Chapter 20

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Inaugural Address--In the Historical Society of Pennsylvania there is a scrapbook, probably kept by Coles, with articles from an unidentified newspaper (or newspapers) that chronicle his years as governor. I have used this source for the texts of Coles' inaugural address and the committee reports discussed below. Back

These new settlers--Theodore Pease, The Frontier State, Springfield, Illinois, 1918, pp. 14-18. The totals for the counties named are: Coles-1860, Phillips-516, Browne-151, Moore-79. See also the Illinois Intelligencer of June 4, 1824, for an analysis of the population issue. A second reason that the Legislature was pro-slavery is that some pro-slavery candidates were successful enough at diverting the campaign to local issues to be elected by anti-slavery constituencies. See William H. Brown, An Historical Sketch of the Early Movement in Illinois for the Legalization of Slavery, Chicago, 1876, p. 17. Back

Bringing forward the measure--Edward Coles to Roberts Vaux, Jan. 21, 1824, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. See also Edward Coles to Nicholas Biddle, April 22, 1823, in Alvord, p. 120. Hooper Warren (Alvord, pp. 339-343) criticizes Coles' move, and Ford says of Coles' call for abolition: This served as the spark to kindle into activity all elements in favor of slavery (Thomas Ford, History of Illinois, Chicago, 1854, p. 52). Back

There were a number of abolition bills--Illinois Intelligencer, Dec. 7, 1822 - Feb. 15, 1823. The argument against abolition bills is contained in the minority report of the House committee. Unless otherwise specified, the source of my narrative of events in the legislature is these issues of the Intelligencer. Back

At this period of the session--Brown, pp. 17-18. Back

the revenues of my counties--Edwardsville Spectator, March 29, 1823. All quotations from Hansen are from this source. Back

The county commissioner declared Hansen the winner--Illinois Intelligencer, Dec. 14, 1822. See also the editorial in the Edwardsville Spectator, Feb. 15, 1823; Ford, p. 52; and Joseph Gillespie, "Recollections of Early Illinois and Her Noted Men," Fergus Historical Series, no. 13, Chicago, 1880, p. 10. Back

He came to my lodgings--Edwardsville Spectator, March 29, 1823. Back

In the course of the evening--Edwardsville Spectator, Feb. 15, 1823. Back

That night, behind the scenes--Alvord, p. 77. Washburne claims that a rider was despatched to Pike County to bring Shaw to Vandalia, but that was impossible since it is 260 mile round trip--a journey of four to five days, as Washburne says.
But the time between the vote on the convention bill and its reconsideration--with Shaw voting in the affirmative--was only 24 hours. Both Ford (pp. 52-53) and Gillespie (p. 10) claim that the pro-slavers planned all along to seat Hansen for the purpose of electing Thomas to the Senate and then replace him with Shaw in order to pass the convention bill. This explanation accounts for Shaw's remaining in Vandalia through February 11, but does not explain why the pro-slavers did not unseat Hansen before the February 11th vote, when he almost ruined all chance of their success. The most likely explanation is that Hansen was seated partially to vote for Thomas and partially because he may actually have had a stronger case for the seat than did Shaw. The pro-slavers kept Shaw in Vandalia not to replace Hansen so much as a threat to keep him in line. Back

Mr. Ford of Crawford County--Illinois Intelligencer, Feb. 15, 1823. Back

a death blow to the convention--John Reynolds, My Own Times, Chicago, 1879, p. 153. Back

They formed themselves--Ford, p. 53. Since this description looks much like the description given in the Edwardsville Spectator of the carousals of the previous night, it is possible that the dating of one or the other is in error. But since both Ford and Reynolds recall a procession on the night after passage of the resolution, while the Spectator article clearly describes a scene occurring on the previous night, the likelihood is that there were two tumultuous demonstrations on two successive nights, the first one angry and the second exultant. Back

I wrote Brother Isaac--Edward Coles to Mary Carter, March 15, 1823, University of Virginia Library. Back

Never did I see--Edward Coles to Nicholas Biddle, April 22, 1823, in Alvord, pp. 120-123. Back

The nominations were tabled--Illinois Intelligencer, Feb. 22, 1823. See also Edward Coles to John Lofton, Feb. 16, 1823, in Alvord, pp. 115-116. Back

To [Fulton] county--Edward Coles to James Madison, April 15, 1823, in The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 7, series 2 (1927) 32-34. Back

Madison's answer--James Madison to Edward Coles, May 23, 1823, Princeton University Library. Back

Another legislative outrage--Illinois Intelligencer, Feb. 22, 1823. Back

To Messrs. Brown and Berry--Edward Coles to Brown and Berry, Dec. 10, 1822, Princeton University Library. Back

Edward Coles

Chapter 20