To the Constitutional Convention — Protect the Treasury of the State.
In common with thousands of others, I have learned with amazement and regret, through the published reports of your proceedings, that the governor of the state has expended some millions of the people's money without any color of authority law — nay more — that he boldly declares he will continue to so misappropriate and expend other millions, if, in his august wisdom, the necessity of the case shall seem to justify it. [See his report to your honorable body.] And, in pursuance of this line of policy, I am informed that further expenditures are daily being made without warrant of law, and that, in fact, the governor's military machinery is still in motion, as briskly as though the legislature had made the appropriations indefinite in amount, and authorized the state executive to draw upon the treasury at will. Within a few days the board of army auditors coolly reported that they had allowed claims of the Illinois central Railroad to the amount of $116,000 — how much more this board has allowed, and is daily allowing, in obedience to the order of the governor, will only be discovered when, perhaps, too late to remedy the matter.
Now, gentlemen of the convention, the people, whom you represent in their sovereign capacity, expect that you will put a stop to this extravagant and unauthorized use of their money. It is understood that the United States authorities prefer to make all needed expenditures for military purposes here and elsewhere, and the people of the state expect that you will exercise your authority to stop the useless depletion of the treasury of the state. Be not alarmed, gentlemen, by the clap-trap cries of "usurpation of power," "revolutionary proceedings," &c., with which the governor and his adherents will assail you. The people will sustain you in any honest effort you may make to lessen the burden of taxation which, for years, must grind them in the dust. It is the governor who, in this case, is the usurper. It is he, who, by illegal and revolutionary means, seeks to set the executive above the legislative authority, and to make the servant superior to his master, the people; and it is your duty to protect the people, and their hard earned gatherings against these dangerous usurpations of the executive. Act, then, gentlemen, while action will be of some avail. Stop the wasteful outpourings from the public treasury. Protect the honest creditors of the state who have hitherto furnished supplies, but at the same time say with emphasis which cannot be misunderstood, that further illegal expenditures cannot be made.