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DURING the last few years there has been a steady advance in the price of lands in Illinois, as well as throughout the United States generally; in the former, they are, however, still offered at very different prices, and, with proper judgment and care, advantageous purchases may readily be made.

Lands may be purchased, 1. of the Federal Government; 2. of the Illinois Central Railroad; and, 3. of private proprietors.

The quantity of public lands has been considerably diminished. According to the State Auditor's report there are only about 100,000 acres in the market, and the greater part of these is situated in the eastern and southern part of the State. Their price is from 12 cts. to $2.50 per acre, and purchasers must apply to the Land Office at Springfield, the only one still existing those at Chicago, Dixon, Quincy, Palestine, Edwardsville, Shawneetown, and Kaskaskia, having been closed some time ago.

The lands which were granted to the Illinois Central Railroad amount to about two millions and a half of acres, over 800,000 acres of which were sold in the course of the last two years, thus leaving about 1,700,000 acres unsold; these are situated in a strip, thirty miles in breadth, lying along the said railroad, and afford a rich choice. In the next chapter, we will give fuller details concerning these lands, by the cultivation of which the population of the State is being greatly promoted.

Private lands and farms are also to be had in almost every part or county of the State, and deserve to be recommended to purchasers who wish to buy farms already under cultivation and well organized. The prices vary, according to the quality of the soil and the greater or less distance from the towns, rivers, and railroads. It being our object to give authentic accounts on this subject, we have classified the information obtained by us, as to the prices of private lands in 34* 2A (401)

different districts of the State, in the order of the respective counties, viz. :

In Cass county, land may be bought at from $1 to $40 per acre. Land bought, some seven years ago, for from $6 to $10 per acre, is now worth from $25 to $30. Wild land costs from $5 to $15, and farms from $15 to $40 per acre. This county contains about 2000 acres of swamp-land, which sells at from 50 cts to $2.25 per acre. In Du Page county there is but little wild-prairie land to be had. Farm-land is worth from $8 to $30 or $40 per acre; wood-land from $15 to $90 and $100.

In La Salle county the prices are about the same as those mentioned in the preceding county; and well-arranged farms can be bought at proportionate prices.

In Lee county, land, which only four years ago was sold at from $5 to $10, now sells at from $50 to $100 per acre. Mr. J. H. Cropsey of Dixon, three years ago, bought a large tract of land at $8 per acre, and, in December, 1855, sold it again for $25 per acre.

In Livingston county, Mr. J. L. Miller, in February, 1855, bought 212 acres, partly prairie-land and partly wood-land, at $12 per acre, which, ten months afterwards, he sold for $25 per acre. In December, 1855, Judge Babcock sold a farm of 1436 acres, on which there were two groves, containing together 130 acres, with a dwelling-house and barn, for $30,000. He had bought these lands, successively, in smaller tracts, paying $10, $6 per acre, and for some not more than the government price.

In Macoupin county farms are sold at from $10 to $30 per acre.

In Marshall county, an acre of wild prairie-land, two or three miles distant from Henry or Bacon, sells at from $18 to $20, six miles distant at $10, and fifteen miles distant at $5 per acre. Good woodland on the bluff is worth from $15 to $25. The price of cultivated and improved farms, in the vicinity of the towns or at a distance of from three to four miles, is from $30 to $35, and six miles distant, from $20 to $25 per acre. In 1850, prairie-land two or three miles distant from Henry was sold at $6, that situated five or six miles off at $23, and Congress-land nine or ten miles from Henry could be bought at $11 per acre.

In MacLean county, land costs from $5 to $30 per acré.

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for which $4 an acre was paid four years ago, now brings three times as much; and for cultivated farms, which were then worth from $10 to $15 per acre, from $25 to $35 are now paid.

In Menard county, a farm, situated a few miles from Petersburg, and containing 250 acres, was sold, in December, 1855, for $7500. In Morgan county, a farm of 640 acres, near Jacksonville, was also sold for $32,000.

In Peoria county, wild land is now worth from $15 to $20 per


In Putnam county, cultivated farms, for which from $12 to $20 per acre were paid six years ago, are now sold at from $25 to $35. Wild prairie-land, formerly worth from $4 to $6, now brings from $10 to $15, and wood-land from $15 to $30 per acre.

In Rock Island county, near the town of the same name, an acre fetches from $30 to $100; farther off, from $5 to $30.

In St. Clair county, three or four miles from Belleville, cultivated land costs from $40 to $50 an acre, and at a distance of from ten to fifteen miles from the town, from $20 to $25. In the year 1855, a tract of land, situated two miles from Belleville, which, twelve years ago, had been bought at $15 an acre, was sold for $120 per acre. Wild prairie-land has here reached the following prices: in 1840, $3; in 1845, $5; in 1850, $10; and in 1855, $20 to $25.

In Sangamon county, land has doubled its price within the last three years. Wild land costs from $10 to $20 per acre; cultivated land, from $20 to $40.

In Tazewell county, farms are sold at from $35 to $40 per acre. Land for which, five or six years ago, from $4 to $5 was paid, cannot be bought at present below $20 or $30 per acre.

In Will county, wild prairie-land, which, four years ago, could be bought at Congress price, is now as high as $10; and farms worth $6 per acre four years ago, now sell at from $20 to $25.

In Winnebago county, as late as the year 1852, wild prairie-land could still be bought at the Congress price of $1.25, but from $12 to $25 per acre is now paid for it.

In Woodford county, pretty good land cannot be bought below $10 an acre; farms bring from $30 to $40, and wood-land from $15 to $20.

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In the eastern part of the county, wild prairie-land can yet be bought at from $3 to $4 per acre.

The above instances, taken from nineteen different counties of the State, will be sufficient to enable the reader to form a tolerably correct idea of the price of land in general, while, at the same time, they show the relative rise in prices during the last few years, and with what reasonable prospects of gain capital may at present still be invested in the purchase of Illinois lands. The supposition, that prices have reached their culminating point, cannot be admitted; for, setting aside every other consideration, Illinois has, by the construction of the Central railroad, made these immense uncultivated tracts in the heart of the State easily accessible to the cultivator; and along the whole extent of country intersected by the road, numerous towns have sprung into existence, where, but a short time ago, nothing except the flower-covered carpet of the prairie and the blue canopy of heaven was to be seen.

We do not take too sanguine a view, in asserting that, in the year 1860, we shall look back upon just such a period of great advance in the price of lands, as we now do when looking back to the year 1850. At that time, who would have ventured to anticipate the enormous rise in real estate that is now actually exhibited?

Any one who may prefer to hire land or a farm, rather than to acquire the ownership of it, will find good chances to do so in almost all the counties. The rents, with some few exceptions, are nearly as follows:

1. For the use of cultivated land, from $1 to $2 per acre.

3. If the tenant, besides the land, also receives from his landlord a house, &c., the rent amounts to $3 per acre; or,

3. The tenant gives all the work, seeds, &c., and furnishes the working-cattle, and then gives one-third of the returns or crops to the owner of the land; or, finally,

4. The tenant furnishes the work, and in return obtains a dwellingplace, working-cattle, agricultural implements, seed, &c., and then the owner is entitled to one-half of the crops.

We cannot conclude this chapter without mentioning an extraordinary instance of the rapid increase in the value of real estate.

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