Early Tennessee Laws
It will be interesting to note other features before hurrying on.
It was provided
that "no person, who heretofore hath been or heretofore may be a
collector or holder of public monies, shall have a seat in either
house of the general assembly."
"The judges or
justices of the inferior courts of law shall have power in all
civil cases to issue writs of certiorari, to. remove any cause or
a transcript thereof from any inferior jurisdiction into their
court, on sufficient cause supported by oath or affirmation."
"No free man shall
be taxed higher than one hundred acres of land,, and no slave
higher than two hundred acres on each poll."
qualification of voters it was provided that "every freeman of the
age of twenty-one years and upwards, possessing a freehold in the
county wherein he may vote, and being an inhabitant of this state,
and every freeman being an inhabitant of any one county in this
state six months immediately preceding the election, shall be
entitled to vote for members of the general assembly for the
county in which he may reside."
Under this provision free men of color and Melungeons could vote for
representative and senator. By the constitution the county court had
the appointment of the sheriff, coroner, trustee, constables,
registers and rangers-the sheriff and coroner to be commissioned by
In reference to qualifications of office holders in general, no
clergyman or preacher of the gospel should be eligible to a seat in
either house, of the general assembly. As to the religious
qualifications of the office holders this was adopted:
The members of the convention from Tennessee county agreed to the,
loss of the name of their county on condition that it be assumed by
the-, state. Andrew Jackson did not suggest the name, Phelan holds.
The president of the convention was instructed to take the
constitution into safe keeping until a secretary of state should be
appointed; to send a copy of it to the secretary of state of the
United States; and to issue writs of election to the sheriffs of the
several counties, for holding 'the first election of members of the
general assembly and a governor, under authority of the constitution
of Tennessee, to bear test of February 6, 1796. Three days later the
governor forwarded to Secretary Timothy Pickering by Major Joseph
McMinn a copy of the constitution. He also notified him that when
the general assembly should meet on March 28th, the temporary
government should cease. This communication, received February 28th,
was not transmitted to congress until April 8th.
Meanwhile the secretary of the territory had made his last official
report to the secretary of state; and its governor had accepted the
office of United States senator, being then, with Senator William
Cocke, on his way to Philadelphia, where congress was in session.
John Sevier, as governor, was thus for a second time at the head of
a government not yet recognized by the United States, the election
of state officials having already been held.
Dr. James White, territorial delegate, applied for the admission of
Tennessee into the Union. The application was made a party question.
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to: Tennessee History
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Will T. Hale. A history of Tennessee and Tennesseans: the
leaders and representative men in commerce, industry and modern
activities, published Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1913.