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

Bill Introduced in Illinois Legislature
to Provide for Payment of Interest on the Public Debt [1]

[December 7, 1840]

Sec: 1st. Be it enacted by the People of the state of Illinois represented in the General Assembly: That hereafter, in addition to the revenue now raised by taxation, there shall be levied and collected,Page  218 for state purposes, a tax at the rate of ten cents on each one hundred dollars worth of all property.

Sec: 2nd. Said additional revenue, so raised, shall be set apart exclusively for the payment of interest on the state indebtednes---and be called the ``Interest Fund''

Sec: 3rd. That the minimum valuation of all lands for the purpose of taxation, shall be four dollars per acre. And each assessor, shall, in addition to the oath now required by law, be required to swear particularly, that he will, in no instance, value any land at four dollars per acre, that he, in his conscience, believes to be worth more.

Sec: 4th. The Governor shall from time to time issue such an amount of state bonds, to be called the ``Illinois Interest Bonds'' as may be absolutely necessary to raise funds for the payment of interest on the state debts, that there is no other means of paying---and also sufficient to redeem all state bonds now hypothecated.

Sec: 5th. Said Interest Bonds shall be sold by the Fund Commissioner, for the best price they will command, and the proceeds by him faithfully applied to the foregoing objects

Sec: 6th. Said Bonds shall be reimbursable after the year 1865, and bear interest at the rate of six per cent per annum, payable half yearly.

Sec: 7th. A sufficiency of the said ``Interest Fund'' is hereby irrevocably pledged, for the payment of interest upon the said ``Illinois Interest Bonds'' and the same shall be applied to that object in preference to all other objects.


[1]   AD, I-Ar. Although the bill was first introduced on December 7, it underwent numerous changes and the text as given is undoubtedly of a later date. The original bill seems not to be extant and the record of debates concerning it as given in the House Journal becomes confused. On December 8, however, Lincoln proposed the following amendments to his original bill, neither of which appear in the text: ``Mr. Lincoln, proposed to amend the bill by inserting into the 9th line, at the end of the word `next' the words following, to wit:

`` `And also, sufficient to pay freights, duty and other necessary charges upon railroad iron, which has been received, and to be received under contracts heretofore made, and also sufficient to pay the necessary charges of the prosecution of certain suits prosecuting and to be prosecuted on behalf of this State, in the State of New York. And if it shall become necessary to prevent a forfeiture of the bonds so hypothecated, said Fund Commissioner is hereby empowered to re-hypothecate said bonds for that purpose, and for no other whatever.'

``Also, to amend said bill further, by adding the following proviso at the end of the bill, viz:

`` `And provided further, That the Fund Commissioner shall not be authorized to pay interest upon any bonds sold for which a consideration has not been received by the State whenever such bonds shall be found in the hands, custody, power or possession of the original purchasers or contracting powers.' '' House Journal, pp. 89-90. The bill passed both houses substantially as above, and may be found in Laws of Illinois, 1841, pp. 165-66.