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

Speech in Illinois Legislature
Concerning the State Bank [1]

February 11, 1841

A very interesting debate sprung up in the House yesterday upon a bill to repeal the act making the State Bank the fiscal agent of the State. The discussion took a wide range and was viewed with a good deal of interest, as involving, indirectly, the question whether the Bank should be sustained in a further suspension of specie payments. There is a manifest disposition on the part of some of the Van Buren men to prop up the Bank, and it is perfectly apparent that the party are prepared to detach a fraction of themselves to go with the Whigs in sustaining the Bank---their usualPage  238 policy---and then throw the odium of suspension upon the Whigs. Mr. Lincoln said that he was tired of this business. If there was to be this continual warfare against the Institutions of the State, the sooner it was brought to an end the better. If the great body of the party would act upon conservative principles, he was willing to go with them, but this scheme of detaching a fragment from their party to help the Whigs pass a measure and then turn around and kick and cuff us for it, he had seen practiced long enough. The Bill was finally referred to the committee on Banks and Corporations. The debate was exceedingly intersting and occupied nearly the whole of the day. The chief speakers were Messrs. McClernand [2] and Lincoln, and the encounter between them was peculiarly sharp and personal.

Annotation

[1]   North Western Gazette and Galena Advertiser, February 17, 1841.

[2]   John A. McClernand of Gallatin County.