Page images
PDF
EPUB

236

PENALTY AND FORFEITURE OF USURY IN INDIANA.

judgment shall be rendered for the balance as above." [R. S., 29, Sec. 581.]

All excessive interest that may have been paid, may be recovered back by the person paying the same, together with the lawful interest on the principal borrowed or forborne, provided a suit therefor be brought within a year after payment of the usury; so that the usurer, in fact, forfeits his lawful interest by receiving excess. [Id., Sec. 30.) ]

“Every person offending against the provisions of this article, (prohibiting unlawful interest) shall be compelled to answer on oath, any bill that may be exhibited against him in chancery, for the discovery of any sum of money, property, or things in action, reserved, contracted for, taken or received, in violation of the foregoing provisions or any of them.” [Id., Sec. 31.] If such person discover truly the facts and circumstances concerning the usury, both interest and the excess may be recovered against him, yet in such cases he cannot be held to answer criminally for the usury, nor be subjected to any penalty or forfeiture in any criminal prosecution therefor. All witnesses disclosing usury are in like manner exempted.

“If any person shall, either directly or indirectly, take, receive, reserve by contract or agreement, or accept in money, property, or thing in action, or reserve in any note, bill, obligation, or security, any greater rate of interest than is allowed and authorized by law, upon any loan or forbearance of any money, property or thing in action, or is allowed and authorized by law, upon any debt, obligation, contract, or sum of money, he shall upon conviction thereof, upon indictment in the proper Circuit Court, be fined in double the amount of the excess of interest so taken, received, accepted, reserved, or secured above the rate of interest allowed by law." [Id., Sec. 36.] Compared with New York, the penalty and punishment are trivial, yet it is believed that severer penalties and punishments would not better subserve the ends of justice or the interests of the people.

CHAPTER IV.

THE STATE OF ILLINOIS.

Source of Title to Lands in Illinois. Erection of Illinois Territory from that part of

Indiana lying west of the Wabash. Act enabling the people therein to form a Constitution and State Government. Ordinance accepting the propositions of Congress. Admission of Illinois into the Union as a State. Her Constitution. Land Titles generally, as regulated by Statute. The Execution, Attestation, Proof, Acknowledgment, Authentication, and Recording of Deeds and Mortgages. The Execution, Attestation, Probate and Recording of Wills of Real Estate. Regulations concerning Descents. The Levy and Collection of Land Taxes. Land Tax Forfeitures. Sales and Redemptions. Limitation upon Actions for the Recovery of Lands. The Statute of Exemptions. Interest of Money and Usury.

1. THE SOURCE OF TITLE TO LANDS IN ILLINOIS. Illinois is the far-famed prairie land whose “meadowy plains, magnificent and vast, with their buffalos,stags,'wildcats, bustards, swan, paroquets and beaver,” were so “transcendantly amazing" to the early French travelers in the west, and which have given to this State her enviable celebrity. She derived her name from a tribe of her native proprietors, whose comeliness of person, urbanity of manners, and generous hospitality in giving bread and shelter to the pious Marquette in 1673, were by him so graphically portrayed in the journal of his mission to that people. Illinois, however, was not the self-designation, but a French nomination of the “most handsome, kindly and effeminate” of the tribes of North America.

As this State was erected from Indiana, west of the Wa

bash, (a portion of the territory of the United States northwest of the Ohio,) the source and deduction of title to the lands within the borders of the State, may be seen in the two preceding chapters. Suffice it here that when it was visited by civilized men, it was in the peaceable possession of the Illinois, Miamis, Peorias and Kaskaskias, who claimed the same as native proprietors. (See Ante 147.] It is believed that the first white man that ever set foot upon the soil of Illinois, was Nicholas Perrot, a messenger sent by the Intendent General of Canada into this region to effect a congress of the tribes; who whilst upon this errand visited the Miami village, on the present site of Chicago in the year 1670. Three years afterwards, however, Illinois was visited by a band of Jesuit Missionaries, under the lead and guidance of James Marquette, and in 1680 by La Salle, who visited an Illinois village of five hundred cabins on the site of Rock Fort, in the county bearing the name of that French chevalier. After exploring the country, and projecting a line of fortifications from Canada to the Mississippi, he returned to France, and from thence to New Orleans, where he died.

The leading object of private enterprise at that day, was the fur trade, which invited thither various bands of traders in company with or in the trail of the missionaries. This being a source of great profit, trading ports were established in different points from time to time, until 1720, when a permanent settlement was effected at Kaskaskia and Cahokia. [See Ante 131.]

For the Contume de Paris, the surrender of the country to the English, its relinquishment by Great Britain, the cessions of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New-York and Virginia, and the ordinance of 1787, the reader is referred to ante 127 to 157 inclusive.

By the articles of compact between the original States and the people inhabiting the country northwest of the Ohio, it

was provided that not less than three nor more than five States should be formed from such territory; and that the western State should be bounded by the Mississippi, the Ohio and Wabash rivers. On the seventh day of May in the year 1800, this vast empire was divided by a line drawn from opposite the mouth of the Kentucky river, northward by Fort Recovery to the Canada line and the country west thereof erected into a territory called Indiana. In the course of events, the following act was passed by Congress:

II.

AN ACT FOR DIVIDING THE INDIANA TERRITORY INTO

TWO SEPARATE GOVERNMENTS.

APPROVED FEBRUARY

3, 1809.

“Sec. I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the first day of March next, all that part of the Indiana territory which lies west of the Wabash river, and a direct line drawn from the said Wabash river and Post Vincennes, due north to the territorial line between the United States and Canada, shall, for the purpose of temporary government, constitute a separate territory, and be called Illinois.

“Sec. II. And be it further enacted, That there shall be established within the said territory a government in all respects similar to that provided by the ordinance of Congress, passed on the thirteenth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, for the government of the territory of the United States, northwest of the river Ohio; and by an act passed on the seventh day of August, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, entitled 'An act to provide for the government of the territory north west of the river Ohio'; and the inhabitants thereof shall be entitled to and enjoy all and singular the rights, privileges, and advantages, granted and secured to the people of the territory of the

United States, north west of the river Ohio, by the said ordinance.

“Sec. III. And be it further enacted, That the officers for the said territory, who, by virtue of this act, shall be appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall respectively exercise the same powers, perform the same duties, and receive for their services the same compensations, as by the ordinance aforesaid, and the laws of the United States, have been provided and established for similar officers in the Indiana territory. And the duties and emoluments of Superintendent of Indian Affairs, shall be united with those of Governor: Provided, that the President of the United States shall have full power, in the recess of Congress, to appoint and commission all officers herein authorized, and their commissions shall continue in force until the end of the next session of Congress.

“Sec. IV. And be it further enacted, That so much of the ordinance for the government of the territory of the United States, north west of the Ohio river, as relates to the organization of a General Assembly therein, and prescribes the powers thereof, shall be in force and operate in the Illinois territory, whenever satisfactory evidence shall be given to the Governor thereof, that such is the wish of a majority of the freeholders, notwithstanding there may be therein five thousand free male inhabitants of the age of twenty-one years and upwards: Provided, that until there shall be five thousand free male inhabitants of the age of twenty-one years and upwards in said territory, the whole number of representatives to the General Assembly shall not be less than seven nor more than nine, to be apportioned by the Governor to the several counties in the said territory, agreeably to the number of free males of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, which they may respectively contain.

"Şec. V. And be it further enacted, That nothing in this

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »