Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 3.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Page  364

Veto Message of Apportionment Bill Written for Governor William H. Bissell [1]

February 22, 1859

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives.

I herewith return to your Honorable body, in which the same originated, the bill entitled ``A bill for an act to create Senatorial and Representative Districts, and apportion the representation in the General Assembly of this State.''

I object to said bill becoming a law, because it's effect, as a law, would be to continue the control of of [sic] the General Assembly in the hands of a minority of the people. This being substantially the very objection urged against the Lecompton Constitution, by the authors of the bill, in common with others, it is but fair to presume that it found it's way into this bill, by mere over-sight; and that it's authors will be glad of the oppertunity, now afforded, to expel it, and to give the bill such shape as to fairly represent the people.

I also object to said bill becoming a law, because, by it, the new county of Ford is placed wholly within the ninth Senatorial District, and also wholly within the eighteenth Senatorial District.

I also object to said bill becoming a law because, by it, in the matter of giving excesses, the provision of the tenth Section of the third article of the constitution is disregarded. I insist that, by this bill, the spirit of the constitution is violated in the unnecessary departures from the principle of single districts. A glaring instance is the thirty-second representative district, composed of the counties of Champaign, Piatt, DeWitt, Macon, Moultrie, Shelby and Effingham, and to which three representatives are given. The map, and census tables show that these seven counties divide neatly into three separate districts, each entitled to a representative, the smallest in population being greater, and the largest much smaller, than several other single districts established by the bill.

For these reasons, I object to said bill becoming a law, and herewith return it to the House in which it originated.

Springfield Feby 22d 1859 WM. H. BISSELL

Annotation

[1]   AD, DLC-RTL. All but the date and signature are in Lincoln's handwriting. The Democratic Speaker of the House refused to accept the governor's message on the ground that a quorum was not present. An altercation ensued in which the message and the bill were placed on the speaker's table, brushed by him onto the floor, and rescued by Representative William H. Green of Massac County. Republican members entered a protest against the speaker's action, but the speaker refused to receive the protest. On the next day the House, without a quorum being present, adopted a joint resolution to adjourn sine die, FebruaryPage  365

Before adjournment, a Republican protest was allowed to be entered on the House Journal, and the governor's message was ordered to be printed (Illinois State Journal, February 24, 1859).