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ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES


The Illinois and Michigan Canal, 1827–1911

A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives


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DOCUMENT 2
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE CANAL COMMISSIONERS TO THE COMMISSIONER OF THE U.S. GENERAL LAND OFFICE CONCERNING LAND PATENTS
March 28, 1830




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Explanation

The Illinois General Assembly enacted legislation in 1829 to provide a means by which the state could claim those lands the federal government had donated to it for canal purposes (see document 1). Biennially the governor appointed three canal commissioners who were confirmed by the Illinois Senate. The commissioners were to fix the canal route, select appropriate federal lands along the route, conduct sales of those lands to support work on the canal, and oversee the canal's construction. Expenses were to be paid out of the canal fund which consisted of proceeds from the sales of canal lands. Commissioners were compensated at the rate of three dollars per day.

Ninian Edwards (1775-1833) was the third governor of the State of Illinois, December 6, 1826-December 6, 1830. He had served as the territorial governor (May 27, 1809-October 6, 1818) until the time Illinois achieved statehood.

Points to Consider

How were the canal commissioners proposing to pay for the cost of constructing the canal?
Which party was the previous owner of the lands the canal commissioners were about to offer at public sale?
Where was Kaskaskia in 1818 when Illinois became a state and what function did it serve then? Where is it today?
What is a land patent and what purpose would it have served in the conveyance of public lands?


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