of the demo- 




cratic party, which has been in the majority in Congress, the 
great leaders, for fear of division in their ranks, uniting some- 
times in his support, and sometimes dictating to him the policy 
of his administration. Neither Tyler nor Polk had much dis- 
tinguished themselves in their respective parties. They had 
neither of them fought their way hi the party contests to the 
leadership, and to the moral power which the leadership alone 
can give. So it was with the humble person who was now to 
be elected governor of Illinois. Mr. Snyder had been nomi- 
nated because he was a leader of the party. Mr. Snyder died, 
and I was nominated, not because I was a leader, for I was not, 
but because I was believed to have no more than a very ordi- 
nary share of ambition ; because it was doubtful whether any 
of the leaders could be elected, and because it was thought I 
would stand more in need of support from leaders, than an ac- 
tual leader would. To this cause, and perhaps there were 
others, I trace the fact which will hereafter appear, that I was 
never able to command the support of the entire party which 
elected me. 

From such examples as these, I venture to assert, that the 
moral power belonging to the leadership of the dominant party, 
is greater than the legal power of office conferred by the Con- 
stitution and the laws. In fact it has appeared to me at times, 
that there is very little power of government in this country, 
except that which pertains to the leadership of the party in the 
majority. Gen. Jackson not only governed whilst he was pres- 
ident, but for eight years afterwards, and has since continued 
to govern, even after his death.* 

* In forming a constitution it is almost impossible to anticipate how 
much power is delegated to the government, and particularly to the 
executive branch. The power of the executive branch depends some- 
what upon the legal authority with which the officer is clothed, but 
more upon his personal character and influence. To illustrate this, 
take the administrations of John Quincy Adams, Gen. Jackson, and 


When men who are not leaders are put into high office, it is 
generally done through the influence of leaders, who expect to 
govern through them. They are expected to need support more 
than if they were actual leaders ; and are preferred sometimes 
to actual leaders, on account of being more available as candi- 
dates, and sometimes because those leaders who cannot get the 
office themselves, hope through them to help to be president or 
governor, as the case may be. Soon after my election, I ascer- 
tained that quite a number of such leaders imagined that they, 
instead of myself, had been elected ; and could only be con- 
vinced to the contrary, on being referred to the returns of the 

A pusillanimous man, willing to take office upon any terms, 
is ever disposed to submit to this kind of influence and dicta- 
tion. He calls it consulting his party when he consults only a 
few leaders, and this he is obliged to do, or find himself without 
the power to govern. In a government where the democratic 
spirit is all-powerful, this power to govern consists in being 
able to unite a majority of opinions ; but where the people are 
free, each man to choose for himself, it is extremely difficult to 

John Tyler. These presidents were all clothed with the same identical 
legal powers. John Quincy Adams, although a man of great abilities, 
acknowledged the feebleness of his administration, in consequence of 
not being elected by the people, but by the House of Representatives. 
Gen. Jackson exercised the power of an autocrat, because he was sup- 
ported by the confidence and affections of the American people. And 
John Tyler, though a man of very respectable talents, converted the 
executive department into a kind of anarchy, because he had no party 
in his favor. The election, therefore, of a strong man or a weak one, 
to this office, is equivalent to an amendment of the Constitution, by 
which great powers are given or withheld, as the case may be. Or, 
rather, it is more like a revolution, by which a dictator is appointed at 
one time, and at another the authority of the executive office is so re- 
stricted as to convert the government into an anarchy. And yet dur- 
ing the whole time there has been really no change in the fundamental 


induce a majority to co-operate for the common benefit. Va- 
rious reasons, and passions, and prejudices, will lead different 
ways ; and very oft6n all reason will be confounded by a com- 
bination of clamor and prejudice. It is generally the work of a 
few leading minds to bring order out of this chaos, and to get a 
majority to think and feel alike. These leaders, therefore, as 
effectually govern the country as if they were born to rule. 

The best and purest mode in which leaders exercise their 
power, is by instruction and persuasion. This kind of govern- 
ment can exist only over a very intelligent and virtuous people. 
And as a government is always a type of .the people over 
whom it is exercised, so it will be found that when the people 
are less enlightened and virtuous, the means of governing them 
will be less intellectual. If the people are indifferent to, 
and ignorant of what constitutes good government, the mode 
which leaders take to unite a majority of them is apt to be as 
follows : There is in every county, generally at the county 
seats, a little clique of county leaders, who aim to monopolize or 
dispose of the county offices. Some of them expect to be elect- 
ed to the legislature, and in time, to higher offices. Others 
expect to be recipients of some county or State office ; or to be 
appointed to some office by the President through the influence 
of members of Congress. These lesser leaders all look to some 
more considerable leader, who is a judge, member of Congress, 
United States Senator, or Governor of the State. The State 
leaders again look to some more considerable man at Washing- 
ton city, who is actually president, or who controls the presi- 
dent, or who is himself a prominent candidate for that office. 
The great leader at Washington dashes boldly out in favor of, 
or against some measure ; the class of leaders whose influence 
as yet, is bounded by a single State, fall into line behind the 
great leader. These State leaders are kept together by a fear 
of the opposite party. For instance, if they are democratic 
leaders, they fear that a division amongst themselves will divide 



the democratic party, and thereby cause its defeat and the suc- 
cess of the whigs. They therefore make sacrifices of opinion to 
keep up unity, the least influential leader having to make the 
greatest sacrifice.* 

The State leaders, whether democrat or whig makes no dif- 
ference, then give the word to the little cliques of leaders in 
each county ; these county leaders convey it to the little big men 
in each neighborhood, and they do the talking to the rank-and- 
file of the people. In this way principles and men are put up 
and put down with amazing celerity. And gentle reader do 
not be astonished ; THIS is GOVERNMENT ! and if there is in point 

* The organization of men into political parties under the control of 
leaders as a means of government, necessarily destroys individuality 
of character and freedom of opinion. Government implies restraint, 
compulsion of either the body or mind, or both. The latest improve- 
ment to effect this restraint and compulsion is to use moral means, in- 
tellectual means operating on the mind instead of the old mode of using 
force, such as standing armies, fire, sword and the gibbet, to control 
the mere bodies of men. It is therefore a very common thing for men 
of all parties to make very great sacrifices of opinion, so as to bring 
themselves into conformity with the bulk of their party. And yet 
there is nothing more common than for the race of newspaper states- 
men to denounce all such of the opposite party as yield their own opin- 
ions to the opinions of the majority, as truckling and servile. They 
may possibly be right in this. But undoubtedly such submission is 
often necessary to the existence of majorities, entertaining the same 
opinion. A little further experience may develop the fact, that when 
this means of securing majorities shall fail, the government will fall 
into anarchy. 

Either moral or physical force must be used for purposes of govern- 
ment. When a people are so gross that moral power cannot operate 
on them, physical force must be resorted to. Also, when the officers 
of government lack talents and moral power, physical force may there- 
by be made necessary ; so that it may be said, that a people may stand 
in need of being governed by absolute violence, just in proportion to 
their want of a proper civilization ; and sometimes also just in propor- 
tion to the want of moral power in the government 


of fact any other sort, its existence cannot be proved by me, 
and yet I have been governor of the State for four years. 

It may be thought that these leaders, of course, are men of 
great and magnanimous natures. But such is not always the 
fact. To make a leader, nothing more is necessary than a pleas- 
ing address, added to zeal for a party, and unceasing activity 
and enterprise. The world is governed by industry more than 
by talents. True great men are leaders only hi times of great 
trouble, when a nation is in peril. In quiet times, the active, 
talking, enterprising and cunning manager is apt to be the lead- 
er. This kind of leader always claims more than his just share 
in the benefits and advantages of government. When he has 
elected some man to high office, who is not a leader, he claims 
every service from him which he has it in his power to render. 
Many such must have offices which they are not fit for ; others 
have a scheme to make money out of the public ; others invoke 
aid in procuring the enactment of laws for private advantage ; 
and others again require a hundred things which an honest man 
ought not to do. And if their unreasonable requests are re- 
fused ; if the true interests of the people are consulted, and the 
man elected refuses to be a mere instrument in the hands of 
leaders, to make an unequal distribution of the advantages of 
government, they.., immediately denounce him, they send out all 
sorts of falsehoods against him, and, for being honest and de- 
voted to the public interest, they get many people to believe 
that he is a greater rogue than he would really have been if he 
had done all the villanous things they required him to do. I 
could relate some amusing instances of this sort in the course 
of my administration.* 

* The condition of a modern governor in party times, is well describ- 
ed in Knickerbocker's history of New York : " He is an unhappy vic- 
tim of popularity, who is in fact the most dependent, hen-pecked being 
in community ; doomed to bear the secret goadings and corrections of 
his own party, and the sneers and revilings of the whole world be- 


It is no part of my object to overthrow the power of leaders, 
if I could ; for I am persuaded, that without it, a governing ma- 
jority of the people would rarely be found. A government of 
leaders, however defective it may be, is better than no govern- 
ment, upon the same principle that despotism is better than an- 
archy. But reformation of this power is earnestly desired. For 
as long as the great body of the people do not investigate, and 
take so little interest in matters of government, as long as men 
of influence will endeavor to appropriate the benefits and advan- 
tages of government to themselves, and can and do control the 
people, making it necessary for men in office to lean upon lead- 
ers instead of the intelligence of the people for support, there 
will never be any good government, or if there is, the people 
will not think so.* Fortunate -is that country which has great 

side. Set up like geese at Christmas holidays, to be pelted and shot at by 
every whipster and vagabond in the land." From this condition nothing 
can save a governor but his personal insignificance, the idea that he is 
not worth making war on. As soon as a governor is elected, he receives 
the congratulations of his friends, and there are generally about ten of 
these, and sometimes more, in each county, each one of whom claiming 
to have elected him. Each one writes to the governor, or goes to see 
him, to tell him how well and cunningly he fought and managed, and 
how many sacrifices he made to carry the election. Each one is sure 
that he did it all himself, and claims to be rewarded accordingly. If 
the governor cannot do everything for every one as required, the disap- 
pointed ones are more earnest in their enmity than they were before in 
their friendship. Something of this kind has happened to me. I do not 
complain of it, but merely mention it but to show how difficult it is for 
a governor to have any policy of his own for the general advantage of 
the people, and pursue it steadily without incurring the censure of such 
politicians as have no public benefits in view, but merely their own 
selfish projects. 

* Just now the public mind is in a great ferment concerning amend- 
ments of the constitution, as if amendments of the laws were a cure for 
every ill that flesh is heir to. Without undertaking to prove, I will 
venture to assert^ that there may be a very bad government with very 


and good men for leaders of parties, upon whose measures a 
majority of the people can safely unite, and the greater the ma- 
jority the better. If the power of leaders is ever to be reform- 
ed, it will be by beginning with the people themselves. The 
people, whether good or bad, will have a government which, in 
the main, truly represents the state of civilization whjch they 
have attained to. The democratic party professes to be the 
party of progress in matters of government ; it has much to 
reform ; but it is sincerely hoped that at no distant day its at- 
tention may be directed to the evils of this machinery, and cor- 
rect them. At present, the people may be said to govern them- 
selves only by being the depository of power, which they can 
exercise if they choose ; but which, for most of the time, they 
choose to give into the hands of their leaders, to be exercised 
without much responsibility to them. The responsibility is all 
to attach to their leaders, and not to the people. 

As soon as I was announced as a candidate for governor, the 
Mormon question was revived against me, as being the heir of 
the lamented Snyder. But it could not be made to work much 
against me. I had been as little concerned in the passage of the 
Mormon charters as my opponent. Of course, in a State so 

good laws. The laws may be amended, but if human nature is vicious 
and selfish, it will find a way to pervert the best of laws to the worst . 
of purposes. I assert again, that if government is to be reformed, the 
work must begin with the people, who are, in a kind of way, the source 
of power. If it is once given up that the people can never be persuad- 
ed to vote wisely and judiciously, to sustain such of their servants as 
may be faithful, and put aside all selfish demagogues, who seek to live 
merely by the profits of office, then we may make up our minds to see 
government very imperfect in its practical operation, under any form 
of constitution whatever. The Utopians and Perfectionists then will 
have nothing to do but to lay aside their fine, sun-shiny theories, and 
live in the world the little time that is allotted to them, contented 
with the imperfections of government, as they are obliged to be with 
the imperfections of everything else. 


decidedly democratic, I was elected by a large majority. The 
banks, the State debt, the canal, and the Mormons, together 
with the general politics of the Union, were the principal topics 
of discussion during the canvass. Topics of local interest, how- 
ever, had but little interest on the result of the election. The 
people (^Illinois were so thoroughly partisan, upon the great 
question of the nation, that matters merely of local concern, 
though of vital importance to the people, were disregarded. 

To sum up, then, this was the condition of the State when I 
came into office as governor. The domestic treasury of the 
State was indebted for the ordinary expenses of government to 
the amount of about $313,000. Auditor's warrants on the 
treasury were selling at fifty per cent, discount, and there was 
no money in the treasury whatever ; not even to pay postage 
on letters. The annual revenues applicable to the payment of 
ordinary expenses, amounted to about $130,000. The treasury 
was bankrupt ; the revenues were insufficient ; the people were 
unable and unwilling to pay high taxes ; and the State had bor- 
rowed itself out of all credit. A debt of near fourteen millions 
of dollars had been contracted for the canal, railroads, and other 
purposes. The currency of the State had been annihilated; 
there was not over two or three hundred thousand dollars in 
good money in the pockets of the whole people, which occa- 
"sioned a general inability to pay taxes. The whole people were 
indebted to the merchants ; nearly all of whom were indebted 
to the banks, or to foreign merchants; and the banks owed 
everybody ; and none were able to pay. 

To many persons it seemed impossible to devise any system 
of policy, out of this jumble and chaos of confusion, which would 
relieve the State. Every one had his plan, and the confusion 
of counsels among prominent men was equalled only by the 
confusion of public affairs. 

--:-,- CH.APTER IX. ?&' 

Character of the people North and South Causes of discord Principle upon which 
elections were made Character of candidates Reasons for preference Further 
maxims of politicians John Grammar Want of unity in the democratic party 
Want of great leaders Members of the legislature Legislative elections Neglect 
of other business Love of popularity Account of lobby members Their motives 
and influence Professional politicians Ultraistsand " Milk and water men," tend- 
ing to repudiation Plans for public relief Illinois canal Justus Butterfleld Mi- 
chael Ryan Arthur Bronson Compromise with the banks Proposed repeal of 
their charters Governor Carlin's message Arguments for compromise and for re- 
peal Ayes and Noes in the House John A. McClernand Lyman Trumbull 
James Shields Feuds among politicians growing out of the appointment of Secre- 
tary of State Amalgamation of the co-ordinate branches of government Opposi- 
tion to the compromise bill in the Senate Character of the leader of this opposition 
Removal of Trumbull from the office of Secretary of State Humbug set off 
against humbug Improvement of public affairs Execution laws, debtor and 

OBSTRUCTIONS to the success of wise policy, which would re- 
lieve the State from these multiplied evils, were to be found in 
the character, varieties, and genius of the masses of the people ; 
and in the motives, aims, and enterprises of politicians ; some 
account of which is necessary to a right understanding of the 
future action of government. The State is about four hundred 
miles long from north to south, and about one hundred and fifty 
miles wide from east to west. This shape of the State natu- 
rally divided the legislature into representatives from the south 
and representatives from the north, and under any circum- 
stances, a State so long in proportion to its breadth, must con- 
tain much of the elements of discord. The southern portion of 
the State was settled principally by people from the slavehold- 
ing States; the north, principally from New York and New 
England. The southern people were generally poor; they 


were such as were not able to own slaves in a slave State, and 
who came here to avoid slavery. A poor white man in a slave 
State, is of little more importance, in the eyes of the wealthy, 
than the negroes. The very negroes of the rich call such poor 
persons " poor white folks." The wealthy immigrant from the 
slave States rarely came here. He moved to some new slave 
State, to which he could take his negroes. The consequence 
was, that our southern settlements presented but few specimens 
of the more wealthy, enterprising, intellectual, and cultivated 
people from the slave States. Those who did come were a 
very good, honest, kind, hospitable people, unambitious of 
wealth, and great lovers of ease and social enjoyment. 

The settlers from the North, not being debarred by our Con- 
stitution from bringing their property with them, were of a dif- 
ferent class. The northern part of the State was settled in the 
first instance by wealthy farmers, enterprising merchants, mil- 
lers, and manufacturers. They made farms, built mills, church- 
es, school-houses, towns, and cities ; and made roads and bridges 
as if by magic ; so that although the settlements in the southern 
part of the State are twenty, thirty, forty, and fifty years in ad- 
vance, on the score of age, yet are they ten years behind in 
point of wealth, and all the appliances of a higher civilization. 

This of itself was cause enough for discord between the two 
ends of the State. The people of the south entertained a most 
despicable opinion of their northern neighbors. They had never 
seen the genuine Yankee. They had seen a skinning, traffick- 
ing, and tricky race of pedlers from New England, who much 
infested the West and South with tin ware, small assortments 
of merchandise, and wooden clocks ; and they supposed that 
the whole of the New England people were like these speci- 
mens. They formed the opinion that a genuine Yankee was a 
close, miserly, dishonest, selfish getter of money, void of gen- 
erosity, hospitality, or any of the kindlier feelings of human 
nature. The northern people formed equally as unfavorable 


an opinion of their southern neighbors. The northern man 
believed the southerner to be a long, lank, lean, lazy, and igno- 
rant animal, but little in advance of the savage state ; one who 
was content to squat in a log-cabin, with a large family of ill- 
fed and ill-clothed, idle, ignorant children. The truth was, both 
parties were wrong. There is much natural shrewdness and 
sagacity in the most ignorant of the southern people ; and they 
are generally accumulating property as fast as any people can 
who had so little to begin with. The parties are about equal 
in point of generosity and liberality, though these virtues show 
themselves in each people in a different way. The southerner 
is perhaps the most hospitable and generous to individuals. 
He is lavish of his victuals, his liquors, and other personal fa- 
vors. But the northern man is the most liberal in contributing 
to whatever is for the public benefit. Is a school-house, a 
bridge, or a church to be built, a road to be made, a school or 
a minister to be maintained, or taxes to be paid for the honor 
or support of government, the northern man is never found 

This misconception of character was the cause of a good deal 
of misunderstanding. The great canal itself, from Lake Mich- 
igan to the Illinois river, was opposed by some at an early day, 
for fear it would open a way for flooding the State with Yan- 
kees. Even as popular a man as the late Lieutenant-Governor 
Kinney, opposed it in a speech in the Senate on this ground. 
He said the Yankees spread everywhere. He was looking 
daily for them to overrun this State. They could be found in 
every country on the globe ; and one strong proof to him that 
John Cleves Symmes was wrong in his theory of the earth, 
was, that if such an opening at the north pole as that theory 
supposed really existed, the Yankees would have had a big 
wagon road to it long before its discovery by Mr. Symmes. 
This want of concord in the two races of people was unfavor- 
able to the adoption of the wisest means for public relief. In 


framing a wise policy for the future, the success of the canal in 
the north was one indispensable item. But because it was in 
the north, and for no other reason that I can discover, it was 
liable to objection in other quarters. 

Another obstacle of a like character was to be found in the 
motives, aims, and designs of politicians. As yet the people 
rarely elected members of the legislature with reference to any 
well-defined notions of State policy. As I have said before, 
both parties were so thoroughly partisan upon the great con- 
tests upon national questions, that local affairs were but little 
considered. Sometimes some question about the removal of a 
county seat, or the division of a county, might influence an elec- 
tion. As between the different parties it seemed to be more 
important to know whether a candidate for the legislature was 
for or against a United States Bank, a protective tariff, internal 
improvements by the federal government, or distributing the 
proceeds of the public lands ; in fine, to know whether he was 
a whig or a democrat, than to know his opinions of State poli- 
tics. Of all the local questions calculated to influence elections, 
that of the banks, I believe, was the only one which was gen- 
erally considered. 

But the great prevailing principle upon which each party 
acted in selecting candidates for office was, to get popular men. 
Men who had made themselves agreeable to the people by a 
continual show of friendship and condescension ; men who were 
loved for their gaiety, cheerfulness, apparent goodness of heart, 
and agreeable manners. Surly and stubborn wisdom stood no 
chance for office. The proud and haughty were proscribed. 
The scripture proverb, " Be humble that ye may be exalted," 
was understood altogether in a political sense. 

One would think that nature herself had fitted out and indi- 
cated those who were to be the governors of this country ; that 
in making some men mild, humble, amiable, obliging, and con- 
descending, in other words, in fitting some men to be popular 


and others to be unpopular, Providence itself had selected our 
rulers. This, however, would be a mistake. There are hun- 
dreds of popular men who have none of these gifts by nature. 
I have known numbers who in spite of nature could be kind, 
humble, friendly, and agreeable, as the best. These are talents 
which can be acquired by a diligent practice. A friend of mine 
once informed me that he intended to be a candidate for the 
legislature, but would not declare himself until within a few 
days of the election, and assigned as a reason, " that it was so 
very hard to be ' clever ' for a long time at once." This same 
man by dint of practice afterwards acquired the art of being 
" clever " all the time. Of all the talents which most recom- 
mends a man to his friends is that of being merry, and of 
laughing agreeably. Even this may be acquired. I have seen 
hundreds of men who were morose, serious, sour, and even 
sulky by nature, commence by forcing themselves into merri- 
ment and laughter, and so go on that in process of time it takes 
the nicest discernment to determine whether their cachinations 
are genuine or counterfeit. 

Politicians generally knew better how to get an office than 
how to perform its duties. Statesmanship was but little 
studied ; and indeed there is this difference all the world over, 
between a statesman and a mere politician, that the true states- 
man looks to his whole country ; he devises a system of meas- 
ures, he sees the connection of one measure with another, and 
he makes them all work together for the common good ; 
whilst the mere politician busies himself altogether in selfish 
projects to get office without caring much for the policy or 
measures he advocates after he gets into power. If he dabbles 
in measures at all he confines himself to something local or 
temporary, or to measures of mere party ; he is a one-idea 
man, for the view of his mind can never take in the whole field 
of public interest. Hitherto in Dlinois the race of politicians 
has been more numerous and more popular with the people, 


than the race of statesmen. The main reason of this has been, 
that too many people vote to elect men as a favor to the officer, 
not with a view to require service from them. The elections 
have been made upon the principle that the officer is to be 
served, not the people. 

Many of these politicians in the legislature made it a rule to 
vote against all new measures, about which the opinions of the 
people were unknown; shrewdly calculating that if such a 
measure passed and became popular, no one would inquire who 
had opposed it ; but if it turned out to be unpopular, then they 
could show by the journals that they had voted against it. 
And if the measure failed of success and became popular, the 
members who opposed it excused themselves to the people by 
pretending ignorance of the will of their constituents, and by 
promising to be in its favor if again elected. 

This kind of policy is said to have originated with John 
Grammar, long a representative or senator from Union county. 
He was elected to the territorial legislature about the year 
1816, and was continued in the legislature most of the time for 
twenty years. It is said that when he was first elected, lacking 
the apparel necessary for a member, he and his sons gathered 
a large quantity of hazle-nuts, which were taken to the Ohio 
Saline and sold for cloth to make a coat and pantaloons. The 
cloth was the blue strouding used by the Indians for breech- 
cloths. When it was brought home the neighboring women 
were assembled to make up the garments of the new member. 
The cloth was measured every way, cross, lengthwise, and from 
corner to corner, but still the puzzling truth appeared that the 
pattern was scant. The women concluded to make of it a very 
short bob-tailed coat, and a long pair of leggins, which being 
finished, and Mr. Grammar arrayed in them, he started for 
Kaskaskia, the seat of government. Here he continued to wear 
his leggins over an old tattered garment until the poetry bill 
(a partial appropriation) passed, when he provided himself with 


a pair of breeches. Mr. Grammar was a man who could 
neither read nor write, and yet he had the honor to originate a 
practice which has been much followed by men of more pre- 

Such demagoguism could not succeed in any very enlighten- 
ed country. The Valley of the Mississippi had so constantly 
increased in numbers, so far beyond the means of education, 
that it is doing ourselves no injustice to admit that there is 
some ignorance amongst us. But this evil must be corrected ; 
education must be more encouraged ; knowledge must be made 
more abundant ; more of the people must be taught the power 
of thinking. An elevated, numerous democracy must be cre- 
ated, which shall destroy the power of the few who monopolize 
intellect. Intellectual power is power of the most fearful kind ; 
and it is folly to talk of " equal rights and equal laws" where 
some few have it and the many have it not. Where this is the 
case, it is folly to talk of self-government. An ignorant people 
who attempt self-government, are, by a fixed law of nature, ob- 
liged to fail in the attempt ; they may think that they govern 
themselves, when they are only led by the nose by their dema- 
gogues. A government of demagogues is only better than 

The members of the legislature, after having been elected, 
feeling victorious and triumphant over their adversaries at home, 
come up to the seat of government in a happy state of exulta- 
tion of mind and self-complacency, which make the compliments 
and flattery with which they are received most soothing and 
agreeable. The whole world of aspirants for office comes with 
them. A speaker of the lower house, and officers of the two 
houses, are to be elected, the first thing. For these offices 
there are many candidates. I have known more than a hundred 
candidates for door-keepers of the two houses. Besides these, 
there are numerous candidates for secretaryships and clerkships. 
The members exhibit themselves in public places, where they 


can be approached, complimented, flattered, supplicated, and 
teased, by the several aspirants for office, who fly round from 
one member to another, with great glee and activity, making 
themselves agreeable, until after the election. After these elec- 
tions are over, there is, in two sessions out of three, an United 
States Senator to be elected ; and every session the legislature 
elects an auditor of public accounts, State treasurer, public print- 
er, attorney-general, and States' attorneys for the several cir- 
cuits ; and fills vacancies on the bench of judges. These elec- 
tions are not all brought on at once, but a few of them at a 
time only, so as to keep a number of aspirants at the seat of 
government during the whole session, and husband the import- 
ance of the members of the legislature, which in a great meas- 
ure would be expended and gone by more prompt action in dis- 
posing of the seekers for office. 

It is during a session of the legislature that all political ar- 
rangements are made for the next campaign. Here it is decid- 
ed who are to be the next candidates for governor and United 
States Senator, and who to go to Congress from the various 
districts. It is true that conventions are afterwards held to make 
the nominations in conformity to what is here agreed ; and here 
too it is determined who are to be recommended for office to 
the general government. However much the members of the 
legislature may lack in learning, they are generally shrewd, 
sensible men, who, from their knowledge of human nature, and 
tact in managing the masses, are amongst the master spirits of 
their several counties. They are such generally as have culti- 
vated the arts of popularity ; know how to shake hands with 
the appearance of cordiality and friendship ; are good-natured 
and social ; possess a talent for smiling and laughing in a pleas- 
ing way ; and of saying agreeable things in conversation. The 
great majority of them are fired with an ambition, either to get 
back to the legislature, or to be elected or appointed to some 
other office. This puts them upon the alert to preserve their 


popularity. New measures are considered more with reference 
to the reception they may meet with at home than to their util- 
ity or wisdom. The question in such a case is, how will such a 
measure take with the people ? how can an adversary, in his 
own or the opposite party, build an objection on it to the mem- 
ber who has voted for or against it ? and how is it to affect his 
next election, or his party standing? Many members thus 
guess their way through a whole session ; and experience has 
proved that they have oftener guessed wrong than right ; for a 
fifth part of them never get back to the legislature, and those 
who do are such as consider the wisdom and soundness of meas- 
ures, such as have the courage, the ability, and go home with 
the determination, to defend their acts, by an appeal to the judg- 
ments of their fellow citizens. 

Very many public men, for the sake of present popularity, 
do wrong knowingly, to secure future power, which they may 
never get. If it were the practice for no one ever " to seek or 
decline office," to be contented without it, and to accept it as a 
mere duty, then there would be no motive to do wrong, but 
every motive to do good, during a short continuance of power. 
But this I fear can never be carried out in practice. The office- 
seeking propensity is wonderful indeed ; there seems to be no 
sufficient reason for it. Office is not clothed with the profit, 
power, or honor to make it desirable for either. We every day 
see private men who are more honored and wealthy than any 
who are in office. In our government, the jealousy of liberty 
disarms all offices of power ; the popular notions of economv 
will not allow them to be profitable ; nearly one half the peo- 
ple in party times, so far from honoring a public officer, take a 
pleasure in despising him ; and the leaders among his own polit- 
ical friends, unless he is the great leader of a party, will take 
care that he shall not have much credit. 

The out-door politicians, who are called " lobby members," 
and who come up to the seat of government for office, are much 


like the members themselves, except that they are more talent- 
ed and cunning. They are men who take to politics as a trade, 
and business, and means of living. They seek to control the 
legislature in the disposal of offices, and are themselves divided 
into a hundred little cliques and factions, working with or 
against each other, as concurrence or opposition may be most 

A popular member of the lobby is apt to be some lawyer 
who practices in several counties. He gets acquainted with the 
leading men of his party in each county. He aids in getting 
popular men nominated as candidates for the legislature. He 
makes speeches for the cause, and aids his friends to be elected. 
As he is naturally superior to them, it is no wonder if they look 
to him for advice and assistance in performing their arduous 
duties. By such means he will contrive to control four or five 
members of the legislature. This he will make known to all 
the world but the members themselves. He is then looked to 
as a man of importance. He has so many transferable votes 
in the legislature. He is courted, caressed, and promised sup- 
port in his own views, in return for his countenance to the pro- 
jects of others. A lobby member will make but a poor figure 
without some such capital ; and as he comes to the seat of gov- 
ernment only as a seeker of office, he never troubles himself 
about measures, unless they are strictly of a party character. 
Other great measures which may make or ruin the country, he 
takes no interest in, unless they can be made helpers to office. 
In and out of the legislature, the machinery of government is 
more considered than the measures of government. The fre- 
quent legislative elections ; the running to and fro of the various 
cliques and factions, before each election ; the anxiety of mem- 
bers for their popularity at home ; the settlement of plans to 
control future elections, to sustain the party in power, on the 
one side, and to overthrow it, on the part of the minority, ab- 
sorb nearly the whole attention of the legislature, and leave but 


little disposition or time to be devoted to legitimate legislation. 
So much is this the case, that the most important measures, such 
as may have the greatest influence upon the well-being of the 
present and all future generations, pass through the two houses, 
or are rejected, almost without debate, and frequently without 
notice. Of the many common-school laws which have passed 
our legislature, I have never known but one which called forth 
any general interest. 

There are two kinds of professional politicians ; though they 
both aim at the same thing, the acquisition of office. The one 
sort are clever, timid, moderate, and accommodating ; the other 
kind are bold, sanguine, and decided. The first sort will agree 
for the time being, to anything, and with anybody. These men 
aim to be affable, pleasant, facetious, and agreeable. They 
make it a matter of calculation never to contradict, to advocate 
no opinion, to give no offence, to make no enemies, and to be 
amiable and agreeable to all. They are called by the others 
" milk and water men," and are much despised by the bold, 
decided, ultraist. Sometimes the " milk and water" man has 
the advantage ; for as he swims and slides easily and smoothly 
along, never contradicting, accommodating to all, and friendly 
to all, he has frequently to be taken up in party contests, as the 
" most available candidate." The other sort of professed poli- 
ticians are the men of energy and action. They are the fore- 
most in the fight with the common enemy. They are the ora- 
tors for the people; the writers for the newspapers; the 
organizers and disciplinarians of party ; the denouncers of 
treachery and defection ; and work night and day for victory 
in the party contests. They are always much despised by the 
opposite party in politics ; and are always selected as especial 
objects of abuse and detraction. The minority party frequently 
have credit enough to destroy the popularity of a champion of 
the enemy, even with his own party. He is hated among the 
best men of his opponents. These opponents may have no di- 



rect political influence out of their own ranks ; but many of 
them are credited as gentlemen of veracity ; their statements 
in relation to mere persons are believed even by political op- 
ponents. These statements, though often prompted by political 
hatred, are uttered boldly, and with an appearance of candor, 
by men who are fair dealers, good neighbors, and known to 
speak the truth in all matters of neighborhood concernment. 
The popularity of the champion is destroyed. He cannot get 
all the votes of his own party, and not one from amongst his 
opponents. He is no longer considered to be an available can- 
didate, and has to give place, in all doubtful contests, to his in- 
offensive " milk and water" compatriot. For it is a rule with 
all parties to select only such candidates as can get the largest 

A politician, however, of the decided, sanguine kind, if he is 
a man of sense and tact, if he knows how far to go in the ad- 
vocacy of his own party, and when to stop ; if he knows how to 
abuse the opposite party, without giving personal offence ; is in 
the surest road to advancement. This kind of politician is most 
usually for extreme measures. Nothing moderate will suit 
him. He must be in advance of everybody else. He aims to 
be a leader; and to be one he thinks he must be ahead in 
everything. In the democratic party he is an ultraist , he can 
hardly find measures sufficiently democratic to suit him. He 
is a tactician, a disciplinarian ; ever belongs to some organiza- 
tion; never bolts a nomination, and never votes against his 
own party. In the whig party, he is an old federalist ; he has 
no confidence in the people for self-government ; he is in favor 
of a property qualification for electors, and is always against 
the democrats, right or wrong, and against everything demo- 
cratic, and firmly believes all the time that the country is just 
going to be ruined. But in whatever party he may be, when- 
ever that party is dominant, he aims to be considered a better 
party man, to work truer in the party harness than any one 


else, and if he can so distinguish himself, he mounts at once to 
the leadership. All the active office-seeking tribe are first his 
allies, and afterwards his followers. It is a fact well known, 
that one party is governed by the office-holders, and the other 
by the office-hunters. 

Under such circumstances it would be strange indeed if there 
had been much disposition anywhere to make the future pros- 
perity of the State a consideration paramount to all others.* 

Before I came into office, the public mind was settled on 
nothing as the future policy of the State. The people of Bond 
county, as soon as the internal improvement system passed, 
had declared in a public meeting, that the system must lead to 
taxation and utter ruin ; that the people were not bound to pay 
any of the debt to be contracted for it ; and that Bond county 
would never assist in paying a cent of it. Accordingly, they 
refused to pay taxes for several years. When the system went 
down, and had left the State in the ruinous condition predicted 
by the Bond county meeting, many people remembered that 
there might be a question raised as to the obligation of pay- 
ment. Public men everywhere, of all parties, stood in awe of 
this question ; there was a kind of general silence as to what 
should be done. No one could foresee what would be popular 
or unpopular. The two great political parties were watching 
each other with eagle eyes, to see that one should not get the 
advantage of the other. The whigs, driven to desperation by 
repeated ill success in elections, were many of them in favor of 
repudiation as a means of bettering their party. The Sanga- 
mon Journal and the Alton Telegraph, the two leading whig 

* When Galena was first settled, it is said that the only question 
asked concerning a new comer was, whether he would steal or not? 
If it was answered that he would not steal, he was considered a very 
honest man. So in elections it was now asked only whether a candi- 
date was a whig or a democrat ? If the answer to this was satisfactory, 
the candidate was considered to be safe and a great statesman. 


newspapers of the State, boldly took ground that the debt never 
could and never would be paid, and that it was of no use to say 
anything more about it. Very many democrats were in favor 
of the same course, for fear of losing the power the democratic 
party already possessed. It was thought to be a very danger- 
ous subject to meddle with. At a democratic convention which 
nominated Mr. Snyder for governor, a resolution against repu- 
diation, offered by Mr. Arnold of Chicago, was laid on the table 
by an overwhelming vote of the convention, so as not to com- 
mit the party one way or the other. It was evident that this 
was to be a troublesome question ; and a great many of the 
politicians on both sides were as ready to take one side of it as 
the other ; and their choice depended upon which might finally 
appear to be most popular. The whigs were afraid if they ad- 
vocated the debt-paying policy, the democrats would take the 
other side, and leave the whigs no chance of ever coming into a 
majority. And the democrats feared that if they advocated a 
correct policy, the other side might be more popular, and might 
be taken by the whigs. I speak only of the leaders of parties, 
amongst whom on all sides there was a strong suspicion that 
repudiation might be more popular than taxation. 

Ifc is my solemn belief that when I came into office, I had the 
power to make Illinois a repudiating State. It is true I was not 
the leader of any party ; but my position as governor would 
have given me leadership enough to have carried the demo- 
cratic party, except in a few counties in the north, in favor of 
repudiation. If I had merely stood still and done nothing, the 
result would have been the same. In that case a majority of 
both parties would have led to either active or passive repudia- 
tion. The politicians on neither side, without a bold lead to 
the contrary, by some one high in office, would never have 
dared to risk their popularity by being the first to advocate an 
increase of taxes to be paid by a tax-hating people. 

Such were the people and such were the great mass of politi- 


cians of the State of Illinois in 1842. In general, the legisla- 
ture meant to do right, and to do the best for the country ; but 
here, as everywhere else, there were serious obstacles to con- 
tend with before the policy of the country, in reference to the 
deplorable state of public affairs, could be settled upon the best 
footing. I have already said that every one had a plan of his 
own to restore the State to prosperity ; and it may not be im- 
proper to devote a page or two to some of them. 

All parties proposed some mode of putting the banks into 
liquidation, except a few whigs and a very few democrats, who 
would have been willing to compel them to a resumption of 
specie payments, and continue their business. Of those who 
were in favor of winding them up, a small portion declared in 
favor of repealing their charters ; of the appointment of com- 
missioners on the part of the State, who were to take charge of 
their specie and other effects, pay their debts, and collect what 
was due to them. But much the larger portion finally favored 
a compromise, by means of which the State would at once be 
paid for its stock, or nearly so ; and the banks would settle 
their business and go out of existence under the direction of 
their own officers. The State Bank held $1,750,000 of State 
bonds, and $294,000 in Auditor's warrants, together with scrip 
amounting in the whole to $2,100,000, which it was willing to 
surrender at once, and dissolve all further connection with the 
State. The bank at Shawneetown was willing to surrender a half- 
a-million immediately, and to" engage to pay the residue on a 
short credit. This bank held $469,998 in Auditor's warrants, 
which were to be surrendered as a part of the first payment. 

There was no party in the legislature of 1842-'3, in favor of 
an immediate increase of taxation to pay interest on the public 
debt. Many there were who wanted to do nothing for five 
or ten years ; and to trust to luck and accident for the means 
of improvement. There were a very few who were in favor 
of repudiating the whole debt of the State, who denied the 


power of the legislature to bind the people by contracting it ; 
and who were in favor of giving up to the public creditor all 
the property purchased with the borrowed money, and all the 
public works constructed by it, as all that ever could or ought 
to be done in the way of payment. But the great majority of 
the legislature held different opinions. Resolutions were passed 
which clearly stated the inability of the State to meet its en- 
gagements, and fully recognized our moral and legal obligation 
to provide for ultimate payment. The pay immediately was 
out of the question. Heavy taxation then would have depopu- 
lated the country, and the debt would never be paid. 

The State had purchased 42,000 acres of land under the in- 
ternal improvement system ; the United States had given us 
210,000 acres more under the distribution law of 1841 we 
owned 23Q,467 acres of canal lands, and 3,491 town lots in 
Chicago and other towns on the canal ; we owned what work 
had been done on the canal itself; and various pieces of unfin- 
ished railroad in all parts of the State. And we also owned a 
large quantity of railroad iron, and the stock in the banks. This 
property was our only resource, short of taxation to pay the 
whole debt, and it became us to apply it to the best advantage. 

One party proposed that an offer to the public creditors 
should be made of this property upon condition that they would 
finish the canal, and as many of the railroads as they might 
choose to finish, and grant an acquittance of the whole debt by 
a surrender of public securities. It was evident that this plan 
could not succeed. Many of the State bonds were held hi trust 
for orphans and for charitable purposes. The holders of such 
could not consent to, and if they did, they could not comply 
with such an arrangement. But the larger portion of our debt 
was owned by heavy capitalists, whose business it was to lend 
money to States and nations, on a mere pledge of the public 
faith. It was clear that this class could better afford to lose all 
we owed them than to set the example of such a compromise 


to the borrowing world. If they made such an arrangement 
with Illinois, they must soon expect similar propositions from 
all other indebted States. Such an example would be conta- 
gious, and would put an end to their business of lending by de- 
stroying the only security a nation can give an unsullied pub- 
lic faith. 

There were some few persons who were in favor of repudiat- 
ing the whole debt, of setting the moral sense of mankind at 
defiance, and of absolutely doing nothing, and worse than no- 
thing ; for they proposed, that in winding up the banks, by a 
total repeal of their charters, the public securities held by these 
institutions, and which they were willing to surrender to the 
State, in payment of its stock, should be put into the market 
and sold as assets ; and that if, after payment of the debts of 
the banks, anything should be left, to be divided among the 
stockholders, the share coming to the State should be used to 
purchase an equal sum in bonds. 

During the summer of 1842, Justin Butterfield, an eminent 
lawyer of Chicago, had conversed with Arthur Bronson,* one 

Extract of a letter from George R. Babcock, Esq., of the city of 
Buffalo, K Y., to Justin Butterfield, Esq., of Chicago, Illinois : 

. . . . " I have a distinct remembrance that Mr. Bronson spoke 
to you in the summer of 1842 at Chicago, on the subject of the unfinish- 
ed canal ; and asked if anything to render available the large expendi- 
ture which had been made upon ; and to rescue the credit of the State 
from the abyss in which it was plunged. You replied, in substance, 
that the work would sooner or later be resumed ; that a State so large 
and containing such elements of future greatness as Illinois, would at 
some day not distant complete a work so essential to its prosperity, 
and that the canal and the canal lands would reimburse the cost of its 
construction. Mr. Bronson seemed gratified to find you so sanguine in 
your expectations, and invited you to meet him at the Lake House that 
evening, to confer farther on the subject of its details. In the evening 
there was a long discussion, mainly between Mr. Bronson and yourself, 
of the project, which, as I understand it, has been subsequently carried 
out by the State and its creditors. The leading feature of the plan, aa 


of the great capitalists of New York, who was interested in our 
State stocks, and a large land-holder in the northern part of the 
State. Mr. Bronson was said to be a man of fine talents, deep- 
ly skilled in finance, and to possess the confidence of capitalists 
both hi Europe and America. Mr. Butterfield suggested to Mr. 
Bronson that if the canal property could be conveyed in trust, 
to secure a new advance of money, and if the State creditors 
could be assured that the State intended to do something by 
way of taxation or otherwise, to sustain its credit, something 
might be done to obtain money to complete the canal ; which 
was agreed to by Mr. Bronson. Mr. Butterfield repeated this 
conversation to Mr. Michael Ryan ; and Mr. Ryan, being after- 
wards at New York, became acquainted with Mr. Bronson, Mr. 
Leavitt, and other wealthy persons of the eastern cities, and of 
London. A plan was then devised, and approved by them, in 
pursuance of the suggestions of Mr. Butterfield, to the effect 

I recollect it, -was to induce the bond-holders to advance the funds ne- 
cessary to complete the canal, by a pledge of the canal, its lands, and 
revenues, for the payment of the advance, and a stipulated priority of 
the payment of the stocks then held by the persons so making the ad- 
vance ; while those creditors who refused to contribute were to be post- 
poned until the preferred debt should be discharged. I cannot say who 
suggested this plan, as I was not in the room when the conversation com- 
menced. Mr. Bronson frequently expressed fears that the foreign bond- 
holders would regard the offered priority as a lure to obtain more cash, 
as well as a fraud on those of thein. fellow sufferers who should not 
make the required advance. For this reason, I am of opinion that the 

plan was not suggested by Mr. Bronson 


It is due to Mr. Butterfield to say, that he mentioned this plan of 
getting money for the canal, and of the foregoing conversation with Mr. 
Bronson, some considerable time before Ryan's visit to New York iu 
the fall of 1842. Mr. Butterfield also is entitled to the credit of draw- 
ing the canal bill of 1842-'3, which was much more perfect when it 
came from his hands than after it had passed the legislature 


that the holders of canal bonds would advance $1,600,000 (the 
sum reported to be necessary by the chief engineer) to com- 
plete the canal. In return for which, the State was to convey 
the canal property in trust, to secure the new loan, as well as 
for the ultimate payment of the whole canal debt ; and was to 
lay some moderate tax to pay some portion of the accruing in- 
terest on the whole debt. 

Intimately connected with the success of this plan was the 
legislation we might adopt on the subject of the banks. If we 
proceeded with an insane violence, by repealing their charters, 
at the very moment that we were chartering a company and in- 
viting the investment of money to complete the canal, we could 
expect no less than to frighten capitalists away from the under- 
taking. We would show them at once that we professed to have 
the power, and in all probability would exercise it, to repeal 
the new one as well as the old. But there were a part of the 
democrats who believed in the right of the legislature to repeal 
all acts of incorporation, as well private as public. They had 
been fighting on this question for years, and now was a good 
opportunity for putting it in force. The banks were odious to 
the people for long-continued and repeated delinquencies. It 
was certain to be popular to be in favor of the most extreme 
measures against them ; so that when it became a question 
whether they should be strangled to death by slow degrees, or 
delivered over to be scalped and tomahawked with barbarian 
ferocity, many of the professional politicians decided for the 
most ultra course. This course was indeed the best for the 
politician, but it was the worst for the country. The politician 
might increase his reputation in his party, he might earn the 
name of a smashing democrat, but the canal would never be 
made, and nothing would be done to restore the public credit. 

Gov. Carlin, my immediate predecessor, though confessedly an 
honest man in his private dealings, recommended repeal in his 
valedictory message. When he first came to the seat of gov- 



eminent, he showed me his message, recommending wise, just, 
and honorable measures to the banks. He also showed me 
what he had prepared on the subject of repeal, assuring me 
that he had decided not to put it in. But shortly afterwards 
some of the ultraists got hold of him, and induced him to alter 
his message, by recommending repeal. This recommendation 
embarrassed me then, and has embarrassed me ever since. 
Here was a respectable recommendation of something more 
ultra than I thought was warranted by the best interests of the 
State. It gave countenance to the ultraists ; they could rally 
around it, win a character for stern and inflexible democrats. 
It at once put them ahead of the new governor and his friends. 
By the way, I will here remark, that it is the constant trick of 
the wily, artful politician, to affect ultraism. Many of them 
are without talents or merits of any other sort ; and if they 
were not a little ahead. of everybody else in espousing extreme 
measures, there would be nothing of them at all. Gov. Carlin 
also, in his last message, despaired of the canal. He had not the 
genius to see how money might be raised to complete it, except 
by petitioning Congress for an increased donation of land, then 
certain never to be granted. 

There was quite a party out of the legislature expectants of 
office, and others who hoped that if the banks were repealed 
out of existence and put into forcible liquidation, some of them 
might be appointed commissioners, and put in charge of their 
specie and effects. It was known that if the bank debts were 
paid pro rata, a large amount of specie would remain on hand 
for a year or more ; the use of which could be made profitable 
in the meantime. Then there were to be bank attorneys and 
agents in collecting and securing debts ; and the whole would 
furnish a handsome picking for the buzzards and vultures who 
hang about lobbies and surround legislatures. 

As for myself, I decided at once in favor of a compromise ; 
and I gave notice to all these greedy expectants of office who 


were hanging around with eyes straining to devour their sub- 
stance, that if the banks were repealed, and the appointment of 
commissioners were vested in me, none of them could expect 
an appointment. This I know cooled some of them. 

This was the most important subject which came before the 
legislature of 1842. State stock to the amount of $3,100,000 
was at stake ; the canal depended upon it ; and it may be worth 
while to give a short statement of the argument on each side of 
the question. 

It was said in favor of repeal that the banks had so many 
times baffled the legislature, the most decisive steps ought to 
be taken with them, so as to put them to an end at once. The 
legislature ought to make sure work of it once, now that they 
were assembled and had the power. The fact that they had 
violated their charters was notorious ; the decision of which 
ought not to be left to the doubtful chance of a suit at law in 
the courts. That the charters ought to be repealed totally, so 
as forever to prevent the chance of their revival or resurrection 
by any future legislature. The bonds held by the banks ought 
to be sold to help pay their debts. The State as a stockholder, 
had no more right than another to be paid for its stock and re- 
tire from the concern before the bank debts were paid. The 
specie would never be paid out pro rata ; the circulation had 
been purchased and was now held by private stockholders, who 
would refuse to present it for payment, in hopes that another 
legislature would renew their charters. The most stringent 
laws might be passed for the government of the banks, yet ex- 
perience had shown that as long as they had life they would set 
all laws at defiance as soon as the Assembly adjourned ; and 
the legislature would have to do at the next session what they 
had omitted to do now. The compromise proposed was a bad 
bargain for the State. The stock was worth more than the 
bonds ; the assets of the banks were amply sufficient to pay all 


their debts, and a dividend to the State as a stockholder, which 
would greatly exceed the value of these bonds. 

On the side of a compromise it was argued that if the banks 
had ever baffled the legislature, it was hi the day of their power 
when their bills were in credit, and they had money to lend to 
individuals and to pay the legislature. In the day of their 
power they had friends, many of whom were the first to desert 
them in their troubles and weakness. They were shorn of their 
strength. There were none so poor now as to do them rever- 
ence. It was folly to talk of the power of a broken bank in 
universal discredit with the people. They were too deeply and 
generally despised for any legislature of any party to revive 
them. It was just as likely that the internal improvement sys- 
tem would be revived. It would be the height of folly to suf- 
fer the bonds held by the banks to be sold. At present they 
were selling for only fourteen cents on the dollar. If $2,500,- 
000 were added to those already in the market, the price must 
be greatly reduced. If we rejected an offer to get them up at 
once on such favorable terms, and depended on a doubtful divi- 
dend to re-purchase them at a discount, if we declared it our 
policy to go into the market like a common swindler to pur- 
chase our own paper at less than its face, the whole world 
would know that we never intended to pay one cent of the pub- 
lic debt. A sale under such circumstances would be of but 
little use to the banks or their creditors, but would subject the 
State to certain loss or disgrace. 

The advocates of repeal say that the banks are insolvent, and 
cannot pay their debts if the bonds are not sold ; in the next 
breath they say that the State is making a bad bargain ; that 
the stock is worth more than the bonds, when it is plain that 
the stock is worth nothing, unless the banks pay every dollar 
of their debt. But the truth is, the banks can pay their debts, 
and will have something left for the stockholders. The credit- 
ors are in no danger of eventual loss. But if repeal is to sue- 


ceed ; if their specie and other effects are to be given in charge 
to public officers ; neither creditors nor stockholders may ever 
get anything. Who are these public officers to be ? Are they 
to be the public officers who mismanaged the old State Bank 
of 1821, and lost to the State more than its entire capital ? Are 
they to be some of the late fund commissioners, whose blun- 
ders saddled the State with a million and a half of dollars in 
debt, for which the first cent was never received ? Are they 
to be the commissioners of the board of public works, whose 
reckless squandering of the public moneys will be memorable 
while time lasts 1 Or are they to be any of the same descrip- 
tion of persons ? And more particularly, are they to be taken 
from the hangers-on about the seat of government ? We have 
had enough in our history of the management of money mat- 
ters by public officers. 

The legislature might repeal, but they were not clothed with 
all the power of this government. The banks were determined 
to contest their right to repeal. The Supreme Court of the 
United States had already declared against it in the Dartmouth 
College case. They would get an injunction from the federal 
court against our commissioners. The case would be litigated 
for years at home ; it would then be carried to the Supreme 
Court of the United States. It would be years again before a 
final decision, and then it was as likely to be against us- as for 
us. In the meantime, if the bank officers were so little to be 
trusted, what security had we that their assets would not be 
devoured by the expenses of litigation, or squandered by dis- 

More than all this, repeal was a violent measure. It was 
calculated to alarm capitalists. We were about to incorporate 
a company to complete the canal. We were not able to do it 
ourselves ; our only hope was in a company. Capitalists, from 
whom alone the money to do it could be expected, would rea- 
sonably conclude that such a government could not be trusted. 


.They might subscribe to the stock, expend their money, make 
the canal, and then some hurra of a popular excitement would 
result in repealing them out of their rights. 

It seemed to me that the arguments in favor of a compromise 
were conclusive on every point. The villanies charged upon 
the new owners of the Shawneetown Bank, before the compro- 
mise bill passed, were no worse than what could have been 
committed before any law whatever could have been passed by 
this legislature. No such law can be passed in less than six 
weeks, and before the end of such a period, a roguish directory 
could have committed much worse villanies than any which 
have been charged, and such would most probably have been 
committed, and no repealing act or after legislation could, as -it 
did not, reach the mischief. But what availed argument or 
reason against the rapacity of hungry buzzards hunting profit- 
able office, or against the low ambition of the professed poli- 
tician, who ever stands ready to sacrifice the best interest of 
his country, so that he may be reckoned a first-rate party man ; 
one of your " whole hog" fellows ; and by such means stand on 
vantage ground as a candidate for office. Thank God, there 
were but few such patriots in the legislature. 

A bill was brought into the House of Representatives in 
favor of a compromise with the State Bank, and this important 
measure passed that body by a vote of 107 in the affirmative, 
and 4 against it, on the ayes and noes as follows : Those who 
voted in the affirmative, were Messrs. Adams, Aldrich, Andrus, 
Arnold, Bailhache, Bibbons, Bishop, Blair, Blakeman, Bone, 
Bradley, Brown of Pike, Brown of Sangamon, Browning, Bry- 
ant, Burklow, Busey, Caldwell, Canady, Cloud, Cochran, Col- 
lins, Compton, Cartwright, Davis of Bond, Davis of William- 
son, Dickinson, Dollins, Dougherty, Douglass, Dubois, Ed- 
wards, Epler, Ervin, Ewing, Ficklin, Flanders, Fowler, Garrett, 
Glass, Gobble, Graves, Gregg, Green of Clay, Green of Greene, 
Haley, Hambaugh, Hannaford, Hanson, Harper, Hatch, Hick, 


Hicks, Hinton, Homey, Howard, Hunsaker, Jackson of M'Hen- 
ry, Jackson of Whiteside, Jonas, Kendall, Koerner, Kuyhendall, 
Longworthy, Lawler, Lockhard, Logan, M'Bride, M'Clernand, 
M'Donald of Calhoun, M'Donald of Joe Davies's. M'Millan, 
Manning, Miller, Mitchell, Murphy, Nesbit, Norris, Owen, 
Penn, Pickering, Pratt, Scott, Sharp, Shirley, Simms, Smith of 
Crawford, Smith of Hancock, Spider, Starne, Starr, Stewart, 
Stockton, Tackerberry, Thompson, Vance, Vandeveer, Vin- 
yard, West, Weatherford, Wheat, Whitcomb, White, Whitten, 
Woodworth, Yates, and Mr. Speaker 107. 

Those who voted in the negative were : Messrs. Ames, Bell, 
Brinkley, and Loy 4. 

This bill was drawn up by myself, and agreed to by the bank. 
It was then shown to Mr. McClernand, the chairman of the 
finance committee of the lower house. The chairman called a 
meeting of the democratic members of his committee. Gen. 
Shields, Judge Douglass, and myself, were invited to be pres- 
ent at their meeting. I was desirous of having the measure in- 
troduced as a democratic measure, and for this reason the whigs 
of the committee were not invited to be present. The project 
was stated to the committee, and all the members agreed to it 
but one, and he was soon argued out of his objections by Judge 
Douglass. The next day it was introduced into the lower house 
as a report from the finance committee. This circumstance put 
Mr. McClernand in the position of being its principal advocate ; 
and it was soon known to be a favorite measure of the new ad- 
ministration. It at once met the approbation of all men of 
sense in the house ; and hi saying this, I say only the truth of 
those four gentlemen who opposed it, none of whom, though re- 
spectable in other matters, to my certain knowledge, were capa- 
ble of entertaining two ideas about public affairs at the same 
time, of tracing the connection between them, or of conceiving 
the bare idea of a comprehensive system of State policy. 

The opposition to the bill as yet was confined to the outdoor 


hangers-on about the seat of government, many of whom ex- 
pected, if the banks were repealed and put into forcible liquida- 
tion, to get some profitable jobs as commissioners and attor- 
neys. Lyman Trumbull, Secretary of State, put himself at the 
head of this opposition. In taking this ground, Mr. Trumbull 
was probably less influenced by a hope of pecuniary advantage 
to himself, than by a desire to serve his friends, to be consider- 
ed a thorough-going party man, and by a hatred of McCler- 
nand and Shields, who both favored the measure. His quarrel 
with McClernand sprung out of his appointment to the office of 
Secretary of State two years before. 

McClernand was a member of the legislature in 1840, but 
not being an applicant then, Judge Douglass was appointed at 
the beginning of the session without opposition. But when 
Douglass was elected a judge of the supreme court towards the 
end of the session, McClernand incited his friends to get up in 
his favor a strong recommendation from the members of the 
legislature for the vacant office. It had been much the practice 
heretofore for the legislature to dictate to the governor by rec- 
ommendation. A popular man in former times would be an 
applicant for an office. He got his friends in the legislature to 
sign a request that he might have the appointment. The gover- 
nor was feeble, and clothed with but little authority. The legis- 
lature came fresh from the people, and were clothed with almost 
the entire power of government. They were soon to return 
again to their constituents. If the governor refused to oblige 
them, they calumniated and denounced him, and endeavored to 
render him odious to the people after their return home. Be- 
sides this, the legislature possessed most of the appointing pow- 
er themselves. The governor might want some office himself 
ha future, and he always had a number of friends for whose 
sake he desired an influence with the assembly. In this view, 
the governor, for the time being, himself was usually obliged to 
be a kind of lobby member ; and not unfrequently might be 


classed as one of the hangers-on about the seat of government, 
seeking to control the legislature in the bestowment of offices. 
He dreaded the anger of the members, and would do everything 
to please them, or to avoid their displeasure. In this mode the 
independence of the executive government was subverted, the two 
houses were tampered with and controlled, and the two branches 
of government, intended to be kept separate in their action, were 
blended and almost amalgamated into one. This will be look- 
ed upon as an evil. But as there are three distinct wills to be 
consulted in all matters of legislation, it is perhaps, in the pres- 
ent state of imperfection of human nature, necessary that they 
should thus mutually operate on each other, in order to produce 
that harmony of action which leads to concurrence in one direc- 
tion. It is true that the executive and legislative powers are in- 
tended to be kept separate, and although they are in point of 
fact frequently blended into one, yet, on great occasions, when 
the public liberties might be endangered by their union, the 
power of resistance is still capable of being exerted by each de- 

But to go back to the quarrel between McClernand and 
Trumbull. Governor Carlin had already allowed the members 
of the legislature and his political friends to dictate to him the 
appointment of McClernand on a former occasion. He had 
lately yielded to similar dictation in the appointment of Doug- 
lass, in opposition to his own wishes ; for he had previously 
promised the office to Isaac N. Morris, of Quincy. He had in 
fact invited Morris to Springfield to receive the appointment. 
But on the arrival of the governor at the seat of government, 
he was saluted with a legislative recommendation in favor of 
Douglass, which at that time, the beginning of the session, he 
was unwilling to refuse. Douglass was appointed; and the 
governor in his turn subsequently used his influence with the 
legislature to get Morris elected to the office of president of the 
board of canal commissioners. 


But this contest between McClernand and Trumbull took 
place at the close of the session, when the governor had nothing 
more to hope or to fear from that legislature, or any other 
during the balance of his term. This made him more inde- 
pendent, and he now resolved to resist legislative dictation. 

Trumbull was nominated to the Senate ; and McClernand and 
Shields as immediately went to work in that body to procure 
the rejection of his appointment. They came within a vote or 
two of defeating his nomination. 

Ever since this there had been no good feeling between Mc- 
Clernand and Trumbull. As soon as McClernand took his 
position on the bank question, Trumbull arrayed himself in op- 
position. He pretended that McClernand's measure was not 
sufficiently democratic ; in fact, that nothing could be democratic 
in relation to the banks, but to tear them up and destroy them 
root and branch ; and he hoped to fasten upon McClernand the 
imputation of being a " milk and water democrat," and thus 
lower him in the estimation of the party. At the instance of 
Ebenezer Peck, the clerk of the supreme court, and some others, 
he put up a notice that he would address the lobby on the sub- 
ject in the evening after the legislature had adjourned. Most 
of the members attended to hear his discourse. In this speech 
he put forth many of the common arguments against banks ; 
and most of.the objections heretofore stated to the compromise 

The next day McClernand, who possessed a kind of bold 
and denunciatory eloquence, came down upon Trumbull and 
his confederates in a speech in the House ; which for argument, 
eloquence, and statesmanship, was far superior to Trumbull's. 
This speech silenced all opposition thereafter to the bill in the 
House of Representatives. 

The out-door opposition after this, foreseeing a signal defeat 
in the House, turned their attention to the Senate. This body 
was composed of fewer members, and it was hoped would be 


more easily managed than a more numerous assembly like the 
lower House. One of the Senators was put at the head of it, 
who was a man of but a poor education and narrow capacity, 
and had adopted the profession of the law. His first schooling 
in the practice was as a justice of the peace, in the course of 
which he learned more of the captious pettifogging arts of his 
profession than of the science of jurisprudence. He was after- 
wards elected to the legislature, and here he. supported the rail- 
road system. He had been one of the most zealous supporters 
of that disastrous measure ; but he was yet impudently confi- 
dent in the infallibility of his own judgment, just as though he 
had never so greatly erred. He was next elected by the legis- 
lature to be a judge of the circuit court. As a judge, he knew 
just enough of law, and had practiced enough in its quibbles, to 
obliterate from his heart the instinct in favor of natural justice, 
without supplying its place by the lights of science. In this 
capacity he seemed to think that the great secret of judicature 
consisted in giving full effect to quibbles and technical objec- 
tions, so much so that it was a rare thing for substantial justice 
to be done in any case before him. An unlearned lawyer or 
judge with a cramped understanding like his, is almost sure to 
take up the idea that the true way to win a reputation is to 
show a superior dexterity in finding and giving effect to learned 
quibbles and trifles, to the total neglect of the great principles 
of law and justice. He forgets that courts were established to 
do right between man and man, and only remembers the forms 
of proceeding. These forms he looks upon as something sacred 
and holy, and are not to be jostled aside by the demands of nat- 
ural right. A more enlightened judge places his glory in 
showing that he is not ignorant of the little sort of learning, and 
in finding good legal reasons for making it all bend to the great 
object of all judicature, the administration of substantial justice. 
This man was also one of those small-minded men, who, as 
speakers, are always equal on every subject. If he spoke upon 


a small subject, he would raise it and magnify it ; if upon a 
large one, he would reduce it and belittle it to suit his capacity. 
If he spoke upon a great subject, involving the discussion of 
great principles, and the expression of great ideas, his mode 
would make them look small. Any one seeing such things 
through the medium of one of his speeches, would think he saw 
a large object through a telescope with the little end foremost, 
which makes objects that are large and near at hand appear to 
be very far off and very little. 

He was elected to the senate in 1840. At that session he 
voted under executive influence for the bank suspension of that 
year, and for the State Bank to have the privilege of issuing one- 
dollar- notes. In 1841 he was a candidate for Congress, and 
found himself very unpopular with the democratic party in con- 
sequence of this vote, so that he was beaten in his election by 
a very large majority. In 1842 he undertook to recover the 
confidence of the party by more than ordinary violence against 
banks. He must have persuaded himself that as he had lost 
the confidence of his friends by too much servility to banks, the 
way to recover it, and wipe out the memory of former delin- 
quency, was to err as far on the other side by a senseless oppo- 
sition, now that they had lost their power ; and the interests of 
the State required that they should be dealt with upon principles 
of sound wisdom. His effort, however, did not succeed, for he 
has never had the confidence of any party since. 

In the Senate, the whole out-door opposition was let loose 
upon the bill. Trumbull took his stand in the lobby, and sent 
in amendments of every sort to be proposed by Cram of Wash- 
ington, Catlin of St. Clair, and others. The mode of attack was 
to load it down with obnoxious amendments, so as to make it 
odious to its authors ; and Trumbull openly boasted that the 
bill would be so altered and amended in the Senate, that its 
framers hi the house would not know their own bantling when 
it came back to them. From this moment I determined to re- 


move Trumbull from the office of Secretary of State. From 
the nature of his office, he ought to have been my confidential 
helper and adviser ; and when he found that my course was 
against his principles, if really it was against them, he ought to 
have resigned. If he did not do so, I was bound, in duty to my- 
self and to the public, to remove him and get some other per- 
son who would be willing to render this assistance. This was 
the principle established by the democratic party in the memo- 
rable contest between Field and McClernand. 

The obnoxious amendments were rejected, and the bill passed 
by a large majority, and was approved by the council of revis- 
ion. Judge Douglass, notwithstanding he had advised the meas- 
ure before the finance committee, voted against it hi the coun- 
cil. A bill somewhat similar passed in relation to the Shawnee- 
town Bank. By these two bills the domestic treasury of the 
State was at once relieved, and another debt of $2,306,000 was 
extinguished immediately. 

The legislature at this session also passed laws for the sale 
of State lands and property ; for the reception of the distribu- 
tive share of the State in the proceeds of the sales of the pub- 
lic lands ; for the redemption of interest bonds hypothecated to 
Macalister and Stebbins ; and for a loan of $1,600,000 to com- 
plete the Illinois and Michigan canal. By these various laws 
provision was made for the reduction of the State debt to the 
amount of eight or nine millions of dollars. This was the best 
that could be done, and it is wonderful, under the circumstances, 
that so much could be accomplished. 

From this moment the affairs of the State began to brighten 
' and improve. Auditors' warrants rose to 85 and 90 per cent. 
State bonds rose from 14 to 20, 30, and 40 per cent. The 
banks began to pay out their specie, and within three months 
time the currency was restored, confidence was increased in the 
prospects of the State, and the tide of emigration was once 
more directed to Illinois. 


These were all measures of intrinsic wisdom ; but it is amus- 
ing to read over the high-sounding titles of the laws which were 
passed to carry them into effect, as if it were absolutely neces- 
sary to humbug the people into the support of the wisest meas- 
ures of public policy. Accordingly, we read in the statutes of 
" An act to diminish the State debt, and to put the State Bank 
into liquidation." " An act to diminish the State debt one mil- 
lion of dollars, and to put the Bank of Illinois into liquidation." 
" An act to provide for the completion of the Illinois and Mich- 
igan canal, and for the payment of the canal debt." " An act 
to provide for the sale of the public property, and for the pay- 
ment of the public debt ;" and " An act to provide for a settle- 
ment with Macallister and Stebbins, and further to diminish 
the State debt." These high-sounding titles were given to 
these several laws with a view to set off the strong and anxious 
desire of the people for the reduction of the State debt, against 
the popular prejudice against the defunct banks, which it was 
foreseen would be invoked to humbug the people into an oppo- 
sition to these acts, and those who supported them, and to build 
up the reckless men who had opposed them. It was probably 
a fair game of humbug against humbug. 

The legislature at this session passed a very important law 
on the subject of the collection of private debts. During the 
inflation of the bank currency and the credit system, so called, 
every one had got into debt. The merchants had purchased on 
a credit, and they had again sold on a credit. This system 
brought a great many goods into the State ; more than the peo- 
ple, according to their means, ought to have consumed. But 
the merchants were anxious to sell, and freely credited the peo- 
ple up to about the value of their property. The destruction 
of the currency made payment impossible. Such a calamity 
had fallen on the people only about twenty years before ; and 
if a capacity had existed of being profited by experience, it 
ought now to have been avoided. But it is lamentably true 


that communities in the aggregate scarcely ever profit by the 
lessons of experience. The same evils and calamities, and from 
the same causes, occur again and again, and find the people as 
little expecting them, every time they are repeated, as they 
were before ; and they are every time just as blind about the 

The people in 1820 had brought the same evils on themselves. 
They then sought a remedy in a State bank with stays of exe- 
cution. The bank policy was now too odious to be thought of; 
but the legislature this time adopted a novel expedient, which 
had not been thought of by any former legislature in the world. 
They passed a law providing that when an execution was levied 
upon property, the property should be appraised by three house- 
holders under oath, to its value in " ordinary times ;" and no 
such property could be sold for less than two-thirds of its value 
thus ascertained. The Supreme Court of the United States 
afterwards pronounced this law to be unconstitutional and void. 
In the meantime it had some good effects. A vast number of 
debts were paid by arrangements and trades of property, vol- 
untarily made between debtor and creditor. It destroyed and 
checked up unwarrantable credit, by alarming the creditor part 
of the community, and has made them more careful in extend- 
ing credit in future. 

It has appeared to me that there are two modes in which a 
sound credit may be established. One mode may be to let 
loose the full vigor and severity of law, as in England, upon the 
debtor, and thus make mankind afraid to go in debt beyond 
their ability to pay with ease. The other may be to take away 
all efficient remedies from the creditor to recover his debt, and 
make him rely upon the honor and integrity of his debtor for 
payment. In this mode no one would get credit on account of 
being rich. Credit would be no longer given to the mere pos- 
session of property. Because such an one might be a rogue 
and deny his debt ; but if honest, he would never contract for 


more than he was able to pay ; and he would make extraor- 
dinary exertions to meet his engagements. In this mode the 
advantages of credit would be a reward for integrity and 

The system for the collection of debts by law in Illinois, has 
never been one thing or the other. A kind of inefficient rem- 
edy has been held out to the creditor, which might succeed in 
making a debt from an honest man, but never from a rogue. 
The ease with which it could be evaded, put the debtor part of 
the community under strong temptation to dishonesty. If a 
creditor, no longer to be put off by fair promises, sued for his 
debt at law, the debtor leaves him to his remedy thus chosen. 
He satisfies his conscience by a train of reasoning of this sort : 
" If I had not been sued I would have paid as soon as I possibly 
could. My creditor is not disposed to rely on my honor, he 
has sued me at law, and thereby chosen mere legal means to 
recover his debt. He does not rely upon me any longer. Now 
^let him get his money as soon as the law will give it to him. I 
feel absolved in conscience from making any further efforts to 
pay, and will be justified in throwing all the obstacles in his 
way which the forms and delays of the law can furnish." He 
immediately goes to work to continue the cause from term to 
term, to appeal the judgment, when obtained, from court to 
court ; and, as a last resort, he has a favorite mode of defeating 
his creditor in legal proceedings, as it is generally called, by 
beating him on the execution. This mode of defence supposes 
the debtor to make fraudulent sales of his property, or to run 
it out of the country. All such delusive remedies ought to be 
abolished immediately. It were better to have none. They 
can only serve to make rogues and demoralize the people. 


Mormons New warrant for the arrest of Joe Smith Trial before Judge Pope Intrigues 
< f the whigs The Mormons determine to vote for whig candidates for Congress 
Cyrus Walker Joseph P. Hoge Dr Bennett Prejudices against the Mormons 
New demand for the arrest of Joe Smith Arrest and discharge by the municipal 
court Walker's speech Walker's and Hoge's opinion Mormons always prefer 
bad advice Demand for a call of the militia Reasons tor not calling them In- 
trigues of the democrats Backinstos Hiram Smith William Law Revelation in 
favor of Hoge Joe Smith's speech Hoge elected Indignation of the whigs De- 
termination to expel the Mormons Stephen A. Douglass City ordinances Inso- 
lence of the Mormons Joe Smith a candidate for President Conceives the idea of 
making himself a Prince Danite band Spiritual wives Attempt on William 
Law's wife Tyranny of Joe Smith Opposition to him "Nauvoo Expositor" Trial 
of the press as a nuisance Its destruction Secession of the refractory Mormons 
Warrant for Joe Smith and common council Their arrest and discharge by the mu- 
nicipal cobrt Committee of anti-Mormons Journey to Carthage Militia assembled 
Complaints against the Mormons Cause of popular fury False reports and 
camp news Pledge of the troops to protect the prisoners Martial law Conduct of a 
constable and civil posse Council of officers The great flood of 1844 Surrender of 
Joe Smith and the common council Warrant for treason Commitment of Joe and 
Hiram Smith Preparations to march into Nauvoo Council of officers Militia dis- 
banded Journey to Nauvoo Guard left for the protection of the prisoners Fur- 
ther precautions The leading anti-Mormons by false reports undermine the Gov- 
ernor's influence Governor's speech in Nauvoo Vote of the Mormons News of 
the death of the Smiths Preparation for defence of the country Mischievous in- 
fluence of the press. 

WE turn again to the history of the State as connected with 
the Mormons. This people had now become about 16,000 
strong in Hancock county, and several thousands more were 
scattered about in other counties. As I have said before, Gov- 
ernor Carlin in 1842, had issued his warrant for the arrest of 
Joe Smith their prophet, as a fugitive from justice in Missouri. 
This warrant had never been executed, and was still outstand- 
ing when I came into office. The Mormons were desirous of 



having the cause of arrest legally tested in the federal court. 
Upon their application a duplicate warrant was issued in the 
winter of 1842-'3, and placed in the hands of the sheriff of 
Sangamon county. Upon this Joe Smith came to Springfield 
and surrendered himself a prisoner. A writ of habeas corpus 
was obtained from Judge Pope of the federal court, and Smith 
was discharged. 

Upon this proceeding the whigs founded a hope of obtaining 
the future support of the Mormons. The democratic officers in 
Missouri and Illinois were instrumental in procuring his arrest. 
He was discharged this time by a whig judge ; and his cause 
had been managed by whig lawyers. As in the case decided 
by Judge Douglass, Smith was too ignorant of law to know 
whether he owed his discharge to the law, or to the favor of 
the court and the whig party. Such was the ignorance and 
stupidity of the Mormons generally, that they deemed anything 
to be law which they judged to be expedient. All action of the 
government which bore hard on them, however legal, they 
looked upon as wantonly oppressive ; and when the law was ad- 
ministered in their favor, they attributed it to partiality and 
kindness. If the stern duty of a public officer required him to 
bear hard on them, they attributed it to malice. In this man- 
ner the Mormons this time were made to believe that they 
were under great obligations to the whigs for the discharge of 
their prophet from what they believed to be the persecutions 
of the democrats ; and they resolved to yield their support to 
the whig party in the next election. 

An election for Congress in the Mormon district was to come 
off in August, 1843. Cyrus Walker was the candidate on the 
part of the whigs, and Joseph P. Hoge on the part of the demo- 
crats ; both of them distinguished lawyers. The Mormons 
very early decided to support Mr. Walker, -the whig. But 
owing to causes which I will relate, they were induced to change 
their resolution ; and this was the cause in a great measure of 


that wonderful excitement which subsequently prevailed against 
that people. 

Dr. John C. Bennett, heretofore mentioned as an influential 
favorite of the Mormon leaders, had been expelled from the 
Church in 1842. By publications and lectures delivered in va- 
rious parts of the United States, he undertook to expose the 
doctrines, designs, and government of the Mormons, and to do 
them all the injury in his power. A part of his plan was to 
get up a new indictment against Joe Smith and Orrin P. Rock- 
well for an attempt to murder Gov. Boggs in Missouri. An in- 
dictment was found in Missouri against Smith and Rockwell on 
the 5th of June, 1843. On the 7th, a messenger from Missou- 
ri presented himself to me with a copy of the indictment, and 
a new demand from the governor of Missouri. A new warrant, 
in pursuance of the constitution of the United States, was issu- 
ed, and placed in the hands of a constable in Hancock. 

This constable and the Missouri agent hastened to Nauvoo to 
make the arrest, where they ascertained that Joe Smith was on 
a visit to Rock river. They pursued him thither, and succeed- 
ed in arresting him in Palestine Grove, in the county of Lee. 
The constable immediately delivered his prisoner to the Mis- 
souri agent, and returned his warrant as having been executed. 
The agent started with his prisoner in the direction of Missouri, 
but on the road was met by a number of armed Mormons, who 
captured the whole party, and conducted them in the direction 
of Nauvoo. Further on they were met by hundreds of the 
Mormons, coming to the rescue of their prophet, who conduct- 
ed him in grand triumph to his own city. Cyrus Walker, the 
whig candidate for Congress, was sent for to defend him as a 
lawyer ; a writ of habeas corpus was sued out of the municipal 
court ; Mr. Walker appeared as his counsel, and made a won- 
derful exertion, in a speech of three hours long, to prove to the 
municipal court, composed of Joe Smith's tools and particular 
friends, that they had the jurisdiction to issue and act on the 


writ under the ordinance of their city. Mr. Hoge also, the 
democratic candidate, had gone to Nauvoo seeking the votes of 
the Mormons. He and Mr. Walker were both called upon, in 
a public assembly of the Mormons, to express their opinion as 
to the legality of this ordinance of the city giving to the muni- 
cipal court power to issue writs of habeas corpus in all cases of 
imprisonment, and both of them gave their solemn opinion in 
favor of the power. Thus the Mormons were deluded and de- 
ceived by men who ought to have known and did know better. 
It was a common thing for this people to be eternally asking 
and receiving adviee. If judicious and legal advice were given 
to them, they rejected it with scorn, when it came in conflict 
with their favorite projects ; for which reason all persons de- 
signing to use them, made it a rule to find out what they were 
in favor of, and advise them accordingly. In this mode the 
Mormons relied for advice, for the most part, upon the most 
corrupt of mankind, who would make no matter of conscience 
of advising them to their destruction, as a means of gaining 
their favor. This has always been a difficulty with the Mor- 
mons, and grew out of their blind fanaticism, which refused to 
see or to hear anything against their system, but more out of 
the corruption of their leaders, whose objects being generally 
roguish and rotten, required corrupt and rotten advisers to keep 
them in countenance. 

The municipal court discharged Joe Smith from his arrest ; 
the Missouri agent immediately applied to me for a militia 
force, to renew it ; and Mr. Walker came to the seat of gov- 
ernment, on the part of the Mormons, to resist the application. 
This was only a short time before the election. I was indis- 
posed from the first to call out the militia, and informed Mr. 
Walker that my best opinion then was, that the militia would 
not be ordered ; but as many important questions of law were 
involved in the decision, I declined then to pronounce a definite 


The truth is, that, being determined from the first not to be 
made a party to the contest between Walker and Hoge, % and 
knowing that Walker only wanted my decision to carry back 
to the Mormons, as a means of his success, I ought to have with- 
held it if for no other reason but this. It was afterwards, upon 
mature consideration, decided not to call out the militia, be- 
cause the writ had been returned as having been fully executed 
by the delivery of Joe Smith to the Missouri agent ; after which 
it was entirely a question between Missouri and Smith, with 
which Illinois had nothing to do, except to issue a new warrant 
if one had been demanded. The governor, in doing what he 
had done, had fulfilled his whole duty under the constitution and 
the laws. And, because Smith had not been forcibly rescued, 
but had been discharged under color of law, by a court which 
had exceeded its jurisdiction, and it appeared that it would have 
been a dangerous precedent for the governor, whenever he sup- 
posed that the courts had exceeded their powers, to call out the 
militia to reverse and correct their judgments. Yet, for not do- 
ing so, I was subjected to much unmerited abuse. 

However, the democratic managers about Nauvoo, after the 
usual fashion of managing the Mormons by both parties, terri- 
fied them if they voted for the whig candidate, as they were 
yet determined, with the prospect of the militia being sent 
against them. 

Backinstos, a managing democrat of Hancock county, was 
sent as a messenger to Springfield to ascertain positively what 
the governor would do if the Mormons voted the democratic 
ticket. I happened to be absent at St. Louis, but I heard 
some weeks after the election, that Backinstos went home pre- 
tending that he had the most ample assurances of favor to the 
Mormons, so long as they voted the democratic ticket. And I 
was informed by the man himself, a prominent democrat of 
Springfield, on the 9th day of October, 1846, for the first time, 
that during my absence he had given a positive pledge, in my 


name, to Backinstos, that if the Mormons voted the democratic 
ticket, the militia should not be sent against them. This pledge, 
however, he took care never to intimate to me until more than 
three years afterwards. Since the Mormons have become so 
unpopular, and since the most of them have left the State, so 
that they can no longer be a support to any one, this man, fol- 
lowing the example of hundreds of others of a similar 
class, has joined the anti-Mormon excitement, and has been a 
strong advocate for the expulsion of the Mormons and all who 
sought to do them but simple justice. This indicated only that 
the power in Hancock had got into the hands of the anti-Mor- 
mons. The mission of Backinstos produced a total change in 
the minds of the Mormon leaders. They now resolved to drop 
their friend Walker and take up Hoge, the democratic candi- 
date. Backinstos returned only a day or two before the elec- 
tion, and there was only a short time for the leaders to operate 
in. A great meeting was called of several thousand Mormons 
on Saturday before the election. Hiram Smith, patriarch in 
the Mormon Church, and brother to the prophet, appeared in 
this great assembly, and there solemnly announced to the peo- 
ple, that God had revealed to him that the Mormons must sup- 
port Mr. Hoge, the democratic candidate. William Law, an- 
other great leader of the Mormons, next appeared, and denied 
that the Lord had made any such revelation. He stated that, 
to his certain knowledge, the prophet Joseph was in favor of 
Mr. Walker, and that the prophet was more likely to know the 
mind of the Lord on the subject than the patriarch. Hiram 
Smith again repeated his revelation with a greater tone of au- 
thority. But the people remained in doubt until the next day, 
being Sunday, when Joe Smith himself appeared before the 
assembly. He there stated that " he himself was in favor of 
Mr. Walker, and intended to vote for him ; that he would not, 
if he could, influence any voter in giving his vote ; that he con- 
sidered it a mean business for him or any other man to attempt 


to dictate to the people who they should support in elections ; 
that he had heard his brother Hiram had received a revelation 
from the Lord on the subject ; that for his part he did not much 
believe in revelations on the subject of elections ; but brother 
Hiram was a man of truth ; he had known' brother Hiram inti- 
mately ever since he was a boy, and he had never known him 
to tell a lie. If brother Hiram said he had received such a rev- 
elation, he had no doubt it was a fact. When the Lord speaks, 
let all the earth be silent." 

This decided the Mormon vote. The next day Mr. Hoge 
received about three thousand votes in Nauvoo, and was elected 
to Congress by six or eight hundred majority. The result of 
the election struck the whigs with perfect amazement. Whilst 
they fancied themselves secure of getting the Mormon vote for 
Mr. Walker, the whig newspapers had entirely ceased their 
accustomed abuse of the Mormons. They now renewed their 
crusade against them, every paper was loaded with accounts of 
the wickedness, corruptions, and enormities of Nauvoo. The 
whig orators groaned with complaints and denunciations of the 
democrats, who would consent to receive Mormon support, and 
the democratic officers of the State were violently charged and 
assaulted with using the influence of their offices to govern the 
Mormons. From this time forth the whigs generally, and a 
part of the democrats, determined upon driving the Mormons 
out of the State ; and everything connected with the Mormons 
became political, and was considered almost entirely with refer- 
ence to party. To this circumstance in part, is to be attributed 
the extreme difficulty ever afterwards of doing anything effect- 
ually in relation to the Mormon or anti-Mormon parties, by 
the executive government. 

It appears that the Mormons had been directed by their 
leaders to vote the whig ticket in the Quincy, as well as the 
Hancock district. In the Quincy district, Judge Douglass was 
the democratic candidate, O. H. Browning was the candidate of 


the whigs. The leading Mormons at Nauvoo having never 
determined in favor of the democrats until a day or two before 
the election, there was not sufficient time, or it was neglected, 
to send orders from Nauvoo into the Quincy district, to effect 
a change there. The Mormons in that district voted for Brown- 
ing. Douglass and his friends being afraid that I might be in 
his way for the United States Senate, in 1846, seized hold of 
this circumstance to affect my party standing, and thereby gave 
countenance to the clamor of the whigs, secretly whispering it 
about that I had not only influenced the Mormons to vote for 
Hoge, but for Browning also. This decided many of the dem- 
ocrats in favor of the expulsion of the Mormons. 

No further demand for the arrest of Joe Smith having been 
made by Missouri, he became emboldened by success. The 
Mormons became more arrogant and overbearing. In the 
winter of 1843-'4, the common council passed some further 
ordinances to protect their leaders from arrest, on demand 
from Missouri. They enacted that no writ issued from any 
other place than Nauvoo, for the arrest of any person in it, 
should be executed in the city, without an approval endorsed 
thereon by the mayor ; that if any public officer, by virtue of 
any foreign writ, should attempt to make an arrest in the city, 
without such approval of his process, he should be subject to 
imprisonment for life, and that the governor of the State should 
not have the power of pardoning the offender without the con- 
sent of the mayor. When these ordinances were published, 
they created general astonishment. Many people began to be- 
lieve in good earnest that the Mormons were about to set up a 
separate government for themselves in defiance of the laws of 
the State. Owners of property stolen in other counties, made 
pursuit into Nauvoo, and were fined by the Mormon courts for 
daring to seek their property in the holy city. To one such I 
granted a pardon. Several of the Mormons had been convicted 
of larceny, and they never failed in any instance to procure 


petitions signed by 1,500 or 2,000 of their friends for their 
pardon. But that which made it more certain than everything 
else, that the Mormons contemplated a separate government, 
was that about this time they petitioned Congress to establish 
a territorial government for them in Nauvoo ; as if Congress 
had any power to establish such a government, or any other, 
within the bounds of a State. 

To crown the whole folly of the Mormans, in the spring of 
1844, Joe Smith announced himself as a candidate for presi- 
dent of the United States. His followers were confident that 
he would be elected. Two or three thousand missionaries 
were immediately sent out to preach their religion, and to 
electioneer in favor of their prophet for the presidency. This 
folly at once covered that people with ridicule in the minds of 
all sensible men, and brought them into conflict with the zealots 
and bigots of all political parties ; as the arrogance and extrav- 
agance of their religious pretensions had already aroused the 
opposition of all other denominations in religion. 

It seems, from the best information which could be got from 
the best men who had seceded from the Mormon church, that 
Joe Smith about this time conceived the idea of making himself 
a temporal prince as well as a spiritual leader of his people. 
He instituted a new and select order of the priesthood, the 
members of which were to be priests and kings temporarily 
and spiritually. These were to be his nobility, who were to be 
the upholders of his throne. He caused himself to be crowned 
and anointed king and priest, far above the rest ; and he pre- 
scribed the form of an oath of allegiance to himself, which he 
administered to his principal followers. To uphold his preten- 
sions to royalty, he deduced his descent by an unbroken chain 
from Joseph the son of Jacob, and that of his wife from some 
other renowned personage of Old Testament history. The 
Mormons openly denounced the government of the United 
States as utterly corrupt, and as being about to pass away, and 



to be replaced by the government of God, to be administered 
by his servant Joseph. It is now at this day certain also, that 
about this time the prophet reinstituted an order in the church, 
called the " Danite band." These were to be a body of police 
and guards about the person of their sovereign, who were sworn 
to obey his orders as the orders of God himself. About this 
time also he gave a new touch to a female order already exist- 
ing in the church, called " Spiritual Wives." A doctrine was 
now revealed that no woman could get to heaven except as the 
wife of a Mormon elder. The elders were allowed to have as 
many of these wives as they could maintain ; and it was a doc- 
trine of the church, that any female could be " sealed up to 
eternal life," by uniting herself as wife or concubine to the elder 
of her choice. This doctrine was maintained by an appeal to 
the Old Testament scriptures ; and by the example of Abra- 
ham and Jacob, of David and Solomon, the favorites of God in 
a former age of the world. 

Soon after these institutions were established, Joe Smith be- 
gan to play the tyrant over several of his followers. The first 
act of this sort which excited attention, was an attempt to take 
the wife of William Law, one of his most talented and princi- 
pal disciples, and make her a spiritual wife. By means of his 
common council, without the authority of law, he established a 
recorder's office in Nauvoo, in which alone the titles of proper- 
ty could be recorded. In the same manner and with the same 
want of legal authority he established an office for issuing 
marriage licenses to the Mormons, so as to give him absolute 
control of the marrying propensities of his people. He pro- 
claimed that none in the city should purchase real estate to sell 
again, but himself. He also permitted no one but himself to 
have a license in the city for the sale of spirituous liquor ; and 
in many other ways he undertook to regulate and control the 
business of the Mormons. 

This despotism administered by a corrupt and unprincipled 


man, soon became intolerable. William Law, one of the most 
eloquent preachers of the Mormons, who appeared to me to be 
a deluded but conscientious and candid man, Wilson Law, his 
brother, major-general of the legion, and four or five other Mor- 
mon leaders, resolved upon a rebellion against the authority of 
the prophet. They designed to enlighten their brethren and 
fellow-citizens upon the new institutions, the new turn given to 
Mor monism, and the practices under the new system, by procur- 
ing a printing press and establishing a newspaper in the city, to be 
the organ of their complaints and views. But they never issued 
but one number ; before the second could appear the press was 
demolished by an order of the common council, and the con- 
spirators were ejected from the Mormon church. 

The Mormons themselves published the proceedings of the 
council in the trial and destruction of the heretical press ; from 
which it does not appear that any one was tried, or that the 
editor or any of the owners of the property had notice of the 
trial, or were permitted to defend in any particular. The pro- 
ceeding was an ex parte proceeding, partly civil and partly 
ecclesiastical, against the press itself. No jury was called or 
sworn, nor were the witnesses required to give their evidence 
upon oath. The councillors stood up one after another, and 
some of them several times, and related what they pretended 
to know. In this mode it was abundantly proved that the 
owners of the proscribed press were sinners, whoremasters, 
thieves, swindlers, counterfeiters and robbers; the evidence of 
which is reported in the trial at full length. It was altogether 
the most curious and irregular trial that ever was recorded in 
any civilized country ; and one finds difficulty in determining 
whether the proceedings of the council were more the result of 
insanity or depravity. The trial resulted in the conviction of 
the press as a public nuisance. The mayor was ordered to see 
it abated as such, and if necessary, to call the legion to his as- 
sistance. The mayor issued his warrant to the city marshal, 


who, aided by a portion of the legion, proceeded to the obnox- 
ious printing office and destroyed the press and scattered the 
types and other materials. 

After this it became too hot for the seceding and rejected 
Mormons to remain in the holy city. They retired to Car- 
thage, the county seat of Hancock county ; and took out war- 
rants for the mayor and members of the common council and 
others engaged in the outrage, for a riot. Some of these were 
arrested, but were immediately taken before the municipal 
court of the city on habeas corpus, and discharged from custody. 
The residue of this history of the Mormons, up to the time of 
the death of the Smiths, will be taken, with such corrections as 
time has shown to be necessary, from my report to the legisla- 
ture, made on the 23d of December, 1844. 

On the seventeenth day of June following, a committee of a 
meeting of the citizens of Carthage presented themselves to me, 
with a request that the militia might be ordered out to assist in 
executing process in the city of Nauvoo. I determined to visit 
in person that section of country, and examine for myself the 
truth and nature of their complaints. No order for the militia 
was made ; and I arrived at Carthage on the morning of the 
twenty-first day of the same month. 

Upon my arrival, I found an armed force assembled and 
hourly increasing under the summons and direction of the con- 
stables of the county, to serve as a posse comitatus to assist in 
the execution of process. The general of the brigade had 
also called for the militia, en masse, of the counties of Mc- 
Donough and Schuyler, for a similar purpose. Another as- 
semblage to a considerable number had been made at Warsaw, 
under military command of Col. Levi Williams. 

The first thing which I did on my arrival was to place all the 
militia then assembled, and which were expected to assemble, 
under military command of their proper officers. 

I next despatched a messenger to Nauvoo, informing the 


mayor and common council of the nature of the complaint 
made against them ; and requested that persons might be sent 
to me to lay their side of the question before me. A commit- 
tee was accordingly sent, who made such acknowledgments that 
I had no difficulty in concluding what were the facts. 

It appeared clearly both from the complaints of the citizens 
and the acknowledgments of the Mormon committee that the 
whole proceedings of the mayor, the common council, and the 
municipal court, were irregular and illegal, and not to be en- 
dured in a free country ; though perhaps some apology might 
be made for the court, as it had been repeatedly assured by 
some of the best lawyers in the State who had been candidates 
for office before that people, that it had full and competent 
power to issue writs of habeas corpus in all cases whatever. 
The common council violated the law in assuming the exercise 
of judicial power ; in proceeding ex parte without notice to the 
owners of the property ; in proceeding against the property in 
rem ; in not calling a jury ; in not swearing all the witnesses ; 
in not giving the owners of the property, accused of being a 
nuisance, in consequence of being libelous, an opportunity of 
giving the truth in evidence ; and in fact, by not proceeding by 
civil suit or indictment, as in other cases of libel. The mayor 
violated the law in ordering this erroneous and absurd judg- 
ment of the common council to be executed. And the munici- 
pal court erred in discharging them from arrest. 

As this proceeding touched the liberty of the press, which is 
justly dear to any republican people, it was well calculated to 
raise a great flame of excitement. And it may well b~e ques- 
tioned whether years of misrepresentation by the most profli- 
gate newspaper could have engendered such a feeling as was 
produced by the destruction of this one press. It is apparent 
that the Mormon leaders but little understood, and regarded 
less the true principles of civil liberty. A free press well con- 
ducted is a great blessing to a free people ; a profligate one is 


likely soon to deprive itself of all credit and influence by the 
multitude of falsehoods put forth by it. But let this be as it 
may, there is more lost to rational liberty by a censorship of 
the press by suppressing information proper to be known to the 
people, than can be lost to an individual now and then by a 
temporary injury to his character and influence by the utmost 

There were other causes to heighten the excitement. These 
people had undertaken to innovate upon the established systems 
of religion. Their legal right to do so, no one will question. 
But all history bears testimony that innovations upon religion 
have always been attended by a hostility in the public mind, 
which sometimes has produced ' the most desolating wars ; al- 
ways more or less of persecution. Even the innocent Quakers, 
the unoffending Shakers, and the quiet and orderly Methodists 
in their origin, and until the world got used to them, had enough 
of persecution to encounter. But if either of these sects had 
congregated together in one city where the world could never 
get to know them ; could never ascertain by personal acquaint- 
ance the truth or falsity of many reports which are always cir- 
culated to the prejudice of such innovators ; and moreover, if 
they had armed themselves and organized into a military legion 
as the citizens of Nauvoo, and had been guilty of high-handed 
proceedings carried on against the heretical press, the public 
animosity and their persecutions must have greatly increased 
in rancor and severity. 

In addition to these causes of excitement, there were a great 
many reports in circulation, and generally believed by the peo- 
ple. These reports I have already alluded to, and they had 
much influence in swelling the public excitement. 

It was asserted that Joe Smith, the founder and head of the 
Mormon church, had caused himself to be crowned and anoint- 
ed king of the Mormons ; that he had embodied a band of his 
followers called " Danites," who were sworn to obey him as 


God, and to do his commands, murder and treason not except- 
ed ; that he had instituted an order in the church, whereby those 
who composed it were pretended to be sealed up to eternal life 
against all crimes, save the shedding of innocent blood or con- 
senting thereto. That this order was instructed that no blood 
was innocent blood, except that of the members of the church ; 
and that these two orders were made the ministers of his ven- 
geance, and the instruments of an intolerable tyranny which he 
had established over his people, and which he was about to ex- 
tend over the neighboring country. The people affected to be- 
lieve that with this power in the hands of an unscrupulous 
leader, there was no safety for the lives or property of any one 
who should oppose him. They affected likewise to believe that 
Smith inculcated the legality of perjury, or any other crime in 
defence, or to advance the interests of true believers ; and that 
himself had set them the example by swearing to a false accu- 
sation against a certain person, for the crime of murder. It 
was likewise asserted to be a fundamental article of the Mor- 
mon faith, that God had given the world and all it contained 
to them as his saints ; that they secretly believed in their right 
to all the goodly lands, farms, and property in the country ; 
that at present they were kept out of their rightful inheritance 
by force ; that consequently there was no moral offence in an- 
ticipating God's good time to put them in possession by steal- 
ing, if opportunity offered ; that in fact the whole church was a 
community of murderers, thieves, robbers, and outlaws ; that 
Joseph Smith had established a bogus factory in Nauvoo, for 
the manufacture of counterfeit money ; and that he maintained 
about his person a tribe of swindlers, blacklegs, and counter- 
feiters, to make it and put it into circulation. 

It was also believed that he had announced a revelation from 
heaven, sanctioning polygamy, by a kind of spiritual wife sys- 
tem, whereby a man was allowed one wife in pursuance of the 
laws of the country, and an indefinite number of others, to be 


enjoyed in some mystical and spiritual mode ; and that he him- 
self, and many of his followers, had practiced upon the precepts 
of this revelation by seducing a large number of women. 

It was also asserted that he was in alliance with the Indians 
of the western territories, and had obtained over them such a 
control, that in case of a war he could command their assist- 
ance to murder his enemies. 

Upon the whole, if one-half of these reports had been true, 
the Mormon community must have been the most intolerable 
collection of rogues ever assembled ; or, if one-half them were 
false, they were the most maligned and abused. 

Fortunately for the purposes of those who were active in cre- 
ating excitement, there were many known truths which gave 
countenance to some of these accusations. It was sufficiently 
proved in a proceeding at Carthage, whilst I was there, that 
Joe Smith had sent a band of his followers to Missouri, to kid- 
nap two men, who were witnesses against a member of his 
church, then in jail, and about to be tried on a charge of lar- 
ceny. It was also a notorious fact, that he had assaulted and 
severely beaten an officer of the county, for an alleged non- 
performance of his duty, at a time when that officer was just 
recovering from severe illness. It is a fact also, that he stood 
indicted for the crime of perjury, as was alleged, in swearing 
to an accusation for murder, in order to drive a man out of 
Nauvoo, who had been engaged in buying and selling lots and 
land, and thus interfering with the monopoly of the prophet as 
a speculator. It is a fact also, that his municipal court, of 
which he was chief justice, by writ of habeas corpus had fre- 
quently discharged individuals accused of high crimes and of- 
fences against the laws of the State ; and on one occasion had 
discharged a person accused of swindling the government of the 
United States, and who had been arrested by process of the 
federal courts ; thereby giving countenance to the report, that 
he obstructed the administration of justice, and had set up a 


government at Nauvoo independent of the laws and govern- 
ment of the State. This idea was further corroborated in the 
minds of the people, by the fact that the people of Nauvoo had 
petitioned Congress for a territorial government to be estab- 
lished there, and to be independent of the State government. 
It was a fact also, that some larcenies and robberies had been 
committed, and that Mormons had been convicted of the crimes, 
and that other larcenies had been committed by persons un- 
known, but suspected to be Mormons. Justice, however, re- 
quires me here to say, that upon such investigation as I then 
could make, the charge of promiscuous stealing appeared to be 

Another cause of excitement, was a report industriously cir- 
culated, and generally believed, that Hiram Smith, another 
leader of the Mormon church, had offered a reward for the 
destruction of the press of the " Warsaw Signal," a newspaper 
published in the county, and the organ of the opposition to the 
Mormons. It was also asserted, that the Mormons scattered 
through the settlements of the county, had threatened all per- 
sons who turned out to assist the constables, with the destruc- 
tion of their property and the murder of their families, in the 
absence of their fathers, brothers, and husbands. A Mormon 
woman in M'Donough county was imprisoned for threatening 
to poison the wells of the people who turned out in the posse ; 
and a Mormon in Warsaw publicly avowed that he was bound 
by his religion to obey all orders of the prophet, even to com- 
mit murder if so commanded. 

But the great cause of popular fury was, that the Mormons 
at several preceding elections, had cast their vote as a unit ; 
thereby making the fact apparent, that no one could aspire to 
the honors or offices of the country within the sphere of their 
influence, without their approbation and votes. It appears to 
be one of the principles by which they insist upon being gov- 
erned as a community, to act as a unit in all matters of govern- 


merit and religion. They express themselves to be fearful that 
if division should be encouraged in politics, it would soon ex- 
tend to their religion, and rend their church with schism and 
into sects. 

This seems to me to be an unfortunate view of the subject, 
and more unfortunate in practice, as I am well satisfied that it 
must be the fruitful source of excitement, violence, and mob- 
ocracy, whilst it is persisted in. It is indeed unfortunate for 
their peace that they do not divide in elections, according to 
their individual preferences or political principles, like other 

This one principle and practice of theirs arrayed against them 
in deadly hostility all aspirants for office who were not sure of 
their support, all who have been unsuccessful in elections, and 
all who were too proud to court their influence, with all their 
friends and connections. 

These also were the active men in blowing up the fury of the 
people, in hopes that a popular movement might be set on foot, 
which would result in the expulsion or extermination of the 
Mormon voters. For this purpose, public meetings had been 
called ; inflammatory speeches had been made ; exaggerated re- 
ports had been extensively circulated ; committees had been ap- 
pointed, who rode night and day to spread the reports, and so- 
licit the aid of neighboring counties. And at a public meeting 
at Warsaw, resolutions were passed to expel or exterminate the 
Mormon population. This was not, however, a movement which 
was unanimously concurred in. The county contained a goodly 
number of inhabitants in favor of peace, or who at least desired 
to be neutral in such a contest. These were stigmatized by the 
name of " Jack Mormons" and there were not a few of the more 
furious exciters of the people who openly expressed their inten- 
tion to involve them in the common expulsion or extermina- 

A system of excitement and agitation was artfully planned 


and executed with tact. It consisted in spreading reports and 
rumors of the most fearful character. As examples : On the 
morning before my arrival at Carthage, I was awakened at an 
early hour by the frightful report, which was asserted with confi- 
dence and apparent consternation, that the Mormons had already 
commenced the work of burning, destruction, and murder ; and 
that every man capable of bearing arms was instantly wanted at 
Carthage, for the protection of the country. We lost no time in 
starting ; but when we arrived at Carthage, we could hear no more 
concerning this story. Again : during the few days that the mili- 
tia were encamped at Carthage, frequent applications were made 
to me to send a force here and a force there, and a force all 
about the country, to prevent murders, robberies, and larcenies, 
which, it was said, were threatened by the Mormons. No' such 
forces were sent ; nor were any such offences committed at that 
time, except the stealing of some provisions, and there was 
never the least proof that this was done by a Mormon. Again : 
on my late visit to Hancock county, I was informed by some of 
their violent enemies, that the larcenies of the Mormons had 
become unusually numerous and insufferable. They indeed ad- 
mitted that but little had been done in this way in their imme- 
diate vicinity. But they insisted that sixteen horses had been 
stolen by the Mormons in one night, near Lima, in the county 
of Adams. At the close of the expedition, I called at this same 
town of Lima, and upon inquiry was told that no horses had 
been stolen in that neighborhood, but that sixteen horses had 
been stolen in one night in Hancock county. This last inform- 
ant being told of the Hancock story, again changed the venue 
to another distant settlement in the northern edge of Adams. 

As my object in visiting Hancock was expressly to assist in 
the execution of the laws, and not to violate them, or to witness 
or permit their violation, as I was convinced that the Mormon 
leaders had committed a crime in the destruction of the press, 
and had resisted the execution of process, I determined to exert 


the whole force of the State, if necessary, to bring them to jus- 
tice. But seeing the great excitement in the public mind, and 
the manifest tendency of this excitement to run into mobocracy, 
I was of opinion, that before I acted, I ought to obtain a pledge 
from the officers and men to support me in strictly legal meas- 
ures, and to protect the prisoners in case they surrendered. For 
I was determined, if possible, that the forms of law should not 
be made the catspaw of a mob, to seduce these people to a 
quiet surrender, as the convenient victims of popular fury. I 
therefore called together the whole force then assembled at 
Carthage, and made an address, explaining to them what I could, 
and what I could not, legally do ; and also adducing to them va- 
rious reasons why they as well as the Mormons should submit 
to the laws ; and why, if they had resolved upon revolutionary 
proceedings, their purpose should be abandoned. The assem- 
bled troops seemed much pleased with the address ; and upon 
its conclusion the officers and men unanimously voted, with ac- 
clamation, to sustain me in a strictly legal course, and that the 
prisoners should be protected from violence. Upon the arrival 
of additional forces from Warsaw, McDonough, and Schuyler, 
similar addresses were made, with the same result. 

It seemed to me that these votes fully authorized me to prom- 
ise the accused Mormons the protection of the law in case they 
surrendered. They were accordingly duly informed that if they 
surrendered they would be protected, and if they did not, the 
whole force of the State would be called out, if necessary, to 
compel their submission A force of ten men was despatched 
with the constable to make the arrests and to guard the prison- 
ers to head-quarters. 

In the meantime, Joe Smith, as Lieut.-General of the Nauvoo 
Legion, had declared martial law in the city ; the Legion was 
assembled, and ordered under arms ; the members of it resid- 
ing in the country were ordered into town. The Mormon set- 
tlements obeyed the summons of their leader, and marched to 


his assistance. Nauvoo was one great military camp, strictly 
guarded and watched ; and no ingress or egress was allowed, 
except upon the strictest examination. In one instance, which 
came to my knowledge, a citizen of McDonough, who happen- 
ed to be in the city, was denied the privilege of returning, until 
he made oath that he did not "belong to the party at Carthage, 
that he would return home without calling at Carthage, and 
that he would give no information'of the movement of the Mor- 

However, upon the arrival of the constable and guard, the 
mayor and common council at once signified their willingness 
to surrender, and stated their readiness to proceed to Carthage 
next morning at eight o'clock. Martial law had previously been 
abolished. The hour of eight o'clock came, and the accused 
failed to make their appearance. The constable and his escort 
returned. The constable made no effort to arrest any of them, 
nor would he or the guard delay their departure one minute be- 
yond the time, to see whether an arrest could be made. Upon 
their return, they reported that they had been informed that 
the accused had fled and could not be found. 

I immediately proposed to a council of officers to march into 
Nauvoo with the small force then under my command, but the 
officers were of opinion that it was too small, and many of them 
insisted upon a further call of the militia. Upon reflection, I 
was of opinion that the officers were right in the estimate of 
our force, and the project for immediate action was abandoned. 
I was soon informed, however, of the conduct of the constable 
and guard, and then I was perfectly satisfied that a most base 
fraud had been attempted ; that, in fact, it was feared that the 
Mormons would submit, and thereby entitle themselves to the 
protection of the law. It was very apparent that many of the 
bustling, active spirits were afraid that there would be no occa- 
sion for calling out an overwhelming militia force, for marching 
it into Nauvoo, for probable mutiny when there, and for the ex- 


termination of the Mormon race. It appeared that the con- 
stable and the escort were fully in the secret, and acted well 
their part to promote the conspiracy. 

Seeing this to be the state of the case, I delayed any further 
call of the militia, to give the accused another opportunity to 
surrender ; for indeed I was most anxious to avoid a general 
call for the militia at that critical season of the year. The 
whole spring season preceding had been unusually wet. No 
ploughing of corn had been done, and but very little planting. 
The season had just changed to be suitable for ploughing. The 
crops which had been planted, were universally suffering ; and 
the loss of two weeks, or even of one, at that time, was likely 
to produce a general famine all over the country. The wheat 
harvest was also approaching ; and if we got into a war, there 
was no foreseeing when it would end, or when the militia could 
safely be discharged. In addition to these considerations, all 
the grist mills in all that section of the country had been swept 
away, or disabled, by the high waters, leaving the inhabitants 
almost without meal or flour, and making it impossible then to 
procure provisions by impressment or otherwise, for the sus- 
tenance of any considerable force. 

This was the time of the high waters ; of astonishing floods 
in all the rivers and creeks in the western country. The Mis- 
sissippi river at St. Louis, was several feet higher than it was 
ever known before ; it was up into the second stories of the 
warehouses on Water street ; the steamboats ran up to these 
warehouses, and could scarcely receive their passengers from 
the second stories ; the whole American bottom was overflowed 
from eight to twenty feet deep, and steamboats freely crossed 
the bottom along the road from St. Louis to the opposite bluffs 
in Illinois ; houses and fences and stock of all kinds, were swept 
away, the fields near the river, after the water subsided, being 
covered with sand from a foot to three feet deep ; which was 
generally thrown into ridges and washed into gullies, so as to 


spoil the land for cultivation. Families had great difficulty in 
making their escape. Through the active exertions of Mr. 
Pratt, the mayor of St. Louis, steamboats were sent in every 
direction to their relief. The boats found many of the families 
on the tops of their houses just ready to be floated away. The 
inhabitants of the bottom lost nearly all their personal property. 
A large number of them were taken to St. Louis in a state of 
entire destitution, and their necessities were supplied by the 
contributions of the charitable of that city. A larger number 
were forced out on to the Illinois bluffs, where they encamped, 
and were supplied with provisions by the neighboring inhab- 
itants. This freshet nearly ruined the ancient village of Kas- 
kaskia. The inhabitants were driven away and scattered, many 
of them never to return. For many years before this flood, 
there had been a flourishing institution at Kaskaskia, under the 
direction of an order of nuns of the Catholic Church. They had 
erected an extensive building, which was surrounded and filled 
by the waters to the second story. But they were all safely 
taken away, pupils and all, by a steamboat which was sent to 
their relief, and which ran directly up to the building and re- 
ceived its inmates from the second story. This school was now 
transferred to St. Louis, where it yet remains. All the rivers 
and streams in Illinois were as high, and did as much damage 
in proportion to their length and the extent of their bottoms, as 
the Mississippi. 

This great flood destroyed the last hope of getting provisions 
at home; and I was totally without funds belonging to the 
State, with which to purchase at more distant markets, and 
there was a certainty that such purchases could not have been 
made on credit abroad. For these reasons I was desirous of 
avoiding a war, if it could be avoided. 

In the meantime, I made a requisition upon the officers of 
the Nauvoo legion for the State arms in their possession. It 
appears that there was no evidence in the quartermaster-gen- 


eral's office of the number and description of arms with which 
the legion had been furnished. Dr. Bennett, after he had been 
appointed quartermaster-general, had joined the Mormons, and 
had disposed of the public arms as he pleased, without keeping 
or giving any account of them. On this subject I applied to 
Gen. Wilson Law for information. He had lately been the 
major-general of the legion. He had seceded from the Mormon 
party ; was one of the owners of the proscribed press ; had left 
the city, as he said, in fear of his life ; and was one of the party 
asking for justice against its constituted authorities. He was 
interested to exaggerate the number of arms, rather than to 
place it at too low an estimate. From his information I learned 
that the legion had received three pieces of cannon and about 
two hundred and fifty stand of small arms and their accoutre- 
ments. Of these, the three pieces of cannon and two hundred' 
and twenty stand of small arms were surrendered. These arms 
were demanded, because the legion was illegally used in the 
destruction of the press, and in enforcing martial law in the 
city, in open resistance to legal process, and the posse com- 

I demanded the surrender also, on account of the great prej- 
udice and excitement which the possession of these arms by 
the Mormons had always kindled in the minds of the people. 
A large portion of the people, by pure misrepresentation, had 
been made to believe that the legion had received of the State 
as many as thirty pieces of artillery and five or six thousand 
stand of small arms, which, in all probability, would soon be 
wielded for the conquest of the country ; and for their sub- 
jection to Mormon domination. I was of opinion that the re- 
moval of these arms would tend much to allay this excitement 
and prejudice ; and in point of fact, although wearing a severe 
aspect, would be an act of real kindness to the Mormons them- 

On the 23d or 24th day of June, Joe Smith, the mayor of 


Nauvoo, together with his brother Hiram and all the members 
of the council and all others demanded, came into Carthage 
and surrendered themselves prisoners to the constable, on the 
charge of riot. They all voluntarily entered into a recognizance 
before the justice of the peace, for their appearance at court to 
answer the charge. And all of them were discharged from 
custody except Joe and Hiram Smith, against whom the magis- 
trate had issued a new writ, on a complaint of treason. They 
were immediately arrested by the constable on this charge, and 
retained in his custody to answer it. 

The overt act of treason charged against them consisted in 
the alleged levying of war against the State by declaring mar- 
tial law in Nauvoo, and in ordering out the legion to resist the 
posse comitatus. Their actual guiltiness of the charge would de- 
pend upon circumstances. If their opponents had been seeking 
to put the law in force in good faith, and nothing more, then 
an array of a military force in open resistance to the posse com- 
itatus and the militia of the State, most probably would have 
amounted to treason. But if those opponents merely intended to 
use the process of the law, the militia of the State, and the posse 
comitatus, as cats-paws to compass the possessions of their per- 
sons for the purpose of murdering them afterwards, as the sequel 
demonstrated the fact to be, it might well be doubted whether 
they were guilty of treason. 

Soon after the surrender of the Smiths, at their request I de- 
spatched Captain Singleton with his company from Brown 
county to Nauvoo, to guard the town; and I authorized him to 
take command of the legion. He reported to me afterwards, 
that he called out the legion for inspection ; and that upon two 
hours' notice two thousand of them assembled, all of them 
armed ; and this after the public arms had been taken away 
from them. So it appears that they had a sufficiency of private 
arms for any reasonable purpose. 

After the Smiths had been arrested on the new charge of 



treason, the justice of the peace postponed the examination, be- 
cause neither of the parties were prepared with their witnesses 
for trial. In the meantime, he committed them to the jail of 
the county for greater security. 

In all this matter the justice of the peace and constable, 
though humble in office, were acting in a high and independent 
capacity, far beyond any legal power in me to control. I con- 
sidered that the executive power could only be called in to as- 
sist, and not to dictate or control their action ; that in the hum- 
ble sphere of their duties they were as independent, and clothed 
with as high authority by the law, as the executive department ; 
and that my province was simply to aid them with the force of 
the State. It is true, that so far as I could prevail on them by 
advice, I endeavored to do so. The prisoners were not in mili- 
tary custody, or prisoners of war ; and I could no more legally 
control these officers, than I could the superior courts of justice. 

Some persons have supposed that I ought to have had them 
sent to some distant and friendly part of the State, for confine- 
ment and trial ; and that I ought to have searched them for con- 
cealed arms ; but these surmises and suppositions are readily 
disposed of, by the fact, that they were not my prisoners ; but 
were the prisoners of the constable and jailer, under the direc- 
tion of the justice of the peace. And also by the fact, that by 
law they could be tried in no other county than Hancock. 

The jail in which they were confined, is a considerable stone 
building ; containing a residence for the jailer, cells for the close 
and secure confinement of prisoners, and one larger room not 
so strong, but more airy and comfortable than the cells. They 
were put into the cells by the jailer ; but upon their remon- 
strance and request, and by my advice, they were transferred 
to the larger room ; and there they remained until the final 
catastrophe. Neither they nor I, seriously apprehended an at- 
tack on the jail through the guard stationed to protect it. Nor 
did I apprehend the least danger on their part of an attempt to 


escape. For I was very sure that any such an attempt would 
have been the signal of their immediate death. Indeed, if they 
had escaped, it would have been fortunate for the purposes of 
those who were anxious for the expulsion of the Mormon popu 
lation. For the great body of that people would most assured- 
ly have followed their prophet and principal leaders, as they 
did in their flight from Missouri.* 

The force assembled at Carthage amounted to about twelve 
or thirteen hundred men, and it was calculated that four or five 
hundred more were assembled at Warsaw. Nearly all that 
portion resident in Hancock were anxious to be marched into 
Nauvoo. This measure was supposed to be necessary to search 
for counterfeit money and the apparatus to make it, and also to 
strike a salutary terror into the Mormon people by an exhibi- 
tion of the force of the State, and thereby prevent future out- 
rages, murders, robberies, burnings, and the like, apprehended 
as the effect of Mormon vengeance, on those who had taken a 
part against them. On my part, at one time, this arrangement 
was agreed to. The morning of the 27th day of June was appoint- 

* I learned afterwards that the leaders of the anti-Mormons did much 
to stimulate their followers to the murder of the Smiths in jail, by al- 
leging that the governor intended to favor their escape. If this had 
been true, and could have been well carried out, it would have been 
the best way of getting rid of the Mormons. These leaders of the Mor- 
mons would never have dared to return, and they would have been 
followed in their flight by all their church. I had such a plan in my 
mind, but I had never breathed it to a living soul, and was thus 
thwarted in ridding the State of the Mormons two years before they 
actually left, by the insane frenzy of the anti-Mormons. Joe Smith, 
when he escaped from Missouri, had no difficulty in again collecting 
his sect about him at Nauvoo ; and so the twelve apostles, after they 
had been at the head of affairs long enough to establish their authority 
and influence as leaders, had no difficulty in getting nearly the whole 
body of Mormons to follow them into the wilderness two years after 
the death of their pretended prophet. 


ed for the march ; and Golden's Point, near the Mississippi riv- 
er, and about equi-distant from Nauvoo and Warsaw, was se- , 
lected as the place of rendezvous. I had determined to prevail 
on the justice to bring out his prisoners, and take them along. 
A council of officers, however, determined that this would be 
highly inexpedient and dangerous, and offered such substantial 
reasons for their opinions as induced me to change my resolu- 

Two or three days' preparations had been made for this ex- 
pedition. I observed that some of the people became more 
and more excited and inflammatory the further the preparations 
were advanced. Occasional threats came to my ears of destroy- 
ihg the city and murdering or expelling the inhabitants. 

I had no objection to ease the terrors of the people by such 
a display of force, and was most anxious also to search for the 
alleged apparatus for making counterfeit money ; and, in fact, 
to inquire into all the charges against that people, if I could 
have been assured of my command against mutiny and insub- 
ordination. But I gradually learned, to my entire satisfaction, 
that there was a plan to get the troops into Nauvoo, and there 
to begin the war, probably by some of our own party, or some 
of the seceding Mormons, taking advantage of the night, to fire 
on our own force, and then laying it on the Mormons. I was 
satisfied that there were those amongst us fully capable of such 
an act, hoping that in the alarm, bustle, and confusion of a mili- 
tia camp, the truth could not be discovered, and that it might 
lead to the desired collision. 

I had many objections to be made the dupe of any such or 
similar artifice. I was openly and boldly opposed to any attack 
on the city, unless it should become necessary, to arrest prison- 
ers legally charged and demanded. Indeed, if any one will re- 
flect upon the number of women, inoffensive and young persons, 
and innocent children, which must be contained in such a city 
of twelve or fifteen thousand inhabitants, it would seem to me 


his heart would relent and rebel against such violent resolu- 
tions. Nothing but the most blinded and obdurate fury could 
incite a person, even if he had the power, to the willingness of 
driving such persons, bare and houseless, on to the prairies, to 
starve, suffer, and even steal, as they must have done, for sub- 
sistence. No one who has children of his own would think of 
it for a moment. 

Besides this, if we had been ever so much disposed to com- 
mit such an act of wickedness, we evidently had not the power 
to do it. I was well assured that the Mormons, at a short no- 
tice, could muster as many as two or three thousand well- 
armed men. We had not more than seventeen hundred, with 
three pieces of cannon, and about twelve hundred stand of small 
arms. We had provisions for two days only, and would be 
compelled to disband at the end of that time. To think of be- 
ginning a war under such circumstances was a plain absurdity. 
If the Mormons had succeeded in repulsing our attack, as most 
likely would have been the case, the country must necessarily 
be given up to their ravages until a new force could be assem- 
bled, and provisions made for its subsistence. Or if we should 
have succeeded in driving them from their city, they would have 
scattered ; and, being justly incensed at our barbarity, and suf- 
fering with privation and hunger, would have spread desolation 
all over the country, without any possibility, on our part, with 
the force we then had, of preventing it. Again : they would 
have had the advantage of being able to subsist their force in 
the field by plundering their enemies. 

All these considerations were duly urged by me upon the 
attention of a council of officers, convened on the morning of 
27th of June. I also urged upon the council, that such wanton 
and unprovoked barbarity on their part would turn the sym- 
pathy of the people in the surrounding counties in favor of the 
Mormons, and therefore it would be impossible to raise a vol- 
unteer militia force to protect such a people against them. 


Many of the officers admitted that there might be danger of 
collision. But such was the blind fury prevailing at the time, 
though not showing itself by much visible excitement, that a 
small majority of the council adhered to the first resolution of 
marching into Nauvoo ; most of the officers of the Schuyler 
and McDonough militia voting against it, and most of those of 
the county of Hancock voting in its favor. 

A very responsible duty now devolved upon me, to determine 
whether I would, as commander-in-chief, be governed by the 
advice of this majority. I had no hesitation in deciding that I 
would not ; but on the contrary, I ordered the troops to be dis- 
banded, both at Carthage and Warsaw, with the exception of 
three companies, two of which were retained as a guard to the 
jail, and the other was retained to accompany me to Nauvoo. 

The officers insisted much in council upon the necessity of 
marching to that place to search for apparatus to make coun- 
terfeit money, and more particularly to terrify the Mormons 
from attempting any open or secret measures of vengeance 
against the citizens of the county, who had taken a part against 
them or their leaders. To ease their terrors on this head, I 
proposed to them that I would myself proceed to the city, ac- 
companied by a small force, make the proposed search, and de- 
liver an address to the Mormons, and tell them plainly what 
degree of excitement and hatred prevailed against them in the 
minds of the whole people, and that if any open or secret vio- 
lence should be committed on the persons or property of those 
who had taken part against them, that no one would doubt but 
that it had been perpetrated by them, and that it would be the 
sure and certain means of the destruction of their city and the 
extermination of their people. 

I ordered two companies under the command of Capt. R. F. 
Smith, of the Carthage Grays, to guard the jail. In selecting 
these companies, and particularly the company of the Carthage 
Grays for this service, I have been subjected to some censure. 


It has been said that this company had already been guilty of 
mutiny, and had been ordered to be arrested whilst in the en- 
campment at Carthage ; and that they and their officers were 
the deadly enemies of the prisoners. Indeed it would have 
been difficult to find friends of the prisoners under my com- 
mand, unless I had called in the Mormons as a guard ; and this 
I was satisfied would have led to the immediate war, and the 
sure death of the prisoners. 

It is true that this company had behaved badly towards the 
brigadier-general in command, on the occasion when the prison- 
ers were shown along the line of the McDonough militia. This 
company had been ordered as a guard. They were under the 
belief that the prisoners, who were arrested for a capital offence, 
were shown to the troops in a kind of triumph ; and that they 
had been called on as a triumphal escort to grace the procession. 
They also entertained a very bad feeling towards the brigadier- 
general who commanded their service on the occasion. The 
truth is, however, that this company was never ordered to be 
arrested ; that the Smiths were not shown to the McDonough 
troops as a mark of honor and triumph, but were shown to 
them at the urgent request of the troops themselves, to gratify 
their curiosity in beholding persons who had made themselves 
so notorious in the country. 

When the Carthage Grays ascertained what was the true 
motive in showing the prisoners to the troops, they were per- 
fectly satisfied. All due atonement was made on their part, 
for their conduct to the brigadier-general, and they cheerfully 
returned to their duty. 

Although I knew that this company were the enemies of the 
Smiths, yet I had confidence in their loyalty and integrity; 
because their captain was universally spoken of as a most re- 
spectable citizen and honorable man. The company itself was 
an old independent company, well armed, uniformed, and 
drilled ; and the members of it were the elite of the militia of 


the county. I relied upon this company especially, because it 
was an independent company, for a long time instructed and 
practiced in military discipline and subordination. I also had 
their word and honor, officers and men, to do their duty accord- 
ing to law. Besides all this, the officers and most of the men 
resided in Carthage ; in the near vicinity of Nauvoo ; and, as I 
thought, must know that they would make themselves and their 
property convenient and conspicuous marks of Mormon ven- 
geance, in case they were guilty of treachery. 

I had at first intended to select a guard from the county of 
McDonough, but the militia of that county were very much dis- 
satisfied to remain ; their crops were suffering at home ; they 
were in a perfect fever to be discharged ; and I was destitute of 
provisions to supply them for more than a few days. They 
were far from home, where they could not supply themselves. 
Whilst the Carthage company could board at their own houses, 
and would be put to little inconvenience in comparison. 

What gave me greater confidence in the selection of this com- 
pany as a prudent measure was, that the selection was first sug- 
gested and urged by the brigadier-general in command, who 
was well known to be utterly hostile to all mobocracy and vio- 
lence towards the prisoners, and who was openly charged by 
the violent party with being on the side of the Mormons. At 
any rate I knew that the jail would have to be guarded as long 
as the prisoners were confined ; that an imprisonment for trea- 
son might last the whole summer and the greater part of the 
autumn before a trial could be had in the circuit court ; that it 
would be utterly impossible in the circumstances of the country 
to keep a force there from a foreign county for so long a time ; 
and that a time must surely come when the duty of guarding 
the jail would necessarily devolve on the citizens of the county. 

It is true, also, that at this time I had not believed or suspect- 
ed that any attack was to be made upon the prisoners in jail. 
It is true that I was aware that a great deal of hatred existed 


against them, and that there were those who would do them an 
injury if they could. I had heard of some threats being made, 
but none of an attack upon the prisoners whilst in jail. These 
threats seemed to be made by individuals not acting in concert. 
They were no more than the bluster which might have been ex- 
pected, and furnished no indication of numbers combining for 
this or any other purpose. 

I must here be permitted to say, also, that frequent appeals 
had been made to me to make a clean and thorough work of 
the matter, by exterminating the Mormons, or expelling them 
from" the State. An opinion seemed generally to prevail, that 
the sanction of executive authority would legalize the act ; and 
all persons of any influence, authority, or note, who conversed 
with me on the subject, frequently and repeatedly stated their 
total unwillingness to act without my direction, or in any mode 
except according to law. 

This was a circumstance well calculated to conceal from me 
the secret machinations on foot. I had constantly contended 
against violent measures, and so had the brigadier-general in 
command ; and I am convinced that unusual pains were taken 
to conceal from both of us the secret measures resolved upon. 
It has been said, however, that some person named Williams, in 
a public speech at Carthage, called for volunteers to murder the 
Smiths ; and that I ought to have had him arrested. Whether 
such a speech was really made or not, is yet unknown to me. 

Having ordered the guard, and left General Deming in com- 
mand in Carthage, and discharged the residue of the militia, I 
immediately departed for Nauvoo, eighteen miles distant, ac- 
companied by Col. Buckmaster, Quartermaster-General, and 
Capt. Dunn's company of dragoons. 

After we had proceeded four miles, Colonel Buckmaster inti- 
mated to me a suspicion that an attack would be made upon the 
jail. He stated the matter as a mere suspicion, arising from 
having seen two persons converse together at Carthage with 



some air of mystery. I myself entertained no suspicion of 
such an attack ; at any rate, none before the next day in the af- 
ternoon ; because it was notorious that we had departed from 
Carthage with the declared intention of being absent at least 
two days. I could not believe that any person would attack 
the jail whilst we were hi Nauvoo, and thereby expose my life 
and the life of my companions to the sudden vengeance of the 
Mormons, upon hearing of the death of their leaders. Never- 
theless, acting upon the principle of providing against mere pos- 
sibilities, I sent back one of the company with a special order 
to Capt. Smith to guard the jail strictly, and at the peril of his 
life, until my return. 

We proceeded on our journey four miles further. By this 
time I had convinced myself that no attack would be made on 
the jail that day or night. I supposed that a regard for my 
safety and the safety of my companions would prevent an at- 
tack until those to be engaged in it could be assured of our de- 
parture from Nauvoo. I still think that this ought to have ap- 
peared to me to be a reasonable supposition. 

1 therefore determined at this point to omit making the 
search for counterfeit money at Nauvoo, and defer an examina- 
tion of all the other abominations charged on that people, in or- 
der to return to Carthage that same night, that I might be on 
the ground in person, in time to prevent an attack upon the jail, 
if any had been meditated. To this end we called a halt ; the 
baggage wagons were ordered to remain where they were until 
towards evening, and then return to Carthage. 

Having made these arrangements we proceeded on our march 
and arrived at Nauvoo about four o'clock of the afternoon of 
the 27th day of June. As soon as notice could be given, a 
crowd of the citizens assembled to hear an address which I pro- 
posed to deliver to them. The number present has been vari- 
ously estimated from one to five thousand. 

In this address I stated to them how, and in what, their fuuc- 


tionaries had violated the laws. Also, the many scandalous re- 
ports in circulation against them, and that these reports, whether 
true or false, were generally believed by the people. I dis- 
tinctly stated to them the amount of hatred and prejudice which 
prevailed everywhere against them, and the causes of it, at 

I also told them plainly and emphatically, that if any ven- 
geance should be attempted openly or secretly against the per- 
sons or property of the citizens who had taken part against their 
leaders, that the public hatred and excitement was such, that 
thousands would assemble for the total destruction of their city 
and the extermination of their people ; and that no power in 
the State would be able to prevent it. During this address 
some impatience and resentment were manifested by the Mor- 
mons, at the recital of the various reports enumerated concern- 
ing them ; which they strenuously and indignantly denied to be 
true. They claimed to be a law-abiding people, and insisted 
that as they looked to the law alone for their protection, so 
were they careful themselves to observe its provisions. Upon 
the conclusion of this address, I proposed to take a vote on the 
question, whether they would strictly observe the laws, even in 
opposition to their prophet and leaders. The vote was unani- 
mous in favor of this proposition. 

The anti-Mormons contended that such a vote from the Mor- 
mons signified nothing ; and truly the subsequent history of 
that people showed clearly that they were loudest in their pro- 
fessions of attachment to the law whenever they were guilty of 
the greatest extravagances ; and in fact, that they were so ignor- 
ant and stupid about matters of law, that they had no means o"f 
judging of the legality of their conduct, only as they were in- 
structed by their spiritual leaders. 

A short time before sundown we departed on our return to 
Carthage. When we had proceeded two miles we met two in- 
dividuals, one of them a Mormon, who informed us that the 


Smiths had been assassinated in jail, about five or six o'clock 
of that day. The intelligence seemed to strike every one with 
a kind of dumbness. As to myself, it was perfectly astound- 
ing ; and I anticipated the very worst consequences from it. 
The Mormons had been represented to me as a lawless, infatu- 
ated, and fanatical people, not governed by the ordinary mo- 
tives which influence the rest of mankind. If so, most likely an 
exterminating war would ensue, and the whole land would be 
covered with desolation. 

Acting upon this supposition, it was my duty to provide as 
well as I could for the event. I therefore ordered the two mes- 
sengers into custody, and to be returned with us to Carthage. 
This was done to get time to make such arragements as could 
be made, and to prevent any sudden explosion of Mormon ex- 
citement before they could be written to by their friends at 
Carthage. I also despatched messengers to Warsaw, to advise 
the citizens of the event. But the people there knew all about 
the matter before my messengers arrived. They, like myself, 
anticipated a general attack all over the country. The women 
and children were removed across the river ; and a committee 
was despatched that night to Quincy for assistance. The next 
morning by daylight the ringing of the bells in the city of 
Quincy, announced a public meeting. The people assembled 
in great numbers at an early hour. The Warsaw committee 
stated to the meeting that a party of Mormons had attempted 
to rescue the Smiths out of jail ; that a party of Missourians 
and others, had killed the prisoners to prevent their escape ; 
that the governor and his party were at Nauvoo at the time 
when intelligence of the fact was brought there ; that they had 
been attacked by the Nauvoo legion, and had retreated to a 
house where they were then closely besieged. That the gover- 
nor had sent out word that he could maintain his position for 
two days, and would be certain to be massacred if assistance 
did not arrive by the end of that time. It is unnecessary to 


say that this entire story was a fabrication. It was of a piece 
with the other reports put into circulation by the anti-Mor- 
mon party, to influence the public mind and call the people to 
their assistance. The effect of it, however, was that by ten 
o'clock on the 28th of June, between two and three hundred 
men from Quincy, under the command of Major Flood, em- 
barked on board of a steamboat for Nauvoo, to assist in rais- 
ing the siege, as they honestly believed. 

As for myself, I was well convinced that those, whoever they 
were, who assassinated the Smiths, meditated in turn my assas- 
sination by the Mormons. The very circumstances of the case 
fully corroborated the information which I afterwards received, 
that upon consultation of the assassins it was agreed amongst 
them that the murder must be committed whilst the governor 
was at Nauvoo ; that the Mormons would naturally supposf^ 
that he had planned it ; and that in the first outpouring of their 
indignation, they would assassinate him, by way of retaliation. 
And that thus they would get clear of the Smiths and the gov- 
ernor, all at once. They also supposed, that if they could so 
contrive the matter as to have the governor of the State assas- 
sinated by the Mormons, the public excitement would be greatly 
increased against that people, and would result in their expul- 
sion from the State at least. 

Upon hearing of the assassination of the Smiths, I was sensi- 
ble that my command was at an end ; that my destruction was 
meditated as well as that of the Mormons ; and that I could not 
reasonably confide longer in the one party or in the other. 

The question then arose, what would be proper to be done. 
A war was expected by everybody. I was desirous of preserv- 
ing the peace. I could not put myself at the head of the Mor- 
mon force with any kind of propriety, and without exciting 
greater odium against them than already existed. I could not 
put myself at the head of the anti-Mormon party, because they 
had justly forfeited my confidence, and my command over them 


was put an end to by mutiny and treachery. I could not put 
myself at the head of either of these forces, because both of 
them in turn had violated the law ; and, as I then believed, 
meditated further aggression. It appeared to me that if a war 
ensued, I ought to have a force in which I could confide, and 
that I ought to establish my head-quarters at a place where I 
could learn the truth as to what was going on. 

For these reasons, I determined to proceed to Quincy, a place 
favorably situated for receiving the earliest intelligence, for 
issuing orders to raise an army if necessary, and for providing 
supplies for its subsistence. But first, I determined to return 
back to Carthage and make such arrangements as could be 
made for the pacification and defence of the country. When I 
arrived there, about ten o'clock at night, I found that great 
consternation prevailed. Many of the citizens had departed 
with their families, and others were preparing to go. As the 
country was utterly defenceless, this seemed to me to be a 
proper precaution. One company of the guard stationed by 
me to guard the jail, had disbanded and gone home before the 
jail was attacked ; and many of the Carthage Grays departed 
soon afterwards. 

Gen. Deming, who was absent in the country during the 
murder, had returned ; he volunteered to remain in command 
of a few men, with orders to guard the town, observe the prog- 
ress of events, and to retreat if menaced by a superior force. 

Here also I found Dr. Richards and John Taylor, two of the 
principal Mormon leaders, who had been in the jail at the time 
of the attack, and who voluntarily addressed a most pacific ex- 
hortation to their fellow-citizens, which was the first intelligence 
of the murder which was received at Nauvoo. I think it very 
probable that the subsequent good conduct of the Mormons is 
attributable to the arrest of the messengers, and to the influ- 
ence of this letter. 

Having made these arrangements, I departed for Quincy. 


On my road thither, I heard of a body of militia marching 
from Schuyler, and another from Brown. It appears that or- 
ders had been sent out in my name, but without my knowledge, 
for the militia of Schuyler county. I immediately counter- 
manded their march, and they returned to their homes. When 
I arrived at Columbus, I found that Capt. Jonas had raised a 
company of one hundred men, who were just ready to march. 
By my advice they postponed their march, to await further 
orders. 1 arrived at Quincy on the morning of the 29th of 
June, about eight o'clock, and immediately issued orders, pro- 
visionally, for raising an imposing force, when it should seem 
to be necessary. 

I remained at Quincy for about one month, during which 
time a committee from Warsaw waited on me, with a written 
request that I would expel the Mormons from the State. It 
seemed that it never occurred to these gentlemen that I had no 
power to exile a citizen ; but they insisted that if this were not 
done, their party would abandon the State. This requisition 
was refused of course. 

During this time also, with the view of saving expense, keep- 
ing the peace, and having a force which would be removed from 
the prejudices in the country, I made application to the United 
States for five hundred men of the regular army, to be stationed 
for a time in Hancock county, which was subsequently refused. 

During this time also, I had secret agents amongst all parties, 
observing their movements ; and was accurately informed of 
everything which was meditated on both sides. It appeared 
that the anti-Mormon party had not relinquished their hostility 
to the Mormons, nor their determination to expel them, but 
had deferred further operations until the fall season, after they 
had finished their summer's work on their farms. 

When I first went to Carthage, and during all this difficult 
business, no public officer ever acted from purer or more patri- 
otic intentions than I did. I was perfectly conscious of the ut- 


most integrity in all my actions, and felt lifted up far above all 
mere party considerations. But I had scarcely arrived at the 
scene of action before the whig press commenced the most vio- 
lent abuse, and attributed to me the basest motives. It was al- 
leged in the Sangamon Journal, and repeated in the other whig 
newspapers, that the governor had merely gone over to cement 
an alliance with the Mormons ; that the leaders would not be 
brought to punishment, but that a full privilege would be ac- 
corded to them to commit crimes of every hue and grade, in 
return for their support of the democratic party. I mention 
this, not by way of complaint, for it is only the privilege of the 
minority to complain, but for its influence upon the people. 

I observed that I was narrowly watched in all my proceedings 
by my whig fellow-citizens, and was suspected of an intention 
to favor the Mormons. I felt that I did not possess the confi- 
dence of the men I commanded, and that they had been induced 
to withhold it by the promulgation of the most abominable 
falsehoods. I felt the necessity of possessing their confidence, 
in order to give vigor to my action ; and exerted myself in 
every way to obtain it, so that I could control the excited mul- 
titude who were under my command. I succeeded better for a 
time than could have been expected ; but who can control the 
action of a mob without possessing their entire confidence 1 It 
is true, also, that some unprincipled democrats all the time ap- 
peared to be very busy on the side of the Mormons, and this 
circumstance was well calculated to increase suspicion of every 
one who had the name of democrat. 


Account of the assassination of the Smiths Done by the forces at Warsaw Treachery 
of the Carthage Greys Franklin A. Worrell Attack on the Jail Murder of Joe 
and Hirain Smith Character of Joe Smith Character of the leading Mormons- 
Character of the Mormon people Affairs of the Church Sidney Rigdon's prophe- 
cies The twelve apostles Triumph of the twelve Increase of Mormonism Causes 
of it Governor Ford and Herod and Pilate The Mormons quit preaching to the 
Gentiles Character of their preaching Increased hostility of the "Saints" Deter- 
mination to expel the Mormons Both parties ready to set aside free government 
Natural inclination to despotism Presidential election of 1844 Infatuation of the 
people State election Colonel. Taylor's visit to the Mormons induces them to vote 
the democratic ticket The fault laid on the Governor Fresh determination to ex- 
pel the Mormons Conduct of the whig press Pusillanimity of politicians General 
Hardin Colonel Baker Colonel Weatherford Colonel Merriman Anti-Mormon 
wolf-hunt Military expedition to Hancock Militia infected with anti-Mormonism 
Surrender of two persons accused of the murder Terms of surrender arranged 
by Colonel Baker Incompetency of a militia force in such cases Prosecution of 
the murderers Riotous trials Constitution in relation to changes of venue Trial 
of the Mormons for destroying the press Both parties get a jury to suit them All 
acquitted Anarchy in Hancock. 

IT was many days after the assassination of the Smiths be- 
fore the circumstances of the murder fully became known. It 
then appeared that, agreeably to previous orders, the posse at 
Warsaw had marched on the morning of the 27th of June in 
the direction of Golden's Point, with a view to join the force 
from Carthage, the whole body then to be marched into Nau- 
voo. But by the time they had gone eight miles, they were 
met by the order to disband ; and learning at the same time 
that the governor was absent at Nauvoo, about two hundred of 
these men, many of them being disguised by blacking their^ 
faces with powder and mud, hastened immediately to Carthage. 
There they encamped, at some distance from the village, and 
soon learned that one of the companies left as a guard had dis- 


banded and returned to their homes ; the other company, the 
Carthage Greys, was stationed by the captain in the public 
square, a hundred and fifty yards from the jail. Whilst eight 
men were detailed by him, under the command of Sergeant 
Franklin A. Worrell, to guard the prisoners. A communica- 
tion was soon established between the conspirators and the com- 
pany ; and it was arranged that the guard should have their 
guns charged with blank cartridges, and fire at the assailants 
when they attempted to enter the jail. Gen. Deming, who 
was left in command, being deserted by some of his troops, and 
perceiving the arrangement with the others, and having no force 
upon which he could rely, for fear of his life retired from the 
village. The conspirators came up, jumped the slight fence 
around the jail, were fired upon by the guard, which, according 
to arrangement, was overpowered immediately, and the assail- 
ants entered the prison, to the door of the room where the two 
prisoners were confined, with two of their friends, who volunta- 
rily bore them company. An attempt was made to break open 
the door ; but Joe Smith being armed with a six-barrelled pis- 
tol, furnished by his friends, fired several times as the door was 
bursted open, and wounded three of the assailants. At the\ 
same time several shots were fired into the room, by some of 
which John Taylor received four wounds, and Hiram Smith 
was instantly killed. Joe Smith now attempted to escape by 
jumping out of the second-story window ; but the fall so stun- 
ned him that he was unable to rise ; and being placed in a sit- 
ting posture by the conspirators below, they despatched him 
with four balls shot through his body. 

Thus fell Joe Smith, the most successful impostor in modern 
times ; a man who, though ignorant and coarse, had some great 
^natural parts, which fitted him for temporary success, but which 
were so obscured and counteracted by the inherent corruption 
and vices of his nature, that he never could succeed in establish- 
ing a system of policy which looked to permanent success in 


the future. His lusts, his love of money and power, always 
set him to studying present gratification and convenience, rather 
than the remote consequences of his plans. It seems that no 
power of intellect can save a corrupt man from this error. The 
strong cravings of the animal nature will never give fair play 
to a fine understanding, the judgment is never allowed to choose 
that good which is far away, in preference to enticing evil near 
at hand. And this may be considered a wise ordinance of 
Providence, by which the counsels of talented but corrupt men, 
are defeated in the very act which promised success. 

It must not be supposed that the pretended prophet practiced 
the tricks of a common impostor; that he was a dark and 
gloomy person, with a long beard, a grave and severe aspect, 
and a reserved and saintly carriage of his person ; on the con- 
trary, he was full of levity, even to boyism romping ; dressed 
like a dandy, and at times drank like a sailor and swore like a 
pirate. He could, as occasion required, be exceedingly meek 
in his deportment ; and then again rough and boisterous as a 
highway robber ; being always able to satisfy his followers of 
the propriety of his conduct. He always quailed before power, 
and was arrogant to weakness. At times he could put on the 
air of a penitent, as if feeling the deepest humiliation for his 
sins, and suffering unutterable anguish, and indulging in the 
most gloomy forebodings of eternal woe. At such times he 
would call for the prayers of the brethren in his behalf, with a 
wild and fearful energy and earnestness. He was full six feet 
high, strongly built, and uncommonly well muscled. No doubt 
he was as much indebted for his influence over an ignorant peo- 
ple, to the superiority of his physical vigor, as to his greater 
cunning and intellect. 

His followers were divided into the leaders and the led ; the 
first division embraced a numerous class of broken down, un- 
principled men of talents, to be found in every country, who, 
bankrupt in character and fortune, had nothing to lose by de- 


serting the known religions, and carving out a new one of their 
own. They were mostly infidels, who holding all religions in 
derision, believed that they had as good a right as Christ or 
Mahomet, or any of the founders of former systems, to create 
one for themselves ; and if they could impose it upon mankind, 
to live upon the labor of their dupes. Those of the second 
division, were the credulous wondering part of men, whose 
easy belief and admiring natures, are always the victims of 
novelty, in whatever shape it may come, who have a capacity 
to believe any strange and wonderful matter, if it only be new, 
whilst the wonders of former ages command neither faith nor 
reverence ; they were men of feeble purposes, readily subjected 
to the will of the strong, giving themselves up entirely to the 
direction of their leaders ; and this accounts for the very great 
influence of those leaders in controlling them. In other respects 
some of the Mormons were abandoned rogues, who had taken 
shelter in Nauvoo, as a convenient place for the head-quarters 
of their villany ; and others were good, honest, industrious peo- 
ple, who were the sincere victims of an artful delusion. Such 
as these were more the proper objects of pity than persecution. 
With them, their religious belief was a kind of insanity ; and 
certainly no greater calamity can befall a human being, than to 
have a mind so constituted as to be made the sincere dupe of a 
religious imposture. 

The more polished portion of the Mormons were a merry 
set of fellows, fond of music and dancing, dress and gay assem- 
blies. They had their regular dancing parties of gentlemen 
and ladies, and were by no means exclusive in admitting any 
one to them on the score of character. It is a notorious fact, 
that a desperado by the name of Rockwell, having attracted 
the affections of a pretty woman, the wife of a Mormon mer- 
chant, took her from her husband by force of arms, to live with 
him in adultery. But whilst she was so living notoriously in 
adultery with a Mormon bully, in the same city with her hus- 


band, she was freely admitted to the best society in the place, 
to all the gay assemblies, where she and her husband frequently 
met in the same dance. 

The world now indulged in various conjectures as to the fur- 
ther progress of the Mormon religion. By some persons it was 
believed that it would perish and die away with its founder. 
But upon the principle that " the blood of the martyrs is the 
seed of the church," there was now really more cause than ever 
to predict its success. The murder of the Smiths, instead of 
putting an end to the delusion of the Mormons and dispersing 
them, as many believed it would, only bound them together 
closer than ever, gave them new confidence in their faith and 
an increased fanaticism. The Mormon church had been organ- 
ized with a first presidency, composed of Joe and Hiram Smith 
and Sidney Rigdon, and twelve apostles of the prophet, repre- 
senting the apostles of Jesus Christ. The twelve apostles were 
now absent, and until they could be called together the minds 
of the " saints " were unsettled, as to the future government of 
the church. Eevelations were published that the prophet, in 
imitation of the Saviour, was to rise again from the dead. Many 
were looking in gaping wonderment for the fulfilment of this 
revelation, and some reported that they had already seen him, 
attended by a celestial army coursing the air on a great white 
horse. Rigdon, as the only remaining member of the first 
presidency, claimed the government of the church, as being 
successor to the prophet. When the twelve apostles returned 
from foreign parts, a fierce struggle for power ensued between 
them and Rigdon. Rigdon fortified his pretensions by alleging 
the will of the prophet in his favor, and pretending to have 
several new revelations from heaven, amongst which was one 
of a very impolitic nature. This was to the effect, that all the 
wealthy Mormons were to break up their residence at Nauvoo, 
and follow him to Pittsburg. This revelation put both the rich 
and the poor against him. The rich, because they did not want 


to leave their property ; and the poor, because they would not 
be deserted by the wealthy. This was fatal to the ambition of 
Eigdon ; and the Mormons tired of the despotism of a one-man 
government, were now willing to decide in favor of the apos- 
tles. Rigdon was expelled from the church as being a false 
prophet, and left the field with a few followers, to establish a 
little delusion of his own, near Pittsburg ; leaving the govern- 
ment of the main church in the hands of the apostles, with 
Brigham Young, a cunning but vulgar man, at their head, occu- 
pying the place of Peter in the Christian hierarchy. 

Missionaries were despatched to all parts to preach in the 
name of the " martyred Joseph ;" and the Mormon religion 
thrived more than ever. For awhile it was doubtful whether 
the reign of the military saints in Nauvoo would not in course 
of time supplant the meek and lowly system of Christ. There 
were many things to favor their success. The different Chris- 
tian sects had lost much of the fiery energy by which at first 
they were animated. They had attained to a more subdued, 
sober, learned, and intellectual religion. But there is at all 
times a large class of mankind who will never be satisfied with 
anything in devotion, short of a heated and wild fanaticism. 
The Mormons were the greatest zealots, the most confident in 
their faith, and filled with a wilder, fiercer, and more enterpris- 
ing enthusiasm, than any sect on the continent of America ; their 
religion gave promise of more temporal and spiritual advan- 
tages for less labor, and with less personal sacrifice of passion, 
lust, prejudice, malice, hatred, and ill-will, than any other per- 
haps in the whole world. Their missionaries abroad, to the 
number of two or three thousand, were most earnest and indefati- 
gable in their efforts to make converts ; compassing sea and 
land to make one proselyte. When abroad, they first preached 
doctrines somewhat like those of the Campbellites ; Sidney Rig- 
don, the inventor of the system, having once been a Campbell- 
ite preacher ; and when they had made a favorable impression, 


they began in far-off allusions to open up their mysteries, and 
to reveal to their disciples that a perfect " fulness of the gospel" 
must be expected. This " fulness of the gospel " was looked 
for by the dreamy and wondering disciple, as an indefinite 
something not yet to be comprehended, but which was essen- 
tial to complete happiness and salvation. He was then told 
that God required him to remove to the place of gathering, 
where alone this sublime " fulness of the gospel " could be fully 
revealed, and completely enjoyed. When he arrived at the 
place of gathering, he was fortified in the new faith by being 
withdrawn from all other influences ; and by seeing and hearing 
nothing but Mormons and Mormonism ; and by association 
with those only who never doubted any of the Mormon dogmas. 
Now the " fulness of the gospel " could be safely made known. 
If it required him to submit to the most intolerable despotism ; 
if it tolerated and encouraged the lusts of the flesh and a pru- 
rality of wives ; if it claimed all the world for the saints ; uni- 
versal dominion for the Mormon leaders ; if it sanctioned mur- 
der, robbery, perjury, and larceny, at the command of their 
priests, no one could now doubt but that this was the " fulness 
of the gospel," the liberty of the saints, with which Christ had 
made them free. 

The Christian world, which has hitherto regarded Mormonism 
with silent contempt, unhappily may yet have cause to fear its 
rapid increase. Modern society is full of material for such a 
religion. At the death of the prophet, fourteen years after the 
first Mormon Church was organized, the Mormons in all the 
world numbered about two hundred thousand souls (one half 
million according to their statistics) ; a number equal, perhaps, 
to the number of Christians, when the Christian Church was of 
the same age. It is to be feared that, in course of a century, 
some gifted man like Paul, some splendid orator, who will be 
able by his eloquence to attract crowds of the thousands who 
are ever ready to hear, and be carried away by, the sounding 


brass and tinkling cymbal of sparkling oratory, may command 
a hearing, may succeed in breathing a new life into this modern 
Mahometanism, and make the name of the martyred Joseph 
ring as loud, and stir the souls of men as much, as the mighty 
name of Christ itself. Sharon, Palmyra, Manchester, Kirtland, 
Far West, Adamon Diahmon, Ramus, Nauvoo, and the Car- 
thage Jail, may become holy and venerable names, places of 
classic interest, in another age ; like Jerusalem, the Garden of 
Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives, and Mount Calvary to the 
Christian, and Mecca and Medina to the Turk. And in that 
event, the author of this history feels degraded by the reflection, 
that the humble governor of an obscure State, who would other- 
wise be forgotten in a few years, stands a fair chance, like Pilate 
and Herod, by their official connection with the true religion, 
of being dragged down to posterity with an immortal name, 
hitched oja to the memory of a miserable impostor. There may 
be those whose ambition would lead them to desire an immor- 
tal name in history, even in those humbling terms. I am not 
one of that number. 

About one year after the apostles were installed into power, 
they abandoned for the present the project of converting the 
world to the new religion. All the missionaries and members 
abroad were ordered home ; it was announced that the world 
had rejected the gospel by the murder of the prophet and patri- 
arch, and was to be left to perish in its skis. In the meantime, 
both before and after this, the elders at Nauvoo quit preaching 
about religion. The Mormons came from every part, pouring 
into the city ; the congregations were regularly called together 
for worship, but instead of expounding the new gospel, the zeal- 
ous and infuriated preachers now indulged only in curses and 
strains of abuse of the Gentiles, and it seemed to be their design 
to fill their followers with the greatest amount of hatred to all 
mankind excepting the " saints." A sermon was no more than 
an inflammatory stump speech, relating to their quarrels with 


their enemies, and ornamented with an abundance of profanity. 
From my own personal knowledge of this people, I can say 
with truth, that I have never known much of any of their lead- 
ers who was not addicted to profane swearing. No other kind 
of discourses than these were heard in the city. Curses upon 
their enemies, upon the country, upon government, upon all 
public officers, were now the lessons taught by the elders, to in- 
flame their people with the highest degree of spite and malice 
against all who were not of the Mormon church, or its obse- 
quious tools. The reader can readily imagine how a city of fif- 
teen thousand inhabitants could be wrought up and kept in a 
continual rage by the inflammatory harangues of its leaders. 

In the meantime, the anti-Mormons were not idle ; they were 
more than ever determined to expel the Mormons ; and being 
passionately inflamed against them, they made many applica- 
tions for executive assistance. On the other hand, the Mor- 
mons invoked the assistance of government to take vengeance 
upon the murderers of the Smiths. The anti-Mormons asked 
the governor to violate the constitution, which he was sworn to 
support, by erecting himself into a military despot and exiling 
the Mormons. The Mormons, on their part, in their newspa- 
pers, invited the governor to assume absolute power, by taking 
a summary vengeance upon their enemies, by shooting fifty or 
a hundred of them, without judge or jury. Both parties were 
thoroughly disgusted with constitutional provisions, restraining 
them from the summary attainment of their wishes for ven- 
geance ; each was ready to submit to arbitrary power, to the 
fiat of a dictator, to make me a king for the time being, or at 
least that I might exercise the power of a king, to abolish both 
the forms and spirit of free government, if the despotism to be 
erected upon its ruins could only be wielded for its benefit, and 
to take vengeance on its enemies. It seems that, notwithstand- 
ing all our strong professions of attachment to liberty, there is 
all the time an unconquerable leaning to the principles of mon- 



archy and despotism, whenever the forms, the delays, and the 
restraints of republican government fail to correct great evils. 
When the forms of government in the United States were first 
invented, the public liberty was thought to be the great object 
of governmental protection. Our ancestors studied to prevent 
government from doing harm, by depriving it of power. They 
would not trust the power of exiling a citizen upon any terms ; 
or of taking his life, without a fair and impartial trial in the 
courts, even to the people themselves, much less to their gov- 
ernment. But so infatuated were these parties, so deep did they 
feel their grievances, that both of them were enraged in their 
turn, because the governor firmly adhered to his oath of office ; 
refusing to be a party to their revolutionary proceedings ; to 
set aside the government of the country, and execute summary 
vengeance upon one or the other of them. 

Another election, was to come off in August, 1844, for mem- 
bers of Congress, and for the legislature ; and an election was 
pending throughout the nation for a President of the United 
States. The war of party was never more fierce and terrible 
than during the pendency of these elections. The parties in 
many places met separately almost every night ; not to argue 
the questions in dispute, but to denounce, ridicule, abuse, and 
belittle each other, with sarcasm, clamor, noise, and songs, dur- 
ing which nothing could be heard but hallooing, hurrahing, and 
yelling, and then to disperse through town, with insulting taunts 
and yells of defiance on either side. 

In all this they were but little less fanatical and frantic on the 
subject of politics, than were the Mormons about religion. Such 
a state of excitement could not fail to operate unfavorably upon 
the Mormon question, involved as it was in the questions of 
party politics, by the former votes of the Mormons. As a 
means of allaying the excitement, and making the question 
more manageable, I was most anxious that the Mormons should 
not vote at this election, and strongly advised them against do- 


ing so. But Col. E. D. Taylor went to their city a few days 
before the election, and the Mormons being ever disposed to 
follow the worst advice they could get, were induced by him 
and others to vote for all the democratic candidates. Col. Tay- 
lor found them very hostile to the governor, and on that account 
much disposed not to vote at this election. The leading whig 
anti-Mormons, believing that I had an influence over the Mor- 
mons, for the purpose of destroying it had assured them that 
the governor had planned and been favorable to the murder of 
their prophet and patriarch. The Mormons pretended to sus- 
pect that the governor had given some countenance to the mur- 
der, or at least had neglected to take the proper precautions to 
prevent it. And yet it is strange that at this same election, 
they elected Gen. Deming to be the sheriff of the county, when 
they knew that he had first called out the militia against them, 
had concurred with me in all the measures subsequently adopted, 
had been left in command at Carthage during my absence at 
Nauvoo, and had left his post when he saw that he had no 
power to prevent the murders. As to myself, I shared the fate 
of all men hi high places, who favor moderation, who see that 
both parties in the frenzy of their excitement are wrong es- 
pousing the cause of neither ; which fate always is to be hated 
by both parties. But Col. Taylor, like a skilful politician, de- 
nied nothing, but gave countenance to everything the Mormons 
said of the governor ; and by admitting to them that the gov- 
ernor was a great rascal ; by promising them the support of 
the democratic party, an assurance he was not authorized to 
make, but which they were foolish enough to believe, and by in- 
sisting that the governor was not the democratic party, he over- 
came their reluctance to vote. Nevertheless, for mere political 
effect, without a shadow of justice, the whig leaders and news- 
papers everywhere, and some enemies in the democratic ranks, 
immediately charged this vote of the Mormons to the governor's 
influence ; and this charge being believed by many, made the 


anti-Mormon party more famous than ever in favor of the expul- 
sion of the Mormons. In the course of the fall of 1844, the anti- 
Mormon leaders sent printed invitations to all the militia cap- 
tains in Hancock, and to the captains of militia in all the neigh- 
boring counties in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri, to be present 
with their companies at a great wolf hunt in Hancock ; and it 
was privately announced that the wolves to be hunted were the 
Mormons and Jack Mormons. Preparations were made for 
assembling several thousand men, with provisions for six days ; 
and the anti-Mormon newspapers, in aid of the movement, com- 
menced anew the most awful accounts of thefts and robberies, 
and meditated outrages by the Mormons. The whig press in 
every part of the United States, came to their assistance. The 
democratic newspapers and leading democrats, who had received 
the benefit of the Mormon votes to their party, quailed under 
the tempest, leaving no organ for the correction of public opin- 
ion, either at home or abroad, except the discredited Mormon 
newspaper at Nauvoo. But very few of my prominent demo- 
cratic friends would dare to come up to the assistance of their 
governor, and but few of them dared openly to vindicate his 
motives in endeavoring to keep the peace. They were willing 
and anxious for Mormon votes at elections, but they were un- 
willing to risk their popularity with the people, by taking a 
part in their favor, even when law and justice, and the Consti- 
tution, were all on their side. Such being the odious character 
of the Mormons, the hatred of the common people against them, 
and such being the pusillanimity of leading men, in fearing to 
encounter it. 

In this state of the case I applied to Brigadier General J. J. 
Hardin, of the State militia, and to Colonels Baker and Merri- 
man, all whigs, but all of them men of military ambition, and 
they, together with Colonel William Weatherford, a democrat,* 

* Of the officers who were out with me in this expedition, General 
Hardin, Colonels Baker and Weatherford, and Major Warren, after- 


with my own exertions, succeeded in raising about five hundred 
volunteers ; and thus did these whigs, that which my own politi- 
cal friends, with two or three exceptions, were slow to do, from 
a sense of duty and gratitude. 

With this little force under the command of General Hardin, 
I arrived in Hancock county on the 25th of October. The 
malcontents abandoned their design, and all the leaders of it 
fled to Missouri. The Carthage Greys fled almost in a body, 
carrying their arms along with them. During our stay in the 
county the anti-Mormons thronged into the camp, and conversed 
freely with the men, who were fast infected with their prejudices^ 
and it was impossible to get any of the officers to aid hi ex- 
pelling them. Colonels Baker, Merriman and Weatherford, 
volunteered their services if I would go with them, to cross 
with a force into Missouri, to capture three of the anti-Mormon 
leaders, for whose arrest writs had been issued for the murder 
of the Smiths. To this I assented, and procured a boat, which 
was sent down in the night, and secretly landed a mile above 

wards greatly distinguished themselves in the Mexican war. Major 
Warren is noticed by General Taylor in his despatches to the war de- 
partment, as a prudent and gallant officer. Lieutenant-Colonel Weath- 
erford was left a whole day with a few companies to guard the main 
pass at Buena Vista, where he and his men stood, during all that time, 
the fire of the Mexican artillery, without being allowed to advance near 
enough to return it. Colonel Baker, after the fall of General Shields, 
commanded a' brigade of two Illinois regiments and one New York re- 
giment, in storming the last stronghold of the Mexicans at the battle 
of Cerro Gordo, in which he and his men behaved most gallantly, car- 
rying everything before them, which completed the entire route of the 
Mexican army. General Hardin at the battle of Buena Vista, in com- 
mand of two Illinois regiments in conjunction with a regiment of Ken- 
tucky volunteers, made a most gallant charge upon a large body of 
Mexican infantry and lancers, five times the numbers of the Americans, 
which decided the victory on our side ; but in which Hardin and many 
other gallant officers and men lost their lives. But they will live in 
the affectionate remembrance of their countrymen, to the latest time. 


Warsaw. Our little force arrived at that place about noon ; 
that night we were to cross to Missouri at Churchville, and 
seize the accused there encamped with a number of their 
friends ; but that afternoon Colonel Baker visited the hostile en- 
campment, and on his return refused to participate in the expe- 
dition, and advised all his friends against joining it. There 
was no authority for compelling the men to invade a neighbor- 
ing State, and for this cause, much to the vexation of myself 
and several others, the matter fell through. 
"> It seems that Colonel Baker had already partly arranged the 
terms for the accused to surrender. They were to be taken 
to Quincy for examination under a military guard ; the attorney 
for the people was to be advised to admit them to bail, and 
they were to be entitled to a continuance of their trial at the 
next court a,t Carthage ; upon this, two of the accused came 
over and surrendered themselves prisoners. 

But at that time I was held responsible for this compromise 
with the murderers. The truth is, that I had but little of the 
moral power to command in this expedition. Officers, men, 
and all under me, were so infected with the anti-Mormon prej- 
udices that I was made to feel severely the want of moral power 
to control them. It would be thought very strange in any other 
government that the administration should have the power to 
direct, but no power to control. By the constitution the gov- 
ernor can neither appoint nor remove a militia .officer. He 
may arrest and order a court martial. But a court martial 
composed of military officers, elected in times of peace, in many 
cases upon the same principles upon which Colonel Pluck was 
elected in New York city, is not likely to pay much attention 
to executive wishes in opposition to popular excitement. So, 
too, in Illinois, the governor has no power to appoint, remove, 
or in anywise control sheriffs, justices of the peace, nor even a 
constable ; and yet the active co-operation of such officers with 
the executive, is indispensable to the success of any effort the 


governor may make to suppress civil war. If any one supposes 
that the greatest amount of talents will enable any one to 
govern under such circumstances, he is mistaken. It may be 
thought that the governor ought to create a public sentiment in 
favor of his measures, to sway the minds of those under him to 
his own course, but if .any one supposes that even the greatest 
abilities could succeed in such an effort against popular feeling, 
and against the inherent love of numerous demagogues for pop- 
ularity, he is again mistaken. 

I had determined from the first that some of the ring-leaders 
in the foul murder of the Smiths should be brought to trial. 
If these men had been the incarnation of Satan himself, as was* 
believed by many, their murder was a foul and treacherous ac- 
tion, alike disgraceful to those who perpetrated the crime, to the 
State, and to the governor, whose word had been pledged for 
the protection of the prisoners in jail, and which had been so 
shamefully violated ; and required that the most vigorous means 
should be used to bring the assassins to punishment. As much 
as anything else the expedition under General Hardin had been 
ordered with a view to arrest the murderers. 

Accordingly, I employed able lawyers to hunt up the testi- 
mony, procure indictments, and prosecute the offenders. A 
trial was had before Judge Young in the summer of 1845. The 
sheriff and pannel of jurors, selected by the Mormon court, were 
set aside for prejudice, and elisors were appointed to select a 
new jury. One friend of the Mormons and one anti-Mormon 
were appointed for this purpose ; but as more than a thousand 
men had assembled under arms at the court, to keep away the 
Mormons and their friends, the jury was made up of these mil- 
itary followers of the court, who all swore that they had never 
formed or expressed any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of 
the accused. The Mormons had one principal witness, who 
was with the troops at Warsaw, had marched with them until 
they were disbanded, heard their consultations, went before them 


to Carthage, and saw them murder the Smiths. But before the 
trial came on, they had induced him to become a Mormon ; and 
being much more anxious for the glorification of the prophet 
than to avenge his death, the leading Mormons made him pub- 
lish a pamphlet giving an account of the murder ; in which he 
professed to have seen a bright and shining light descend upon 
the head of Joe Smith, to strike some of the conspirators with 
blindness, and that he heard supernatural voices in the air con- 
firming his mission as a prophet ! Having published this in a 
book, he was compelled to swear to it in court, which of course 
destroyed the credit of his evidence. This witness was after- 
wards expelled from the Mormons, but no doubt they will cling 
to his evidence in favor of the divine mission of the prophet. 
Many other witnesses were examined, who knew the facts, but, 
under the influence of the demoralization of faction, denied all 
knowledge of them. It has been said, that faction may find 
men honest, but it scarcely ever leaves them so. This was veri- 
fied to the letter in the history of the Mormon quarrel. The 
accused were all acquitted. 

During the progress of these trials, the judge was compelled 
to permit the court-house to be filled and surrounded by armed 
bands, who attended court to browbeat and overawe the admin- 
istration of justice. The judge himself was in a duress, and in- 
formed me that he did not consider his life secure any part of 
the time. The consequence was, that the crowd had everything 
their own way ; the lawyers for the defence defended their cli- 
ents by a long and elaborate attack on the governor ; the arm- 
ed mob stamped with their feet and yelled their approbation at 
every sarcastic and smart thing that was said ; and the judge 
was not only forced to hear it, but to lend it a kind of approv- 
al. Josiah Lamborne was attorney for the prosecution ; and 
O. H. Browning, O. C. Skinner, Calvin A. Warren, and William 
A. Richardson, were for the defence. 

At the next term, the leading Mormons were tried and ac- 


quitted for the destruction of the heretical press. It appears 
that, not being interested in objecting to the sheriff or the jury 
selected by a court elected by themselves, they in their turn 
got a favorable jury determined upon acquittal, and yet the 
Mormon jurors all swore that they had formed no opinion as to 
the guilt or innocence of their accused friends. It appeared 
that the laws furnished the means of suiting each party with a 
jury. The Mormons could have a Mormon jury to be tried 
by, selected by themselves ; and the anti-Mormons, by object- 
ing to the sheriff and regular pannel, could have one from the 
anti-Mormons. From henceforth no leading man on either side 
could be arrested without the aid of an army, as the men of 
one party could not safely surrender to the other for fear of be- 
ing murdered ; when arrested by a military force the constitu- 
tion prohibited a trial in any other county without the consent 
of the accused. No one would be convicted of any crime in 
Hancock ; and this put an end to the administration of the crim- 
inal law in that distracted county. Government was at an end 
there, and the whole community were delivered up to the do- 
minion of a frightful anarchy. If the whole State had been in 
the same condition, then indeed would have been verified to the 
letter what was said by a wit, when he expressed an opinion 
that the people were neither capable of governing themselves 
nor of being governed by others. And truly there can be no 
government in a free country where the people do not volunta- 
rily obey the laws. 



Canal negotiations Appointment of Oakley and Ryan to go to Europe Factiousness of 
the letter-writers and newspapers Proceedings of the Commissioners David Lca- 
vltt Meeting of American bond-holders Journey to Europe Conditional agree- 
ment there Appointmeut of Governor Davis and Captain Swift to examine and re- 
port on the canal Governor Davis attacked by the Globe newspaper Ryan's an- 
swer and attack on the Globe Favorable report Ryan's second trip to Europe 
Governor Davis sent for Failure of the negotiation Ryan's attack on Governor 
Davis Letter from Baring Brothers & Co. to Ryan Letter of William S. Wait, 
' Esq., against taxation Answer thereto Visit of Mr. Leavitt and Col. Oakley to 
Europe New negotiations successful Opposition to the governor likely to defeat 
the canal Nature of this opposition How to get up an opposition to any adminis- 
tration Scandalous conduct of a committee of investigation Trumbull and others 
Conduct of the opposition All their projects defeated Visit of Governor Davis 
and Mr. Leavitt to Springfield Jealousy of the legislature against monied men and 
foreign influence They are well received Propositions of the public creditors Op- 
position arrayed Miserable intrigues of George T. M.Davis and other whigs Patri- 
otic conduct of Judge Logan and other whigs North and South again Messrs. 
Strong, Adams, Janney, and Dunlap The canal bill defeated in the Senate Talk 
of bribery Vote reconsidered and divided Good management of Senator Kilpat- 
rick The canal bill passed The money for the eanal obtained Election and organ- 
ization of the board of trustess Rate of interest reduced to six per cent. Repeal of 
the Mormon charters Resolution calling on the governor and judges to relinquish 
their salaries The governor's answer Mistaken notioas of economy Buncomb 
resolutions and speeches on this subject Shawneetown Bank Conditional contract 
with that institution Dr. Anderson The true art of riding hobbies. 

HAVING in the last chapter brought down the history of Mor- 
mon disturbances to the summer of 1845, we turn again to the 
civil history of the State. In March, 1843, Col. Charles Oak- 
ley and Senator Michael Ryan were appointed agents to nego- 
tiate the canal loan ; the first of these gentlemen was appointed 
because the friends of the measure in the legislature insisted on 
his appointment; Mr. Ryan was appointed because he had 
commenced the negotiation the year before, and having been 


an engineer on the canal, could give explanations as to its prog- 
ress and statistics, which could not so well be given by Colonel 
Oakley. The first, Col. Oakley, was a man of good sense and 
middling intelligence, and was patient, gentlemanly, and plau- 
sible in his manners ; whilst his associate had more mind and 
ambition, with greater information, but less tact in managing 
business. The next thing was to raise money, some three 
thousand dollars, to pay their expenses. There was not a dol- 
lar in the treasury, and the money had to be taken, a part of it 
from the school fund, to be replaced in a short time by other 
moneys coming into the treasury. This was the first charge I 
had to answer, urged in the south, by Trumbull, the lately re- 
moved Secretary of State. Messrs. Oakley and Ryan pro- 
ceeded to New York, but the negotiation was for a time likely 
to be defeated by partisan editors and letter-writers at home ; 
who, in a desperate effort to make political capital, were anxious 
that the canal measure might fail in the hands of the dominant 
party. These writers misrepresented the action of the legisla- 
ture, re vamped the old charge of destructiveness upon the party 
in power, and boldly asserted that if the creditors of the State 
advanced the money to make the canal, they would be repealed 
out of their rights by another legislature. This was the first 
difficulty the agents had to encounter ; they commenced a series 
of publications in the New York papers, many of which were 
secured to speak favorably of the loan. The legislation of the 
last winter, the real condition of the State, its future prospects, 
and the means adopted to reduce the debt, by a compromise 
with the banks, and a sale of the public property, were truly 
set forth. Confidence immediately began to revive ; our State 
stocks rose in a week from fourteen to twenty per cent., and in 
a few weeks more, to thirty and forty per cent. This awakened 
a universal inquiry, and men began to believe that there was 
some little glimmering prospect that Illinois, lately so low in 
the slough of universal discredit and contempt, was about to 


come forth like a phoenix from its ashes. The American Ex- 
change Bank hi New York held $250,000 of canal bonds. 
David Leavitt, the president of this institution, a gentleman of 
great credit in the financial world, and being a far-seeing and sa- 
gacious financier, assisted in calling a meeting of the American 
bond-holders. At this meeting it was resolved that the Amer- 
ican creditors would subscribe for their proportion of the loan. 

With this assurance, and backed by this expression of confi- 
dence at home, Messrs. Oakley and Ryan departed for England, 
carrying letters to Magniac, Jardine, & Co., and Baring, Broth- 
ers & Co., of London, and to Hope & Co. of Amsterdam, who 
were creditors of the State, and amongst the wealthiest capital- 
ists in Europe. These gentlemen were found well disposed to 
use their great influence in favor of the loan ; but they wanted 
to be thoroughly satisfied as to the value of the canal property, 
as a security for the money, and ultimately for the payment of 
the whole canal debt of $5,000,000 ; nor were they willing to 
abandon the exaction of some legislation manifesting the will- 
ingness of the people to submit to taxation, if necessary, to pay 
some part of the interest on the public debt. 

A provisional arrangement was entered into during the sum 
mer of 1843, the main articles of which were, that Abbott Law- 
rence, Thomas W. Ward, and Mr. William Sturges, of Boston, 
should be a committee to appoint two competent persons hi 
America to examine the canal and canal lands, estimate their 
value, and the amount of debt already contracted ; that if four 
hundred thousand dollars could be subscribed, and if the gov- 
ernor would pledge himself to recommend taxation to the next 
session of the legislature, this sum should be expended in the 
meantime, leaving the subscribers at liberty afterwards to in- 
crease their subscriptions if they saw proper. With this ar- 
rangement Messrs. Oakley and Ryan returned home in Novem- 
ber, 1843 ; the Boston committee appointed Gov. John Davis 
of Massachusetts, and William H. Swift, who was an eminent 


engineer and a captain in the United States army, to come out 
to Illinois and make the required examinations. These gentle- 
men came on early in the winter. The appointment of Gov. 
Davis was no sooner known than it was fiercely attacked by the 
Globe newspaper at Washington city, the great organ of the 
democratic party in the United States. Gov. Davis was at 
that time extensively spoken of as the whig candidate for Vice- 
President at the ensuing election ; and the zealots of the oppo- 
site party pretended to believe that he had been selected by the 
foreign bond-holders for this particular work, so as to give him 
the power to coerce the government and people of Dlinois into 
the support of the whig party, and to favor the assumption of 
State debts by the general government, or the distribution of 
the proceeds of the sales of the public lands. As it turned 
out, nothing could have been more basely false and contempti- 
bly ridiculous than this charge, but it was made with such bold- 
ness and savage ferocity, that if it had been seconded in Illinois, 
it could not have failed to have disgusted our foreign creditors, 
and defeated the negotiation. It seemed that the demon of 
party, on both sides, insinuated itself into everything, to defeat 
all rational efforts for the public welfare. To this charge of the 
Globe, Senator Ryan published a reply, characterized by much 
boldness and vigor, in which the foreign bond-holders and Gov. 
Davis were defended with considerable ability, and the editor 
of the Globe was castigated for his impertinent interference in 
our State affairs, with little less ferocity than the charge of the 
Globe itself. 

Governor Davis and Captain Swift proceeded with their ex- 
aminations ; found the representations of Messrs. Oakley and 
Ryan to be substantially true ; and in their report, occupying 
about one hundred pages, strongly recommended the loan. On 
my part, I agreed to recommend taxation to the legislature ; 
and it was now confidently believed that success would crown 
our efforts early in the following summer. It became necessary 


to send an agent back to London to complete the arrangement, 
but there was no money to pay his expenses. The sum of 
$1,500 was soon obtained, with my sanction, by Gen. Fry, on a 
pledge of canal scrip, -which enabled Senator Kyan to return to 
London in the spring of 1844. But as the subscription of 
$400,000 had not been made up according to agreement, the 
foreign bond-holders refused to proceed further with the loan, 
until some substantial evidence should be given by the legisla- 
ture, that the population of the State had some regard to their 
obligations and to the claims of their creditors, and should 
make at least a beginning to pay interest on all her debts. It 
seemed to be the great object of our foreign creditors, not so 
much to secure the amount of their claims, as to procure a res- 
toration and practical recognition of the obligation of public 
faith among States and nations ; and, in the meantime, the Lon- 
don committee sent out to America for Gov. Davis, as, they 
said, by the details he might give, to inspire with greater confi- 
dence the parties from whom subscriptions were solicited. This 
put off the negotiation until late in the summer ; and as it was 
now near the regular session of the legislature in December, 
1844, the London committee broke off the negotiation, to await 
the further action of that body. During the pendency of the 
last negotiation, Col. Oakley had also returned to London ; and 
now both he and Senator Ryan returned home, the unlucky 
ministers of a broken and discredited State ; Oakley to New 
York, to urge further efforts, and Ryan to his seat in the 

Ryan was ambitious of political distinction. Whilst he re- 
mained in an humble position, his manners and pretensions had 
been humble and amiable ; but so soon as he was elevated, he 
became irascible, dictatorial, and overbearing. He placed his 
heart on getting the money to make the canal ; success was to 
make him the greatest man in the State ; failure was to return 
him to his original obscurity ; for this reason he had no patience 


with the delays incident to this kind of business ; every little 
delay irritated and soured his temper, which he was at no trou- 
ble to conceal ; so that his demeanor towards the foreign bond- 
holders was more calculated to disgust tfcan to win their favor. 
His ambition for exclusive credit had led him, in anticipation 
of a triumph, to quarrel with and abuse his colleague ; but 
now that both had failed, that there was no credit to quarrel 
about or divide, he looked around for some convenient person 
to bear the censure. Instead of coming home to be met with 
smiles and congratulations, he fancied that he returned only to 
breast the frowns of an indignant people, and to answer for his 
bad success. In this extremity he submitted to a weakness 
which I regret to relate, but as the matter made much noise at 
the time, some account of it is necessary to the completeness 
of this history. In looking around for a person to throw the 
blame on, he selected Gov. Davis, the man he had defended be- 
fore against the attacks of the Globe. Gov. Davis was a very 
distinguished whig politician ; as such, there was great prejudice 
against him in the opposite party, which prejudice had been in- 
creased by newspaper accounts of his opposition to the war of 
1812. He was called an old federalist, which, I have already 
said in another place, meant, in the minds of western democrats, 
everything that was atrocious and abominable. Here then was 
the very man to attack. Gov. Davis would defend, as a mat- 
ter of course ; the people would be divided in the quarrel ; the 
whigs for Gov. Davis and the democrats for Ryan ; and thus 
he would sustain himself at least with the democracy. This is 
a trick which, when hard run, unprincipled politicians frequent- 
ly practise, and cannot be too much condemned by all honor- 
able men. Ryan no sooner arrived in America than he revived 
the calumnies of the Globe newspaper, which he had refuted be- 
fore, and now openly charged, in the New York papers, that the 
Boston committee had sent out Gov. Davis to delay the loan 
until after the pending Presidential election, so as to favor the 


election of Mr. Clay ; and that Gov. Davis did delay it for that 
purpose. The falsity of this charge is apparent from the follow- 
ing extract of a letter from Baring, Brothers & Co. to Ryan 
himself, a copy of which is now before me : " Since writing 
what precedes, a copy of the Ottawa Free Trader newspaper 
of September 12, has been put into our hands, with a publica- 
tion bearing your signature. At this distance, we cannot appre- 
ciate the party or personal motives which have dictated your 
statements, nor the effect they may produce on the people of 
Dlinois ; but to those who are acquainted with all the circum- 
stances of the case, the coarseness of language and the perver- 
sion of facts contained in this article will be more prejudicial to 
the writer than to those whom it is intended to injure. We 
sincerely regret the appearance of such a manifesto from you, 
on account of the feelings it displays, and of the continued hos- 
tility which it seems we must expect from you and your friends, 
to the trustees, and to the measures which we believe to be 
most conducive to the satisfactory completion of the canal ; to 
the ultimate payment of the creditors, and to the general wel- 
fare of Illinois. It is more probable that, had we anticipated 
all your vexatious proceedings, we should have declined all in- 
terference with the loan, and have left you and Col. Oakley to 
regret the failure of your negotiation ; but having once embark- 
ed in the undertaking, we shall continue the course which we 
consider to be in conformity with our duty, regardless of un- 
founded charges and insinuations, from whatever point they may 
proceed ; and we trust and believe that our friends on your side, 
who are entrusted with the administration of the affairs of the 
canal, will pursue the same line of conduct. 

" You are incorrect in stating that the subscription for $400,- 
000 was completed, even if the report of Governor Davis and 
Capt. Swift had proved satisfactory at the time of your depar- 
ture, after your first visit to this country ; and you are further 
mistaken in supposing that Governor Davis was influenced by 


any party views in his communications with us, or in his pro- 
ceedings under our direction. He never advised the delay of 
the loan on account of the pending presidential election; he 
never stated that it would be desirable to wait to see whether 
Mr. Clay, if elected, would support the assumption of State 
debts by the federal government ; he never held out any hope 
that he would accept the trusteeship, although we were most 
desirous that he should be appointed ; and his advice always 
was that the _canal bond-holders should accept the canal and 
canal lands in trust, and advance the money required, with or 
without taxation for the payment of interest. But we as uni- 
versally insisted that before any further sums of money were 
lent for the public works of Illinois, some substantial evidence 
should be given that the population of the State had some regard 
for their obligations and to the claims of their creditors. We 
know very little of the party politics of the United States, and 
still less of those of your State ; and politics never interfere 
with our dealings either with States or individuals. Our mo- 
tive for inducing Governor Davis to visit Europe, was that he 
might by the details he would give, inspire with more confi- 
dence the parties from whom subscriptions were solicited ; and 
we still believe that his report and verbal statements were 
mainly instrumental in preparing us and others for the in- 
creased subscriptions to which we agreed during Mr. Leavitt's 
visit here. As we are anxious that our communications with 
you should not be exposed to misconstruction, we forward this 
letter open to Mr. Ward of Boston, to be sent, after perusal 
and copy, to you."* 

* As Ryan may probably attempt to reply to the statements in the 
text, it may be proper once for all to make a full statement of his con- 
duct. Before he made his charges against Governor Davis, he balanced 
the matter in his mind, whether it would not be better policy to lay 
the blame of the failure of the canal negotiation on me ; but he finally 
decided that he could attack a whig with more success than a demo 


In the fall of 1844, Mr. William S. Wait, of Bond county, 
addressed a letter through the newspapers to the governor 
against taxation for the payment of the public debt ; this gave 
ine a decent pretext for coming before the people with my 
views in favor of the measure, in advance of the meeting of the 
legislature, then to convene in December following. I knew 
that nothing could be more unpopular than to favor an increase 

crat. The grounds upon which he designed to attack me were, first, for 
appointing Col. Oakley to be his colleague ; he alleged that Col. Oakley 
having formerly been one of the fund commissioners, many of the bond- 
holders believed him to be dishonest, and to have swindled the State. 
It is true that Governor Carlin and others had boldly made this charge 
at home ; but it is doing Col Oakley but simple justice to say, that his 
guilt had never been established to the satisfaction of the people. Sec- 
ondly, that I had promised to send Ryan a power of attorney in 1844, 
to negotiate and close the terms of the contract, which was never sent. 
For which reason he found himself in London confined in his power to 
negotiate with the bond-holders alone. He alleged that if he had pos- 
sessed such a power of attorney, he could have withdrawn the negotia- 
tion from the bond-holders, and made application for the money else- 
where, and thereby could have coerced the bond-holders to make a 
favorable decision before the arrival of Governor Davis. To all which 
I reply, first, that whether Col. Oakley's appointment was good or bad, 
it was dictated by the friends of the canal ; by those most particularly 
interested in the negotiation ; and was recommended to me at the time 
by Ryan himself. Second, I never promised to send Ryan a power of 
attorney to negotiate and close the terms of the contract. This is a 
power which I would have trusted to no one. I always intended that 
Ryan, or Ryan and Oakley might negotiate for the loan, but the con- 
tract no one should make for the State but myself. I did promise to 
send Ryan a power of attorney to settle with the estate of Wright & 
Co., which was sent, and was the only one ever promised. Third, if 
Ryan had possessed ever so many powers of attorney, he could have 
made nothing by withdrawing the negotiation from the bond-holders. 
They were the only persons in the wide world, from whom there was 
any chance to get the money ; and this was well known to both Ryan 
and to the bond-holders. The bond-holders had an interest which 
others had not. We already owed them money, which they had no 


of taxes ; in so doing, I knew that I came into immediate col- 
lision with every demagogue, and incurred imminent hazard of 
making myself utterly odious to a tax-hating people. I clearly 
saw that to be opposed to taxation might be the better for my- 
self, but certainly worse for the State. 

The following is the substance of the letter addressed to Mr. 
Wait, through the newspapers : " I am much pleased that your 

expectation of getting paid to them, without making a new advance. 
And yet Ryan pretended to believe that if he had had the power to 
withdraw the negotiation from them, and threaten them with an ap- 
plication to other capitalists, that they would at once have quailed, 
and closed the contract before the arrival of Governor Davis. Fourth, 
Oakley afterwards returned to London, he and Ryan were there to- 
gether, and had a joint power of attorney given the year before, which 
would have authorized them to withdraw the negotiation from the 
bond-holders and applied elsewhere. 

If the money could have been obtained from others, or if the bond- 
holders could have been alarmed into terms by their threatenings, why 
now did they not succeed ? They both failed in the negotiation with 
the bond-holders, and never pretended to apply elsewhere, or if they 
did, they were bound to fail again, and they knew it ; for no man in 
the whole world would at that time have lent Illinois money, without 
having an interest which compelled him to do it. After the canal bill 
finally succeeded, Ryan wanted to be State trustee ; for which reason 
he made friends with Governor Davis, who was expected to be one of 
the trustees on the part of the bond-holders. I refused to appoint Ryan, 
and no sooner did he ascertain this refusal, than I found him urging the 
appointment of Col. Oakley, the man he had charged as being a thief 
and a swindler, whilst he was fund commissioner, a man in whom he 
said the bond-holders Had so little confidence, that his appointment to 
negotiate with them had caused the failure of the negotiation. I have 
always believed that Ryan had hopes of being appointed chief engineer 
on the canal, if Oakley could be appointed trustee. These statements 
are made merely to illustrate the civilization of the times, and not at 
all to affect Mr. Ryan injuriously ; for I am well aware that the state 
of political morals among politicians is such, that a man may do many, 
yes, very many worse things than these, and still be very respectable 
as a politician. God grant that it may not be so long. 


esteemed favor of September 20th, published in the 'State Reg- 
ister ' yesterday, has made a proper occasion for some sugges- 
tions of mine on the payment of the State debt, before the 
meeting of the next legislature. A deeper interest than what 
is yet manifest, ought to be felt in this subject. It ought to be 
discussed more than it has been ; the people ought to begin to 
move hi it, and make known their will before the meeting of 
the next legislature. 

" You object to increased taxation to pay any portion of in- 
terest, believing that the sum within our ability to pay without 
driving the people to desperation by oppressive taxes, will be 
so small that the effort will be without utility ; and also, be- 
cause the general failure of crops for the last two years in a 
great portion of the State, the high waters of the last spring, 
the destruction of farms, stock and crops thereby, and the un- 
precedented severe sickness of this summer and fall, will render 
it absolutely impossible to collect the present taxes, to say no- 
thing of increased taxation. 

" During the last two years many persons have anxiously 
looked to the next general Assembly, expecting that body to 
settle forever the question as to what shall be done with the 
public debt. The question may be postponed ; but putting off 
the evil day will not settle it. It will present itself to every 
succeeding legislature. We can never get clear of it by post- 
poning it. The men of this day may attempt to throw it upon the 
future ; they may decide to do nothing, but if we decide against 
the honest claims of our creditors, it will be forever rising again 
to annoy us. The moral sense of the world will be against us, 
and will forever remind us that such a question cannot be 
settled except in conformity to justice. The fact will stare 
us in the face, that we have had the money of our creditors, 
and that they have had nothing in return. Like the ghost of 
Macbeth, every time the legislature meets it will rise to glare 
upon their vision, and will not down at their bidding. It will 


make itself seen, heard, and felt, until mankind can eradicate 
their memories and consciences. There is no possibility of de- 
stroying the fact, or the question to which it gives rise. All 
that we can do is to postpone the evil day ; and in the mean- 
time, we keep ourselves and the world in the fearful apprehen- 
sion that blighting ruin will sooner or later fall upon this fair 
land, in the shape of high taxes. 

" This has been our condition for years past ; the mere be- 
lief that taxes may be oppressive has lost us many citizens. 
The high and palmy days once were when we doubled our pop- 
ulation in a few years ; when if a man had more land than he 
wanted for cultivation, or if he wanted to leave the country or 
remove from one part of the State to another, he could sell his 
land for cash. But these days are gone. What has produced 
this ? has it been high taxes 1 No ! it has been only the fear 
of them. Is it because industry has been burdened, and the 
country drained of its money, to pay either principal or inter- 
est of the debt ? No ! not one cent has yet been paid by taxa- 
tion. Nevertheless, the people have lived in more alarm than 
if all the evils they imagined, had actually existed. Let us then 
settle the question, and know the worst at once, for the worst can 
never be so bad as that unmanly fear which blights all enterprise. 

" There are but two modes of settling this question ; one will 
be to begin at once a system of taxation which we mean to 
pursue ; the other is by direct repudiation. This last mode 
will expose us to the merited scorn and contempt of the civil- 
ized world. It defies the internal principles of sacred justice, 
and will establish for us among all men a reputation as odious 
and detestable as that of a nest of pirates. Mankind will never 
forget, and we can never ourselves forget, that we have had the 
money of our creditors, that we owe them, that they have lost 
that much ; and that with a heaven-daring impudence and scorn- 
ful defiance of the moral principles of man's nature, we deny 
the debt and refuse to pay it. 


"Suppose that the question can be settled in this manner, 
what better will we be off? It is true that the fear of high 
taxes would be removed for the present ; but will this invite 
immigration ? Will it enable us to sell our property "? Men 
with means to buy, would not come to the State. Such persons 
would never venture themselves here. No man would bring 
here a good character to be swallowed in our infamy. If any 
did come, they would be the worthless of mankind ; such as we 
ought to desire to keep away. Our State would become a 
catchall for passing rogues and vagabonds. The men of charac- 
ter already here, would soon lose all self-respect for the charac- 
ter of the State. The State itself would be a place of refuge, 
where swindlers, horse-thieves and counterfeiters could resort 
to, be received, and treated as gentlemen. Who of our present 
population desires to see this ? Who desires to raise a family 
of children in the atmosphere of dishonor, to grow up among 
swindlers and vagabonds, and leave them at his death an in- 
heritance of infamy ? None of us. I am satisfied that all of 
us, and you in particular, duly appreciate the advantages to a 
State of a character for honor and uprightness. We look to 
Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, New York and New England, 
and why are they great and honorable among States ? It is 
their intelligence, justice, sense of honor, and an all-consoling 
State pride, which make them so. We all wish to see Illinois 
have a just State pride, let this feeling be cultivated here, let 
us have something to be proud of, let us vindicate ourselves 
in our own eyes, by acting in such a manner as to deserve to 
be proud of our State. Until we do this, a State pride cannot 
exist without this, a people may boast, but their boastings will 
be but the empty swagger of vulgar vice and ignorance, not the 
complacent, dignified self-respect of the upright citizen. The 
successful robber exults ; and we may exult in the infamy of 
repudiation, but we cannot exult like a Kentuckian, Virginian, 
or Yankee. Our sons will never be able to show themselves 


abroad exulting in the character of their native State, as young 
men do who are conscious of creditable parentage. This State 
pride is of great worth to any people. It inspires them to make 
noble efforts at improvement and excellence, which efforts are 
totally paralyzed by the contrary feeling of a sense of degrada- 

" Many persons regret that this sacred feeling of State pride 
is not more on the increase in Illinois. We frequently hear 
strangers speak disparagingly of our people ; they do it to our 
faces in our towns and villages. We ourselves do the same. 
Every one may speak ill of us with impunity. In Kentucky 
or Virginia, this would not be hazarded. There the perpetra- 
tors of such obloquy would be certain to be insulted, and in 
great danger of physical injury. We are a. new State, and 
therefore something of this kind must be expected. Many of 
our citizens are so recent that as yet they can hardly realize 
that Illinois is their country. As a new State, we have a char- 
acter to make. We may choose a good or a bad one. But we 
may be certain that no just State pride can ever exist where it 
is not really deserved. We have to deserve the good opinion 
of the world and our own, before we can have it. And I do 
anxiously hope to see the day when Illinois, a State in which I 
have lived for forty years, may have and deserve a good old- 
fashioned State pride, like some of the older States of the 
Union ; so that her people may feel it, be animated by it to im- 
provement and noble enterprise, and be solaced by it both at 
home and abroad. I am sure that repudiation of our just debts 
can never bring us this ; but must drag us down like the weight 
of the nether- mill-stone to the abyss of self-abasement, to the 
great whirlpool of the contempt and scorn of all right-minded 
and civilized people. It can only degrade us ; it can never settle 
the question of the public debt ; that question will arise at every 
session of the legislature, and in the counsels of every new set 
of men put into power. The memory of the debt will never 


be lost ; our obligation to pay it is imperishable. We may 
deny it, and plead non estfactum to our bonds; but like the 
rogue who seeks to cheat his creditor in private life, we will 
still owe the debt, the damning consciousness of which, being 
registered in our hearts and in heaven's high chancery, will 
stick there to plague us forever. 

" Such a settlement of the question, if it could be made, would 
be of no use, but full of mischief. It would invite neither 
wealth nor people to come among us. It would not increase 
the value of our property, nor make it more saleable ; but in 
my humble judgment it would debase us and belittle us in our 
own estimation ; make us deserving of the detestation and scorn 
of the world, and fill our State with the low dregs, the scum, 
the refuse population of other countries refugees from justice 
and others, who leave their country for their country's good. 
How then can this question be settled ? I answer that there is 
but one way, and that is to nerve our hearts and arms, and 
meet it like men. If we can do but little, let us do that little. 
I am not now in a situation to know how much can be done. 
The legislature will be the best judge of this when they meet, 
and as the fear and not the existence of high taxes constitutes 
our embarrassment, it is hoped that the legislature will provide 
such a settlement of the question as will ascertain the whole 
height and depth, length and breadth, and thickness, of the ap- 
prehended evil, for until this is done, the fancies, the fears, the 
imaginations of men will conjure up evils, exceeding the reality. 
The reality, whenever it comes, can never be so terrifying as 
the undefined, dreamy imaginations of men, looking for an un- 
known and untried evil." 

This letter arrived at New York in course of mails, and was 
very extensively republished in the eastern newspapers. It at- 
tracted the attention of Mr. Leavitt, and encouraged him and 
Col. Oakley to return to Europe early in the winter. Upon 
their arrival hi London, the letter had preceded them, and, Mr. 


Leavitt informed me, had already produced a very favorable 
change in the minds of our creditors ; as by it they were con- 
vinced that the public men in Illinois were not all of them dem- 
agogues. It was now agreed by Mr. Leavitt, Magniac, Jardine 
& Co., and Baring, Brothers & Co., to complete the subscriptions 
to the loan, these gentlemen each subscribing for a much larger 
share of it than they had originally intended.* Mr. Leavitt 
and Col. Oakley, with Gov. Davis, hurried on to Illinois, and 
arrived in Springfield about the middle of February, 1845, dur- 
ing the session of the legislature, and about sixteen days before 
it was to adjourn. 

Upon the meeting of the legislature, I found that quite an op- 
position had been organized to the administration. The whigs, 
from party motives, were compelled to be against me. The 
democrats were in a majority of about two-thirds in each house ; 
and here, as everywhere else, the larger the majority the less is 
the tenacity of its parts. When majorities cease to fear the 
minority, they are the readier to quarrel amongst themselves. 
Nothing more promotes union in a party than the fear of de- 
feat ; and nothing more promotes anarchy in its members than 
over-confidence of strength. In my case, there was still another 
cause for a factious opposition. I had within the last two years 
to make several important appointments ; such as, two bank 
commissioners, a Secretary of State, three judges of the supreme 
court, and one United States Senator. This was just enough of 
patronage to make the executive more enemies than friends. 
For these offices there were many applicants ; those who were 

* It is not known in Illinois how much credit is due to Mr. Leavitt 
for the success of these negotiations. Being a man of great wealth and 
well-established integrity, and being also himself the owner of $250,000 
or more of the Illinois canal stocks, he was able to have an influence 
with the foreign bond-holders which could have been exerted by no 
citizen of Illinois. To Mr. Leavitt's visit to Europe, and his own lib- 
eral subscription, are we undoubtedly indebted for the final success of 
the loan. 




disappointed became bitter enemies ; and now a great effort was 
to be made by these disappointed factionists of the democratic 
party to defeat the confirmation of the senator and judges be- 
fore the legislature, and in conjunction with the whigs to oppose 
and discredit the administration. 

It is an easy matter to raise an opposition to any administra- 
tion. It is only to assume that all men are perfect, or ought to 
be so ; that in fact the millenium has already come ; and a 
standard of perfection is to be adopted in judging of all mat- 
ters of government, as if the millenium had come in very deed. 
It is to turn away your eyes from everything which is right in 
an administration, and to exaggerate all little errors, and bring 
them forward as an evidence of corruption ; it is to promulgate 
falsehood, and, if need be, swear to its truth ; and in this spirit 
to find fault with everything and approve nothing. Lies should 
be uttered boldly, with no appearance of doubt ; and in num- 
ber they should be as legion ; for it is a maxim with factionists 
that where a great quantity of mud is thrown upon a man, some 
of it must certainly stick. As to measures, the administration 
is obliged to choose some out of many, supposed to be equally 
well adapted to bring about some result. And in every gov- 
ernment there are frequent occasions when it is exceedingly 
doubtful whether one course or another ought to be pursued. 
The administration is obliged to decide in favor of One course, 
or one set of measures ; the factionist is then to take the other 
side, and as his measures are not to be tried by the test of ex- 
periment, he has every advantage. If the measures of the ad- 
ministration fail of giving the most perfect satisfaction, the dif- 
ficulties attending them, after they are tried, will be visible to 
the meanest capacity. But Ihe insufficiencies of rejected meas- 
ures will never be seen, or at least can never be demonstrated. 
They may be conjectured, but not proved. The factionist is to 
make no allowance for all this, but is to charge all the little in- 
sufficiencies which too often accompany the most perfect means, 


and which actual experiment has developed, to imbecility and 
want of judgment ; and is stoutly to insist upon the absolute 
perfection of other measures and other means not chosen. And 
this he can do with the greater plausibility, as the measures not 
tried can only be conjectured. An administration in new and 
difficult positions, goes on like men opening a road through 
heavy timber ; all behind can be seen, but all before is hidden 
from the sight ; and it is as easy to conjecture one thing as an- 
other of an unknown and unexplored country. The factionist 
is he who goes before and prophecies evil ; and comes after, 
when the obstructions to sight are removed, and cavils at the 
small hills and ravines in the way. If fault-finding is the only 
art of the factionist, he is to imitate the humble genius of the 
swine, which, although they cannot build fences, are sure to find 
such large cracks and holes in them as have unluckily been left 
unstopped by the builder. 

Upon this plan, an opposition was raised to my administra- 
tion. The disappointed office-seekers succeeded in getting a 
committee of my personal enemies appointed in the lower 
house to examine the executive offices. This committee enter- 
ed into an alliance with a notorious lying letter- writer, and pre- 
tended to give him information of the enormities which they 
had discovered in the government, which he wrote out and pub- 
lished for the information of the people. They went sneaking 
about through the executive offices with the stealthy step of 
one who wanted to steal, hunting up matters of accusations. I 
paid no attention to their inquisitorial search, but treated them 
with perfect contempt, knowing that they would never dare to 
make a report against me. The committee continued their ex- 
amination all the session, giving out wonderful accounts to be 
published in the newspapers, but they never made any report. 
As they really found nothing to report against, they thought it 
best not to report at all. This was the newest way of discredit- 
ing an administration practiced upon me on three different occa- 


sions, exclusive right to which ought to be secured to the in- 
ventors forever. This opposition amounted to nothing, so far 
as I was concerned myself; "but it came near defeating the 

The opposition was put on foot in part by Mr. Trumbull, 
late Secretary of State, who had his private griefs to assuage ; 
and by an ambitious aspirant for the United States Senate, who 
though often assured to the contrary, would never believe but 
that I would be a candidate for that office in 1846. Trum- 
bull being a good lawyer, but no statesman was literally de- 
voured by ambition for office, and was rather unfitted to be 
popular by any natural means, with the people amongst whom 
he resided. He seemed to have the opinion that the only 
means of success, was to be a demagogue ; and he was unfitted 
by nature to be a demagogue. So far from possessing that ap- 
pearance of generosity and magnanimity, which often recom- 
mends a man to the people, his manners were precise, and his 
appearance would be called by many puritanical. He was a 
man of strong prejudices, and not remarkable for liberal 
views. No such man can very successfully play the dema- 
gogue ; he may manage well with politicians, but he can never 
establish a broad foundation of support among the people, as 
there is nothing in such men to attract the people to their 
opinions and character. Such men might be respectable, act- 
ing in accordance with their natural gifts, but must always 
fall when acting a part for which they were never fitted by 

After Trumbull was removed from the office of Secretary of 
State, in the spring of 1843, he hurried off to the Belleville dis- 
trict, to be a candidate for Congress, calculating to secure all 
the rabid democrats who were most hostile to banks, to be in 
his favor. But he failed in getting more than two votes in the 
nominating convention. The next year he quarrelled with his 


old friend, Governor Reynolds, for the privilege of being a can- 
didate, and at this session he became a candidate for the United 
States Senate, but declined before the election, as it became 
evident he would get but a few votes. After that, again he 
became a prominent candidate for governor, but being again 
defeated, he immediately became a candidate for Congress in 
the Belleville district, obtained the nomination from his party, 
and in a district where the democratic party is in a majority of 
three or four thousand votes, he was defeated by more than two 
thousand majority against him. Up to this time, Trumbull was 
looked upon as a man of great promise in the democratic party. 
He was believed to be an active, ambitious, and rising man, one 
who was to possess considerable power. And although, with- 
out this belief in his favor, he would have had no power, yet 
the idea that he was to be great, naturally gave him power. 
Men love to worship the rising sun, and are careful about 
making enemies of one who either is now, or who it is believed 
will soon be great. Politicians estimate the value of such a 
man as the speculators estimated the value of Chicago lots in 
1836. Chicago was then but a village; but it was believed 
that it would soon be a city, which made lots there sell for 
more than they are worth, now that it has become a city of 
fifteen thousand inhabitants. Or rather, politicians value such 
a man as a farmer values a favorite colt ; he measures it from 
the fetlock to the knee, and from the knee to the shoulder 
blade, and from thence to the withers, and from thence to the 
loins and around the body, and if he can see in it the promise 
of a fine horse, he asks more for it than he would if it were al- 
ready a horse. But when Trumbull was defeated for Congress 
by so large a majority, thus disappointing the popular belief in 
his destiny, his power and consequence vanished in a moment. 
It was now certain that the village was not to be a city, nor the 
colt a fine horse. A man's strength is not always real, but 
greatly depends upon the continued run of a general belief that 



he is strong, or will be strong some time in his |je_. For which 
reas05,^he^a5$ubjjk3 man is once prostrated-/ right or wrong 
he rarely" ever -rises again. The 'charm of hip power is gone. 

The; ambitious aspirant for the United Statfes-Senate, before 
alluded to, became alarmed when I first came into office, lest I 
might be hi his way in 1846 ; and no assurance from me would 
convince him to the contrary. As I really did not intend to be 
a candidate, I never suspected the system of tactics he put in 
operation against me. For the amusement of the reader, I will 
state some of his doings. He advised the compromise with the 
banks, to get it introduced into the legislature as an administra- 
tion measure, and he then opposed it as not being sufficiently 
democratic. He advised and insisted upon the removal of 
Trumbull, and when it was done, he denounced the act as being 
an unjustifiable act of power, by means of which he procured 
Trumbull and his friends to be my enemies and friends to him- 
self. He went to leading men in the south, with a view to put 
them against me, by insisting that as I resided in the north, I 
must be the representative of northern interests. To the north- 
ern men he insisted, that as I had been brought up in the South, 
with southern feelings and prejudices against Yankees, every 
northern man was interested in opposing me. One other man 
desired to make a vacancy for himself in the Lower House of 
Congress, by the election of a member of that body to the Sen- 
ate ; and fearing that I might be in the way of his favorite, this 
will account for packing a committee against me at the session 
of 1844-'5. 

The opposition aimed to defeat my appointments for United 
States Senator and judges of the supreme court in the elections 
by the legislature, and to defeat the election of friends of mine 
who were candidates for public printer, auditor and treasurer ; 
but they were most anxious to get a majority against the meas- 
ures of the administration. For this purpose the leaders as 
usual opposed everything they supposed the governor was in 



favor of. The election of United States Senator was first 
brought on; Trumbull himself was the candidate against my 
appointment. The election of public printers came next ; the 
election of auditor and treasurer afterwards, and last of all 
came the election of judges. The plan was to keep the election 
of judges to the last, and in the meantime, to add a little to the 
opposition strength by gathering the discontented in every pre- 
ceding election ; and then to swell it up again by enlisting such 
as were opposed to the measures recommended by the execu- 
tive. My friends were all elected to office ; but the opposition 
came near defeating the canal. 

Amongst the most important measures recommended by the 
governor were the canal bill, and a bill to increase the taxes. 
It has been claimed by Trumbull and his friends that they 
never opposed the canal, they were only hostile to all canal 
measures proposed by its friends, without proposing any of 
their own. As I have said before, about the middle of Febru- 
ary, Governor Davis and Mr. Leavitt arrived in Springfield, 
during the session. The opposition were ready to open their 
eyes and stare with wonder at these envoys of the public cred- 
itors. The words federalists, aristocrats, monied kings, were 
freely whispered about. It was given out that a brace of proud 
aristocrats, the representatives of the monied aristocracy, had 
arrived to wheedle, coerce, or bribe the legislature, as best 
might suit their purposes. Many who were most active in 
spreading these dire alarms, took sly peeps at the strangers, 
hoping to find confirmation for their fears ; and one or two of 
them at least with the hope that bribes might be offered. But 
contrary to their hopes they found Governor Davis and Mr. 
Leavitt plain, sensible gentlemen ; modest and retiring, though 
kind and familiar, when familiarity could be indulged in with 
propriety. Many of the opposition members took quite a fancy 
to Governor Davis, to his natural manners, evident kindness 
of heart, and air of sterling integrity. One of them, after 


making his acquaintance, was so struck with his good qualities 
that he offered, if Governor Davis would remove to Illinois, to 
have him right at once made a justice of the peace ; and if he 
behaved well in that, promised that he should be elevated to 
higher office, with rapid promotion. 

Governor Davis and Mr. Leavitt made the proposition of the 
public creditors, which was communicated to both Houses 
through the executive. A bill was prepared by the committee 
of finance, and reported by Mr. Arnold of Chicago, proposing 
some amendments of the canal law of the previous session, and 
provision for a permanent tax to pay a portion of the interest 
on the public debt. This bill passed the House by some twen- 
ty majority ; but whilst there pending, Messrs. Trumbull & Co., 
arrayed themselves in opposition to it ; their main power and 
art in so doing, being to alarm the timid by holding up the 
terrors of an unpopular vote in favor of taxation. Trumbull 
took his stand in the lobbies of the two Houses, for the purpose 
of calling out and lecturing members, and threatening them 
with the indignation of the south for showing it the least favor. 

Besides this, the whig party were very undecided as to what 
course they would take. That party contained in it many am- 
bitious gentlemen of fine talents, well qualified to serve their 
country in the highest offices ; but the overwhelming majorities 
against them had kept them down. Many of them had become 
disheartened, or embittered to the last degree. Such as these 
were ready to adopt any expedient for breaking up the thorough 
organization of the democratic party. This portion of the 
whig politicians was led on by George T. M. Davis, a whig 
lawyer and editor, a man of great activity and enterprise ; 
but rather unscrupulous as to the means he employed. A 
secret meeting of the whig leaders was called. In this Mr. 
G. T. M. Davis insisted that the whig party should oppose 
the canal, oppose an increase of taxes, and all measures to pay 
the public debt. He insisted upon an alliance of the whigs 


with the southern democrats on these questions as a means of 
overthrowing the organization of the democratic party ; of 
making a new division of the parties, geographically between 
the north and the south. There was to be a southern party 
and a northern party, and the whigs were to take the side of 
the south. But N. D. Strong of Alton, and Judge Logan, be- 
ing both of them talented whigs and members of the legisla- 
ture, had too much self-respect to enter into such a miserable 
intrigue. They were threatened with expulsion from the whig 
party for their contumacy. They succeeded, however, in break- 
ing up Davis' arrangement. Judge Logan's support of the 
canal measures, was the means of carrying them through the 
legislature. To the honor of the south I record the names of 
four members from that quarter who voted in favor of these 
measures. These members were Strong of Madison, Adams 
of Monroe, Janney of Crawford, and Dunlap of Lawrence ; one 
of them a whig, and three of them democrats. These gentle- 
men ought to, and will be long remembered for their integrity 
and moral courage. It is due also to Messrs. Gregg and Ar- 
nold of the House of Representatives, and Messrs. Judd and 
Mattison of the Senate, that their names should be recorded in 
history, and long remembered for their efficient advocacy of 
these measures. 

After the bill had passed the House, it was sent to the Senate ; 
here it was defeated, two or three days before the close of the 
session, by a single vote. Its enemies now triumphed in a most 
uproarious manner. Its friends rallied, and procured a recon- 
sideration of the vote. It was predicted that nothing but brib- 
ery could now carry the bill ; and senators were clamorously 
warned that any change in their votes would subject them to 
the strongest suspicion of bribery ; two of the opposition sen- 
ators had helped to defeat it in the hope of creating a necessity 
for the offer of bribes. One old senator who desired to be 
bribed was as clamorous as the rest. A few of the friends of 



the canal living in Lasalle and Cook counties made up a subscrip- 
tion of eighty acres of land and some money to bribe him, and 
would have done so if they had not been advised to the con- 
trary. Such a course towards one senator would have been un- 
just towards others who lent the measure their honest support, 
by subjecting them to injurious suspicions. 

The vote on the bill in the Senate, by which it had been de- 
feated, being reconsidered, the bill was referred to a select com- 
mittee, together with another bill of an unimportant character, 
which had already passed the House of Representatives. It was 
known that one senator would not vote for the tax and the 
canal bath in the same bill. By their connection the tax was 
made to appear as a local measure, intended only for the bene- 
fit of the north. The committee, therefore, divided the bill. 
They struck out of the canal bill all that related to a tax, and 
they struck out all of the bill referred with it, and inserted the 
taxing part into that. And these two bills being now reported 
back to the Senate, the Senate concurred in their passage as thus 
amended by them. They were sent back to the House of Repre- 
sentatives the same hour, for the concurrence of the House in 
the amendments of the Senate, which was given ; and thus these 
important measures passed into laws ; or, instead of saying that 
they passed, I ought rather to say, that they wabbled through 
the legislature. To Thomas M. Kilpatrick, late senator from 
Scott county, is the honor due, of the good management hi the 
Senate, in dividing and amending the measure, and thus secur- 
ing its passage. I give these facts, curious as they may appear, 
to illustrate the fertile genius of western men, and as a speci- 
men of the modes of legislation in a new country. 

The legislature adjourned in a day or two after this, and the 
opposition members returned to their constituents in the worst 
humor imaginable. They threatened a rebellion of the whole 
south ; but, as usual in such cases, they were much more excited 
than their constituents. A few of the disappointed ones, Trum- 


bull amongst the number, threatened to make speeches all aronud 
the regular circuit, and excite the people against these new meas- 
ures. But Walter B. Scates, the judge of that circuit, announced 
his intention to answer them, and chastise them, as their dema- 
goguism deserved, which made them abandon their design. In the 
summer afterwards, two great conventions of the southern peo- 
ple were held, one at Marion and the other at Fairfield, and upon 
motion of Judge Scates, nearly unanimously declared in favor 
of the canal, and of taxation for the payment of the public debt. 
Thus did the people of the south nobly redeem themselves from 
the aspersions of the demagogues who misrepresented them in 
the legislature ; and thus perished the last hope of repudiation 
in Illinois. When Trumbull afterwards became a candidate for 
governor, he was as much in favor of taxation and the canal as 
any man in the State. 

It now only remains to be said on this subject, that the canal 
arrangement was perfected under the laws passed at this ses- 
sion, in June, 1845. Two trustees were elected by the bond- 
holders, and one was appointed by the governor ; the board was 
organized, the work on the canal was let to contract, money was 
obtained as it was wanted ; and now there appears to be a mor- 
al certainty that the canal will be completed in the course of a 

At this session the legislature put down the rate of interest 
on money to six per cent. This was caused by the conduct of 
the merchants in the middle and southern parts of the State. 
In the time of bank suspensions, when money was plenty, the 
merchants well supplied with goods encouraged the people to 
buy on a credit ; the merchants were forced to this by the great 
amount of goods on hand, and the consequent increased compe- 
tition amongst themselves in their retail business. They readi- 
ly credited almost any one up to about the value of his prop- 
erty ; and when the debtor was unable to pay, they took notes 
at twelve per cent, interest, so that nearly the whole people 


were indebted more than they were able to pay, and to save 
themselves from being sued for their debts, they were forced to 
pay a ruinous rate of interest on them. 

At this session, also, the Mormon charters were totally re 
pealed by the legislature. This was then supposed to be a rem 
edy for all the evils of Mormonism. 

In 1844 '5, also, the legislature undertook various reforms 
and retrenchments. They passed resolutions calling on the gov- 
ernor and judges to relinquish portions of their salaries, secured 
to them by the constitution. The governor and judges refused. 
The reply of the judges is too long for insertion here ; but I 
will give my own, as it was a shorter document : " A resolu- 
tion of the two houses has been communicated to me, request- 
ing the governor and the judges of the supreme court to relin- 
quish to the State such an amount of their salaries as will be 
equivalent to 25 per cent, thereon, to begin with the year 1845. 

" The mere matter of money with me is of but little con- 
cern. I could perhaps live as much to my satisfaction upon a 
little as upon a greater amount. And if I could be left to act 
freely and voluntarily, as befits the incumbent of the executive 
department, one of the independent co-ordinate departments of 
the government, equal in its sphere to the legislature in theirs ; 
and if I could be assured of payment in good money for the 
residue of my salary, no member of the legislature would be 
more willing than I am to make sacrifices of self-interest at the 
shrine of patriotism. But before I consent to this, I have a 
right to be assured, that whatever sum I do agree to receive, 
will be worth something. In fact, I have been acting upon this 
principle for the last two years, by receiving less salary than 
was guaranteed by the laws and the constitution. It seems to 
me that a true economy would consist in providing adequate 
revenues, so as to keep auditor's warrants at par. Everything 
then for the State could be done cheaper, as in that case no one 
would have to be shaved by the brokers. I for one would pre- 


fer a reduction of salary, and thereby save a portion to the 
State, than to suffer loss on auditor's warrants for the benefit 
of brokers. 

" In making these observations, I do not intend to be under- 
stood as making any kind of promise to relinquish any portion 
of my salary. This I state for the sake of the principle which 
I believe is involved in this request of the two houses. I re- 
spectfully protest against the right of the legislature to make 
such a request. There is a principle of constitutional law of 
free government, of the separation of the powers of government 
into three departments, of the independence of each one depart- 
ment of the other two, and of the system of checks and balances 
which all free constitutions must contain, which ought not to 
allow the governor, even if it were for his advantage, to com- 
ply with your resolution. The separation of the powers of 
government into legislative, judicial, and executive departments, 
and confiding these departments to separate bodies of magis- 
tracy, so that each may be exercised independently of the other, 
is justly esteemed to be the grandest discovery in the science 
of government ; and the practical operation of this discovery, 
in modern times, has done more for human liberty than all 
other discoveries put together. 

" With a view to secure the independence of the executive 
and judicial departments, the Constitution has provided that the 
governor and judges shall receive an adequate salary, which 
shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. It is 
true that the legislature do not propose a reduction of salaries 
without the consent of the incumbents, nor does the request of 
your honorable bodies express on its face any threat to extort 
this consent, but the moral influence of such a request, coming 
as it does from a numerous assembly, the immediate represen- 
tatives of the people, and composed of the principal men in the 
State, it might have been supposed would carry with it some- 
thing of coercion to a governor and judges, anxious for a good 


understanding with the legislative power, and for the good opin- 
ion of their fellow-citizens. In this mode such a request might 
amount to coercion. There are other modes of coercion besides 
the employment of physical force. An appeal to the interests, 
to the fears, or to the love of popularity, inherent in each de- 
partment, may be as efficacious in destroying the balances of 
the Constitution, as violence itself. 

" Considering the matter in this light ; feeling my obligation 
under the Constitution to sustain the independence of the execu- 
tive department, which I have the honor to represent, and being 
unwilling, from any want of firmness on my part, to be acces- 
sory to a precedent, which I believe is now for the first time 
attempted in the United States, and which, if followed up, may 
lead to a consolidation of all power in the hands of a single de- 
partment, I have felt it to be my duty, at the risk of being mis- 
interpreted, and of forfeiting somewhat of the good will of my 
fellow-citizens, respectfully but firmly to resist this temptation 
now offered, to court public favor, that I may thereby pre- 
serve the independence of the executive department."* 

The legislature, then following up these projects for retrench- 
ment, attempted to remove the judges by address, so that 
whilst the offices of all of them were vacant, their salaries could 
be reduced. They reduced the salaries of all the other officers 
of the government, and of the judges thereafter to be elected; 
and they agitated a bill all winter, to reduce the fees of the 
county officers. In this mode they lengthened out the session 
for more than a month, and increased their own pay about 
twenty thousand dollars, whilst they aimed to save several 

* The resolution calling upon the governor and judges to relinquish 
a portion of their salaries, was written by Trumbull, and put into the 
hands of N. W. Nunnally, Senator from Edgar county, to be offered to 
the Senate. Mr. Nunnally, instead of making himself popular, as he 
supposed he would, could not get the privilege from his party of being 
a candidate for re-election two years afterwards. 


hundred to the public treasury. The rage for economy was 
great indeed, the members appearing to think that the State 
debt might be paid off by stealing small sums from the already 
small salaries of public officers. There are those in matters of 
government, as well as in religion, who tythe annis, mint, and 
cummin, and neglect the weightier matters of the law. Accord- 
ingly, the members who were the most fierce for this kind of 
economy, had no capacity to see that the canal measure was a 
great financial measure, for the benefit of the whole State, by 
means of which five millions of debt will be paid ; a sum 
greater than could be paid by an eternity of such legislation as 
was proposed by them. If the State debt is ever paid, it will 
not be done by the puny licks of this description of econo- 

Another subject of interest at this session was the Shawnee- 
town Bank. After the failure of that institution in 1842, the 
stock in it had been purchased by a company of speculators, 
who caused themselves to be elected president and directors. 
After having paid five hundred thousand dollars, it yet owed 
the State a half a million of dollars for the State stock in it, to 
be paid in State indebtedness. In anticipation of the passage 
of the liquidation law of 1842-'3, a few favored directors secret- 
ly borrowed from it one hundred thousand dollars of its specie, 
with which to purchase State bonds to pay this remaining debt. 
The money was sent to New York, and invested in the purchase 
of scrip and three hundred and thirty-three thousand dollars of 
the bonds, which had been hypothecated with Macalister and 
Stebbins in 1841. The reader will remember that $804,000 
of these bonds were hypothecated, upon which the State receiv- 
ed $261,500. The law authorized them to be sold, but not to 
be hypothecated. The few favored directors, in a secret meet- 
ing of the board, paid into the bank $100,000 of these bonds, 
then worth thirty cents on the dollar, in discharge of their notes 
for the $100,000 in specie previously borrowed. They next 


paid in another portion of them, in discharge of their stock 
notes ; and amongst others, Orville Sexton, a member of this 
legislature, and a flaming declaimer against bank corruption, had 
a note of near $10,000 paid in this way. The whole sum of 
bonds, being now the property of the bank, or of the private 
stockholders, were tendered to the governor in the spring of 
1844, in payment of the debt from the bank to the State. There 
were then two reasons why they ought to have been refused. 
To receive them was to defeat the law for a settlement with 
Macallister and Stebbins ; and it was plain that the State was 
not bound to pay the full amount of their face. They were ac- 
cordingly refused. But in the fall of 1844 it became fujly 
known that Macallister and Stebbins would never be able to 
comply with the law for their relief; that the president of the 
bank was about to return these bonds to New York ; and the 
bank was so insolvent, that if they were permanently rejected 
and suffered to pass out of its hands and beyond its control, the 
State would never get anything for its half million of stock. To 
keep the bonds at home, subject to the control of the legisla- 
ture, I entered into a conditional contract with the bank to re- 
ceive them, if the contract was ratified by the legislature. For 
this prudent and judicious measure, I was much abused and de- 
nounced at the time by many ultra democrats, who preferred 
that the State should lose the whole of its stock in this bank 
than impliedly to sanction the conduct of its officers. 

The matter was referred to the committee of the House of 
Representatives on banks and corporations ; of which Dr. An- 
derson of Lawrence county had been appointed chairman. He 
was a man who acted partly from spite, but mostly from a self- 
ish policy. He had seen that banks were wofully unpopular 
with the people ; and that many men had successfully ridden 
the hobby of popular prejudice against them ; and he now de- 
termined to have his turn of riding also. But there is some 
art in riding a hobby as well as a horse, and much depends 


upon the time when you mount it. A man of sagacity discov- 
ers a hobby, and rides it as long as the popular feeling will 
carry him ; he then throws it aside and gets a new one. The 
short-lived and variable feelings and prejudices of the public 
make the life of a hobby a short one. The master spirit rides 
it only whilst the public mind is in an earnest fervor concerning 
it. He takes it when it is young and active ; and when it be- 
comes old and lame he leaves it for another. In this mode he 
keeps all the time along with the fervor of the popular mind ; 
and this is the true " tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at 
the flood, leads on to fortune." The people of Illinois were 
still much against banks ; but the day had passed when hatred 
to banks was the one idea which ruled the popular mind. In 
the meantime, the Texas, and Oregon, and tariff questions had 
arisen, and the master equestrians had quit the banks, for one 
or the other or all of these. But not so with the small-fry poli- 
ticians, who never perceive the advantages of a hobby until it is 
jaded down by other riders, who have ridden to distinction upon 
it ; and then they all mount on, and if the animal be not already 
dead, they soon exhaust its remaining vitality ; and find them- 
selves again trudging along on foot. On this occasion, it was 
pitiable to see Dr. Anderson and the small geniuses of his tribe 
ungracefully jolting along upon their worn-out nags, mimicking 
the airs of accomplished equestrians upon their young and met- 
tlesome steeds. Under such influences, it was at first decided, 
by a majority of both houses, to be better to lose the whole 
amount which the bank owed to the State than to countenance 
in the least degree the villany of its officers by receiving these 
bonds. The people, however, failed to appreciate the vast 
merits of these members at the next election. Not over a half 
dozen of them were re-elected. Dr. Anderson expected to 
be sent to Congress at least ; but failed to get the nomination 
of his party even for the legislature of 1846, there not being a 
half dozen men in his county favorable to his re-election. And 


shortly afterwards, in utter rage against the people and the cor- 
ruptions of the democratic party, he shook the dust off his feet 
as a testimony against them, anltL departed from the State. 
The legislature afterwards allowed these bonds to be received 
at forty-eight cents to the dollar, which was a good bargain for 
the State. 

The population of Illinois in 1845, according to the census of 
that year, amounted to 662,150 souls, being an increase in five 
years of 183,221. 

risv -wj' 


The city of Nauvoo The Temple New causes of quarrel The " Oneness" Anti-Mor- 
mon meeting flred at by themselves Character of the anti-MormonsNew mobs 
House burning Sheriff's posse Backinstos Plundering McBratney Death of 
Worrell Daubeneyer Durfee Trial of the sheriff for murder General Hardin sent 
over with 500 men Stops the dis6rders on both sides Anti-Mormon convention 
The Mormons agree to leave the State Major Warren with two companies left 
as a guard Good conduct of Major Warren Indictments against the twelve apos- 
tles for counterfeiting Exodus of the Mormons Anti-Mormons anxious to expel 
the few that were left Cause of a new quarrel Writs sworn out Old trick of 
calling the posse The matter adjusted Mormon vote In 1846 New excitements 
New writs sworn out The posae again The new citizens petition for protection- 
Order to Major Parker Order to Mr. Brayman Treaty between the parties Not 
agreed to by the anti-Mormons Mr. Brayman's letter James W. Singleton Thomas 
S. Brockman Order to Major Flood His proceedings under it Numbers of each 
party Battles Not many hurt The Mormons surrender the city Triumphant 
entry of the anti-Mormons Their brutal conduct Sufferings of the Mormons Ex- 
citement against the anti-MormonsModerate men not to be relied on in times of 
excitement Difficulties of the executive Expedition to Nauvoo The anti-Mormon 
posse dispersed Violence of the anti-Mormons against the governor Anti-Mormon 
meetings Their resolutions Anti-Mormon committee of rogues and blackguards 
The Irish justice and constable Captain Allen's expedition to Carthage Major 
Weber Attempts to arrest a spy Writs sworn out to arrest him and Captain Al- 
lenThe old trick of the posse again Instability of popular feeling No disposition 
anywhere to assist, but a disposition everywhere to censure government for not per- 
forming impossibilities Popular notions of martial law Like master like man 
Anarchy and despotism Liberty and slavery. 

THE Mormons next claim our attention. Nauvoo was now 
a city of about 15,000 inhabitants and was fast increasing, as 
the followers of the prophet were pouring into it from all parts 
of the world ; and there were several other settlements and vil- 
lages of Mormons in Hancock county. Nauvoo was scattered 
over about six square miles, a part of it being built upon the 
flat skirting and fronting on the Mississippi river, but the greater 
portion of it upon the bluffs back, east of the river. The great 


temple, which is said to have cost a million of dollars in money 
and labor, occupied a commanding position on the brow of this 
bluff, and overlooked the country around for twenty miles in 
Illinois and Iowa. This temple was not fashioned after any 
known order of architecture. The Mormons themselves pre- 
tended to believe that the building of it was commenced without 
any previous plan ; and that the master builder, from day to day, 
during the progress of its erection, received directions immedi- 
ately from heaven as to the plan of the building ; and really it 
looks as if it was the result of such frequent changes as would 
be produced by a daily accession of new ideas. It has been said 
that the church architecture of a sect indicates the genius and 
spirit of its religion. The grand and solemn structures of the 
Catholics, point to the towering hierarchy, and imposing cere- 
monies of the church ; the low and broad meeting-houses of the 
Methodists formerly shadowed forth their abhorrence of gaudy 
decoration ; and their unpretending humility, and the light, airy, 
and elegant edifices of the Presbyterians, as truly indicate the 
passion for education, refinement, and polish, amongst that 
thrifty and enterprising people. If the genius of Mormonism 
were tried by this test, as exhibited in the temple, we could 
only pronounce that it was a piece of patch-work, variable, 
strange, and incongruous. 

During the summer and fall of 1845, there were several 
small matters to increase irritation between the Mormons and 
their neighbors. The anti- Mormons complained of a large num- 
ber of larcenies and robberies. The Mormon press at Nauvoo, 
and the anti-Mormon papers at Warsaw, Quincy, Springfield, 
Alton, and St. Louis, kept up a continual fire at each other ; the 
anti-Mormons all the time calling upon the people to rise and 
expel, or exterminate the Mormons. The great fires at Pitts- 
burg and in other cities about this time, were seized upon by 
the Mormon press to countenance the assertion that the Lord 
had sent them, to manifest his displeasure against the Gentiles ; 


and to hint that all other places which might countenance the 
enemies of the Mormons, might expect to be visited by " hot 
drops " of the same description. This was interpreted by the 
anti-Mormons to be a threat by Mormon incendiaries, to burn 
down all cities and places not friendly to their religion. About 
this time, also, a suit had been commenced in the circuit court 
of the United States against some of the twelve apostles, on a 
note given in Ohio. The deputy marshal went to summon the 
defendants. They were determined not to be served with pro- 
cess, and a great meeting of their people being called, outrage- 
ously inflammatory speeches were made by the leaders ; the 
marshal was threatened and abused for intending to serve a 
lawful process, and here it was publicly declared and agreed to 
by the Mormons, that no more process should be served in 

Also, about this time, a leading anti-Mormon by the name of 
Dr. Marshall, made an assault upon Gen. Deming, the sheriff 
of the county, and was killed by the sheriff in repelling the as- 
sault. The sheriff was arrested and held to bail by Judge 
Young, for manslaughter : though as he had acted strictly in 
self-defence, no one seriously believed him to be guilty of any 
crime whatever. But Dr. Marshall had many friends disposed 
to revenge his death, the rage of the people ran very high, for 
which reason it was thought best by the judge to hold the 
sheriff to bail for something, to save him from being sacrificed 
to the public fury. 

Not long after the trials of the supposed murderers of the 
Smiths, it was discovered on a trial of the right of property 
near Lima, in Adams county, by Mormon testimony, that that 
people had an institution in their church called a " Oneness," 
which was composed of an association of five persons, over 
whom " one" was appointed as a kind of guardian. This " one" 
as trustee for the rest, was to own all the property of the asso- 
ciation ; so that if it were levied upon by an execution for debt, 


the Mormons could prove that the property belonged to one or 
the other of the parties, as might be required to defeat the exe- 
cution. And not long after this discovery in the fall of 1845, 
the anti-Mormons of Lima and Green Plains, held a meeting to 
devise means for the expulsion of the Mormons from their 
neighborhood. They appointed some persons of their own 
number to fire a few shots at the house where they were assem- 
bled ; but to do it in such a way as to hurt none who attended 
the meeting. The meeting was held, the house was fired at, 
but so as to hurt no one ; and the anti-Mormons, suddenly 
breaking up their meeting, rode all over the country spreading 
the dire alarm, that the Mormons had commenced the work of 
massacre and death. 

This startling intelligence soon assembled a mob. But before 
I relate what further was done, I must give some account of the 
anti-Mormons. I had a good opportunity to know the early 
settlers of Hancock county. I had attended the circuit courts 
there as States-attorney, from 1830, when the county was first 
organized, up to the year 1834 ; and to my certain knowledge 
the early settlers, with some honorable exceptions, were, in pop- 
ular language, hard cases. In the year 1834, one Dr. Galland 
was a candidate for the legislature, in a district composed of 
Hancock, Adams, and Pike counties. He resided in the county 
of Hancock, and as he had in the early part of his life been a 
notorious horse-thief and counterfeiter, belonging to the Massac 
gang, and was then no pretender to integrity, it was useless to 
deny the charge. In all his speeches he freely admitted the 
fact, but came near receiving a majority of votes in his own 
county of Hancock. I mention this to show the character of 
the people for integrity. From this time down to the settle- 
ment of the Mormons there, and for four years afterwards, I 
had no means of knowing about the future increase of the Han- 
cock people. But having passed my whole life on the frontiers, 
on the outer edge of the settlements, I have frequently seen that 


a few first settlers would fix the character of a settlement for 
good or for bad, for many years after its commencement. If 
bad men began the settlement, bad men would be attracted to 
them, upon the well-known principle that " birds of a feather 
will flock together." Rogues will find each other out, and so 
will honest men. From all which it appears extremely proba- 
ble, that the later immigrants were many of them attracted to 
Hancock by a secret sympathy between them and the early set- 
tlers. And so it may appear that the Mormons themselves 
may have been induced to select Hancock as the place of their 
settlement, rather than many other places where they were 
strongly solicited to settle, by the promptings of a secret in- 
stinct, which, without much penetration, enables men to discern 
their fellows. 

The mob at Lima proceeded to warn the Mormons to leave 
the neighborhood, and threatened them with fire and sword if 
they remained. A very poor class of Mormons resided here, 
and it is very likely that the other inhabitants were annoyed 
beyond further endurance, by their little larcenies and rogueries. 
The Mormons refused to remove ; the m.ob proceeded to burn 
down their houses; and about one hundred and seventy-five 
houses and hovels were burnt, the inmates being obliged to flee 
for their lives. They fled to Nauvoo in a state of utter desti- 
tution, carrying their women and children, aged and sick (it 
was then the height of the sickly season), along with them as 
best they could. The sight of these miserable creatures, aroused 
the wrath of the Mormons of Nauvoo. As soon as authentic 
intelligence of these events reached Springfield, I ordered Gen. 
Hardin to raise a force, and restore the rule of law. But whilst 
this force was gathering, the sheriff of the county had taken the 
matter in hand. Gen. Deming had died not long after the death 
of Dr. Marshall, and the Mormons had elected Jacob B. Back- 
instos to be sheriff in his place. This Backinstos formerly re- 
sided in Sangamon county. There he had credit to get a stock 


of goods, and set up as a merchant. The goods were imme- 
diately transferred to his brother, leaving the debt for them un- 
paid. Here, too, he became acquainted with Judge Douglass, 
and here commenced that indissoluble friendship between them, 
which has continued inviolate ever since. Douglass was ap- 
pointed to hold the courts in Hancock county ; and Backinstos, 
having broken up in Sangamon, had gone over to Hancock 
seeking his fortunes. His brother had already married a niece 
of the prophet, and Backinstos immediately attached himself to 
the interests of the Mormons. Backinstos was a smart-looking, 
shrewd, cunning, plausible man, of such easy manners, that he 
was likely to have great influence with the Mormons. In due 
time Judge Douglass appointed him to be clerk of the circuit 
court, and this gave him almost absolute power with that peo- 
ple in all political contests. In 1844, Backinstos and a Mormon 
elder were elected to the legislature; in 1845, he was elected 
sheriff, in place of Gen. Deming ; and, finally, to reward him 
for his great public services, he was appointed a captain of a 
rifle company in the United States army. But being just now 
regarded as the political leader of the Mormons, Backinstos was 
hated with a sincere and thorough hatred by the opposite party. 
When the burning of houses commenced, the great body of 
the anti-Mormons expressed themselves strongly against it, giv- 
ing hopes thereby that a posse of anti-Mormons could be raised 
to put a stop to such incendiary and riotous conduct. But when 
they were called on by the new sheriff, not a man of them turn- 
ed out to his assistance, many of them no doubt being influ- 
enced by their hatred of the sheriff. Backinstos then went to 
Nauvoo, where he raised a posse of several hundred armed 
Mormons, with which he swept over the county, took possession 
of Carthage, and established a permanent guard there. The 
anti-Mormons everywhere fled from their homes before the 
sheriff, some of them to Iowa and Missouri, and others to the 
neighboring counties in Illinois. The sheriff was unable or un 


willing to bring any portion of the rioters to a battle, or to ar- 
rest any of them for their crimes. The posse came near sur- 
prising one small squad, but ifliey made their escape, all but one, 
before they could be attacked. This one, named McBratney, 
was shot down by some of the posse in advance, by whom he 
was hacked and mutilated as though he had been murdered by 
the Indians. 

The sheriff also was in continual peril of his life from the 
anti-Mormons, who daily threatened him with death the first 
opportunity. As he was going in a buggy from Warsaw in the 
direction of Nauvoo, he was pursued by three or four men to a 
place in the road where some Mormon teams were standing. 
Backinstos passed the teams a few rods, and then stopping, the 
pursuers came up within a hundred and fifty yards, when they 
were fired upon, with an unerring aim, by some one concealed 
not far to one side of them. By this fire, Franklin A. Worrell 
was killed. He was the same man who had commanded the 
guard at the jail at the time the Smiths were assassinated ; and 
there made himself conspicuous in betraying his trust, by con- 
senting to the assassination. It is believed that Backinstos ex- 
pected to be pursued and attacked, and had previously stationed 
some men in ambush, to fire upon his pursuers. He was after- 
wards indicted for the supposed murder, and procured a change 
of venue to Peoria county, where he was acquitted of the charge. 
About this time, also, the Mormons murdered a man by the 
name of Daubeneyer, without any apparent provocation ; and 
another anti-Mormon named Wilcox was murdered in Nauvoo, 
as it was believed, by order of the twelve apostles. The anti- 
Mormons also committed one murder. Some of them, under 
Backman, set fire to some straw near a barn belonging to Dur- 
fee, an old Mormon seventy years old ; and then lay in ambush 
until the old man came out to extinguish the fire, when they 
shot him dead from their place of concealment. The perpetra- 
tors of this murder were arrested and brought before an anti- 



Mormon justice of the peace, and were acquitted, though their 
guilt was sufficiently apparent. 

During the ascendency of the sheriff and the absence of the 
anti-Mormons from, their houses, the people who had been burnt 
out of their houses assembled in Nauvoo, from whence, with 
many others, they sallied forth and ravaged the country, steal- 
ing and plundering whatever wns convenient to carry or drive 
away. When informed of these proceedings, I hastened to 
Jacksonville, where, in a conference with Gen. Hardin, Major 
Warren, Judge Douglass, and the Attorney-General Mr. Mc- 
Dougall, it was agreed that these gentlemen should proceed to 
Hancock in all haste, with whatever forces had been raised, few 
or many, and put an end to these disorders. It was now appa- 
rent that neither party in Hancock could be trusted with the 
power to keep the peace. It was also agreed that all these gen- 
tlemen should unite their influence with mine to induce the Mor- 
mons to leave the State. Gen. Hardin lost no time in raising 
three or four hundred volunteers, and when he got to Carthage 
he found a Mormon guard in possession of the courthouse. 
This force he ordered to disband and disperse in fifteen minutes. 
The plundering parties of Mormons were stopped in their rav- 
ages. The fugitive anti-Mormons were recalled to their homes, 
and all parties above four in number on either side were pro- 
hibited from assembling and marching over the country. 

Whilst Gen. Hardin was at Carthage, a convention previous- 
ly appointed assembled at that place, composed of delegates 
from the eight neighboring counties. The people of the neigh- 
boring counties were alarmed lest the anti-Mormons should en- 
tirely desert Hancock, and by that means leave one of the 
largest counties of the State to be possessed entirely by Mor- 
mons. This they feared would bring the surrounding counties 
into immediate collision with them. They had therefore ap- 
pointed this convention to consider measures for the expulsion 
of the Mormons. The twelve apostles had now become satis- 


fied that the Mormons could not remain, or if they did, the lead- 
ers would be compelled to abandon the sway and dominion they 
exercised over them. They had now become convinced that the 
kind of Mahometanism which they sought to establish could 
never be established in the near vicinity of a people whose mor- 
als and prejudices were all outraged and shocked by it, unless 
indeed they were prepared to establish it by force of arms. 
Through the intervention of Gen. Hardin, acting under instruc- 
tions from me, an agreement was made between the hostile par- 
ties for the voluntary removal of the greater part of the Mor- 
mons in the spring of 1846. The two parties agreed that, in 
the meantime, they would seek to make no arrests for crimes 
previously committed ; and on my part I agreed that an armed 
force should be stationed in the county to keep the peace. The 
presence of such a force, and amnesty from prosecutions on all 
sides, were insisted on by the Mormons, that they might devote 
all their time and energies to prepare for their removal. Gen. 
Hardin first diminished his force to a hundred men, leaving 
Major Wm. B. Warren in command. And this force being 
further diminished during the winter to fifty, and then to ten 
men, was kept up until the last of May, 1846. This force was 
commanded with great efficiency and prudence during all this 
winter and spring by Major Warren ; and with it he was enabled 
to keep the turbulent spirit of faction in check, the Mormons 
well knowing that it would be supported by a much larger force 
whenever the governor saw proper to call for it. In the mean- 
time, they somewhat repented of their bargain, and desired 
Major Warren to be withdrawn. Backinstos was anxious to 
be again left at the head of his posse, to, goster over the county 
and to take vengeance on his enemies. The anti-Mormons were 
also dissatisfied, because the State force preserved a threatening 
aspect towards them as well as towards the Mormons. He was 
always ready to enforce arrests of criminals for new offences on 
either side ; and this pleased neither the Mormons nor the anti- 


Mormons. Civil war was on the very point of breaking out 
more than a dozen times during the winter. Both parties com- 
plained of Major Warren ; but!, well knowing that he was man- 
fully doing his duty, in one of the most difficult and vexatious 
services ever devolved upon a militia officer, steadily sustained 
him against the complaints on both sides. It is but just to Ma- 
jor Warren to say here, that he gained a lasting credit with all 
substantial citizens for his able and prudent conduct during this 
winter. Of General Hardin, too, it is but just to say, that his 
expedition this time had the happiest results. The greater part 
of the military tract was saved by it from the horrors of a civil 
war in the winter time, when much misery would have followed 
from it, by the dispersion of families and the destruction of 

During the winter of 1845-'6 the Mormons made the most 
prodigious preparations for removal. All the houses in Nau- 
voo, and even the temple, were converted into work-shops ; and 
before spring, more than twelve thousand wagons were in readi- 
ness. The people from all parts of the country flocked to 
Nauvoo to purchase houses and farms, which were sold extreme- 
ly low, lower than the prices at a sheriff's sale, for money, 
wagons, horses, oxen, cattle, and other articles of personal prop- 
erty, which might be needed by the Mormons hi their exodus 
into the wilderness. By the middle of May it was estimated 
that sixteen thousand Mormons had crossed the Mississippi and 
taken up their line of march with their personal property, their 
wives and little ones, westward across the continent to Oregon 
or California ; leaving behind them in Nauvoo a small remnant 
of a thousand souls, being those who were unable to sell their 
property, or who having no property to sell were unable to get 

The twelve apostles went first with about two thousand of their 
followers. Indictments had been found against nine of them in 
the circuit court of the United States for the district of Illinois, 


at its December term, 1845, for counterfeiting the current coin 
of the United States. The United States Marshal had applied 
to me for a militia force to arrest them ; but in pursuance of 
the amnesty agreed on for old offences, believing that the ar- 
rest of the accused would prevent the removal of the Mormons, 
and thafc if arrested there was not the least chance that any of 
them would ever be convicted, I declined the application un- 
less regularly called upon by the President of the United States 
according to law. It was generally agreed that it would be im- 
politic to arrest the leaders and thus put an end to the prepara- 
tions for removal, when it was notorious that none of them 
could be convicted ; for they always commanded evidence and 
witnesses enough to make a conviction impossible. But with a 
view to hasten their removal they were made to believe that 
the President would order the regular army to Nauvoo as soon 
as the navigation opened in the spring. This had its intended 
effect ; the twelve, with about two thousand of their followers, 
immediately crossed the Mississippi before the breaking up of 
the ice. But before this the deputy marshal had sought to ar- 
rest the accused without success. 

Notwithstanding but few of the Mormons remained behind, 
after June, 1846, the anti-Mormons were no less anxious for 
their expulsion by force of arms ; being another instance of a 
party not being satisfied with the attainment of its wishes un- 
less brought about by themselves, and by measures of their 
own. It was feared that the Mormons might vote at the Au- 
gust election of that year ; and that enough of them yet re- 
mained to control the elections in the county, and perhaps in 
the district for Congress. They, therefore, took measures to 
get up a new quarrel with the remaining Mormons. And for 
this purpose they attacked and severely whipped a party of 
eight or ten Mormons, which had been sent out into the coun- 
try to harvest some wheat fields in the neighborhood of Pon- 
toosuc, and who had provoked the wrath of the settlement by 


hallooing, yelling, and other arrogant behavior. Writs were 
sworn out in Nauvoo against the men of Pontoosuc, who were 
arrested and kept for several days under strict guard, until they 
gave bail. Then in their turn, they swore out writs for the ar- 
rest of the constable and posse who had made the first arrest, 
for false imprisonment. The Mormon posse were no doubt 
really afraid to be arrested, believing that instead of being tried 
they would be murdered. This made an excuse for the anti- 
Mormons to assemble a posse of several hundred men to assist 
in making the arrest ; but the matter was finally adjusted with- 
out any one being taken. A committee of anti-Mormons was 
sent into Nauvoo, who reported that the Mormons were making 
every possible preparation for removal ; and the leading Mor- 
mons on their part agreed that their people should not vote at 
the next election. 

The August election came on shortly afterwards and the 
Mormons all voted the whole democratic ticket. I have since 
been informed by Babbitt, the Mormon elder and agent for the 
sale of church property, that they were induced to vote this 
time from the following considerations : The President of the 
United States had permitted the Mormons to settle on the In- 
dian lands on the Missouri river, and had taken five hundred 
of them into the service as soldiers in the war with Mexico ; 
and in consequence of these favors the Mormons felt under 
obligation to vote for democrats in support of the administra- 
tion ; and so determined were they that their support of the 
President should be efficient, that they all voted three or four 
times each for member >f Congress. 

This vote of the Mormons enraged the whigs anew against 
them ; the probability that they might attempt to remain per- 
manently in the country, and the certainty that many design- 
ing persons for selfish purposes were endeavoring to keep them 
there, revived all the excitement which had ever existed against 
that people. In pursuance of the advice and under the direo- 


tion of Archibald Williams, a distinguished lawyer and whig 
politician of Quincy, writs were again sworn out for the arrest 
of persons in Nauvoo, on various charges. But to create a ne- 
cessity for a great force to make the arrests, it was freely ad- 
mitted by John Carlin, the constable sent in with the writs, 
that the prisoners would be murdered if arrested and carried 
out of the city. This John Carlin, under a promise to be elect- 
ed recorder in the place of a Jack Mormon recorder to be driven 
away, was appointed a special constable to make the arrests. 
And now the individuals sought to be arrested were openly 
threatened to be murdered. The special constable went to 
Nauvoo with the writs in his hands, the accused declined to sur- 
render. And now having failed to make the arrests, the con- 
stable began to call out the posse comitatus. This was about 
the 1st of September, 1846. The posse soon amounted to sev- 
eral hundred men. The Mormons in their turn swore out 
several writs for the arrest of leading anti-Mormons, and under 
pretence of desiring to execute them, called out a posse of 
Mormons. Here was writ against writ ; constable against con- 
stable ; law against law, and posse against posse. 

Whilst the parties were assembling their forces the trustees 
of Nauvoo being new citizens, not Mormons, applied to the 
governor for a militia officer to be sent over with ten men, they 
supposing that this small force would dispense with the services 
of the civil posse on either side. There was such a want of 
confidence on all sides that no one would submit to be arrested 
by an adversary, for fear of assassination. This small force it 
was supposed would restore confidence and order. And here 
again was a difficulty, who was to be sent on this delegate ser- 
vice. General Hardin, Major Warren, Colonel Weatherford 
and Colonel Baker, had gone to the Mexican war. These had 
been the officers upon whom I had relied in all previous emer- 
gencies ; and they were well qualified for command. And here 
I must remark that the President in May, 1846, called for four 


regiments of volunteers from Illinois for the Mexican war. The 
call was no sooner published in Illinois, than nine regiments of- 
fered their services. Those of them who were doomed to stay 
at home were more discontented than men usually are who are 
drafted into the armies of their country. 

And here, too, I will remark, that the laws do not allow the 
governor to exercise his own best judgment in selecting the 
most fit person to command. The militia themselves elect 
their officers, and all the choice which is left to the governor, is 
to select one already elected. In looking round over the State 
for this purpose, the choice fell upon Major Parker of Fulton 
county. Major Parker was a whig, and was selected partly for 
that reason, believing that a whig now, as had been the case 
before with Gen. Hardin and Major Warren, would Ijave more 
influence in restraining the anti-Mormons than a democrat. But 
Major Parker's character was unknown out of his own county. 
Everywhere else it was taken for granted that he was a demo- 
crat, and had been sent over to Hancock to intrigue with the 
Mormons. The whig newspapers immediately let loose floods 
of abuse upon him, both in this State and in Missouri, which 
completely paralyzed his power to render any effectual service. 
The constable's posse refused to give place to him, and the con- 
stable openly declared that he cared but little for the arrests ; 
by which it was apparent that they intended from the first to 
use the process of the law only as a cover to their design of ex- 
pelling the Mormons. 

The posse continued to increase until it numbered about 
eight hundred men ; and whilst it was getting ready to march 
into the city, it was represented to me by another committee, 
that the new citizens of Nauvoo were themselves divided into 
two parties, the one siding with the Mormons, the other with 
their enemies. The Mormons threatened the disaffected new 
citizens with death, if they did not join in the defence of the 
city. For this reason I sent over M. Braymau, Esq., a judi- 


cious citizen of Springfield, with suitaole orders restraining all 
compulsion in forcing the citizens to join the Mormons against 
their will, and generally to inquire into and report all the cir- 
cumstances of the quarrel. 

Soon after Mr. Brayman arrived there, he persuaded the 
leaders on each side into an adjustment of the quarrel. It was 
agreed that the Mormons should immediately surrender their 
arms to some person to be appointed to receive them, and to 
be redelivered when they left the State, and that they would 
remove from the State hi two months. This treaty was agreed to 
by Gen. Singleton, Col. Chittenden and others, on the side of the 
anties, and by Major Parker and some leading Mormons on the 
other side. But when the treaty was submitted for ratification 
to the anti-Mormon forces, it was rejected by a small majority. 
Gen. Singleton and Col. Chittenden, with a proper self-respect, 
immediately withdrew from command ; they not being the first 
great men placed at the head of affairs at the beginning of vio- 
lence, who have been hurled from their places before the popu- 
lar frenzy had run its course. And with them also great 
Archibald Williams, the prime mover of the enterprise, he not 
being the first man who has got up a popular commotion, and 
failed to govern it afterwards. Indeed, the whole history of 
revolutions and popular excitements leading to violence, is full 
of instances like these. Mr. Brayman, the same day of the re- 
jection of the treaty, reported to me that nearly one-half of the 
anti-Mormons would abandon the enterprise, and retire with 
their late commanders, " leaving a set of hair-brained fools to 
be flogged or to disperse at their leisure." It turned out, how- 
ever, that the calculations of Mr. Brayman were not realized ; 
for when Singleton and Chittenden retired, Thomas S. ^rock- 
man was put in command of the posse. This Brockman was a 
Campbellite preacher, nominally belonging to the democratic 
party. He was a large, awkward, uncouth, ignorant, semi-bar- 
barian, ambitious of office, and bent upon acquiring notoriety. 



He had been county commissioner of Brown county, and in that 
capacity had let out a contract for building the court-house, and 
it was afterwards ascertained had let the contract to himself. 
He managed to get paid in advance, and then built such an in- 
ferior building, that the county had not received it up to Dec. 
1846. He had also been a collector of taxes, for which he was 
a defaulter, and his lands were sold whilst I was governor, to 
pay a judgment obtained against him for moneys collected by 
him. To the bitterness of his religious prejudices against the 
Mormons, he added a hatred of their immoral practices, prob- 
ably because they differed from his own. Such was the man 
who was now at the head of the anti-Mormons,* who were 
about as numerous in camp as ever. 

After the appointment of Brockman, I was not enabled to 
hear in any authentic shape of the movements on either side, 
until the anti-Mormon forces had arrived near the suburbs of 
the city, and were about ready to commence an attack. The 
information which was received, was by mere rumor of travel- 
lers, or by the newspapers from St. Louis. And I will remark 
that during none of these difficulties, have I been able to get 
letters and despatches from Nauvoo by the United States mail, 
coming as it was obliged to do, through the anti-Mormon set- 
tlements and post offices. 

* To the credit of the Campbellites I record, that after this they si- 
lenced Brockman from preaching. Before this time, he had frequently 
been a candidate for office without success. In 1847, he thought he 
could be elected to the convention to amend the constitution, from 
Brown county, upon the glory he had acquired in the Mormon wars. 
He was nominated by a small meeting of democrats ; and, in a county 
of one hundred and fifty majority of democrats, he was beaten by a 
whig by upwards of one hundred and twenty-five majority. * * 


But soon after the anties had arrived with their force near 
Nauvoo, and after some little skirmishing, Mr. Brayman came 
to Springfield with a request for further assistance in defence of 
the city. It was now too late to call forces from a distance, if 
they had been ever so willing to come. It was obvious that if 
any new forces were to be raised, they must come from the 
near neighborhood of the conflict. Orders were therefore issued 
to Major William G. Flood, who was commander of the militia 
of the adjoining and populous county of Adams, by which he 
was authorized to raise a sufficient volunteer force in that and 
the surrounding counties, to enforce the observance of law in 
Hancock. It turned out, however, that great excitement ex- 
isted in Adams and in all the neighboring country, and Major 
Flood being of opinion that if he raised a force on the part of 
the State, a much larger force would have turned out in aid of 
the rioters, declined to act. 

To meet such a contingency, he had been instructed that, if 
inconvenient for himself to act, he was to hand over his author- 
ity to some person who would act, and who could be elected to 
the command of the forces thus to be raised. Major Flood, 
without handing over his authority to any one in Adams coun- 
ty, went to Nauvoo to use his influence with the contending par- 
ties, for the restoration of peace ; but failing in this, he handed 
over his authority to the Mormons and their allies, who elected 
Major Clifford to command them. In issuing this order to Ma- 
jor Flood, it was not intended to put the Nauvoo volunteers 
under any different command than what was specified in the 
orders to Major Parker, as it had already been declared in those 
orders that the Mormon force, with the exception of the ten 
men from Fulton county, were to serve without pay. The or- 
der to Major Flood was for an additional force, and not to give 
a different organization to the force already raised. It is my 
solemn conviction, that no sufficient force could have been raised 
to have fought in favor of the Mormons. But there was still 


another difficulty, and every one felt it. No force under our 
present constitution could more than temporarily have sup- 
pressed these difficulties. It has been the practice heretofore, 
for the ring-leaders of rebellion in Hancock to withdraw from 
the State whenever the State forces were marched over there ; 
and from experience in former trials they had found out that no 
one could be convicted. The result of former expeditions had 
been to keep the peace during the presence of the military, but 
so soon as they disbanded the disorders were renewed. The 
keeping of the peace, therefore, in that county, was some such 
labor as the work of Sisyphus, who was condemned by the 
gods throughout eternity to roll a stone up hill, and every time 
he got it nearly to the top, it broke loose from him, and again 
came thundering down to the plain below. The former expe- 
ditions had shown this to be the case, and now there was a gen- 
eral disposition to let the hostile parties bring matters to a con- 
clusion in their own way ; and such was the public prejudice 
against the Mormons, that, ten chances to one, any large force 
of militia which might have been ordered there, would have 
joined the rioters, rather than fought in defence of the Mor- 

* It has been asked, How did Governor Wright of New York sup- 
press the riots of the anti-renters in 1846 ? This is easily answered. 
The anti-rent riots were less generally popular than the riots of the 
anti-Mormons. The governor there was better supported by public 
opinion than the governor-of Illinois. He had the power, and he exer- 
cised it, to appoint and remove sheriffs, and other county officers in- 
tended for his assistance ; and the laws of New York allowed a crim- 
inal to be taken without his consent to a distant county for trial. This 
last advantage was one worth all the rest. 

The history of the law concerning the venue in criminal cases, is a 
curiosity. By the ancient common law the jury was to come from the 
very town or neighborhood where the crime had been committed ; and 
this was because it was supposed that they had a personal knowledge 
of the circumstances of the crime, and of the character of the criminal 
and the witnesses. It was to guard against oppression, by assuring the 


The forces under Brockman numbered about 800 men ; they 
were armed with the State arms, which had been given up to 
them by independent militia companies in the adjacent counties. 
They also had five pieces of six-pounder iron cannon, belonging 
to the State, which they had obtained in the same way. The 
Mormon party and their allies, being some of the hew citizens, 
under the command of Major Clifford, numbered at first about 

accused of a trial by his neighbors and acquaintances, who, if he were 
a good man, would know it, and deal more gently with him than stran- 
gers would. Afterwards, by statute, the jury was to come from the 
body of the county. Our State constitution, in imitation of the Eng- 
lish law, provides that criminals shall be entitled to a jury of the vicin- 
age, which means the same thing. And yet our law says that no man 
shall be a competent juror who has formed an opinion as to the guilt' 
or innocence of the criminal. If the juror is not to bring his private 
knowledge, and his bias in favor of the accused, into the jury, but little 
good is the privilege of having a jury from the vicinage likely to do 
the prisoner. He might just as well be taken to some other county and 
tried by strangers, as to be tried by strangers in his own county. It is 
true that the law of Illinois allows the accused to remove his trial for 
prejudice in the judge or inhabitants, but the State has no right to re- 
move the case without the consent of the prisoner. One of the com- 
plaints \irged against me, and some men who held themselves out, but 
rather falsely pretend to be lawyers, have made it, is, that I did not 
take the Mormon and anti-Mormon prisoners to some foreign county to 
be tried. Some thought they ought to have been taken before the su- 
preme court, and others before the United States court at Springfield, 
as if either of these courts had the slightest particle of power to try 
them. Before I heard of these complaints, I was not aware that there 
was so much stupid ignorance in the country, particularly among men 
who pretend to be lawyers. 

There is now no .doubt but the power to change the venue in crim- 
inal cases, which the constitution of New York vested in the supreme 
court, to be exercised at discretion, has operated well in all cases of lo- 
cal excitement ; and probably saved a war with England, which was 
likely to grow out of the trial of McLeod for the murder of Durfee and 
burning the Caroline steamboat on the Niagara frontier. 

But to return to Gov. Wright. Being supported by public opinion, 


two hundred and fifty, but were diminished by desertions and 
removals, before any decisive fighting took place, to about one 
hundred and fifty. Some of them were armed with sixteen 
shooting rifles, which experience proved were not very effect- 
ive in their hands, and a few of them with muskets. They 
had four or five pieces of cannon, hastily and rudely made by 
themselves out of the shaft of a steamboat. 

The Mormons and their allies took position in the suburbs, 
about one mile east of the temple, where they threw up some 
breastworks for the protection of their artillery. The attacking 
force was strong enough to have been divided and marched into 
the city on each side of this battery, and entirely out of the 
range of its shot ; and thus the place might have been taken 
without firing a gun. But Brockman, although he professed a 
desire to save the lives of his men, planted his force directly in 
front of the enemy's battery, but distant more than half a 
mile ; and now both parties commenced a fire from their can- 
non, and some few persons on each side approached near 
enough to open a fire with their rifles and muskets, but not 
near enough to do each other material injury. 

he put down the anti-renters and protected the property of the wealthy. 
In return for this favor, the wealthy men at an election a few months 
afterwards united with the anti-renters, and helped them put Governor 
Wright down. Governor Wright did all he could to secure the convic- 
tion of murderers and assassins amongst the anti-renters, who had raised 
a rebellion against the laws of property, The men of property imme- 
diately helped the anti-renters to defeat Governor Wright's second 
election, and to elect a man who was pledged to pardon these same 
murderers and cut-throats out of the penitentiary. 

The next extensive riot against property in the United States is not 
likely to be quelled so easily. Public men will hereafter remember the 
fate of Governor Wright. They will be apt to remember that active 
efforts against the rioters will make enemies of them, without making 
friends elsewhere. Upon the whole, this example of the men of prop- 
erty uniting with the miserable faction of anti-renters to put down 
such a man as Gov. Wright, is one of the worst signs of the times. 


In this manner they continued to fire at each other at such a 
distance, and with such want of skill, as that there was but little 
prospect of injury, until the anti-Mormons had exhausted their 
ammunition, when they retreated in some disorder to their 
camp. They were not pursued, and here the Mormon party 
committed an error, for all experience of irregular forces has 
shown, that however brave they may be, that a charge on them 
when they have once commenced a retreat, is sure to be suc- 
cessful. Having waited a few days to supply themselves anew 
with ammunition from Quincy, the anties again advanced to 
the attack, but without coming nearer to the enemy than before, 
and that what at the time was called a battle, was kept up three 
or four days, during all which time the Mormons admit a loss 
of two men and a boy killed, and three or four wounded. The 
anties admitted a loss on their side of one man mortally, and 
nine or ten others not so dangerously wounded. The Mormons 
claimed that they had killed thirty or forty of the anties. The 
anties claimed that they had killed thirty or forty of the Mor- 
mons, and both parties could have proved their claim by incon- 
testable evidence, if their witnesses had been credible. But 
the account which each party renders of its loss, ought to be 
taken as the true one, unless such account can be successfully 
controverted. During all the skirmishing and firing of cannon, 
it is estimated that from seven to nine hundred cannon balls, 
and an infinite number of bullets, were fired on each side, from 
which it appears that the remarkable fact of so few being killed 
and wounded, can be accounted for only by supposing great 
unskilfulness in the use of arms, and by the very safe distance 
which the parties kept from each other. 

At last, through the intervention of an anti-Mormon commit- 
tee of one hundred from Quincy, the Mormons and their allies 
were induced to submit to such terms as the posse chose to 
dictate, which were that the Mormons should immediately give 
up their arms to the Quincy committee, and remove from the 


State. The trustees of the church and five of their clerks were 
permitted to remain for the sale of Mormon property, and the 
posse were to march in unmolested, and to leave a sufficient 
force to guarantee the performance of these stipulations. 

Accordingly, the constable's posse marched in with Brock 
man at their head, consisting of about eight hundred armed 
men, and six or seven hundred unarmed, who had assembled 
from all the country around, from motives of curiosity, to see 
the once proud city of Nauvoo humbled, and delivered up to 
its enemies, and to the domination of a self-constituted and irre- 
sponsible power. They proceeded into the city slowly and 
carefully, examining the way from fear of the explosion of a 
mine, many of which had been made by the Mormons, by 
burying kegs of powder in the ground, with a man stationed 
at a distance to pull a string communicating with the trigger 
of a percussion lock affixed to the keg. This kind of a contriv- 
ance was called by the Mormons a " hell's half acre." When 
the posse arrived in the city, the leaders of it erected themselves 
into a tribunal to decide who should be forced away and who 
remain. Parties were despatched to hunt for Mormon arms 
and for Mormons, and to bring them to the judgment, where 
they received their doom from the mouth of Brockman, who 
there sat a grim and unawed tyrant for the time. As a general 
rule, the Mormons were ordered to leave within an hour or two 
hours ; and by rare grace, some of them were allowed until 
next day, and in a few cases longer. The treaty specified that 
the Mormons only should be driven into exile. Nothing was 
said in it concerning the new citizens, who had with the Mor- 
mons defended the city. But the posse no sooner obtained 
possession, than they commenced expelling the new citizens. 
Some of them were ducked in the river, being in one or two 
instances actually baptized in the name of the leaders of the 
mob, others were forcibly driven into the ferry boats, to be 
taken over the river, before the bayonets of armed ruffians; 


and it is believed that the houses of most of them were broken 
open and their property stolen during their absence. Many of 
these new settlers were strangers in the country from various 
parts of the United States, who were attracted there by the low 
price of property, and they knew but little of previous difficul- 
ties, or the merits of the quarrel. They saw with their own 
eyes that the Mormons were industriously preparing to go 
away, and they knew of their own knowledge that an effort to 
expel them with force was gratuitous and unnecessary cruelty. 
They had been trained in the States from whence they came to 
abhor mobs, and to obey the law, and they volunteered their 
services under executive authority, to defend their town and 
their property against mob violence, and as they honestly be- 
lieved, from destruction. But in this they were partly mis- 
taken, for although the mob leaders, in the exercise of unbridled 
power, were guilty of many enormities to the persons of indi- 
viduals, and although much personal property was stolen, yet 
they abstained from materially injuring houses and buildings. 
The most that was done in this way, was the stealing of the 
doors and the sash of the windows from the houses by some- 
body ; the anti-Mormons allege that they were carried away by 
the Mormons, and the Mormons aver that the most of them 
were stolen by the anti-Mormons. 

In a few days the obnoxious inhabitants had been expelled, 
the warlike new citizens with the rest. This class of citizens 
had strong claims to be treated with more generosity by the 
conquerors ; but a mob, and more especially the mob leaders, 
inflamed with passion, exasperated by a brave resistance, their 
vulgar souls seeing no merit in the courage of adversaries, are 
not apt to show them much favor in the day of success and tri- 
umph. The main force of the posse was now disbanded. Brock- 
man returned home. But before he returned, whilst his men 
were doubly intoxicated with liquor and by the glory of their 
victory, one hundred of them volunteered to remain, to prevent 


the return of those who had been expelled, or who had fled 
knowing that they would be forced away, and otherwise cruelly 
treated if they remained to face their conquerors. These, of 
course, were the lowest, most violent, the least restrained by 
principle, of all the anti-Mormons. The most of them were 
such vagabonds as had no home anywhere else, no business or 
employment, and for that reason were the readiest to stay. 
The posse was finally diminished to about thirty men, under 
Major McCalla, and continued to exercise all the powers of 
government in Nauvoo, committing many high-handed acts of 
tyranny and oppression, and, as they said, some acts of charity 
to the suffering women and children, until they heard that a 
force was coming against them from Springfield. 

In the meantime the Mormons had been forced away from 
their homes unprepared for a journey. They and their women 
and children had been thrown houseless upon the Iowa shore, 
without provisions or the means of getting them, or to get away 
to places where provisions might be obtained. It was now the 
highest of the sickly season. Many of them were taken from 
sick beds, hurried into the boats and driven away by the armed 
ruffians, now exercising the power of government. The best 
they could do was to erect their tents on the banks of the river, 
and there remain to take their chance of perishing by hunger, 
or by prevailing sickness. In this condition the sick without 
shelter, food, nourishment, or medicines, died by scores. The 
mother watched her sick babe without hope, until it died ; and 
when she sunk under accumulated miseries, it was only to be 
quickly followed by her other children, now left without the 
least attention ; for the men had scattered out over the country 
seeking employment and the means of living. Their distressed 
condition was no sooner known, than all parties contributed to 
their relief; the anti-Mormons as much as others. 

Some of the new citizens who had been driven away, had sev- 
eral times attempted to return to look after their property, and 


were each time driven away with more violence than they were 
before. The people of the State looked upon these outrages 
with calm indifference. A few here and there were anxions 
that something should be done to put an end to them. But 
such persons were generally moderate men who, because they 
are not violent themselves, dislike violence in others ; and for 
the same reason, although they desire something to be done, 
yet never do anything to aid the authorities of the State. These 
moderate men, if force is necessary to put down force, are al- 
ways the last whose services can be obtained ; and yet they are 
always the readiest to find fault with the government which 
they have failed to assist. They are the first to call upon the 
governor for prompt action, but the last to bring him any aid ; 
and very many of them tremble at the mere idea of venturing 
their popularity in such an enterprise. Let no public man in 
times of excitement depend upon moderate men for support ; 
nor can he in such times justly expect to be supported in mod- 
erate measures. All violence is wrong ; the moderate course 
is the right one ; the violent men support their measures with 
energy ; the moderate men let theirs perish for want of sup- 
port. In such a contest a very few, a dozen violent men are 
worth a thousand of the moderates. The moderate party never 
give any efficient support to their leaders. They will coldly 
approve if, upon a very careful and curious looking into mat- 
ters, what has been done suits them in the manner and amount 
of it exactly ; but if not suited to the eighth of an inch, then 
they are not sparing in their censure. This is true not only as 
to excitements which lead to civil war, but as to all excitements 
attending the contests of party. And it is for this reason that 
ambitious politicians are always driven to violent courses, to 
extreme measures, and to eschew all moderation. They know 
that they can depend upon the men of violence and action for 
support. And they know, as La Fayette might have known, 
that the moderate men never give a support worth anything 


to any one. The wealthy, who stand most in need of pro- 
tection against violence, very rarely ever volunteer to put it 
down; most frequently leaving the laws to be enforced, if 
enforced at all, by obscure men ;. and many times by such per- 
sons as have no business of their own, or care for the stability 
of law and government. Such men as these are the readiest to 
volunteer in a popular service ; some volunteer -without consid- 
ering the merits of the cause ; and in civil broils as they change 
their minds with the changing winds, and have the election of 
their own commanders, their attachment to the one or the other 
side is not always to be relied on. Now, as long as the wealthy 
substantial citizen refuses his aid, the support of government 
rests upon such feeble helps as these. 

But the people had now waked up to reflection ; they had 
seen a mob victorious over the government of the people. The 
government in a large district was actually put down and trod- 
den under foot. They were willing that the Mormons might 
be driven away; but they had not anticipated the outrages 
which followed. A re action took place, and such is the incon- 
stancy of popular feeling, that men who were before outrageous 
against the governor for making any, even an abortive effort to 
extend a scanty assistance to an oppressed people, were now no 
less clamorous against him for not raising a force before one 
could possibly be raised ; and they even went so far as to re- 
quire that martial law should be declared ; and that the rioters 
should be hung without trial or judgment. Thus they thought 
that mob violence might be put down by the illegal mob vio- 
lence of government ; and were in favor of converting the gov- 
ernment into a mob to put down mobocracy. 

There is a vague feeling among the people in favor of martial 
law on such occasions. I can find no authoriry in the constitu- 
tion, or anywhere else, for the enforcement of martial law out- 
side the lines of a military encampment. The civil law is above 
the military. But when the civil law shall be utterly disre- 


garded and trampled under foot ; when the people become 
wholly unfit for self-government ; when anarchy and disorder 
shall be forced to give place to despotism ; when our forms of 
government shall be utterly overthrown and abandoned, as ex- 
periments which have failed, the first dawnings of the reign of 
tyrants most likely will be preceded by proclamations of mar- 
tial law, not for the government of armies, but for the govern- 
ment and punishment of a people at once rebellious and deserv- 
ing to be slaves. The general sentiment in favor of martial 
law and the disorders calling it forth, are fearful evidences of a 
falling away from the true principles of liberty. Ever since 
Gen. Jackson on some great occasions, when the fate of half the 
country was at stake, " took the responsibility" the country has 
swarmed with a tribe of small statesmen who seem to think 
that the true secret of government is to set it aside and re- 
sort to mere force, upon the occurrence of the smallest diffi- 
culties. It may be well enough on great occasions to have one 
great Jackson ; but on every small occasion no one can imagine 
the danger of having a multitude of little Jacksons. Jackson's 
example is to be admired rather than imitated ; and the first 
may be done easier and safer than the last. 

Government was obliged to wait for a change in the feelings 
of the people. As soon as this change was manifested, one hun- 
dred and twenty men were raised in and near Springfield, and 
with this small force the governor started to Hancock. Before 
this force arrived there, it had increased to the number of two 
hundred. The motive for going over this time was to restore 
to their homes about sixty families of new citizens, not being 
Mormons, who had been driven away from their property, most 
of which had been stolen during their absence. The Mormons 
could not have been persuaded to return on any terms. The 
governor had no expectation of being resisted by the great body 
of anties, although he had attempted to bring some of them to 
justice for their crimes ; yet were they notoriously indebted to 


him for being recalled to their homes when driven away by the 
sheriff and his Mormon posse. He had been mainly instru- 
mental in inducing the great body of Mormons to leave the 
State ; he had effectually aided in protecting the county revenue 
from being collected and most probably squandered by the 
sheriff, whose only securities were Mormons about to leave the 
country ; he had also given effectual assistance in preventing the 
Mormon county court from running the county in debt thirty 
or forty thousand dollars, to pay the Mormon posse under 
Backinstos ; and he had, for the space of seven months, obsti- 
nately refused to recall Major Warren's force stationed in Han- 
cock for their protection, though their recall was daily in- 
sisted upon by the strongest of the governor's political friends. 
During all this time, he had the anti-Mormons at his mercy ; 
during the dead, cold winter, when their expulsion from their 
homes would have ruined them. It was only to recall the mili- 
tary, and restore the charge of keeping the peace to the sheriff. 
But the anties did not feel the least grateful for any of the 
good which had been done them. They remembered only the 
evil. It appeared, that if they had any gratitude, it consisted 
alone in a lively expectation of future favor. Indeed, during 
the whole winter that the governor was protecting them in their 
homes, and keeping their lives in their bodies, they never ceased 
cursing and abusing him. But the governor had done these 
things because they were right, and was too sensible a man to 
expect any thanks ; and they are now mentioned, not to com- 
plain, but to illustrate a truth in matters of government, which 
is this : that he who will preserve the confidence and affection 
of a faction, must be with it every time, through right and 
wrong. This course the governor is not at liberty to take in a 
civil war, where both parties seek to trample the government 
under feet, and where both of them in turn may need restraint. 
And yet if he does not take one side and keep it, no allowance 
is made for his position ; he is judged of as an individual fac- 


'* <*.. 

tionist would be ; he is charged with being first on one side, 

and then on the other, and on every side ; just as if he had no 
public duty to perform, but was at liberty to take sides in the 
quarrel like a private man. 

Very much to his astonishment, when the governor arrived 
in Hancock, the anti-Mormons were exceedingly bitter against 
him. Brockman was sent for ; the leaders assembled, and now 
commenced a series of the most vexatious proceedings. They 
could hardly find words strong enough to express their unaffect- 
ed surprise and astonishment at the impudence of the governor 
and the people of other counties in interfering, as they called 
it, in the affairs of Hancock. So far had the mob-scenes which 
they had passed through beclouded their judgments, and so far 
had they imitated the Mormons in their modes of thinking, that 
they really believed that the people of Hancock had some kind 
of government and sovereignty of their own, and that to inter- 
fere with this was to invade their sacred rights. In their long, 
bitter, and angry contest with the Mormons, they had acquired 
most of the vices of that people, being hurried on by the inten- 
sity of bad passions to imitate their crimes, that they might be 
equal to them in the contest. This is one of the inevitable ef- 
fects of long-continued faction ; and, accordingly, the presence 
of the Mormons for six years in that part of the country has 
left moral blotches and propensities to crime, a total dissolution 
of moral principle among the remaining inhabitants, which one 
generation passing away will not eradicate, and perhaps will 
never be effectually cured until they learn by long and dire ex- 
perience that the way of the transgressor is hard. 

After the arrival of the governor in the county, two public 
meetings were held by the anties, one in Carthage and one in 
Nauvoo ; at both of which, it was resolved that they would do 
nothing whilst the State forces remain ; but believing that this 
force could be kept up only for a short time, they solemnly de- 
termined to drive out the proscribed new citizens as soon as the 


notwithstanding the doctor had adjudged that there were no 
rogues in Massac, the militia knew to the contrary, and as was 
foreseen by the governor, the militia refused to turn out for 
their protection. Thus the regulators were again left undis- 
puted masters of the county. They now assembled themselves 
together, caught a number of suspected persons, and tried them 
by a committee ; some were acquitted, others convicted, and 
were whipped or tarred and feathered. The numbers impli- 
cated with the counterfeiters, increased rather than diminished. 
Many persons who had before been considered honest men, 
were now implicated, which increased the excitement. Many 
who were formerly in favor of the regulators, now left them, 
and disapproved of their conduct. The one party was called 
" Regulators," the other " Flatheads." 

A party of about twenty regulators went to the house of an 
old man named Mathis, to arrest him and force him to give 
evidence of the guilt of certain persons of the neighborhood, 
and of some who had been inmates of his house. He and his 
wife resisted the arrest. The old woman being unusually 
strong and active, knocked down one or two of the party with 
her fists. A gun was then presented to her breast accompanied 
by a threat of blowing her heart out if she continued her re- 
sistance. She caught the gun and shoved it downwards, when 
it went off and shot her through the thigh. She was also 
struck several blows on the head with the gun-barrel, inflicting 
considerable wounds, knocking her down in her turn. The par- 
ty captured the old man Mathis and carried him away with 
them, since which time he has not been heard of, but is sup- 
posed to have been murdered. The regulators say that the 
shooting of the old lady was accidental. She made the proper 
affidavit for the purpose of having the perpetrators of the crime 
arrested. The proper authorities succeeded in arresting about 
ten of them. They were carried to the Metropolis house in 
Metropolis city, and there placed under a guard, while search 


was made for the old man Mathis, who was desired as a witness 
against the prisoners. The news of their arrest having gone 
abroad, it was rumored all over the country that the Flatheads 
intended to put them to death if they failed to convict them. 
This brought out a large force of regulators for the avowed pur- 
pose of rescuing the prisoners. They marched to Metropolis 
city, where they found the sheriff with a party about as numer- 
ous as their own. Various attempts to compromise the diffi- 
culty without the effusion of blood were made ; but this could 
be effected only by the unconditional release of the prisoners. 
After getting their friends from the sheriff's party, the regulators 
arrested several of the sheriff's guards and delivered them to the 
Kentuckians, to be dealt with as they saw proper. In attempt- 
ing to arrest one man they fired at him twice without injury, 
when he surrendered ; and as he was lead down stairs he was 
stabbed from behind by one of the regulators ; and he having 
screamed murder in consequence of his wound, a Methodist 
preacher who commanded one of the regulating companies ex- 
claimed, " Now they are using them as they should be." * The 
wounded man was said, to be respectable, and upon good 
authority, was represented to be an honest, industrious young 
man. The man who stabbed him had before had a personal 
difficulty with him, and sought this means of getting revenged. 
Thus it is, when regular government is prostrated and the laws 
trampled under foot, apparently for the best of purposes, men 
will avail themselves of the prevalent anarchy to revenge their 
private quarrels ; in a short time the original purpose for which 
force is resorted to will be forgotten ; and instead of punishing 
horse-thieves and robbers, those who drop the law and resort 
to force, soon find themselves fiercely contending to revenge 
injuries and insults, and to maintain their assumed authority. 
The prisoners taken away by the Kentuckians were mostly 

* See volume of Illinois Reports for 1846-'7, p. 96. Senate Documents. 


for Capt. Allen, for stopping some persons in the streets of 
Carthage, whilst searching for arms. These writs were intend- 
ed to be made the foundation of another call for the posse, and 
for our expulsion from the county. The effort was made, but 
the mob party failed to enlist more than two hundred and fifty 
men. We had diminished ours, by discharges, to one hundred 
and twenty. But the mob hesitated to attack us without five 
or six times our number, and accordingly abandoned their de- 
sign of making the arrests. 

After staying in the county seventeen days, being in no dan- 
ger except from secret assassins, having made diligent search 
for the five pieces of cannon and other arms belonging to the 
State, without success ; and as our officers and men published 
in a handbill, on the ground, having forced the assassins and 
cut-throats there to endure the presence of the exiled citizens, 
the principal part of the force was disbanded. Major Jackson 
and Captain Connelly were left with fifty men to remain until 
the 15th of December, 1846, before which day the legislature 
was to assemble, and it was expected that the cold of the win- 
ter would by that time put an end to the anti-Mormon agita- 
tions. This expectation was realized. Nothing puts an end to 
the continued enterprises of a mob sooner than the cold of 

We did not think worth while to arrest any one for previous 
riots, knowing as we did that the State could not change the 
trial to any other county, and that no one could be convicted 
in Hancock. In fact, the anties made their boasts that as they 
were in the entire possession of the juries and all civil officers 
of the county, no jury could be obtained there to convict them. 
If Brockman or others had been arrested, no justice of the 
peace would have committed them for trial ; if they had been 
committed, they would have been turned loose by the sheriff or 
the mob. And if they had chosen to stand their trial, they 
were certain not to be convicted. An effort to arrest and pros- 


ecute these men would have resulted only in another triumph 
of the mob over government. In fact, there was no way to 
punish them, as former trials had shown, except by martial law ; 
and this course was utterly illegal. The governor believed that 
he could not declare martial law for the punishment of citizens 
without admitting that free government had failed ; and as- 
suming that despotism was necessary in its place. He believed 
that to proceed in such cases by martial law was to overturn 
the government, institute monarchy, and make himself a dicta- 
tor. If he erred in this, it was an error springing from attach- 
ment to the principles of civil liberty. Many were they who 
wondered that the governor did not do something to punish 
these men ; and held him responsible just as if he actually pos- 
sessed the power of government ; just as if he possessed the 
power of appointing and removing all the civil and military 
officers in the disaffected region, who being independent of the 
governor, set up authority against authority ; and just as if he 
had a standing army at command, or with his single arm could 
make the people put down the people. Let his administration 
be what it may in these difficulties, yet it illustrates the princi- 
ple which most of all I desire to illustrate in this history ; 
which is, that government is naturally forced to be a type of 
the people over whom it is instituted. The people are said to 
be the masters, and public officers the servants, and such is the 
fact ; but with this fact let it be remembered that wherever the 
relation of master and servant exists, the proverb of " like mas- 
ter like man " will apply. If the people will have anarchy, 
there is no power short of despotism capable of forcing them to 
submission ; and the despotism which naturally grows out of 
anarchy, can never be established by those who are elected to 
administer regular government. If the mob spirit is to con- 
tinue, it must necessarily lead to despotism ; but this despotism 
will be erected upon the ruins of government, and not spring 
out of it. It has been said that one great party in this country 


is secretly in favor of monarchy. If this were true, that party 
could not sooner or more effectually accomplish their purposes 
than to lend their aid in creating a necessity for it. Let them 
but encourage " every man to do that which seemeth good in 
his own eyes," and God will give them a king, as he gave one 
to the Jews for the hardness of their hearts. This simple quo- 
tation from Scripture is a vivid description of anarchy ; of that 
state of disorder, when men will consent to be slaves rather 
than without the protection of government ; when men fly from 
the tyranny and misrule of the many -headed monster for pro- 
tection to the despotism of one man. The giving of a king to 
the Jews is referred to as a special providence of God. But it is 
a fundamental law of man's nature from which he cannot escape, 
that despotism is obliged to grow out of general anarchy, as 
surely as a stone is obliged to fall to the earth when left unsup- 
ported in the air. Without any revealed special providence, 
but in accordance with this great law of man's nature, Cromwell 
rose out of the disorders of the English revolution ; Charles the 
Second was restored to despotism by the anarchy which suc- 
ceeded Cromwell ; and Bonaparte came forth from the misrule 
of republican France. The people in all these cases attempted 
to govern ; but in fact, did not. They were incapable of self- 
government ; and by returning to despotism, admitted that they 
needed a master. Where the people are unfit for liberty ; 
where they will not be free without violence, license and injus- 
tice to others ; where they do not deserve to be free, nature it- 
self will give them a master. No form of constitution can 
make them free and keep them so. On the contrary, a people 
who are fit for and deserve liberty, cannot be enslaved. 


Riots in Massac county in 1846 Robbery in Pope county The regulators Their pro- 
ceedingsArrests made by them The torture and confession of their prisoners 
The rogues vote for the county officers of Massac in 1846 Extorted and bribed 
evidence to implicate the sheriff and others, by the opposing candidates The sheriff 
and others ordered to leave the county Many whipped, tarred and feathered, and 
some drowned Arrest of the rioters They are rescued by the regulators Judge 
Scales' charge to the grand jury Indictments against the regulators Threats to 
lynch the judge and the grand jury Order to Dr. Gibbs, and reason for such an 
order His proceedings under it The militia refuse to turn out Inefficiency of 
well-disposed moderate men in such times A few bold, violent men, can govern 
a county, and how they do it The reasons why the militia would not turn out 
Attack on old Mathis, his wife shot, he is carried away, supposed to have been 
murdered The regulators arrested, given up by the sheriff, prisoners taken to Ken- 
tucky Some of them drowned Proceedings of the new governor and the legisla- 
ture, then in session District courts provided to evade the Constitution against 
changes of tho venue in criminal cases The disturbances die away of themselves 
The situation in 1842 compared with its condition in December 1846. 

WHILST the Mormons and their adversaries were at war in the 
county of Hancock, a little rebellion, less in numbers but equal 
in violence, was raging in the county of Massac, on the Ohio 
river. It has heretofore been mentioned, that an ancient colony 
of horse-thieves, counterfeiters, and robbers, had long infested 
the counties of Massac and Pope. They were so strong and so 
well combined together, as to insure impunity from punishment 
by legal means. In the summer of 1846, a number of these 
desperadoes attacked the house of an aged citizen in Pope 
county, and robbed him of about $2,500 in gold. In the act 
of committing the robbery, one of them left behind a knife 
made by a blacksmith of the neighborhood, by means of which 
he was identified. This one being arrested, and subjected to 
torture by the neighboring people, confessed his crime, and 


gave the names of his associates. These again being arrested, 
to the number of a dozen, and some of them being tortured, 
disclosed the names of a long list of confederates in crime, 
scattered through several counties. The honest portion of the 
people now associated themselves into a band of regulators, 
and proceeded to order all suspected persons to leave the coun- 
try. But before this order could be enforced, the election for 
county officers came on in August 1846, and those who were 
suspected to be rogues all threw their votes one way, and, as it 
was asserted, thereby insured the election of a sheriff and other 
officers in the county of Massac, who were opposed to the pro- 
ceedings of the regulators, and not over zealous in enforcing 
the laws. The county of Massac gave about five hundred votes, 
and out of these John W. Read, the successful candidate for 
sheriff, received about three hundred majority. His opponent 
was a wealthy citizen, and, as it appeared, not very popular, but 
his influence over his friends was almost unlimited. There was 
another unsuccessful candidate for county clerk, of the same 
description. These two put themselves at the head of their 
friends in Pope and Massac. And being assisted by large 
numbers from Paducah and Southland, in Kentucky, they pro- 
ceeded to drive out and punish all suspected persons, and to 
torture them, to force them to confess and disclose the names 
of their confederates. By this means the numbers implicated 
in crime were increased every day. The mode of torture ap- 
plied to these people, was to take them to the Ohio river, and 
hold them under water, until they showed a willingness to con- 
fess. Others had ropes tied around their bodies over their 
arms, and a stick twisted into the ropes until their ribs and 
sides were crushed in by force of the pressure. Some of the 
persons who were maltreated in this way, obtained warrants 
for the arrest of the regulators. These warrants were put into 
the hands of the sheriff, who arrested some of the offenders ; 
but the persons arrested were rescued out of jail in a short time 


by their friends. Shortly after ,this, the regulators ordered the 
sheriff and county clerk, together with the magistrate who issued 
the warrants, to leave the country, under the penalty of severe 
corporal punishment. It appears that by means of torture and 
bribery, some notorious rogues had been induced to accuse the 
sheriff, the county clerk, and the magistrate, of being members 
of the gang of robbers ; and it was upon this pretext that they 
were ordered to leave the country. 

In this condition of things, application was made in August 
1846, to the governor, for a militia force to sustain the con- 
stituted authorities of Massac. This disturbance being at a dis- 
tance of two hundred and fifty rniles from the seat of govern- 
ment, and in a part of the country between which and the seat 
of government there was but very little communication, the 
facts concerning it were but imperfectly known to the governor, 
for which reason he issued an order to Brigadier-General John 
T. Davis, of Williamson county, to examine into it, and if he 
judged it necessary to call out the militia. Gen. Davis pro- 
ceeded to Massac, called the parties together, and, as he be- 
lieved, induced them to settle their difficulties ; but he had no 
sooner left the county, than violence broke out afresh. The 
regulators came down from Pope, and over from Kentucky, 
and drove out the sheriff, the county clerk, the representative 
elect to the legislature, and many others ; they committed ac- 
tual violence by whipping a considerable number, and threat- 
ened summary punishment to every one, rogue or honest man, 
who spoke against their proceedings. This is the great evil of 
lynch law. The lynchers set out with the moderate and hon- 
est intention of exterminating notorious rogues only. But as 
they proceed, they find opposition from many honest persons, 
who can never divest themselves of the belief, that the laws of 
the country are amply sufficient for the punishment and pre- 
vention of crime. The lynchers then have to maintain their 
assumed authority, in opposition to law and regular govern- 


ment, and they are apt to be no less arbitrary and violent in 
so doing, than tyranny generally is in maintaining its preten- 
sions. For this reason they think they must crush all opposi- 
tion, and in this mode, that which at first was merely a war 
between honest men and rogues, is converted into a war be- 
tween honest men alone, one party contending for the supremacy 
of the laws, and the other maintaining its own assumed authority. 
Not long after these events, the circuit court was held for 
Massac. Judge Scates delivered a strong charge to the grand 
jury against the proceedings of the regulators ; the grand jury 
found indictments against a number of them. Warrants were 
issued upon the indictments ; quite a number were arrested by 
the sheriff and committed to jail. The regulators assembled 
from Kentucky and the neighboring counties in Dlinois, with 
the avowed intention of releasing the prisoners. They threat- 
ened to lynch Judge Scates, if he ever returned again to hold 
court in Massac ; and they ordered the members of the grand 
jury and the witnesses before them, to leave the country under 
pain of corporal punishment. The sheriff set about summoning 
a posse to secure his prisoners, to resist the regulators, and to 
maintain the authority of government. But now was the reign 
of terror indeed. The regulators by their violence had struck 
terror into all moderate men, who, although they disapproved 
of their proceedings, were afraid to join the sheriff, for fear of 
being involved hi the fate of the horse-thieves. These moder- 
ate men, who disapproved of the proceedings of the regulators, 
were in a majority of three to one in the county ; but such is 
the inefficiency of moderate men, that one bold daring man of 
violence can generally overawe and terrify a dozen of them. 
For this reason the sheriff failed to raise a force among the 
reputable moderate men of the county, and was joined only, for 
the most part, by sixty or seventy men, who had been ordered 
to leave the country, many of whom were known to be noto- 
rious rogues. 


The regulators marched down to Metropolis city, the county 
seat of Massac, in much greater force. A parley ensued be- 
tween the sheriff's party and the regulators ; and it was finally 
agreed that the sheriff's party should surrender under a promise 
of exemption from violence. The regulators then took possess- 
ion of the jail, liberated their friends confined in it, carried sev- 
eral of the sheriff's posse along with them as prisoners, and 
murdered some of them, by drowning them in the Ohio river. 
The sheriff and all his active friends were again ordered to leave, 
and were driven out of the country. 

The sheriff, the representative to the legislature, and another 
gentleman, then proceeded to see the governor, who was then 
at Nauvoo, in Hancock county, with a military force, endeavor- 
ing to reinstate the exiled citizens of Hancock. As he was now 
within twenty days of the expiration of his office, he was lothe 
to begin measures with the Massac rioters, which he feared 
might not be approved or pursued by his successor. Besides 
this, from all former experience, he was perfectly certain that 
it would be entirely useless to order out the militia for the pro- 
tection of horse-thieves. He well knew that the militia could 
not be raised for such a purpose. He therefore issued an order 
to Dr. William J. Gibbs, of Johnson county, authorizing him 
to call upon the militia officers -in some of the neighboring coun- 
ties, for a force to protect the sheriff and other county officers, 
the magistrates, the grand jury and the witnesses before them, 
and the honest part of the community. Dr. Gibbs proceeded 
to Massac, and calling to his assistance two justices of the peace, 
he required the regulators to come before them and establish 
their charges, so that he could know who were and who were 
not rogues, to be put out of the protection of law. The regu- 
lators declined appearing before him, wherefore the doctor ad- 
judged that there were no rogues in Massac county, and that 
all were entitled to protection against the regulators. He pro- 
ceeded to call for the militia of Union and other counties ; but 



notwithstanding the doctor had adjudged that there were no 
rogues in Massac, the militia knew to the contrary, and as was 
foreseen by the governor, the militia refused to turn out for 
their protection. Thus the regulators were again left undis- 
puted masters of the county. They now assembled themselves 
together, caught a number of suspected persons, and tried them 
by a committee ; some were acquitted, others convicted, and 
were whipped or tarred and feathered. The numbers impli- 
cated with the counterfeiters, increased rather than diminished. 
Many persons who had before been considered honest men, 
were now implicated, which increased the excitement. Many 
who were formerly in favor of the regulators, now left them, 
and disapproved of their conduct. The one party was called 
" Regulators," the other " Flatheads." 

A party of about twenty regulators went to the house of an 
old man named Mathis, to arrest him and force him to give 
evidence of the guilt of certain persons of the neighborhood, 
and of some who had been inmates of his house. He and his 
wife resisted the arrest. The old woman being unusually 
strong and active, knocked down one or two of the party with 
her fists. A gun was then presented to her breast accompanied 
by a threat of blowing her heart out if she continued her re- 
sistance. She caught the gun and shoved it downwards, when 
it went off and shot her through the thigh. She was also 
struck several blows on the head with the gun-barrel, inflicting 
considerable wounds, knocking her down in her turn. The par- 
ty captured the old man Mathis and carried him away with 
them, since which time he has not been heard of, but is sup- 
posed to have been murdered. The regulators say that the 
shooting of the old lady was accidental. She made the proper 
affidavit for the purpose of having the perpetrators of the crime 
arrested. The proper authorities succeeded in arresting about 
ten of them. They were carried to the Metropolis house in 
Metropolis city, and there placed under a guard, while search 


was made for the old man Mathis, who was desired as a witness 
against the prisoners. The news of their arrest having gone 
abroad, it was rumored all over the country that the Flatheads 
intended to put them to death if they failed to convict them. 
This brought out a large force of regulators for the avowed pur- 
pose of rescuing the prisoners. They marched to Metropolis 
city, where they found the sheriff with a party about as numer- 
ous as their own. Various attempts to compromise the diffi- 
culty without the effusion of blood were made ; but this could 
be effected only by the unconditional release of the prisoners. 
After getting their friends from the sheriff's party, the regulators 
arrested several of the sheriff's guards and delivered them to the 
Kentuckians, to be dealt with as they saw proper. In attempt- 
ing to arrest one man they fired at him twice without injury, 
when he surrendered ; and as he was lead down stairs he was 
stabbed from behind by one of the regulators ; and he having 
screamed murder in consequence of his wound, a Methodist 
preacher who commanded one of the regulating companies ex- 
claimed, " Now they are using them as they should be." * The 
wounded man was said, to be respectable, and upon good 
authority, was represented to be an honest, industrious young 
man. The man who stabbed him had before had a personal 
difficulty with him, and sought this means of getting revenged. 
Thus it is, when regular government is prostrated and the laws 
trampled under foot, apparently for the best of purposes, men 
will avail themselves of the prevalent anarchy to revenge their 
private quarrels ; in a short time the original purpose for which 
force is resorted to will be forgotten ; and instead of punishing 
horse-thieves and robbers, those who drop the law and resort 
to force, soon find themselves fiercely contending to revenge 
injuries and insults, and to maintain their assumed authority. 
The prisoners taken away by the Kentuckians were mostly 

* See volume of Illinois Reports for 1846-'7, p. 96. Senate Documents. 


suspicious characters ; one of them resided in Lasalle county 
near the Illinois river, but had resided several months at Me- 
tropolis in settling the affairs of an estate, and whose only of- 
fence was that he had taken an active part in arresting and 
securing the prisoners just now released. He was tied together 
with the other prisoners, and all of them taken off towards Pa- 
ducah. Letters were received from the regulators by their 
friends in Springfield, in which they give an account of what 
they had done with several of these persons. They wrote that 
several of them " had gone to Arkansas," by which was under- 
stood that they had drowned their prisoners in the Ohio river, 
and left their bodies to float with the current in the direction to 
Arkansas. On the 23d of December, 1846, a convention of 
regulators from the counties of Pope, Massac and Johnson, met 
at Golconda, and ordered the sheriff of Massac, the clerk of the 
county court, and many other citizens, to leave the country 
within thirty days. The sheriff and many others left the coun- 
try, and were absent all winter. The new governor and the 
legislature then in session, were busy all winter in devising 
measures to suppress these disturbances ; but nothing effectual 
was done. The legislature passed a law, the constitutionality 
of which was doubted by many, authorizing the governor when 
he was satisfied that a crime had been committed by twenty 
persons or more, to issue his proclamation ; and then the judge 
of the circuit was authorized to hold a district court in a large 
district, embracing several counties. By this means it was 
sought to evade the constitution and take the trial out of the 
county where the crime was committed, against the will of the 
accused. In other words, it was believed that in this indirect 
mode the State could entitle itself to a change of venue in crim- 
inal cases, against the will of the prisoner. Our former expe- 
rience had abundantly showed that when crimes had been com- 
mitted by powerful combinations of men, the guilty never could 
be convicted in the counties in which the crimes had been com- 


mitted. I have never learned whether any proceedings have 
taken place under the law ; but so it is, no one has yet been 
punished ; the disturbances in Massac have died away. And 
whether they died away naturally, being obliged like every- 
thing else, to come to an end, or whether the rioters were de- 
terred by the provisions of the foregoing act of the legislature, 
is unknown to the author. 

In the conclusion of this history, the author must be permit- 
ted to indulge in a slight restrospection of the past. In 1842, 
when he came into office, the State was in debt about $14,000,- 
000, for moneys wasted upon internal improvements and in 
banking; the domestic treasury of the State was in arrear 
$313,000 for the ordinary expenses of government; auditors' 
warrants were freely selling at a discount of fifty per cent. ; the 
people were unable to pay even moderate taxes to replenish the 
treasury, in which not one cent was contained even to pay 
postage on letters to and from the public offices ; the great 
canal, after spending five millions of dollars on it, was about to 
be abandoned ; the banks, upon which the people had relied for a 
currency, had become insolvent, their paper had fallen so low 
as to cease to circulate as money, and as yet no other money 
had taken its place, leaving the people wholly destitute of a cir- 
culating medium, and universally in debt ; immigration to the 
State had almost ceased ; real estate was wholly unsaleable ; 
the people abroad terrified by the prospect of high taxation, re- 
fused to come amongst us for settlement ; and our own people at 
home were no less alarmed and terrified at the magnitude of 
our debt, then apparently so much exceeding any known re- 
sources of the country. Many were driven to absolute despair 
of ever paying a cent of it ; and it would have required but 
little countenance and encouragement in the then disheartened 
and wavering condition of the public mind to have plunged the 


State into the irretrievable infamy of open repudiation. This 
is by no means an exaggerated picture of our affairs in 1842. 

In December, 1846, when the author went out of office, the 
domestic debt of the treasury, instead of being $313,000 was 
only $31,000, with $9,000 in the treasury ; auditors' warrants 
were at par, or very nearly so ; the banks had been put into 
liquidation in a manner just to all parties, and so as to maintain 
the character of the State for moderation and integrity ; violent 
counsels were rejected ; the notes of the banks had entirely dis- 
appeared, and had been replaced in circulation by a reasonable 
abundance of gold and silver coin and the notes of solvent 
banks of other States ; the people had very generally paid their 
private debts ; a very considerable portion of the State debt 
had been paid also ; about three millions of dollars had been 
paid by a sale of the public property, and by putting the bank 
into liquidation ; and a sum of five millions more had been ef- 
fectually provided for to be paid after the completion of the 
canal ; being a reduction of eight millions of the State debt 
which had been paid, redeemed, or provided for, whilst the au- 
thor was in office. The State itself, although broken, and at 
one time discredited, and a by-word throughout the civilized 
world, had to the astonishment of every one been able to bor- 
row on the credit of its property, the further sum of $1,600,000 
to finish the canal ; and that great work, at one time so hopeless 
and so nearly abandoned, is now in a fair way of completion. 

The people abroad have once more begun to seek this good- 
ly land for their future homes. From 1843 until 1846, our 
population rapidly increased ; and is now increasing faster than 
it ever did before. Our own people have become contented 
and happy ; and the former discredit resting upon them abroad 
for supposed wilful delinquency in paying the State debt, no 
longer exists. 

It is a just pride and a high satisfaction for the author to feel 
and know that he has been somewhat instrumental in produc- 


ing these gratifying results. In this history he has detailed all 
the measures of the legislature which produced them ; and if 
these measures did not all originate with him, he can rightfully 
and justly claim that he supported them with all his power and 
influence, and has faithfully endeavored to carry them out with 
the best ability he could command. For so doing, he has had 
to encounter bitter opposition to his administration ; and enmi- 
ties have sprung up personally against himself which he hopes 
will not last forever. For although he wants no office, yet is 
he possessed of such sensibility, that it is painful to him to be 
the subject of unmerited obloquy; and for this reason, and this 
alone, he hopes that when those of his fellow-citizens who disap- 
proved of his administration in these particulars, have time to 
look into the merits of these measures, and see how they have 
lifted the State from the lowest abyss of despair and gloom to 
a commanding and honorable position among her sisters of the 
Union, they will not remember their wrath forever. 





I. TABLE BOOK. (Eevised and Enlarged.) This work 

is designed for Primary Schools in which the elementary steps of Arithmetic are 
usually tanght orally or by dictation. It is constructed upon the plan, that as soon 
as a pupil learns a fact or principle in Arithmetic, he should be taught its applica- 
tion and begin to practice it. To this end the Tables, both in Simple ana Com- 
pound Numbers, are first made familiar by mental exercises, and then are applied 
to exercises upon the slate. 

n. MENTAL AEITHMETIC; or, First Lessons in 

Numbers. (Revised and Enlarged.) This work is designed to furnish a series of 
Mental Exercises in Numbers, adapted to the capacities of beginners. It com- 
mences with practical examples relating to objects with which children are famil- 
iar ; the numbers at tirst are small, the transitions gradual, and the first question 
involving a new principle is carefully analyzed so as to afford a model of reasoning 
for the solution of similar examples. It contains all the Tables in Simple and Com- 
pound Numbers. 


Blackboard Exercises. (Revised and Enlarged.) This work is designed for begin- 
ners in Written Arithmetic, and carries them through the Compound Rules. 


Arithmetic. This work is designed as a Sequel to the First Lessons in Numbers, 
and is calculated for older pupils, or those who have had some practice in Intellect- 
ual Arithmetic. It takes up the subject where that work leaves it, and applies the 
principles of Analysis to the solution of a great variety of examples not found in other 
works of the kind. 


largeil.) The Practical Arithmetic has just been carefully revised and re-stereotyped. 
Several hundred new and ingenious examples have been added, with many other 
improvements. This work is designed for general use in Public Schools and Acade- 
mies, and contains all the subjects requisite to a thorough business and professional 
education In the language of a distinguished teacher, " In nearly every Article, some- 
thing is gained in the mode of presenting the subject, perspicuity and precision 
being remarkable throughout." 

* This is the first school book in which the standard units of Weights and Meas- 
ures adapted by our government, in 1834, were published. 


and Enlarged.) This work is prepared for the use of Teachers only. In addition 
to the answers, it exhibits the method of solving most of the examples, with the 
results of the several steps in the operation. 

VH. HIGHEE AEITHMETIC. This work is intended 

for advanced classes in Schools and Academies. It gives a full development of 
the philosophy of Arithmetic and its various applications to commercial and scien- 
tific purposes. 

% The fact that the Higher Arithmetic is adopted as a Text book in examining 
students for admission into Yale, College, is a practical recommendation of the work, 
which teachers and the friends of that venerable institution cannot fail to appreciate. 



is prepared for the use of Teachers only. Besides the answers to all the questions, 

it exhibits the mode of solving the more difficult examples, with the results of the 

several steps in the operation. 

* Each of the above Arithmetics is complete in itself. While the language of 
the rules and definitions of the same thing is purposely the same, the examples in each 
are all different from those in the others. This is a dictate of common sense, and it is 
believed will meet the approbation of every practical teacher. 


TION OF HEIGHTS AND DISTANCES ; with a summary view of 
the Nature and Use of Logarithms ; Adapted to the method of 
instruction in Schools and Academies. 


to the wants of the learner and the practical Surveyor. (Pub- 
lished soon.) 

Distinctive characteristics of Day and Thomson's Series. 

1. It is designed to cover the whole ground. 

2. It is eminently practical. 

3. The definitions and rules are simple, brief, and comprehensive. 

4. The subjects are arranged according to the natural order of the science. Hence, 

5. It has been a cardinal point never to anticipate a principle or rule ; and,never to 
use one principle in the explanation of another until it has itself been explained or de- 

6. The principles are arranged consecutively, and the dependence of each on those 
that precede it, is pointed out by references. 

7. The examples for illustration are practical and in point. 

8. The series is constructed upon the principle, that there is a reason for every rule 
and operation ; and that this reason should be brought within the reach and comprehen- 
sion of the learner. To this end, 

9. Nothing is taken for granted which requires proof. 

10. Each principle is carefully analyzed, and followed by sufficient examples to 
make its application thoroughly understood. 

11. The modes of analysis and reasoning are clear and logical. 

12. The " whys and wherefores" of the rules and operations are fully given. 

13. The rules, as far as possible, are constructed in such a manner as to suggest the 
principles upon which they are based. 

14. The examples and problems are numerous and progressively arranged. 

15. Last, though not least, the series contains much valuable information pertaining 
to business transactions and matters of science, not found in other works of the kind. 

* The circulation of Thomson's Arithmetics, during the brief period since their 
publication, is believed to be without a parallel, and the rapidly increasing demand for 
them is the strongest evidence of their superior merits. 


Among the numerous recommendations in favor of this series, the 
publishers respectfully invite attention to the following : 

From H. W. FARNSWORTH, A.M., Principal of JWto London Female Academy, Ct. 

Dear Sir : I have been and am now too busy to give in detail my reasons for con- 
sidering "Thomson's Revised Practical Arithmetic" the best book of its class now in 
use. The best evidence I can give of the estimation in which I hold the book, is the 
fact, that it is now the text book of the Academy of which I have the charge. I am, 
very respectfully, yours, H. W. FARNSWORTH. 

New London, Ct., Dec. 14th, 1853. 



Prom the Teachers of the I-'? male JVormal School of the City of New York. 
The undersigned have carefully examined " Thomson's Revised Practical Arith- 
metic," and take pleasure in sluiing that its definitions and rules arc simple, concise, and 
comprehensive ; its modes of reasoning and analysis are clear and logical, and the rea- 
sons for the rules full and satisfactory. 

We have used the former edition of this work for several years past with much sat- 
isfaction ; but the Revised edition just issued is enriched by the addition of several hun- 
dred new and well selected examples ; also by a number of important principles re- 
specting Domestic and Foreign Exchange, Equations of Payments, Duties, &C., with 
much valuable information pertaining to business transactions and matters of science, 
not to be found in other books of the kind. 




New York, Dec. 15th, 1853. 

From A. W. JOHNSTON, Esq., Principal of Canton Academy, JV. Y. 
I think "Thomson's Revised Practical Arithmetic" the best Arithmetic published. 

From A. L. MACDUFF, A.M., Principal of Bergen Academy, JV. J. 

ness, render it the ne plus ultra of Arithmetics. 

From N. P. STANTON, A.M.., Principal of JSrockport Collegiate Institute, JV. Y. 
" Thomson's Practical Arithmetic" has been the text book in the schools under my 
charge in the cities of Syracuse and Buffalo, also in the institution over which I am now 
placed. In my opinion, it excelled all other Arithmetics at the time of its first publica- 
tion, and the revised edition has no equal, N. P. STANTON. 
Brockport, N. Y., Dec. 24th, 1853. 

From D. MA.CAULEY, Esb., Chairman of Book Committee, Public Schools, City of 

JVejfl Orleans. 

Thomson's works require only to be known to be introduced into schools in which 
Arithmetic is considered an important branch of study. We have examined them 
carefully, and have no hesitation in pronouncing them admirably tilted for schools of 
every description, and superior, as a whole, to any we have yet seen. 
New Orleans, Nov. 9tb, 1853. 

From A. D. STANLEY, A.M., Prof. Mathematics, Yale College. 
Thomson's " Practical Arithmetic" commends itself to teachers for the clearness 
and precision with which its rules and principles are stated, for the number and variety 
of examples it furnishes as exercises for the pupil, and especially for the care which the 
author has taken to present appropriate suggestions and observations, wherever they 
are needed to clear up any difficulties that are likely to embarrass the learner. In rec- 
ommending the work as a class book for pupils, it is not unimportant to state, that the 
author has himself had much experience in the business of instruction, and has thus had 
occasion to know where there was room for improvement in the elementary treatises in 
common use. Without such experience, no one can be qualified to prepare a class book 
for schools. 

From the Principals of the Public Schools, Albany, JV. Y. 

Within the last few years, no less than ten different systems of Arithmetic have 
been more or less used in our schools. About two years since, in view of this evil, we 
examined several of the more prominent Arithmetics, and agreed with perfect unanim- 
ity upon Thomson's series, as the best adapted to the wants of the pupil, and the gen- 
eral purposes of instruction. 

We are happy to say, that after a trial of more than two years, we are confirmed as 
to the excellency of the books, that they have grown in favor by daily use, and that we 
have succeeded in making belter arithmeticians than by the use of any other books 





From Rev. S. J. MAY, late Prin. State JVormal School, Lexington, Mass. 
I have given some time to the examination of Thomson's "Practical Arithmetic," 
and am happy in being able to speak of it in terms of high commendation. The plan 
is excellent, and the execution of the plan thorough. 


From A. S. WELCH, A.B., Principal of Jonesville Union School. 
I have used Thomson's Arithmetics nearly one year in the Institution under my 
charge, and, as I think, thoroughly tested their excellence. In arrangement, perspicuity, 
and precision, they furnish a complete remedy for the defects in all other systems. I 
heartily wish that they could be introduced into all our Schools. 

From N. W. BUTTS, Graduate of JV. T. State Normal School, Principal of Flint 

Union School. 

I have given Thomson's Arithmetics a thorough examination, and I am prepared to 
say that their equal is nowhere to be found. They are all developed at the right place, 
and in the right way to be grasped by the pupil, and suitably to impress his mind. 

From Rev. SAM. NEWBURY, Jaekson, Agent for National Board of Popular Education. 
These Arithmetics are preferable to any others with which 1 am acquainted, and 
are eminently well adapted to school purposes. 

From the Principals of the Public Schools, JVeie Haven, Ct. 

I have given Thomson's " Practical Arithmetic" as careful a perusal as my time 
would permit. I think it a work of very great merit. The plan of it, which has been 
ably carried out, appears to me to be natural and philosophical. The definitions and 
rules are exceedingly clear, and will be easily understood by those for whose instruction 
they are designed. Suffice it to say, that I consider it the best of all the excellent works 
of the kind with which I am acquainted. J. . Lo VKLL. 

We fully concur in Mr. Lovell's views respecting Thomson's "Practical Arithme- 
tic," and are gratified to know that the Board of Visitors have adopted it for the Public 
Schools of this city. PRELATE DEMICK. 

WM. H. WAT. 

From N. L. GALLUP, C. HARRIS, GEO. B. COOK, Esqs., Principals of the Public Schools, 
Hartford, Ct. 

From C. H. ANTHONY. A.M., Principal of Albany Classical Institute, JV. Y. 
I have never before had so many good arithmeticians under my charge as I have 
since I began to use Thomson's " Practical" and " Higher" Arithmetics. 

From L. WETHERELL, A.M., Prof, of Math., Collegiate Institute, Rochester, JV. K 

I have been using Thomson's " Practical Arithmetic" about a year and a half, and 
it gives me pleasure to say, that I find it the best book of the kind that I have ever 

From Prof. N. W. BENEDICT, A.M., Rochester Collegiate Institute, JV. T. 
After a constant use of Thomson's " Practical" and " Higher" Arithmetics in this 
Institution for several years, I believe them to be the best books extant, in the depart- 
ment to which they belong. 

From GEO. G. ROONEY, Esq., Principal of Trenton Grammar School, JV. J. 
I have formed a class in Thomson's " Higher Arithmetic," and am perfectly satis- 
fled that it is just such a text book as every grammar school needs. 

From M. WEED, A.M., Principal of Hamilton Academy, JV. F. 
I have examined with great care and deep interest Thomson's " Higher Arith- 
metic," and am prepared to speak with unqualified favor in its behalf. I adopted it 
for my teachers' class the autumn past, and can truly say, I never had a book gain so 
great favor with a class so well prepared to judge. Both in matter and manner I think 
it an admirable book, 

From J. W. EARLE, A.M., Principal of Springville Academy, JV. T. 
I have found Thomson's " Higher Arithmetic" everything I could wish. It is by 
far the best work of the kind that has ever been published, in my opinion. 

From S. M. TRACT, A.B., Principal of Syracuse Academy, JV. T. 
Thomson's " Practical Arithmetic" has been used by me with marked success. 
The matter is simply and judiciously arranged. As a whole, I consider it superior to 
any work of the kind I have seen. 

From E. D. BARBOUR, Principal of Delevan High School, Wisconsin. 
Thomson's Arithmetics are to be desired as text books above all works on the same 


From W. L. EATON, Prof. Mathematics, Kalamazoo Branch University, Mich. 

I have lately been examining several works on the subject of Arithmetic, (among 
them Adams', Davies', Perkins', &c.,) with a view to determine their relative merits, 
and I must give my unhesitating and decided preference for Thomson's Scries. 

From G. P. WILLIAMS, A.M., Prof, of Mathematics in the University of Michigan. 

I have examined the " Higher Arithmetic" by James B. Thomson, A.M., and do not 
hesitate to say, that it gives a more full and complete development of the philosophy of 
Arithmetic, and its application to commercial and business purposes, than any work of 
the kind with which I am acquainted. 

Resolution of the Board of Education for the City of Detroit, Mich. 
Resolved, That Thomson's Series of Arithmetics be adopted as text books in the 
Public Schools of this city. 

FromWyi. H. FRANCIS, Principal of the Union School, Detroit. 
I am of opinion, after fully testing them having taken classes through the " Prac- 
tical" and " Higher" that no other text books extant afford equal facilities for acquir- 
ing arithmetical knowledge. 

From F. P. CUMMINS, A.M., Prof, of Languages in Lnporte University, Indiana. 

Permit me to say, after a careful examination, that Thomson's Arithmetics are the 
very best that have been presented to the literary public ; and as such, I have cordially 
adopted them, and would recommend them to the favorable notice of teachers in the 

From Prof. EDWARD DANIELS, Geologist to the State of Wisconsin. 
I have examined Thomson's Series of Arithmetics, and regard them excellent books 
of their kind far better than Ray's. Thomson's " Higher Arithmetic" is a matchless 
book, and should be in the hands of every advanced arithmetical student. 

From Prof. C. T. HINMAN, Prin. of the Wesleyan Seminary, Albion, Mich. 
Thomson's Arithmetics are the best extant. We have introduced them into our 

From A. W. INOALLS, Esq., Principal of Public School, Chicago, III. 
I have no hesitation in saying that I consider each number in Thomson's Series of 
Arithmetics unrivaled. 

I fully concur with the above. 

H. J. SKIFF, Prin. Chicago Academy. 

From Prof. C. C. OLDS, Prin. of Rock River Seminary, Mount Morris, III. 
I have, with much pleasure, examined Thomson's " Practical Arithmetic." It is 
admirably adapted to meet the wants of our Schools, and eminently worthy of public 
patronage. I hope it may meet with great favor in the growing West, and be regarded 
in its true light, as the best Arithmetic yet before the public. 

From C. S. RICHARDS, A.M., Prin. Kimball Union Academy, Meriden,N. H. 
We can give no higher recommendation of Thomson's " Practical Arithmetic" than 
to say that, after a careful comparison with many other works of the kind, we intro- 
duced it into our Academy a year and a half since. It has exceeded our first estimation 
of its excellence, and we would exchange it for no other text book of the kind with 
which we are acquainted. 

From 3. L. SPENCER, A.B., Principal of Amherst Academy, Mass. 
No one can examine Thomson's "Practical Arithmetic," without being convinced 
that too much has not been said in its favor. I know of no treatise on Arithmetic so 
complete in its arrangement ; none in which the principles are stated with such clear- 
ness and precision. 

From B. M. HANCE, A.M., Principal of Adrian Union Seminary. 
I have critically examined Thomson's Arithmetics, and feel no hesitation in saying 
that they are the best text books upon the subject of Arithmetic with which I am ac- 
quainted. I have introduced them into the Seminary. 

From Porf. ORAMEL HASFORD, of Olivet Institute. 

I have no hesitation in saying that Thomson's "Higher" and "Practical" Arith- 
metics give a more complete and definite idea of the nature and relations of numbers, 
together with their application to business transactions, than any other works which 
have as yet been presented to the public. 


Prom Prof. S. S. GREEN, Brown University, late Prin. of Phillips' Grammar School, 

Boston, Mass. 

I am particularly pleased with the practical character of Thomson's " Practical 
Arithmetic," the systematic and natural arrangement of its parts, the exactness of the 
definitions, the clearness with which the principles are explained and illustrated, and 
the concise, yet explicit language, with which the rules are stated. Mr. Thomson has 
done a good service by removing from the tables of Weights and Measures all de- 
nominations out of use, and by introducing those adopted by the General Government. 
The work, in fine, is well adapted to the purposes of instruction. 

From Rev. C. PIERCE, Prin. State Normal School, West Newton, Mass. 
Besides happily setting forth and explaining the common principles of numbers and 
their applications, illustrating the same by appropriate examples both abstract and prac- 
. tical, Thomson's "Higher Arithmetic" contains many suggestions, in regard to the na- 
ture of numbers and modes of operations, which aru ingenious and useful. 

From Hon. JUDGE BLACKMAN, A.M, Chairman of the Board of School Visitors of the 

City of New Haven, Ct. 

I have examined with attention Thomson's " Practical Arithmetic," and consider it 
decidedly the best work for inculcating and illustrating the principles and practice of 
Arithmetic which I have ever seen. 

At a meeting of the Board of School Visitors of the First School Society of the City 
of New Haven, Ct., duly warned and convened 

Voted, That the " Practical Arithmetic," by James B. Thomson, A.M., be prescrib- 
ed for use by each school of this society. H. G. LEWIS, Sec. 

from the Principals of the Public Schools in the City of New York. 
After a careful examination of Thomson's " Practical Arithmetic," we cheerfully 
express our hearty approbation of it. Having used the work in our Schools, we are 
free to say that we deem it better adapted to the purposes of instruction than any other 
text book of the kind with which we are acquainted. 







From Hon. IRA MAYHEW, Sup't. of Public Instruction, State of Michigan. 

For the last thirteen years I have given special attention to the subject of Arithme- 
tic in the school-room and in the study with reference to supplying (or seeing sup- 
plied) deficiencies in existing works, and obtaining a series adapted to the wants of stu- 
dents of all grades a series scientific in theory and practical in its applications. 

After the most careful examination, I am fully satisfied that each volume in the 
series under consideration is unrivalled. Taken together, as a WHOLE, I regard Day 
and Thomson's Series of Arithmetics the best I have ever seen. I shall recommend 
their introduction into the Schools of this State. I trust they will go into general use. 

From Prof. D. M. GRAHAM, of Michigan Central College, Spring Arbor. 
Though I was highly gratified with Thomson's " Higher Arithmetic," upon first ex- 
amination. I was unable to appreciate its real worth until I had seen the scholar cnsily 
and rapidly mastering, by its help, the difficult parts of Arithmetic. Our Superintendent 
of Public Instruction has not said too much in its behalf. 

From Hon. D. L. GREGG, Supt. of Public Schools, Illinois. 
Day and Thomson's Series of Arithmetics is the best I have ever seen. 


and 3. P. HANDY, Committee of the State Senate on Education. 
We have examined Day and Thomson's Arithmetical Series, and find them supe- 
rior to any other works of the kind with which we are acquainted, and think that the 
interests of education would be advanced by their introduction, generally, into the Com- 
mon and High Schools of the State of Illinois. 

We cheerfully and fully concur in the above opinion expressed by the Senate Com- 
mittee on education. 

HON. WM. M'MURRAY, Lieut. Gov. and Pres. of the Senate. 

HON. THOMAS M. KILPATRIC, Pres. of the Illinois State Educational Society. 

HON. M. BRAMAN, S. W. ROBBINS, A. CAMPBELL, Executive Committee.