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

Discussion in Illinois Legislature
Regarding an Act Concerning Judgments and Executions [1]

December 13, 1838

Upon the question shall the resolution [2] pass---ayes and nays called for---before being taken Lincoln rose and said that he hoped the resolution would pass, as it merely proposed an inquiry into the expediency of amending the law---or an examination into the fact whether the present law was defective. The resolution was amended by striking out the word ``repealing'' and inserting the word ``amended.''

Mr. Baker then spoke in opposition to the resolution on ground that it would give too much power to the creditor over those who are struggling to secure their homes. He was also opposed to this constant spirit of innovation.

Mr. Lincoln replied that he or Baker were mistaken, and explained his view of the proposed alteration. Under the present law, he said, few appeared at the sale of property, and the judgment creditor usually bids it in at half its value. The owner supposed that he would be able to redeem, but was frequently unable, and his property was thus sacrificed under the operation of this law. Baker admitted this true.


[1]   Vandalia Free Press, December 27, 1838.

[2]   A resolution proposed on December 12 by George Smith of Madison County, as follows: ``That the committee on the Judiciary be instructed to inquire into the expediency of repealing so much of the `Act concerning judgments and executions,' approved January 19th, 1825, as makes it lawful for any judgment creditor to redeem lands or tenements that may have been sold by virtue of any execution; and that they report by bill or otherwise'' (House Journal, Eleventh General Assembly, First Session, p. 63). The resolution was rejected, but under a motion to reconsider on December 13, it was amended and passed.