slavery discussion in illinois.
The resolution passed both Houses but a short time before the adjournment, February, 1823. Only one of the four papers in the State the "Edwardsville Spectator," by Hooper Warren at that time took a decided stand against slavery and a convention.
Elections were biennial, and the cpiestion could not be decided until the first Monday in August, 1824; the contest was spirited. The people who were opposed to the introduction of slavery, became aroused; public meetings were held; and societies organized for "the prevention of slavery in Illinois." The first move was made in the county of St. Clair, where the convention party were strong, and led by some of the strongest political men in the State.
A county society was organized, officers appointed, an address to the people of Illinois was published, and an invitation made to form societies in other counties. Fourteen similar societies were organized in as many counties, and a correspondence established in them through persons who could be trusted, in every county and election precinct. This system was in full operation before August, and a year remained to gather strength.
The opposite party relied on quiet and concealed operations. Many denied, aud doubtless honestly, that the introduction of slavery was the object; and believed that there were objectionable features in the constitution, that should-be removed. Iu the counties north of the road from St. Louis to Vincenues, very little was said by this party in favor of slavery, except to ward off the charges made by their opponents.
The members of the preceding legislature, who had protested against the convention question, contributed each fifty dollars from their wages, to meet expenses in printing and circulating papers. The governor was in the opposition, and at once resolved to expend his four years' salary in the contest, and nobly did he redeem the pledge.
The summer and autumn wore away, and the convention party had no regular organization. The time appointed for rallying the leaders and acting in concert, was in December, at the session of the Supreme Court in Vandalia. The paper at that place, that performed the public printing, was their strong garrison, so far as newspaper armor was concerned. On the morning of their meeting, this citidal surrendered to their opponents, hoisted the anti-convention flag, and prepared to pour grape-shot into their ranks, in the form of newspaper bullets.
Governor Coles had purchased an interest in the press; David 61