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The State of Illinois has been very negligent in the care of its public records. Many of these records important from an historical point of view have never been published, and many more have been irrecoverably lost. The removal of the capital from Kaskaskia to Vandalia and later to Springfield occasioned the loss of many valuable documents. The indifference of the earlier legislatures and officials, to the fate of those records which had only an historical interest, explains the disappearance of some of the most valuable sources of our history.

The creation of the Illinois State Historical Library Board in the year 1889 was the first official recognition by the State of the importance of cultivating the field of State History and of preserving and publishing its sources; but it was not until the last legislature that an appropriation was made for printing any of the original material.

The present number of the publications of the Historical Library Board contains two important documents neither of which, to our knowledge, has ever been printed before, and if printed, all copies have disappeared. These documents are: The Executive Register of the Illinois Territory from 1809, the beginning of the territorial government, to its close in 1818. The second is, the Journals of the Session of the First General Assembly of the Illinois Territory, convened at Kaskaskia, September 12, 1812, and adjourned the 26th of December of the same year. The Upper House of the Legislature was called at that time the Legislative Council, and the Lower House, the House of Representatives. The Journals, of course, explain themselves. They are the brief records of the minutes of the meetings of the two houses. The Executive Register is a list of the official acts of the governor, and might be called "The Governor's Minute Book."

The original documents are contained in two volumes bound in sheep on file in the Secretary of State's office in Springfield; one of them is in an excellent state of preservation; the other is decayed, and should be rewritten for the regular document file of the office.

The Library Board hopes to continue the series until all the unpublished records of the Territorial period are in print.

It is a great pleasure, as well as a duty, to acknowledge the kind assistance of Mr. S. L. Spear, chief of the Index Department in the Secretary of State's office, who has kindly had these records copied, examined and recompared with the original records. There are likely to be mistakes in all such printed volumes as the present, but great care has been taken to reduce them to as small a number as possible.


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