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nally to remain at Cleveland, but, as he had letters of introduction to persons residing there, and also personal friends, he thought he would profit by such advice and counsel as he could obtain as to other and more distant points. He made the acquaintance of the Hon. SHERLOCK J. ANDREWS, at that time a practicing lawyer, and since then a member of Congress from that district. Mr. Andrews was pleased with the youth; gave him all the information he could furnish, but advised him to remain in Cleveland, and, as an inducement to do so, tendered him the use of his library and office until he should have pursued his law studies for one year within the state, as required by the laws of Ohio, when he would be entitled to admission at the bar, at which time, such was Mr. Andrews' liberal offer, Douglas was to be associated with Mr. Andrews as a member of the firm. To be met at the very threshold of his undertaking by such a brilliant promise of success was truly gratifying, and the offer was at once accepted. But the engagement was not to be completed. Young Douglas at once entered upon his duties as law clerk in Mr. Andrews' office, but in less than a week was prostrated by an attack of bilious fever-the scourge of the Western country during the period of its early settlement-and was confined to his room for many weary months. It was not until October that he exhibited any signs of permanent recovery. The physicians who had attended him advised him to return to Canandaigua, as, in all probability, he would be attacked by the fever again in the spring, which his feeble health and delicate frame, both now so disastrously impaired, would not be able to sustain. Under these circumstances, he concluded to leave Cleveland-then but a small village, now the beautiful forest city of the Lakes. In leaving there, he never thought of taking the back track and becoming a dependent upon his friends at home, but he determined to leave Cleveland by a forward movement, by a further step into the great West, resolved never, never to return until he should attain and firmly establish a respectable position in his profession. With this purpose firmly fixed in his mind, he left Cleveland during October, 1833, and never returned to visit his friends there until, ten years later, he carried with him his certificate of election as a member of Congress, having, in the mean time, been state's attorney, member of the Legislature, register of the Land-office, secre
tary of state, and judge of the Supreme Court in the State of Illinois.
He left Cleveland on a canal-boat, on which he traveled until he reached Portsmouth, on the Ohio River, where he took steam-boat and proceeded down the river to Cincinnati. For an entire week he sought some respectable employment in that city, from which he could derive means to support himself until such time as he could recruit his health and regain his strength to enable him to commence the practice of the law. His short stock of funds was nearly exhausted. Finding no encouragement in Cincinnati, he pushed on to Louisville, Kentucky, where he spent another week with no better success than had rewarded his search in Cincinnati. Nothing but his firm resolve not to return until he had accomplished a success at the bar nerved the heart of the friendless, moneyless, healthless boy. He never despaired of success, though from what quarter and when it was to come bid defiance to his conjectures. Turning his back upon Louisville, he proceeded by steamer to St. Louis. During this trip he for the first time witnessed and realized to their full extent the casualties incident to the navigation of the Western rivers-casualties with which, on several occasions subsequently, it was his misfortune to become too familiar. Near the mouth of the Ohio the boat was detained a whole week in consequence of running upon a snag" and breaking her machinery; and just below St. Louis she barely escaped destruction by fire. During this trip, thus prolonged to nearly twice the time usually occupied in going from Louisville to St. Louis, he made several acquaintances, and formed friendships which he has ever cherished with affection, and of which he always speaks with gratitude, particularly when referring to Dr. Linn, the distinguished senator from Missouri, and Colonel Miller, at that time governor of the same state, both of whom were his fellow-passengers.
Arrived at St. Louis, he made the acquaintance of the Hon. EDWARD BATES, then, as now, an eminent lawyer and an ornament to his profession. Mr. Bates was kind to the young stranger, encouraging him by his advice, and tendering him the free use of his office and library until he could get into practice on his own account. The immediate and urgent necessities of the youth did not permit an acceptance of this generous offer. He had but a few, very few dollars left, and
some immediate employment yielding a pecuniary compensation was necessary. With thanks, he reluctantly but necessarily declined Mr. Bates's offer, and, seeing no opportunity of obtaining employment in St. Louis, he concluded to seek without delay some country town, where, if his earnings were small, his expenses at least would be far less than in the large city. His present search was an engagement as a teacher until spring, by which time he hoped with renewed health he might enter upon the great field of his ambition—the practice of the law.
Having recently read a book of travels in the Western States by a Scotchman, in which was given a charming description of that part of Illinois about Jacksonville, and having counted his money, and finding that he had barely enough left to enable him to reach that place, he resolved to make the last effort in that quarter, and trust to Providence and his own energies for the future.
At the time to which we refer, Illinois was settled principally in what is now the lower half of the state—in that part lying south of a line drawn east and west across the state, at what is the present northern boundary of Sangamon County; the counties of Sangamon and Morgan embracing the territory then included in the limits of half a dozen of the present counties of the state. The seat of government was at Vandalia, in Fayette County, but Sangamon and Morgan were the leading counties in point of population. In 1830, three years previously, the population of the state was as follows:
By a census taken under the authority of the Legislature of
1836-7 the population was ascertained to be:
The Hon. John Reynolds was governor, and Hon. Zadock
Casey lieutenant governor, they having been elected in August, 1830, to serve four years each.
The state was represented in Congress by the Hon. Samuel McRoberts and John M. Robinson in the Senate, and by three members in the House of Representatives.
The judiciary of the state consisted of a Supreme Court of four judges, holding office during good behavior, and a number of circuit courts. The circuit courts, having been erected by the Legislature, were within the control and subject to the action of the power that created them. They might be abolished or increased from time to time, as the Legislature might determine. The Supreme Court, however, being a tribunal erected by the Constitution, the judges held office by a tenure which could not be disturbed by any legislative action. The only possible modes by which the Legislature could reach that tribunal was by voting an address, to be voted for by two thirds of the members, asking for the removal of the judges; by impeachment, trial, and conviction of the judges; or by increasing from time to time the number of judges constituting the court. The judges of the Supreme Court, with the governor, constituted a Council of Revision, a majority of which council could approve, or could exercise a veto upon all acts of legislation. The Supreme Court at that time consisted, as has been stated, of four judges, viz., William Wilson, Thomas C. Brown, Theophilus W. Smith, and Samuel D. Lockwood. The state in 1832 had voted for General Jackson, and the Democratic party was in a decided majority.
The state had for a number of years been agitated upon the subject of internal improvements. That was the subject of local politics, entering more or less into the election of all state officers, particularly of members of the Legislature. Railroads and canals at that time were a subject as prolific in excitement, in speeches, in resolutions, and in politics as they have been at any subsequent period in the history of the state. At every session of the Legislature charters without number were granted for all manner of works of improvement, but these produced no results. A charter to build a road or cut a canal was almost valueless without the means or the credit to commence and go on with the work. As an indication of the extent to which this business was carried, the following table of railroads and canals authorized by acts of the Legislature previous to
the final adoption of a system in which the state was to become the paymaster will suffice.
In December, 1835, a special session of the Legislature was held. Previous to that time the following railroads had been authorized by law, companies having been incorporated with liberal charters for their construction:
At that special session the following were added to the list:
A grand total of 24 railroads, with an aggregate length
Charters were liberal in their terms, and contractors were ready and willing to go on with the works upon the first appearance of money. But money there was none, and the issue had gradually been growing up before the people whether the state should or should not become a party to the construction of these works. The prospect of railroads or canals construct