Adopted at Kaskaskia in convention, August 26, 1818.
THE people of the Illinois territory, having the right of admission into
the general government as a member of the Union, consistent with the constitution
of the United States, the ordinance of congress of 1787, and the law of
congress approved April 18th , 1818, entitled "An act to enable the people
of the Illinois territory to form a constitution and state government,
and for the admission of such state into the Union, on an equal footing
with the original states, and for other purposes;" in order to es tablish
justice, promote the welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves
and their posterity, do by their representatives in convention, ordain
and establish the following constitution or form of government; and do
mutually agree with each other to form themselves into a free and independent
state, by the name of the State of Illinois. And they do hereby ratify
the boundaries assigned to such state by the act of congress aforesaid,
which are as follows, to wit: Beginning at the mouth of th e Wabash river,
thence up the same, and with the line of Indiana to the northwest corner
of said state; then east with the line of the same state, to the middle
of Lake Michigan; thence north, along the middle of said lake, to north
latitude 42 degrees a nd 30 minutes; thence west to the middle of the Mississippi
river, and thence down, along the middle of that river, to its confluence
with the Ohio river; and thence up the latter river, along its northwestern
shore, to the beginning.
1. The powers of the government of the state of Illinois, shall be divided
into three distinct departments, and each of them be confided to a separate
body of magistracy, to wit: Those which are legislative, to one; those
which are execut ive, to another; and those which are judiciary, to another.
2. No person or collection of persons being one of those departments, shall
exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except as
hereinafter expressly directed or permitted.
1. The legislative authority of this state shall be vested in a general
assembly which shall consist of a senate and house of representatives,
both to be elected by the people.
2. The first election for senators and representatives shall commence on
the third Thursday of September next, and continue for that and the two
succeeding days; and the next election shall be held on the first Monday
in August, 1820; and forever af ter, elections shall be held once in two
years, on the first Monday of August, in each and every county, at such
places therein as may be provided by law.
3. No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained the
age of 21 years, who shall not be a citizen of the United States, and an
inhabitant of this state; who shall not have resided within the limits
of the county or district in which he shall be chosen 12 months next preceeding
his election, if such county or district shall have been so long erected;
but if not, then within the limits of the county or counties, district
or districts out of which the same shall have been taken, unless he shall
have been absent on the public business of the United States, or of this
state and who, morever, shall not have paid a state or county tax.
4. The senators, at their first session herein provided for, shall be divided
by lot from their respective counties or districts, as near as can be,
into two classes. The seats of the senators of the first class shall be
vacated at the expiration of the second year, and those of the second class,
at the expiration of the fourth year, so that one-half thereof, as near
as possible, may be biennially chosen forever thereafter.
5. The number of senators and representatives shall, at the first session
of the general assembly, holden after the returns herein provided for are
made, be fixed by the general assembly, and apportioned among the several
counties or districts to be established by law, according to the number
of white inhabitants. The number of representatives shall not be less than
27, nor more than 36, until the number of inhabitants within this state
shall amount to 100,000; and the number of senators shall never be less
than one-third, nor more than one-half of the number of representatives.
6. No person shall be a senator who has not arrived at the age of 25 years
who shall not be a citizen of the United States, and who shall not have
resided one year in the county or district in which he shall be chosen
immediately preceeding his elect ion, if such county or district shall
have been so long erected; but if not, then within the limits of the county
or counties, district or districts out of which the same shall have been
taken, unless he shall have been absent on the public business of th e
United States, or of this state, and shall not, moreover, have paid a state
or county tax.
7. The senate and house of representatives, when assembled, shall each
choose a speaker and other officers, (the speaker of the senate excepted.)
Each house shall judge of the qualifications and elections of its members,
and sit upon its own adjournm ents. Two-thirds of each house shall constiute
a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel
the attendance of absent members.
8. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish them.
The yeas and nays of the members, on any question, shall, at the desire
of any two of them, be entered on the journals.
9. Any two members of either house shall have liberty to dissent and protest
against any act or resolution which they may think injurious to the public,
or to any individual, and have the reasons of their dissent entered on
l0. Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members
for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel
a member, but not a second time for the same cause.
1l. When vacancies happen in either house, the governor, or the person
exercising the powers of governor, shall issue writs of election to fill
12. Senators and representatives shall, in all cases, except treason, felony,
or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of
the general assembly, and in going to and returning from the same, and
for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned
in any other place.
13. Each house may punish, by imprisonment during its session, any person
not a member, who shall be guilty of disrespect to the house, by any disorderly
or contemptuous behavior in their presence; provided such imprisonment
shall not at any one ti me exceed 24 hours.
14. The doors of each house, and of committees of the whole, shall be kept
open, except in such cases as in the opinion of the house require secrecy.
Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more
than two days, nor to any o ther place than that in which the two houses
shall be sitting.
15. Bills may originate in either house, but may be altered, amended or
rejected by the other.
16. Every bill shall be read on three different days in each house, unless
in case of urgency, three-fourths of the house where such bill is so depending
shall deem it expedient to dispense with this rule; and every bill having
passed both houses sh all be signed by the speakers of their respective
17. The style of the laws of this state shall be: Be it enacted by the
people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly.
18. The general assembly of this state shall not allow the following officers
of government greater or smaller annual salaries than as follows, until
the year 1824: The governor, $1000; and the secretary of state, $600.
19. No senator or representative shall, during the time for which he shall
have been elected, be appointed to any civil office under this state, which
shall have been created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased
during such time.
20. No money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations
made by law.
21. An accurate statement of the receipts and expenditures of the public
money shall be attached to and published with the laws, at the rising of
each session of the general assembly.
22. The house of representatives shall have the sole power of impeaching,
but a majority of all the members present must concur in an impeachment.
An impeachment shall be tried by the senate, and when sitting for that
purpose, the senators shall be upon oath or affirmation to do justice according
to law and evidence. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence
of two-thirds of all the senators present.
23. The governor, and all other civil officers under this state, shall
be liable to impeachment for any misdemeanor in office; but judgment in
such cases shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualifiation
to hold any office o f honor, profit, or trust under this state. The party,
whether convicted or acquitted, shall nevertheless be liable to indictment,
trial, judgment, and punishment according to law.
24. The first session of the general assembly shall commence on the first
Monday of October next, and forever after the general assembly shall meet
on the first Monday in December next ensuing the election of the members
thereof, and at no other pe riod, unless as provided by this constitution.
25. No judge of any court of law or equity, secretary of state, attorney
general, attorney for the state, register, clerk of any court of record,
sheriff, or collector, member of either house of congress, or person holding
any lucrative office under the United States, or this, (provided that appointments
in the militia, postmasters, or justices of the peace shall not be considered
lucrative offices,) shall have a seat in the general assembly; nor shall
any person holding an office of honor or profit under the government of
the United States, hold any office of honor or profit under the authority
of this state.
26. Every person who shall be chosen or appointed to any office of trust
or profit shall, before entering upon the duties thereof, take an oath
to support the constitution of the United States and of this state, and
also an oath of office.
27. In all elections, all white male inhabitants above the age of 21 years,
having resided in the state six months next preceding the election, shall
enjoy the right of an elector; but no person shall be entitled to vote
except in the county or district in which he shall actually reside at the
time of the election.
28. All votes shall be given viva voce until altered by the general assembly.
29. Electors shall, in all cases, except treason, felony, or breach of
the peace be privileged from arrest during their attendance at elections,
and in going to and returning from the same.
30. The general assembly shall have full power to exclude from the privilege
of electing or being elected any person convicted of bribery, perjury,
or any other infamous crime.
31. In the year 1820 and every fifth year thereafter, an enumeration of
all the white inhabitants of the state shall be made in such manner as
shall be directed by law.
32. All bills for raising a revenue shall originate in the house of representatives
subject, however, to amendment, or rejection as in other cases.
1. The executive power of the state shall be vested in a governor.
2. The first election of governor shall commence on the third Thursday
of September next, and continue for that and the two succeeding days; and
the next election shall be held on the first Monday of August, in the year
of our Lord 1822. And forever after, elections for governor shall be held
once in four years, on the first Monday in August. The governor shall be
chosen by the electors of the mem- bers of the general assembly, at the
same places and in the same manner that they shall respectively vote for
members thereof. The returns for every election of governor shall be sealed
up and transmitted to the seat of government by the returning officers,
directed to the speaker of the house of representatives, who shall open
and publish them in the presence of a majority of the members of each house
of the general assembly. The person having the highest number of votes,
shall be governor; but if two or more be equal and highest in votes, then
one of them shall be chosen gover nor by joint ballot of both houses of
the general assembly. Contested elections shall be determined by both houses
of the general assembly in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.
3. The first governor shall hold his office until the first Monday of December,
in the year of our Lord 1822 and until another governor shall be elected
and quali- fied to office; and forever after the governor shall hold his
office for the term of four years and until another governor shall be elected
and qualified; but he shall not be elegible for more than four years in
any term of eight years. He shall be at least 30 years of age, and have
been a citizen of the United States 30 years; two years which next preceding
his election he shall have resided within the limits of this state.
4. He shall, from time to time, give the general assembly information of
the state of the government, and recommend to their consideration such
measures as he shall deem expedient.
5. He shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons after conviction,
except in cases of impeachment.
6. The governor shall, at stated times, receive a salary for his services,
which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the term for which
he has been elected.
7. He may require information in writing from the officers in the executive
department, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective
offices, and shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
8. When any officer, the right of whose appointment is, by this constitution,
vested in the general assembly, or in the governor and senate, shall, during
the recess, die, or his office by any means become vacant, the governor
shall have power to fill such vacancy, by granting a commission, which
shall expire at the end of the next session of the general assembly.
9. He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the general assembly by
proclamation, and shall state to them when assembled, the purpose for which
they shall have been convened.
10. He shall be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of this state,
and of the militia, except when they shall be called into the service of
the United States.
1 l. There shall be elected in each and every county in the said state,
by those who are qualified to vote for members of the general assembly,
and at the same time and places where the election for such members shall
be held, one sheriff and one coroner, whose election shall be subject to
such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by law. The said sheriffs
and coroners respectively, when elected, shall continue in office two years,
be subject to removal and disqualification, and such o ther rules and regulations
as may be, from time to time, prescribed by law.
12. In case of disagreement between the two houses with respect to the
time of adjournment, the governor shall have power to adjourn the general
assembly, to such time as he thinks proper, provided it be not a period
beyond the next constitutiona l meeting of the same.
13. A lieutenant-governor shall be chosed at every election for governor,
in the same manner, continue in office for the same time, and possess the
same qualifica- tions. In voting for governor and lieutenant-governor,
the electors shall distinguis h whom they vote for as governor, and whom
14. He shall, by virtue of his office be speaker of the senate, have a
right, when in committee of the whole, to debate and vote on all subjects;
and whenever the senate are equally divided, to give the casting vote.
15. Whenever the government shall be administered by the lieutenant-governor,
or he shall be unable to attend as speaker of the senate, the senators
shall elect one of their own members as speaker for that occasion; and
if, during the vacancy of the office of governor, the lieutenant-governor
shall be impeached, removed from office, refuse to qualify, or resign,
or die, or be absent from the state, the speaker of the senate shall in
like manner, administer the government.
16. The lieutenant-governor, while he acts as speaker of the senate, shall
receive for his services, the same compensation, which shall, for the same
period be allowed to the speaker of the house of representatives and no
more; and during the time he administers the government as governor, he
shall receive the same compensat ion which the governor would have received
had he been employed in the duties of his office.
17. If the lieutenant governor shall be called upon to administer the government,
and shall, while in such administration resign, die, or be absent from
the state during the recess of the general assembly, it shall be the duty
of the secretary, for the time being, to convene the senate for the purpose
of choosing a speaker.
18. In case of an impeachment of the governor, his removal from office,
death, refusal to qualify, resignation or absence from the state, the lieutenant
governor shall exercise all the power and authority appertaining to the
office of governor, until the time pointed out by this constitution for
the election of governor shall arrive, unless the general assembly shall
provide by law for the election of a govern or to fill such vacancy.
19. The governor for the time being, and the judges of the supreme court
or a major part of them, together with the governor, shall be and are hereby
constituted a council to revise all bills about to be passed into laws
by the general assembly; and for that purpose shall assemble themselves
from time to time when the general assembly shall be convened; for which
nevertheless they shall not receive any salary or consideration under any
pretense whatever; and all bills which have passed the senate and house
of representatives shall, before they become laws, be presented to the
said council for their revisal and consideration; and if, upon such revisal
and consideration, it should appear improper to the said council or a majority
of them that the bill should become a law of this state, they shall return
the same, together with the objections thereto in writing to the senate
or house of representatives (in whichsoever the same shall have originated)
who shall enter the objections set down by the council at large in their
minutes, and proceed to reconsider the said bill. But if, after such reconsideration,
the said senate or house of representatives shal l, not withstanding the
said objections, agree to pass the same by a majority of the whole number
of members elected, it shall, together with the said objections, be sent
to the other branch of the general assembly, where it shall also be reconsidered;
and if approved by a majority of all the members elected, it shall become
a law. If any bill shall not be returned within l0 days after it shall
have been presented, the same shall be a law, unless the general assembly
shall by their adjournment, rende r a return of the said bill in l0 days
impracticable; in which case the said bill shall be returned on the first
day of the meeting of the general assembly, after the expiration of the
said l0 days, or be a law.
20. The governor shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent
of the senate, appoint a secretary of state, who shall keep a fair register
of the official acts of the governor, and when required, shall lay the
same and all papers, minutes and vouchers relative thereto, before either
branch of the general assembly and shall perform such other duties as shall
be assigned him by law.
21. The state treasurer and public printer or printers for the state shall
be appointed biennially by the joint vote of both branches of the general
assembly: Provided, that during the recess of the same, the governor shall
have power to fill such vacancies as may happen in either of said offices.
22. The governor shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent
of the senate, appoint all officers whose offices are established by this
constitution, or shall be established by law, and whose appointments are
not herein otherwise provi ded for; Provided however, that inspectors,
collectors and the deputies, surveyors of the highways, constables, jailors,
and such inferior officers whose jurisdiction may be confined within the
limits of the county, shall be appointed in such manner as the general
assembly may prescribe.
1. The judicial power of this state shall be vested in one supreme court,
and such inferior courts as the general assembly shall, from time to time,
ordain and establish.
2. The supreme court shall be holden at the seat of government, and shall
have an appellate jurisdiction only, except in cases relating to the revenue,
in cases of mandamus, and in such cases of impeachment as may be required
to be tried before i t.
3. The supreme court shall consist in a chief justice and three associates,
any two of whom shall form a quorum. The number of justices may, however,
be increased by the general assembly after the year 1824
4. The justices of the supreme court and the judges of the inferior courts
shall be appointed by joint ballot of both branches of the general assembly,
and commissioned by the governor, and shall hold their offices during good
behavior until the end of the first session of the general assembly, which
shall be begun and held after the first day of January, in the year of
our Lord 1824, at which time their commissions shall expire: and until
the expiration of which time, the said justices, respe ctively, shall hold
circuit courts in the several counties, in such manner and at such times,
and shall have and exercise such jurisdiction as the general assembly shall
by law prescribe. But ever after the aforesaid period, the justices of
the suprem e court shall be commissioned during good behavior, and the
justices thereof shall not hold circuit courts unless required by law.
5. The judges of the inferior courts shall hold their offices during good
behavior, but for any reasonable cause, which shall not be sufficient ground
for impeachment, both the judges of the supreme and inferior courts shall
be removed from office on the address of two-thirds of each branch of the
general assembly: Provided always, that no member of either house of the
general assembly, nor any person connected with a member by consanguinity,
or affinity, shall be appointed to fill the vacancy occa sioned by such
removal. The said justices of the supreme court, during their temporary
appointments, shall receive an annual salary of $1000, payable quarter
yearly out of the public treasury. The judges of the inferior courts, and
the justices of the sup reme court who may be appointed after the end of
the first session of the general assembly, which shall be begun and held
after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord 1824, shall have
adequate and competent salaries, which shall not be diminish ed during
their continuance in office.
6. The supreme court, or a majority of the justices thereof, the circuit
courts, or the justices thereof, shall, respectively, appoint their own
7. All process, writs and other proceedings shall run in the name of: The
people of the State of Illinois. All prosecutions shall be carried on:
In the name and by the authority of the People of the State of Illinois,
and conclude: Against the peace and dignity of the same.
8. A competent number of justices of the peace shall be appointed in each
county in such manner as the general assembly may direct, whose time of
service, power, and duties shall be regulated and defined by law. And justices
of the peace, when so ap pointed, shall be commissioned by the governor.
1. The militia of the State of Illinois shall consist of all free male
able-bodied persons, negroes, mulattoes and Indians excepted, resident
in the state, between the ages of 18 and 45 years, except such persons
as now are, or herea fter may be, exempted by the laws of the United States
or of this state, and shall be armed, equipped and trained as the general
assembly may provide by law.
2. No person or persons, conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall
be compelled to do militia duty in time of peace, provided such person
or persons shall pay an equivalent for such exemption.
3. Company, battalion and regimental officers, staff officers excepted,
shall be elected by the persons composing their several companies, battalions,
4. Brigadier and major generals shall be elected by the officers of their
brigades and divisions respectively.
5. All militia officers shall be commissioned by the governor, and may
hold their commissions during good behavior, or until they arrive at the
age of sixty years.
6. The militia shall, in all cases, except treason, felony, or breach of
the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at musters
and elections of officers, and in going to and returning from the same.
1. Neither slavery or involuntary servitude shall hereafter be introduced
into this state, otherwise than for the punishment of crimes, whereof the
party shall have been duly convicted; nor shall any male person, arrived
at the age of 21 years, nor female person arrived at the age of 18 years,
be held to serve any person as a servant, under any indenture hereafter
made, unless such person shall enter into such indenture while in a state
of perfect freedom, and on condition of a bona -fide consideration received
or to be received for their service. Nor shall any indenture of any negro
or mulatto, hereafter made and executed out of this state, or if made in
this state, where the term of service exceeds one year, be of the least
validit y, except those given in cases of apprenticeship.
2. No person bound to labor in any other state, shall be hired to labor
in this state, except within the tract reserved for the salt works near
Shawneetown; nor even at that place for a longer period than one year at
any one time; nor shall it be a llowed there after the year 1825: any violation
of this article shall effect the emancipation of such person from his obligation
3. Each and every person who has been bound to service by contract or indenture
in virtue of the law of Illinois territory heretofore existing, and in
conformity to the provisions of the same, without fraud or collusion, shall
be held to a specific performance of their contracts or indentures; and
such negroes and mulattoes as have been registered in conformity with the
aforesaid laws, shall serve out the time appointed by said laws: Provided
however, that the children hereafter born of such person , negroes or mulattoes,
shall become free, the males at the age of 21 years, the females at the
age of 18 years. Each and every child born of indentured parents, shall
be entered with the clerk of the county in which they reside, by their
owners, within s ix months after the birth of said child.
1. Whenever two-thirds of the general assembly shall think it necessary
to alter or amend this constitution, they shall recommend to the electors,
at the next election of members to the general assembly, to vote for or
against a c onvention; and if it shall appear that a majority of all the
citizens of the state, voting for representatives, have voted for a convention,
the general assembly shall, at their next session, call a convention, to
consist of as many members as there may be in the general assembly, to
be chosen in the same manner, at the same place, and by the same electors
that choose the general assembly, and which convention shall meet within
three months after the said election, for the purpose of revising, altering,
or amending this constitution.
ART. VIII. That the general, great and essential principles of liberty
and free government may be recognized and unalterably established, we declare:
1. That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain
inherent and indefeasible rights; among which are those of enjoying and
defending life and liberty, and of acquiring, possessing and protecting
property and reputation, and of pursuing their own happiness.
2. That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are
founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and
3. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty
God according to the dictates of their own consciences; that no man can
of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship,
or to maintain any ministry a gainst his consent; that no human authority
can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience;
and that no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishments
or modes of worship.
4. That no test shall ever be required as a qualifiation to any office
or public trust under this state.
5. That elections shall be free and equal.
6. That the right of the trial by jury shall remain inviolate.
7. That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
possessions, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and that general
warrants whereby an officer may be commanded to search suspected places
without evidence of the fact com mitted, or to seize any person or persons
not named, whose offenses are not particularly described and supported
by evidence, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be granted.
8. That no freeman shall be imprisoned or disseized of his freehold, liberties,
or privileges, or outlawed or exiled, or in any manner deprived of his
life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers or the law
of the land. And all lands which have been granted as a common to the inhabitants
of any town, hamlet village, or corporation, by any person, body politic
or corporate, or by any government having power to make such grant, shall
forever remain common to the inhabitants of such tow n, hamlet, village,
or corporation; and the said commons shall not be leased, sold, or divided
under any pretense whatever: Provided however, that nothing in this section
shall be so construed as to affect the commons of Cahokia or Prairie du
Pont: Provid ed also, that the general assembly shall have power and authority
to grant the same privileges to the inhabitants of the said villages of
Cahokia and Prairie du Pont as are hereby granted to the inhabitants of
other towns, hamlets and villages.
9. That in all criminal prosecutions, the accused hath a right to be heard
by himself and counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation
against him; to meet the witnesses face to face; to have compulsary process
to compel the attendance of witnesses in his favor. And in prosecutions
by indictment or information, a speedy public trial by an impartial jury
of the vicinage; and that he shall not be compelled to give evidence against
l0. That no person shall, for any indictable offense, be proceeded against
criminally by information, except in cases arising in the land or naval
forces, or the militia when in actual service, in time of war, or public
danger, by leave of the court s, for oppression or misdemeanor in office.
11. No person shall, for the same offense, be twice put in jeopardy of
his life or limb; nor shall any man's property be taken or applied to public
use, without the consent of his representatives in the general assembly,
nor without just compensati on being made to him.
12. Every person within this state ought to find a certain remedy in the
laws, for injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property
or character; he ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without
being obliged to purchase it, completely and without denial, promptly and
without delay, conformably to the laws.
13. That all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for
capital offenses, where the proof is evident or the presumption great;
and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended,
unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require
14. All penalties shall be proportioned to the nature of the offense, the
true design of all punishments being to reform, not to exterminate mankind.
15. No person shall be imprisoned for debt, unless upon refusal to deliver
up his estate for the benefit of his creditors, in such manner as shall
be prescribed by law, or in cases where there is strong presumption of
16. No ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the validity of contracts
shall ever be made; and no conviction shall work corruption of blood or
forfeiture of estate.
17. That no person shall be liable to be transported out of this state
for any offence committed within the same.
18. That a frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of civil government
is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty.
19. That the people have a right to assemble together in a peaceable manner
to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and
to apply to the general assembly for redress of grievances.
20. That the mode of levying a tax shall be by valuation, so that every
person shall pay a tax in proportion to the value of the property he or
she has in his or her possession.
21. That there shall be no other banks or moneyed institutions in this
state than those already provided by law; except a state bank and its branches,
which may be established and regulated by the general assembly of the state
as they may think prop er.
22. The printing presses shall be free to every person, who undertakes
to examine the proceedings of the general assembly or of any branch of
government; and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right thereof.
The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable
rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write, and print on
any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.
23. In prosecutions for the publication of papers investigating the official
conduct of officers, or of men acting in a public capacity, or where the
matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may
be given in evidence. And in all indictments for libels, the jury shall
have the right of determining both the law and the fact, under the direction
of the court as in other cases.
1. That no inconveniences may arise from the change of a territorial to
a permanent state government, it is declared by the convention, that all;
rights, suits, actions, prosecutions, claims, and contracts both as it
respects indi viduals and bodies corporate, shall continue as if no change
had taken place in this government in virtue of the laws now in force.
2. All fines, penalties, and forfeitures due and owing to the territory
of Illinois. shall inure to the use of the state. All bonds executed to
the governor, or to any other officer in his official capacity in the territory,
shall pass over to the governor or to the officers of the state, and their
successors in office, for the use of the state, by him or by them to be
respectively assigned over to the use of those concerned, as the case may
3. No sheriff or collector of public moneys, shall be eligible to any office
in this state, until they have paid over according to law, all moneys which
they may have collected by virtue of their respective offices.
4. There shall be elected in each county, three county commissioners for
the purpose of transacting all county business, whose time of service,
power, and duties shall be regulated and defined by law.
5. The governor, secretary, and judges, and all other officers under the
territorial government shall continue in the exercise of the duties of
their respective departments until the said officers are superceded under
the authority of this constitu tion.
6. The governor of this state shall make use of his private seal, until
a state seal shall be provided.
7. The oaths of office herein directed to be taken, may be administered
by any justice of the peace until the general assembly shall otherwise
8. Until the first census shall be taken as directed by this constitution,
the county of Madison shall be entitled to one senator and three representatives;
the county of St. Clair, to one senator and three representatives; the
county of Bond, to o ne senator and one representative; the county of Washington,
to one senator and one representative; the county of Monroe, to one senator
and one representative; the county of Randolph, to one senator and two
representatives; the county of Jackson, to one senator and one representative;
the counties of Johnson and Franklin to form one senatorial district, and
to be entitled to one senator, and each county to one representative; the
county of Union, to one senator and two representatives; the county of
Pope , to one senator and two representatives; the county of Gallatin,
to one senator and three representatives; the county of White, to one senator
and three representatives; the county of Edwards, to one senator and two
representatives; and the county of Cra wford, to one senator and two representatives.
9. The president of the convention shall issue writs of election directed
to the several sheriffs of the several counties, or in case of the absence
or disability of any sheriff, then to the deputy sheriff, and in case of
the absence or disability of the deputy sheriff, then such writ to be directed
to the coroner, requiring them to cause an election to be held for governor,
lieutenant governor, representative to the present congress of the United
States, and members to the general assembly, and sh eriffs and coroners
in the respective counties; such election to commence on the third Thursday
of September next, and to continue for that and the two succeeding days;
and which election shall be conducted in the manner prescribed by the existing
electio n laws of the Illinois territory; and the said governor, lieutenant
governor, members of the general assembly, sheriffs, and coroners, then
duly elected, shall continue to exercise the duties of their respective
offices for the time prescribed by this con stitution, and until their
successor or successors are qualified, and no longer.
l0. An auditor of public accounts, an attorney general, and such other
officers for the state as may be necessary, may be appointed by the general
assembly, whose duties may be regulated by law.
11. It shall be the duty of the general assembly to enact such laws as
may be necessary and proper to prevent the practice of dueling.
12. All white male inhabitants above the age of 21 years, who shall be
actual residents of this state, at the signing of this constitution, shall
have a right to a vote at the election to be held on the third Thursday
and the two following days of S eptember next.
13. The seat of government for the state shall be at Kaskaskia until the
general assembly shall otherwise provide. The general assembly, at their
first session holden under the authority of this constitution, shall petition
the congress of the Unite d States, to grant to this state a quantity of
land, to consist of not more than four, nor less than one section, or to
give to this state the right of preemption in the purchase of the said
quantity of land. The said land to be situate on the Kaskaskia r iver,
and as near as may be, east of the third principal meridian on said river.
Should the prayer of such petition be granted, the general assembly, at
their next session thereafter, shall provide for the appointment of five
commissioners to make the sel ection of said land so granted; and shall
further provide for laying out a town upon the said land so selected; which
town, so laid out, shall be the seat of government of this state for the
term of 20 years. Should, however, the prayer of said petition n ot be
granted, the general assembly shall have power to make such provision for
a permanent seat of government as may be necessary, and shall fix the same
where they may think best.
14. Any person of 30 years of age who is a citizen of the United States
and has resided within the limits of this state two years next preceding
his election, shall be eligible to the office of lieutenant governor: anything
in § 13 Art III. of this constitution contained to the contrary notwithstanding.
Done in convention at Kaskaskia, the twenty-sixth day of August, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen, and of the Independence
of the United States of America, the forty-third.
In testimony whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names:
JESSE B. THOMAS,
President of the convention and representative from the county
of St. Clair.
JOHN MESSINGER, St.Clair County. CALDWELL CAIRNS, Monroe County
JAMES LEMON, jr. ENOCH MOORE,
GEORGE FISHER, Randolph County. SAMUEL OMELVANY, Pope County ELIAS
KENT KANE, HAMLET FERGUSON,
B[ENJ]. STEPHENSON, Madison County. CONRAD WILL, Jackson County.
JOSEPH BOROUGH, JAMES HALL, jr. ABRAHAM PRICKETT,
MICHAEL JONES, Gallatin County. JOSEPH KITCHELL, Crawford Co. LEONARD
WHITE, ED. N. CULLOM, ADOLPHUS F'D'K HUBBARD
THOS. KILPATRICK, Bond County. HEZEKIAH WEST, Johnson County SAMUEL
G. MORSE, WILLIAM M'FATRIDGE,
WILLIAM ECHOLS, Union County. SETH GARD, Edwards County. JOHN
WHITEAKER, LEVI COMPTON,
ANDREW BANKSON, Washington Co. WILLIS HARGRAVE, White Co. WILLIAM M'HENRY,
ISHAM HARRISON, Franklin Cou'ty. THOMAS ROBERTS,
Attest, WM. C. GREENUP, Secretary to the Convention