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

Remarks in United States House of Representatives Concerning Military Bounty Lands [1]

March 29, 1848

Mr. LINCOLN said, if there was a general desire on the part of the House to pass the bill now, [2] he should be glad to have it done---concurring, as he did generally, with the gentleman from Arkansas, [Mr. JOHNSON,] [3] that the postponement might jeopard the safety of the proposition. If, however, a reference was to be made, he wished to make a very few remarks in relation to the several subjects desired by the gentlemen to be embraced in amendments to the ninth section of the act of the last session of Congress. The first amendment desired by members of this House had for its only object to give bounty lands to such persons as had served for a time as privates, but had never been discharged as such, because promoted to office. That subject, and no other, was embraced in this bill. There were some others who desired, while they were legislating on this subject, that they should also give bounty lands to the volunteers of the war of 1812. His friend from Maryland said there were no such men. He (Mr. L.) did not say there were many, but he was very confident there were some. His friend from Kentucky near him [Mr. GAINES] told him he himself was one.

There was still another proposition touching this matter: that was, that persons entitled to bounty land should by law be entitled to locate these lands in parcels, and not be required to locate them in one body, as was provided by the existing law.

Now, he had carefully drawn up a bill [4] embracing these three separate proposition, which he intended to propose as a substitute for all these bills in the House, or in Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, at some suitable time. If there was a disposition on the part of the House to act at once on this separate proposition, he repeated that, with the gentleman from Arkansas, he should prefer it, lest they should lose all. But if there was to be a reference, he desired to introduce his bill embracing the three propositions, thus enabling the committee and the House to act atPage  461 the same time, whether favorably or unfavorably, upon all. He inquired whether an amendment was now in order?

The SPEAKER replied in the negative.


[1]   Congressional Globe, Thirtieth Congress, First Session, p. 550.

[2]   A bill reported from the committee on the judiciary by Richard French of Kentucky, ``to amend An act to raise, for a limited time, an additional military force, and for other purposes.'' Similar bills had been reported from the committee on public lands and the committee on military affairs.

[3]   Robert W. Johnson of Arkansas.

[4]   There is no further reference to this bill.