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

Discussion in Illinois Legislature
Concerning the Division of Sangamon County [1]

December 21, 1836

Mr. Lincoln then moved that the report of the minority be spread upon the Journals, in order he said, that his constituents might see that report.

Mr. Linder [2] said, that for one, he should vote against the motion. He could see no advantage that could result to any body, by placing this minority report upon the pages of the journal. It was subjecting the State to needless expense in printing. There were many other ways by which the gentleman from Sangamon could get the report among his constituents, without putting it upon the journals of the House.

Mr. Lincoln replied that he claimed the right to know what was due to his constituents as much as any gentleman, and especially as much as one who was not their representative. He had made the motion to spread the report on the journal, because he thought it due to his constituents, and no more than a common act of courtesy from the House, to comply. Mr. L. said, he hoped that all that had been said on this subject, would go to his constituents. He thought it uncourteous, and a departure from the rules of etiquette, for the gentleman from Coles to meddle in the matter at all; but if the House chooses to go by the views of that gentleman, so be it; I am content. Mr. L. said he did not think the small expense to the State which the printing of the report would incur, the whole object of gentlemen, in opposing his motion. The intention is to affect my constituents. [3]


[1]   Illinois State Register, January 12, 1837. On December 20, 1836, Stephen A. Douglas from the committee on petitions reported for the majority with a bill for the establishment of a new county out of part of Sangamon County (vide infra, December 24, as rewritten by Lincoln). John T. Stuart from the same committee reported for the minority against the bill. As customary,Page  57

the majority report delivered by Douglas was spread on the Journal, but the minority report was not printed. Hence on the morning of the following day Lincoln moved the printing of the minority report for the reasons indicated in this speech.

[2]   Usher F. Linder of Coles County.

[3]   After further discussion by other members, Lincoln's motion was lost, 44 to 24.