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upon its own resources. This has been true as to everything else, but the obvious injustice, or at least inequality, which has been pointed out, was not without compensation in the increased self reliance and independence of the people.




The first Constitutional Convention of Tennessee, composed of five members from each of the eleven counties of the Territory, met in the village of Knoxville in the office of David Henley, agent of the war department of the United States, on the 11th day of January, 1796. The building had been equipped for the purposes of the Convention at a cost of twelve dollars and sixty-two cents, of which ten dollars was for seats for the members, and two dollars and sixty-two cents for three and one-half yards of oil-cloth. Among the fifty-five members were a number of men who afterward played important parts in state and federal affairs. At the head of the delegation from Davidson county was John McNairy, one of the Judges of the territorial court who became United States District Judge after the creation of the State. From the same county came James Robertson, of whom nothing more need be said here. Another member from that county who was destined to attain a higher renown and accomplish greater things than any of his associates, was Andrew Jackson, a young lawyer practicing at Nashville, by whom, according to tradition, the name of Tennessee was suggested for the new State. Jackson had an active and influential part in the Convention, giving evidence of the powers which afterwards made him the foremost man in the Republic and probably the greatest leader of men that it has ever produced. Hawkins county sent two men of note, Joseph McMinn, afterwards Governor of Tennessee, and William Cocke, one of the Franklin leaders, one of the founders of the Transylvania Republic, twice a Senator of the United States from Tennessee, a leader in the Mississippi Territory and a patriot distinguished for loyalty and service in both our wars with England. Among the delegates from Jefferson county were Alexander Outlaw, who became one of the foremost citizens of the new State, and Joseph Anderson, one of the territorial Judges, for sixteen years United States Senator, and then Comptroller of the Treasury of the United States; a soldier in the war for independence, and afterwards as a Senator, one of the most earnest advocates of the war of 1812. From Knox County were William Blount, Governor of the Territory, and the "first gentleman" west of the mountains; James White, the founder of Knoxville, and Charles McClung. From Sullivan county came W. C. C. Claiborne, who was afterwards a Judge of the Superior Court of the State, the successor of Andrew Jackson in Congress, first Governor of the Territory of Mississippi, Governor of Louisiana and Senator elect from that State at the time of his death; and John Rhea, who was for eighteen years a member of Congress. Most prominent among the delegates from Washington county, were Landon Carter, son of John Carter of Watauga, Secretary of the State of Franklin, and Speaker of its Senate, and the father of William B. Carter, President of the Constitutional Convention of 1834; and John Tipton. Daniel Smith, Secretary of the territorial government, and afterwards United States Senator, was one of the delegates from Sumner county. Neither John Sevier, nor any other member of the Legislative Council of the Territory was a delegate. • The Convention, having assembled, was, on the motion of James White, of Knox county, opened not only with prayer, but also a sermon by the Reverend Samuel Carrick, and there is no reason to suppose that these religious exercises were as brief as those that have excited the applause of modern political conventions. William Blount, having been elected President, and William Maclin Secretary, the Convention adopted rules, and then resolved: “That economy is an amiable trait in any government, and that in fixing the salaries of the officers thereof, the situation and the resources of the country should be attended to.” It is indisputable that this “amiable trait,” has been conspicuous, continuously, in the history of Ten

In sincere pursuance of this resolution, the members of the Convention having been allowed compensation at the rate of two dollars and fifty cents a day, agreed to accept only one dollar and fifty cents, and made a corresponding reduction of their mileage.


The first important action was the appointment of a committee of twenty-two to draft a Constitution. This committee was composed of Daniel Smith, Chairman, David Craig, Joseph Black, Andrew Jackson, John McNairy, Samuel Frazier, William Rankin, William Cocke, Thomas Henderson, Joseph Anderson, James Roddye, William Blount, Charles McClung, W. C. C. Claiborne, John Rhea, David Shelby, Samuel Wear, John Clack, Thomas Johnston, William Fort, John Tipton, and James Stuart.1

Charles McClung, being a clerkly man, appears to have formulated the original draft of the Constitution. The Convention manifested prudence and intelligence by the method which it pursued in preparing the Constitution. The Constitution of North Carolina, adopted in 1776, was for that time a well devised and sufficiently democratic instrument. The state of Franklin had retained it rejecting the incongruous and empirical amendments proposed by Mr. Houston and his associates; the original instrument had been effective west of the mountains from 1776 to 1784, and from 1788 to 1790, and had been really the organic law of the Territory. It was entirely natural and right therefore, that the Convention of 1796, should content itself with reaffirming, in the main, the Constitution which was in a very real sense, the law of the land at that

1 Journal, Convention of 1796, pages 5-6

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