Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 1.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Speech in Illinois Legislature
on Bill to Provide Payment for Work on State House [1]

January 25, 1841

Mr. LINCOLN addressed the House in support of the bill and amendment. He was anxious that the bill should pass, whether the amendment was adopted or not; but he would be gratified if the amendment should also prevail.

It was hardly necessary for him to say, that in common with the rest of the community, the citizens of Springfield felt the severity of the times, and that this was calculated further to distress them, and that too for a claim which many of the disinterested citizens of this state thought of very questionable propriety. But this he would not now discuss. He wished to say in reply to the gentleman from Fulton (Mr. Ross) [2] who had stated that better accommodations were promised as an inducement to the removal of the seat of Government to this place, that so far, as himself and the representatives from this county were concerned, such was not the fact; nor did he believe it was removed from such miserable motives. There was not a member of that Legislature, that would confess that he was influenced by such unworthy considerations. It was from the fact that the great body of population being North, that a more central location was desired, and this it could not be doubted was the governing consideration with the Legislature. If the gentleman from Fulton thought that he was paying too high for his bread and meat, let him go home and invite his constituents to come over and set up a competition in this line of business. This was a matter that would always regulate itself. He hoped the amendment would prevail, but if it did not the bill should pass by all means, as the laborers had been waiting in need for some time.

Annotation

[1]   Sangamo Journal, January 29, 1841. Prior to Lincoln's speech, John J. Brown of Vermilion County had moved to amend the bill by striking out the passagePage  231

requiring $16,666.66 to be collected by suit in court from the citizens of Springfield. Further consideration of Brown's amendment was postponed until the next day (vide infra).

[2]   Lewis W. Ross.