(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Tennessee historical magazine"

1 1 
t 






: . : • 



111. 



► T ' * I 



»i 









- 



j 



; 









. 









I 




I! 












> 






■ 



1 » * t 

I' 












# 












BINOUmv* »^ w , ^p^ 2 jgg 

















TENNESSEE 






HISTORICAL 



MAGAZINE 



Published under the Authority^of 






Th 



e 







ennessee Historical Society 



EDITOR 
ST. GEORGE L. SIOUSSAT 
















VOLUME II 




as 



hvill 



e 



1916 







4 



TENNESSEE 

HISTORICAL SOCIETY 



Founded 1849 
Incorporated 1875 



■ 1 



OFFICERS 












1 





















President 

JOHN H. DEWITT 



Vice-Presiden ts 

E. T. SANFORD 
PARK MARSHALL 
J. P. YOUNG 
MRS. B. D. BELL 



Recording Secretary 
IRBY R. HUDSON 



I 




5/ 

1/. 2. 



Assistant Recording Secretary 

A. P. FOSTER 



Corresponding Secretary 
ST. GEORGE L SIOUSSAT 



Treasurer 
JOSEPH S. CARELS 



Financial Agent 

COL. GEORGE C. PORTER 






W. E. BEARD 



Committee on Publication 
JOHN H. DEWITT, Chairman 



ST. GEORGE L SIOUSSAT 



Business Manager 
JOHN H. DEWITT 

Stahlman Building 
Nashville, Tennessee 






CONTENTS OF VOLUME II. 



Number 1. March, 1916. 



ARTICLES 



PAGE 

A, P. Whitaker The Public School System of Tennessee, 

1834-1860 1 

Park Marshall The Topographical Beginnings of Nash- 
ville 31 

Maggie H. Stone Joseph Greer, The King's Mountain Mes- 
senger: — A Tradition of the Greer 
Family 40 

DOCUMENTS 

Diaries of S. H. Laughlin of Tennessee, 1840, 1843, with Intro- 
duction and Notes by the Editor 43 

HISTORICAL NOTES AND NEWS 

Proceedings of the Society — Nashville Meeting of the Missis- 
sippi Valley Historical Association — Illinois Historical 
"Collections"— Bolton's "Texas in the Middle Eighteenth 
Century" 



86 



Number 2. June, 1916. 



ARTICLES 



Wallace McClure Governmental Reorganization, A Con- 

stitutional Need in Tennessee .... 89 

A. E. Martin Anti-Slavery Activities of the Meth- 

odist Episcopal Church in Ten- 



nessee 



98 



R. B. C. Howell Early Corporate Limits of Nashville 110 

Hon. J. A. Trousdale A History of the Life of General 

William Trousdale 119 

DOCUMENTS 

I. Papers of Major John P. Heiss, of Nashville, with Intro- 
duction and Notes by the Editor 137 

II. Walker-Heiss Papers, II 147 



HISTORICAL NOTES AND NEWS 

Proceedings of the Society — Meeting of the Mississippi Val- 
ley Historical Association — A Request from Mr. W. E. 
Myer — Scrogg's "Filibusters and Financiers" — Illinois 
Historical "Collections" 150 




Number 3. September, 1916. 

ARTICLES 

page 

Archibald Henderson Richard Henderson: The Authorship 

of the Cumberland Compact and 

the Founding of Nashville 155 

H. M. Henry The Slave Laws of Tennessee 175 

J. T. McGill Andrew Greer 204 

DOCUMENTS 

Papers of Major John P. Heiss, of Nashville, with Introduc- 
tion and Notes by the Editor (Continued) \ . . 208 

HISTORICAL NOTES AND NEWS 

Death of Mr. Clarence S. Paine — The Society's Manuscripts — 
Genealogical Inquiry — McClure's "State Constitution Mak- 
ing" 231 



Number 4. December, 1916 



ARTICLES 

J. P. Young 



Fort Prudhomme : Was It the First 
Settlement in Tennessee? 235 



Stephen B. Weeks 



Tennessee : 
Sources 



A Discussion on the 
of Its Population and 



the Lines of Immigration 245 



Albert V. Goodpasture John Bell's Political Revolt, and 



DOCUMENTS 



His Vauxhall Garden Speech... 254 



I. Letters of General John Coffee to his Wife, 1813-1815, 

with Introduction and Notes by John H. DeWitt 264 

II. Roll of Tennessee Cavalrymen in the Natchez Expedition 295 






HISTORICAL NOTES AND NEWS 

Proceedings of the Society — Meeting of the Colonial Dames — 
Annual Meeting of the Tennessee Sons of the American 
Revolution — Annual Conference of the Tennessee Daugh- 
ters of the American Revolution 






299 



INDEX 






TENNESSEE 



HISTORICAL MAGAZINE 



Vol. 2. MARCH, 1916. No. 1 



THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM OF TENNESSEE, 

1834-1860 

The purpose of this paper is to sketch the history of public 
schools in Tennessee during the most important period of 
their existence before the Civil War, to follow their varying 
fortunes, and to determine if possible to what extent they met 
the need which called them into existence. Only a brief sum- 
mary of events before 1834 is necessary to give a background 
for the period under discussion, 

1784-1823. 

In spite of adverse circumstances, — the ever-present danger 
of Indians, the sparseness of population, and the scarcity of 
money, — the early settlers of Tennessee took steps to estab- 
lish schools. 1 These, however, were not to be public schools, 
but private academies. The constitution proposed for the state 
of Franklin by the Rev. Hezekiah Balch — but rejected by a 
small majority in the convention — illustrates the point in 
question; for while it made explicit provisions for the found- 
ing of a university, the establishment of grammar schools 
was provided for only in case it should "appear to be useful 
to the interest of learning in this state." 2 

The first institutions of learning in Tennessee were acad- 
emies. The first of these were Martin Academy (Greeneville, 
1783), and Davidson Academy (Nashville, 1785). These were 
followed by Blount College (Knoxville, 1794), and Greene- 
ville College (Greeneville, 1795 ). 3 When, however, Tennessee 
was erected into a state in 1796, it adopted with only the 
necessary changes the constitution and laws of North Caro- 
lina, and with them inherited the parent state's policy of non- 
interference in matters of education. 4 

The next point of interest is the Congressional Act of 1806, 



Annals of 



Annals 



9 Ibid. 
'Ibid. 



2 A. P. W hi taker 

which was the result of a tripartite agreement between the 
Federal Government, North Carolina and Tennessee to settle 
a dispute of long standing over the right of registration in a 
vast extent of unappropriated lands in Tennessee. By this 
act two tracts of land, each of 100,000 acres, were reserved, 
one for the benefit of a college or colleges, the other, of acad- 
emies; and 640 acres were to be set aside for the support of 
common schools in every 36 square miles, wherever possible. 5 

It was estimated that the latter reservation would yield 
about 450,000 acres, but in 1823 the legislature of Tennessee 
adopted a memorial — which was presented to Congress in 1825 
stating that only 22,705 acres had been realized. Efforts 
were made again and again by the state to secure from the 
Federal Government some compensatory grant. It was only 
in 1845-6, however, when the remaining lands were of little 
value, that Congress released to Tennessee all the vacant and 
unappropriated lands within the state — and even then there 
were restrictions. 6 

The net result of this was not only that the funds expected 
from this source for the common schools failed to materialize 
but also that the delay and uncertainty as to what action 
Congress would take prevented the state legislature from 
rendering the assistance that it might otherwise have been 
disposed to give. As long as hope of any less disagreeable 
alternative held out, the representatives of the people did not 
intend to risk incurring popular disfavor by adding to the 
financial burdens of the state. 

The colleges and academies were equally unfortunate. 
Their tracts of land were unwisely located in the district south 
of the French Broad and Holston Rivers, thereby cutting the 
apparent value of the land to half of what it would have been 
if located in some other part of the state. Even worse than 
this, the "occupants" of this land regarded the sum demanded 
of them as exorbitant; delays and much real suffering oc- 
curred; and the net result was that a feeling of resentment 
against the colleges and academies was engendered which 
made itself felt even in matters of state-wide interest. 7 

*E. T. Sanford, Blount College and the University of Tennessee, 
pp. 24, 25. 

•Sanford, Blount College, pp. 98-101. L. S. Merriam, Higher Educa- 
tion in Tennessee, p. 23. See also A. V. Goodpasture, "Education and 
Public Lands in Tennessee/' American Historical Magazine, Vol. IV f 
No. 3. 

'Memorial of the President and Board of Trustees of East Tenn- 
essee College, asking the removal of the location to some other dis- 
trict. This memorial, in the Knoxville Register, Sept. 2, 1825, was 
endorsed by an editorial in the same issue; and in a memorial drawn 
up by the citizens of this district in convention at Sevierville. Register, 
Sept. 30, 1825. See also editorial, "Education," ibid., Oct. 21. Also 
«ee below p. 7, for the vote in the constitutional convention of 1834. 



Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 3 



On the whole, the lot of the common schools was consid 
erably worse. Their misfortune was state-wide in its extent 
and, for a time at least, paralyzing in its effects. That of 
the academies, on the other hand, was, in its popular aspects, 
confined to a small and comparatively poor region, not the 
natural home of private schools in any event; and, on its 
financial side, though serious, was to a considerable extent 
counterbalanced by the willingness of the academies' patrons 
to pay a little more when necessity demanded it. Conse- 
quently, while even the conception of a common school system 
was still dim and indistinct, the academies were growing in 
numbers and strength. 

No acts of fundamental importance were passed by the 
legislature during this period, which was primarily forma- 
tive, preparatory in its character. 

The year 1815 saw the passage of an act, the consequences 
of which were most unfortunate. It was provided that a tax 
on property and polls should be levied to educate "those poor 
orphans who have no property to support and educate them, 
and whose fathers were killed or have died in the service of 
their country in the late war." 8 The good effect of this ex- 
ample of levying a tax for education was more than nullified 
by the unfortunate restriction of its use to "poor relief," thus 
putting the seal of the state's approval on the conception of 
public schools and pauper schools as synonymous. 

The distinction between the purposes for which the com- 
mon school and academy lands had been appropriated was 
not at first clear in the minds of those who handled the funds. 9 
The earliest indication of the differentiation of the two is 
in an act passed in 1817, which was designed to prevent the 
public school funds from going to support academies, and 
which may be regarded as "the germ of the common school 
system as distinguished from the academy." 10 This was fol- 
lowed in 1821 by an act for the purpose of making more cer- 
tain the use of the proceeds from the common school lands 
for none but public purposes, and requiring academy trustees 
to hand over all such funds in their possession to the public 
school commissioners. 



1823-1834. 

Public schools and academies clearly differentiated, but 
public schools regarded as pauper schools — this was the situa- 
tion when the legislature met in 1823. In this year an aet 
was passed which marks the beginning of earnest effort on 



8 



S. B. Weeks, "History of Public Schools in Tennessee," Ch. Ill, 
in a forthcoming Bulletin of the Bureau of Education. 
"Ibid. 



10 



Ibid. 



4 A. P. WJUtoker 



the part of the state to provide an adequate public school 
system. 

This act 11 contains three noteworthy features: the first is 
the establishment of a permanent fund for the use of the com- 
mon schools. For this purpose it was provided that the pro- 
ceeds from the sale and state taxes on certain vacant lands 
north and east of the Congressional Reservation Line should 
constitute a "perpetual and exclusive" common school fund. 

Thus the public school and academy funds were finally sepa- 
rated. 

The second point of interest is the provision that the 
county commissioners — who were to be the really important 
administrative officials of the system — should receive no pay 
whatsoever. This provision resulted then, as it always has, 
in the failure of the system that was founded on it. 12 

The third and most important feature of all was that 
the funds thus realized were to be used for the benefit of 
poor children, either by establishing "poor schools" for them, 
or by paying their tuition fees at already existing schools. 

It is small wonder that a system which was to be financed 
by a fund that failed to materialize, and which sought to 
secure its administration by officers not paid or rewarded in 
any way, should have failed to fulfill the hopes of its sup- 
porters. The evil effect of the provisions making it a "pauper 
system" were not felt so much then as at a later period, when 
ideas as to the function of public education had changed and 
broadened and when it was attempted to make the public 
school system universal in its operation. 

The provisions of this act were elaborated in 1825, 13 but 
the principal efforts of the legislature were made in a petition 
presented to Congress in the same year asking that the state 
be allowed to provide for its common schools out of the lands 
south and west of the Congressional Reservation Line. 14 This 
failing, however, the legislature was at last compelled to fall 
back on its own resources. 

In 1827 an act was passed to make more adequate pro- 
vision for the school fund. 15 This declared all the capital and 
interest of the new state bank, except the one-half of the 
principal sum already received ; all the proceeds from the sale 
of the Hiawassee lands ; all other sources of income previously 
appropriated to that purpose, and in addition others of not 
so great importance, a part of the common school fund. 

To administer this fund, an act was passed on January 

■ 

"Acts of 1823, Ch. 49. 

"See below, Report of the Superintendent of Education, 1839. 

"Acta of 1825, Ch. 76. 

"Sanford, Blount College, p. 99. 

"Acts of 1827, Ch. 64. 






Tennessee Public Schools, 18341860 5 









14, 1830. It was provided that five trustees should be elected 
in each county to superintend the working of this act on its 
educational side, and also to elect not more than seven nor 
less than five commissioners who should have charge of the 
financial workings of the act in their county. 

The great defect of this act was in failing to provide for a 
central supervisory authority. The school fund was scattered 
all over the state, and much of it was mismanaged, lost, and 
misappropriated. There was no one to call the trustees to 
account if they failed to carry out the provisions of this law. 
Another objection to it was that rate bills were necessary to 
bolster it up and that it depended upon private subscription 
and individual initiative for its effectiveness. 

It must not be thought, however, that the system enacted 
in 1829-1830 was totally devoid of good features and good re- 
sults. It was the first real effort on the part of the state to pro- 
vide for a system of public education, and marked a step for- 
ward in the progress of the public school idea, for, although it 
was first of all a pauper system, it contemplated the teaching of 
"rich and poor alike." In this last respect it is a decided 
advance over the law of 1823, and marks the beginning of the 
growth of the idea of public instruction as universal in its 
working. The good that was accomplished by this act of 1829 
was of an indirect nature and was not immediate. Though it 
did very little towards driving out ignorance, it at least showed 
the people of the state what sort of law they ought not to have. 
It had its good points, but the principal good done by them 
was to bring out the defects in the popular theory of the 
function of public instruction more clearly, and to show how 

fatal they were to the system and how impossible it was to 
accomplish any real results until they had been remedied. 

In 1831, 1833 and 1834 legislation was enacted which 
added somewhat to the size of the school fund, but nothing 

of importance was done. 

Thus in 1834 the three significant facts in regard to the 
common school system are that it was universally regarded 
as a pauper system, that it depended on the school lands and 
bank stock for nearly all of its revenue, and that there was 
no semblance of organization about it. 

1834-1844. 

"The great work," as Caldwell describes it, 16 of the con- 
stitutional convention of 1834 was the adoption of an article 
describing the common school fund, declaring it a perpetual 
fund, and directing the legislature to take definite steps to 
secure it by the appointing of a board of commissioners. The 

"Constitutional History of Tennessee, Robt. Clarke Co., Cincin- 
nati, 1907, p. 211. 



f 
i 






6 A. P. W hi taker 



text of this eleventh article, the first constitutional provision 
in Tennessee for the encouragement of education and the first 
act in the most interesting period in the educational history 
of the state, is worth while giving in detail. * It runs : "Sec. 10 
Knowledge, learning and virtue being essential to the preser 
vation of republican institutions, and the diffusion of the op 
portunities and advantages of education throughout the dif 
ferent portions of the state being highly conducive to the pro 
motion of this end, it shall be the duty of the General As 
sembly in all future periods of this government to cherish 
literature and science. And the fund called the 'Common 
School Fund' and all the lands and proceeds thereof, divi- 
dends, stocks and all other property of every other description 
whatever heretofore by law appropriated for the use of com- 
mon schools, and all such as shall hereafter be appropriated, 
shall remain a perpetual fund, the principal of which shall 
never be diminished by legislative appropriation, and the in- 
terest thereof shall be inviolably appropriated to the support 
and encouragement of common schools throughout the state, 
and for the equal benefit of the people thereof; and no law 
shall be made authorizing said fund, or any part thereof, to 
be diverted to any other use than the support and encourage- 
ment of common schools; and it shall be the duty of the Gen- 
eral Assembly to appoint a board of commissioners, for such 
term of time as they may think proper, who shall have the 
general superintendence of said fund, and who shall make a 
report of the condition of the same from time to time under 
such rules, regulations and restrictions as may be required 
by law; Provided, that if at any time hereafter a division of 
the public lands of the United States, or of the money arising 
from the sale of such lands, shall be made among the indi- 
vidual states, the part of such land or money coming to this 
state shall be devoted to the purpose of education and internal 
improvements, and shall never be applied to any other pur- 
pose." 

This and the following section, winch concerns the acad- 
emies and colleges, comprise the sum total of the action of the 
constitutional convention of 1834 in behalf of education. The 
section which interests us did not have easy sailing in the 
convention, and a brief notice of the struggle of which it was 
the center will both be intending and also throw light on 
conditions in Tennessee at the time. 

Three proposals were made in the convention which were 
not adopted, but which are important since they serve as a 
barometer of educational conditions in that period. The first 
of these was a motion made by Representative Mabry, of 
Knox County, that in addition to other sources of revenue 
which he enumerated, a tax on free white polls be levied and 



< 



Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 



7 



appropriated to the use of the common schools of the state. 17 
Since this appears to have been the first effort to support the 
common schools (not as "poor schools") by taxation, the num- 
ber of votes that it received was surprisingly large, the vote 
being 36 to 20 against it. 18 

The second of these motions was a part of the report of 
the select committee on the common school fund, which rec- 
ommended (along with the 10th section as it was finally 



adopted) that 



per cent (the space was left blank) of the 



net revenue of the state be appropriated to the support of the 
"public and common schools." 19 This motion, too, had a con- 
siderable number of delegates in favor of it, but was rejected 
by a vote of 36 to 21. 20 

Thus two progressive measures had been defeated, and it 
remained to be seen how a reactionary proposition would be 
received. Just before the latter of the foregoing motions was 
rejected, Newton Cannon, of Williamson County, introduced 
an article which was to take the place of the one recommended 
by the committee, and which differed from it in not attempting 
to define the school fund and in containing no provision call- 
ing on the legislature to establish a central state authority 
to supervise the school system. 21 The effect of this would have 
been simply to leave matters in statu quo, to give constitu- 
tional recognition to the common schools as they stood, but 
neither to aid nor encourage them in any way. This motion 
was passed, without even a call for the ayes and noes. On 
the following day, however, on the motion of Huntsman, of 
Madison County, the convention reconsidered and defeated 
Cannon's motion, the vote being, on the call for ayes and 
noes, 44 to ll. 22 

An analysis of the votes by sections on these motions reveals 
some interesting facts: 



East 

Tennessee . 

Middle 



On Mabry's Motion 

to Assess Poll 

Tax 

For Against 



On Motion to Strike 
out Appropriation 

Clause 

For Against 



On Cannon's 
Motion 

For Against 



9 



8 



7 



10 



3 



13 



Tennessee . 10 



18 



21 



7 



4 



24 



West 



Tennessee . 



1 



10 



8 



4 



4 



7 



Total ... 20 



36 



36 



21 



11 



44 



11 Journal of the Convention, p. 198. 
18 Ibid., pp. 199-200. 
"Ibid., p. 206. 

"Ibid., p. 304. 



^Ibid., p. 304. 
"Ibid., pp. 306-307 



8 A. P. Whi taker 



It is evident from this that East Tennessee was 
the stronghold of sentiment in favor of ^the common schools, 
being the only one of the sections that favored the poll tax 
and the fixed annual appropriation. Middle and West Ten- 
nessee, on the other hand, were overwhelmingly against both 

measures, the latter being almost unanimous against the poll 
tax. 

In harmony with the spirit of these constitutional pro- 
visions, Governor Newton Cannon, in his message \o the gen- 
eral assembly on October 15, 1835, after pointing out that 
"previous efforts of the legislature on this subject have failed," 
urges action for the common schools, "under the salutary in- 
fluence of which no child . . . would be permitted to grow 
up . . . without being instructed at least in the common 
branches of English education," He makes his plea in very 
much the same language that was used in the constitution, 
arguing that the safety of republican institutions can be as- 
sured by nothing save the enlightenment of the whole mass of 
the people. This same argument, expressed in almost the same 
terms, appears in the message of nearly every governor from 
John Sevier to Andrew Johnson, covering half a century. The 
floweriness of language and richness of popular appeal vary 
in degree in proportion to the expected closeness of the next 
gubernatorial election and the scarceness of campaign mate- 
rial. The elections for governor in Tennessee between 1835 
and 1855 are remarkable for their uniform closeness, especially 
during the forties, when the successful candidate was often 
elected by a majority of no more than two or three thousand 
in more than one hundred thousand votes. So we find in the 
messages of this period the most enthusiastic commendations 
of common schools. 

Governor Cannon, however, seems to have been sincere in 
his efforts. At any rate, he committed himself and his party, 
just brought back into power, to the establishing of an ade- 
quate common school system at a time when not only the peo- 
ple of Tennessee but of the whole country were alive to the 
necessity of taking immediate and sweeping measures to check 
the alarmingly rapid increase of illiteracy. The effects of this 
movement, which was best known in Tennessee through the 
work and reports of Horace Mann, of Massachusetts, were 
slow in being felt in this state, but the efforts of his followers 
were slowly making headway when the movement received 
great impetus from the action of the constitutional convention 
of 1834 in behalf of the common schools. 

The plans of the reformers began to take shape immediately 
after the adoption of this constitution, and their first victory 
was won in the passage by the general assembly, February 












I 



Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 9 



J 

19, 1836, of a bill 23 providing for a board of commissioners for 
the common schools, in pursuance of the directions in the con- 
stitution recently adopted, and for a superintendent of public 
instruction. The primary purpose of this act was to secure 
the school fund by putting the whole of it in the hands of a 
definite body, which should have charge of and responsibility 
for its collection, disbursement and general management. The 
actual establishing of a system of public instruction was post- 
poned until the finances of the fund, which were in a confused 
and disorganized state, had been put in order by the board of 
commissioners. The plan was the same as the one followed in 
organizing the then existing system, for which the fund had 
been provided in 1827 and the actual system for the use of its 
proceeds in 1829. 

The board of common school commissioners was made up 
of the superintendent of public instruction, the treasurer of 
the state and the comptroller of the treasury, the first named 
to be the executive officer of the board. He was to collect the 
moneys, notes, securities, bonds and other property of the 
state or of the common school fund in the hands of the 
agents appointed to close the Bank of the State, 24 and in 
those of the county school commissioners. The board was to 
appoint an agent in each county of the state to attend to the 
renewing of securities and the gradual payment of all amounts 
due the board under this act. It was also provided that all 
accounts, documents, etc., relating to the sale of the Hiawassee 
lands and to the college and academy lands south of the 
French Broad and Holston Rivers should be turned over to 
him or the board's authorized agent. It was provided that as 
fast as the fund was collected it should be invested in the 
stock of the Planters' Bank of Memphis. By an act passed in 
January, 1838. however, it was provided that the whole of the 
common school funds should become a part of the capital of 
the recently established Bank of Tennessee. 

The superintendent of public instruction was to be elected 
by a joint vote of the general assembly, to hold office for two 

years, and to receive a salary amounting to $1,500.00 a year. 
Besides his duties as financial agent of the board, he was re- 
quired to include in his annual report to the legislature a full 
statement as to the condition of the schools over the state and 
to make recommendations as to amendments to the law or 
other legislation. It appears from this that, though he was 
not given power to enforce the laws or to force action for 
common schools in the backward districts, he was to super- 



28 



Acts of 1835-6, Ch. 23. 
"By Chapter 67 of the Acts of 1833. 









10 A. P. W Maker 



intend the state system of schools in* a capacity more than 
that of mere financial agent or treasurer of the fund. 

To provide for the use of these funds an act was passed on 
the 24th of January, 1838, entitled "An act to establish a 
system of Common Schools in Tennessee." 25 This act assigns 
few new duties to the superintendent, but lays more stress 
upon those parts of his annual report to the legislature which 
were concerned with the statement as to the condition of the 
system and suggestions as to modifications and alterations of 
the law looking to the more efficient organization of the 
schools. It is provided that he shall apportion the school 
funds among the several counties of the state according to 
their scholastic population. 

In order that he may have the proper information as the 
basis for this distribution, the superintendent is instructed to 
send out blank forms by which the clerks of the county courts 
may make their reports uniform. Uniformity to at least a 
limited degree in the course of study is to be secured by his 
sending out letters of instruction to the different counties. 

By an act passed a few days before this one, as stated 
above, the whole of the common school fund had been made 
a part of the capital stock of the Bank of the State. It was 
provided in the same act that the bank should pay $ 100,000 
a year to the board of commissioners as interest on this fund. 
By the act now under consideration, this sum and all taxes for 
the schools were to be paid into the treasury of the state and 
to be protected in the same manner as the state's funds, but 
were to remain a separate and distinct fund. 

The unit of school administration, as established by this 
law, coincided with the already existing civil districts, thus 
making the number of school districts 987. The law provided 
that the constables of each district should hold an election 
every two years in June for the purpose of electing five school 
commissioners for that district. To these commissioners was 
given practically every power and duty that had not already 
been delegated to the superintendent of public instruction, 
with the important exception that all their reports, financial 
and scholastic, were to be made through the county court 
clerk, who was otherwise not an officer on the system and not 
connected with it in any way. 

Some of the more important of the duties of the commis- 
sioners were to employ, pay and dismiss teachers, to make out 
the rate bills, "to exempt from the payment of the wages of 
teachers such indigent persons within the district as they 
shall think proper," and to make annually to the clerk of the 
county court a detailed report of the condition of the schools 

"Acts of 1887-8, Ch. 148. 






Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 11 



in their district. They were also to collect the pro rata assess- 
ment which the children's parents were to pay for instruction, 
and in case all the funds arising from this source and from 
the district's share of the state superintendent's distribution 
of the school fund should prove insufficient, they were to col- 
lect the remainder from the parents of the children attending. 

The structure of the system thus enacted was compara- 
tively simple, almost the entire working out and supervision 
of its details, financial and educational, being left in the hands 
of two classes of officers — the state and district boards of 
school commissioners. The pauper element still played a 
prominent part in it, as shown by the provisions instructing 
the district commissioners to exempt from paying the rate 
bills "such indigent persons" as they should deem fit. That 
it was realized that the fund w r as inadequate is shown by the 
fact that rate bills and private subscription were to be re- 
sorted to, and by the provision in section 23, that "It shall be 
the duty of every person sending a child to school to provide 
his just proportion of fuel for the use of the school." 

The weakest point in the system, all things considered, is 
the use of the county court clerks as connecting links between 
the superintendent and the district commissioners, thus de- 
priving the head of the system of that direct control over his 



subordinates which was so necessary to the proper unification 
and harmonious working of the whole machine. On the whole, 
however, the system was a good one, not only furnishing a 
sound basis on which to build up a better one in the future, 
but also constituting in itself a considerable advance over the 
systems that had before been enacted. Its chief merit lay in 
the fact that it made possible the centralization of the author- 
itv over the thousands of common schools that had hitherto led 
an isolated existence. 

The first superintendent of public instruction elected un- 
der the provisions of this act was Col. Kobert H. McEwen, a 
man of considerable business abilitv and extensive connec- 
tions, and a wide-awake, independent thinker. He was elected 
not long after the passage of the bill of 1836 and immediately 
assumed the duties of his office. His report for the year 
1838-39 is the first report of a superintendent of public in- 
struction in Tennessee, and is very interesting for a number 
of other reasons- In the first place, we get for the first time 



a survey — though very incomplete — of the educational condi- 
tion of the whole state. In the second place, it is the high 
water mark of legislative provision for common schools in 
Tennessee before the war, and shows why the tide, instead of 
continuing to swell, began to ebb almost immediately. Finally, 
it shows to what extent Tennessee was affected by the general 



12 A. P. W hi taker 



wave of sentiment in favor of universal education that was 
sweeping over the country at that time. 

Before considering the report, it would be well to turn for 
a moment to the investigation that had been made by the 
general assembly of Col. McE wen's handling of the common 
school fund since his election to office four years before. As 
he himself admits in his report of the same year, practically „ 
nothing had been done towards putting into operation the 
system established by the law of 1838. His handling of the 
money between the passage of the act of 1836 and that of 
1838 had caused a great deal of unfavorable comment, but the 
movement against him did not gain much headway until the 
long delay in getting the system enacted by the law of the latter 
year under way and its unsatisfactory working after it had 
been inaugurated brought pressure to bear upon the legislature 
and forced an investigation. The result of the investigation 
was that the majority of the committee reported that the super- 
intendent had mismanaged the school fund in various and 
sundry ways and that there was a balance against him of 
$ 121,169.05, misappropriated and otherwise not properly ac- 
counted for. This opinion was not unanimous, for one of the 
members of the joint select committee submitted a minority 
report to the general assembly, in which he defended the super- 
intendent vigorously and ably. It so happened that Col. Mc- 
E wen's term of office was almost up, so the assembly took the 
simplest course and let him complete the brief remainder of 
his term, electing as his successor Robert P. Currin. Suit was 
shortly afterwards instituted in the chancery court against 
him and his securities to recover the above amount, but after 
considerable litigation the affair was finally compromised by 
a committee appointed by the legislature with the defendants, 
who were to pay $10,797.86 in settlement of all claims against 
them. 

The report 20 of Col. Robert H. McEwen is dated October 
8, 1839. Several pages at the first — a considerable part of the 
whole — are devoted to an explanation and defense of his use 
of the school funds. One of the charges against him was that 
he had not invested the revenue from the funds in stock of 
the Planter's Bank of Memphis. To this he made answer that 



— __ 7 

f erred to, far below par. 



was 



that 



payment 



fund, but, as he well says, the finances of the whole country 
were badly disorganized about that time, and "there was no 
standard of currency. What was current at one time and in 
one place was not so in another, or in the same place at an- 

"Appendix, H. J., 1840. 












Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 13 















other time," Banking conditions throughout the South, and 
especially in Tennessee, were about as bad as could be, and 
all sorts of worthless currency was getting into circulation. 
As for the general condition of the school fund, he stated that 
he had "experienced much difficulty, not only from the con- 
fused and scattered condition of that fund, but from the pe- 
cuniary embarrassments of the country. . . . The amount 
of outstanding debts is considerable." The majority report 
of the committee (see above) appointed about a month after 
this report was made states that the school fund amounted at 
that time to about fl, 400,000.00, of which some $975,000 was 
in stocks, $125,000 still to be received from the sale of the 
unsold lands in the Ocoee district, and $3,765 in real estate, 
while the remaining $300,000 was made up of various debts, 
of which about $67,000 was classed as doubtful. Though not 
adequate, by itself, to the needs of the school system, this 
fund was, Col. McEwen pointed out in his report, almost as 
large as any state common school fund in the United States, 
and could do excellent work if properly supplemented by local 
taxation. 

With regard to the actual condition of the schools and the 
work done, the superintendent says, "Little more can be com- 
municated to the present legislature than mere preliminary 
measures." The school year extended theoretically from July 
1, 1838, to July 1, 1839, but the detailed provisions of the law 
as to the distribution of the funds were such that, had they 
been complied with immediately by the commissioners of every 
district, little or nothing could have been accomplished be- 
fore February, 1839. The law required that the county court 
clerks should forward to the superintendent the reports col- 
lected by them from the district commissioners in their county 
on or before November 1, 1838, and the superintendent was 
allowed the months of December and January for completing 
the necessary records, determining the amount due each coun- 
ty, and making the distribution. But in his report to the 
legislature, the superintendent stated that a large number of 
districts, in some cases whole counties, had failed to make 
any report to him as late as the 1st of February, the day by 
which he was supposed to have made the distribution of the 
fund. Since the share of each district could not be deter- 
mined until the whole number of the scholastic population 
had been ascertained, it was necessary to delay the distribu- 
tion until at least an estimate of the population of the delin- 
quent districts could be obtained. Owing to the fact that the 
directors of the Bank of Tennessee, in accordance with the 
provisions of their charter, were unable to pay the $ 100,000 
due on the school fund until the 5th of July (the end of the 



14 



A. P. WMtaker 



banking year), the apportionment of tin* fund among the sev- 
eral districts was finally postponed until late in the summer. 
Naturally, then, there was little to report early in October 
of the same year, less than three months later. 

What he actually reports is soon told: In 911 out of the 
987 school districts school commissioners had been duly elected 
and qualified as required by law, and had made their report 
to the clerks of the county courts. According to their reports, 
there were 185,432 children of school age (between 6 and 16 
years) in the state. The report continues: "A very con- 
siderable number of schools have been established under highly 



flattering auspices. 



In his correspondence with com- 



mon school officers in different parts of the state he (the super- 
intendent) has discovered a deep and increasing interest in 
the cause of education, and a confidence that the present sys- 
tem will lead to great and lasting results." 

This is all that the superintendent can report as actually 
accomplished, and it is certainly little enough. Indeed, it must 
have been a sore disappointment to those who had labored so 
hard in the constitutional convention and in two legislatures 
to provide an adequate, coherent, efficient system of public 
schools, one that would take some place besides that which it 
occupied in the volume of the acts of the legislature. Governor 
Newton Cannon, who five years before had so strongly urged 
immediate action for a system of common schools and who had 
put his stamp of approval on the two acts establishing the 
existing system, gave expression to the general feeling of dis- 
appointment in his message to the legislature on October 8, 
1839. He expresses deep regret that the working of the sys- 
tem has not been attended with more satisfactory results, and 
says: "Although common schools have sprung up under its 
kindly influence in some sections of the state, yet the effect 
has not been general, and the want of uniformity in its prac- 
tical operations occasions dissatisfaction and complaint." 

The most interesting and, in a way, the most important 
part of the superintendent's report is not that which deals with 
what has been done, but the suggestions as to improvements in 
the system. The measures which he advocates might, under 
more favorable circumstances and with a more fortunate and 
painstaking leader in charge, have gone far towards fulfilling 
the hopes of the most optimistic. His suggestions certainly 
show that he had well-defined ideas as to the real value of 
schools to the state and that he was in touch and in harmony 
with the most progressive men and ideas of his time. 

In the first place, he suggests a sort of grading of schools, 
especially in the larger districts, with elementary schools in 
various parts of the district, with a school for the more ad- 






Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 15 















vaneed pupils near the center, "thus affording the facilities 
and advantages resulting from a division of labor, and from 
a separation of pupils whose ages and studies are incom- 
patible." 

The subject of schoolhouses comes in for a large share of 
his attention. He states that he sent out the preceding Jan- 
uary in connection with his instructions to the commissioners 
a report on the construction of schoolhouses, taken from the 
report of the Ohio common school director. He urges that the 
buildings be of good appearance both inside and out, be proper- 
ly warmed, lighted and ventilated, and have a good play- 
ground. He dwells at some length upon the importance of 
providing good, comfortable seats for the children. 

He has four definite suggestions to make in order that bet- 
ter working of the svstem mav be secured. The first is that the 
legislature require the districts to raise, by a tax on property, 
a sum of money equal to the portion of the school fund to 
which they are respectively entitled. The benefits to be de- 
rived from this, he points out, are that the revenue for schools 
in each district will thus be doubled and made adequate, and 
that the fact that the people of the district have had to pay 
half the fund will make them much more careful in managing 
it than heretofore. Furthermore, the public schools can be so 
greatly improved by this addition to the funds that they will 
be far superior to the private schools and will supersede them, 
"and thus break down the distinction between the rich and 
the poor." 

His second suggestion is the result of his own experience 
and the experience of all who had been connected with the ad- 
ministration of common school laws ever since 1823. It was 
in that year, it will be remembered, that there was first put 
upon the statute books the provision which had ever since 
operated to the disadvantage of the system — the non-payment 
of the district commissioners, the very officials upon whose in- 
terest and exertions the success of the whole system was most 
dependent. As Col. McEwen said in his report: "It is evi- 
dent from the provisions of the school act that the most im- 



duties 



To 



failure in discharging certain of these duties, considerable 
penalties are attached and for the performance of these duties, 
and for assuming these responsibilities, no compensation or 



immunity is allowed. 



attributed 



the fact that in sixty-one of the seventy-six delinquent districts 
the commissioners, after being elected, refused to serve." He 
then urges that at least some remuneration be given them for 
their services. 

pr is nthpr two suggestions he makes in order that Tennessee 









16 A. P. W Intake* 



may profit by the experience of other states and anticipate 
difficulties already encountered in them. To this end he ad- 
vises, first, that one or more agents be appointed — preferably 
one in each grand division of the state — to travel as lecturers 
and campaigners in behalf of the common schools, and to visit 
the schools, advise with the commissioners, and in other ways 
to encourage and improve them. He cites Massachusetts as 
an example of the successful working of this plan. The second 
means for accomplishing this end is the publication of a period- 
ical, about every six months, containing discussions of local 
problems, articles on foreign education, etc. 

From this outline of his policies it appears that, whatever 
his alleged shortcomings as a public official, Col. McEwen's 
ideas on the subject of popular education were very ad- 
vanced and very sound. Though in speaking of the 
place of common schools, academies and colleges with 
reference to each other, he said, "All are believed 
to be requisite for the proper education of a community," 
yet he thought that private schools should be confined to the 
years immediately preceding a student's entrance into college, 
and that the state should supervise the education of the chil- 
dren in the lower grades. That this opinion should have been 
so clearly and emphatically expressed by a man of Col. Mc- 
Ewen's position is of no little importance, for it marks a de- 
cided advance upon the view almost, if not quite, universally 
held by the influential men in Tennessee's public affairs up 
to this time. The payment of a salary to the district school 
commissioners is another comparatively novel idea, while his 
proposition to levy a property tax is considerably in advance 
of public opinion and nearly twenty years in advance of legis- 
lative action on this subject. 

What another person possessed of the same clearly defined, 
progressive ideas might have accomplished can only be con- 
jectured. Col. McEwen's difficulties, however, brought him 
and all his propositions into disfavor, and very probably had 
much to do with the action of the legislature in 1844 in 
abolishing the office of superintendent of public instruction. 
Col. McEwen had held office from 1836 to 1840. In the 
latter year Robert P. Currin was elected to succeed him, and 
the law was made more explicit in its provisions as to the re- 
sponsibility of the superintendent for the funds administered 
by him and as to the details of his report of his management 
of these funds. In 1841 Scott Terry was elected superin- 
tendent and held office until the passage of the Act of 1844 
abolishing it. 27 

The reaction which caused the abolishing of the office of 

Acts of 18U3-A, Ch. 77. 



Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 17 









superintendent of public instruction had already begun to 
set in during Col. McE wen's term of office. Governor Cannon, 
in his message of October 8, 1839, had said: "There is prob- 
ably not another law to be found among our statutes that 
has more signally failed to fulfill the wishes of our legislature, 
or one that requires more thorough revision and amendment 
in order that it may effectuate the purposes for which it was 
designed." It is possible that, since his party had just been 
defeated at the polls, he was inclined to take a rather gloomy 
view of the condition of things in general — as the tone of his 
whole message, of which the foregoing is a part, leads us to 
believe. 

Governor Polk, just elected to office, had very little to say 
on the subject of education in his first message to the legisla- 
ture, and what he said was confined to the recommendation 
that measures should be taken to secure the stricter account- 
ability of the officers of the system who had charge of the 
school fund. 

Gov. James C. Jones, in his message of 1842, had little more 
to say on this point than Governor Polk, urging, as had the 
latter, the better protection of the school fund, "the main re- 
liance of indigent children in getting an education." In his 
message of the following year, however, he described this fund 
as "small and wholly insufficient for the accomplishment of 
the great purposes of education." The passage in this message 
relating to the common schools is an excellent example of the 
bombastic, spread-eagle style of oratory that was so popular 
and effective at that time. It runs on for some time in its in- 
flated stvle; but when we brush off the froth and look for the 
invigorating liquid, we see only a few little drops scarcely 
covering the bottom of the cup. The suggestions made are 
these: (1) The increase of the school fund (he makes no 
definite suggestions as to how this shall be accomplished) ; 
(2) individual exertion (whatever he may mean by this) in 
behalf of the common schools; and (3) either the increase of 
the duties of the superintendent of public instruction, or the 
abolishing of the office. That the superintendent, Scott Terry, 
was not performing his duties in conformance with the spirit 
of the law or along the lines laid down by Col. McEwen is 
indicated by Governor Jones's language in recommending that 
the office be abolished — "if the duties of this office are to ex- 
tend no farther than the mere collection of the fund and a 
biennial report." That the wave of enthusiasm for common 
schools had subsided considerably is shown by the fact that, 
instead of providing for more extensive and varied activities 
on the part of the superintendent, the legislature abolished 
the office, not long after receiving this message, by an act 
passed January 12, 1844. 









18 A. P. WMtaker 



Meanwhile matters grew steadily worse with the common 
school system. The fund, according to the committee appoint- 
ed to investigate Col. McEwen's official acts as superintendent, 
amounted in 1840 to about $1,400,000, but, as this same com- 
mittee testified, "It has been time after time plundered by a 
thousand hands." The superintendent's report for 1839* showed 
that there was to the fund's credit in July of that year f 115,- 
551.46, with a scholastic population of 185,432, but even of this 
small amount only $103,759.46 was actually distributed, thus 
allowing for each child about 56 cents. In 1844 the report of 
the state treasurer showed a scholastic population of 240,312, 
the great increase being due in part to the fact that the school 
age had been changed from 6-16 to 6-21. The report of the 
comptroller of the treasury for 1847 gives the receipts and 
payments on account of the school fund for the years 1839-1847, 
inclusive, and shows that the average amount of receipts dur- 
ing that time is about $117,500 annually, while the payments 
vary widely, ranging from $46,133.97 in*1844 to $191,24*1.84 in 
1847, the average being about $110,200 a year. Distributing 
this amount among a scholastic population that had grown 
to 240,312 in 1844, as stated above, and, according to the state 
treasurer's report of 1851, to 281,138 in 1850, it will be seen 
that each child would receive from the school fund between 
forty and fifty cents a year — and this was the fund that was 
"the main reliance" of the poor in getting an education, that 
was to establish a universal system of education "for rich 
and poor alike," and was to exterminate illiteracy. 

The ten years that we have just been considering — 1834 to 
1844 — constitute a clearly defined period in themselves. The 
first half of this period may be characterized as the period of 
progress, the second as that of reaction. The first half wit- 
nessed the most vigorous, intense, and, from the legislative 
standpoint, one of the two most effective agitations for a state 
system of public instruction that took place in Tennessee be- 
fore 1860. In the second half, the natural swing of the pen- 
dulum in the other direction was accelerated by the misfortunes 
of the system's first superintendent, by the failure of the laws 
passed to bring about the immediate and complete betterment 
of conditions that had been expected, though unreasonably, by 
many enthusiasts, and by the increasing gravity of those never- 
ending financial difficulties that so hampered and harassed the 
state of Tennessee all through th ante-bellum period. 

The reaction against the common school system reached 
its height in 1844, when the great abolishing act was passed. 
Having practically demolished the whole educational system 
by depriving it of any active head and central authority, the 
reactionaries soon began to see that, unless immediate action 






Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 19 















were taken, all real life would soon depart from the feebly 
struggling remainder of the common school system and noth- 
ing but the empty shell would be left. Even Governor Jones, 
who, though eloquent in the cause of common schools, had 
done them no good and considerable harm by his messages of 
1842 and 1843, said in his message to the legislature, October 
10, 1845 : "The fearful want of education among our citizens 
is no longer to be disguised. . . . The greatest obstacle to 
be overcome, and perhaps the only formidable difficulty in the 
way of success is, the want of a sufficient fund." There is 
nothing new in the latter part of this statement, but there is 
something decidedly new in the measures that he suggests as 
remedies. The first of these, which was decidedly unprogres- 
sive, Jones did not press, namely, that the use of the fund be 
restricted to the education of the indigent and needy citizens- 
children. The second suggestion is much more creditable to 
the Governor, though it is little more than a hint — that the 
fund be increased, possibly by taxation, better by appropriat- 
ing all the funds of the State Bank to the school fund. In 
view of the prejudice against direct taxation, which, as is 
well known, was so strong throughout the United States for 
many decades after the adoption of the national constitution 
and has not yet lost its force by any means, and in view of the 
unhappy financial condition of the state at that time, we may 
go so far as to say that it was little short of courageous for 
Governor Jones even to intimate in the most deprecatory man- 
ner — as he did — the desirability of adopting a law levying a 
direct tax for the support of the common schools. 

No definite action, however, was taken on this very mild 
suggestion, for the state was really not yet ready for such 
a measure. But that conditions were very bad is shown by 
the report of the proceedings of an educational conference 
held in Knoxville on April 19, 1847, at which were present 
representatives from Greene, Cocke, Hawkins, Claiborne, Jef- 
ferson, Blount, Knox, Koane, Marion and Anderson counties. 28 
These representatives adopted a memorial to the legislature 
urging a property tax, the appointment of a state superin- 
tendent of public instruction and of boards of education in 
each county for the examining and licensing of teachers, and 
a monthly magazine devoted exclusively to the interests of 
education. To emphasize the necessity for such measures, the 
memorial cited the fact that onlv one state in the Union 
(North Carolina) had shown a greater per cent of illiteracy 
at the last census than Tennessee, in which, out of a total num- 
ber of white persons over twenty-one years of age of 249,008, 

^History of Tennessee, Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1886, pp. 428-9. 






20 



A. P. Whitaker 



there were 58,531 or 23 1-2 per cent who could neither read 



nor write. 






called 



attention of the legislature, as had so many of his predecessors, 
the necessity of supplementing the school fund. This, he said, 
might be done by direct taxation, though he was unwilling to 



as a last re 



It might, however, be left to each county to decide 



urged 



sort. 

whether or not it wished to levy such a tax. 

that the legislature re-establish the office of superintendent of 

public instruction, and that chief among the duties of this 

officer be made that of traveling regularly through all parts 

of the state to arouse interest in education, to organize schools, 

and to consult with and advise the local school authorities. 

The memorial of the common school convention and Gov- 
ernor Brown's message indicate a renewal of the normal 
growth of the common school idea after the reaction that had 
resulted in abolishing the office of superintendent of public 
instruction. Definite action, however, was not taken until 
1850, although, to secure the school fund, a law was passed 
in 1848 making the president and board of directors of the 
Bank of Tennessee the Board of Commissioners of Common 
Schools and requiring them to make a financial report to each 
session of the legislature. 29 On January 7, 1850, the legisla- 
ture passed a law 80 by which the authorities of all villages, 
towns and cities in the state were empowered to levy a school 
tax, not exceeding the state tax on property, privileges and 
polls, provided the majority of the voters in the village, town 
or city expressed in an election held for that purpose a desire 
for such a tax. This law is not of very great importance on 
account of the direct good that it accomplished, for that was 
little, but because it was the opening wedge for a state-wide 
compulsory tax law for the support of the common schools. 

The statistics furnished by the census of 1850 showed that 
conditions were even worse than they had been ten years be- 
fore, for while the percentage of illiteracy in 1840 was about 

23 1-2 per cent, there were in 1850, out of a total white popula- 
tion over twenty years of age of 316,401), 77,522 illiterates 

24 1-2 per cent of the total. 31 

In the face of such conditions as these figures indicated, 
p.nd urged by the growing popular demand for better common 
schools, the legislature passed in 1851 the first of a series of 



*Acts of 18U7-8, Ch. 145. 

"Acts of 18U9-50, Ch. 17. 

*This increase, according to the Census Bulletin of 1905 on illite- 
racy, was due in part to the fact that better methods had been adopted 
by the Bureau of the Census for ascertaining the number of illiterates. 






Tennessee Public Schools, 1884-1860 21 









four bills that were enacted during this decade for the im- 
provement of the public school system. This act authorized 
the district school commissioners to employ female teachers on 
the same terms that were made with male teachers. The sig- 
nificance of this act is better understood when we read what 
Joseph Estabrook, then president of East Tennessee College, 
had to say on this subject — that one reason why the common 
schools were not more effective was that none but men could 
teach in them, and yet no man with any self-respect or ambi- 
tion would teach, certainly for any length of time, in those 
schools; and he goes on to say that, all in all, teaching in the 
common schools is an occupation very well suited to woman's 
character and capacity. 32 

The second of this series of acts is the most important act 
for common schools passed in Tennessee before the Civil War. 
It was passed February 28, 1854, and is entitled "An act to 
establish a Svstem of Common Schools in Tennessee." Its 
most noteworthy feature is that it provides for the first time 
in the history of the state for taxation for the support of the 
common schools. This step had been advocated in his mes 
sage 33 at the opening of the session by Governor Andrew John- 
son, who stated his reasons for urging this measure in the 
following words : "It must be apparent to all that our present 
svstem of common school education falls very far short of 
coming up to the imperative demands of the constitution. If 
the law establishing our common schools had been perfect in 
all its details, the common school fund has been heretofore 
wholy inadequate to put it into practical and efficient opera- 
tion throughout the state. At the present period, and for a 
long time past, our common schools have been doing little or 
no good, but on the contrary, have, in many instances and in 
different parts of the country, been rather in the way than 
otherwise, preventing the people from getting up and having 
schools at their own responsibility and expense. ... If 
we are sincere in what we profess for the cause of education, 
we should, without hesitation, provide means to accomplish 
it." He suggests, then, that taxation, either compulsory by the 
state, or optional by the counties, be adopted as the best 
method of providing this means and "to give life and energy 
to our dying, or dead, system of common school education." 

The legislature soon followed this advice, adopting, not 
one, but both of the methods suggested by the Governor. 

The bill was introduced January 11, 1854, in the upper 
house of the state legislature by Speaker Edwin Polk, 34 and 



82 



East Tennessee College Commencement Address, Sept. 12, 1838. 
33 H. J., 1853-4, pp. 455-457. 

84 



Senate Journal, 1853-4, p. 376. 



22 * A. P. W hi taker 



it is no doubt due to his influence that the measure passed 
through all the necessary stages with such comparative ease. 
There was no discussion of the bill until it came up on the 
third reading. Then two points had to be settled. The first 
was as to the amount of the poll tax. One senator moved that 
the amount be $1.50, but there was not even a taking of the 
ayes and noes on this motion. Then other amounts were pro- 
posed, and as the amount grew steadily smaller the number 
of ayes grew steadily larger until finally the vote stood 13 to 
12 in favor of a twenty-five-cent poll tax. 35 

The second question to be settled was one raised by Senator 
Davis, who offered an amendment that provided for the election 
of a superintendent of public instruction. Here again the gen- 
erous impulses of the legislature were restrained by the neces- 
sity of financing the scheme; and this time, unfortunately, no 
amount of reduction could bring about a change of heart 
among the more economical senators. At first, $2,000 per year 
was proposed as a salary, but after this and several other rea- 
sonable sums had been rejected, one of the senators — whether 
in derision or in despair we cannot say — moved that the annual 

stipend be fixed at $10.00. This broke up the meeting, ad- 
journment was taken, and on the following day the bill was 
passed on its third and final reading by a vote of 16 to 9, 
with no provision as to a superintendent. 86 

The bill was then sent down to the lower house, where it 
began a stormy career, and more than once seemed hopelessly 
beaten. The house had already discussed and voted on a large 
number of common school bills introduced by its own mem- 
bers, but after discussing the matter warmly for some months 
— during which time the same phenomenon of the number of 
favorable votes rising in direct proportion to the fall in the 
amount of poll tax suggested was observable — all the bills on 
the subject of education were referred to a joint select com- 
mittee. 87 This committee, however, appears never to have ma- 
terialized ; it certainly never reported. 

It would be interesting to follow the fortunes of the senate 
bill in detail, but considerations of space make only the brief- 
est outline of the main events possible. Passage on the first 
reading was, of course, a matter of form; but, after spending 
the whole morning in fruitless discussion and voting on dif- 
ferent propositions, the house, upon reconvening in the after- 
noon, rejected the bill by a vote of 40 to 30 upon roll call. 
This action, however, was immediately reconsidered, and on 

"Ibid., pp. 474-475. 

-IbkL, pp. 480-483. 
"H. J., pp. 573-579. 






Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 23 



the following dav the bill passed the second reading by a vote 
of 38 to 34. 38 

Again on the third reading it was rejected, the vote stand- 
ing 38 to 32 in favor of rejection; again this action was re- 
considered; and again the bill was passed, this time on the 
third and last reading by the narrow majority of 5 votes in 
63. 39 Even now, however, not all opposition was at an end, 
for a motion was made on the following day to reconsider the 
vote; but adjournment was immediately taken, and on the fol- 
lowing day the motion was withdrawn. 40 

The bill was then sent back to the senate with three amend- 
ments, all of which were accepted ; the most important, which 
appropriated one-fourth of the privilege tax to the schools, 
being concurred in by a vote of 16 to 7. 41 

Below is given an analysis of the most important of these 
votes : 

— House — — Senate — 

Second Reading Third Reading Third Reading 
Rejec. Pas. Rejec. Pas. Passage 

For Agst. For Agst. For Agst. For Agst. For Agst. 

East Tennessee. 11 10 13 9 10 11 13 7 7 1 

Mid. Tennessee. 18 13 17 14 20 13 13 14 5 6 

West Tennessee. 117811 8888 42 












40 30 38 34 38 32 34 29 16 9 

It is perfectly evident from this analysis that the main 
strength of the common schools lay in East Tennessee, just 
as it had in 1834. In all of the votes taken in the house, West 
Tennessee never once cast a majority of its votes in favor of 
the bill. Middle Tennessee did so once, but was on the side 
of the opposition on the other three occasions. Four of the 
representatives from the latter section who were absent at the 
time of the final passage of the bill had their names entered on 
the following day as opposed to its passage, thus giving the 
noes a majority of five instead of one in that section. 42 East 
Tennessee, on the other hand, was on the side of the common 
schools in three of the four votes, and on the third reading 
its vote was almost 2 to 1 in favor of the passage of this bill. 
Thus the poorest section of the state 43 was most strongly in 
favor of a direct tax — on polls as well as on property — for the 
support of the schools. 

"H. J., pp. 857-868. 
''Ibid., pp. 986-994. 
"Ibid., pp. 998, 1001. 
"S. J., p. 657. 
**H. J., p. 995. 

"See "Report of the Comptroller" for 1856, Appendix, H. J., 1857-8, 
for statistics as to the wealth, etc., of the three grand divisions. 









24 A. P. W hi taker 






This fact is significant when we remember that East Ten- 
nessee had a very small proportion of the total number of 
slaves in the state; that the main strength of the academies 
was in Middle Tennessee, and was not slight in West Ten- 
nessee; and that the college and academy lands had been lo- 
cated in East Tennessee, resulting in a deep prejudice in that 
section against the private schools. 

These facts, however, should not be given too much weight, 
for no doubt party and other considerations had a great deal 
to do with the vote. For instance, many proposals for the 
benefit of the common schools originated with legislators of 
Middle and West Tennessee; and it is important to remember 
that the bill that finally became law was introduced by Speaker 
Polk of West Tennessee. 



44 



The first section of the bill as finally passed runs thus: 
"Be it enacted . . . that a tax of twenty-five cents on the 
polls, and 2 1-2 cents on the hundred dollars, of all the taxable 
property of the state, shall be levied for common schools, and 
shall be levied by the same officers who now collect the state 
tax, and under the same regulations and restrictions to which 
they are now subject in collecting said taxes, and shall be 
paid over to the treasurer of the state as state taxes are now 
paid over." The amount of this tax seems pitifully small now, 
but for the times and the conditions it was a very liberal tax. 
Indeed, as we shall see, it almost doubled the amount of the 
school fund available for annual distribution. The law fur- 
ther provided that this and the annual payment of $100,000 
from the bank of the state should be distributed, as formerly, 
among the counties in proportion to the scholastic population. 
The third section of this act empowered the county courts to 
"levy and collect a tax on property, polls and privileges" not 
less than the amount the county would receive from the state 
under the provisions of section one; and if two-thirds of the 
court were not in favor of such a tax, the question must be 
submitted to a vote of the county. 

The least important of these four measures repeals section 
. 10 of chapter 47, Acts of 184142, requiring at least twenty 
pupils to entitle a school to get its share of the school fund, 
and reduces the minimum number to twelve. 45 The purpose of 
this law was to encourage the establishing of schools in the 
more remote parts of the state where long distances, occasioned 
by the sparseness of population, would have discouraged or 
prevented many children from attending the schools under 
the old law. It is not known that this law accomplished much 
good, and it is certain that a similar law enacted nearly forty 



Acts of 1853-4, Ch. 71. 
Acts of 1855-G, Ch. 105 


















• 






Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 25 


















years later had a disastrous effect upon the public school 
system. 

The last of this series of laws 46 was passed to secure better 
instruction by introducing some uniformity into the method 
of examining and licensing teachers and by systematizing it 
more thoroughly. It is provided that one or more commis- 
sioners shall be elected in each county by the county court, 
whose duty it shall be to examine all applicants to teach in the 
free schools, and to issue a certificate of competency, charging 
one dollar for each examination. The common school com- 
missioners are forbidden to employ anyone who cannot pro- 
duce such a certificate. 

The impetus given by this legislative activity is seen in 
many ways. The public schools of Nashville and Memphis 
were established soon after this, those in the former city in 
1855 and in the latter in 1858. In both places the schools 
were popular and their work was very successful. The effect 
of the establishing of these excellent systems of city schools 
was felt not only in the cities themselves, but it was found that 
then, as now, the best way to convince a community of the de- 
sirability of public schools is to let them see a model one 
at work. 

The increase in the amount of the school fund for annual 
distribution as the result of the Act of 1854 was immediate 
and gratifying. In the four years (1851-4), the average 
annual receipts for the common school fund amounted to $115,- 
428.61; disbursements, $118,797.20. During the period 1855-8 
the amounts received had increased to $203,595.97; disbursed, 
$194,429.05. 47 

The principal sources of revenue and the amount secured 
from each of them immediatelv before the outbreak of the 
Civil War, as given by State Treasurer R. L. Stanford in his 
report to the legislature dated October 1, 1865, were: 

From the State Treasury $100,000.00 

In lieu of land taxes 2,000.00 

Bonuses from banks and insurance 

companies 17,779.76 

Tax on polls 25,255.75 

Tax on property 78,656.42 

Total $223,691.93 

Thus, although the largest single item was the payment on 
account of the permanent school fund, almost half of the 
total was furnished bv taxation. 

46 Acts of 1855-6, Ch. 114. 

""Report of the Comptroller" for 1857-8, Appendix H. and S. J., 
1859-60, p. 32. 



26 A. P. Whitaker 



Another gratifying result of the four acts just discussed 
was the reduction of the percentage of illiteracy in the state. 
In 1850 the proportion of illiterates among the white popula- 
tion over twenty-one years of age was 24 1-2 per cent, while 
the census of 1860 showed that it had been reduced to 19.7 
a reduction of nearly 5 per cent. 

Although the common school system was undoubtedly doing 
much good at the time when the outbreak of the Civil War put 
an end to its activity, and although it gave promise, by its 
rapid improvement in the last five years of its existence, of 
becoming an important factor in the growth of the state, it is 
an undeniable fact that never once during these first forty 
years of its existence did it really deserve the high-sounding 
title of a state system of public instruction. In the first 
place, the governors' messages quoted above state more than 
once that it was not universal in its application — that is, was 
not a state system in the true sense of the word. In the sec- 
ond place, those parts of the state which did have common 
schools regarded themselves as parts of a state system because 
of the fact that they received annual supplementary financial 
aid from the state treasury, in return for which they agreed 
to elect their school officers according to certain regulations 
imposed by the state and to conform to certain minor require- 
ments in the use of the money. That was all. There was no 
central supervisory authority, and there was no uniformity in 
the courses of study, the text-books, or in anything except the 
requirements for teachers. 

It was left entirely to the will of each community whether 
or not it was to have schools; and, as for the schools that were 
established, Governor Johnson, as we have already seen, said 
that, far from being efficient, they were rather a hindrance. 
It is true that the four laws passed in the early fifties gave new 
life to the system, but its benefits were confined for the most 
part to those localities in which schools had already been 
located. 

Clearly, then, the common school system up to 1860 lacked, 
as a state body, organization and uniformity ; and, in its com- 
ponent parts, efficiency. 

A detailed explanation of this situation would till a large 

volume, and the reasons are manifold and complex. At least 
a brief general consideration, how r ever, of the problems and 
difficulties that faced the supporters of common schools is 
necessary to understand the course of legislation on this sub- 
ject and the failure of the system to accomplish what it was 
intended to. 48 

^See H. M. Doak, "History of Education in Tennessee," American 
Historical Magazine, Vol. VIII, No. 1, for a brief account of this 
period. 



Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 27 



In the first place, never-ending financial difficulties beset 
the path of the public school system, assuming now one shape 
and now another, but always hampering and balking its ef- 
forts. One of the forms assumed by this enemy was the in- 
adequacy of the school fund. This inadequacy, in turn, is 
traceable to the failure of the United States to divide Ten- 
nessee into townships, as had been done with the Northwest 
Territory, making the township the unit, and designating a 
certain lot in every township as school land. This method as- 
sured to the states of the Northwest Territory an adequate 
permanent school fund, while the failure to adopt it in Ten- 
nessee not only deprived the state of practically the whole of 
such a fund but, as shown above, occasioned a great deal of 
uncertainty in the minds of those who wished to take steps 
to secure for the common schools a permanent fund, and dis- 
couraged the creation of such a fund at the expense of the 
state. 

Caldwell holds that the failure of this fund to materialize 
was not altogether bad, since it threw the state on its own 
responsibility and necessitated independence of action. 49 This 
would, perhaps, be very true, had it been definitely settled at 
the very outset that Tennessee would have to provide its school 
fund at its own expense ; but as it turned out there was always 
a considerable number in the legislature ready to oppose state 
expenditure for this purpose as long as there was even the 
slightest chance of getting it any other way. 

Besides this disastrous delay in securing a permanent 
school fund, there was, as we have seen, the complaint that 
it was inadequate — and a very well grounded complaint it was. 

Another financial difficulty was that due to the handling 
of the funds, which, according to the testimony of the ma- 
jority of the committee appointed to investigate the official 
acts of Superintendent McEwen, had been plundered "time 
after time bv a thousand hands"; and when the funds were 
not misappropriated they were often mismanaged. The state 
is notorious for its mismanagement of the internal improve- 
ment funds, and the fate of the school fund was not much 
better. 

It is interesting to observe the close connection between 
the economic condition of the state and educational legislation. 
As we have seen, the popular wave in favor of education 
reached its height in the period 1834-8, and began almost at 
once to subside, falling rapidly until 1844. Then it began 
another gradual rise that reached its culmination in the Act 
of 1854. 

At the same time we find that the average value of land 



49 



Constitutional History of Tennessee, pp. 128-9. 









28 



.1. l\ WMtaker 



in the state in 1836 was $4.00 per acre and the average value 
of slaves ?584.00. Then began a steady decline until 1846, 
when the former stood at $3.03 per acre, the latter at $413.72 
per head. Then another period of prosperity began. By 1853 
the level of 1836 had been regained, and in 1854 land was worth 
$4.60 per acre and slaves $605.52 per head. 50 That the relation 
between the economic condition of the state and education was 
so immediate is due to the fact that the paramount educational 
problem in this period was the financing of the schools. 

One great obstacle in the way of the development of a real 
state system of public instruction was shared by Tennessee 
in common with the rest of the South — slavery. Both the 
economic and social effects of this institution were unfortunate 
for public education. The economic effects were to lower the 
grade and cheapen the price of labor by the presence of a 
large number of ignorant, unskilled laborers, and, by the pre- 
dominance of plantation over community life, to scatter the 
population and make a considerable number of large cities 
impossible. The result of these, in turn, was, first, that, since 
the lower classes are always the last to see the need of general 
education, it remained for the upper classes — that is, the 
w r ealthy and well-to-do property holders — to take active meas- 
ures to secure the adoption of adequate means by the state for 
public instruction, if such measures were to be taken at all. 
Yet the slave-holding, property-owning class, having at hand a 
mass of cheap labor, could not be made to see the economic 
desirability of taxing themselves to educate the laboring 
classes, when there was no market, or only a very restricted 
one, for skilled labor. 

In the second place, the scattered condition of the popula- 
tion was then, as always, one of the most serious hindrances 
to the growth of public schools. Besides the fact that, once 
the school had been established, it was a great inconvenience 
to have to travel from two to six miles to get to it, especially 
as each family had to furnish its own means of conveyance, 
there was the difficulty of getting men who were separated 
by long distances to undertake the concerted, sustained action 
necessary to establish and maintain a school. Then, too, the 
absence of any good systems of city sschools during practically 
the whole of this period removed an example that has proved 
very effective in more recent times. 

The social effects of slavery — the creation of an aristocracy 
and the fostering of class feeling and sharp social distinctions 
are the subject of never-ending discussion. The effect of 
these conditions on public education was to make the better 



Report of the Comptroller," Appendix, H. and S. J. t 1859-60, 
pp. 30-31. 












Tennessee Public Schools, 1834-1860 29 



class of people unwilling to have their children attend school 
with the children of the "poor whites." This feeling was not 
merely an unreasonable and snobbish prejudice, for, as a class, 
the poor whites were undesirable citizens, and their children 
were, of course, no better. 

The unwillingness of the upper classes either to support the 
common schools or to send their own children to them was 
encouraged and increased by the excellent system of colleges 
and academies already referred to. The earliest efforts of the 
state were in behalf of the academies and colleges, and though 
in common with all matters pertaining to education, they were 
on the whole rather ill-treated and neglected by the legisla- 
ture, they nevertheless received more attention and were paid 
more respect by that body than the unfortunate common 
schools. So it was everywhere. The newspapers published 
at two of the periods of greatest activity for the common 
schools, 1823-6 and 1839-41, have scarcely a word for them, 
practically all their articles and discussions on educational 
subjects being about either the colleges or the academies. The 
tone of all public utterances and even the text of the laws 
betokens a feeling of respect, almost awe, for these institutions 
of learning; and the fact that they were hated by a large part 
of the lower classes is rather a tribute to them. As to the 
quality of instruction given in them, Dr. J. L. M. Curry, in an 
article entitled "Education at the South," states that the pri- 
vate institutions — the colleges and academies — before the Civil 
War were, if anything, superior to those of the North. 51 Again, 
Dr. Edwin A. Alderman, who has for many years been promi- 
nently connected with the movement to improve educational 
conditions in the South, writing in The Outlook for August 3, 
1901, says: "It is doubtful if there were anywhere in the 
world, outside of Scotland, better schools for the training of 
the few than existed in the South prior to the Civil War." 

Thus, being able to send their own children to excellent 
schools near at hand, the class to whom progressive measures 
such as universal state education must always look for sup- 
port were deaf to all arguments that meant extra expense and 
no benefit to them. 

As a direct result of these conditions, the common schools 
were regarded from the first as primarily pauper schools. It 
has already been shown how this appears in all the acts, be- 
ginning with that of 1817 and continuing, though with dimin- 
ishing importance, as a part of the system until 1860. It was 
retroactive in its effect, for, though produced by the excellence 
of the private schools and their high place in the confidence 
of the community, this conception of the common schools as 

"Education, II, p. 278. 






30 A. P. Whitaker 



as 



equentlv to raise that of the 



the 



correspondingly. 



figures 52 are significant 





No. of Schools 


Teachers 


Pupils 




1850 1860 


1850 1860 


1850 1860 


Public schools 


... 2,667 2,965 


2,804 3,064 


103,651 138,809 



A-PftfiGiniGs And 

other schools .. 260 274 401 618 9,517 16,793 

While the common schools had made a substantial increase 
in all respects, the academies showed a much larger propor- 
tionate increase in the number of teachers and pupils. 

Finally, the fact that there was a great deal of class feeling 
and that the common schools were regarded as the schools of 
the poor gave many demagogues a convenient occasion for 
making the very potent appeal to jealousy and envy. To make 
themselves popular, they would say and promise things that 
they had little, if any, idea of doing, certainly not if it re- 
quired any great expenditure either of energy or of money. 
For instance, the messages of the governors during this period 
almost uniformly grow enthusiastic on the subject of the com- 
mon schools, speaking in glowing terms of universal education 
and dwelling on the democratic and distinctly popular ele- 
ments in it; but the vagueness of their language and the lack 
of definite suggestions makes us doubt in most cases the sin- 
cerity of the speaker and incline to believe that the parts of 
the message relating to common schools were inserted as cam- 
paign material. 

Joseph Estabrook, then president of East Tennessee Col- 
lege, speaking just after the enactment of the most progressive 
legislation save that of 1850-6, said: "Had eulogy and decla- 
mation been all that was wanting, in our own state, long 
since knowledge w r ould have knocked at every man's door and 
have been found an inmate of every dwelling." 5 * 

What, then, with the financial troubles in connection with 
the school fund and in the state at large, the poverty and 
sparseness of the population and the other obstacles due to 
slavery, and the insincerity of many of its own advocates, it 
is small wonder that the state system of common schools down 
to the time of the Civil War existed principally in the words 
of politicians and the thoughts and hopes of a few enlightened 



reformers. 



A. P. Whitaker. 



Mass 



"Census 1850, pp. 580-581: Census 



neous Statistics/ 1 p. 506. 

"East Tennessee College Commencement Address, Sept. 12, 1838 









THE TOPOGRAPHICAL BEGINNINGS OF 

NASHVILLE 



The first resident of the area now covered by the city of 
Nashville of whom we have any account was a Creole named 
Charleville, who ascended the Cumberland river and estab- 
lished a trading station and store on the top of a large Indian 
mound in the angle formed by the river and the Sulphur 
Spring branch. According to John Haywood, this mound was 
about seventv vards from the river and about the same dis- 
tance (northward) from the branch. 1 On the wall of the Ten- 
nessee Historical Society's rooms is a plat made by David 
McGavock, in 1786, showing this "Mount" as situated on the 
960-acre tract of James McGavock, near its northeast corner. 
To judge from this plat the mound would seem to be about 
210 feet from the south bank of the river and about 400 or 500 
feet northward from the branch. It would thus lie a very few 
feet north of the approach of the present Jefferson street 
bridge, and between Market and College streets, (Second and 
Third avenues). 

The beginning point of this Freeland, afterward McGavock, 
tract was on the south side of the river, 18 poles below the 
branch, and the line ran thence south 67 degrees west. This 
was also the line of the Salt Spring tract, which will be men- 
tioned later; it is identical with the present course of Jeffer- 
son street. 2 

It cannot be said with certainty what tribe of Indians 
built and occupied this mound, but the present writer believes 
that it was the work of the Shawnees, as this nation, the 
"Gypsies of the Wilderness," held this section up to the time 
of Charleville, whose hunters were a remnant of Shawnees. 
There was a stockade of heavy upright timbers inclosing the 
mound. As a result of bloody wars with the Iroquois, Chick- 
asaws, and Cherokees, the Shawnees had been partly exter- 
minated and partly driven across the Ohio river; only some 
twenty or thirty remained around Charleville' s station. 

In the year 1714 Charleville and his Shawnees packed their 
peltries into canoes and started for the French settlements 
on the Mississippi, but were waylaid at Harpeth Shoals, some 
forty miles below Nashville, and nearly all the Shawnees were 
killed. Charleville made his way to Cahokia, the French set- 
tlement in the present state of Illinois. 

*J. Haywood, Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee, p. 
136 (Part 4) ; and pp. 221-224. 



^Davidson 



2 



32 



Park Marshall 



This mound is not visible now, 



been 



scraped down when Front street was leveled for the railroad 



tracks 



There were a number of other mounds in the vicinity, par- 
ticularly about the sulphur spring and present ball park. The 
three hillocks in the bottom where the sulphur well now is are 
remnants of such mounds. Part of the ground under the Howe 

factorv is a mound; and the same is true of the ground 



ice 



^ 



Fourth 



avenue. 



The next settler was Thimot6 Demonbreun, also a French- 
man, whose name was commonly both pronounced and spelled 
Timothy Demumbre. He is too well known to need much 
mention here. He had served in the French armv in New 
France, and had come to the Cumberland as a trapper and 
lived there until over ninety. His name is on the list as a 
subscriber for one of the town lots. He was a sergeant in the 
guard for the protection of Mero district, and the society has 
his signature on two requisitions for supplies. There is no 
evidence that the "long hunters" of 1770 reached the bluff 
where Nashville stands, but they did reach Bledsoe's lick and 
Station Camp Creek in Sumner county. In 1772 hunters ex- 
plored as far as Nashville. The settlers under the lead of 
James Robertson reached the bluff in the early part of Jan- 
uary, 1780 — some say on Christmas day, 1779 — while the "Boat 
Adventure" with its settlers arrived April 24, 1780. The first 
Indians met were a friendly hunting party ; the Battle of the 
Bluffs did not occur until April 2, 1781. 

A remarkable thing is that the settlers did not know what 
latitude they were in ; nor did there exist any mode of acquir- 
ing title to land. The Watauga settlers thought they were in 
Virginia, and Daniel Smith's map (in Imlay) runs the line 
that way by a detour into Tennessee. Long after the running 
of the line of Walker, who in 1779-1780 attempted to locate 
the place of latitude 36° 30' from the northeast corner of Ten- 
nessee to the second crossing of the Tennessee river, the set- 
tlers or "stationers" on the north bank of the Cumberland 
river at Nashville believed that they were in Virginia; but 
this was due largely to the fact that Henderson's attempted 
purchase from the Indians extended to that point and to the 
Ohio, and Henderson treated it as Virginia domain for a 
short time. The commissioners who made the abortive treaty 
with the Indians at Nashborough in 1783 were appointed by 
Virginia. 

These doubts as to the borders of the territory to which the 
Cumberland country belonged were, however, soon set at rest. 



Beginnings of Nashville 33 















The next trouble was the fact that there was no land at the 
place at which the settlers had arrived the individual owner- 
ship of which could be legally acquired, for the reason that it 
was adjacent to a salt spring and the State of North Carolina 
reserved such tracts from entry and grant. This naturally 
brings the discussion to the matter of the salt spring and the 
tract surrounding it. 

The salt spring was located on the north side of Cherry 
street, or Fourth avenue, in North Nashville. It was not at 
the spot where the sulphur spring pump is now located, but 
about 100 yards east of that point, and on the other side of 
Cherry street, or Fourth avenue. It was in the soil near the 
branch, or "lick/' and was surrounded by a low circular 
embankment sixteen or eighteen feet in diameter, the spring 
thus being in a saucer-shaped depression. 3 It is believed that 
this embankment was caused by buffaloes pawing the mud out 
of the spring and throwing it back toward their hind feet. 

As stated before, it was the law of the State that salt 
spring tracts could not be granted. The law required that a 
tract of 640 acres should be laid off so as to include the salt 
spring and that this tract should be reserved as a kind of 
public park for the free use of all citizens and their cattle. 
Even the later act permitting the sale of salt springs tracts 
required that the springs themselves should not be inclosed 
by the purchasers. 

In 1782 the salt spring tract was surveyed by Thomas 
Mulloy. It embraced 640 acres and began at the south side 
of the river 18 poles below the mouth of the salt lick branch 
(Sulphur Spring branch), and the line ran thence south 67 
degrees west, 226 poles to a hackberry and other marked 
trees; thence south 33 degrees east on a line 742% feet west 
from the present McLemore street, which street later was the 
"back line of the town." This line continued until it crossed 
Wilson's Spring branch. It then cornered again and ran 
north 67 degrees east until near the river above Nashville, 
where it again cornered and ran due north 36 poles to the 
river. 4 The above line running north 67 degrees east crosses 
Peabody street at an acute angle. The place 'where the last 
call touches the river is very near the new railroad bridge of 
the Lewisburg & Northern railway. 

The next act of North Carolina appointed trustees to lease 
out the salt springs, and Lardner Clark and J. C. Mount- 
florence were the trustees appointed to lease the spring for 
the Cumberland settlers. The original of a lease of this kind 
is in the archives of the Tennessee Historical Society, made by 

3 This fact is related by Mr. I. T. Rhea, a highly intelligent citizen. 
4 North Carolina, Private Acts, p. 200. 



34 Park Marshall 



Anthony Hart in September, 1790, he having made bond to pay 
to the trustees of the town 600 pounds of dry salt for the use 
of the salt works for four weeks. The paper shows that there 
were kettles, beams, arches, etc., there. On the back is a 
credit for 150 pounds of salt, and other credits in articles 
the value of which is not stated. 

Salt was selling at f 20 a barrel at that period. 

A few words with respect to our salt licks in general may 
not be out of place here. Originally there were many salt 
swamps or springs in this western country the water of which 
could be evaporated, leaving a residuum of very good salt. 
Besides this one at Nashville there was one on Mansker's 
creek at the north border of Davidson countv. In the account 
of James Robertson's expedition in 1787 against the Indians 
at Coldwater on the Tennessee river a salt lick "as big as a 
cornfield" is spoken of as being near Lick creek in the present 
Hickman county. There were a number of them some miles 
west of the Cumberland plateau. When they began to fail 
they were often drilled to considerable depths by means of 
drills fitted to heavy wooden poles, and casings were let down 
into them to keep out other kinds of water. 

What was the origin of these salt springs, and why have 
they disappeared? 

There were no beds of salt rock; if there had been they 
would not probably have become exhausted almost at one and 
the same time. 

The whole Cumberland or Middle Tennessee valley is the 
result of the solution*and erosion of a vast amount of earth 
and rock from which the salt was left as a residuum in cer- 
tain confined places where the waters, not being able to escape 
freely, evaporated through a long period of time. This left a 
limited amount of salt, which was mostly exhausted by extrac- 
tion, and the remainder of which disappeared with drainage 
and cultivation of the lands. 

In 1789 an act was passed directing the sale of the salt 
spring tracts whenever the county courts should be of opinion 
that they were of no use for salt production. 5 Those holding 
leases were to be excused from half the rental charge and be 
given time in which to pay the rest. Davidson Academy was 
to get one of the salt springs tracts, and it was given the 
Casper (Mansker's) creek tract of 640 acres, it has been said. 
The academy had additional land given it within the Nash- 
ville tract, as will be shown. 

Under an act of 1784 of the State of North Carolina 200 
acres of the Nashville salt spring tract were set apart to con- 
stitute the town of Nashville, and out of the 200 acres were 

•North Carolina, Acts, 1791, p. 679. 






Beginnings of Nashville 35 




to be laid off and reserved four acres for public buildin 
courthouse, jail, and stocks. 6 The rest of the 200 acres were 
to be laid off into one-acre lots and sold, the proceeds to go 
to the construction and maintenance of these public struc- 
tures. Each purchaser was to build a certain kind of house 
within three years, a requirement from which they were re- 
lieved very soon by another act. 

The four acres are the Public Square, Which could not be 
sold, and which was "reserved" for public structures of a 
nature pertaining to a county. The four acres were never 
granted, but being reserved went first to the United States 
under the cession act, then to Tennessee, but each time 
charged with this dedication; hence are under the county's 
management. 

The act of 1784 simply directed that out of the salt spring 
tract 200 acres should be laid out for a town, four of which 
acres should be set apart for public buildings, as a courthouse, 
a gaol, and stocks. Trustees were named in the act and em- 
powered to sell the lots at four pounds North Carolina money 
by subscriptions to as many as fifty lots at a time. The lots 
subscribed for were to be later drawn for by lot, except that 
James Robertson should have the right to purchase as many 
as four lots, which he could select as he might see proper. 7 The 
present street railway transfer station is on one of the James 
Robertson lots. This act was thus the original charter, though 
it contains few grants of authority such as are usually found 
in charters. 



6 



North Carolina, Acts, 1784. 






7 One of the subscription lists for the original lots is among the 

Historical Society's papers, dated April 30, 1790. It is as follows: 

Jas Love, 3 lots; J. C. Mountflorence, for Hyder Alby Davis, 1; 
Thimote demonbreun 1; Edwin Hickman 1; Edmond Gamble 1; John 
Johns 1; John McNairy 1; Wm Cooke 1; Elijah Robertson 2; Elijah 
Robertson 2; John McNairy for Thos Hamilton, jr, Boyd McNairy, 
and Hance Hamilton, jr, 3; D. Hay 1; Wm A. Pease 2; J. C. Mount- 
florence 5; G. Walker 2; J. Sitgreaves 2; Charles Snier 4; Geo Sugg 
5; B. Searcy 2; Rich'd McGuire 2; A. Foster 6; John Boyd 1; C. 
Walker 2; James, for Simon, Sugg 1, and for Wm Sugg 1; Anth'y 
Hart 2; Jas Love 2; John Deadrick 2; David Deadrick 2; Danl James 
1; Ho. E. Tatum 1; D. Robertson 1; David Donnell 1; Joel Rice 2; 
Thomas Overton 1; Elisha Rice 1; John Forman 1; James Mulherrin 
1; James Shaw jr, 1; Sam'l Barton 2; Deadrick & Co 2; John Rice 2; 
James Shaw 1; Thomas McFarland 1; Jno Hay 1; John Rains 1; 
John Boyd jr, 1; Total 83. On the back are four other names which 
may stand for other lots — Sam'l Barton; Thos Mulloy; Tal Shaw; 
Grace (?) Lindsey. The date shows that this was not the very first 
list, and the records show that the larger numbers represented these 
lots; deeds made in 1784-5 show lots with small numbers. All of the 
subscribers were able to write good hands. Roosevelt calls attention 
to the fact that the 256 subscribers to the Cumberland Compact except 
one signed their own names. 






36 Park Marshall 



The town was at once laid out into streets and one-acre 
lots by Thomas Mulloy, a local surveyor, there being 180 lots, 
and the act was carried out in all respects. 

The east boundary of the town was not the river, but 
Front street, thus cutting the town off from the river, but at 
the same time obtaining the largest possible number of good 
business lots; the south boundary was Broadway from Front 
to McLemore street, or Ninth avenue; the west boundary wai 
McLemore to Line street, now Jo Johnston avenue. At the 
last-mentioned point the boundary angled and ran north 57 
degree east with Line street to the beginning at Front street, 
except that the plan included in the town three lots on each 
side of Market street and three lots on the west side of College 
street, these nine lots being north of Locust street, which is a 
short street between Market and College, a little north of the 
direction of Line street. 8 At a later date the trustees sold a 
number of other lots, to which they really had no title, lying 
between Front and the river and north of the present bridge, 
which gave rise to litigation with Judge McNairy; but in the 
end the suit was compromised so that the purchasers held the 
lots, and they have ever since been treated as parts of the 
original plan. 

In 1785 the legislature of North Carolina granted 240 acres 
of the Nashville salt spring tract to Davidson Academy, this 
act being thought to be the first endowment of a college located 
west of the mountains. This 240 acres was surveyed as be- 
ginning on the river at the southeast corner of the town 
(sic) ; then with the south border of the town south 57 y 2 west, 
181 poles, which point is the corner of McLemore street; then 
the line followed the greater part of the west border of the 
town ; then westward to the back line of the salt spring tract, 
which it followed southeast, and then northwest back to the 
river. Owing to certain inaccuracies in this survey, the grant 
was not issued until June 12, 1794. 9 

This left 200 acres of the salt spring tract, upon which the 
spring was situated, as public property. The county court, 
under authority of an act, decided that the spring was mani- 
festly of no further profit, and thus the tract was thrown on 
(he market. It was bought by John McNairy, judge of the 
Superior Court, at 200 pounds, and his grant was issued 




According to Mulloy's survey — which is given in needle reading 
Line and Broad streets run North 57 degrees East, while the cross 
streets, as McLemore and Front, are South 33 East. The north and 
south streets are parallel with the south line of the old salt spring 
tract, but the east and west streets run ten degrees off from the 
side lines, one of which is Jefferson. This was because the angles 
of the salt spring tract were not right angles. 
9 David8on County Deed Book E t page 193. 












Beginnings of Nashville 37 



December 20, 1791. His grant was intended to include the 
whole residue of the salt spring tract, 200 acres, but it failed 
to describe the strip between Front street and the river. He 
caused the legislature to revise the grant on this point, then 
sued the city for the lots which the city had sold next to the 
river, but, as already stated, the suit was compromised so as 
to let those sales stand, and to give the part of the strip north 
of the bridge to McNairy. McNairy's north line ran with 
Jefferson street from the river 226 poles and was all the 
land between that street and the city, and also some little 
distance along the west border of the city. On this he built 
the "Mansion House," near which was the "Judge's Spring." 

The city was enlarged by means of outside owners laying 
out sub-divisions over which the corporation was extended 
from time to time until it now contains over fifty-five times its 
original area. 10 

That Nashville was located just where it is was due largely 
to two facts: First, the salt spring produced a commodity 
that was in very great demand ; and, secondly, the bluff has a 
considerable elevation and was not heavily timbered, the 
growth being mainly cedars, privet bushes, and scattering 
trees, mainly hackberries. 

In 1784 the North Carolina commissioners ran a line from 
the point where the Cumberland river enters the state to a 
, point fifty-five miles southward; thence westward to the Ten- 
nessee river. This line was the Continental, or Military, line. 

10 The earliest subdivisions within the 640-acre salt spring tract 
around Nashville were as follows: — 

1. The Academy's First Plan. This was a part of its 240 acres, 
and was from Market street to Summer and southward somewhat 
beyond Peabody. This was in 1805. 

2. The Academy's Plan of Out Lots, or Large Lots. It extended 
from Summer out Broad to Gowdy, and southward to the Academy's 
line. 

3. Subdivision of Lots 6, 7, and 8 of the Academy's Plan of 
Large Lots. 

4. Balch and Whitesides' Subdivision — being a part of John Mc- 
Nairy's two hundred acres. 

5. The Upper Ferry. This was from the river to Market, and 
south to Wilson Spring, or Tanyard, branch, which reaches the river 
above Sparkman street bridge. The land had been bought from the 
academy. 

6. N. A. McNairy's Plan of West Nashville. 

7. John McNairy's Mansion House tract, or Judge's Spring. 

8. North of Jefferson street was a 960-acre tract granted to 
George Freeland who built a blockhouse on it, called Freeland's sta- 
tion. This was the fort attacked by Indians the same night that 
Robertson reached it upon his return from Kentucky. Maj. Lucas 
was killed in the fight. This tract was bought from Freeland by 
James McGavock. The portion next to Jefferson street was subdivided 
later as D. T. McGavock's Subdivision. 



38 Park Marshall 



North of this last-mentioned line lands were granted to the 
"Officers and Soldiers of the Continental Line of North Caro- 
lina." 11 Under this act lands were given to revolutionary sol- 
diers. Other settlers received lands under pre-emption rights 
under the act of 1780. 

To go back to the salt spring. Judge McNairy held the 
theory that the salt came from a solution of a bed of salt lying 
below the surface of the ground, instead of being, as it in 
reality was, a mere result of age-long evaporation as has been 
explained. He decided to bore for the salt bed, and to this 
end employed Frederick Binkley and Henry Guthrie to do the 
work. They drilled $t a place about 100 yards up the branch 
from the spring, and went down over 160 feet, where they 
tapped the stream of sulphur water; this is the origin of the 
sulphur well. It is probable that the salt had then already 
been exhausted, and if any remained the sulphur mingled with 
it. At all events the salt spring became unpopular with the 
citizens. McNairy obeyed the law in keeping it open to all 
cattle at large, but now the people petitioned the legislature 
to "compel" him to inclose it because it injured the cattle. 
The legislature heard the cry of the people and enacted that 
McNairy be "permitted" to inclose the salt spring. This was 
the end of Nashville's first "public utility." 12 

It is said that out of respect to the Duke of Cumberland 
the explorers gave the river its present name. The Indian 
name was Shawnee, or Shawanoe, which the French gave as 
Chauvanon. 

These are some of the small and apparently insignificant 
beginnings of Nashville and the Cumberland settlement; yet 
when considered in the light of history it is difficult to over- 
estimate the far-reaching effect of the persistent conduct of the 
settlers in holding the Cumberland settlement against the 
numerous and warlike Indian tribes who were aided by Span- 
ish and English gold and intrigue. It is certain that Spain 
looked upon the spread of this settlement as a matter of the 
gravest international concern, fully warranting the expendi- 
ture of blood and treasure. While the Cumberland settlers 
were thus holding Mero district the Kentuckians under George 
Rogers Clark captured Vincennes and held it to the end of 
the war. It was upon these two facts that under a construc- 
tion of international law the United States made good its 
claim to the country as far as the Mississippi river. Next, the 
juxtaposition of this territory, and the vigorous controversies 

M In diffeernt publications the names of these lines have often been 
transposed and confused, but as this only concerns popular designa- 
tions the matter does not seem to be very important. 

"Acts of Tennessee, 1806. 






Beginnings of Nashville 39 



over the navigation of the Mississippi, led to the proposel for 
the Louisiana purchase at a most auspicious time; and from 
this, in turn, grew the grounds which ultimately led to the 
acquisition of Texas and the far West. Of course, it is always 
in some such ways as these that nations expand. The feeble 
origin of such an expansion, though doubtless ruled from 
above, should never fail to interest a nation which has experi- 
enced it. 

One can hardly treat at any length of the early history of 
Nashville and the settlement without a reference to James 
Robertson, who certainly stands in the front rank of great 
Tennesseans. To his wise counsel and stubborn and cour- 

i 

ageous nature the persistence of the settlers was due, and 
without him the district would certainly have been abandoned 
until long after the close of the revolutionary war. Men of his 
kind appear to have been gifted, in a way, with flashes of 
inspiration. When he was urged to give up his design to hold 
the country and was told that he and his companions would 
be slain, he said, "We are the advance guard of civilization 
and our way is across the continent." He was a noble ex- 
ample of obedience to law and order, and at the same time 
led his volunteers in most dangerous expeditions, with uniform 
success. His influence was boundless, but he insisted that his 
duty was to remain among the people, and he scorned to accept 
any political office for money or motives of ambition. His field, 
it is true, was in miniature compared with many another 
great man, but the record he made is perfect and gleams as 






a gem. 



Park Marshall. 



• 



j 



JOSEPH GREER, "KING'S MOUNTAIN MESSENGER: 

A TRADITION OF THE GREER FAMILY 



** 



An interesting spot in Middle Tennessee, because of its 
association with the pioneer history of the state, is the old 
Greer homestead in Lincoln county near the pretty little town 
of Petersburg. 

The house stands in the midst of a fertile farming section 
which is a part of the original grant of 2,600 acres received by 
Joseph Greer for service in the Revolutionary war. Joseph 
was the son of Andrew and Ruth Kincade Greer, who came to 
this country from Ireland about the year 1750. Andrew Greer, 
being so much below the average height, was dubbed "Wee 
Andy" and "Wee White-Headed Andy," so Joseph, who was 
of unusual height and strength, must have inherited his splen- 
did physique from some remote ancestor of Scotch or Irish 
blood. 

At the time of the Revolution, Joseph Greer was almost a 
boy in years, but was over seven feet tall and splendidly pro- 
portioned, and after the battle at King's Mountain was chosen 
to carry the news of the victory to the Continental Congress, 
then in session at Philadelphia. The journey was long and 
perilous, but the young messenger was stout of heart as well as 
of body and started cheerfully on his way, armed with his 
trusty musket and a brass compass to guide his steps. His 
experience as a surveyor, together with his knowledge of the 
Indians, enabled Greer to avoid many dangers and mistakes 
and to reach his journey's end in safety. Upon his arrival in 
Philadelphia, Greer at once inquired the way to the American 
headquarters and, brushing past the astonished doorkeeper 
without a word of explanation, strode into the midst of the 
assembled Congress and delivered his message. 

It is related that Greer's unusual size created much com- 
ment in Philadelphia, and many were heard to say, "No wonder 
the Americans can win, if this man is a sample of their sol- 
diers." 

When the time came for Joseph Greer to take possession 
of his government land, he traveled down into Middle Ten- 
nessee and staked off a claim in what is now Lincoln county. 



the 



its great stone chimney is still in a good state of preservation 
and is occupied by negro tenants at the present time. In 1810 
Greer built a larger and better house of five rooms, and in 
this house he and his good wife raised their eleven children, 



girls 



house 



Joseph Greer 41 









easy task, for all of the work was done by hand, and it took 
the best carpenter in that section one whole year to complete 
the five-room dwelling. He received a nice little farm in pay- 
ment. 

Many queer and interesting relics of the "King's Mountain 
Messenger"' are preserved at the Greer home, among them his 
family Bible, in which are recorded the births, deaths and mar- 
riages of various members of the family. On the first page of 
this old record we find a notice of Greer's marriage in the 
following words : "Joseph Greer and Mary Ann Harman were 

married on the 17th day of January, 1811," and on the pages 
reserved for deaths is this brief statement: "Separated this 
life on the 23rd February, 1831, Joseph Greer." 

Another interesting relic is an account book or ledger which 

was kept by Greer while operating a store in Philadelphia in 
1791. The items in this book were all written with a goose 
quill pen and are almost as clear and legible as when first 
penned, 124 years ago. 

Among several old-fashioned garments which are now care- 
fully preserved by descendants of Joseph Greer is a suit of 
homespun, consisting of coat, vest and knee breeches, all re- 
markable for their unusual size. This suit was made by Mrs. 
Greer's skillful fingers from cloth which she herself wove after 
spinning the thread from home-grown flax. With this suit, 
on festive occasions, Joseph Greer wore silver knee buckles, 
wich are now a treasured possession of a great-granddaughter. 
A tall stiff hat, an overcoat and a quaint old mirror are also 

shown to visitors at the Greer home; also an old millstone 
which was used in the first grist mill ever built in this part of 

the state. 

Many descendants of Joseph Greer are now scattered over 
the section once owned by their distinguished ancestor, but of 
his immediate family only one son, Thomas Vance Greer, sur- 
vives. This son, known to everyone as "Uncle Tom Greer," is 
in his ninety-second year, and is said to be the oldest living 
descendant of a revolutionary soldier. Thomas had a twin 
brother, Joseph, who died about four years ago, and the two 

were thought to be the oldest twins in the United States. 
Thomas Greer was onlv seven vears old when his father died, 
but remembers him with much affection. He can recall that 
his father's business often kept him from home a week at a 
time, and that on his return his first words were, "Howdy, 
Mary Ann," and the next, "Where are the boys?" He would 
then take the twins by the hand and walk over the farm look- 
ing after the crops and directing the laborers in the fields. 
It is also related that, on entering the family living room, 
Joseph Greer always hung his hat and coat on nails driven 









42 



Maggie H. Stone 



in the rafters overhead, his great height enabling him to reach 

the ceiling with all ease. 

Before his death, Joseph Greer set apart a plot of ground 
for a family burial place, and on this spot, a short distance 
from his first rude cabin home, the "messenger of Kings Moun- 
tain" found his last resting place. The quaint tomb, built en- 
tirely of stone, bears the following inscription: 

"Here lyeth the body of Joseph Greer. He was, while liv- 
ing, an example of every virtue, distinguished for his benevo- 
lences and humanity. He died on the 23rd day of Feb., 1831, 
in the 77th year of his age, lamented by all who knew him." 

Two years ago the Kings Mountain Messenger Chapter, 
D. A. R., of Fayetteville, Tenn., placed a handsome bronze tab- 
let on this tomb in memory of Greer's distinguished service to 
his country, and Uncle Tom was the guest of honor at the un- 
veiling ceremony. 

Thomas Greer is himself quite an interesting character and 
relates many thrilling experiences of the civil war, during 
which he served as Forage Master for the 44th Tenn. Regi- 
ment. In spite of many hardships, Uncle Tom was never 
wounded and never had a serious illness in his life. Although 
bent with age, he is still able to get about his farm and to ride 
to church. He enjoys reading the daily papers and is much 
interested in the war news, although he says, "I can't believe 
they kill as many as they say they do." Thomas Greer enjoys 
the confidence and respect of all who know him and is peace- 
fully rounding out the last years of a useful, well spent life. 
One of his cherished possessions which he enjoys showing to 
visitors is his certificate of membership in the Sons of the 






American Revolution. 
Fayetteville, Tenn. 



Maggie H. Stone. 


















DOCUMENTS 



Diaries of S. H. Laughlin, of Tennessee, 1840, 1843 

Samuel H. Laughlin, the writer of the following Diaries, 
was prominent in the fields of newspaper work and politics in 
Tennessee in the period of Jackson and Polk. As he tells us in 
the second Diary, he was born in Washington County, Vir- 
ginia, May 1, 1796. Other biographical details are given in the 
Diaries. Of chief interest for the purposes of this present pub- 
lication is the connection of Laughlin with the inner circle of 
the Jackson Democratic state machine. In 1835 it was de- 
cided to establish at Nashville a newspaper, the Nashville 
Union, 1 to represent the Jackson adherents in the community, 
which, although Jackson's home, preferred to adopt the cause 
of Judge Hugh Lawson White. Laughlin was selected as the 
editor. This connection, however, was not of long duration. 
At the time when the first of the Diaries here printed was 
written, Laughlin was a resident of McMinnville, in Warren 
County, in the Cumberland Mountain region of Tennessee. This 
first Diary describes a journey from McMinnville to Washing- 
ton, D. C, and Baltimore, Maryland, made by Laughlin as a 
delegate to the Democratic National Convention, held in Bal- 
timore in May, 1840. Unfortunately the Diary breaks off 
shortly after the writer's arrival in Baltimore, and thus fails 
to give an account of the convention. However, besides many 
comments on political matters picked up by the way and varied 
illustrations of methods of travel in 1840, this Diarv is inter- 
esting as giving authoritative information upon the political 
purposes of Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk and their 
Tennessee organization upon the eve of the campaign for Van 
Buren's reelection. 

In 1841-42 Laughlin was a member of the Tennessee Senate, 
and in this session and in the called session of 1842, he took 
a most prominent part in the partisan warfare by which a 
Democratic Senate blocked the Whig House of Representatives 
as to the election of Senators, with the result that Tennessee 
was without representation in the Senate until 1843, when the 
Whigs controlled both houses and succeeded in electing two 
Whig Senators, as is described in the second Diary. This 
senatorial episode of 1841-42, celebrated in Tennessee history, 
bestowed upon Laughlin, Andrew Johnson and the eleven 
Democratic Senators associated with them, the name of the 

1 Cp. the introduction to "Letters of James K. Polk to Cave Johnson, 1833-1848" 
(Doc.), Tennessee Historical Magazine, Volume 1, p. 218* (Hereafter cited as 
Polk- Johnson Letters.) 



44 



Documents 



"immortal thirteen." 2 In 1840 Harrison and Tyler carried the 
state; in 1841 Polk, a candidate for reelection as governor, 
was defeated by the Whig, James C. Jones, though the Demo- 
crats won a majority of the state Senate; in 1843 Jones was 
again successful, and the Democratic outlook was not encour- 
aging. The candidacy of Polk for Vice-President, 8 initiated in 
. 1840, was, however, pressed again, and it was hoped that on 
account of the disorganization wrought by Tyler, the Demo- 
cratic chances would be more favorable. This was the situa- 
tion when the assembly met in October, 1843. Again the Diary 
is incomplete, but the detail with which it describes the pro- 
cedure of the Legislature makes it a valuable source for the 
six weeks which it covers. 

The next year Laughlin was again a delegate to the Demo- 
cratic National Convention. After the nomination had been 
attained he was again brought to Nashville to edit the Union 
which passed under the business management of John P. 
Heiss, a Pennsylvanian for some time identified with Tennes- 
see — and in this capacity fought valiantly for Polk's election. 
When Polk became President, Laughlin was rewarded by ap- 
pointment to be Recorder of the General Land Office of the 
United States. He died in Washington. 

Throughout all of these years Laughlin was a frequent cor- 
respondent with Jackson and Polk, in whose papers are to be 
found many of his letters. In printing the Diaries the manu- 
script has been followed with exactness, except in the case of 
personal details, which usually refer to his own health or to 
private family matters. These omissions have been duly in- 
dicated. 

For the use of the original Diaries, which are written in a 
leather-bound book of the usual sort, the Magazine is indebted 
to Mrs. Jessie Spurlock Harrison, of McMinnville, Tenn., a 
great-granddaughter of Mr. Laughlin. 

St. George L. Sioussat. 



i 






"J. Phelan, History of Tennessee, chapters 36, 37. 
*Polk- Johnson Letters, pp. 229-232. 



Laughlin Diaries 45 



Diary and Notes of my Journey to Baltimore, to the Na- 
tional Convention of 1840, and my visit to Washington City 
on the same occasion. 

Also Diary, journal and memoranda (see page 85 ), 4 made 
during the session of the Legislature of Tennessee, of 1843-4, 



by S. H. Laughlin. 



[I.] 

McMinnville, Tenn., April 13, 1840. 



Having been appointed by the Central State Democratic Commit- 
tee, a Delegate to [the] National Convention to be assembled at 
Baltimore on the 5th of May, proximo; and having been induced 
reluctantly, upon the urgent solicitation of Gov. Polk, the Committee, 
and many other friends to accept the appointment; and having con- 
sented and notified the Committee of my acceptance, I this day left 
home in the stage for Nashville to meet Mr. Thomas the delegate 
from Maury, and others, and to consult with friends at that place 
on the subject of the business and objects of the proposed conven- 
tion, and then proceed to Baltimore by way of the "river route," via 
Louisville, Cincinnati, Wheeling and Washington City. We had a 
crowded stage. My son Samuel Houston was with me, going to 
Nashville to live with Mr. Kizer, my son-in-law, to learn business 
as a clerk; and Mr. John and Mr. William Black were going to 
Nashville, the former of whom lived there. Mrs. Roscoe, a married 
lady was going to Nashville to professor Villeplait's — and Dr. William 
Richardson, was in the stage on his way from Virginia to Dickson 
County. Owing to the company of the ladies, and the badness of the 
roads, especially Wilson's Hill, we slept at Brandon's thirty miles 
from McMinnville. Saw Maj. Trott at Woodbury, and promised to 
write to him. 

Tuesday, April 14. 

We rose early, and with the aid afforded by Paul Herreford, the 
contractors agent, we got safely over Wilson's Hill, and to Murfrees- 
boro by 10 o'clock, where I saw Dr. Rucker, Maj. Ledbetter and a 
few friends while breakfast was getting ready. I forgot to mention 
yesterday that a young Mr. Fain, and a Mr. Payne, a half-breed 
Cherokee, a relation of the Clark family at Kingston, were in the 
stage, just from Knoxville, and had informed us of the death of 
Judge Hugh Lawson White on the previous Friday (10th inst.). 
Chancellor Ridley who had left Knoxville on the previous Wednesday 
had before informed me, that when he left that place Judge Thos. L. 
Williams had told him that the Judge could not survive many days. 
So, here is an end of ambition — of the ambition of an old politician 
who had been betrayed and deceived by his pretended friends, John 
Bell and others, into a course of intrigue and tergiversation, which 
had cast him from the Senate, had lost him the esteem of all good 
men in his state, and had embittered his latter days, and probably 
shortened his life. What a warning his example ought to afford to 
all thinking and candid men! 5 

After breakfasting at Murfreesboro, the stage proceeded on the 
turnpike at the rapid rate of seven or eight miles an hour, and took 

4 A reference to page 85 of the MSS. 

B This was the orthodox Democratic view of Judge White's course. As the majority 
of the voters in Tennessee had supported Judge White, it would seem that "all good 
men," though few, were in the Democratic fold! 



46 Document* 



us to Nashville by 4 o'clock P. M. I got out at the post office, and 

f proceeded to Mr. Kizer's where I found my daughters Ellen and 
sabella in good health, as was Mr. K. himself. After eating a 
hasty dinner, I received a message from Gen. Armstrong, that some 
friends desired to see me at his office (the post office) and called im- 
mediately where I met the Gen. [,] Gov. Polk, Capt S. M. Barnes and 
others. Dr. J. S. Young, Secretary of State, had called at Mr. 
Kizer's and went with me. While at the post office Judge G. W. 
Campbell and others called. I found Mr. Speaker Thomas, and Mr. 
Newton Clarke, delegates to Baltimore, the latter from Bedford, at 
Gen. A's. After some conversation, Col. J. G. Harris came in. 
Messrs. Thomas, Clarke and myself went home with the Governor to 
tea, and to pay our respects to the time honored sage of the Hermit- 
age 6 who was at the Governor's house. We found the Ex President 
in good health and fine spirits; and very deeply impressed with the 
importance of the nomination of President and Vice President which 
it was the object of the Baltimore Convention to make. He was 
clear in the position that the nomination of Col. Johnson, 1 whom 
he greatly honors as a soldier and patriot would weaken and distract 
our party in the south, south west, and everywhere. That Georgia 
and Alabama had their own favorites, Forsyth and King, 8 but both 
preferred Polk to Johnson, and that Virginia and South Carolina 
would in no event vote for Johnson, and were both Polk states. That 
Polk would be aceptable to North Carolina, Alabama, S. Carolina, 
Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and the whole southwest; that Vir- 
ginia had nominated him unconditionally, and that in the North 
West he would be as strong or stronger than Johnson. That Massa- 
chusetts had nominated Polk, affording a clear indication of the 
wishes of the whole eastern democracy. That he had been told, but 
did not credit it, that Mr. Kendall, Col. Benton and Mr. Poinsett were 
averse to Polk's nomination; that he had reason to believe that Mr. 
Wright of New York, and Mr. Allen of Ohio were for Polk; that the 
President stood entirely aloof, as he ought to do, from all participa- 
tion in the question; that he had written his views freely and fully 
to Col. Benton, Mr. Wright, Mr. Kendall and others. 

Wednesday, April 15, 1840. 

Again saw Col. Polk, and read his last letters from Mr. Grundy, 
Mr. Cave Johnson and Mr. Hubbard (David) Gen. A. Anderson and 
others. Heard his views at large, and his determination. He was 
advised that it was a project at Washington, (into which I fear our 
friends have been persuaded to unite if true) to make no nomination 
of Vice President at Baltimore, and let the states and the people unite 
opon candidates, and if no election is made by the Electoral Colleges, 
that the Senate will make a choice, which will ensure Gov. Polk's 
election any how. I do not approve of this, if it can possibly be 
avoided, because it may lead to the sacrifice of Col. Polk, and can 
have no other effect than to (perhaps) strengthen Mr. Van Buren 
whose election is safe anyhow; and because Gov. Polk ought not, and 
declares he will not, after the manner and example of Judge White 
in 1836, be run as a sectional candidate, to promote the personal pros- 

•Andrew Jackson, on his retirement from the Presidency, kept in constant touch 
with the state Democratic organization of Tennessee. In 1839 Tames K. Polk had 
achieved a great party success in the defeat of Newton Cannon tor governor. This, 
with his record as 3 Congressman and Speaker of the House of Represntatives, made 
Polk "available" for national office. 

T R. M. Johnson, of Kentucky, was distasteful to Southern men because of alleged 
irregularity in his domestic affairs. 

•John Forsyth, of Georgia, Secretary of State, and W. R. King, Senator from 
Alabama. See Polk-Johnson Letters, p. 230. 



Laughlin Diaries 47 









pects of any man, when he cannot be elected himself, and is not or 
may not be the choice of a majority of his own party. He declared 
to us, that in the event of Johnson's nomination, he would earnestly 
support him; but if no nomination was made, and states enough did 
not forthwith take him up, for which reasonable time might be 
allowed, to elect him, or place him foremost on the democratic list 
before the Senate, that he would forthwith withdraw his name, and 
take the field in support of Col. Johnson, or the strongest democratic 
candidate who may be brought out by the states or the people. He 
handed me letters of introduction for myself from Gen. Jackson to 
Messrs. T. L. Hamer of Ohio, Mr. Vanderpoel of New York, and 
Mr. Kendall the postmaster General. He furnished Mr. Thomas, 
while I went to engage a passage to Smithland, with a tabular calcu- 
lation of Electoral votes; having previously read us copies of some 
of his last letters to our friends at Washington avowing his views 
and determination; and submitting matters as to nomination or no 
nomination to discretion of his friends from such events as had or 
might occur — his last letters from them having been written before 
the Massachusetts nomination had reached Washington. 

I saw Gen. Jackson, and took leave of him at 1 o'clock P. M. at 
Gen. Armstrong's where he had dined. Capt. Wm. Armstrong, the 
Cherokee Agent West, had lately informed Gen. A. who had been at 
the Agency a week or two since, that an Agent of the Pennsylvania 
U. S. bank, was at the Agency with seven or eight hundred thousand 
dollars in U. S. Bank notes, and was offering them to Capt. A. as 
disbursing agent to a number of tribes of Indians, to be paid to them 
as annuities. He (Capt. A) had refused to receive it — it was offered 
as upon authority of some disbursing officer of War Department, and 
possibly grew out of some arrangement sanctioned by Mr. Secretary 
Poinsett; and if so, which Capt. A. did not credit, it must be unknown 
to Mr. Van Buren. Capt A. I think had written to Mr. Poinsett. 
Gen. Armstrong had mentioned these facts to me yesterday evening. 
Gen. Jackson now told me on taking leave of him, that he had heard 
of the matter with astonishment; that it was an unjustifiable attempt 
of the bank in its suspended state, to throw its depreciated notes in 
circulation, not warranted by law, or justice to the Indians, and that 
he had or would write forthwith to Col. Benton and the President, 
and requested me personally, as from him, to mention the matter to 
both of them as soon as I arrived in Washington. 

After adjusting some matters of business, arranging exchanges 
etc. left Nashville on the Excel Steamer, Capt. Dasheils, about 2 o'cl. 
P. M. in company with Messrs. Thomas and Clarke, and found Messrs. 
McFerrin, Parker, and Driskol, Delegates to the Baltimore General 
Conference of Methodist Church on board; and also Mr. Gaskill and 
lady of Gallatin, going East on a visit, and several other passengers, 
among whom was Maj. Whitlocke, an agent of Messrs. Hicks, Ewing 
& Co's Iron Establishment, and a Mr. Charles Adams a New York 
merchant, or collecting drummer, who was the most finical dandy of a 
glutton I had met with for many a day. Without any particular 
accident or material occurrence we got to Mouth of Harpeth, at foot 
of the shoals, and lay by all night in a fog. 

Thursday, April 16, 1840. 

Made an early start, and after stopping at Clarksville, Dover, 
Canton (in Trigg Co. Ky.) Eddyville in Caldwell Co. Ky, and after 
seeing the residences from the river, of Gen. M. Lyon, and Col. C. 
Lyon (the former of whom is dead) near the latter place, and hearing 
the Whigs on the bank at Eddyville lament the death of the great 
Hugh Lawson White as a loss to the* Harrison cause, we arrived at 



48 Documents 



Smithland about 10 o'clock at night — and went off the boat at Bled* 
Hotel to await and lookout for a boat going up the Ohio. Wrote 
ters home in the morning to Mrs. L. and J. W. Ford, and sent ot 
written to some in Nashville to post office in Clarksville. 






Friday, April 17, 1840. 

Rose early, hoping for a boat to arrive. Had a tolerable breakfast; 
just after which the old Memphis Steamer came by, passing up the 
Ohio. There being ten of us she offered to take us to Louisville for 
$5 each. She was old, slow, and out of repair. We concluded by 
vote, not to go, though her Captain promised to take us to Louisville 
by Sunday morning, though Capt. Dasheils (a very clever fellow by 
the by) informed us she could not reach that place before Tuesday 
evening. McFerrin and others reported her "doings" as we say to 
be wretched, so we concluded to wait for the next Boat, as the 
Phillips and Monarch from St. Louis, bound up the Ohio were looked 
for in the course of the day. Wrote to Mr. Kizer of my arrival here, 
under cover to Gen. Armstrong, by the Excel, the Capt. promissing to 
deliver. I had also written yesterday, to Mr. Keeble, from Clarks- 
ville to Murfreesboro, requesting him or Yoakum to attend Court 
for me at Murfreesboro — and directing him and Dr. W. R. Rucker 
to write to G. W. Jones, Andrew Ewing or L. P. Cheatham to attend 
at Murfreesborough and make speeches at such time as they should 
appoint. 

Got off from Smithland, which is a most wretched place, at 5 
o'clock P. M. on the Lexington, large Steamer, Capt. Alter of Cin- 
cinnati, for Cincinnati, and passed Golconda about sunset. At Smith- 
land saw Mr. Spence, and Capt. J. G. Anderson, formerly of Nash- 
ville, who said that in Kentucky, many Whig Clay men had abso- 
lutely refused to go for Harrison. Anderson told me of several acts 
of anile folly and ostentation he had witnessed in Gen. Harrison's 
private conduct — and that Harrison had said last fall, before he was 
nominated, that if Clay should be nominated at Harrisburg, that still, 
he H. would run for the Presidency as an independent candidate — 
that H. disliked Clay personally. Spence, who lives at Smithland, 
the Mouth of Cumberland, which is in Livingston County, Ky. that 
the Whigs there, had a few days before, for $150, bought up Bell the 
Editor of the "Times" newspaper published there, and who had been 
a Democrat Had a night of thunder, lightning and rain — a night 
when 

Clouds obscure the atmosphere, 
And forked lightnings rend the air. 

Saturday, April 18, 1840. 

After having slept well, Thomas and myself having a state room, 
got up early, just as we were in sight of Mount Vernon, in Indiana, 
having passed Shaunytown, Illinois, and mouth of Wabash in the 
night. Run on rapidly, and passed Henderson, Ky. at 9 o'clock. Had 
a cloudy cold day, but made a good run, keeping in sight all day of 
the Swallow which had passed us at Smithland. Met many steam and 
flat boats going down. Had much conversation with a New Yorker, 
a native of Maryland, a democrat who had been living at Smithland, 
and was going home by Frankfort, Ky. A Mississippian, I think a 
Doctor, and Thomas had various discussions. Passed Evansville, la. 
which seems to be in a state of rapid growth. Learned that this 

?lace, where the Indiana Canal terminates, is the home of Mr. Geo. 
'roffit an Indiana Whig member of the present Congress. 









Laughlin Diaries 49 



























Sunday, April 19, 1840. 

Passed Brandenburg, Ky. about sunrise, and the Mouth of Salt 
river at breakfast time. 

Got on to Louisville, and walked from Mouth of Canal up to town 
with Thomas and N Yorker who lived at Smithland as appeared. 
Put letter in Post office for Gen. Armstrong. Went to levee and 
found a crowd of people preparing to hold inquest over a drowned 
man who had just been discovered floating down the river. — As soon 
as our boat got through the Canal, went on board. Rev. J. B. Mc- 
Ferrin, one of our company, came on board and Tho. J. Read, Mr. 
McAlister and M. [ ]• Woodburn of Madison, Indiana, who was on 
his way up home, fifty miles above Louisville. Was introduced by 
Mr. Read to these gentlemen, as democrats, and especially to Mr. 
Woodburn, who is a Methodist, democrat, and a man of very great 
influence in his own state. Soon left Louisville, and had long con- 
versation with Mr. Woodburn. To satisfy him he might confide in 
me, and having assurances from Read of his trustworthiness, and 
finding him a Polk man, and full of intelligence, I talked freely with 
him, told him my business to Baltimore, which Read had informed 
him of, and told him I had letter from Gen. Jackson to Mr. T. L. 
Hamer of Ohio, etc. He told me if he had been at home, and could 
have attended the Indiana State Convention, that he believed Polk 
would have been nominated for V. P.; that he knew Johnson well, 
esteemed him as a patriot and soldier, but that his nomination would 
be a dead weight on us in the next election, as it had been in 1836. 
In every respect he esteemed Polk as the preferable man — in talents, 
services being equal, and so much superior in private character. 
Mr. W. is a commissioner of the Board of public Works of Indiana. 
He said he had no fears of success in the coming election in Indiana. 
That Gen. T. A. Howard the democratic candidate for Gov. was all- 









•it 



werful! and charged me to present his respects to the Gen. at 
Washington, and tell him from him that he must hasten home and 
take the field, and to tell Gen. Carr, his own immediate representative 
in Congress the same thing. Said he would write in a day or two 
by mail to both gentlemen; and said that he earnestly hoped that 
Gov. Polk would be nominated — that it would offset Harrison's popu- 
larity in Indiana. I wrote a letter by Mr. Woodburn to my brother 
Clinton at Gregory's Store, Indiana, requesting him to meet me at 
the boarding house at lower end of Louisville Canal as I return home, 
and to be there by 9th or 10th of May, and remain til I come on. 

Had a fine passage to Cincinnati — or until retiring hour on the 
night of this day. 



Monday, April 20, 1840. 

Arrived at Cincinnati about 9 o'clock in the morning, and after 
various delays, and the dem[u]rring of Driskol and Parker, two 
preachers, we got off for Wheeling on the Steamer Montgomery, Capt. 

, about 3 o'clock P. M. having left the two timid preachers — 
McFerrin coming on with us (Thomas, Clark and myself, and Gaskill 
and wife, and Mrs. Robertson an old lady under McFerrin's care) 
and made a fine run, being nearly at Portsmouth, mouth of Ohio 
Canal, at mouth of Sciota, by daylight. Stopt awhile at Portsmouth, 
to put off and take on some freight. Heard that the Rubicon steamer 
which had departed before us a few hours, with many preachers going 
to General Conference, accompanied by Bishop Roberts, was only a 
few hours before us. Passed Northbend, mouth of Great Miama, 
and Gen. Harrison's residence three miles above. It is a splendid 

•Blank in Ms. 




50 Documents 



residence, and great Canal from Cincinnati to [ ] 10 leaves river at 
his place. His residence, large white framed house, is beautiful — 
finer than Mount Vernon. 

Tuesday, April 21, 1840. 

After leaving Portsmouth as stated above, we run on all day 
without accident or incident worth recording — Read Lockhart's Life 
of Sir Walter Scott, and passed the day in looking at country seats, 
farms, villages, and scenery on the banks of the river. The river was 
evidently becoming narrower. From about 100 miles below Louisville, 
where the hills set in, this is the case — and besides we had passed 
so many rivers, that the Ohio must now contain not much over two 
thirds or perhaps half the water it contains at Louisville. Went to 
bed early, and slept well. In evening, at Guyandot, saw a Harrison 
flag on long pole, standing on bank of river near the Landing. 

Wednesday, Aprl. 22, 1840. 

In the morning found ourselves 30 miles below Marietta. Passed 
Blannerhasset Island, rendered immortal in story by Wirt's Speech 
in Burr's trial. It is two miles below Parkersburg, Va., at mouth of 
great Canawha. Got to Wheeling about dark in the evening, and 
engaged passage in the Pilot line of stages to leave for Frederick, 
Maryland, on next morning at 7 o'clock, and took lodgings at the 
U. S. Hotel. In the course of the day saw the Harrison flag sus- 
pended (or displayed) from a pole at Parkersburg — perhaps Guyan- 
dot, dont precisely remember, but thought the thing ridiculous. 

Thursday, Aprl. 23, 1840. 

Left Wheeling and took the National road now in good repair and 
passed on rapidly by Washington, Pennsylvania. Found the neighbor- 
hood of Wheeling abounding in rich coal mines, and the farms in a 
high state of cultivation, the land along Wheeling creek being exceed- 
ingly rich, as well as the adjacent hill sides. Travelled on all day, 
and night, at good speed. In the portion of Pennsylvania through 
which we passed, farms were in high cultivation. After we entered 
the mountain regions, the trees, except near branches and water 
courses, were scarcely discoverable to be putting forth leaves, and 
the apple trees, which grow to unusual size, were just in full blossonru 
The grass and clover, wild and cultivated however, was greatly more 
forward than it was any where in Middle Tennessee when I left home. 
I wrote a line home, enclosed to Mrs. L. through Squire Ford, at 
Wheeling. 

Friday, April 24, 1840. 

Travelled without intermission, breakfasting at Union Town, 
in Fayette County Pennsylvania, near which Mr. Gallatin formerly 
had his residence. About a dozen miles West of Union Town we 
passed Brownsville, in the same county, where we crossed the Monon- 
gohala on a excellent bridge. This is a point where many of the 
Pittsburg and Pennsylvania Steamboats are built for the Western 
trade. It is where our Capt. Gregg of the Montgomery has his 
home. The river at this place is a beautiful stream, and steamboats 

Sass above, I learn, to the Virginia line. We made a good travel this 
ay, until we commenced the ascent of the Mountain proper; we 
made a good travel. We passed into Maryland at a place called the 
Little Crossings, where there is a tavern. At Cumberland we saw 
delightful scenery. 



"Blank in Ms. 



: • 



Laughlin Diaries 51 






Saturday, April 25, 1840. 

Morning found us about 25 miles above Hagerstown. By twelve, 
we arrived at Frederick, where we got a hasty breakfast, and got 
into the Railway cars for the Relay House, at the junction of the 
Washington and Baltimore and Frederick and Baltimore railroads, 
on the Patapsco, about four miles below Ellicot's Mills. The village 
at the pass with the Banking House, and other improvements, on 
the heights, the most picturesque we had seen, especially the private 
dwellings which were delightful. Got dinner at Relay House, and at 
3 o'clock, or half past, got into the Washington cars as they passed 
from Baltimore, and in less than two hours, run about 35 miles to 
Washington. Met Col. Williamson Smith at Depot House in Wash- 
ington, and below at Mrs. Owners, met Mr. Grundy 11 who arranged 
for me to get a room at Orchard (a house of Owner on the Avenue) 
next to Mr. Jamison of Missouri, up stairs, Mr. Turney 12 and Col. 
Boyd of Ky. occupying the two lower rooms. That evening was in- 
troduced to Dr. Linn of Mo. Judge Young of Illinois, Gen. Robinson 
of same, Col. Mouton of Louisiana, Mr. Parmenter and Mr. Williams 
of Massachusetts. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Clarke got quarters at Mrs. 
Brawners, next door to Mrs. Owners, where Mr. Waterson 13 and others 
boarded. Mr. Grundy this evening showed me the House from 
which all Whig documents are circulated. 

Sunday Aprl. 26, 1840. 

Remained in my room til evening, and then took a walk with Mr. 
Turney to the Capitol and public grounds. The grounds, about 20 
acres, in a beautiful state of improvement. Read newspapers, and 
Lockhart's Life of Sir Walter Scott. Saw H. C. Williams and 
Robert Williams. 

Monday, Apl. 27th, 1840. 

Went in the morning with my colleagues Thomas and Clarke, and 
Messrs. Grundy and Waterson to pay our respects to the President at 
10 o'clock. Found Gov. Isaac Hill 14 there. The President received 
us with great courtesy. Before we left, he called Mr. Grundy aside 
for a moment. Mr. Van Buren looked "fat, thrifty and well" as the 
song says — that is, he had increased greatly in corpulency since I had 
seen him in 1835. Went to the Senate with Mr. A. V. Brown, 15 after 
I had been introduced into the privileged part of the House by Mr. 
Waterson. In Senate Gen. Anderson introduced me to various Sen- 
ators as did Gov. Clay. Found Mr. Calhoun quite talkative, very 
cheerful, and Col. Benton vastly dignified. Both however extremely 
polite as was Mr. Robert Walker of Mi. and Col. King of Alabama, 
and Mr. Cuthbert of Georgia. 

The House of representatives were engaged on the Appropriation 
Bill; and the Whigs, Proffit, Stanley, Waddy Thompson, Rice Garland, 
etc. were annoying, embarrassing and hindering the progress of the 
bill in committee of the whole. On this day, Mr. Jones, chairman of 
Com. of Ways and Means, having urged the passage of the bill, the 
democrats determined to sit it out, and sat from 12 oclock to 5 oclock 
P. M. next day, hindering Whig debate as much as possible, by calls 
to order and making no speeches. I remained in the House all night, 
sitting up with Blackwell, Hubbard, Brown, and other friends til 1 
oclock in the morning and then sleeping on a sopha for an hour, and 

- 

u Felix Grundy, Senator from Tennessee. 

"Hopkins L. Turney, Representative from Tennessee. 

l3 Harvey M. Watterson, Representative from Tennessee. 

14 Of New Hampshire. 

"Representative from Tennessee. 






52 Documents 



than getting up and attending to proceedings til breakfast time. I 
never saw such shameful scenes of disorder in any deliberative body 
— not in any public meeting of citizens. The Bill had been then de- 
bated by the Whigs — or not the bill but matters and things in gen- 
eral — for more than two weeks to the total neglect of all other busi- 
ness. The table of the House was loaded with Senates bills not acted 
on, and the Senate was in a situation to finish the business of the 
session in two or three weeks; while the House at its present rate of 
progress could not get through by August. The expense of a session 
of Congress is about [ ] ,a per day; and all this the Whigs were 
incurring to embarrass the government, and make capital for Gen. 
Harrison. In Committee of the whole the previous question cannot 
be called — so that by spinning out debate, absenting themselves, so 
as to prevnt a quorum, offerine and debating frivolous amendments, 
the time and money of the people is most shamefully wasted. 

On this day, I heard Hubbard of N. H. and Preston of S. C. 
and Southard on the other — Tappan of Ohio, helping Hubbard debate 
a Bill for the relief of Fillebrown a removed clerk in the Navy 
department. 

Tuesday, April 28, 1840. 

Not having slept last night, I got some coffee for breakfast, and 
lounged about the House of Reps, all day. The same scene described 
in yesterdays journal continued all day til the adjournment late in 
the evening. Saw Gen. Anderson and Gov. Clay 17 about the business 
of the Baltimore Convention. All were now agreed that Gov. Polk 
could not be nominated — that Johnson could not without New York, 
and that best way, if possible, was to make no nomination. This 
matter was in treaty between Mr. Grundy and Mr. Wright. Talked 
with Mr. D. Hubbard and Mr. A. V. Brown on the subject, pressed 
the matter in every form. Went to bed early, and slept most soundly. 

Wednesday, April 29. 

Wrote to Gov. Polk. Called at Hills with Mr. Thomas and saw 
Gov. Clay, Mr. Hubbard, on the Convention business. Saw Mr. 
Vanderpoel, and Judge Wick of Indiana, on the subject. They both 
were in favor of no nomination, as was a Mr. Davis of the latter 
state to whom I was introduced. ^ Learned that Bean, a Delegate 
from Alabama to Convention was in the City, and under the control 
of Mr. King; and that Hubbard and Gov. Clay had pressed him hard 
to consent to no nomination. Heard that Mr. Calhoun had pressed 
the same matter upon Gen. Howard of Indiana, from Hubbard who 
had been present. Had a conversation with Mr. Jamison of Missouri 
on the subject on our way to the capitol. He agreed with me that it 
was best to make no nomination; leaving states and people free, as 
this course would ensure us the Vice President at all events if Mr. 
Van Buren should be re-elected; and that whichever of the democratic 
candidates was highest on the list, would be elected by the Senate — 
and this would strengthen our party in the contest for the Presidency 
and leave Tennessee and Alabama unincumbered with Col John- 
son's name. 

In the evening understood at supper that Gov. Carroll 1 * had 
arrived. Saw Thomas, Smith and Clarke as they and Waterson re- 
turned from calling on him at Gadsby's. Gen. DeGraffenreid of Mis- 
sissippi, a delegate to the Convention, and Mr. Rogers and Mr. Dorch 
of our Delegation were also in town, and came with Gen. Carroll. 



"Blank in Ms. 

,T C. C. Clav. of Alabama. 

"William Carroll, of Tennessee. 






Laughlin Diaries 53 






Thursday, Apl. 30, 1840. 

After breakfast, went with Mr. Grundy and Mr. Turney to see 
Gen. Carroll. Found him well, and going to the President's. Came 
to my room, and went with Col. Boyd and Mr. Turney to the 
Patent office. Met Dr. Charles Douglas, now a clerk in that office. 
Found that he is an old acquaintance of Col. J. G. Harris, Editor 
of the Nashville Union, and determined to get a statement from 
him as to Harris* anti-abolition course, he being clear that Harris 
never was an abolitionist. Examined various new caracatures at a 
shop on the avenue, and a log cabin, of the size of a Martin-box, set 
upon a block, fronting a shop door on the Avenue — By the Avenue, 
I always mean Pennsylvania Avenue, as Owner's where I board is 
on it — and as it is the highway from Capitol to the President's 
House. 

Friday, May 1, 1840. 

Went early in the morning to Gadsby's and saw Gov. Carroll. 
Found him, Mr. Dortch and Mr. Rogers. Accounts from Tennessee 
tolerably favorable. In the course of the day talked with Mr. 
Jamison of Missouri, who seemed favorably disposed to making no 
nomination. There was a May ball in the evening, but did not go 
to it. Mrs. Young and Mrs. Linn spoke in high terms of the amuse- 
ments. The Russian Minister was at it, but his young American 
wife, just married, was not there. 1 * Wrote home and heard various 
debates in House on the appropriation Bill. J. W. Jones Chairman 
of the Committee of Ways and Means is an able and accomplished 
man. Heard Rice Garland of La. Proffitt of Indiana, Waddy Thomp- 
son of S. C. Gen. McKay of N. C. Stanley, of N. C. Graves of Ky. 
Cushing of Mass. Briggs of same, and A. Smith of Maine. The 
most worthless and profligate opposition, I am sure, and the least 
regardless of decency, is the set of noisy drivillers, [sic] who are 
now annoying the House, and trying to delay the passage of the ap- 
propriation Bill. The Senate is nearly through the business of the 
Session, and can get through in some three weeks, if the House 
would only hasten the business, and especially the money bills which 
must originate in that branch of Congress. 

Saturday, May 2, 1840. 

Some of our friends talked of setting off to Baltimore to be ready 
for the convention and to be in time to get lodgings, and see the 
parade of the Whig convention on Monday the 4th. I concluded not 
to go however before Monday, and then go by the 9 o'clock carz [sic']. 
On this evening after a great deal of debate, the general appropria- 
tion bill, including civil list, diplomatic, naval and military estimates, 
passed the House. I understood after it passed, that Mr. Wright 
would insist on taking it up and passing it in Senate on Monday. 
This was contrary to my previous understanding that he would go 
to Baltimore, or neighborhood on Monday to confer with New York 
delegation in relation to the nomination^ of a candidate for the Vice 
Presidency, to which he was opposed, being the confidential friend 
and adviser of the President. 

Sunday, May 3, 1840. 

Went with Waterson, Clark, Thomas, and Smith to Alexandria in 
the steamer [ ] 20 and dined there at a chop house. Came back in the 
evening. Mr. Grundy went early this morning to Baltimore, having 
engaged quarters at Barnum's, and having to hold private confer- 

19 The Baron Bodisco, who married Miss Harriet Williams, of Georgetown. 
^Blank in Ms. 



54 Documents 



ences with Gen. Dix of the New York delegation and others. Noth- 
ing new to-day. Saw Gen. Anderson and Gov. Clay in the evening. 
Anderson thought no nomination would be made. 

Monday, May 4, 1840. 

Paid off my bill, and packed up early to leave for Baltimore by 
the 9 o clock cars. Went to Globe office with Mr. Turney, to get 
documents, and met Mr. Bynum, who was complaining of the shame- 
less course of the opposition. Got in the Railcars and went up to 
Baltimore. Met Mr. Crozier of our delegation at Depot, and was 
informed that lodgings had been prepared for us at Mrs. Davis 1 , 
near Barnums, where the New York and Alabama delegations were 
quartered. Went there, and found ourselves crowded exceedingly, 
and expecting to sleep on matresses. FoundGov. Clay, Mr. Sydney 
Moore, (son of Dr. Alfred Moore) and Maj. Jesse Bean, and Mr. 
Hubbard the Alabama Delegation. Clajr and Hubbard were opposed 
to a nomination. Moore who representing [sic] the feelings of his 
uncle, Dr. David Moore, the enemy of Gov. Clay, was for a nom- 
ination, as was Bean who was Senator Kings immediate friend. It 
was evident that Buchanan of Pa. and King of Al. were disposed to 
have Johnson nominated, right or wrong, and Moore from his dislike 
of Gov. Clay, and Bean from his subserviency to Col. King, were 
disposed to aid in the cause. Mr. Buchanan from hostility to Gov. 
Polk's future prospects had allied himself to King, and by con- 
trivance, their friends were trying first to effect a compromise with 
the friends of Johnson and Polk and thereby get King nominated 
upon the half-way-house principle; but if they could not get this 
done, they united and were to unite with Johnson's friends and press 
for a nomination. On this day, on the pavement near Barnums, Mr. 
Moore of the Alabama delegation made a proposition, problematical 
in its form, to adopt this course of compromise upon King. I assured 
him that I did not believe it could be done, and mentioned states 
that would not agree to it. I[t] seemed to me, that this policy, which 
was understood to be the course dictated by Mr. Buchanan, and of 
forcing a nomination on its failure, which must have resulted in the 
choice (by the states present) in the nomination of Johnson by a 
lean plurality vote of the party, was most unwise in Mr. Buchanan. 
By taking up Johnson, and [sic] the Pennsylvania Convention had 
done at his imputed instance, and forcing him upon the West and 
Southwest, where he would be a deadweight to our party, would be 
a perfect throwing away of all possible prospective claims of Mr. 
Buchanan to the Presidency. The course would displease his friends 
in that quarter, the only portion of the West where he could hope 
for aid against the rival claims of Col. Benton. By pressing Johnson, 
Mr. Buchanan might make personal friends in the North West, but 
all the States in that direction are and will be devoted to Col. Benton 
for the future Presidency, so that, while Col. Benton lives, Mr. 
Buchanan can never supplant him in the N. W. 

During the afternoon, I went with Mr. Carroll 21 one of the Mary- 
land delegation in Congress, representing the City and County of 
Baltimore, and Mr. Waterson, and took a stand where we coula see 
the whole procession of the Whigs with their Banners, and log cabins 
drawn on wagons, as they passed through Monument Square. The 
parade was ridiculous in the extreme. Caleb Norvell and Mr. Humes 
of Knox, and three or four other persons whom I did not know, with 
a bag in mourning inscribed to H. L. White, represented Tennessee 
in a little platoon in the procession. On one of the Maryland flags 

"James Carroll, of Baltimore. 






Laughlin Diaries 55 
























was inscribed "Tip, Tyler and Tariff," the strangest set of incon- 
sistent allusions, that ever met or was devised by folly. The Balti- 
more Patriot of the next morning in a detailed account of the pro- 
ceedings, being the boldest of the federal papers, published this 
motto truly, but Duff Green's paper, The Pilot, published in the city 
at the same time, and the Baltimore American suppressed it, although 
they professed to give all the mottos and devices of the flags truly 
and at length. The number of little cabins, built of poles, not by 
those who had them hauled through the streets, and marched in the 
array, for they were young and old aristocrats — lean, long waisted 
dandies, — loafers of all sorts of ages, and real silk-glove gentry who 
knew no more how to build one of these cabins, tho' not bigger than 
pig pens, than they did how to square a circle, or interpret Ezekiel's 

{>rophesies; but they were built and constructed, and hauled about by 
aboring men whom they* despise at heart, and who despise them, 
but now worked for hire for these rich gentry. A noisy fellow, a 
Whig named Laughlin, who was a Marshall in the procession, had 
attempted to drive some man out of his path, who was looking upon 
the parade with the disgust which was common to all sober minded 
men, and for his insolence had been struck with a cane or some sim- 
ilar weapon across the back of the head and was killed. The Whig 
delegation from Massachusetts, it was said, instantly made up a 
thousand dollars for his widow. I saw Mr. Carroll meet great num- 
bers of his constituents on the side walks and they said to him to a 
man, that the whole folly of the parade was strengthening the 
democratic cause hourly. All the business people of Baltimore, except 
some rabid bank merchants and clerks, and others of the same sort, 
were quietly pursuing their everyday business. 

The following outline of doings of the Convention is copied from 
my files of papers. Among my pamphlets is the proceedings in 
pamphlet form. Among my newspaper files, are files of the Whig 
and democratic papers of Baltimore (Daily) during both Conventions 
and containing their proceedings at length. 22 






[ii] 

Journal and Memorandums and Reminiscences, made dur- 
ing the 1st Session of the 25th General Assembly of Tennessee, 
which met at Nashville on Monday, Oct. 2nd, 1843. 

At the General Election of this year I had been elected to 
the State Senate from the 10th District, composed of the Coun- 
ties of Warren, Cannon, Coffee and DeKalb. 

* 

Wednesday, Sept. 27, 1843. 

On this day I left my residence at Hickory Hill, Warren County, 
on horseback, accompanied by Master David Batey, and servant 
Anthony, the latter riding in a carryall, carrying my trunks, for 
Nashville, to attend the session of the General Assembly which was 
to meet on the 2nd day of October. Came to Mr. Batey's on Cripple 
Creek, Rutherford, and stayed all night. Came through McMinnville, 
and fell in with Mr. Joshua Harrison going to Nashville and trav- 
elled with him. Left Miss Batey at my daughter Smartt's. The 
horses I and David rode were Mr. Batey's. Left my mother at home 
very ill, she having been confined from the Friday previous to my 
leaving. . . . She was in (I believe) her 70th year, and had not 

^Here the Diary breaks off. 












56 Documents 



walked or stood alone, being crippled by rheumatism, for nearly 
twelve years. In fact she had been able to move but little on her feet 
since she came to live with me on Stone's river, wher I had her and 
my father removed from Washington County, Va., in October, 1829. 
I left my father and daughter Mary with her, and Dr. Smartt under 

Sromise to attend her daily. I left my boys John James and Andrew 
ackson going to school to John L. Byars, my son Sam Houston 
having gone to live with Mr. Kizer, the husband of my daughter 
Ellen, some time about the 1st of August last. Mary and Dr. Smartt, 
both promised to keep me constantly advised by letter of the condition 
of my mother. I left home with great reluctance, compelled alone 
by a sense of public duty, and being advised and urged to do so by 
my friends, on account of the great interest they felt, in common with 
all my constituents, in the question of locating the seat of the state 
government, 23 which by the constitution of the state, was required to 
be done permanently in the first week of the approaching Session. 
It was to be done by the Assembly. I came from home and travelled 
in a state of low spirits and melancholly, being deeply anxious about 
my mother, and my domestic matters, confided at home, of necessity, 
too much to servants. 

Thursday, Sept. 28th. 

Left Mr. Batey's after early breakfast, and rode with Anthony 
and Mr. Harrison, alternately, in Carryall, the horse I rode day be- 
fore being Mr. Batey's. Came through Murfreesboro without stop- 

ing, except in the street while I sent Anthony for plug of tobacco. 

aw Col. E. A. Keeble a moment in the street who informed me, that 
he was not coming down to Nashville — having nothing to hope for the 
democracy — that Sneed the Senator, and Burrus, and Richardson the 
members of the House from the County had gone to Nashville. — I 
found persons at the first turnpike gate in Rutherford, all agog about 
seat of Government. Got some dinner at TrepparcTs on the roade, 
[sic] and arrived at Nashville, at Mr. Kizer's Market Street, a little 
after dark. Found Mr. K. absent at Baltimore, but Ellen and son 
Houston, well. Slept well and soon (a thing unusual) after going to 
bed, having read myself to sleep in the "New York Albion." 

Friday, Sept. 29, 1843. 

Got up refreshed, and as soon as I went out, was beset by host of 
candidates — candidates for all the little offices of Clerks and Door- 
keepers in the gift of the Assembly. There are only about 8 offices, 
and there are already nearly a hundred candidates on the ground. 
Saw Jas Armstrong who is a candidate for Assistant Clerk in Sen- 
ate, and Joe Argo who is candidate for doorkeeper, and Thos. H. 
Hopkins who [is] candidate for Atto. Genl. or anything, all from 

K The establishment of a fixed capital for Tennessee was a matter of long dispute, 
which illustrates excellently the sectional and party jealousies which characterized 
this and other American commonwealths. The Tennessee Constitution of 1796 (Article 
X, Section i) fixed the seat of government at Knoxville, in East Tennessee, until 
1802. The Assembly continued to meet in Knoxville until 1807, when the session 
began in Kingston, a few miles to the west of Knoxville, but was ad- 
journed to Knoxville. The sessions continued to be held in Knoxville through 
181 1. 'The next year a called session was held in Nashville, in the western (now the 
central) part of the state. This led to further sessions in Nashville^ until 1817, in 
which year Knoxville was again chosen. But the East had lost its grip, and in 18 19 
the Assembly met in Murfreesboro, a town which was in the same general region as 
Nashville and which continued as the meeting place of the Assembly until 1826, when 
another called session met in Nashville. Nashville continued thereafter to be chosen, 
but, through the jealousy of the other sections, without any guarantee of permanence. 
^ As Laughlin states, the Constitution adopted in 1834 (schedule, Section 2) re- 
quired the first Legislature to meet after the next enumeration by census, — which 
would be made in 1843, — to fix, within the first week of its session, a seat of gov- 
ernment. 










Laughlin Diaries 57 



McMinnville, my county town, and Maj. Grant, and Mr. Sherrel who 
are candidates for Doorkeeper from Coffee. Told them all as well 
as Hodenpyl, and Thomas from Bledsoe, that I thought chances bad. 
The two last wish to be Doorkeeprs to Senate. Find it bad policy to 
be incumbered with candidates from your own district. It has a 
tendency to place you in position to incur obligations on yourself to 
others for support, when the true policy of a member who has a 
favorite local object to carry, is to be in a position to get other 
members under obligations to him. Saw Maj. J. A. Lane who is a 
candidate for re-election as Pr. 2 * Clerk to the Senate, and Mr. E. 
Rawlings who is a candidate for Asst. C. Senate, and advised them 
to visit Whig Senators together. Saw Sevier, and other Whig Sen- 
ators, and real Albion, and made notes in my Index Rerum, from 
2 Vol. of Life of Sir Jas. Mackintosh, from marks I had made in 
margin of that book, which I had left at Brandon's when going home 
from Mr. Batey's, in company with Martha and David, about ten 
days ago. Wrote part of a letter to my father in the evening, pre- 
paratory [to] sending Anthony home on tomorrow morning. Heard 
that Marshall Bertrand had gone up to-day to the Herittage, [sic] 2 * 
the Marshall having arrived the night before from St. Louis. This 
is the favorite old General of Napoleon who closed his eyes. Intend, 
if I can, to see him when he returns to town. Went to bed early and 
read in bed in the 28th No. of the American Qr. Review. 

Saturday, Sept. 30, 1843. 

Got up well, and attended by Anthony, went to market to buy 
bacon, but could fine none but hams at 6% cents per lb. Did not buy. 
It rained nearly all day. Got Carryall mended, but as it rained so 
much, and the roads would be so bad, put off Anthony's starting home 
til Monday morning, when I expected to procure bacon. — Saw Maj. 
Trott of Cannon. In good spirits about getting seat of Govt, removed 
from Nashville. Saw Ledbetter of Rutherford, member of Senate 
last year, who apologized and explained the cause of his writing to 
Ramsey my competitor in the last election. Said R. wrote to him 
twice before he would write — that when he did write, it was a private 
letter, not intended to be read in public, and only referred Mr. Ramsey 
to the journals where I had voted in 1830-40, [sic~\ and 1841-2 on 
the Seat of Government, Senatorial Election, and other party ques- 
tions, and asured me that he never could have written what was 
untrue, that in 1840 I changed my vote on the Seat of Government 
Question, when Colo. Yoakum was the Senator from Rutherford. I 
told him and Dr. Richardson and Mr. Burrus, the representatives 
from Rutherford in the Senate Chamber, that if the Democrats had 
elected a majority to the present Assembly in both Houses, that we 
would have hoisted up and removed the seat of Government from 
Nashville, as certainly as easily, as Archimides hoisted up the 
Roman ships at the siege of Syracuse. That now if the removers 
hoped to do anything they must bring Whig help. 

Called at Gen. Armstrong's in the evening. Found him out at 
Judge Catron's visiting Count Bertrand and Gen. E. P. Gaines. 26 Saw 
Dr. Young in course of the day; and afterwards, as I had done 
before, before I came here, and ever since, contradicted the charge 

24 Principal. 

25 The Hermitage was the resort of many foreigners of distinction who traveled 
in the West. 

^John Catron, appointed by Jackson Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of 
the United States, was one of the inner circle of the Jackson leaders. Edmund 
Pendleton Gaines, Brigadier General in the U. S. A., was at this time in command 
of the Western Division of the Army. 



. • 






58 Documents 



that he had voted the Whig ticket at the late election. The Dr. 
is a candidate for re-election as Secretary of State. — In the course 
of the day I received a letter dated the 22nd of Sept. 1843, from 
my good friend and cousin Thomas Laughlin, of Philadelphia, Mon- 
roe Co. Tenn. informing me that he is well, had received a letter 
from me at Pikeville, and that his old father and mother were in 
good health, in Whitley Co. Ky in May last. Informs me that his 
eldest daughter is a widow, Jos. Gilles a Senator etc. and recom- 
mends Matthew Nelson as a candidate for State Treasurer. I shall 
vote for Miller Francis the incumbent. Wrote more in my letter to 
father — bought Cooper's Hutted Hill, and read in Miss Frederica 
Bremer's "Neighbors" till I went to sleep. . . . Dudley Woodward 
sleeps with me — Houston in adjoining room — Harry on the floor. 

Sunday, Oct. 1, 1843. 

. . . Visited Gardner and Powell. Saw Judge Miller, Nichol- 
son, 27 Trott, and Gen. Smartt, and Morford. Miller, G. W. Jones 
(now here) and others, thought it advisable to try to make a ticket 
for Senators in Congress, of A. R. Alexander of the West, and Joe 
Williams of the East, as the best way to beat Foster,* and that mak- 
ing Alexander Speaker, would be a good step towards it. Trott 
doubted whether it would not be wrong to make him Speaker — he told 
me, that Ready had informed him in secret, that the Rutherford Dele- 
gation would give up Foster to get votes for the removal of the seat 
of Government. Powell, at his room, told me that he thought Wil- 
liams and Alexander the men to beat the Nashville Regency 2 * with, 
as they were Whigs, and could each bring three Whigs with him. 
I saw Gen. Smartt on the square and told him that we, who wished 
to affect [sic] a removal of the Seat of Government were embar- 
rassed by having candidates dependant [sic\ on us for support — that 
it weakened us — that Democracy were in minority, and could elect no 
one — that to incur obligations in trying to get our candidates on, 
we were doing harm to our cause — that months hence was soon 
enough for Mr. Hopkins to become candidate for Att. Genl. and that 
I would do anything I could for him or Armstrong, but that they 
were a drawback on us now. He said he would talk to Mr| Rowan 
about it when he should arrive, and that he agreed with me in opinion. 
I told him of plan to run Alexander and Williams for Senators, and 
he approved of it and said he would talk to Alexander about Seat of 
Government; but I told him not to mention subject of Senators — 
that Judge Austin Miller on our part, and Trice a Whig from Mc- 
Nairy Co. were the only persons who would approach Alexander on 
that subject. That the matter was a profound secret. 

Went home and read Miss Frederica Bremer's Neighbors, and 
wrote up this Journal. In the afternoon, felt so low spirited and 
unwell, and so much want of nervous excitement, I made Laura, 
Ellen's girl, make me a strong cup of coffee. It did me good. 
I dined with Mr. Rawlings and Cousin Jane, and a Mr. Davis of 
Mississippy, who had spent the summer at the Harrodsburg Springs, 
Kentucky. 

In the afternoon rode out in carriage with Houston and Dudley 
Woodward on Franklin Turnpike beyond Westwood, the residence 



^A. O. P. Nicholson, of Columbia, appointed United States Senator by Polk to 
fill the unexpired term of Felix Grundy, who died December 19, 1840. 

^Ephraim H. Foster, Bell's rival for the leadership of the Whigs. Foster and 
Spencer Jarnigan had been the leading Whig candidates to fill the Senatorship in 
1841-1842. 

"The group of Whig leaders at Nashville. Jealousy of the influence of Nash- 
ville is found much earlier. Cf. Polk Johnson Letters, p. 212. 




Laughlin Diaries 59 






of the late Robert Woods the banker. Returned by my old residence 
in South Field, where I had lived from March 1832 to July or June, 
1837, and which I sold to Park and Erskine — and by Sulphur Springs 
home. Took up Maj. Loving at the Port Hill going to Spring, and 
all took hearty drink of the water. . • . The country about 
Westwood and Waverly greatly improved since I saw it last, seven 
years ago. Saw in the suburbs of the town, negroes and white 
persons, men and boys, engaged in all kinds of idle sports, playing 
marbles, etc. and beyond Sulphur Springs in a lot, near Mr. Kizer's 
place called Economy, saw a set of men and boys in a lot, engaged in 
a regular boxing match, with a ring formed. Such things do not 
take place in our country villages — McMinnville would be disgraced 
by such scenes. Saw a great many people riding out in carriages. 
Nashville is an extravagant place. We passed by McEwen's splendid 
establishment in the South Field. He is the man, who, as Super- 
intendent of Public Instruction robbed the Common School Fund of 
upwards of $100,000, and was detected, and not re-elected, in 1839-40. 
Hq is now contending at law in the Supreme Court against the re- 
covery of the money abstracted from him and securities, O. B. Hayes 
being one of them. 30 — In our ride I pointed out to Mr. Woodward 
and Houston where the recruits and troops were stationed in canton- 
ment during the last war, where I spent several social evenings with 
Maj. Peacock in 1814. It is beyond and near Westwood in a Hill on 
the east side of the road, near a Spring three miles from the Public 
Square in town. Those were boyish and happy days — I was then 
18 or twenty rather in constitution — having been born Washington 
County, Virginia, May 1, 1796. — How time passes. My visits to 
Nashville in 1813-14, and an attack of fever I had in the latter year, 
in which I was attended by the late Dr. Newnan, seem as of yester- 
day! How short is the journey of life from infancy to old age! 
While in our teens, life seems, like time, to pass too slow. Although 
the journey, when we have passed the meridian seems to have been 
short, yet how many evils, disappointments, and changes we have to 
pass through, and how various the roads by which different individ- 
uals pass it. No two travel precisely the same path. 

Saw Gov. Carroll after supper and a number of friends visited 
him. Not enough in number, however, to go into a caucus consulta- 
tion. Learned from Maj. Trott that Col. A. R. Alexander of Shelby 
was unwilling to be taken up and voted for by the Democrats of the 
House as Speaker. It was understood to-day, that the Whigs in 
Caucus last night, had selected Baringer of Bedford as their candi- 
date for Speaker of the House. The parties in the Assembly stand — 
in the House, 40 Whigs, 35 democrats; in Senate, 14 Whigs, 11 dem- 
ocrats. One of each party it is expected will be absent at meeting 
tomorrow. — Marr of Obion, dem. and Carson of Jefferson, Whig. 

Went to bed, and read myself to sleep in Miss Frederica Bremer's 
Neighbors, translated by Mary Howitt, the quakeress. 

Monday, Oct. 2, 1843. 

At an early hour, about 9 o'clock A. M. the Senators began to 
assemble in the Senate Chamber, and at about 10 oclk. were called to 
order — Gen. Cocke in the chair. All the members were in attendance 
as follows: 

N. H. Allen of Montgomery, Whig; Josiah M. Anderson of Ma- 
rion, Whig; H. Bradbury of Henderson, Whig; J. Cocke of Grainger, 
Whig; P. Critz of Hawkins, Democrat; W. Cullom of Smith, Whig; 
W. J. Davis of Marshall, Democrat; J. F. Farrington of Shelby, 
Whig; J. A. Gardner of Weakley, Democrat; B. Gordon of Hickman, 

M A partisan statement of a matter which, whatever the facts, was strongly col- 
ored by party feeling. 



I 



GO Documents 



Democrat; J. W. Harris of Tipton, Whig; J. F. Henry of Blount, — ; 
T. R. Jennings of Davidson, Whig; S. H. Laughlin of Warren, 
Democrat; W. L. Martin of Wilson, Whig; J. R. Nelson of Knox, 
Whig; A. O. P. Nicholson of Maury, Democrat; R. W. Powell of 
Carter, Democrat: J. Ross of Anderson, Whig; W. T. Ross of Lin- 
coln, Democrat; V. Sevier of Carroll, Whig; W. H. Sneed of Ruther- 
ford, Whig; G. W. Torbitt of Monroe, Democrat; S. Turney of White, 
Democrat; and Jac. Voorhies of Dickson, Democrat. 

Mr. Anderson of Marion was elected Speaker, being nominated 
by Mr. Nelson. Mr. Ross of L. put Mr. Nicholson in nomination, and 
he was voted for by the Democrats. 

Mr. John Cocke, Jr., grandson of Gen. J. Cocke the Senator, was 
elected principal clerk over Jacob A. Lane of White, and D. Wendel 
of Rutherford. 

Kirkpatrick, nephew of Senator Ross of A. was elected Assistant 
elk over a crowd of others. In the end the Democrats nearly all 
voted for 1 him, expecting, according to an arrangeemnt made by Mr. 
Critz, to thereby obtain Senator Ross' vote for Mr. Miller Francis 
for Treasurer. 

John Sevier of Tipton was elected Doorkeeper over Hays Arnold 
of White and many others. He is a brother of Senator Sevier of C. 

I introduced resolutions to locate the Seat of Government at the 
centre of the State, or nearest suitable site thereto, having due re- 
gard to health and public convenience, and to appoint three commis- 
sioners by the General Assembly, one to reside in each grand division 
of the state, whose duty it should be to "designate and fix" the site 
of the seat of Government, according to the second section of the 
schedule of the constitution of 1834-5. 

Mr. Nelson introduced a bill in blank, of a few lines, designating 
and fixing the seat of government at blank town, in blank County. 
By the rules of the last Assembly, which we had adopted until others 
were formed, this bill passed its first reading without objection. 

In the evening saw Maj. Trott, and agreed to see Messrs. Glenn 
and W. H. Polk of the House, which I did, for the purpose of getting 
them to vote for Mr. Wade of DeKalb for Assistant Clerk in the 
House. Saw them and they agreed to do. This was in the night. 
Then went and saw Ex Governor Polk who had just arrived at the 
Nashville Inn. Saw him, Col. Alvan Cullom, Mr. Eastman, editor 
of the Knoxville Argus, Mr. Gardner etc. together at W. H. Polk's 
room. Talked over our defeat in the late election. Eastman agreed 
with me that the bank question* 1 was the great cause. Gov. Polk 
thought it was this, ana the divisions among our friends in local 
elections that beat us, aided by fraudulent voting. Saw a letter dur- 
ing the day from Hon. Cave Johnson to Mr. Nicholson, in which he 
urged the necessity of passing a law to prevent frauds in elections 
in future. Went home late, and wrote to my father and daughter 
Mary by Anthony who was to leave in the morning for McM — . . . 

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 1843. 

. . . Started Anthony home with bacon and sugar — things for 
Mrs. Batey — wrote to Dr. Smartt and Mary, or sent letter to her, 
written last night and to father. 

Senate met at 9 oclock. Mr. Nelson called up his bill in blank for 
fixing the seat of Government, and it was passed in blank, as to 

glace, a second time, Sub silentio. The House elected its officers in 
le course of the day, and after the customary messages had passed 
between the Houses, a joint committee waited on the Governor, of 

**The Bank of Tennessee, charterd in 1837-1838, became a football of state 
politics. 









Laughlin Diaries 61 



whom W. Cullom was one on part of Senate, and directly afterwards 
the Message came in, and such a message. It is highly violent and 
partisan in its character, abounding in falsehoods. 

We had a meeting of Democratic members at Gen. Carrolls in 
the evening — Mr. Boddie of Sumner presided. Messrs. Nicholson, 
Trott, Milligan, Anderson, Glenn and Fisher were appointed a com- 
mittee with authority to call future meetings, and to see whether 
propositions would not be made to take up candidates of the Whig 
party in East and West Tennessee — to be made by Whigs — perhaps 
by friends of Col. A. R. Alexander and Joseph L. Williams, to be 
run against Foster and Jarnagin, or the regular Whig nominees. 
They were to acsertain and see if such an anti Foster and Jarnagin 
ticket could be formed, bringing which votes enough [sic] to enable 
it to carry with aid of all the democratic votes. Mr. Huddleston of 
Overton, and Mr. Bobo of Coffee expressed doubts, whether they 
could vote for Whigs, even as a choice between evils. Mr. Nicholson 
said he had always thought until lately that he could vote for Whigs 
in no event; but to effect defeat Foster he would vote for a Whig 
less objectionable. Mr. Gordon said same — so did Mr. Fisher, Mr. 
Glenn and others. I was decidedly in favor of doing so. Mr. Turney 
would go with majority, but he thought it best, to let the Whigs 
take their own course — elect their men, and then instruct them out. 
No vote, as to what we would do, took place. 

Houston went to theatre. I came home late from the meeting 
and, as usual, read myself to sleep, at 11 oclock in the Neighbours. 

It was thought best not to stir seat of Government question in the 
meeting, as there were Democrats present, in favor of Nashville. 
This was agreed by myself, Trott, Nicholson, and W. H. Polk — out 
at door, before meeting was called to order. 

Wednesday, Oct. 4, 1843. 

. . . In the course of the day, after voting on inserting the 
name of a town for the seat of bill, and mendment [sic] offered by 
Mr. Harris of Tipton, finally passed the bill with the name of 
Kingston, 32 in the County of Roane, inserted on motion of Mr. Torbitt 
— and sent it to the House, where it passed one reading. 

In the evening saw Gov. Polk, who is in favor of removal from 
Nashville, and sent Mr. Powell to see him, so that Polk might talk 
at him on the subject. Met Maj. M. G. Reeves at Gov. Polk's room. 
Sent him to obtain a pledge from the Whig Delegation of Rutherford, 
that they would vote for a Senator in each of the East and West 
Divisions, against Foster and Jarnagin, if seat of Government was 
removed, which pledge I suppose he will obtain. Saw Dr. Richardson 
and Maj. Trott, who agreed that amendment, proposing the Center 
of the State in lieu of Kingston, to Senates bill in House, was the 
proper move. W. H. Waterson, Gen. Smartt, and Trott agreed that 
the amendment must be moved by Mr. Baringer of Bedford the 
Speaker. I had thought of Richardson, but agreed that the above 
would be best. 

Agreed with Mr. Sneed to prepare the amendment, and have it » 
ready. 

Found Mr. Powell talking with Gen. Wilson, Speaker of the 
Senate of North Carolina, at Nash. Inn. on subject of the Presidency 
and Vice Presidency. Dont know result. Went home and wrote part 
of a letter to Editor of Central Gazette at McMinnville, giving an 
account of progress of events here, and of seat of Government Ques- 
tion. 

°One session of the Assembly had been held in this town in 1807. 



t 



62 Documents 



Went to bed and read Miss Bremer's Neighbours — account of 
Bruno being known by, and acknowledged by his brother Lars Andres. 
Either Miss Bremer, or Mrs. Howitt, or both, have the full un- 
sophisticated feelings and hearts of nature. Hence the ability to 
portray characters of Mrs. Fraziska Werner, Lars, and Serena, 
There is great power displayed in writing of music — its effects — 
what it really is, and drawing character of Bruno. . . . 

Thursday Oct. 5, 1843. 

Rose early, but unrefreshed. Took walk to sulphur spring, with 
Maj. Loving and Mai. Bobo of Coffee. Met Mr. Garner of Franklin 
and Mr. Fisher of Fayette at the spring. Drank freely of water, 
determined by drinking, early rising and exercising to be prepared 
for sleep tonight — if I can get to bed early. 

In the House, the Seat of Government Bill pased a second reading, 
without opposition with Kingston in it as the site. The friends of 
removal from Nashville deemed this the most prudent course, and 
best way to hasten final, action. Attempted to have an evening 
meeting of Democratic members, at Postoffice; but room being out of 
order, and Gen. Armstrong having been ill (as I have been some- 
times) and just getting well — the meeting was adjourned to Mr. 
Ross* room at Crockett's. The meeting was pretty full; but we 
could not all agree to vote for Whigs for U. S. Senate in East and 
West to defeat Foster and Jarnagin. Davis of Marshall, Body of 
Sumner, and some other member expressed a determination to vote 
for no Whig for any possible purpose for Senator. I think Mr. 
Turner of Sumner was the other man. On motion of Powell of 
Carter, and on my suggestion of the proper men, Miller of Harden- 
man, and Glenn of Tipton were appointed a committee to ascertain 
how many Whig votes a candidate for Senator of that party, in 
opposition to Foster, could get in W. District. — Dr. Kenny of Wash- 
ington thought J. L. Williams, Reece, Gen. Cocke, or McDermot of 
East Tennessee, all Whigs, could bring some Whig votes in opposition 
to Jarnagin. — Maj. Trott tried, on a motion, to ascertain how many 
Democrats would vote for Central location of Seat of Government in 
order to obtain Whig votes in Middle Tennessee to defeat Foster and 
Jarnagin, but nothing definite was elicited* 3 

In the course of the meeting, Mr. G. W. Jones of Lincoln, and 
Col. H. Yoakum of Rutherford, on being called out, addressed the 
meeting. Both were for uniting on any other Whigs who could 
bring votes to defeat Foster and Jarnagin. 

Mr. Jones stated that he was a member of the Tennessee Senate 
in 1839-40 when Senators were to be elected, and that a Whig had 
proposd to him, that if a democrat, other than the late Felix Grundy 
would then suffer himself to be brought forward by a minority of 
his party, that the whole 44 Whig votes which were in both Houses 
of that Assembly would be cast for such democrat against Mr. 
Grundy for U. S. Senator, — after first voting, on first ballot for a 
candidate of their own party. 

I cam home late, found Mr. Woodward and Houston in bed, and 
went to bed immediately — having walked home with Messrs. Voorhies 
and Wiley. The former expressed a hope that Whig Senators might 
yet be defeated. Trott and myself doubted, as we were last to part. 
He had made his motion in meeting at my suggestion, as Nicholson, 
who was to see Ready, as friend of Rutherford delegation, desired it. 



M An excellent illustration of state log-rolling. 









Laughlin Diaries 63 






Friday morning, Sept. [sic] 6, 1843. 

Got up early to make arrangements for Houston to leave for Hick- 
ory Hill. Wrote to father — Ford the editor and requested Ford to 
publish and preserve the letter — Sent documents to Dr. Gowen, C. P. 
Alexander and others — and to J. L. Byars, Jas. Webb, Harold Byars 
and others McMinnville. He started after breakfast against my 
wish as it had been raining and was cloudy. Went to Senate, but 
nothing done of interest. Nelson consulted me on repealing, or 
modifying Bowie knife prohibition law. As I went to Senate, I men- 
tioned to Gen. Smartt, that I regretted that we had held meeting — 
that it was against what I had always advised, as far as seat of 
Government question was concerned. Wrote letter to Wm. Cummins 
Esq of Cannon to send by Squire Bates, and informed him of the 
state of the seat of G. question; and enclosed him a Governor's 
message for Robert Bailey — endorsing on it that it was poor, and 
lied and misrepresented. Saw Chancellor Bramblett at Mr. Kizer's 
store when Senate adjourned and I came to dinner — said he could 
not electioneer for re-election — was indisposed to do it, had to hold 
his Courts til 1st Dec. and that electioneering did no accord with his 
taste. Col. T. H. Cahal is his competitor — a poor shoate — my mind 
is made up to vote for Bramblett. 

In the House, after all manner of shuffling, scuffling, and voting 
for local places and centre of the State — proposed by speaker Barin- 
ger — and reconsidering, the blank was at last filled with Nashville. 
While the centre was in and pending a motion to reconsider, the 
House adjourned to meet at 7 P. M. and have a night session. We 
met accordingly, when Messrs. Sherrell of Bledsoe, Rodgers of 
White, etc., and other Whigs deserted and went over to Nashville. 
The bill was finally passed for Nashville. The above deserters and 
Coggin of DeKalb voting for Nashville. For this day and nights 
work, see the Journal. Mr. Kizer came home after I had left the 
House and given up hope. I found Mr. Woodward abed and asleep. 
Missed Houston, and on making Harry light a candle when Mr. K. 
came home, I read account of reconciliation between ma chere mere 
and Bruno at Ramum in the Neighbours of Miss Bremer which I have 
not yet got through. Wished myself at home with my old father, 
mother and boys — Felt the most melancholly anxiety about my mother 
— felt that I was like one with little of future hope in this world, 
if I should have soon to add her loss to my other bereavements. 
Committed all to hands of God, and got, by an effort, to sleep. 

Saturday, Oct. 7, 1843. 

After trying sleep, rose early and anxious about the pending ques- 
tion of Seat of Government. Was uneasy on the question of concur- 
rence with the House. Knew they had passed the bill in favor locating 
at Nashville. Went to Senate before the hour of meeting. As soon 
as the morning business was through, and before any message could 
come from the House, moved in full Senate, as a test question, to take 
up my resolutions offered on the first day of the Session for locating 
at the geographical centre of the State, or nearest suitable site. By 
a test vote, my motion was lost by a vote of 13 to 12. 

Mr. Sneed then introduced a resolution for fixing it by vote of 
the people, putting places in nomination, and on second election taking 
the two places having. highest number of votes, etc. Voted for sus- 
pending rule so as to allow it to be considered then, without lying one 
day on the table as the rule required. We were voted down. The 
Houses amendment to our bill, by which that body had fixed upon 
Nashville was brought, and taken up. Mr. Gardner moved to concur. 

—3 



04 Documents 



I made a speech against concurrence, and Mr. Nelson of Knox replied. 
Mr, Sneed addressed a short speech to mine. Nelson's speech was 
vulgar and rude, in his usual vein of vulgar wit without facts or 
arguments. He was clapped twice in the lobby overflowing with 
Nashville Whigs. I will publish my speech. The question was then 
had on amendments offered in succession by Mr. Sneed and myself, in 
favor of central location. These were out of order on a question 
of concurrence, but the friends of Nashville, with slight objection from 
Gen. Cocke, and one or two others, the Speaker deciding them in 
order, took no appeal, and our amendments were voted down. The 
question of concurrence was then taken, and the friends of removal 
having lost all hope, the House's amendment was concurred in by the 
vote stated below.* I ought to have noted first, however, that before 
the vote was taken, Mr. Nicholson moved to strike Nashville and insert 
Columbia, which was lost, I voting for it. See the Journal as to these 
votes. 

The night before the final vote was taken in the House, and while 
we hoped the centre would carry there, Mr. Nicholson and myself had 
ascertained and obtained pledges of our political friends, ready to 
sacrifice all local preference and even themselves, that they would 
unite with us, so as, with our own votes to concur in Senate with an 
amendment from the House fixing the centre, or nearest suitable place 
within ten miles thereof, by a vote of 13 to 12, and so it would have 
been decided, if it had so come to us on Friday night, or this morning 
— but all our prospects were blighted by desertion of Whigs in the 
House, by which Nashville was inserted and now our friends here, had, 
in justice to themselves to take such course as would save themselves, 
and be, as they supposed, most in conformity with the supposed will 
of their constituents. The deserters in the House, were, Daniel Cog- 
gin of DeKalb, Gen. Rodgers of White, Fentress of VanBuren, Craven 
Sherill of Bledsoe, Rawlins of Hamilton and Marion Humphreys of 
Monroe. 

After the bill was finally passed, Senate adjourned. It rained 
all day. In evening saw Gen. Smartt and Col. Spurlock about to leave; 
and Mr. Geo. Glascock, and Mr. W. West, with whom I talked, and 
both of whom understood the whole matter as I did — that it was owing 
to Whig desertion. Gov. Jones and E. H. Foster had both been busy 
for several days. I have no doubt of their being the cause of the 
desertions. Will the Whigs of Warren, Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb and 
Rutherford stand this! Time will show. I sent some documents in 
the course of the day. Wrote the day before to Maj. Lamberson, [?] at 
Liberty, and at night visited my friends Ross of L. Nicholson and 
Voorhies at Crocketts in Company with Mr. Powell of C. We all 
agreed that Powell must get Torbett to stand with us, as Nicholson 
and Voorhies agreed to do, and compel the Whigs to elect U. S. Sena- 
tors by concurrent vote, or pass a law in conformity with the power 
conferred by the constitution of the U. S. Art. See/ 

Went home and read nearly through the "Neighbors." I think Mr. 
[sic] Bremer intends to portray character of Lord Byron in her Bruno 
Mansfield, and in Ma chere mere, the character Lady Byron, Lord 

Byron's mother. The idea of these must at least have been in Miss 
Bremer's head. 

Thought of home, and felt pained at not receiving a letter as this 

*For concurrence — Allen, Bradbury, Cocke, Cullom, Farrington, Gardner, Gordon, 
Harris, Henry, Jennings, Martin. Nelson, Powell, Ross of A. Sevier, Torbett, Voor- 
hies — 17. Against concurrence — Critz, Davis, Laugh) in. Nicholson, Ross of L. Sneed, 
Turney and Speaker Anderson — 8. [Note in original.] 

"Blank in Ms. 



24 






Laughlin Diaries 65 



was the day the mail arrived from McMinnville. Hope for the best. 
. . . Wrote J. H. Roberts of Coffee, and other friends, stating our 
defeat. 

Vote in House. 

For Nashville — Bond of Haywood moved to fill blank — Alexander, 
Avery, Bledsoe, Bond, Bone, Brooks, Carson, Cheatham, Cherry, Cleve- 
land, Coggin, Cross of M. Crudup, Davenport, Duggan, Edwards, 
Eubank, Goodall, Goode, Hamilton, Hodsden, Houston, Humphreys, 
Jordon, Lenoir, Moore, Moorman, Morris, Morrow, Nave, Rawlings, 
Rach, Sherrel, Trice, Trimble, Turner, Tyler, Walker of W. Wheeler, 
Williams and Wyly — 43. 

Against Nashville — Anderson, Black, Bobo, Burrus, Cross of S. 
Crouch, Dearing, Farquharson, Fisher, Garner, Glenn, Gordon, Hord, 
Huddleston, Hughes, Kenney, Lauderdale, McGinnis, Maury, Miller, 
of H. Miller of M. Milligan, Polk Richardson, Rodgers, Smartt, Trott, 
Turney, Walker of H. Wann and Speaker Barringer. 

Rodgers voted against considering I believe. See Journal. 

Sunday, Oct. 8, 1843. 

In the morning felt tolerably refreshed, and after breakfast wrote 
up yesterdays journal. Went to House and Senate Chamber, and 
found no letter from home. Wished I could possess the even temper 
and philosophy of others — prayed that I might be able to submit to 
my lot in quietness and peace, and that with old Quarles, [sic] I might 
hereafter be enable [d] cheerfully to find a 

Tongue in trees, books in running brooks, 
Sermons in stones, and good in everything. 

. . . Read conclusion of the Neighbours, and after dinner, 
walked with Mr. Woodward to Col. Park's, on College Hill, and was 
there introduced to Dr. Dilliard of Sumpter, Alabama, who was in 
bad health. Came home, and wrote to my father about the work to 
be done on my House by Mr. Purvis at Hickory Hill. Read some in 
Coopers Wyandotte, or Hutted Hill. ... 

Monday, Oct. 9, 1843. 

Went to Senate Chamber immediately after breakfast. I had seen 
Wm. Smartt in market in morning. He left home on Friday, and 
could give me no information as to the health of my mother. Sup- 
plied, he said, that rain prevented Dr. Smartt from writing. 

In Senate resolution to bring on Senatorial election on 13th inst. 
was taken up. On motion of Mr. Nicholson, time was changed to 
20th instant by party vote, except Cocke and Farringdon voted with 
the democracy. On passage of the resolution, or on question of adop- 
tion, I made some remarks, and asked that its passage should be post- 
poned until the bill prescribing the mode of electing U. S. Senators, 
introduced by Mr. Gardner could be passed — that the Whigs having a 
majority, might amend and pass it in form acceptable to themselves; 
but that if they would not I feared we might by possibility have a 
recurrence of the party strife we had in the Senate in 1841. 35 That 
other states had passed laws, our parent state N. Carolina for in- 
stance — and that if a law could be passed, I would hope for a har- 
monious session, and that we could come up to the great subjects — 

35 Thq bitter fight over the election of two Senators to which reference is made 
in the Introduction. 



66 Documents 



state debt, judiciary etc, free of party feelings. Nelson and Cullom 
replied — Gardner and Ross spoke/ then Sneed — Powell, Harris, Jen- 
nings, etc. 

I moved the adjournment at noon which carried without the ques- 
tion on the resolution being taken. 

In the morning Mr. Gardner had introduced a Bill for having only 
two Circuit Courts a year in Western Division. On its passage with- 
out opposition, I gave notice that I had a Bill in preparation, embrac- 
ing the whole State, containing the same provision, under which I 

hoped the number of Judges might be reduced greatly to the benefit 
of the public service, and the saving of money. 

Before dinner wrote to Van Pelt of the Memphis Appeal, and 
Col. A. A. Kincannon of Columbus, Mississippi on the subject of 
Presidency and Vice Presidency — urging that Polk should be taken 
up for the latter by the press and people — that he should be nomi- 
nated by our State Convention in November — that the Tennessee 
delegation should go to N. Convention supporting his claims, and un- 
committed as to Presidential candidate, but committed to abide its 
nomination — that no nomination for the Presidency ought to be made 
in our State Convention. 8 * Told them, that if Gov. Polk should be on 
our ticket next fall, with Van Buren, or any good democrat, we could 
beat Clay, McLean or Scott; but without Polk's name we would be 
beaten and tied down in federal chains in Tennessee for the next six 
or ten years. Wrote to Maj. T. P. Moore, Harodsburg, Ky. the same 
substance as to Kincannon. ... 

During the day, Mr. Topp, brother of R. Topp of Memphis, applied 
to me in confidence, to know if I would support his brother R. T. for 
U. S. Senator against Jarnagin — told him it was possible. 

Tuesday, Oct. 10, 1843. 

. . . Went to Senate Chamber early, and wrote letters to W. 
H. Conlior, to Gen. Patton at Woodbury — introduced Bill to reduce 
the Number of Circuits and Judges, and providing that the Circuit 
Court should sit but twice a year, unless special terms should become 
necessary in particular Courts; and I also introduced Resolution direct- 
ing the Judiciary Committee to examine and report on the above 
subjects, but also into the expediency of curtailing salaries, costs and 
expenses in administration of justice by the Circuit Courts. 

This was the day of the Great Peyton Stakes race out at the 
tract. Many members went out. I did not. Wrote to L. N. Ford and 
son Houston at McMinnville — Letter to Ford for publication — that 
that to Houston being one of affection and advice. . . . 

Wednesday, Oct. 11, 1843. 

Attended the Senate early. In the course of the day sent sundry 
documents to friends, and among others, the Banner containing my 
remarks on the Senatorial question, and the Whig containing my 
marks on seat of Govt. Question, both imperfect reports, to my friend 
Col. Rob. L. Ferrell of West Fork P. O. Overton Co. and the Banner 
to my father. 

^ In the evening the resolution was passed, variously amended, for 
bringing on elections of U. S. Senators on 17th. by Convention of the 
two Houses. (See Journal.) I voted against it because the election 
for longest term — from expiration of Gen. Alex. Anderson's term on 
4th March, 1841, was to be brought on first — and election to fill re- 
mainder of Grundy's term, ending 4th March 1845, was to be brought 
on next. This arrangement would cut the democracy out of all power 

M This was the plan actually carried out. Sec Polk-Johnson Letters, p. 229. 










Laughlm Diaries 67 



in exercising a proper choice in choosing between Mr. Bell, Mr. Topp, 
Mr. Jarnagin and others. While the resolution was pending, a de- 
bate sprung up in Senate, brought on by Mr. Voorhies, in "defining 
his position", in which Messrs. Nelson, Farrington, Harris, and Ross, 
of L. and I believe Cocke and Cullom participated. — Wrote Gov. Yell 
of Ark. 

In the evening, Maj. Loving and myself made a visit to Col. Park 
on College Hill. Park and Loving (the last being an admirable per- 
former) favored Maj. Doxey (a gentleman of Sumner) and the com- 
pany with music on the violin. Coming home nearly got a wetting 
by rain in stopping by the way to see Steamer Cumberland go off in 
the night. . . . 

. .^ . Talked with Mr. H. Van Pelt in the course of the day 
on subject of Presidency and Vice Presidency in prospect, and with 
Mr. Hickerson of Wilkes, N. C. and urged claims of Gov. Polk for 
latter. 

Thursday, Oct. 12, 1843. 

. . . Went back to Senate — wrote letter to Gov. Polk, and par- 
ticipated in discussion of Mr. Davis' Bill to restore Ca. Sa sl law re- 
pealed at last Session. Messrs. Cullom and Sneed offered amendments. 
Harris, Sneed and Cullom participated in debate. I declared myself 
against restoring the writ — not being willing that the flesh and blood 
of freemen should ever be held in pledge for debt or money — but pledg- 
ing myself to go for any measure gentlemen might propose more 
effectually to reach fraud. I complimented Mr. Powell and Dr. Peyton 
of Sumner (now a member of Congress elect) both present for their 
support of law repealing Ca.Sa law at last session. 

Wrote home to my father, and informed him that I would want 
Houston to return here with his mare in time for me to ride to Coffee 
Circuit Court by 4th Monday; also to hurry the work on my home, 
and that no papering need be done. Wrote to^have mother carefully 
nursed, and for Mary to write me every mail. Dated my letter, writ- 
ten late at night, as of tomorrow morning, and went fo Post Office with 
it, and there conversed with Gen. Armstrong on subject of Senatorial 
election. I informed him that Whigs intended to fill two unexpired 
terms, and also a new term from 4th March 1845. In course of day 
wrote to Gov. Polk at Columbia, as I had done to Gov. Yell of Ark — 
and of contents of my letters. In evening was restless and on going 
to bed, could not go to sleep early, but read Hutted Knoll until 11 
o'clock, Mr. Woodward being asleep. . . . 

Friday, Oct. 13, 1843. 

Felt tolerably refreshed in morning, and after a slight breakfast, 
went to Senate. Little done, except to adjourn to House to finish 
counting votes for Gov. When it was found that Jones true majority 
over Polk was 3833. By resolution offered by Mr. Boddie, the un- 
official return from Sumner was added which produced the above 
result. Miller of Hardeman informed me that Whigs had held a 
caucus last night at Dr. Jennings office — result of course not known 
to democracy. Saw the Journal of yesterday, that my motion to 
print 500 copies of Penitentiary report, was reducing the usual num- 
ber, being 1000, moved by Cullom, one half. In the morning got the 
Albany Argus, and several St. Louis papers from Union Office, but 
have no heart or time to read newspapers. 

Wrote letter to Wm. H. Judkins of DeKalb by Mr. Brien, who was 
to leave in the stage in the night. Commissioned Mr. Woodward to 

z7 Capias ad satisficiendum. 



68 Documents 



buy me some domestic and linnen to make shirts — they were to be 
neatly made at 50 cents a piece. 

At night . . . Saw some friends at City Hotel, and Mr. Trous- 
dale at Union Hall, kept by Joe Brown, and talked over coal trade of 
the Up-Cumberland river country with him. Went home and to bed 
before 9 o'clock, but did not sleep til late hour, lighted candle and read 
Cooper's Hutted Knoll, which I had in the evening, promised to lend 
to a young man named [ ]* who is reporting Senate's pro- 

ceedings for Banner and the Whig. . . . 

Saturday, Oct. 14, 1843. 

. . . Nicholson reported, as chairman of Com. of Ways and 
Means, Bill with amendments for abolishing office of Superintendent 
of Public Instruction — providing that all duties of the office should be 
transferred (not to President of Bank of Tenn.) but to the Comp- 
troller of the Treasury, and that no additional pay should be given 
to that officer for a discharge of the said new duties, than he now 
receives by law — all of which I voted for. 

Reed letter from Gov. Polk, and a No. of the Charleston (S. C.) 
Mercury, of the 30th Sept. 1843 — mentioning Gov. P/s claims for the 
Vice Presidency — speaking in his praise etc. — Saw Dr. Kenney of 
Washington in the evening who informed Judge Miller and myself 
that he was daily getting information of the Whig movements in 
Caucus, on the subject of U. S. Senators, from Craven Sherrill of 
Bledsoe, and was to get a report next Monday. He urged us, however 
to be secret. 

In the evening I read conclusion of Hutted Knoll, and then Web- 
ster's speech at the late agricultural fair at Rochester, N. York, in 
which he speaks of protecting agriculture by legislation; and com- 
pares and contrasts agriculture or farming and planting interests — 
the first being peculiar to the Middle and Northern States — the last 
to the south. The first he considers of greatest importance to human 
happiness — the greatest number of people. Read also Jos. R. Inger- 
soll's answer to a call from a portion of his constituents of Philadel- 
phia on the slavery question, and on propriety of amending the con- 
stitution of the U. S. so as to give power to Congress to abolish 
slavery. He is averse to such an amendment. I will insert these two 
documents in my Scrap Book, No. 2. . • . 

Sunday, Oct. 15, 1843. 

In the morning felt tolerably well. In the course of the day, read 
Sunday articles in various newspapers; but read none in books. 
Walked about town. To Landing with Loving, where we saw Capt. 
Horn and Mr. Harris the painter. They were examining the Steamer 
Tallyrand — and spoke of what Anthony Johnson, and others had 
smuggled under bankrupt law. Afterward in my rambles saw old 
Nancy and Ned — each with their husband and wife, occupy little ten- 
nements, and although old and crippled, are, doubtless, happier than 
I am. • . • 

Monday, Oct. 16, 1843. 

Rose well, and went to market to buy sacks. Bought some squir- 
rels. Went to Senate early. Mr. Kizer and Dr. Moore of Alabama 
came up. Sent by Dr. Mo. to his brother Dr. D. Moore Journals of the 
called Session, 1842, of the Genl Assembly — Acts of same Session, and 
Comptrollers Report, and Governor's Message to this session. — Mr. 
Nicholson showed me letter to himself from Harvey M. Waterson, 

"Blank in Ms. 






Laughlin Diaries 69 



dated New York Oct 6th 1843, marked Inter nos> in which he strongly 
urges the impolicy of running Mr. Van Buren for President in the 
next election, though he says he is his preference if he could be 
elected. Says the Van Buren party intend to give Polk the go by as 
to a nomination for the Vice Presidency. Says Johnson will be the 
man — that he met Col. Johnson at Washington lately, and he says 
he is not candidate for the Vice Presidency but for first office — that 
he has written so to many persons who are at liberty to publish — 
that if the Vice Presidency is pushed on him, that then will be the 
time to consider and act when contingency happens in convention — 
says he also saw R. B. Rhett, who says that if things go on as they 
are going, that Calhoun's friends may be driven to secede from the 
convention, and leave the nomination to others — that in that event, 
Calhoun will not run, nor will his friends vote in election Without 
naming him, he (Mr. W.) speaks of Cass as being most available. 
Says that in passing through Georgia, S. Carolina, N. Carolina and 
Virginia lately, he finds opinion prevalent, that Van Buren is not 
available — though his friends in Georgia, opposed to Calhoun threaten 
in hundreds not to go to the polls in the pending State election, and 
thereby let the Clay Whigs beat the Calhoun democracy. (This has 
actually happened as the newspapers of this morning here, and news 
by last two southern mails show us here.) — Mr. W. says he is just on 
the point of sailing in a U. S. Ship bound for the Pacific, as a Com- 
mercial Agent to Buenos Ayres — South America. — Went to Silk Com- 
pany's Exhibition in Federal Court room, when Senate adjourned at 
11 o'clock until 3 o'clock P. M. . . • 

Wrote to Nancy Laughlin, Holmes Co. Mississippi. Maj. Led- 
better requested me to say all well in Rutherford. She is the widow 
of my brother John, and has two children, Adriana, nearly grown, and 
John a posthumous son of my brother. I informed her of all my 
family misfortunes since she went to Mississippi. 

Ate a very light supper, and after conversing sometime with 

Col. Adrian Northcutt, who was on his way to Clarksville to sell pork, 
and with Mr. Kincannon who came with him, I went to bed early* 



Tuesday, Oct. 17, 1843. 

Got up soon, and on going down, met Col. Northcut, and went with 
him to Mr. Sam Turney's room at Thomas', College Street. He wanted 
to take Turney's deposition to be read in suit at Woodbury. 

Senate met early. Wrote to Gov. C. C. Clay, of Alabama, about 
the condition of parties here — stating who wishing [sic} to be Sena- 
tors — that Crittenden as Clay's Ambassador had been here — that 
Whigs would probably elect 3 Senators, Foster being one at all 
events — and urged prospects of Gov. Polk for Vice President. I told 
him we would not, I expected, nominate any candidate for President 
at our approaching state convention in Nov. next — but that we would 
press Polk's claims. Told him Gov. Yell, as I believed, favored 
Polk's claims — that we would be happy here if he (Gov. Clay) con- 
curred in our ciews. Told him if Col. Johnson should be thrust upon 
us again, the result would be same as in 1836, when we were Ruck- 
ered™ by Ned Rucker and Frank Blair. 

In the afternoon, by force of the previous question, in which Davis 
of Marshall voted with the Whigs, the Senatorial election was brought 
on, and Foster elected for remainder of Mr. Grundy's time (term) to 
4th March, 1845; and Jarnagin for balance of term which commenced 
at expiration of Gen. Alex. Anderson term (Anderson's being re- 



30 



See Polk-Johnson Letters, p. 225, note 72. 






70 Document* 



mainder of Judge Whites term) which expired on 4th March, 1841. 
So Foster goes out 4th March '45, and Jarnagin, 4th March 1847. — 
When Foster was nominated, his election coming on first, I voted as 
did Mr. Nicholson, for Wm. Carroll, and when Jarnagin was nomi- * 
nated, I, as did Nicholson, voted for John Blair of Jonesboro. The 
long agony of electing Senators is now over — but will the Whigs be 
content? They have ever shown themselves unwilling to trust the 
people. Will they not according to Sneed's move the other day, pro- 
ceed by force of their numbers, disregarding the constitution, and the 
people's rights in the next election, to elect another Senator, Bell or 
Foster, for a term of six years to commence on the 4th of March, 
1845? Time will show. 

Wrote to Ford of the Gazette what we have done. Rec'd letter 
from Dr. Smartt dated the 15th (Sunday) stating that my mother 
is no better. Opened my letter to C. C. Clay and informed him the 
Senators were elected in a postscript. Sent of documents to, and 
letter to Tom J. Williams of Cannon, by a Bostonian named Dascomb, 
who goes to Cannon Co. in the morning to look after some mountain 
land, 1400 acres, sold to some Boston mechanics. How the people 
in the East have been cheated in our pretended Grants for mountain 
land in Tennessee! Told D. that his employers I doubted not, were 
cheated. The 1400 acres purported to be part of a Grant for 5000 
acres — adjoin in gland of one Lane, on Beaver fork of Barren fork 
of Collin's river. Beaver Creek! There is no such creek in my 
knowledge. The documents sent to Williams, were Comptroller's re- 
port, and copies were sent to many of his neighbors. 

Sat up sometime at night, but engaged in no regular readingl 
Slept soon. 






Wednesday* Oct. 18, 1843. 

In the morning wrote to Dr. Smartt and Mr. T. P. Argo, by W. H. 
Argo, requested Mary to relieve Sally in watching by, and in waiting 
on mother. Expressed my thankfulness to Sally in letter to Dr. 
Smartt. Requested Houston to come down by Saturday. Sent docu- 
ments to Ford (Compt. Rep.) to be distributed and some to McBroom 
and Ben Bates. 

Wrote to Col. Floyd the state of things here — Senatorial election — 
the wish of Whigs to elect another — and my position upon Taxation 
question. 

A. V. Brown, M.C. from Giles district, called on me when the 
Senate adjourned at 10 o'clock to attend funeral of Governor Jones 
child Hugh Lawson White, and I had much conversation about Presi- 
dency. He is of opinion, that if V. Buren, or his folks intend to give 
Polk the go by and deceive him, that we must then in N. convention, 
as our members of Congress will do at Washington, just let them know, 
that if they will take Polk for Vice President, we will take Van Buren ; 
if not, and they go for Col. Johnson, that then we will go for Cass. 40 
I agreed that we ought to take this stand — and make no nomination 
for President in our approaching State Convention. He promised to 
write and keep me constantly advised of the state of things after he 
gets to Washington. He promised also, that he would get Maj. A. J. 
Donelson 41 to write to Mr. Silas Wright and others, putting them in 
possession of our views. 

Saw Mr. Brown again at the post office, at night, and was informed 
by Gen. Armstrong, that he and Brown had seen Donelson, who would 
devote tomorrow to writing letters as above. 

40 This threat of a movement for Cass later met with Polk's disapproval: Polk- 
Johnson Letters, p. 234. 

^The nephew of Mrs. Andrew Jackson, later Minister to Texas. 



Laughlin Diaries 71 


















Wrote in the evening to Gen. Shields and Maj. Morford that Maj. 
L. D. Mercer had sent a Bill to me and G. R. Smartt — the represen- 
tative from Warren — providing for the equal division of the Acad- 
emy Funds of Carroll Academy at McMinnville with the Edmondson 
Female Academy at same, and asking their advice, and assuring them 
that as a citizen I was willing to it, as friend of female education, 
but wished to do right, and what might be agreeable to all parties 
concerned. Asked them to confer with Mercer and advise me of what 
might be agreed upon. I also advised them that bill had been twice 
read and passed in Senate, but that I would proceed no further in it 
until I heard from them. 

* 

Went to bed early, and without medicine, slept tolerably well. 
Voted for Bill in the evening for allowing poor families on pros- 
pective contracts, 5 sheep exempt from execution. 

Thursday, Oct. 19, 1843. 

Got up soon. After breakfast went to Senate Chamber, and pre- 
pared and, as member of the Judicial Com. report on my court bill, as 
ordered by Committee. The amendments reported, were in favor of 
two Circuit Courts annually — no reduction of present number of 
circuit, but reduction of the salaries of Circuit Judges from $1500 
to $1300 annually — and for special terms of the Courts where the 
business requires it. Report laid on table. This, I moved, that I 
might prepare and offer, when report is called up, amendments pro- 
posing to reduce the number of Judges, and Circuits, as well as sala- 
ries. 

Mr. Nicholson from Cam. of Ways and Means 1 , made report in 
favor of general retrenchment. 

Jennings introduced a Bill, as a party move, to provide for paying 
deficit on state debt, by subtracting part of school and Academy money 
etc and moved its reference to Select Com. This would place him at 
head of Committee, so as to enable him to make a Bunkum report. 
I opposed the reference on the ground that the same subject was 
already before the Com. of Ways and Means, where this bill ought 
to be sent. This proper Com. etc. He withdrew his motion, and his 
bill is on the table, having passed without objection, by rules, on first 
reading. 

Reed letter from Hon. T. P. Moore, of Harrodsburg, Ky. in answer 
to mine of 9th. giving his views of Presidency and Vice Presidency. 
His letter is dated 14th inst. See it. 

Wrote to H. L. Turney, by T. H. Hopkins, who leaves in stage in 
morning to attend to my business at Court at Manchester (Coffee 
Co) on Monday next, and especially to attend to Hatfields case against 
McGowan. Enclosed to him a short note to Johnson Phillips about his 
case. Informed him that I could not leave here on account of Francis 
and Grahams elections — that he, with Mr. Hopkins, who is a can- 
didate here for Atto. Genl. in 13th Circuit, must save me with my 
clients. ... 

Col. G. W. Sevier, through Mr. Jennings, sent in letter, donating 
his fathers sword, voted to him by N. Carolina to State. See Diary 
of tomorrow. 

* 

Friday, Oct. 20, 1843. 

i t t 

Got up early — finished letter of last night to Dr. Smartt. Gave my 
letters to Mr. Hopkins at Washington Hotel. Went to Senate Cham- 
ber, when Doorker brought in a letter from Dr. Smartt of Wednesday 
last, informing me that my mother appeared better. — Went in haste, 
and wrote a short reply of acknowledgment — and thanked him and 









72 Documents 



Sally for their attention to mother — and found Hopkins and gave it 
to him. 

Went back to Senate, and submitted my amendment to Circuit 
Court two terms Bill, in lieu of 1st section of amendment reported yes- 
terday by myself from Com, on Judiciary. This last amendment pro- 
vides for reduction of Circuits from 14 to ten — two terms annually, 
with special terms when necessary — and reduction of Judges salaries 
from $1500 to $1300. — The Bill to secure married women in their prop- 
erty, was passed 3rd. and last reading in Senate. Nelson of Knox 
submitted two answers in chancery from officers of Hiwassee Railroad 
Comp. to suit brought against them by Atto. Genl. in name of state. 
The papers were copies of answers — directed to no one here — and 
were perhaps intended to be imposed on the Genl. Assembly as an- 
swers to the Interrogatories of the Gen. Assembly, in my resolutions 
passed 5th January, 1842, and printed with acts of Session 1841-2. 
The papers were laid on the table. Had the Journal of yesterday 
corrected, so as to show, that it was on my motion, that letter of Col. 
G. W. Sevier, transmitting and donating to the state the sword voted 
to his father Gen. John Sevier by Gen. Assembly of N. Carolina, for 
his gallantry at Kings Mountain in Revolutionary war, was ordered 
to be enrolled on our Journal. 

The motion prevailed unanimously to receive sword, as did my 
motion, and also Dr. Jenning's resolve, as to the manner in which 
Col. Sevier should present the sword to the two Houses when hereafter 
met in Convention in the Hall of the House. 

At 11 Houses went into Convention to elect Registers for Mountain 
and Western Districts — Dick Nelson elected to first without opposition 
Nine candidates were put in nomination for Register of the Western 
district 7 Whigs and 2 democrats. W. O. Butler, son of Dr. W. E. 
Butler of Jackson, and Maclin Cross, son of John B. Cross, who lives 
in McNairy, were the democrats. After voting a considerable, But- 
ler's name was withdrawn. 

The Senate finally adjourned without an election. 

Saturday, Oct. 21, 1843. 

Senate met, and but little done, until the hour of 10 came, when 
Houses were to meet in Convention to elect Register — and at 11 o'clock 
the Governor was to be Inaugurated in Hall of the House. Conven- 
tion met, and noted several times without making an election. A 
recess was then had of the Convention to prepare for the reception 
of the Governor elect, and inaugurate by administering to him the 
oath of office. When the Convention was called to order, His Excel- 
lency, James C. Jones, the Gov. elect, 42 accompanied by a joint com- 
mittee of the Houses, and by Rev. T. J. Wheat of the Episcopal Church, 
and by Chancellor Thos. L. Williams, came in, and by the Speaker, 
the Gov. Chancllor [sic] and Parson were conducted to seats near 
the Chair, the Chancellor being placed on the right, and the Parson 
on the left hand of the Gov. After a fervent prayer by Mr. Wheat, 
the Governor delivered a short speech — broached no new doctrin 
declared no creed — avowed no set of principles — but referred to his 
inaugural speech of Oct. 1841 — and "reaffirmed and re-declared" the 
principles then avowed. He said those opinions would bear "the test 
of time and scrutiny of ages/' This is an expressly [sic] borrowed and 
badly quoted from the conclusion of one of Mr. J. Q. Adams publica- 
tions against Mr. Clay about the fisheries and "adjourned question 
of veracity" between those great men. The old Inaugural of the 







u "Governor-elect" for his second term. He defeated Polk both in 1841 and in 
1843- 



Laughlin Diaries 73 






Gov. of 1841, was, in a great portion of its expressions and positions 
borrowed from Gov. Polk's inaugural of 1839, and was proved by the 
publications of both in parallel columns in the N. Union in Oct. 1841. 

The inauguration was a poor affair. Old Gen. Gaines and lady, 
and Mrs. V. K. Stevenson came in just before the Gov. ceased speaking. 
The[y] heard only the "peroration of his noration" [sic] — and no 
other ladies attended. No crowded lobbies testified that anything 
of moment was going on. The Gov. who is proud of his personal 
bearing, and is a vain dandy, appeared in a full suit of Tennessee 
manufactured silk, presented to him a few days since by the silk 
company chartered, I believe, at the first Session of the Assembly 
in 1841-2. 

In the evening saw W. H. Pj^lk and Humphreys together, and 
agreed to meet on Monday evening at Judge Austin Millers room, to 
consult on arrangement of matters — preparation of papers, Address 
etc, for the state convention next month — and to consult about proper 
persons for Delegates to the National Convention. I suggested L. H. 
Coe and J. Blair, as the two at large, corresponding with the number 
of our Senators in Congress — for two Delegates. 

Rec'd letter from Gov. Polk, but had written him last night, and 
had enclosed T. P. Moore's letter. Expect an answer by Monday as 
that is the day on which he is to leave his home at Columbia for 
Mississippi. . . . 

Sunday, Oct. 22, 1843. 

Rose rather late. It rained incessantly last night. Sent Mr. 
Rawling's boy Sandy with a few^Hnes to Dr. Smartt, and a letter 
to L. N. Ford of yesterday's date, giving an account of the inaugu- 
ration. It will appear in the Gazette, McMinnville. Read The Lady 
Alice, or Nobleman's Daughter, a Tale of Reformation in England. 
Scene is laid about time of Cardinal Wolsey's downfall, and the 
seizure of the Monasteries. The characters of Hubert, the monk, 
who becomes a martyr, and of Alice are drawn with great power, but 
rather beyond nature even when supported by superstition, enthusi- 
asm and fanaticism. Hubert has a courage and virtue beyond human- 
ity, and she a fortitude and purity beyond the angels. These two, were, 
of course, virtuously and piously in love with each other without the 
possibility of ever being united on earth. He becomes a martyr, and 
saint, and she dies broken hearted, in spite of religious resignation. 
After this, read, as printed in same No. of the Boston Notion, [sic] 
Spallatro the Robber, being the confession of under sentence of death 
to a priest. It is a romantic and visionary tale, and if it inculcates any 
moral, it is an admotion to avoid wine and women — these being indi- 
cated by the red cup, and visionary female shown to Spallatro at his 
dwelling. It is inculcated by these I think, but obscurely, that wine 
and women carry men to the devil. 

I spent a rather unpleasant day. I, however, about 10 o'clock in 
the morning learned from Col. Boiling Gordon, that the Hon. Cave 
Johnson was at the Inn, and wished to see me. I waited on Mr. 
Johnson. He had been in town all the previous day, but I did not 
know it. We talked over all the presidential and Vice Presidential 
prospects, and agreed, that the course I informed him we expected to 
take at our State Convention, was, probably best; though he was 
inclined to think as good a way as we could do 4 would be to hoist the 
flag for Polk and Van Buren. I suggested that such would be my 
most ardent wish if we could promise ourselves success, or as much 
chance for success, as to send our Delegates to Baltimore next spring, 
uncommitted and unbound as to the presidency. I promised to write 






74 Documents 



to him, and he promised to write me his views, and last impressions, 
and suggestions as to a Delegate from his district With him and 
A. V, Brown, I have agreed to keep up constant correspondence after 
they leave for Washington. . . . 






Monday, Oct. 23, 1843. 

Got up refreshed, and after breakfast went to town and Senate 
Chamber. Resolution passed, and sent to the House, opening biddings 
for public printing, on application'of W. L. Bang and Co, being the 
journeymen printers of Nashville offering to do work for a price as 
low as journeymens wages, being greatly below other bids. Voted 
for proposal. Voted for Mr. Powells proposition to tax Lawyers, 
Doctors, Dentists etc. Mr. Turney moved to amend title of the reso- 
lution, so as to make it read as proposition to tax the poor. Voted 
against this amendment. 

In the evening attended the silk convention in the Hall of the 
House, by candle light. Dr. John Shelby of Davidson was appointed 
president for next year, and [ ] tt 

In some remarks submitted by myself, on call of Mr. Carden and 
others, I thanked the silk society for the honor they had done my 
countl, in adjudging the cacoons raised by Mrs. Randolph and family 
to be the best that had been brought to market during the season. 
I said also, that I had voted for the moderate silk bounty in the As- 
sembly in 1841, and was proud to see the good effects of the bounty. 
That I felt sure that it was right then, whatever the public state of 
our finances may require us to do now. The silk business as a branch 
of domestic industry — as a meritorious branch of Household industry, 
which never can become a monopoly — in which all, rich and poor, old 
and young, may freely participate, is now established upon a sure 
footing. I said further, that the practicability of success in the silk 
growing and manufacturing business no longer rested upon conjec- 
ture and theory, but was demonstrated by the rich specimens of silk, 
cacoons, eggs, and manufactured article, consisting of satins, vest- 
ings, velvets, plain and figured hose, gloves, etc. Now spread out on 
tables before the Convention. I said that success in the silk business 
in the United States, was a verification of the prophetic anticipations 
of our ancesters [sic]. Even before the Revolution, in early colonial 
times, success and profits in this business had been looked to with 
confidence by many colonists, and especially those of Maryland and 
Georgia, one being one of the oldest, and the other one of the young- 
est of the Colonies. Since that question of bounties — which had been 
allowed by 17 states — was before the Assembly in 1841, I had noticed 
and noted these facts, and now adverted to them with pleasure. I 
concluded by saying, that I looked upon the success of the silk business 
in Tennessee was now certain. The delusion of the morus multicaulus 
humbug has passed away, and the whole business has assumed a prac- 
tical aspect. No man, said I, more ardently desires to see the success 
of this enterprise than myself; and I am particularly proud to see the 
advance, which the mountain district has made in this business. War- 
ren, Coffee, Cannon and White Counties have sent rich specimens of 
silk to market — they are before the Convention. That district, with 
which I am politically and socially connected, in time, said I, will, from 
her soil, water power, health, and other advantages, hereafter become 
a flourishing, a prosperous manufacturing region. She will, though 
we may not live to see it, hereafter have her Lowells, Patersons, and 
Steubenvilles — the falls of the Caney Fork, the falls at Stone Fort, 
on Piney, and a hundred other points on the rivers of the Mountain 

«*Blank in Ms. 






Laughlin Diaries 75 






District present the best sites for water power and manufacturing 
establishments in the whole great South West. So I concluded. — 
Went home late, to Mr. Kizers, and slept well. 

On this day, the election of Register was completed. The contest 
was narrowed down until none but W. W. Searcy of Carroll, and 
R. Elder of Gibson were in nomination. Then Elder beat Searcy, by 
vote of 54 to 40. I voted for Searcy — both beings Whigs — because 
he is a cripple, and has a large needy family. 









Tuesday, Oct. 24, 1843. 

Slept late and soundly, and got up and went to Senate. I introduced 
A Bill to tax Gold watches, plate, paintings and Jewelry at 5 pr. cent 
on value where over $50 — and to tax pianos 2 per cent on value, except 
where used in schools, Academies, and by teachers in giving instruc- 
tions in music. 

Rec'd letters from J. W. Ford, communicating a No. of Sparta 
Gazette of 21st instant, containing a communication from John B. 
Rodgers as to course of himself and Whig party in the Assembly on 
Seat of Government question — and a letter from Dr. Smartt advising 
me that my mother is improving in health. At night, wrote letter to 
L. N. Ford for publication about silk business and Convention. Also 
wrote an Answer, signed "Collins River," addressed to Editor of Cen- 
tral Gazette, and enclosed it in letter to Mr. Ford to be published next 
Friday. 

Rec'd a letter from Gov. Polk, dated 22nd. instant, re-enclosing 
to me Maj. T. P. Moore of Harrodsburg, of 15th. instant — all on sub- 
ject of the Presidency and Vice Presidency, National Convention — 
our State Convention and Delegates. Talked with R. W. Powell, and 
urged him to accept appointment of Delegate to N. Con. from 1st. 
Cong, district — with A. Johnson 44 as alternate. Urged him to write 
to John Blair of Jonesboro and get him to agree to serve as one of 
the Delegates for the State at large — L. H. Coe being the other. 

In the evening went to the Room prepared near Union office 
(after supping at Mr. Rawlings) for consultation with Democrats. 
A meeting had been appointed to consult on preliminary measures 
preparatory to sitting of State Convention. It rained so much that 
but few came. Mr. Nicholson came late. All went away and ap- 
pointed tomorrow evening for meeting. It was at this room I wrote 
to Ford as before stated. Slept at Rawlings, and read in Richmond 
Equirer before going to sleep, money article from N. York Herald on 
Tariff and banking etc. These able articles are written by Mr. Ket- 
tell of N. Y. Richie [sic] calls on him for information as to effect 
of Tariff of 1842. It was stated in a Whig paper which I read, that 
a Mr. Raymond (one of the Editors of the New York Tribune) is 
the author of the Life of Henry Clay prefixed to the late edition (se- 
lection) of his speeches. 

Wednesday, Oct. 25, 1843. 

Rec'd letter from C. C. Clay (Judge of the Supreme Court of 
Alabama, formerly Gov. and Senator and representative in Congress 
from that State [)] dated Oct. 21, 1843 — acknowledging mine of the 
17th instant, on the subject of the Presidency and Vice Presidency — 
informs me that he [is] friendly to Polk and Col. W. R. King. Wrote 
letter to Hon. Nathaniel Terry of Limestone Co. Al. on the subject 
of Gov. Polk's claims to the Vice Presidency, rec'd letter from Dr. 
Smartt. At night, at Kizer's read the commencement of Miss 
Bremer's President's Daughter's, translated by Mrs. Mary Howett. 

^Andrew Johnson, of Greeneville, elected in 1843, Representative in Congress 



7<> Documents 



Good book I believe. Fredericks Bremer and Mary Howett, for their 
naturalness and love of domestic life and rural scenes are my favorite 
authors, in petticoats, of the present day. Got a variety of news- 
papers from Union office, Missourian — St. Louis Reporter etc. show- 
ing the split which old Shadrack Penn is trying to make in the demo- 
cratic party in that state. The Missourian, which I will transfer to 
my Scrap Book, contains Col. Benton's Speech at St. Louis, and pro- 
ceedings of city authorities on death of Dr. Linn (Lewis F.) Senator 
in Congress from that state. 

Slept with Houston, and slept well. In course of day debate 
sprung up upon report made by Mr. Cullom as chairman of Com, 
on Banks, rejecting appointment of Commissioners, and recommend- 
ing examinations of officers of banks on oath before examining Com- 
mittee of members. Took part in debate. Plan of Committee is the 
same which I was in favor of in 1841, when Gov. Jones f recommenda- 
tion of Commissioners was rejected. The reasons of committee are 
the same I then gave in a published speech at called session in 1842, 
when the recommendation was renewed by Gov. Jones. See debate 
of this day in next Banner and Union, of the dates of tomorrow and 
next day. 

Thursday, Oct. 26, 1843. 

Got up refreshed. Received letter from T. H. Hopkins, from 
Coffee, advising me that H. L. Turney was sick and could not attend 
to my law business at Manchester. That my friends there approved 
of my course on seat of Govt, question. 

Reed letter of 11th. October, 1843, from my friend Jonathan King, 
near Abingdon, Va. Informs me that his eldest daughter is married 
(fall of 1842) to a son of Benj. Pemberton — that David Vance has 
gone to Mississippi. That land is dear etc. This friendly letter 
I will answer. 

My Two Term Circuit Court Bill came up — my amendment for 
reducing circuits from 14 to 10, and Judges Salaries to $1200 per ann. 
was rejected — and amendment of Committee on Judiciary, providing 
for two terms, special terms, and reducing salaries, without reducing 
member of circuits was adopted and Bill passed a second reading. — 
I voted for my amendment, and loosing [sic] that, I voted for Com- 
mittees amendment, and pasage of Bill. 

The Bill restoring spring Musters came up, and passed 2nd. read- 
ing, I voting for it as instructed by Gen. Patton's letter. — Spent pleas- 
ant evening at home, reading and cutting pieces out of newspapers 
for Scrap Book, and Miss Bremer's Presidents Daughters. . . . Found 
Houston at home. Fear he is not reading to advantage. Talked 
with Ellen and Kizer about trying to get Dr. Smith, a young Yankee 
to Hickory Hill to teach my boys. Fear it will "cost more than it 
will come to." 

In Senate Gen. Cocke was severe, angry, and showed effects of 
age, in quarreling with Mr. Gordon on Bill incorporating Dandridge. 






Friday Oct. 27, 1843. 

Felt well all day. No matter of much import. The Bill to restore 
spring musters, Company and Batallion, called up and passed on 
motion of Mr. Ross of Lincoln. I voted for it; and informed Mess. 
Trott and Smartt of Gen. Patton's letter on subject. Read some in 
Bremer's Presidents Daughters. Saw Mr. Sam Smartt, who was 
staying at Washington Hotel (Hallum's) and he promised to take 
letters etc. for me in the morning. 



Laughlin Diaries 77 






In the evening wrote to L. N. Ford, about retrenchment — my 
Court bill etc, and to my father and Dr. Smartt. Sent Report of Com. 
of Ways and Means to Gen. Smartt, L. D. Mercer, Dr. Paine, Dr. 
Smartt etc, with my objections to taxes, and reduction of the school 
appropriations endorsed on back of them. Wrote my father about 
work on my House, and asked him and Dr. Smartt to send a barrel 
of potatoes by first passing wagon to as here, for use of Ellen as 
specimen of our Mountain produce; and so that I might send shoes 
to my negroes. Sent coarse pair to son John by Mr. Smartt. 
Asked to be constantly informed of state of my mother's health, and 
informed father of condition of all our family here, and contents of 
Jonathan Kings letter. Read more in Miss Bremer. She is charm- 
ing writer. I am disposed to pitty [sic] and love poor Edla instead of 
hating or blaming. . . . 

Bill to run and better define line between Warren and Marion 
Counties, laid on table at request of Speaker Anderson. At his re- 
quest, I had introduced the bill but had made it discretionary with the 
County Courts of the Counties, both concerning, to appoint surveyor, 
and have such parts of line run as were uncertain, and unmarked, 
but to be run according to calls of the old laws fixing and creating 
the Counties and their boundaries. This does not seem to suit Ander- 
son; hence I suspect he or his constituents who have petitioned (mine 
have not petitioned) want some of our Territory, and I gave him 
notice, when Bill was laid on table, that I would consent to no mode 
of re-running line, but the manner specified in the Bill. 

This day Mr. Sneed from Committee on Finance, reported against 
the relief prayed for by Audley Harrison and others, and securities 
of John Grove, late sheriff of Warren. I had introduced a Bill for 
their relief, which with the petition, had been referred to that Com- 
mittee. The Bill provides that on securities — Harrison is the person 
who must do it — paying up full arrearages of Grove's defaulcation of 
state tax due the Treasury, it being a balance, the interest shall be 
remitted on such balance. The petitioned signed by Squire Harrison, 
as one of the securities, and by J. P. Thompson, Jos. N. Carter and 
R. A. Campbell on his behalf, sets forth that Harrison has long since 
paid $1100 or $1200 for Groves defaulcation of County taxes — and 
never knew of balance, because no official claim had been set up, until 
lately of the balance now claimed by state, or it would have been long 
since paid. The petition stated Grove to be hopelessly insolvent, and 
that whole loss must fall on Squire Harrison. Hence, the prayer for 
remission of interest. — On my motion report was laid on table, to 
see if further proof and reasons could be produced in favor of re- 
mission by petitioner before the report was concurred in and claim 
rejected. Will write to Squire Harrison on Sunday next. 

Went to bed early, and slept well. 

Saturday, Oct. 28, 1843. 

Went to Senate Chamber early. Read Nashville Whig, and sent 
Messenger, young Ferriss to Whig office, to have report of my re- 
marks on Thursday last corrected as to Circuit Court bill, where he 
makes me speak as though there were but 12 circuits in the state, 
whereas there are 14. Saw reporter, who said correction would be 
made. — Many Senators were absent, Gordon Martin, Allen etc., and 
Sneed got leave of absence. Bill to make property exempt from from 
execution for debts liable for taxes, came up. It had been introduced 
by Nicholson. I spoke against it — It was, on motion of Mr. Turney, 
indefinitely postponed. Saw Dr. Young, and told him Jas. K. Polk 
had written letters here, urging his re-election, and trying to per- 












78 Documents 

suade W. H. Polk to go for him. — Maj. Trott told me in the evening 
of sparring he had had in course of the day with Speaker Barringer. 
Saw Nave of Carter in evening who told me, that Speaker Barringer 
was threatening to have Mulloy, reporter of the Union, removed from 
a place in the House, because in reporting the proceedings of yester- 
day or day before, he had stated that most of the democratic mem- 
bers in the House, voted against Barringers motion to strike out of 
resolutions instructing bank Committee that portion which required 
the politics of borrowers at bank and branches to be disclosed. Nave 
said that he would have so voted, and that many Whigs would have 
so voted, as well as democrats, but that the speaker to sustain his 
own motion, had decided in haste. I asked several democrats, Bobo 
among others, and they all said the democrats were against striking 
it out. The charge of the speaker is, that the report is false in stat- 
ing that the democrats mostly so voted. I have no doubt it is true; 
and that they will nearly to a man so vote when called to vote. The 
Democrats in the Senate so vote. This conversation with Mr. Nave, 
who showed the report in the Union of to-day to Bobo and myself, 
was at Mr. Rawlings, where I stayed all night in room with Nave 
and Bobo.— 

After supper went with some friends to meeting of Nashville 
Democratic Association. I first went to Gen. Armstrong's, who told 
me that he feared that A. Ewing and others, possibly at instance 
of Mr. Senator Nicholson, had intentions of stirring the question 

of preference and question of availability as to the different candi- 
dates for the Presidency at the meeting. I agreed with him that 
every such discussion was premature, and promised to suppress it 
if I could in the meeting. Before meeting was organized, I men- 
tioned to Mr. Mosely, Maj. Hollingsworth, Dr. Kenny, Messrs. Crouch 
and Milligan, Sam Turney and others, that all such discussions in 
my opinion should be avoided. 

The meeting appointed committees to arrange for the Davidson 
County meeting on 1st Monday in November; to prepare resolutions, 
etc. 

Mr. Haynes, a member of the Association, Mr. A. Ewing in the 
chair, made an excellent speech against admitting members who did 
not subscribe the constition [sic], and concur in objects of the asso- 
ciation. Hollingsworth and Mosely both spoke to same effect. 

After this business was done, Mr. Ewing called on me for a 
speech. I replied, in responding, that I came there to learn and 
hear — to approve of the objects of the association, and for improve- 
ment and not to speak. I said that it had been now over ten years 
since I first became associated with the democracy of Davidson 
publicly. That while I had lived here, I had fought with them, es- 
pecially after the great split in the party in 1835; and that since 
my lot had been cast elsewhere, I had still been with them, heart 
and hand, for the promotion of our principles. I said that I had 
never disagreed with them but upon one great local question, lately 
decided — that I had been against their local and personal wishes on 
that subject at all times, and had separated in it with many of my 
best and dearest friends whose personal and local interests were 
here — that I did this with regret but with a clear sense of public 
duty — the good o fthe people of the state — the good of the great body 
of the democratic party, and in obedience to the express will of those 
of whom I had been for years the humble representative, and from 
my own convictions of Justice and right; and that if I had not, 
under these circumstances, differed with, and endeavored by all fair 
and honorable means to defeat the wishes and views of the loccal 






i 






Laughlin Diaries 79 



[sic'] democracy of Nashville and Davidson County, dearly as I held 
them in personal estimation, I should have richly deserved the scorn 
and contempt of every old personal and political friend who now 
hears me — of every good man of our party everywhere — I need not 
say that I alluded to the seat of Government question lately settled. 

I expressed my approbation of the plan of the association, and 
that it deserved imitation everywhere. I exhorted our friends to 
keep down and eschew every discussion which might divide us — all 
disagreements about preference of Presidential candidates. I said, 
that if we, in the contest of next year, can have Jas. K. Polk's name 
on our ticket, as a lieutenant Genl. Commanding the division of the 
republican army composed of the democracy of Tennessee, that we 
would whip the Whigs whether their Grand Army was commanded 
by the Hero of the Slashes and Mealbags — Judge McLean in his 
judicial robes, or Gen. Scott adorned with his epaulettes and military 
badges. — I advised the admission of members into this association, 
who could give in proper experiences, and subscribe the constitu- 
tion — but all who knocked for admission, without being able to give 
in a proper confession of faith I advised that the answer should be 
given, given to the fellow who applied for admission into the baptist 
church at Rock Springs, that we have quit taking in — and told the 
anecdote. 

Dr. Kenny spoke to same effect, and said he would advise his 
friends to establish such an association as this at Jonesboro. He said 
not [sic] was not proper time, in his judgment, for us to disagree 
about or discuss our preferences for the candidates for Presidency. He 
said such associations as this, all over the State, would enable us to 
overthrough the Whig party — and especially the party here, who 
were dominant, and had made Nashville a political Sodom and Go- 
morrah of Whiggery. 

Mr. Sam Turney on being called on, said all knew he was a 
true democrat — that to get along at home he had been compelled 
like a hewer, to strike along an exact line. He said that if Van 
Buren was to be our next candidate for President we could gain no 
strength in his country, but loose votes. He thought Cass more 
available. He said he thought we ought to speak out — he saw noth- 
ing wrong in it, and not restrain ourselves as had been suggested 
by myself and Kenny. 

I replied to him, that we were not here as a convention to make 
nominations, nor as a primary meeting of the people to pass reso- 
lutions expressive of preferences; that such discussions were prema- 
ture, and, I believed, especially improper, as any disagreement among 
ourselves would be instantly known across the street, by the Whig 
Editors and newspapers who would roll our dissentions as sweet 
morsels under their tongues. 

Mr. Ross of Lincoln on being called on,' addressed the meeting. 
Approved of the association, and the good it may do by disseminating 
correct information in discussions and through the press. Spoke 
of the cart loads of Whig Banners which had been sent into his 
district (Franklin and Lincoln) during last summer. 

The meeting adjourned, with the understanding, that the Society 
would meet on the evening of Saturday next, and discuss the Tariff 
question, if members, or members of the legislature would attend 
and give their views in short speeches. 

Received letters from Dr. Smartt and Mary Argo in the evening, 
hers of the 26th — his of the 27th inst. My mother no better. Mary 
asks advice if Mr. Argo had not better sell Mose, to raise means to 
begin some business. I will answer expressly no* If Mr. Argo 







80 Documents 



should die, Moses, as a servant, must be nearly all poor Mary's 
dependence for support. Now he is out of reach of Mr. Argo, and his 
creditors. 

Bill for calling in branch banks, unless they make 6 pr cent, read 
second time, amended on my motion, to provide for buying state 
bonds at lowest rates. 

Sunday, Oct. 29, 1843. 

Slept at Mr. Rawlings' after attending the meeting of Demo- 
cratic Association. Breakfasted before I went home to Kizer's. 
Maj. Bobo told me of his diffence [sic] with Senator Ross of Anderson. 
He also requested me to prepare for him a minority report to be 
presented to House on Tuesday next, in one expected of Maury as 
Chairman of Com. on Federal Relations in the House on that day, 
on subject of mode of electing Senators to Congress. After I went 
home, wrote up Diary, and read Miss Bremer's Presidents Daughters 
— a work of excellent moral and religious tendency. ... At 
night wrote letters to Judge Marchbanks and Mr. T. H. Hopkins 
at Manchester — and to Audley Harrison about his claim for re- 
mission of interest. Also sent him N. Union of yesterday. In the 
evening also read more of Miss Bremer. I am absolutely in love 
with her as well as her translator Mrs. Howitt, the English Quaker- 
ess. Slept soon. 

Monday, Oct. 30, 1843. 

In course of day Judge N. Green applied to me in Senate Cham- 
ber to agree for Atto. Genls. election to come on next Monday in 
13th (Marchbank's Circuit) Circuit. Told him I had written to Mr. 
T. H. Hopkins yesterday at Manchester, that election would not 
come on for sometime; and that I could consent to no day, as far as 
I was concerned, I wished to consult Mr. H. and his friends and would 
again write to Mr. Hopkins. This I did in the course of the day, 
and requested Mr. H. to come here by next Sunday or Monday. — 
Today resolution, offered by Dr. Jennings, was passed to go into 
election of Treasurer and Comptroller on the 1st. Nov. prox. sent to 
House. Wrote to Capt. A. L. Davis about state of Bank question 
here — and asked indulgence of him and Capt. Young, President 
of Branch Bank, Sparta, in renewing my notes. Promised Maj. 
Bobo to prepare a counter report on mode of electing Senators in 
Congress. — Read Miss Bremer; and Humes letter on Free Trade in 
Lynchburg Virginian; and Kettells response to Ritchies inquiries, 
taken from Money article of N. York Herald of 10th and 11th inst. 
Bought coat for son of Melas the Jew. 

Tuesday, Oct. 31, 1843. 

Nothing new in course of the day. A joint resolution was passed 
by Senate, for which I voted, declaring it proper to reduce Secretary 
of State's salary to $700 — Treasurer to $1,200 — and Comptrollers to 
$1,500. Saw Maury's report to House, shown me by Bobo, on elec- 
tion of U. S. Senators, from Com. of House on Federal Relation 
recommending method of electing by joint vote in convention of the 
two Houses. It is grounded upon custom and precedent and be- 
cause it is surest way of choosing Senators so as to conform to the 
will of a majority of the people. — Promised Maj. Bobo to prepare 
a minority report, counter to the above, as early as I can, so as to 
do justice to the subject. In course of day hunted up my Protest 
on same subject in Senate Journal of 1841-2, at pagre 315 et sequiter; 
and yet need Gardner's speech in 1841, and Clay's speech on Bank 







Laughlin Diaries 81 


















► 






charter in 1811, showing that legislature precedents are of no au- 
thority, and serve only to "confirm error and perpetuate usurption." 

In evening bought Anthon's edition of Hughes' Tract in answer 
to Puseyite&, from Billings. It is entitled [ ] i5 and is founded 

on the authority of many Bishops and their Pastoral charges in 
1840-1-2 and 1843. 

. . I received Central Gazette of last Friday, having my 
ciece signed Collin's River in reply to Gen. Rodger's letter in Sparta 
Gazette about seat of Government question. 

At night wrote to Ford about election of Treasurer and Comp- 
troller — also to Van Pelt — date as of tomorrow, on same subject — 
and doing justice to Graham's and Francis' claims. Commenced 
counter report for Bobo. Wrote till 12 o'clock, did not finish, and had 
no time to read anything. I> : ^ not sleep well. 

Wednesday, Nov. 1, 1843. 

This morning after arising early and revising my last nights 
letters, sent them to post office, and hastened to Senate Chamber. 
Reed, letter from Dr. Smartt of the 30th. ult. (Monday morning) 
informing me that mother is no better in health. I am greatly dis- 
tressed, and borne down by my sorrows. Everything aff[l]icts me. 
If I could, without dishonor, resign my seat here and go home, how 
gladly would I do it. — At ten o'clock, the Houses met in convention 
to elect a Treasurer and Comptroller. The election Comptroller 
came on first, and was decided between D. Graham, nominated by 
W. H. Polk, and Zollicoffer, nominated by Mr. Cocke, by a party vote, 
except Shirrell Whig of Bledsoe, and Sneed Whig of Rutherford, 
voted for Graham democrat; and Gordon of Maury, and Gordon 
of Hickman, democrats, voted for Zollicoffer Whig. — The election 
of Treasurer was then postponed by convention on motion of Mr. 
Cullom, by vote of 53 to 47, to 20th Nov. inst. All the Whigs voted 
for postponement but Shirill of Bledsoe. 

Debate sprung up in Senate on Turney's motion to strike out 
the section of retrenchment bill, the provision for taxing Judges 
salaries. Allen and Harris spoke in favor of striking out. Powell, 
Nicholson and myself in favor of retaining, claiming power under the 
constitution of Tennessee, to tax the salaries as income or privileges. 
Nelson spoke against it — or in doubt. Cullom was for taxing. I 
spoke in favor of taxing Judges, Lawyers and Doctors. Gen. Cocke 
was for the power. Gordon against taxing Judges. Wrote to Ford 
of Central Gazette at home, and Van Pelt of Appeal at Memphis, 
about the proscription of Graham. Read papers, and felt not well — 
but with small anodyne pill, slept well. Maj. Donelson showed me 
letters he had written to Moses Dawson, Hon. W. Allen, and Gov. 
Polk about Vice Presidency — but said from movements of Andrew 
Ewing and others, he did not know whether to send them — their 
course was ruinous to Polk and dem. party here. 

Thursday, Nov. 2, 1843. 

Introduced in Senate and had read Petition from Trap [ ] 48 
of Smith praying to be annexed to DeKalb according to line run by 
Thomas Durham, which I had read, and transmitted to H. of R. 
The Bill came up again to tax Judges etc on motion of Mr. Turney. 
Nicholson spoke at large, and the debate was generally renewed, and 
motion to strike out tax on Judges and lawyers and Doctors, made 

"Blank in Ms. 
^Blank in Ms. 









82 Documents 



by Mr. Turney was rejected — and then the Bill was rejected on a 
tie vote of 12 and 12 Mr. Graham absent. Mr. Ross of Anderson 
made a motion to reconsider the Bill which lies on the table. 

The two Term Circuit Court bill was taken up, and several efforts 
made to strike out that part reducing the Judges salaries, on motion 
of Sneed, Cullom etc. After these failures, it was laid on table to 
give gentlemen time to arrange the times for the sitting of the Courts 
in the respective circuits. Mr. Martin of Wilson, while the Bill was 
under discussion, offered an amendment to abolish the Chancery 
Courts, and confer the Jurisdiction on the Circuit Courts. The 
amendment was rejected on a vote of ayes 9, Nays 16. 

Commenced reading Minna, another of Miss Bremer's admirable 
Tales. 

Friday, Nov. 3, 1843. 

The Senate were engaged good part of the day — particularly the 
Whigs, in fixing up their resolutions for the proposed Bank inves- 
tigation. Farringdon's amendment prevailed over Sneeds, to ap- 
point three men in each bank district to make an examination, and 
report to the present Assembly. For Sparta district, Bransford, 
Minnis and Ned Cullom were in the amendment, but on my motion, 
Jas. P. Thompson was put — and Maj. Taylor, Turney agreeing, and 
leaving out Minnis and Cullom. So it passed. Mr. Huddleston of 
Overton told me in the evening, that he would move in House, to put 
Dr. McHenry in place of Maj. Taylor. I will not object, as Capt. 
A. L. Davis the cashier, expressed a delicacy to me today in having 
Maj. Taylor, as he is his father-in-law. 

The Court Bill, for two terms, and reduced salaries passed finally 
in Senate, and the time of the Courts were all inserted. Got papers 
in evening from Maj. Heiss to write some for Union, Mr. Hogan be- 
ing sick. Last night I wrote article about John Bell, as he was named 
in Jonesboro Whig — and to-day wrote article which will appear as 
the leader tomorrow, headed, Presidency and Vice Presidency. I 
wrote this to put down a disposition in A. Ewing and others, and I 
feared Turney and Pierce Anderson are in it, instigated by Nichol- 
son to have public expression of opinion from Cass and thereby crush 
all Polk's prospects for the Vice Presidency. Wrote further to Van 
Pelt about Graham's removal. 

Saturday, Nov. 4th. 

Saw L. Cheatham, and talked with him and Maj. Loving upon 
the necessity of putting down the disposition to introduce disputes 
into the Democratic Association, and Davidson County meeting ques- 
tions about preferences for the Presidency. We all agreed that such 
course was ruinous to Polks interest, and true interest of party in 
Tennessee. Memphis Court Bill was passed yesterday — and Bill 
amending attachment law today. 

Read Penn's letters, Nos. 3 and 4 to Col. Benton in St. Louis re- 
porter. Will try to get 1 and 2nd. Read article on National Con- 
vention in Democratic Review as copied into Huntsville Democrat. 

Cut out man yarticles for Scrap Book from papers obtained at 
Union office, but feel too unwell to insert them. 

Sunday, Nov. 5, 1843. 
Did but little — Read in Miss Bremer's Nina. 

Monday, Nov. 6, 1843. 

Wrote article for tomorrows Union headed "Whig Gratitude" etc. 
For legislative proceedings see Journals. Anxious to hear from home. 















t 






Laughlin Diaries 83 



Wrote Dr. Smartt that I would try to come home by next Wednesday. 
Little boy, John Johnson, escaped from Stickney's Circus and came 
to Twiss' and from there Twiss brought him to Kizer's. Fell [sic] 
interested for him. If the circus reclaim him he will be raised as a 
vagabond. To let them get him will be like selling him into slavery. 
If his profligate father has sold him, he ought to be reclaimed from 
such prospective ruin. 

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 1843. 

Tried to elect Atto Genl. in 13th Marchbank's Circuit, but could 
not. Votes for Hopkins. This night letter came informing me that 
my mother had died on Sunday. Did not get it til Wednesday morn- 
ing. For the proceedings in Assembly, see Journal. Mr. Sherrell 
nominated Hopkins. After a time he was withdrawn. I voted then 
for Mr. Rodgers of Fayetteville. He was a democrat. Goff, Green 
and Kercheval, the other candidates all Whigs. Houston went to 
Mr. Bateys with boy John Johnson. Wrote to Mrs. B. 

Wednesday, Nov. 8th, 1843. 

After the Senate met Mr. G. R. Smartt the Representative from 
Warren; showed me a letter from Dr. Paine of McMinnville, stat- 
ing my mothers death. Hopkins was nominated again by Mr. Hud- 
dleston. I voted for him till it was agreed to withdraw him from can- 
vass. Mr. Rodgers had been withdrawn evening before, and Kercheval 

nominated. 

After I saw letter to Mr. Smartt, and received my letter from 
Dr. Smartt, I retired from the Convention — requesting Col. Alexan- 
der of Shelby, or Mr. Gordon to ask for leave of absence for me, 
when my name should be called. I went home and returned no more 
to the Senate during the day. 

Goff was elected in evening as I hear, and election for 12th 
Circuit (Robt. Anderson's) commenced. Powell of Roger sville, Cas- 
well of Jefferson Co. Sawyers of Claiborne and Heiskell of Knox 
(son of Fred. Heiskell the old proprietor of the Knoxville register) 
were the candidates. 

Thursday, Nov. 9, 1843. 

Went to Senate in the morning, and then into Convention, and 
voted for Powell (a democrat — son of the late Judge Powell) till 
his name was withdrawn, and then for W. R. Caswell til he was 
elected. He is son of Mrs. Ben McCulloch of Rutherford. Is now a 
citizen of Jefferson. He voted for me in 1829, when he was just of 
age in Rutherford, against W. Brady, for a seat in the House of 
R. in Assembly. He is said to be a worthy man. He was elected. 

The next election was in 9th Circuit (Judge Harris in W. dis- 
trict) Hamilton of Carroll, Williams of Paris, Felix Parker of 
Robertson and [ ] 47 being candidates. J. B. Williams was 

elected. I and Smartt voted for Parker to secure vote of Bone of 
Gibson and others for Mr. Francis for Treasurer. Smartt told me 
he would go home tomorrow. For proceedings of Assembly see 
Journal. Wrote some things for Union. Piece for Saturdays paper, 
which will not appeal before Monday next about J. G. Adams visit 
to Cincinnati and invitation to Louisville. Saw Hon. A. V. Brown 
who told me he would be here some days. 

Friday, Nov. 10, 1843. 

Bought shoes, 7 pair altogether, and sent home in stage by Mr. 
Hopkins for negroes — and wrote to Houston at Mrs. Batey's, to send 

* 7 Blank in Ms. 




84 Documents 



the two pair which he had there, with the 5 Hopkins had, as Mr. 
Hopkins would pass on home. Wrote to Dr. Smartt by G. R. Smartt, 
and to my father by Mr. Hopkins. 

Assembly did but little. Many Senators about — Allen, Ross of 
L. etc. See Journal. 

Saturday, Nov. 11, 1843. 

Senate did but little. Rejected Nelson's Bill to allow counter- 
parts to be served, over county lines, of warrants for debt issued 
by magistrates. Voted against it, because it would enable creditors 
with increased costs, to collect their debts first out of securities and 
endorsers; and because it would enable creditors, by a fictitious as- 
signment, and suffering warrant to be issued against themselves, 
&nd sending counterparts to other counties, all over the state, to 
collect their debts at home; because it would disable debtors to give 
stays at distance, and because Culloms amendment, adopted to the 
blil, allowed justices executions in such cases, to be sent all over 
the state. — Houston came back to-day having rode in the night from 
Batey's, Green's old place, near Buchanan's. Senate did not sit in 
afternoon. Andw. Ewing, or somebody, published to-day, a poor 
biography of Gen. Cass (Col. Cass) in the Union. Gen. Armstrong 
went to Hermitage, and received letter from Genl. Jackson, from 
Santa Anna, about releasing certain prisoners — One a son of Reuben 
Bradley of Abingdon. 48 

Read W. L. McKenzies New York Examiner. (1st 3 Nos) to see 
his vile attacks on Mr. Van Buren. He is a poor hireling, and his 
emnity to Mr. V. B. arises from Mr. V. B as President of the U. S. 
interfering to prevent American citizens from interfering in Canadian 
revolt in 1838. McK. says he has made his declaration to become 
naturalized. Ellen is busy gardening, and this evening set out small 
row of little cedars running back from south side of lower front 
gate. Mr. Kizer got two new works yesterday, on Horticulture and 
farming — 

Washington City, April 27, 1845. 

From some cause I was prevented from pursuing this Diary. A 
ifcrip made hastily from Nashville home for three or four days, stopped 
my progress, and I did not resume it. After the Assembly adjourned 
in January 1844, I went home, but stayed only a short time. Before 
Assembly adjourned, as well as seen by letters and paper bound up 
in my letter book of 1844. I was requested in writing to return to 
Nashville in the Spring, by all the democratic members, and by the 
State corresponding Committee at Nashville, and at Jackson, and to 
Edit the Union newspaper and a weekly pamphlet called the Star 
Spangled Banner, during the canvass in the approaching Presidential 
election. I did so return, and except while I was at the Baltimore 
National Democratic Convention, in May and June, continued to 
Edit the Union and Star Spangled Banner until after the election, 
only going home in November long enough to vote. Among my 
bound manuscripts, will be found several Diaries and Journals, on 
common long paper. One a Journal of my' trip to Washington City 
in 1834-5, preparatory to first establishment of the Nashville Union, 
by myself and ** Editor, and M. A. Long as publisher, which was 
commenced in March, 1835, and first published in Market Street, 
Nashville in House the property of Willo. Williams, now Wills Drug 

**In ink of a different color. 
"A slip for "as." 






) 



Laughlin Diaries 85 





















Store. Another Journal so bound, is of my trip to the National Con- 
vention at Baltimore in 1840 — like the last mentioned, however, 
being left incomplete. Another is notes made during my stay at 
Nashville at either Called or regular Session of Assembly in 1841-2. 
Another is notes of a hasty trip made to St. Louis, Mo. in April, 

1844, to get Beza P. Kizer bailed out of prison for stabbing some 
blackguard who insulted him. There is also among my papers, old 
notes of a Journey from McMinnville to Philadelphia in 1814 — made 
when a boy. — and a small, bound Diary, printed for 1840 — but con- 
taining memoranums of events of 1840-1841. 1842. 1843-4. and 

Family Record. After the Presidential election in 1844, in which 
James K. Polk and George M. Dallas were elected President and 
Vice President, I left home on 26 or 27th January, 1845, and left 
Nashville on 1st Feb. 1845, in company with President Polk and his 
wife, and a number of friends, and came to Washington City where 
we arrived on 14th Feb. 1844. — After President Polk was Inaugu- 
rated, on the 15th March, 1845, he nominated me to Senate as 
Recorder of the General Land Office, and on 16th I believe Senate 
confirmed it, and on 17th I was commissioned, and went into office, 
where I found Thos. H. Blake of Indiana, a Whig, Commissioner. 
About middle of April Blake was removed, and James Shields of 
Illinois appointed. He entered on his duties about 17th of April. 
About 19th or 20th of April, Dr. W. M. Gwin, of Mississippi, and 
John C. McLemore, without my request applied to Robt. J. Walker, 
Secretary of the Treasury, who was pleased at once to send me word 
to send for my son Saml Houston Laughlin, and he would instantly 
appoint him on his arrival, a clerk in my office, at salary of $1,100 
or $1,000 pr. ann. I saw Mr. Walker on evening of 24th April in 
company with Dr. Gwin near Presidents grounds, in front, and 
thanked him. He said he deserved none — it should be instantly done, 
when Houston arrived. I sent for Houston on the 22nd of April. 
On the 23rd. I informed President Polk what Mr. Walker had done — 
not at my request or knowledge — but for which I was grateful. 
Told him I thought it right to let him know of it, as I would take 
no steps about office matters, for myself or my son, without his 

knowledge. He said what Mr. Walker had done met his distinct ap- 
probation. 

All other matters however are fully note[d] in my rough-calf 
bound Note Book, Octavo, marked No. 1. — My journey to Washington 
with the President is in a similarly bound, but smaller book — and 
ends in March, 1845, after the Inauguration of President Polk, but 
is resumed with the large and fuller book marked No. the Intro- 
duction to which is a fair and compendious account of my life, my 
family, connexions and adventures. A large portion of the book 
is taken up with this autobiography. I intend, in that book, and 
one like it to be marked No. 2, to take up my Diary on 1st May 

1845, and continue it at least while I remain in Washington. 1st 
May is my birthday. 50 



^°The other volumes to which the diaris>t here refers seem, perhaps with one exi 
ception, to have been lost. 












HISTORICAL NOTES AND NEWS 



A REVIEW OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE TENNESSEE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

FOR DECEMBER, 1915, AND JANUARY AND FEBRUARY, 1916. 

At the meeting held December 14, 1915, an address on the sub- 
ject, "Tennessee, the Compromise of 1850, and the Nashville Con- 
vention" was read by Dr. St. George L. Sioussat. This paper, which 
treated of the attitude of political parties in Tennessee towards the 
compromise measures of 1850 and described in some detail the Nash- 
ville Convention of the same year, is printed in expanded form in 
the December number of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review. 

On January 11, 1916, Dr. L. C. Glenn delivered an address on 
"The Physiographic Influences in the Development of the State." 
Dr. Glenn has been a student of the geology of Tennessee during his 
many years' stay at Vanderbilt University, during much of this 
time he has been a member of the State and Federal Survey. He 
has ridden on horseback over much of the State, and knows most of 
it from first-hand information. Dr. Glenn showed how Tennessee 
was by nature a State which would be divided along sectional lines 
in politics and trade because of the almost impossible means of 
communication, and especially so in the earlier days. 

On February 8, 1916, Dr. W. A. Provine spoke on the pioneers 
from Highland Scotland, who had settled in and around Nashville 
and Middle Tennessee, especially the Campbell family. Among the 
most prominent of these settlers was the distinguished George 
Campbell, once Secretary of the Treasury and United States Senator 
from Tennessee. 

The Society has been presented by Mr. W. E. Ward with a map 
of Tennessee, made in 1839. The Society already owned a map of 
Kentucky of tht same date. These two have been framed, and are 
on the walls of the Society rooms. 

The following new members have been added: Mr. Silas McBee, Jr., 
of Memphis; and Col. Thomas W. Wrenne and Nathan Cohn, of 
Nashville. 

Irby Roland Hudson, Recording Secretary. 






THE NASHVILLE MEETING OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY HISTORICAL 

ASSOCIATION, APRIL 27-29, 1916. 

It is with pleasure that we announce that, upon the invitation 
of the Tennessee Historical Society, Vanderbilt University, and the 
George Peabody College for Teachers, the Mississippi Valley His- 
torical Association will hold in Nashville its annual meeting for 1916. 
The date fixed is April 27-29. This association, a large and flourish- 
ing body of historical students, is devoted, as its name will indicate, 
to the furtherance of the study of all phases of history which relate 
to the Mississippi Valley. The secretary-treasurer is Mr. Clarence 
S. Paine, of Lincoln, Nebraska; the president for 1915-16 is Dr. 
Dunbar Rowland, Director of the Department of Archives and His- 
tory of the State of Mississippi. The program is not yet ready for 
publication, but will include historical papers of local interest as well 
as many interesting to teachers of history. It is hoped that all mem- 
bers of the Tennessee Historical Society, and all who are interested 









Books Xoted 87 



in history, will by their presence help to make this a notable occasion 
and to extend the hospitality of Nashville and of Tennessee to our 
many distinguished visitors. 



I* , 1, . I » T^, ^TOT/A^TO " 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL "COLLECTIONS. 

The Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, edited 
by Professor C. W. Alvord, of the University of Illinois, are enriched 
by the publication of two notable new volumes. The first of these, 
known as "British Series, Volume I," is entitled "The Critical Period, 
1763-1765." Professor C. E. Carter, of Miami University, is asso- 
ciated in the editorship with Professor Alvord. The documents relate 
to the British occupation of the Illinois country 1763-1765, and are 
preceded by a special introduction covering this period and a general 
introduction to the series. Though primarily devoted to Illinois 
history, the volume is of wider value. It seems perhaps unfortunate 
to use the title "The Critical Period" which is familiarly, if not 
more correctly, employed in another sense. The second volume, num- 
ber three of the bibliographical series, is an exhaustive account of 
"The County Archives of the State of Illinois," compiled by Theodore 
Calvin Pease, of the University of Illinois. The examination of this 
very thorough work makes one sincerely wish that similar publica- 
tions might be made for every State. In Tennessee, without doubt, 
the result would be of very great historical value. 



BOLTON'S "TEXAS IN THE MIDDLE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. 



M 



[ The third volume of the University of California Publications, 

| edited by Professors H. Moore Stephens and Herbert E. Bolton, is 
"Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century, Studies in Spanish Colonial 
History and Administration," by Professor Bolton. This lengthy 
monograph treats exhaustively the following topics: The San Xavier 
Mission (1745-1758) ; The Reorganization of the Lower Gulf Coast 
(1746-1768); Spanish Activities on the Lower Trinity Rivor (1746- 
1771) ; The Removal from and the Reoccupation of Eastern Texas 
(1773-1779); to which is prefixed a General Survey (1731-1788). 
The work, which is thoroughly documented, is enriched witn reproduc- 
tions of maps and with other illustrations, with an extended bibliog- 
raphy, and with an index. 



















^ 



s 












• 




















































%^ 



TENNESSEE 



HISTORICAL MAGAZINE 



Vol. 2. JUNE, 1916. No. 2 



GOVERNMENTAL REORGANIZATION, A CONSTI- 
TUTIONAL NEED IN TENNESSEE. 1 

Tennessee needs a new constitution. This fact is written 
all over every phase of its state, county and municipal gov- 
ernments. It is seen in such a constitutional requirement 
as the compulsory general property tax clause, which clearly 
and distinctly says that what has become a palpably unjust 
method of taxation shall continue. It is seen with equal clear- 
ness when we examine the workings of our governments and 
note how they fail from year to year — even from decade to 
decade — to do what public sentiment very evidently endorses 
and party platforms have long promised. 

The failure of the present constitution to meet the needs 
of the new era in which it has been allowed to continue con- 
sists not alone in what it does but in what it fails to do; not 
alone in its restrictions and prescriptions that are out of 
date, but in the fact that it does not provide for governmental 
machinery of a sufficiently advanced type to fulfill the re- 
quirements of modern political life. 

Among the constitution's obstructive clauses should be 
mentioned first of all its endeavor to perpetuate itself through 
forbidding amendments save by means of a process which has 
proven unworkable in practice. Once in six years the legis- 
' - nvovMe<l its predecessor has proposed amendments, 
may by a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each 
house, refer such amendments to the people. And if the people 
at the next general election, by a majority of all the votes cast 
for representatives in the lower house of the legislature, en- 
dorse the amendments, they then become part of the constitu- 
tion. No other state constitution makes amendments so diffi- 
cult. Only two others approach Tennessee in this respect. 

1 A paper read before the Mississippi Valley Historical Associa- 
tion at Nashville, April 27, 1916; in part adapted from chapters 8, 
23 and 24 of the writer's forthcoming book, State Constitution-mak- 
ing. 






i 



90 Wallace MoClure 



The calling of a constitutional convention is the only means 
practically available for the accomplishment of constitutional 
changes in Tennessee. If such a convention should accom- 
plish nothing besides establishing a method whereby the con- 
stitution could be conveniently amended it would amply 
justify itself. Other needed amendments would then follow 
as rapidly as the people could digest their purport and be- 
come satisfied of their beneficial effect. 

Among these other needed amendments most Tennesseans 
who have given thoughtful attention to public affairs would 
probably place the greatest emphasis upon taxation, reorgani- 
zation of county government, home rule for cities and counties 
and certain reforms in the administration of justice. 

No student of taxation today attempts to defend the re- 
quirement that all property shall be taxed and taxed at a 



uniform rate. In the days when property consisted almost 
entirely of lands and houses and live stock or stores of mer- 
chandise — and when tax rates were but a fraction of what 
they are today — the general property tax furnished an avail- 
able and not unjust method of raising revenue. But since 
the people have come to possess property of all kinds and 
descriptions, and especially as the use of credit has developed, 
the taxation of all property at the same rate violates every 
rule of equality in taxation. Since the courts define evidences 
of legal and equitable interests in property to be property 
just as truly as the tangible inherently valuable things which 
they represent, the general property tax clause forces double 
taxation in case of every mortgage or lien note or similar in- 
strument. Not unnaturally, therefore, owners of such property 
conceal it from the assessor and the general property tax be- 
comes an administrative impossibility. But until the con- 
stitution is changed it must remain the law of the state — 
though it never can be made the fact — in practice. 

Our present form of county government, like our system 
of taxation, is an inheritance from a past which found it 
satisfactorv. When there was little administration to be done 
a large representative body, suited to enact laws, not to ad- 
minister them, could manage the affairs of a county reason- 
ably well. But now that the large counties have developed 
numerous functions, and their officials must handle complex 
problems of finance, education, social welfare, etc., there 
arises the need for a small body of trained administrators. 
These men should be responsible directly to the people of the 
county. In practice, doubtless, county affairs in the large 
counties are controlled bv committees of the county court or 









Governmental Reorganization 91 









by especially created commissions, but they are more or less 
unknown and irresponsible and are not satisfactory, . 

Since there is little use for legislation in our counties, and 
since, even if there were, the state legislature cannot under 
present rules of constitutional law delegate legislative func- 
tions to the county courts, the latter have become a complete 
anachronism and should be abolished. Their few judicial func- 
tions could much better be handled by judges holding courts 
of probate. 

Both counties and cities, under the present constitution, 
are absolutely dependent upon the legislative will for the con- 
duct of not only their functions which concern the state as 
a whole, like enforcing the state's law, but also for the con- 
duct of purely local affairs. A county cannot even determine 
whether it will have a fence law and a city depends for its 
very existence upon the legislature. The legislature, mean- 
while, is hampered in its work of state-wide importance by 
the necessity of providing the local enactments demanded by 
scores of cities and counties. A considerable majority of the 
state constitutions contain clauses forbidding such local legis- 
lation or requiring that general laws shall be passed govern- 
ing local affairs, provisions which in practice have proven very 
ineffective. A few constitutions require that laws applying 
to a particular city shall be submitted to its voters for ratifi- 
cation or rejection or to the mayor for his approval or veto. 
Thirteen constitutions, moreover, contain provision for what 

has come to be called home rule for cities, that is to say, the 
constitutional authority for municipalities to frame and adopt 
their own charters. One state contains a somewhat similar 
provision allowing counties to select their own form of gov- 
ernment and embody it in a charter — which must, however, 
receive the sanction of the legislature. Tennessee could well 
profit by these examples. 

Finally there seems to be general agreement that certain 
changes are needed in our constitutional provisions for the 
administration of justice. Perhaps the most important of 
these is the abolition of the requirement that jurymen must 
be residents of the county in which the trial is held. It is 
undoubtedly of the essence of liberty that a man accused shall 
be tried by a jury of his peers, but how a jury is any less his 
peers if composed of his fellow Tennesseans or fellow Ameri- 
cans than if composed of citizens of his county it is difficult 
to see. A majority of the state constitutions have no such 
requirements. It is difficult to secure intelligent and at the 
same time absolutely impartial jurors in the vicinity of the 






92 ^Yallace McClure 



place where a crime has been committed, and the more atro- 



cious the crime the greater the difficulty. 

The continuation of separate courts of law and equity is 
likewise unnecessary and out of date and remains in only a 
small minority of the state constitutions. 

The propositions just mentioned are merely a chosen few 
among the great number of improvements that may be sug- 
gested. In every case the changes are needed because the 
state has changed; the constitution has simply* been left un- 
cared for and has grown out of date. In every case newer 
constitutions adopted by other states contain provisions that 
offer feasible remedies. 

In order, however, that we may lay the foundations for a 
system of government that is in a complete sense the respon- 
sible and responsive agent of the people, capable of doing 
those things which can be better done by all the people col- 
lectively than by individuals acting alone or in small groups, 
we shall have to extend our inquiry into constitutional needs 
somewhat more deeply and examine the nature of our govern- 
mental organization. The reasons for the form of govern- 
mental organization which Tennessee shares with the other 
states of the Union are found far back in our political history. 

Every state constitution, either by an express article or 
clause or impliedly through its provisions for the different 
branches of government, declares that the powers of state 
government shall be vested in three separate and distinct de- 
partments, the legislative, executive and judicial, the officials 
of any one of which shall not perform the functions assigned 
to the others. This is the "separation of powers," the form 
of government organization which America may be said to 
have made famous. 

The analysis of government into three primary divisions 

is at least as old as Aristotle's Politics, which said that in 
every state there is a deliberative assembly, a body of magis- 
trates and a judiciary. Numerous later political philosophers 
have accepted it and Montesquieu went so far as to say that 
a fairly sharp constitutional distinction between the officials 
performing the legislative, the executive and the judicial func- 
tions is necessary to the maintenance of civil liberty. 

The philosophy of Montesquieu was congenial with the 
thought of the times and was peculiarly adapted to recommend 
itself to the American states of the Revolutionary period. 
Reaction against governmental tyranny was everywhere in 
the air. Reaction against governmental restrictions upon the 
economic life of the people was finding expression in the writ- 
ings of the Physiocrats and of Adam Smith. The intense in- 






t 






*t 






Governmental Reorganization 93 



dividualism of philosophers like Rousseau pervaded the 
thought of the learned and made the student in his closet share 
with the pioneer in the virgin forest the feeling that govern- 
ment if necessary at all was a necessary evil. 

What men desired they sought through their own efforts; 
they merely asked that the government should let them alone. 
Beyond the conduct of foreign affairs and the suppression of 
domestic violence they looked to the government for nothing 
and thought of it less as an agency to do their bidding than 
as a rival to be watched and feared. 

Such was the prevailing attitude of the time when Ameri- 
cans first undertook constitution-making. Their chief instinct 
was a hearty hatred of the tyrannical power exercised by the 
governors sent over from England. Their chief dependence 
they had been accustomed to place in their representative 
assemblies, through which they had contested with the gov- 
ernor for what they had been pleased to consider their rights. 

What could have been more natural, therefore, when they 

/ 7 * 

were forming governments of their own design, than that they 
should have thought more of how to prevent the misuse of 
governmental power than of how to secure the harmonious 
and efficient operation of the machinery of government? Not 
less natural than that they should have separated and divided 
the powers of government among various branches was the 
fact that they made the legislature the repository of the lion's 
share of these powers. 

Ag time went on, however, the other departments developed 
more pronouncedly than did the legislature and gradually in- 
creased their relative importance. The courts assumed the 
authority to declare acts of the legislature unconstitutional 
and to refuse to be bound by them in making their decisions. 
It was not altogether unnatural that the executive should 
assume to do likewise and to refuse to enforce legislative acts. 
When President Jackson said, "John Marshall has made his 
decision; now let him enforce it," he was assuming precisely 
the prerogative that Marshall himself had assumed in refus- 
ing, a generation earlier, to be bound by what he considered 
an unconstitutional act of Congress. Marshall said, "If a 
law be in opposition to the Constitution . . . the court 
must determine which . . . governs the case." Jackson 
thought that it was just as much the President's duty as it 
was the court's to pass upon the constitutionality of laws. 
"The opinion of the judges," he said, "has no more authority 
over Congress than the opinion of Congress over the judges, 
and on that point the President is independent of both." 

President Jefferson had refused to enforce the Sedition 



94 Wallace McClure 



Act, saying in an undelivered message to Congress, "I took 
that act into consideration, compared it with the constitu- 
tion, viewed it under every respect of which I thought it sus- 
ceptible, and gave it all the attention which the magnitude 
of the case demanded. On mature deliberation, in the pres- 
ence of the nation and under the solemn oath which binds 
me to them, and to my duty, I do declare that I hold that act 
to be in palpable and unqualified contradiction to the con- 
stitution." The country had, he believed, distributed the 
powers of government "among three equal and independent 
authorities constituting each a check upon one or both of 
the others in all attempts to impair its constitution. To make 
each an effectual check it must have a right in cases which 
arise within the line of its proper function, where equally 
with the others it acts in the last resort and without appeal, 
to decide on the validity of an act according to its own judg- 
ment and uncontrolled by the opinions of any other depart- 
ment." 

In such feelings and utterances the doctrine of the separa- 
tion of powers reached its climax. 

The idea that each of the separate powers should consti- 
tute a check upon the others, in order that none might develop 
undue power, was thus strikingly succeeded by what would 
have been in effect the idea that each of them could so thwart 
the others as to paralyze governmental action. 

Checks and balances have, in spite of this, always been 
dear to the American heart. Of the first state constitutions, 
Turgot wrote, "I see . . . an unreasonable imitation of 
the usages of England ... a house of representatives, a 
council, a governor, because England has a House of Com- 
mons, Lords and a King. They undertake to balance these 
different authorities as if the same equilibrium of power which 
has been thought necessary to balance the enormous pre- 
ponderance of royalty could be of any use in republics, formed 
upon the equality of all citizens." Natural inertia, which urged 
the acceptance of the English institutions to which they were 
accustomed, thus united with the individualistic political 

philosophy of the day to determine the type of American gov- 
ernment. The early constitution-makers, however, looked 
upon their efforts as temporary provisions to meet existing 
needs and entertained no idea that changed conditions would 
not change the organization of the governments. 

While the doctrines of Jefferson and Jackson did not find 
permanent acceptance, the development of democracy, in a 
sense, intensified the type of government already established 
by making not only legislators but executive and judicial 



Governmental Reorganization 95 

















officers as well, elective by the people and not dependent upon 
or accountable to each other for anything. 

Meanwhile the things that the people required of their 
governments steadily increased and the lack of co-operation 
between the departments of government became more keenly 
felt. The remedy was furnished by political parties which in 
a way brought together the several governmental functionaries 
and forced upon them team work in the party harness. The 
subserviency of both governor and legislature to a party boss 
became frequent and what the party boss wanted done was 
done. Governments, in a rough way, became efficient — but 
they were not governments by the people. It is true today, 
however, that state governments seldom accomplish much be- 
yond the routine, seldom enact legislation of a far-reaching 
character, except under the leadership of a party boss or a 
governor of very exceptional strength backed by popular senti- 
ment that is absolutely unquestionable. Meantime old abuses 
go uncorrected and old obstructions to progress continue to 
obstruct. Although the theoretical separation of powers was 
never put in practice in all its completeness, it has neverthe- 
less done its expected work of thwarting change. Instead of 
preventing governmental tyranny the legal isolation of powers 
of government has opened the way — because it has developed 
the need — for the political boss. In the constitutional con- 
vention of 1787 Mercer of Maryland prophesied that unless 
co-operation were established between the legislature and the 
executive the legislature would prey upon the people. Who 
will deny that as regards the states, at least, the prophesy 
has been strikingly fulfilled? While seeking to avoid imag- 
inary evils, the Revolutionary constitution-makers, as Turgot 
pointed out, laid the foundation for real evils. 

Not a little of the fear of government exhibited in the 
earlv constitutions was doubtless due to a fear of democracv — 



a fear lest the masses of the people would demand laws not 
desired by the propertied classes. If this were the object 
of such checks and balances as the two-chambered legislature 
and the exclusion of the governor from a share in law making, 
it has most wonderfully succeeded. To take a single example 
from Tennessee experience, there has for many years been 
an undoubted popular demand for an anti-pass law, yet it is 
always impossible to get the legislature to enact such a bill. 
The last legislature would not even vote upon it. There is 
in the legislature, as a part of it, no leader who is responsible 
to the state as a whole; no leader, indeed, who must take 
upon himself the responsibility for any particular piece of the 
legislation. The consequence is that important matters can 



!M> Wallace McClure 



be neglected with impunity and the whole state must continue 
indefinitely to suffer from the neglect. Who can doubt that, 
if there had been in the last legislature a single accredited 
leader, who in the next campaign must answer for the failures 
of the legislature to the whole state, a vote upon the anti- 
pass bill would have been taken? A vote on such a bill, it 
should be remembered, very possibly would have meant its 1 
passage. 

We have now examined the historical reasons for our pecu- 
liar governmental organization and have noted an illustration 

of how in practice it obstructs the will of the people. Very 
evidently we are confronted with an exceedingly practical 
problem. 

It is hardly to be supposed that we shall wish at once to 
adopt the English system of cabinet government, however 
excellent that sort of government may be in many ways, how- 
ever thoroughly it would eliminate the most fundamental de- 
fect of our present governmental organization by forcing the 
co-operation of the legislature and executive and giving the 
legislature recognized leaders who are held clearly in the 

public eye and made responsible for governmental acts. There 
are, however, a number of ways in which we can greatly im- 
prove matters without very radically altering our government. 
In the United States generally we are coming more and 
more to regard our governors as in a peculiar sense the 
tribunes of the people. To them we look for the accomplish- 
ment of the ever-increasing number of things we wish done 
by our governments. At the same time we are every day 
seeing more clearly the need of responsible leadership in our 
legislatures. What could be more natural and expedient, 
therefore, than that w T e should make the governor a member 
of both houses of the legislature? Furthermore, why should 
he not be ex officio chairman of a joint committee of members 
of both houses charged with the particular duty of steering 

through the legislature such bills as the governor's party may 
have advocated in its platform, together with any other bills 
which the governor may wish to declare administration bills? 
Governors have in some instances endeavored by means of 
speaking tours throughout the state to arouse such popular 
sentiment as will force the legislature to action. Would it 
not be simpler and infinitely more effective merely to provide 
that in case the legislature rejects a bill to which the governor 
considers his administration committed, he may refer the bill 
to the voters of the state? 

At present we expect leadership of our governors yet give 
them little opportunity to lead. By making them legally what 












Governmental Reorganization 97 






we expect of them in practice, namely, leaders in obtaining 
the consideration by the legislature of needed laws, we may 
fairly hope to secure results. 

The most important single effect of having the chief execu- 
tive officer a part of the legislature would be the ease with 
which scientific budgetary procedure could be adopted for con- 
trolling the state's finances. The recently-proposed constitu- 
tion of New York charged the governor with the preparation 
of the budget and authorized him to go upon the floor of the 
legislature to defend it and urge its passage. Furthermore, it 
required him to come before the legislature at the latter's re- 
quest and answer such questions as might be put to him con- 
cerning the budget. A budget prepared by the governor would 
put a stop to log-rolling appropriations. If the governor were 
himself a legislator there could surely be no objection to his 
preparation of the budget on the ground of executive usurpa- 
tion of legislative functions. 

These suggestions contain nothing that is new. Many care- 
ful thinkers have long advocated most of them. Their object 
is merely to make of government an agency of society that is 
more workable, more efficient, more responsive to the popular 
will. For surely government can have no other object but 
to realize as quickly and economically as possible the common 
desires of the people. Wallace McClure. 










y 



ANTI-SLAVERY ACTIVITIES OF THE METHODIST 

EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN TENNESSEE. 



son, Monroe, Madison, and Franklin. 



During the period of the Revolution and the early days of 
the Republic, the general sentiment in the country as a whole 
was unfriendly to slavery. It was regarded as inconsistent 
with Christian civilization, inconsistent with the great prin- 
ciple of civil liberty for which the colonies had contended and 
which constituted the basis of the government. There was no 
state free from its taint, and the feeling that it was injurious 
to society was in no sense dependent upon sectional lines. Its 
existence was lamented by such men as Washington, Jeffer- 

There was general re- 
gret that the institution had ever been planted in America, 
and it was hoped that in time it would be abandoned. Little 
or no effort was made to defend it or to present it as an ideal 
basis for the political and economic structure of society. At 
best it was regarded as a necessary evil. 

The religious sentiment of the country was practically 
unanimous in condemnation of slavery, as is shown by the 
acts of the different denominations. While the Society of 
Friends led all others in the employment of moral influence 
for the eradication of the evil, others, and particularly the 
Methodists, manifested a pronounced opposition to it. It is 

the province of this article to describe the attitude of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the strongest and most 
active of the Southern churches, toward slavery, in the State 
of Tennessee. / 

In 1784, four years before it was formally established in 
the United States, the National Conference declared that slav- 
ery was "contrary to the laws of God, man and nature, and 
hurtful to society; contrary to the dictates of conscience and 
true religion." Besides expressing its disapproval of slave- 
holding, it advised manumission and even required it in the 
case of traveling preachers. When the church was fully or- 
ganized in 1788, the Conference voted to suspend both local 
and traveling ministers who failed to meet these requirements. 
Regulations were adopted also for the discipline of slave- 
holding members, requiring that deeds of manumission be exe- 
cuted for all slaves within a brief term of years, and that the 
children of these slaves be free at birth. The right of com- 
munion was to be withheld until the execution of the deeds, 
and recalcitrants were offered a final alternative of voluntary 
withdrawal or of exclusion from the church. These rules were 
to apply only so far as they were consistent with the laws of 
the various states, but anyone who bought or sold slaves was 
















Methodist Anti-Slavery Activities 99 



to be expelled immediately unless he had bought them in order 
to free them. 1 These provisions were zealously upheld by 
Bishop Coke, who was ordained by Wesley to take charge of 
the church in America, and by his assistant, Bishop Asbury. 
Unfortunately legal obstructions to manumission in many of 
the Southern states, and the opposition of some of the South- 
ern members, led to a partial suspension of these rules the 
following year. When re-enacted in 1796 and again in 1800 
they show considerable weakening. Children of slaves under- 
going manumission were now to be freed only at twenty-one 
or twenty-five years of ago, according to the sex. Purchasers 
of slaves instead of being expelled immediately were to be per- 
mitted to hold them for a term of years, the time to be deter- 
mind by the Quarterly Meeting. Not only, however, was the 
practice of slavery forbidden within the communion of the 
church, but the extirpation of the system was recognized at 
once as an object which demanded attention and action. Both 
the preachers and the members of the society were requested 
to consider the subject of negro slavery with "deep attention" 
and to communicate to the Conference "any important thought 
upon the subject" that might occur to them that the Confer- 
ence might have full light in order to take further steps 
"toward eradicating this enormous evil from that part of the 
Church of God with which they are connected." The Annual 
Conferences were directed to draw up addresses for the grad- 
ual emancipation of slaves which were to be sent to the legis- 
latures of those states in which no general laws had been 
passed for that purpose. Committees were appointed for con- 
ducting this business and all church officers and traveling 
preachers were to enlist in securing signatures to the ad- 
dresses. This plan was to continue from year to year until 
the desired end had been accomplished. 2 Hence the Methodist 
Episcopal Church was virtually organized into a society for 
anti-slavery agitation, with its Annual Conferences inviting 
free discussion and seeking for more light, and with its preach- 
ers and members circulating anti-slavery publications and 

petitions to legislative bodies. 

During these early years many attributed the slow growth 
of the church in the South to its anti-slavery doctrines, and 
by their efforts induced the National Conference to exempt 

t 

I 'Emory, John, His tory of the Discipline (of the Methodist Epis- 

i copal Church) (New York, 1840), pp. 43, 80. Matlack, L. C, The 

History of American Slavery and Methodism, 1780-1849 (New York, 

1849), pp. 14-31. 

^Journals of the General Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, 1796-1844, Vol. I, pp. 40-41. Matlack, op. cit., pp. 21-34, 
58ff. McTyeire, H. N., A History of Methodism (Nashville, 1904),. 
p. 377-389. 



\ 



100 A. E. Martin 



the churches in the Southern states from certain of the regu- 
lations. By acts of the General Conference in 1804 and in 
1808 denominational effort for emancipation was finally aban- 
doned on the ground that it interfered with the progreH of 
. the real work of the church, though the strong rules condemn- 
ing slavery remained in unmistakable words. At this same 
time the Annual Conferences were instructed to u forin their 
own regulations relative to buying and selling slaves." 3 This 
act placed it in the power of the body of preachers to act 
efficiently in one direction against slavery, even should the 
National Conference choose to refrain entirely from action in 
the matter. The Western Conference, as we shall see later, 
early took advantage of this provision. 

The Methodists entered Tennessee with the original set- 
tlers and soon secured a strong foothold. During the first 
years of the nineteenth century their membership became and 
remained larger than that of any other religious denomina- 
tion in the state. 4 

Previous to 1801, when the Western Conference, embrac- 
ing the territory west of the Appalachian Mountains, was 
formed, Tennessee constituted a part of the Conference of 
Kentucky, and previous to 1808 the slave regulations enacted 
by the national organization were enforced there. As a re- 
sult of the action, referred to above, empowering the Annual 
Conferences to "form their own regulations relative to buying 
and selling slaves," the Western Conference, at its first meet- 
ing held at Liberty Hill, near Nashville, in 1808, in answer 
to the query, "What method shall be taken with those mem- 
bers of our society that shall enter into the slave trade?" 
instructed the circuit preachers to summon before the Quar- 
terly Meeting all persons charged with buying or selling slaves 
with speculative motives. If the Conference found upon ex- 
amination that the charges were sustained, the persons so 
offending were to be expelled from the society. The Confer- 
ence further decreed that no member of the "society or 
preacher should buy or sell a slave unjustly, inhumanely or 
covetously" under penalty of being expelled from the church. 
The above decrees were signed by Bishop Francis Asbury and 
William McKendree. 5 

These rules remained in force until the division of the 

* Journals of the General Conferences, Vol. I, pp. 44, 60f, 93, 170, 
205; Matlack, op. tit., 31-32. 

4 McFerrin, John B., History of Methodism in Tennessee (Nash- 
ville, 1869), Vol. I, pp. 26, 470, 523; Vol. II, 132, 159, 262. See also 
McTyeire, op. cit. 9 462, and Goodspeed, History of Tennessee (1886), 
p. 664. 

•Asbury, Francis, Journal of Rev. Francis Asbury \ Bishop of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church (New York, 1852), Vol. 3, p. 290. Cart- 









I 






Methodist Anti-Slavery Activities 101 



Western Conference and the formation in 1812 of the Ten- 
nessee Annual Conference. In this, as in the former, the 
"slave rule" made its usual appearance. At its first meet- 
ing in 1812 a motion was made by Learner Blackman and 
carried by the Conference, that the words "humanity and 
speculation be stricken out of the rule made by the Western 
Annual Conference, and the words justice and mercy in- 
serted." To the usual query, "What method shall be taken 
with a member of our Society that shall enter into the slave 
trade, and buy and sell a slave or slaves?" the following 
answer was given: "Every preacher who has the charge of 
a circuit shall upon information received, cite every such 
member or members so buying or selling a slave or slaves to 
appear at the ensuing Quarterly Meeting Conference, and 
submit his or their case to the judgment of the said Quarterly 
Meeting Conference, who shall proceed to determine whether 
the person or persons had bought or sold such slave or slaves 
in a cause of justice and mercy . . ." and if a majority of 
the Conference decided in the negative the accused was to 
be expelled. 6 

At this meeting Leven Edney, the owner of a slave, was 
recommended from the Nashville Circuit for the ministrv, and, 
after an examination of his character, was approved. Learner 
Blackman was his security that he would set his slave free 
when it was practicable. 7 As the laws of Tennessee as well 
as those of most of the Southern states required security for 
the conduct and support of emancipated slaves, it was often 
impracticable to adhere strictly to the rules of the church 
in this regard. The question was further complicated by the 
fact that the laws not only recognized the right of property 
in slaves, but closely regulated the relations of master and 
slave as a civil institution. 

In 1815, after making a few minor changes in the slave 
rules, the Annual Conference again prohibited all church 
members from engaging in the slave trade under penalty of 
expulsion, and made any member ineligible to the office of 
deacon who did not disapprove of slavery and express a will- 
ingness to effect a legal emancipation of his slaves as soon as 
it was practicable for him to do so. 8 

The National Conference which met in Baltimore in 1816 
discussed at considerable length its various rulings on the 

wright, Peter, Fifty Years as a Presiding Elder (Cincinnati, 1871), 
pp. 53ff. See also Goodspeed, op. cit., p. 663; and 0. P. Temple, East 
Tennessee and the Civil War (1899), pp. 97ff. 

6 McFerrin, op. cit., Vol. 2, pp. 261, 283. See also Goodspeed, 
op. cit., p. 668. 

7 McFerrin, op. cit. 9 Vol. II, p. 261. 

8 Goodspeed, op. cit., p. 668; Temple, op. cit., pp. 97ff. 












102 A. E. Martin 



subject of slavery, and especially the numerous difficulties 
encountered by the Southern churches in a strict adhesion to 
them. The action taken at this time is of especial interest. In 
part it is as follows: 

"We most sincerely believe, and declare it as our opinion, 
that slavery is a moral evil. But as the laws of our country 
do not admit of emancipation without a special act of the 
legislature, in some places, nor admit of the slave so liberated 
to enjoy freedom, we cannot adopt any rule by which we can 
compel our members to liberate their slaves; and as the na- 
ture of the cases in buying and selling are various and com- 
plex, we do not think it possible to devise any rule sufficiently 
specific to meet them. But to go so far as we can, consistent 
with the laws of our country and the nature of the things, to 
do away with the evil, and remove the curse from the church 
of God, it is the resolution of this Conference that the follow- 
ing regulations shall be adopted: 

"1. If any member of our Society shall buy or sell a slave 
or slaves in order to make gain, or shall sell to any person 
who buys to sell again for that purpose, such member shall be 
called to an account as the Discipline directs, and expelled 
from the church, nevertheless, the above rule does not affect 
any person in our Society, if he or she make it appear that 
they have bought or sold to keep man and wife, parent and 
children together. , 

"2. No person, traveling or local, shall be eligible to the 
office of deacon in our church, unless he assures us sentiently, 
in person or by letter, that he disapproves of slavery and de- 
clares his willingness and intention to execute, whenever it 
is practicable, a legal emancipation of such slave or slaves, 
conformably to the laws of the state in which he lives." 9 

The position of the Methodist Episcopal Church as ex- 
pressed in these resolutions and regulations, together with 
those previously given, is unmistakably antagonistic to slav- 
ery. Through its strong and efficient central organization it 
exerted a considerable influence in favor of emancipation in 
both the North and the South. Particularly in the South, 

where its membership was large, it proved a great force in 
retarding the development of a sentiment in support of the 
institution of slavery. 

When at the Tennessee Annual Conference, held at Frank- 
lin, in 1817, the question of the slave trade was again dis- 
cussed, it was decided that if any local elder, deacon or 
preacher in the Methodist church should purchase a slave, 
the Quarterly Conference should say how long the slave should 

•McFerrin, op. cit, Vol. II, pp. 401ff. 












Methodist Anti-Slavery Activities 103 



serve as a remuneration for the purchase money. The pur- 
chaser was required to enter into a written obligation to 
emancipate the slave at the expiration of the term of servitude, 
providing the laws of the state would permit it. 10 The same 
rule applied to the private members of the church, whose 
cases were managed by a committee appointed by the preacher 
having charge of their respective circuits instead of by the 
Quarterly Conference. In all cases relating to preachers, 
deacons, elders or private members, the children of purchased 
slaves born during the time of servitude were to be manu- 
mitted upon arriving at the age of twenty-live, providing the 
laws should then permit of emancipation ; but if they did not, 
these children were to be submitted to the proper church 
authorities to determine their term of servitude. This rule 
further required the seller of a slave to record in the county 
his emancipation at the expiration of the term. 11 It was 
further provided that "If an elder, deacon, preacher, or pri- 
vate member among us shall sell a slave or slaves into per- 
petual bondage, they shall thereby forfeit their membership 
in the Church." 12 It was explicitly stated, however, that the 
above rules were not to be "so construed as to oblige an elder, 
deacon, or preacher, or private member to give security for 
the good behavior or maintenance of the slave or slaves eman- 
cipated, should the court require it." 13 

At this meeting the secretary, Hardy M. Cryer, was called 
to answer concerning slavery, since he had promised the last 
Conference to endeavor to emancipate his negroes and to re- 
port to the next Conference. He said that he had made en- 
deavors but had not succeeded in the attempt, and the Con- 
ference accepted the report. He stated further that since 
the last Conference he had purchased a negro boy and he 
gave his reasons for the act. His explanation was accepted. 
He was then elected to the office of elder. 14 This case illus- 
trates well the fact that when men determined to own slaves 
it was easy to make it appear to be according to the rules of 
"justice and mercy" to retain those in their possession or to 
purchase others. 

At the meeting held in 1818, the slave regulations of the 
previous year were repealed and the following resolution 
adopted : "Resolved, That we receive the printed rule on 
slavery in the form of Discipline as full and sufficient on 
the subject." 15 



10 

11 



McFerrin, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 462ff. 

Ibid. See also Goodspeed, p. 668; and Temple, op. cit., p. 98. 
12 Mr»F e rrin, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 465. 

"Ibid. 

"Ibid, Vol. II, p. 467. 
"Ibid., Vol. Ill, pp. 19-20. 






104 A. E. Martin 






Anti-slavery feeling in the church appears to have cul- 
minated in 1819, strengthened, doubtless, by the agitation in 
Congress in connection with the admission of Missouri into 
the Union. The struggle in the Annual Conference was pre- 
cipitated when Peter Cartwright, one of the leading preachers 
in the Conference, openly accused some of the most prominent 
ministers in the state of "living in constant violation of the 
Discipline of the Church." 16 In his "Autobiography" he makes 
the following comment upon this incident: "They tried to 
make out a fair excuse, and to show that it was impracticable, 
according to the laws of the state, and I, in order to sustain 
my charges of violating the Discipline of the Church, had to 
show that they could at any time emancipate their slaves by 
becoming surety that their negroes, when emancipated, did 
not become a county charge. They employed a distinguished 
lawyer, F. Grundy, and I went to General Jackson for coun- 
sel. The case was fairly stated and explained in open con- 
ference, and these preachers were required to go to court and 
record a bill of emancipation." 17 The Conference refused to 
ordain two candidates for the ministry because they were 
slaveholders and rejected a number of applicants for deacons' 18 
orders. In this connection Peter Cartwright says: "The 
discussion of the subject of slavery waked up some bad feel- 
ing, and as we had at this Conference to elect our delegates 
to the General Conference which was to hold its session in 
Baltimore in May, 1820, these slave-holding preachers deter- 
mined to form a ticket and exclude every one of us who were 
for the Methodist Discipline as it was, and is to this day. As 
soon as we found out their plans we formed an opposite ticket, 
excluding all advocates of slavery, and we elected every man 
on our ticket." 19 These acts elicited from the minority slavery 
party a strong printed protest, copies of which were widely 
circulated in Tennessee. One copy was sent to each member 
of the National Conference. 20 It read as follows: 

"Be it remembered, that whereas the Tennessee Annual 
Conference, held in Nashville, October 1, 1819, have taken a 
course, in their decisions, relative to the admission of preachers 
on trial in the traveling connection, and in the election of 
local preachers to ordination, which goes to fix the principle 
that no man, even in those states where the law does not admit 
of emancipation, shall be admitted on trial, or be ordained to 
the office of Deacon, or Elder, if it is understood that he is 

"Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, the Backwoods Preacher. H I 

Edited by W. P. Strickland. (New York, 1857.) P. 195. 
"Ibid. 

"Ibid. McFerrin, op. cit. y Vol. Ill, p. 160. ■ 

"Cartwright, Autobiography ; p. 196. 

"Ibid. 








Methodist Anti-Slavery Activities 105 






the owner of a slave or slaves. That this course is taken, 
is not to be denied; and it is avowedly designed to fix the 
principle already mentioned. Several cases might be men- 
tioned, but it is unnecessary to instance any except the case 
of Gilbert D. Taylor, proposed for admission, and Dudley 
Hargrave, recommended for ordination. We deprecate the 
course taken as oppressively severe in itself and ruinous in its 
consequences; and we disapprove of the principle as con- 
trary to, and a violation of, the order and Discipline of our 
Church. We therefore do solemnly, and in the fear of God, 
as members of this Conference, enter our protest against the 
proceedings of Conference, as it relates to the above-named 
course and principle." 21 

John Johnson, one of the signers of the protest, in a letter 
the following year, gave his reasons for his action as well as 
for his position on the question of slavery, which are of espe- 
cial interest because they are typical of those held by most 
of the other so-called pro-slavery preachers in the Conference. 
He declared his disapproval of slavery, and stated that his 
opposition to the majority was based on a desire to prevent 
a division in the church. In part, he said : 

"Even so, our church will never be raised above the shame- 
ful factions and miserable discords which now disgrace her, 
until her ministers come to have their hearts, as Archimedes 
would have had his lever, fixed in the heavens. ... If a 
division takes place, which I much fear, what effect will it 
have in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Mis- 
sissippi, etc. Will it not deprive us of access to both the slave- 
holder and the slave? 

"I would propose, for your consideration the passage of a 

slave rule to this effect : 

"1. That every slave-holder in our church shall provide 

a comfortable house, with sufficient bed and bedding, for every 

slave in his possession. 

"2. That each slave shall be clothed in decent apparel in 
summer and warm clothing in winter; and shall have plenty 
of good and wholesome food, and time to eat it. 

"3. That every slave over — years of age shall be taught 

to read the Holy Scriptures. 

21 Recollections of Rev. John Johnson and His Home: An Auto- 
biography, by Mrs. Susannah Johnson (Nashville, 1869), pp. 305-306. 

The above protest was signed by Thos. L. Douglass, Thos. 
D. Porter, William McMahon, Benjamin Malone, Lewis Gar- 
rett, Barnabas McHenry, William Allgood, William Stribbling, 
Ebenezer Hearn, Timothy Carpenter, Thomas Springfield, Ben- 
jamin Edge, Joshua Boucher, William Hartt, John Johnson, 
Henry B. Bascon. See also McFerrin, Vol. Ill, p. 160; Good- 
speed, op. cit. y p. 670; and Temple, op. cit., p. 99. 









km; 



A. E. Martin 



"4. That every slave over 



mitted to attend the worship of God 



years of age shall be per- 



times in every 



-r>. Thai every slave shall attend family worship twice 



a day. 



.. 



<;. That every slave shall be allowed one hour for read 



nig in every 
"7. That 






no master shall inflict more than 



stripes 



for any one offense, nor any stripes on any one who is over 



years of age. 



"8. That no slave shall be compelled 
his own will. 



to marry against 



*t 



9. No master shall suffer man and wife, or parent and 
child, to be parted without their consent when it is in his 
power — he being the owner of one — to prevent it by buying 
or selling at a fair price. 

"10. On any complaint being made against a member for 
violation of these rules let the preacher appoint a committee 
of to investigate the facts and report to the society. 

11. Any member violating or refusing to comply with 
the above rules shall be dealt with as in other cases of im- 



.. 



morality." 22 

These proposals, though issued more than twenty years 
before the division of the church over the question of slavery, 
are found, upon comparison, to represent almost the identical 
policy adopted by the Methodist Episcopal Church of the 
South as its attitude toward slavery, — namely, an acceptance 
of the institution with the assumption of the task of making 
it as humane and enlightened as possible. 

Up to this date the sentiment seemed to be well nigh uni- 
versal in the Tennessee Conferences that slavery was a great 
moral evil, a curse to the church, and that slaveholding was 
a sin not to be tolerated after the time should come, which 
seemed to be anticipated, when the laws of the state would 
permit emancipation. The Methodist itinerants almost to a 
man had been in favor of emancipation. Some of the minis- 
ters even held that slaveholding should be made a test of mem- 
bership in the church, while others strenuously urged it as a 
condition of salvation. 23 

From 1819 to 1822 the Presiding Elder, James Axley, a 
prominent East Tennessee preacher, and the circuit preacher, 
Enoch Moore, used a rigid anti-slavery policy in the adminis- 
tration of Discipline. They not only refused to license slave- 
holders to preach but actually denied them the privilege of 
exhorting. Furthermore, they allowed no slaveholding mem- 
ber or official of the church to lead a public prayer meeting. 24 



^Johnson, op. cit., pp. 307-11. 
"McFerrin, op. cit. f Vol. II, p. 
"Ibid., pp. 261, 243, 494ff. 



261 









Methodist Anti-Slavery Activities 107 






These harsh measures produced much irritation and fric- 
tion in the church and greatly injured the cause of the anti- 
slavery element by alienating many of the more moderate fol- 
lowers. Consequently in 1822 George Ekin, who replaced 
James Axley, placed a more liberal interpretation on the above 
rules of the church, a policy which prevailed during the re- 
mainder of the slavery period. From this time on, slave- 
holding men were ordained to preach after they had given a 
promise to emancipate their slaves "so soon as practicable." 25 
Since the laws of the state were so strict regarding emancipa- 
tion that it was seldom found practicable, the number of slaves 
held by the ministers and the members gradually increased 
regardless of the action of the Conferences. 

At the Annual Conference, held at Columbia, Tennessee, 
in 1824, the question of slavery came up again in the form of 
an t address from the "Moral and Religious Manumission So- 
ciety of West Tennessee." This address was referred to a spe- 
cial committee appointed for its consideration. When, after 
considerable discussion, it was again brought before the Con- 
ference without any action having been taken on the subject, 
this body resolved to return the address to the committee 
accompanied with a note stating "that so far as the address 
involves the subject of slavery Ave concur in the sentiment that 
slavery is an evil to be deplored and that it should be counter- 
acted by every judicious and religious exertion." 26 

From this date until the formation of the Southern Meth- 
odist Episcopal Conference in 1844 no important action was 
taken by the Annual Conferences of Tennessee on the subject 
of slavery, though considerable anti-slavery activity was dis- 
played at various times in local churches and District Con- 
ferences, especially in East Tennessee, where the antagonism 
to slavery was always pronounced. One instance will be suffi- 
cient to illustrate this sentiment. As late as 1826 the District 
Conference, which assembled in Green County, in answer to an 
address from the Manumission Society of Tennessee to the 
various religious denominations of the state, expressed the good 
will of that body in the work and issued a strong declaration 
in favor of legal emancipation. 27 

A great many ministers and members of the Methodist 

2 *Ibid., p. 261; Goodspeed, op. cit., p. 668. 

Among those who were not permitted to preach by James 
Axley on account of being the owner of slaves was William 
Garrett. 

26 McFerrin, op. cit., Vol. Ill, pp. 270ff. 

This resolution was offered by two members who them- 
selves or their parents were slaveholders. 

27 Genius of Universal Emancipation, December 22, 1827, Vol. 7, 
p. 194. 















108 A. E. Martin 



"McFerrin, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 150; Vol. II, p. 494. See also the 
local histories of Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, particularly 
Rufus King's History of Ohio. 



» 



Cartwright, Fifty Years a Presiding Elder, p. 24. 






Church of Tennessee, under the influence of the anti-slavery 
feeling that pervaded all denominations in the state previous 
to 1824, emigrated to the free states north of the Ohio River. 
In this way the most active anti-slavery workers in the church, 
being unable to influence the actions of that body in regard 
to slavery and despairing of any action on the part of the 
government, left the state in order to free themselves from 
the evils of a slave society. 28 

The Methodists of the state appear to have been fully as 
diligent in the enforcement of the strong rules laid down by 
the National Conference on the subject of slavery as those 
of any other section of the South. Up to 1824 probably no 
religious denomination having a foothold in the South, with 
the exception of the Quakers, had been so steadfastly opposed 
to slavery. Peter Cartwright once made the assertion that 
the Methodist Episcopal Church had "been the cause of the 
emancipation of more slaves in these United States and Terri- 
tories than all other religious denominations put together." 29 

The Methodist Church from the first was opposed to slav- 
ery, and from 1784 to 1824 tried to legislate it out of the 
church. From 1824 to 1844 the rules regarding slavery re- 
mained practically the same, although little effort was made 
to enforce them. In the meantime slavery in the South had 
been rapidly gaining in strength by stringent legislative acts 
and ministerial advocacy. More and more did the legislatures 
of the South block up the way to practicable emancipation. 
In commenting upon this change in the attitude of the South- 
ern Methodists toward slavery, Peter Cartwright, who preached 
from 1808 to 1824 in the South, chiefly in Tennessee, says: 
"It is a notorious fact that all the preachers from the slave- 
holding states denounced slavery as a moral evil; but asked of 
the General Conference mercy and forbearance on account of 
the civil disabilities they labored under so that w r e got along 
tolerably smooth. I do not recollect a single Methodist 
preacher at that day that justified slavery. . . . Methodist 
preachers in those days made it a matter of conscience not 
to hold their fellow creatures in bondage, if it was practicable 
to emancipate them, comformably to the laws of the state in 
which they lived. Methodism increased and spread, and many 
Methodist preachers, taken from comparative poverty, not able 
to own a negro, and who preached loudly against it, improved 
and became popular among slaveholding families, and became . 
personally interested in slave property. They then began to 










Methodist Anti-Slavery Activities 109 



apologize for the evil; then to justify it, on legal principles; 

then on Bible principles/' 30 

A study of the history of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
shows a gradual change in its policy toward slavery. At first 
it was bold and outspoken in its opposition, then cautious and 
conservative, and finally it warmly espoused an institution it 
had once unshrinkingly condemned. Because in all things it 
belonged to the masses, its consequent wheeling about with 
public opinion is easily understood. Therefore when, in 1844, 
the question of whether or not a bishop could own slaves came 
before the National Conference of the Church, the majority de- 
creed that he could not. Thereupon the Southern members 
withdrew and organized the Methodist Episcopal Church of 
the South. The delegates from Tennessee, and indeed all the 
members from the slaveholding states, except four from Balti- 
more and one from Texas, voted against the action of the 
majority and supported the Southern organization. 



Asa Earl Martin. 



Pennsylvania State College. 



30 



Cartwright 



In 1824 Peter Cartwright 
his opposition to slavery. 









EARLY CORPORATE LIMITS OF NASHVILLE. 1 i 

In explanation of the subject of discussion which may be 
termed "Early Corporate Limits of Nashville," I will say that 
some years ago I became interested in informing myself as 
to changes in the corporation line of the city since its original 
incorporation. 

The information compiled by me was obtained from the 
Acts of the Legislature of the State and from entries in the 
Minutes of the old Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Nash- 
ville. These old Minute Books were at that time stored away 
in the City Recorder's Office. They had no indexes and I had 
to page the books to find these entries. I believe that the 
data which I have on this subject has never been compiled. 

Before calling your attention to the early growth of the 
City of Nashville, with especial reference to the extension of 
its corporate limits, it might be of interest to give you some 
of the facts connected with the original laying off of the city, 
and also to mention the names of the original streets. 

By an Act of the Legislature of the State of North Carolina, 
passed in 1782, it was provided that no grant should include 
any salt lick or salt spring, these places being declared to 
be reserved as public property, together with 640 acres of the 
adjoining lands, for the common use and benefit of the in- 
habitants. The aborigines and all the wild animals knew the 
location of these salt licks and springs. They were of great 
value to the people, as well as to the grass-eating animals; and 
as we know, there was a salt lick and is now a salt spring in 
the northern portion of the City of Nashville, near the base- 
ball park. 

Pursuant to this Act of the Legislature of the State of 
North Carolina, Thomas Mulloy was employed as a surveyor 
to lay off the 640 acres of land reserved around our sulphur 
spring, then called the "French Salt Lick." This tract, making 
one square mile, was laid off by Mulloy, with boundaries about 

as follows: 

The north line was where Jefferson Street is now, and the 
south line was about where the Howard School is located; 
the east line was the river, and the west line was about where 
Stonewall Street, or Fifteenth Avenue, now is. 

In 1784 the Legislature of North Carolina enacted that 200 
acres of the land appropriated to the French Salt Lick should 

*A paper read at a meeting of the "Pudding Stone Club" on 
November 12, 1915, at Nashville, Tenn., and published in the Nash- 
ville Tennessean and American for November 21, 1915. It was hoped 
that this paper might be published in the Magazine for March, 1916, 
together with that of Mr. Park Marshall, to which it adds a very 
interesting complement. The paper, however, was received too late 

to permit its appearance in the March number. 














Early Limits of Nashville 111 









be laid off at a place called "The Bluff of the Cumberland 
River" for a town to be called "Nashville," and it was further 
provided that this French Salt Lick should not be included 
in this 200 acres. 

There had previously been a settlement at the bluff, called 
"Nashborough" named for General Francis Nash, of North 

* 

Carolina, who had been a friend of James Robertson, and who 
was killed at the battle of Germantown, Pennsylvania, in the 
Revolutionary War. 

The same Thomas Mulloy who surveyed the 640-acre reser- 
vation also surveved the 200 acres for the Town of Nashville. 
The description of this 200 acres may be given now as follows : 
Beginning at the northwest corner of Broadway and First 
Avenue, North; running thence west along the north line of 
Broadway to the northeast corner of Broadway and Ninth 
Avenue, North; running thence north along the east side of 
Ninth Avenue, North, to Church Street; thence continuing in 
the same direction and along the alley between Eighth Avenue, 
North, and Ninth Avenue, North (north of Church Street) 
and along the eastern side of old McLemore Street, now Ninth 
Avenue, North, to the south side of Jo Johnston Avenue; 
thence east along the south side of Jo Johnston Avenue to the 
alley between Fourth Avenue, North, and Third Avenue, 
North; thence at right angles northwardly along this alley 
about 600 feet to a point about where Whiteside Street ex- 
tended would intersect same; and thence again at right angles 
east to the west side of First Avenue, North; thence south 
along the west side of First Avenue, North, to the north side 
of Bridge Street (Bridge Street being the little street that 
leaves the Public Square at its northeast corner, running 
toward the river, where the old Main Street bridge was lo- 
cated) ; thence west along the north side of Bridge Street to 
a point in line with the west side of First Avenue North (south 
of the square) extended northwardly; thence south along said 
extended line and the west side of First Avenue, North, to the 
point of beginning. 

It will be observed that the boundaries of these 200 acres, 
the original lines of the City of Nashville, do not include any 
part of the land lying along the river bluff between First 
Avenue, North, and the river. 

By an Act passed September 11, 1806, the Town of Nash- 
ville, in the County of Davidson, and the inhabitants thereof, 
were constituted a body politic and corporate under the name 
of the "Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Nashville." 

This 200 acres of land allotted to the town was laid off into 
165 lots of one acre each. There were onlv two streets in this 
plan which ran east and west. One of these, Cedar Street, 




112 R. B. C. Howell 



ended on the east at the Public Square, and the other, Spring 
Street, now Church Street, ended at Water Street, afterwards 
Front Street, and now First Avenue, North. Neither Broad 
Street, nor McLemore (now Ninth Avenue, North), nor Line 
Street (now Jo Johnston Avenue) were in the corporate limits. 

The streets running north and south were Main Street, 
afterwards Market Street, and now Second Avenue, North, 
and College, Cherry, Summer, High, Vine and Spruce Streets, 
now Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Avenues, 
North, respectively. There were no alleys in the original plan. 

At this time we might wonder why these streets were 
made so narrow. We must remember that methods of trans- 
portation have changed wonderfully even in the last few years, 
and the number and variety of vehicles have greatly increased. 
There are probably many persons now living who can recall 
the day when ladies residing in the country thought no more 
of coming to town on horseback than their granddaughters 
do now of being brought in their automobiles. In those days 
a blockade of the streets was unheard of. The fashion of wide 
streets is altogether modern. In those days there were very 
few wheeled vehicles of any kind and very few things to haul 
in them. The people who did not walk, rode horseback, and 
very seldom had more than they could easily carry themselves. 

It is not known, so far as I have been able to learn, why, 
and from whom, the original streets of the Town of Nashville 
received their names. It is probable that Water Street, after- 



wards Front, and now First Avenue, North, was given that 
name for the reason that it was nearest the water, although 
Surveyor Mulloy had cut off the town from access to the river. 
I know of no reason why the name was afterwards changed 
to Front Street. 

Cherry and Summer Streets were probably simply fancy 
names. High Street may have been so called because it ran 
over the top of what was then Campbell's Hill, now Capitol 
Hill, and thus at that point was the highest street in the city. 

I can offer no explanation for the names of Vine and Spruce 
Streets. It has been said that at the time of the foundation 
of the City of Nashville merchants in the South did most of 
their trading in Philadelphia, and that some of our street 
names were adopted from the names of Philadelphia streets. 
This might be an explanation. 

College Street was so called because the main buildings 
of Davidson Academy faced the southern end of this street. 
The main entrance to the college grounds was by a flight of 
stone steps at the end of South College Street, just south of 
the present Franklin Street, and the walkway led straight 
from the entrance to the door of the central building. 



















Early Limits of Nashville 113 



Spring Street, now Church Street, originally derived its 
name from the fact that somewhere between Market and Col- 
lege Streets, in Spring Street, there was a bold spring. In 
after years a number of churches were built on this street. 
There was a Methodist Church on the north side of the street 
between Cherry Street and Printers' Alley. The First Pres- 
byterian Church, McKendree Church, Christ Church, where the 
Hitchcock Building now is, and probably others were also on 
Church Street. 

Cedar Street evidently obtained its name from the fact 

that practically the entire street as originally laid off ran over 

a knob or hill covered with cedar trees, which is now Capitol 
Hill. 

Line Street naturally got its name from the fact that it 
was the north line of the city. 

To me it has always been a serious question whether or 
not it was wise to change the names of our original streets, 
because it tends to blot out of public memory important land- 
marks in the history of the city. 

Four acres of the original 200 acres were reserved for the 
erection of public buildings, and this is now our Public Square. 
The custom of having public squares prevails generally in 
Middle Tennessee, but whether or not it was derived from the 
old Spanish practice or the example set by the City of Nash- 
ville cannot be determined. 

The first change in the original corporate limits of the 
City of Nashville was by an Act passed November 16, 1815, 
when a grant theretofore made to John McNairy of 200 acres 
was amended to the extent that the land Iving between the 
eastern boundary line of the city and the west bank of the 
Cumberland River was excluded from the McNairy grant which 
had included that land. By this same Act this property was 
declared to be a part of the City of Nashville. After this Act 
there was a series of lawsuits between John McNairy and 
the Town of Nashville, McNairy probably rightfully claiming 
that the title to this property called the "Bluff" was still in 
him. Afterwards, on May 19, 1818, a paper was signed by 
John P. Erwin, Mayor, which recited that an agreement and 
compromise had been entered into between John McNairy and 
the Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Nashville which put 
an end to the matter and the town quit-claimed to McNairy 
that part of the Bluff from about the present location of Lo- 
cust Street to the north line of the city, and McNairy quit- 
claimed to the city the rest of the Bluff property from Locust 
Street south to Broad Street. Judge McNairy seemed still 
to be dissatisfied, and afterwards, on June 5, 1822, a long entry 
was made on the Minutes of the Circuit Court in the case of 









114 If. B. C. Howell 










John McNairy vs. Andrew Hines, and others, reciting the his- 
tory of the title to this Bluff property, and ordering that the 
calls in the different grants be amended so as to definitely 
settle the matter according to the compromise agreement. 

The next addition to the corporate limits of the Town of 
Nashville was by an Act passed October 14, 1824, by which 
the property commonly known now as "Black Bottom" was 
annexed to the southern limits of the city. This addition to 
the city limits included the property from High Street east 
to the river and from Broad Street south to a line running 
east and west a short distance north of Peabody Street- . 

On August 30, 1830, the boundaries of the city were again 
changed and the property between McLemore Street on the 
west, Hamilton Street and Lick Branch on the north and the 
corporate limits (Line Street) on the south, and the cor- 
porate limits (the alley between College and Cherry Streets) 
on the east, was added to the city, and also a strip of ground 
on the western boundary of the city fronting 400 feet wide • 
and running from Church Street to Line Street, was included 
in the corporate limits. 

By an Act of March 28, 1838, that property between the 
then northern lines of the city and Jefferson Street was taken 
into the corporation. 

By an Act of November 27, 1843, Lots Nos. 181 and 182 in 
the Division of the Keal Estate of Judge John McNairy, being 
two lots lying on the southwest corner of Jefferson and Mc- 
Lemore Streets, were annexed to the city. 

By an Act of the Legislature, passed on November 19, 1851, | 
the Town of South Nashville was incorporated. The limits 
of the Town of South Nashville may be described as follows: 

Beginning at the Southeast corner of the corporation of 
Nashville on Cumberland River, which may be located now as 
a point on the south bank of the river a few feet north of 
where Peabody Street extended would intersect same, and 
running westwardly with the line of said corporation to it» 
southwest corner on High Street; thence south along High 
Street to where the line of free territory crosses High Street ; 
thence westwardly along the free territory line to the west 
side of the N., C. & St. L. Railway, which point would be a 
few feet south of where Lee Avenue extended would intersect 
the said railroad ; thence in a southerly direction and parallel 
with High Street crossing the Franklin Turnpike (now Eighth 
Avenue, South) and continuing the same direction until it 
strikes a point in Chestnut Street between where it crosses 
the Nashville and Decatur Railroad and intersects the Cumber- 
land Park Boulevard just south of St. Cloud Hill; thence in 
an eastern direction parallel with and a few feet south of 



Early Limits of Nashville 115 






I 



Humphreys Street until it intersects the Nolensville Turnpike 
Road; thence in a northeasterly direction crossing the N., C. 
& St. L. Railway at a point between the Cherry Street crossing 
and the College Street Bridge to the first milestone on the 
Murfreesboro Turnpike Road, which is at the intersection of 
Fairfield Avenue and the Murfreesboro Pike; thence along 
Fairfield Avenue and continuing in the same direction to Cum- 
berland River; and thence down the river to the place of be- 
ginning. 

On the 15th day of June, 1854, an election was held in 
the Town of Nashville, and another in the Town of South 
Nashville, to ascertain the wishes of the people as to a union 
between the Towns of Nashville and South Nashville, and 
the articles of union which had been previously agreed upon 
were ratified by majorities of 309 and 235, respectively, in 
the two Towns. By this act of union the property described 
above was annexed to and made a part of the Town of Nash- 
ville. 

On December 4, 1865, on petition directed to the Mayor and 
Aldermen of the Town of Nashville, filed by some of the resi- 
dents of the then Thirteenth Civil District of Davidson Countv, 
the property between the then northern limits of the town 
(Jefferson Street) on the south, McLemore Street on the west, 
the river on the east and the line just south of Taylor Street 
on the north was annexed to the city. 

In the early part of the year 1866 a petition was presented 
to the Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Nashville, signed 
by about sixteen citizens and owners of real estate in the then 
Tenth Civil District of Davidson County, requesting that cer- 
tain property described in the petition might become and be 
made a part of the corporation. The property described in 
this petition may be bounded as follows : 

On the east by the corporate limits of the city ; on the north 
by Cedar Street; on the west by Stonewall Street, and on the 
south by Division Street. This proposed annexation was en- 
joined by bill in the Chancery Court filed by W. H. McNairy 
and others. This bill was dismissed by the Chancellor and 
the case appealed to the Supreme Court. At that time the 
Supreme Court was years behind in try its docket. Pending 
this appeal, and without regard to it, an election was held in 
1870, the result of which was that the territory described in 
the petition was annexed to the city. 

On April 24, 1868, a petition was filed by a number of citi- 
zens of the Seventeenth District of Davidson County, in the 
County Court requesting that body to incorporate them into 
a town to be known and designated as "Edgefield," with boun- 
daries as set out in the petition. It appears that before action 






116 



R. B. C. Howell 



was taken on this petition the Legislature of 1868-9 passed an 
Act incorporating the Town of Edgefield, and by Act passed 
December 22, 1879, the corporate limits of the City of Nash- 
ville were extended so as to include the Town of Edgefield. 

It would be tedious for me to describe in detail the various 
extensions from 1879 down to date. I will, however, mention 
a few additions to the corporate limits that may be of interest. 

In 1893 an Act was passed by which a lot on the northwest 
corner of McTyeire Street and the N., C. & St. L. Railway, 
upon which lot was the building afterwards occupied as a 
saloon for many years by Mr. John Campbell, was included 
in the corporate limits. This lot was several hundred feet 
from the corporation line, and in order to get it inside the 
city, so Mr. Campbell could obtain a saloon license, the line 
was run south on the east side of McTyeire Street to a point 
opposite to southeast corner of the lot and then across the 
street, then around this lot back to the west side of McTyeire 
Sreet and then north to the city limits. 

A similar thing was done in 1901. The corporation line 
was run from Fairfield Avenue on the Murfreesboro Pike, out 
that pike to the southeast corner of a lot, upon which the 
storehouse of Thomas Dillehunty was situated; thence north 
along the line of that lot to an alley in the rear, and thence 
west and parallel with the pike to the city limits; this addi- 
tion took into the corporation Thomas Dillehunty's storehouse 
which was in " Jimtown" and probably half a mile from the cor- 
porate limits. This property only remained in the city for 
two years, for by Act of the Legislature of 1903 it was excluded. 

There have been several instances where Acts of the Legis- 
lature have been passed annexing single lots to the corporate 
limits ; and on the other hand, there have been instances where, 
in extending the corporate limits, certain property has been 
intentionally left "outside. The property of the Tennessee 
Manufacturing Company, now occupied by Warioto Cotton 
Mills, although for many years half a mile or more south of 
the north boundary line of the city, was not within the city 
limits, for the reason that the corporation line ran south on 
the west side of the alley between North Spruce Street and 
North Vine Street to the Cotton Mill property, around that 
property and back to the east side of this alley, and then north 
to Clay Street, thus leaving that entire property outside of 
the city limits. 

A similar thing was done in the same year, 1890, when the 
property then occupied by Weakley & Warren Furniture Fac- 
tory in the Fourteenth Ward was left outside the corporation 

line, although the property adjoining it on all sides was in 
the city. 



# 












Early Limits of Nashville 117 



In the same year practically all of the property on both 
sides of the N., C. & St. L. Railway far enough east so as to 
include the property now occupied by Noel & Company, for- 
merly the Tennessee Packing & Stockyards Company, was left 
outside the corporate limits. 

There have been a number of instances where the property 
was taken inside the city by one Legislature and excluded at 
a subsequent session. 

In giving the description of the Town of South Nashville, 
mention was made of the line of "Free Territory." In Novem- 
ber, 1785, the Legislature of North Carolina granted 240 acres 
of land to trustees for Davidson Academy. The tract was de- 
scribed in the grant by courses and distances which I will 
translate as follows: 

Beginning at a point on the bank of the Cumberland River 
opposite the southeastern corner in the City of Nashville and 
in the north margin of Broad Street, running thence west 
along the north margin of Broad Street to the northeast cor- 
ner of Broadway and McLemore (now Ninth Avenue) Streets; 
thence north along the east margin of McLemore (now Ninth 
Avenue) to a point about 300 feet north of Cedar Street; thence 
west about 800 feet to a point just west of Walnut Street (now 
Tenth Avenue, North) and thence south and parallel with 
Tenth Avenue, North, to a point about where Lee Avenue 
extended would intersect the right-of-way of the N., C. & St. L. 
Railway, and thence in an easterly direction, crossing Eighth 
Avenue, South, about where Eighth Avenue curves north of 
Lee Avenue and crossing Fourth Avenue, South, about the 
corner of Peabody Street, passing through the former residence 
of Mr. W. T. Hardison and just south of the building now 
occupied by Dr. Burch as an infirmary, and continuing in 
the same direction to a point on the river bluff just in front 
of the northwest corner of the City Hospital Building; and 
thence northeastwardly to the river bank and thence north- 
wardly down the river to the point of beginning. 

By the Act of the General Assembly of North Carolina, 
which incorporated the Trustees of Davidson Academy, it was 
provided that no lands the title to which might be vested in 
the Trustees of Davidson Academy should be subject to taxa- 
tion for a period of ninety-nine years. This 240 acres was the 
free territory which played such an important part in the 
history of Nashville previous to 1884. Previous to the year 
1836 Cumberland College had been incorporated, Davidson 
Academy merged into it, and the college had sold a large por- 
tion of this 240 acres. By the Act of 1806, which incorporated 
Cumberland College, the property of the college was declared 
free from taxation forever. 






• 



118 



R. B. C. Howell 



In 1836 the taxing authorities of the state concluded that 
these exemptions from taxation were only intended to last 
while the property belonged to the college. To test the ques- 
tion, they assessed for taxation a part of the free territory, 
which belonged at that time to the firm of Hicks, Ewing & 
Company. The owners resisted the collection of the tax, and 
the Supreme Court, in an opinion report in 9 Yerger, page 
487, held that the property, though sold by the college, was not 
liable to taxation. Thus the matter rested until after the 
adoption of the Constitution of 1870 and the passage of the 
Revenue Act of 1879, when another effort was made to require 
the payment of taxes assessed upon these lands. The State 
Comptroller filed a petition in the Circuit Court of Davidson 
County for a writ of mandamus to compel the County Trustee 
to assess and collect taxes upon certain lota within this terri- 
tory. The Circuit Judge granted the writ, but upon appeal 
to the Supreme Court his judgment was reversed and the writ 
refused, mainly upon the ground that the lands had for so 
many years been untaxed that freedom from taxation had be- 
come a rule of property, and the few years to elapse before 
the expiration of the ninety-nine years' exemption made it im- 
politic then to reverse the action of the previous Supreme 
Court. This decision was given by a divided court, three to 
two, at the December Term, 1881, and is reported in 8 Lea 
at page 594. 

In 1884 the ninety-nine years period of exemption expired 
and the freedom from taxation ceased. 

It has now been one hundred and thirty-one years since 
the establishment of the Town of Nashville. We, of this gen- 
eration, and especially those of us who were born and have 
lived all our lives in Nashville, have been so engaged in late 
years with other and much less profitable forms of entertain- 
ment that we are too likely to overlook what I consider a most 
important part of our education. I hope that none of us will 
ever be unable to answer the question about the origin and 
growth of Nashville, which I am sure some day our children 








will ask us. 

Nashville, Tennessee. 



R. B. C. Howell. 









A HISTORY OF THE LIFE OF GENERAL WILLIAM 

TROUSDALE. 1 

William Trousdale was born in Orange County, North 
Carolina, on the 23rd day of September, 1790. His father, 
James Trousdale, was of Scotch-Irish parentage and was born 
in Pennsylvania shortly after his parents landed in America. 
The latter was a soldier in the Continental Army in the war 
of 1776, commanding a company of North Carolina patriots 
throughout the struggle for Independence, in which service 
he received serious wounds, and was honorably discharged 
at its close. For his services in that war, the State of North 
Carolina made him a grant of six hundred and forty acres 
of land. This grant, being No. 1, was located in the terri- 
tory of Tennessee, in what was then Davidson County, but is 
now Sumner, and embraced within its bounds a portion of 
the site of the present town of Gallatin. Captain Trousdale 
emigrated with his familv from North Carolina to Tennessee 
in the year 1796 and settled upon this land, erecting his log 
dwelling upon a spot but a few paces distant from that now 
occupied by the Court House. 

The pioneers who had preceded Captain Trousdale to this 
immediate section of country were few and far between. At 
this period Sumner County was a wilderness, dense forests 
of heavy timber and an almost impenetrable undergrowth 
of cane covering the face of the land. Buffalo, deer, bear and 
panther were among the wild beasts that browsed in the ex- 
tensive forests, or made their lairs in the thick canebrakes. 
Obvious dangers, as well as privations and difficulties, con- 
fronted the hardy immigrant to this unsubdued region. It 
is true that peace had just been concluded with the Indians 
and their tribes removed after a protracted and sanguinary 
struggle for supremacy in this desirable quarter. Neverthe- 
less, numbers of them still lingered in these favorite hunting 
grounds, lurking in the fastnesses by day and, at night, prowl- 
ing for plunder or revenge among the defenseless habitations 
of the scattered pioneers. It was not uncommon to hear the 
report of a red man's rifle as it brought down some unwary 
white victim, or to see a settler's humble cabin in flames, fired 
by the torch of a savage incendiary. 

It is apparent that the bold adventurer to this wild region 
at so early a day was compelled to use freely first the rifle 

x This Biographical Sketch of Governor Trousdale was written sev- 
eral years ago by his son, Hon. J. A. Trousdale, of Gallatin, Tennes- 
see. For permission to publish it the Magazine is under obligation 
to Mrs. J. A. Trousdale. 






ll'O -/. A. Trousdale 



and the axe before the plow and the sickle could be brought 
into requisition. Unremitting vigilance and hard manual 
labor were his portion. With trusty weapon ever at hand 
for protection from sudden attack by his stealthy foe, he had 
to fell and clear the forest before the virgin soil could be 
broken and a crop planted and cultivated. There were no 
drones in the early settler's hive — none was exempt from duty; 
but all were subjected to the rugged discipline which a com- 
mon necessity enforced. 

Surrounded by scenes like these, the subject of this memoir 
received his first impressions, growing up to manhood amid 
the trying experiences of rude pioneer life. It is not, there- 
fore, wonderful that one reared under such influences should 
have become familiar with privation and inured to hardship; 
nor that a character molded during contact with such stern 
realities should have retained subsequently well-defined traces 
of its earlier environment. 

In view of what has already been said, it is hardly neces- 
sary to add that, at this period, Sumner County was upon 
the very outpost of civilization, where schools for the educa- 
tion of the young were exceedingly scarce. Those to be found 
were indeed primitive in their character and presided over by 
instructors of slender literary attainments. Isolated as was 
the country, agriculture was the one pursuit of the citizen, 
and almost every article of domestic use and consumption 
was of home production. During the greater part of the year 
the young as well as the old were employed in farm work, so 
that the doors of the crude educational institutions were open 
only during the idle season. At such intervals of release from 
manual labor William Trousdale's primary studies were pur- 
sued under the direction of teachers whose meagre qualifica- 
tions greatly limited their instructions even in the rudimental 
branches of scholastic training. However, he profited by such 
advantages as were afforded him, rapidly developed a taste 
for learning and exhibited capacity for the highest intel- 
lectual culture. 

Ere long the fertile soil and salubrious climate of Middle 
Tennessee attracted immigration, and, with the influx of popu- 
lation, there came improved educational facilities, of which 
William Trousdale eagerly availed himself. As he was ad- 
vancing to manhood he became a student of Rev. Gideon 
Blackburn, an eminent divine and distinguished educator, 
under whom (and Mr. John Hall afterwards, another gentle- 
man of rare learning and superior capability as a teacher), 
his education was chiefly acquired. It was while a pupil of 
Mr. Blackburn, in 1813, that the Creek Indians began hos- 
tilities, and it became necessary to call out the military to 



















. 



Life of William Trousdale 121 



suppress them. Laying aside his books, William Trousdale 
shouldered his rifle and volunteered as a private in Captain 
William Edwards' company of Mounted Riflemen, of which 
he was elected the third lieutenant shortly after having 
reached the Indian country. He was in the battle of Talla- 
shatchee, fought by General Coffee, the first engagement had 
with the Indians in that war. 

Learning that the Indians were collected in large force 
at Tallashatchee, General Jackson sent a body of nine hun- 
dred men, under the command of General Coffee, to attack 
them. They were found at the place named in strong force 
and ready for battle. General Coffee attacked them and a 
bloody conflict ensued which resulted in a complete victory 
for the whites, although the savages fought desperately and 
left nearly two hundred of their warriors dead on the field. 

Shortly thereafter General Jackson fought his first battle 
with the Creeks at Talledega and gained a crushing victory 
over them, more than three hundred of their number having 
been killed in the engagement. Lieutenant Trousdale, with 
his company, participated in this fight. 

After the battle of Talledega the army was reduced to 
great distress for lack of provisions, the soldiers being driven 
to the necessity of subsisting on acorns, and, in consequence, 
General Jackson was forced to remain inactive in camp from 
December until the Match following. It was in this campaign 
that Lieutenant Trousdale performed the daring feat of swim- 
ming the Tennessee River on horseback at the Muscle Shoals. 
He had been entrusted with a mission which required him to 
cross the river. There was no boat at hand, neither could he 
swim, and he must either recoil fromi the danger or accept 
the perilous situation. He chose to perform his duty regard- 
less of the great risk to himself it involved. "Trusting to his 
faithful charger," as another has described the feat, "and im- 
pelled by his daring spirit, with all his baggage he plunged 
into the stream. At one moment his horse was above water 
on a rock and the next moment he plunged into swimming 
water, and for nearly three miles the noble animal struggled 
on until he carried his rider safely to shore." 

His term of enlistment having expired, Lieutenant Trous- 
dale returned home and re-entered school. But he had pursued 
his studies only a short time when, in 1814, the British army 
having entered Washington City and burned the Capitol, the 
country became inflamed and eager to avenge the outrage. 
A force of the enemy was also gathering on our southern 
coast and a call was made on Tennessee for volunteers to 
go and meet them. To this call William Trousdale responded. 
Again putting aside his books, he, together with manv of 









V22 J. A. Trousdale 



his school companions, enrolled his name in the company 
raised by George Elliott, his neighbor and friend, who was 
subsequently elected Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment, 
Thomas Scurry succeeding him as Captain. William Trous- 
dale served as a private throughout the term of his enlist- 
ment, declining staff appointments that were repeatedly offered 
him, as he preferred to remain with the company in which 
lie had enlisted. 

The regiment to which he belonged joined General Jackson 
early in November, 1814, and, on the 6th day of that month 
the army moved against Pensacola, Florida, to obtain redress 
of the Spanish Governor for harboring the British. Having 
arrived before that town, General Jackson sent in a flag of 
truce with a demand upon the governor, but it was fired on 
and forced to leave. On the day following the town wag 
stormed and taken. While the fight was progressing in the 
streets the advance of our troops was checked at one point 
by a gun which raked a street, dealing death in its ranks. 

In this emergency, William Trousdale, with several other 
daring spirits, rushed rapidly forward in the face of the 
enemy's fire, drove the gunners from the deadly piece, cap- 
tured it, and thus removed the obstacle which had stopped 
the progress of our men. 

Although the town had been captured and was occupied 
by the Americans, yet the fort still held out defiantly and 
kept up a fire on our lines. General Jackson determined 
that it should be taken, and forthwith ordered an assault 
upon it. A call was made for volunteers to carry out this 
desperate undertaking. At first there was no response, for 
even those brave men hesitated to engage in what seemed to 
be a forlorn hope, and to march into the very jaws of certain 
death. At this trying moment, William Trousdale broke the 
silence by proclaiming himself ready for the assault. Then, 
addressing his hesitating companions, he reminded them that 
it was General Jackson's order that the fort should be 
stormed, and that it must be executed; that they had volun- 
teered to fight the enemies of their country and had marched 
a thousand miles to meet them; that the British had already 
burnt the capitol of the republic and driven the government 
from its post, and that their aiders and abetters were that 
moment firing on them. If, said he, under these circumstances, 
they should disobey the order of their commander and refuse 
to storm the fort, he would consider them disgraced. Thig 



appeal had the desired effect, and in a few minutes after it 
had been made the storming party was raised and the assault 
fixed for the following morning at two o'clock. Every arrange- 










Life of William Trousdale 123 



merit was made for the attack ere the little band of men who 
were to undertake it laid down to rest. Said General Trous- 
dale, in speaking of the incident: "I had my scaling ladder 
prepared and leaned it against a pine tree close to my tent 
and then laid down to sleep. On the following morning we 
were on the eve of moving in the execution of the scheme 
when the fort surrendered." 

Shortly after these operations, it was definitely ascertained 
that the British were concentrating forces for an attack on 
New Orleans, and thither General Jackson moved his army. 
The march from Pensacola to New Orleans was toilsome and 
perilous. Rain fell in torrents almost incessantly during the 
entire journey, swelling the creeks and rivers and rendering 
the passage of the streams both difficult and dangerous, as 
they had to be crossed by swimming on horseback. But the 
destination of the hardy militia was ultimately reached, and, 
on the 22d day of December, the brigade of General Coffee, to 
which Trousdale belonged, encamped a few miles above the 
city of New Orleans. 

By two o'clock on the afternoon of the 23d of December 

the enemy had occupied a position which left the road to the 
city open to him. General Jackson resolved to assail him 
at once, and, the same evening, near sunset, General Coffee's 
brigade moved through the city to meet the enemy below. By 
a flank movement he succeeded in reaching the enemy's rear, 
while General Jackson bore down upon him in front. It 
was eight o'clock at night, the moon shining brightly, when 
Coffee's brigade came in collision with the enemy in an open 
plain eight miles below New Orleans. While the battle was 
progressing, re-enforcements for the enemy, arriving from be- 
low, encountered General Coffee's brigade; and thus, between 
two lines of the British, it fought from nine o'clock at night 
until two o'clock in the morning. This action, though not 
decisive, proved to be a severe blow to the enemy, and greatly 
favored the ultimate success of the Americans in the opera- 
tions around New Orleans. It inspired them with confidence 
wiiile it dispirited the enemy, and taught the British veterans 
that the raw American recruits confronting them were their 
match on any ground. 

In this engagement, one major, two lieutenants and thirty 
privates were taken prisoners by the company of which Wil- 
liam Trousdale was a member. "In the course of the fight," 
says a narrator of the event, "a charge was ordered on the 
enemy who were beyond a fence and had the levee between 
them and our troops. Rushing forward in the lead of his men, 
Trousdale mounted the fence and was ready to spring over 
to the onset when, on looking back, he perceived that his men 









124 



J. A. Trousdale 



had been ordered to retreat and had left him alone to receive 
the fire of the enemy. He escaped, however, and returned with 
a volley of balls Hying around him." 

As daylight approached the American army took position 
and began the erection of breastworks which they stubbornly 
held to the end. On the 27th of December the enemy made a 
fierce attack upon these works and sought to drive their de- 
fenders from them with cannon, rockets and musketry. This 
light lasted during the better portion of the day, the assail- 
ants withdrawing towards evening, having failed in their at- 
tempt. Again on the 1st day of January, 1815, an assault was 
made with cannon and small arms, which lasted nearly all 
day, but, as before, the enemy was unsuccessful in his efforts 
to drive the Americans from their w r orks. It was on the 8th 
of January that the main assault was made, when the entire 
British force was hurled against our little arniv of militia. 
The history of this memorable battle is familiar to all, and 
need not be repeated here. Suffice it to say that the conflict 
was in many respects, one of the most remarkable in the his- 

of modern warfare, and resulted in a signal victory for 
the American arms. * 



toiy 



On the eventful day last mentioned William Trousdale 
was at his post discharging his duty from the firing of the 
first gun until the retreat of the British to Fort Boyer. In 
addition to the above battles, in all of which he participated, 
he was, during the siege, in several night skirmishes. In one 
of the latter, his daring spirit led him quite within the British 
line of sentinels, and very near the guard fire; but he escaped 

fired on bv the whole 



although 



without capture or injury, 
British line. 

In the spring of 1815, after peace had been made, William 
Trousdale returned to Tennessee and resumed his studies un- 
der Mr. John Hall, and finished his course of education in 
1816. Soon thereafter he began the study of the law, and was 
admitted to the bar in 1820. The practice of the law contin- 
ued to be the regular pursuit of his life. He was a diligent 
student of the science of jurisprudence, devoted to his profes- 
sion and delighted in its practice. As it proved lucrative and 
afforded him most agreeable employment, a sense of duty to 
his country and his party alone led him at times to exchange 
its pursuit for services less remunerative and less in harmony 
with his tastes and preferences. 

In 1827 he was married to Miss Mary Ann Bugg, a lady 



of culture and refinement, to whom he w r as devotedly attached 
and with whom his life was happily passed. The fruit of this 
marriage were seven children, four of whom survived him. 
He was chosen Senator to the State Legislature in 1835, 






Life of William Trousdale 125 















• 






and, in 1836, was elected a major general of militia. In the 
latter year a call was made by the general government on 
Tennessee for assistance to quell Indian disturbances in the 
south, which the regulars and volunteers in the field had 
failed to suppress. He volunteered his services for the war 
against the Creek and Seminole Indians, and was chosen 
captain of the company in which he enlisted. At the organi- 
zation of the regiment at Fayetteville, Tennessee, he was 
elected colonel. This was the Second Regiment of Mounted 
Volunteers from Tennessee. At the head of this regiment he 
arrived in Florida and had two set battles and several skir- 
mishes with the Indians under Osceola, the celebrated chief, 
in all of which the enemy was defeated. In these actions he 
greatly distinguished himself by his fearless intrepidity. 

On one occasion, during this campaign in Florida, a charge 
was made on a hammock swarming with Indian warriors 
while his men were receiving a galling cross-fire. "Then it 
was," to adopt the language of another, "that Colonel Trous- 
dale vainly attempted to force his horse through the closely 
matted vines and shrubbery, and in the midst of a terrific 
shower of rifle balls leaped from his horse, seized his holsters, 
and on foot bade his command 'follow him.' Thev did follow 

t/ 

him and, hand to hand, struggled with the foe in the ham- 
mock and came out victorious." 

Returning home on the expiration of his term of enlistment, 

he was shortly thereafter tendered, by General Jackson, an 
appointment as Brigadier-General in the army of the United 
States, but he chose not to accept it, and in response to the 
offer said: "I value the compliment, but decline the appoint- 
ment, as I desire no connection with the army except in times 
of war." 

In 1837 he was nominated by the Democratic party in his 
district a candidate for Congress. Although supported by a 
larger vote than his party strength, the Whig majority was 
not overcome, and he was consequently defeated. In the pres- 
idential campaign of 1840 he was the Democratic nominee 
for elector in his Congressional District. He canvassed the 
district thoroughly and acquitted himself to the entire satis- 
faction of his party. 

It may be remarked in this connection that the subject of 
our sketch was several times put forward as the candidate of 
his party for Congress; but it was like leading a forlorn hope, 
for his party was greatly in the minority and he was suc- 
cessively defeated, though he ran ahead of his ticket. His 
repeated acceptance of the position of standard-bearer of his 
party, even in the face of certain defeat, was but illustrative 






126 J. A. Trousdale 



of his unselfish disposition and earnest devotion to the prin- 
ciples and policies that inspired his political faith. 

In 1847 President Polk commissioned William Trousdale 
Colonel of Infantry in the United States Army. The war 
with Mexico was then pending, and General Scott was organ- 
izing an army to march on the capital of that country. This 
appointment was made without the solicitation or knowledge 
of its recipient; but it was nevertheless promptly accepted, 
and he repaired forthwith to New Orleans preparatory to 
starting with his regiment for the scene of hostilities. He 
reached New Orleans on the 7th of April, where his regiment, 
the Fourteenth Infantry, was speedily raised, equipped and 
embarked, and on the 13th of June he landed with it at Vera 
Cruz. He was assigned to the Third Division of the Army, 
commanded by Major General Gideon J. Pillow, and set out 
on the 18th of June for General Scott's headquarters, which 
were then at Puebla, arriving there on the 8th of tluly. The 
army began its march to the City of Mexico on the 10th of 
August, and on the 13th reached the valley in which the 
decisive conflicts of the war were soon to be fought. Contin- 
uing their forward movement, on the 19th of the same month 
the American forces encountered the Mexican army, under 
General Valentia at Contreras. The Americans stood all night 
under arms and at daybreak on the 20th charged and took 
the enemy's works and routed him before sunrise. Without 
haltiing, they pursued and overtook the retreating Mexicans 
at Cherubusco, where they were found in force and well pre- 
pared for defense. On the same day they were attacked, 
routed and pursued to within one mile and a half of the gate 
of the city. Colonel Trousdale, with his regiment, shared in 
these brilliant actions, capturing in the latter engagement 

the Irish flag and the deserters from our army who were 
fighting under it. 

After a short truce between the contending armies, hostil- 
ities were resumed, and the battle of Molino del Rey followed 
on the 8th of September. The result was a victory for the 
Americans. Colonel Trousdale led his regiment in this fight, 
and was struck on the shoulder by an escopet ball, and his 
horse was shot under him. His wound was slight, however, 
and was not reported. 

On the 12th of September an attack was made of Chepul- 
tepec, the main fortress of the Mexicans. Colonel Trousdale 
led his regiment to the building called Molino del Rey, under 
a heavy shower of shell and grapeshot. Here, under the walls 
of the strong fortification, they lay on their arms until the 
following morning, when it was to be stormed. On the morn- 
ing of the 13th, before the attack was begun, General Pillow 


















Life of William Trousdale 127 












placed Colonel Trousdale in command of a brigade of his 
division and assigned him the position he was to occupy. A 
fierce and bloody conflict ensued, the Mexicans fighting with 
stubborn bravery ; they were beaten, however, the fortress was 
taken, and the fugitive remnant of its defenders pursued to 
the city walls. In performing the part assigned him on this 
occasion, Colonel Trousdale was twice wounded in the right 
arm, the second shot shivering the bone above the elbow; still 
he remained in command of his brigade and led it until the 
enemy had been routed and the batterv taken against which 
his efforts had been directed. It was not until after the fight 
was over and his f wounds had been dressed that he retired 
from the field. 

In their official reports of the battle of Chepultepec, Gen- 
erals Scott and Pillow both made especial and complimentary 
mention of Colonel Trousdale's conduct on that occasion. Gen- 
eral Scott says : "To the north, and at the base of the mound, 
inaccessible on that side, the Eleventh Infantry, under Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Hebert, the Fourteenth, under Colonel Trous- 
dale, and Captain Magruder's field battery, First Artillery — 
one section advanced under Lieutenant Jackson — all of Pil- 
low's division had, at the same time, some spirited affairs 
against superior numbers, driving the enemy from a battery in 
the road and capturing a gun. In these the officers and corps 
named gained merited praise. Colonel Trousdale, the com- 
mander, though twice wounded, continued on duty until the 
heights were carried." And General Pillow says: 
"Colonel Trousdale's command, consisting of the Eleventh and 
Fourteenth regiments of infantry and Magruder's field battery, 
engaged a battery and large force of the enemy in the road 
immediately on the west of Chepultepec. The advanced section 
of the battery, under the command of the brave Lieutenant 
Jackson, was dreadfully cut up and almost disabled. Though 
the command of Colonel Trousdale sustained a severe loss, and 
the gallant and intrepid Colonel was badly wounded by two 
balls which shattered his right arm, still he maintained his 
position with great firmness, drove the enemy from his battery, 
and turned his guns upon his retreating forces." 

This decisive action virtually ended the Mexican War, and 
the Mexicans shortly after, yielded to the demands of their 
victorious conquerors. When peace was made, Colonel Trous- 
dale was assigned to the command of the Third Division of the 
Army on its homeward march. Having discharged this duty, 
he retired to private life and resumed the practice of his pro- 
fession. 

On the 23d day of August, 1848, President Polk appointed 
Colonel Trousdale a Brigadier General by Brevet in the army 






- 












128 J. A. Trousdale 






of the United States, to rank as such from the 13th day of 
September, 1847, "for," as the commission states, "gallant 

and meritorious conduct in the battle of Chepultepec." The 
commission, however, conferred only an honorary distinction, 

Colonel Trousdale's connection with the army ceased with the 
restoration of peace in this instance as under prior similar 
circumstances. 

In 1849 General Trousdale received the nomination of the 
Democratic party for Governor of the State. At this period 
the great leading political organizations of this republic were 
the Whig and Democratic parties. In this State these two 
parties alone confronted each other and struggled for the 
supremacy. They were pretty evenly divided as to strength, 
the former having rather the advantage, and for quite a space 
of time were alternately successful in the State elections. 
This circumstance, together with the exciting nature of the 
questions at issue, awakened the liveliest interest in the polit- 
ical campaigns. So it was when General Trousdale became a 
candidate for governor. He and his competitor, the nominee 
of the Whig party, jointly canvassed the State from one end 
to the other. The result of the poll was a Democratic victory, 
and General Trousdale was chosen to succeed a governor 
elected by the Whig party. During his administration peace 
prevailed throughout the country, Tennessee grew in popula- 
tion and wealth, and steadily pushed forward her public im- 
provements. Governor Trousdale was nominated a second 
time for the same position, in 1851, but was this time defeated 
by a small majority after a heated campaign. 

On the 24th day of May, 1853, Ex-Governor Trousdale was 
commissioned by President Pierce "Envoy Extraordinary and 
Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at the Court 
of the Emperor of Brazil." He accepted this appointment and 
set out for his post of duty in July, 1853, arriving in Septem- 
ber of the same year at Rio de Janeiro, where he took up his 
official residence. Besides performing the ordinary duties 
pertaining to the position which he now held, his energies 
were persistently bent to the work of inducing the Brazilian 
government to open the great river Amazon to the commerce 
of the world. The fears and jealousies of that people made 
the government slow to yield, and it did not, during his so- 
journ in the country, adopt this policy which he so strenuously t 
urged. But if his term of office at the court of Dom Pedro 
was not signalized by the success of this scheme, which he had 
so much at heart, nevertheless he had the satisfaction of see- 
ing it accomplished some years after his return to the United 
States. He remained in Brazil throughout the presidency of 
Mr. Pierce and until his successor, an appointee of President 
















Life of William Trousdale 129 



Buchanan, had arrived in Kio de Janeiro and entered upon the 
duties of the office. During his residence in Brazil the rights 
and immunities of citizens of the United States, visiting or so- 
journing in that country, were uniformly recognized and re- 
spected, commerce was extended between the two countries, 
and the friendly relations of that country and our own unin- 
terruptedly preserved. 

The termination of this service ended the active public 
career of the subject of this sketch. Returning to the United 
States by way of Europe, he left the country to which he had 
been accredited on terms of cordial friendship with the em- 
peror and his court, and took up his final abode in the bosom 
of his family from which fortune had separated him during a 
great portion of his married life. A rheumatic affection, with 
which he had long been afflicted, now rendered locomotion too 
painful to admit of his resuming the active business engage- 
ments of life, for which the unimpaired possession of his men- 
tal faculties still fully capacitated him and for which his 
energetic nature and restless temperament most earnestly 
yearned. This enforced confinement was borne, however, with 
patient resignation, and its inconveniences and discomforts 
alleviated by the kind attentions of his neighbors and friends 
and the devoted care of his effectionate family. Besides the en- 
joyment realized in social converse, he found entertainment 
in books and newspapers, and much of his time was occupied 
in posting himself relative to the current events of the day and 
reading the works of standard authors. He delighted espe- 
cially in history, biography and Shakespeare's dramas, and 
kept informed upon the progress of politics and the affairs of 
our government, matters which he watched to the last with 
unflagging interest and undiminished solicitude. 

The eventful juncture in the history of this country had 
now been reached when the prevailing political excitement, 
generated through a disposition on the part of the non-slave- 
holding States to abolish slavery in this republic, and a re- 
solve on the part of the slaveholding States to resist, as occa- 
sion might require, encroachments on their constitutional 
rights, was culminating in a conflict of arms between the two 
sections. It was General Trousdale's fortune to hear Presi- 
dent Lincoln's call for volunteers, to witness the martial prep- 
arations on both sides of the Ohio River, and to see the South- 
ern States, one after another, assert their sovereignty and 
withdraw from the Union. Anon Tennessee had cast her des- 
tiny with that of her sisters and aligned herself with them to 
resist invasion. It was announced to him that his services 
would be acceptable in this emergency; but physical decrepi- 
tude utterly forbade his participation, in any capacity, in the 



• 






180 - J. A. Trousdale 



stirring events which were about to occur. His sympathies, 
however, were in full accord with the people of his State and 
section, and, so far from attempting to conceal his sentiments, 
he unhesitatingly avowed them throughout the war which fol- 
lowed, even while his town was garrisoned by Federal soldiers 
and his residence occupied by Federal officials. His persistent 
refusal to take the oath of allegiance to the Federal govern- 
ment, in obedience to repeated demands and threats, subjected 
him to many severe trials and irritating annoyances; but he 
held out stubbornly to the last, and, although he saw his sec- 
tion overrun and his people subjugated, he yet enjoyed the 
gratifying reflection that he had been faithful to them in the 
preservation of opinion unchanged and conscience unviolated. 

General Trousdale was now far advanced in years, and the 
incurable malady with which he had been so long tormented 
was making steady inroads on his naturally strong constitu- 
tion. But he lived to see the convulsion of civil strife subside 
and a reunited country restored to the blessings of peace and 
prosperity. In March, 1872, he w r as seized with an attack of 
pneumonia which his reduced health and impaired physical 
powers were unable to resist. With intellect clear, a conscious- 
ness of duty honestly performed in all of the relations of life 
and stations wiiich he had occupied, and a willingness that his 
sufferings should cease in the repose of death, surrounded by 
his family and sympathizing friends, he expired on the 27th 
day of said month in the eighty-third year of his age. The 
event was duly heralded and elicited far and wide eulogies and 
tributes to the memory of the deceased. The State Legislature, 
being in session at the time, passed resolutions commemora- 
tive of the character and services of General Trousdale, and 
appointed a committee from its members which in company 
with the governor and other State officials, attended the fu- 
neral obsequies. Action, appropriate to the occasion, was 
taken by the legal fraternity of Gallatin, where he had begun 
and ended his professional career, and also by the Mayor and 
Board of Aldermen of the town, of which he had been a mem- 
ber. On the 28th day of March, in the midst of a large con- 
course of citizens, his remains were interred in the public cem- 
etery at Gallatin. 

Having given the salient features in the life of General 



& ^ 



Trousdale without indulging in minute particulars, or reciting 
minor incidents which usually constitute much of the matter 
of biographies, but of which his career is fruitful, it but re- 
mains to complete this undertaking by a brief allusion to the 
personal character of the subject of this memoir. This course, 
if not commendable as a biographical precedent, is at least 
deemed pardonable in this instance to make our sketch con- 






























Life of William Trousdale 131 



formable in its, methods, as near as may be, to the well-known 
character and taste of its subject. For had General Trousdale 
written his own history, the work would have been character- 
ized by a frank statement of facts and an utter freedom from 
comment or criticism. It would have been a plain, truthful, 
unvarnished narrative of his career, without boast of his ex- 
ploits or commendation of his virtues. 

General Trousdale belonged to that class of men whose 
course of life is pursued on the highest plane of morality, pa- 
triotism and virtue. His instincts and tastes, and, indeed, the 
elements of his nature, all were of that refined order, that 
sterling type, which manifest themselves in pure deeds and 
are productive alone of genteel, manly action. A solid judg- 
ment and keen sagacity enabled him to perceive the right, 
while exalted motive and a strong will impelled him to follow 
it. He was inflexible in the line of dutv, from which neither 
threats nor flattery could drive or allure him. 

Planting himself firmly upon principle and acting alone 
from conscientious convictions, he went steadily forward leav- 
ing consequences to take care of themselves. He was no time- 
serving, policy man, and disdained resort to any unmanly art 
or device to secure either temporary applause or permanent 
advantage. Nor was he a man to risk a contest upon consid- 
erations of expediency, but to urge it upon principle regard- 
less of results. Though independent in character he was not 
blindly headstrong; for he respected the opinions of others, 
while he preferred to follow the well matured conclusions of 
his own mind. He was anything but tame and submissive, 
and his honor could not be questioned with impunity. But, 
though quick and impulsive and, when aroused, ready for de- 
cisive action, his temper was nevertheless subservient to his 
superior will. 

It may have been that to some General Trousdale appeared 
exclusive and unsocial. If so, it was due to his native diffi- 
dence, for he was moaest to a degree incredible to those not 
familiar with his disposition. He delighted, as much as any 
man, in the society of congenial spirits, and the greatest pleas- 
ures of his life were experienced in the company of relatives 
and friends. None who knew him intimatelv could sav that 



t> • 



he was either cold or heartless; but would, on the contrary, 
bear testimony to the fact that he was keenly sensitive to the 
feelings and wants of his fellowmen. Warmhearted and gen- 
erous, his charities were numerous and liberal and ungrudging- 
ly bestowed. More than once he sustained heavy pecuniary 
losses by endorsing for friends; and though he possessed a 
liberal fortune, his property was all sacrificed and he reduced 
to straitened circumstances in discharging his surety obliga- 









132 J. A. Trousdale 






lions and preserving his credit. His demeanor was polite and 
dignified; but while his deportment invited friendly approach, 
it repelled vulgar familiarity. He was courteous and affable, 
and though a man of comparatively few words his frank, sin- 
cere manner rendered those who sought his society com- 
fortable and confidential in his presence. Deception and du- 
plicity were so foreign to his nature that he could never as- 
sume to practice them. In his presence one felt that he could 
lay bare his thoughts, assured of free conference, strict secrecy, 
when required, and honest advice, unmixed with flattery and 
unburdened with circumlocution. 

There is ample warrant for the statement that General 
Trousdale's life is an illustration of patriotic devotion to his 
country and its institutions. To assail the one or to encroach 
upon the other was, in his estimation, an insult and a wrong 
which every citizen was under personal obligation to resist, 
and, if need be, avenge. He held the honor of his country 
sacred, and, appreciating the solemn significance of the in- 
junctive phrase, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," 
was ever awake to that patriotic admonition. Entertaining 
these opinions, he was ever prompt to respond when action 
was required, and the better portion of his manhood was de- 
voted to his country. These services were voluntarily and un- 
selfishly given, without ulterior motive other than the grateful 
satisfaction experienced in the knowlpnVp of patriotic duties 
faithfully performed. Possessing no element of the bravado, 
or boast, his deserts were left entirely to the judgment of 
others, and he was never disposed to advance his claims to 
distinction even where merit was due and would have, doubt- 
less, been accorded him had the right been asserted. It may 
be mentioned, in this connection, that he never applied for pen- 
sions for wounds received in Mexico and services rendered in 
the War of 1812, though entitled to them under existing Acts 
of Congress. He relied implicitly on the virtue and intelli- 
gence of the masses of this country as assuring its defense and 
the perpetuation of free government. Firm in this reliance, he 
regarded a standing army, in time of peace, and educated sol- 
diery, unnecessary, believing that there was an inherent 
strength in the fervent patriotism and manly individuality of 
the citizens of this republic equal to any emergency that might 
arise and that it would be evoked as occasion might require. 
His pride in the grandeur and greatness of this country, in 
the exceptional blessings vouchsafed by its unequalled institu- 
tions, and his faith in its growth and development and the 
continued glorious fruitage of individual excellence under the 
unrivalled opportunities and incentives to human elevation 












■ 












Life of William Trousdale 133 



here offered existed in a degree of intensity nothing short of 
passion, and he valued American citizenship no less highly 
than Italian allegiance was prized by the patriot of old who 
proclaimed that, "To be a Roman is greater than to be a king !" 

It has been stated already that in politics General Trous- 
dale was a Democrat. To this political faith he steadily ad- 
hered throughout his life. His upright character as well as 
the history of his political career furnish abundant proof that 
his unwavering devotion to and advocacy of the principles of 
Democracy sprang from strong convictions and a conscientious 
belief that their application in the conduct of government 
would conduce most to the welfare of this country. Had his 
course been the outgrowth of selfish motives and a longing 
for promotion it would, doubtless, have led him into other 
political ranks, or, at least, have been less consistent than it 
was. For he fought the battles of the Democracy against 
great odds, and suffered repeated defeats at the hands of the 
party controlling those offices which were most calculated to 
tempt the ambition of an aspiring man. 

He was once offered, by his political opponents, an exalted 
place in the councils of the government, but declined the high 
testimonial to his worth and deserts on the ground that his 
party affiliations did not warrant the bestowal of the position 
on him, and that its acceptance would imply a compromise of 
his political faith and infidelity to his party allegiance. 

It has been remarked heretofore in these pages that Gen- 
eral Trousdale's profession was that of a lawyer. His prac- 
tice at the bar, followed in the intervals of public services and 



political engagements, proved pecuniarily profitable and added 
to his reputation as a man of sterling qualities and unques- 
tioned ability. And notwithstanding the interruptions expe- 
rienced in his professional career, he gave unmistakable prom- 
ise of acquiring enviable reputation in this broad field of occu- 
pation had his time and energies been devoted to its undis- 
turbed pursuit. He entered with zeal and ardor into the 
causes entrusted to him and devoted to their management 
diligent study and patient research. His habits of thought 
and the bent of his character and tastes prompted him to rely 
for success upon the broad principles of justice and equity 
rather than upon the narrow technicalities so often presenting 
advantages in legal procedure. 

It has been noticed that in the party contests, waged in his 
time, General Trousdale frequently bore the standard of Democ- 
racy. A sense of duty made him ever ready to accept the 
call of his party, and it mattered not whether success or de- 
feat awaited him, his services, when asked, were always cheer- 
fully rendered. 






134 J. A. Trousdale 



As a speaker, upon the hustings as well as in the forum, he 
was earnest, forcible and impressive. He regarded less the 
pleasing influence of studied oratory than the convincing effect 
of pure logic. The solid, practical nature of the man was so 
far predominant as to shape his methods and model his dis- 
course. And while, perhaps, his may not have been the style 
best befitting a convivial banquet or a holiday occasion, it was 
that which secures the closest attention and awakens the most 
serious consideration when questions of moment are engaging 
the thoughts of men. Indulgence in amusing and often not 
over-chaste anecdote, a fashion prevalent among stump ora- 
tors of his day, was a practice he shared in a very slight degree. 
His speeches on the stump were free from frivolity and smut, 
and could have been delivered with equal prox>riety before a 
select audience of refined and elegant hearers, or a promiscuous 
gathering of bitter, excited partisans. With him the discus- 
sion of principles and measures involving the fate of this 
republic and the well-being of its citizens was a matter of too 
serious and vital concern to suggest anything frivolous or 
jocular. To hear him speak and witness his dignified, earnest 
manner was to receive an indelible impression of his clear 
judgment, strong convictions and honest purpose, and to en- 
tertain no doubt that he would advocate his conceptions of the 
right with fearless determination, and stand by his utterances 
at whatever cost. 

He was not a man to make or to seek opportunities for 
display. He waited until brought rather than to step volun- 
tarily before the public. His occasion was when an object of 
public concern was sought to be attained. Then his feelings 
were thoroughly aroused and his powers exhibited in their 
full strength. Under this impulse, if he was plain, straight- 
forward and artless in his efforts, he was, nevertheless, cogent 
and perspicuous, full of pith and point, and possessed of great 
magnetism. While free from all appearance of careful prep- 
aration as to method and manner, his speeches were samples, 
in matter, of deep research, sagacious forethought and tender, 
sympathetic feeling; and, in the fervor of argument and 
warmth of debate, abounded in instances of a steadv, natural 
rise, step by step, to the highest climax of true eloquence. In 
debate he was uniformly courteous and fair, and would brook 
from an adversary nothing short of the same respectful treat- 
ment accorded by himself. He retained in a remarkable de- 
gree the good opinion of those entertaining views averse to his 
own, and as time elapsed and 1 events decided the merits of 
issues, he grew in the esteem of those who had opposed him. 

In the private no less than the public walks of life the 
same noble traits marked General Trousdale's daily conduct. 















Life of William Trousdale 135 



To know was to respect and esteem him and excite wonder 
at his singular freedom from the common frailties of mankind. 
The more he was seen the more were his exalted qualities ap- 
preciated and admired. If a narrow thought or sentiment 
entered his mind or heart, it was overshadowed by the lofty 
nobility of his mental and emotional nature. He was strictly 
moral in speech and demeanor, just and fair in all of his deal- 
ings, and purely unselfish, forbearing, kind, sympathetic, and 
forgiving in his disposition. He was exemplary in his per- 
sonal habits and in deportment so rigidly correct as to silence 
slander and leave no ground for suspicion. He was singularly 
temperate and unaddicted to any of the petty vices prevalent 
amoitg men. He was a faithful friend, kind neighbor and 
model husband, father and master. His pecuniary troubles, 
the greatest, it may be justly said, that he ever suffered, were 
the result of assistance extended to accommodate friends. No 
husband was ever, perhaps, regarded with more affectionate 
devotion by his wife, nor more dearly loved and reverenced by 
his children than was General Trousdale by his. His was a 
happy household, for in its care he was kind, indulgent, provi- 
dent and thoughtful, and in its government he wielded only 
the scepter of love; his gentle authority ever receiving ready 
homage from the affectionate allegiance of all its members. 
As an evidence of his kind and considerate treatment of the 
domestics in his family service and that it was gratefully 
appreciated, it may be mentioned that his body servant, a col- 
ored man, born his slave, attended him through the dark hours 
of the late Civil War and until the day of his death. 

In personal appearance General Trousdale was handsome 
and would have attracted attention in any assemblage of men 
as well by his striking features as by his manly address. He 
was six feet tall, erect, spare made, muscular and well formed. 
A thick growth of black, wavy hair covered a head of faultless 
shape. His eyes were gray and deep-seated, and his nose was 
straight and thin. His mouth, chin and jaws were symmetri- 
cally formed, adding mluch in their expressive shape to the 
idea of strong character which the facial features all clearly 
indicated. His face in repose wore an expression of deep 
earnestness tinged with sadness, but relieved of severity by 
an air of quiet, satisfied composure. He was entirely free from 
affectation in either look, speech or act. His bearing was civil, 
polite and courtly, but more stern than patronizing. In per- 
son and attire he was remarkably neat, and his daily dress 
was such as to render him presentable in polite society at any 
moment. This habit was followed with invariable constancv 
everywhere and at all times; and among his fellow-soldiers in 
the army camp it was a subject of general surprise and com- 









136 



J. A. Trousdale 



inent that successful attention could be paid to dress where 
the surroundings were so unfavorable to neatness and style, 
and where the observance of this accustomed practice on his 
part was apparently so unnecessary. 

Here this history closes. It proposed to present a truthful 
picture of the prominent events in the career of its subject, 
and to give, without disguise, suppression or exaggeration, the 
qualities of his mind and heart and the traits of his character. 
This it has done and nothing more and the undertaking is 
finished. Posterity, if interested in his memory, will examine 
the record of General Trousdale's life and decide as to his 
merits. It is safe to assert, however, that, wherever his life 
shall be reviewed with purpose to discover the truth and pro- 
nounce unbiased judgment, it will be found that, in this case, 
his "acts proclaim the man." ' 

In studying the lives of men of distinction one may, and 
often does, admire their brilliant exploits and great achieve- 
ments, just as he would a wonderful work of studied art, and 
yet, in respect to character and individual purpose, reject as 
unworthy the author of the beautiful handiwork. Not so with 
General Trousdale ; for undeniable facts abundantly show that 
his purpose, efforts and achievements were so clearly the out- 
growth of a deep, honest, truthful nature that we unhesitating- 
ly esteem them as true exponents of the very soul of the man, 
and involuntarily regard them as typical monuments to his 
sterling character. 






































































DOCUMENTS 



I. 



Papers of Major John P. Heiss of Nashville. 

INTRODUCTION. 

John P. Heiss, from whose papers the following letters 
have been selected for publication, was a native of Pennsyl- 
vania. Having begun life as a ship's carpenter, he was for 
a time a purser's steward in the navy. He was for a while 
employed as a clerk in Bristol, Bucks County, and received 
from his employer a testimonial as to his skill in accounting 
and his general business ability. On September 15, 1835, he 
was married by the rector of Trinity Church, Philadelphia, to 
Anna Molineaux. 

In 1840 he was a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, where 
he had charge of the financial department of the printing 
establishment of the Nashville Union, then conducted Jby 
J. George Harris. In this year he applied, unsuccessfully, it 
appears, for appointment to a pursership in the Navy. He 
received flattering letters of recommendation from Harris, 
General Robert Armstrong, James P. Grundy, Andrew J. 
Donelson, and J. M. Smith, of Nashville, and from James K. 
Polk. 1 It appears, therefore, that his connection with the 
Union had established him in the respect and confidence of 
■fi... < y . %11T) f Democratic leaders in Nashville. This was fur- 
ther indicated in 1842, when Heiss, about to travel in the 
East, was given a personal letter of introduction by Polk to 
Cave Johnson. In this year Heiss was a major in the Ten- 
nessee militia. 

The Nashville Union passed into the control of Heiss and 
Thomas Hogan. The latter was also a native of Pennsyl- 
vania, who had edited in Philadelphia a journal, the National 
Laborer, under the direction and patronage of the Working- 
mens' National Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. 
He had later edited the Times of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 
and had been admitted to the Tennessee bar. Hogan died in 
May, 1844, at the age of 32, and the Union passed under the 
sole control of Heiss. 2 Arrangements looking to this end 
had been under consideration for some time, in view of the 
failing health of Hogan. 

The management and the editorship of the Nashville Union, 



3 



x The foregoing statements and some that follow are based on documents or news 
paper clippings in the Heiss papers, many of which are not of sufficient general impor 
tance to be printed. 

2 Nashville Union, May 14, 1844. 

3 See letter No. 3 below and note 10. 
















138 



Documents 



always a matter of interest and importance to the Tennessee 
Democrats, now excited the special solicitude of Polk and his 
friends, as the campaign for Polk's nomination for the vice- 
presidency and for the redemption of Tennessee was demand- 
ing the most vigorous efforts. Samuel H. Laughlin, who had 
formerly edited the Union, was brought back to the editorial 
chair. 4 The success of the campaign, resulting in the acces- 
sion of Polk to the Presidency of the United States, led quite 
naturally to the reward of the faithful. 5 Laughlin, shortly 
after Polk's inauguration, was made Recorder of the General 
Land Office. The editorship of the Union passed to A. O. P. 
Nicholson, one of the most prominent Democrats in Tennes- 
see. June 3, the name of James G. Shepard succeeded that 
of Heiss as publisher. 

The cause of this change was the removal of Major Heiss 
to Washington City, where he assumed the business manage- 
ment of the Washington Union, tlie newly established "organ" 
of the Polk administration. The editor and joint proprietor of 
the Union was the venerable Thomas Ritchie, so long identi- 
fied with the Richmond Enquirer. 

Surmises were rife in Washington as the explanation of 
the sale of the former Democratic organ, the Globe, by its 
owners, F. P. Blair and John C. Rives, to Ritchie and Heiss; 
and later the circumstances of the transfer became a matter of 
bitter dispute. In 1848 Heiss retired from the partnership. 
Some of the letters printed below show that the machinery 

of the business did not run smoothly. 6 

Heiss appears to have remained in Washington for some 
time and to have planned a trip to California. We next 
meet him, however, in 1851, as editor of the Delta of New 
Orleans. In 1851-2 Heiss engaged in a bitter controversy with 



John C. Rives, with unpleasant personalities on both sides. 
He seems to have been connected with the Delta until 1855. 7 
Doubtless it was his residence in New Orleans which led to 
the next interesting phase of his career — his intimate relations 
with the noted filibuster, William Walker, in 1856-1857. The 
papers of Major Heiss which bear on this part of his life were 
printed, with introduction and notes by Prof. W. O. Scroggs, 
of the State University of Louisiana in the Magazine for De- 
cember, 1915. Summarizing the facts there set forth we may 
note that Heiss was employed by Marcy, the Secretary of 
State under Pierce, to carry dispatches to Nicaragua. At the 

4 Compare Polk-Johnson Letters in the Magazine for September, 1915* under date 
of January 21, 1844. 

5 A note in the Madisonian, the Tyler organ in Washington, spoke of the Nash- 
ville Union as "now one of the largest and handsomest journals in the United States, 
as well as the ablest." Madisonian, January II. 1845. 

•A number of documents in the next instalment have to do with this matter. 

7 A number of letters, dealing with the business of the Delta, have been omitted. 















Heiss Papers 139 


















same time he indulged in a small business undertaking for the 
sale of some corn mills. In June Heiss was left by Father 
Vigil, William Walker's Minister to the United States, as 
charge d'affaires to look out for the interests of Nicaragua 
on the occasion of Father Vigil's rather undignified retreat 
from his post. In September Heiss was named by Walker spe- 
cial commissioner to Great Britain and the United States to 
adjust tlie dispute over the Mosquito Territory, and was au- 
thorized to ratify on behalf of Nicaragua a treaty made be- 
tween Nicaragua and the United States in 1855. At this time 
Heiss was described as "a duly naturalized" citizen of Nica- 
ragua. As the Walker government was not recognized, this 
authorization was an empty honor. 8 Heiss appears to have 
continued in close touch with Walker until the autumn of 



1857: after that there are no more letters. In 1857 Heiss had 
returned to Washington and established a newspaper known 
as the States. But Heiss retained his interest in Nicaragua. 
This is shown by the letters w r hich he received from that 
country, and from the fact that in 1860 he was again appointed 
as bearer of dispatches to the United States legation, this 
time receiving his commission from William Henry Trescot, 
acting Secretary of State at the time. In 1861, Heiss was 
back in Nicaragua. Apparently his chief concern was the cul- 
tivation of cotton in Central America. From 1863 on, he 
served as agent of the British bondholders who had claims 
against Nicaragua. Concerning the affairs of these creditors 
there is a considerable body of papers, the publication of 
which must be reserved for another occasion. 

The date of the death of Major Heiss has not yet been 
ascertained by the editor. His son, Henry Heiss, served in 
the Confederate army, and after the war became one of the 
editors of the Republican Banner of Nashville. He continued 
in this post until 1872, when he became managing editor of 
the St. Louis Times. In 1874 he returned to Nashville and 
was managing editor of the Union and American for about a 
year, until that paper was consolidated with the Republican 
Banner.. He then accepted the managing editorship of the 
American. He married Miss Mary Lusk, of Nashville. It 
is to a nephew of this lady, Mr. Robert Lusk, of Nashville, 
that the Magazine is indebted for the use of the Heiss papers. 



8 The instructions given by Walker to Heiss for the British-United States mission, 
in Walker's own hand — a document placed i n the hands of the editor only recently 
will be found printed separately as Walker-Heiss Papers, II, below. 



. 





















140 Documents 



PAPERS OF JOHN P. HEISS. 

1. James K. Polk, Columbia, (Tenn.) to Maj. Jno. P. Heiss, 

Nashville. May 5, 1842. 

I received your letter of yesterday this evening and herewith 
enclose a letter to my friend Johnson 9 , who will I know take pleas- 
ure in introducing you to others and making your visit to Washing- 
ton agreeable. I supposed this would be better than special letters 
to half a dozen individuals. If however, you desire letters to any 
persons specially, if you will suggest their names, I will forward 
them to you. 

2i W. G. Harding, Brig. Genl. 16th Brg. T. M., 10 Belle Meade. 

To Maj. Heiss. October 8, 1842. 

You are hereby notified to attend the Brig.de Court Marshall for 
the 16th Brigade T. M. at the Court House in Nashville on the 
last Saturday the 29th Inst, to show cause, if any, why you have 
not organized the Batln. of the 88th Regmt. according to the requisi- 
tions of the law now in force in the State of Tenn. 

3. James K. Polk, Columbia, to Maj. John P. Heiss, Nashville. 

December 21, 1843. 

Confidential. 

I have received your letter 11 of yesterday. I am very anxious 
for the reasons assigned to Mr. Hogan and yourself — that the 
Union should be made a more vigorous and efficient paper, than I 
fear Mr. Hogan's present state of health will enable him to make it. 
If Mr. H. desires to sell his interest and you should become the 
purchaser, — you ask my opinion whether the Democratic party would 
assist you personally as they proposed a few days ago to assist the 
firm jointly. I have good reason to believe that they would. I have 
no reason to believe that they would not. As a member of the party 
I can say — that the change if made — by the mutual assent of Mr. 
Hogan and yourself will be entirely satisfactory to me, and especial- 
ly as you propose — to leave to your Democratic friends, the selection 
of the Editor, if they will contribute the amount named a few days 
ago, and that you will pay him a fair salary. I would much prefer 
this arrangement, — to see Mr. H. sell his interest to a third person 
whose future course in conducting the establishment might be un- 
certain and indeed such as to injure the cause. The Editor who is 
to be preferred above all others, for the coming contest, is our friend 
Laughlin. 12 He has talents and experience, is perfectly familiar 
with the politics of the State and the Union, and is extensively known 
as a sound democrat. In his hands I doubt not the patronage of the 
paper would be greatly increased, and the cause advanced. What we 
want is a sound and able Democratic paper — as a reliable organ of 

•Cave Johnson, Representative from Tennessee, later Postmaster-General under 
Polk. 

10 Tennessee Militia. 

u In the Polk Papers, now in the Division of Manuscripts in the Library of 
Congress, are several letters of Heiss to James K. Polk, beginning December 19, 1843. 
Thi9 letter of Polk's and others that follow are answers to these, or communications 
addressed by Polk to Heiss. Several of the letters of Heiss are of considerable 
extent and value. In the letter of December 19, for example, ^ Heiss claimed credit 
for the organization in Nashville of the Democratic Association based on similar 
organizations in the Eastern cities. (For a description of one of the meetings 
of this association, see the Diary of S. H. Laughlin in the Magazine for March, 
191 6, under date of October 28, 1843.) 

"For a sketch of Laughlin see Diaries of S. H. Laughlin of Tennessee, in the 
Magazine for March, 1916. 









Heiss Papers 141 






the party in the State. He would make it so, whilst some others 
into whose hands it might pass, might not. It is a matter of im- 
portance, — that whatever arrangement is made should be speedily 
made. The public need know nothing of what is contemplated, until 
it is consummated, and announced by the parties. In whatever is 
done I must urge first that LaughlirCs services be secured during 
the canvass of the next year. 

After closing this letter, I will envelope it to Genl. Armstrong, 13 
— that it may go directly into your hands, — and not run the risk of 
falling into the general packages for your office and run the risk of 
being opened by your clerk. I will mention to Armstrong its gen- 
eral purport, of course confidentially, and desire that you will have 
an early interview with him. Any arrangement agreed upon be- 
tween you and Him with Hogan's assent will be agreeable to me as 
a member of the party. 

You see our paper here has taken ground for V — Bur en. I men- 
tioned to Hogan and yourself the propriety of the Union's doing the 
same things: to which I understand you both to assent 14 Since my 
return home, I am the more confirmed in the views then expressed. 
A. V. Brown writes under date of the 9th Inst. "The relative strength 
is estimated as follows — Calhoun 24 or 25, Buchanan, 11 or 12, John- 
son, 3 or 4, Cass none, not one I believe unless the Michigan men be 
counted for him: All the rest for Van-Buren." Cave Johnson writes 
under date of the 11th, "All the fragments of our party seem likely 
to unite upon Van-Buren, make his nomination unanimous, and each 
party seek the succession by distinguished services in his behalf." 

You can if you choose show this letter to Mr. Hogan, who is my 
friend, and I would do, or advise nothing that would be prejudiced 
to his interests. I sincerely regret his feeble state of health. Show 
it to no one else unless it be to Hogan and Armstrong, and that in 
the same confidence, that it is written to you. 

P. S. I have said to Armstrong that you would show him this 
letter. 

4. James K. Polk, Columbia '(Tenn.), to Hogan and Heiss, Nash- 

ville. Jany. 21, 1844. 

Private. 

I neglected when I was at Nashville to suggest to you the pro- 
priety of placing Mr. Van Buren's name at the head of your column 
in the paper, as well as mine. It is now certain that Mr. Van Buren 
will be the candidate, — and some of my friends out of the State do 
not understand why it is, that my name is at the head of the column 
of the Union and Mr. Van-Buren y s is not. Some of my opponents — 
or rather some of those who urge the nomination of another for the 
Vice-Presidency, — are attempting to use the fact that Van-Buren's 
name has not been hoisted in your paper to my prejudice. If you 
see no objection — I hope you will run-up his name — subject of course 
to the decision of the National Convention. 

5. James K. Polk, Lawrenceburg. To Hogan and Heiss, Nash- 

ville. Febry. 18, 1844. 

Private. 

Some of the friends of Hon. A. V. Brown are disposed to complain 
that his two speeches on the Jackson fine, and the abolition questions, 
have not been republished in the Union. I myself thought they had 

13 Robert Armstrong, of Nashville. 

14 Van Buren's name was not placed at the head of the Union until February 8, 1845. 
For Polk's view of the policy of supporting Van Buren see Polk-Johnson Letters, 
under date of January 21, March 18, May 4, 1844. 






142 Documents 



been published, though I may be mistaken. If they have not been, 
I hope you will give them an insertion in your paper as early as 
practicable. 1 * Brown is a prominent member of our party — and may 
feel wounded (And I have an intimation that he probably does so) 
at the failure to republish what he says in congress, in the Tennes- 
see Democratic papers, and especially in the Union. If you have 
omitted it in this instance, I have no doubt it has been accidental. 

I am here attending court but expect to visit Nashville in about 
a week from this time. 

P. S. There being a Whig Post Master here and my hand writing 
being known as well as my face, I will send this under cover to 
Genl. Armstrong. 

6. James K. Polk, Columbia, to John P. Heiss, Nashville. 

Febry. 22, 1844. 

Private. 

On my return home from Lawrence Court on yesterday I received 
your letter of the 14th Instant. I will write a pressing letter to 
Laughlin tonight, urging him to take charge of the Editorial Depart- 
ment of the Union at the earliest practicable day. He wrote me two 
weeks ago, that he would certainly do so on the 1st of March. The 
specimen No. of the "Star Spangled Banner" should [be] an able 
paper, and his first attention should be given to the preparation of 
matter for it. I am sorry to learn that our good friend Hogan's ' 

health continues so bad. 

I wrote you from Lawrenceburg suggesting the propriety of your 
publishing A. V. Brown's speeches on abolition and the Jackson fine 
in the Union. Brown himself has some feeling because it has not been 
done sooner. Insert them with suitable editorials, calling attention 
to them. I will be at Nashville next week. 

7. [A. 0. P.] Nicholson (Columbia, Tenn.) to Maj. J. P. Heiss, 

Nashville. May 8, 1844. 

I thank you for your favor. I have not had the head, heart or 
hand to answer it, not that I was surprised at Mr. V. B.'s course, but 
his letter 10 produced such a prostrating and cooling effect upon our 
friends here that it did appear very much like we had disbanded. 
Indeed it has given many a pretext for doing that which they have 
had in their minds to do — to declare against V. B., and a considerable 
portion of them will never be reconciled to him. On the evening that 
his letter got here the democratic association met and Barkly Martin 
addressed them — he curried down V. B. smartly but when he came to 
speak of Cass as he did most eloquently, every democrat was himself 
and a more enthusiastic crowd I never saw — they made all sorts of 
loud manifestations of approbation and joy. — Well, just as the Dem- 
ocratic countenances had begun to contract, down came upon us the 
Virginia election, and down went our under jaws again. And here 
we are with our breeches down. But may it not all be for the best — 
How can Mr. V. B. be now nominated? Surely, surely, surely it will 
not be done. — But what ought the Union to do. Ill tell you. Just 
say in emphatic terms. — Let others do as they may, we go for the 
annexation warmly and constantly — and then as to men wait pa- 
tiently until the nomination — in the meantime keep striking for 
Texas and our other principles; holding yourself ready to take the 
proper course when the nomination is made. I have not time to 

* 

^•Aaron V. Brown's speech in the House of Representatives on the exclusion of 
abolition petitions had already been published in the Union, February 6, 1845. 

t6 Van Buren's letter to Hammett, dated April 20, and published in the Globe, 
had just reached Nashville and had been republished in the Nashville Union, May 7» 
1845. 









Heiss Papers 143 





















write any more. My head aches, my heart aches, and I am in the 
middle of a great law suit. 

8. James K. Polk, Columbia, (Tenn.) to J. P. Heiss Nashville, 



Tennessee. 



July 31, 1844. 



Private. 

R. P. Flenniken, Esq. of Union Town, Pennsylvania, requests me 
to forward to him some Democratic paper published in this State 
during the pendency of the present contest. Will you send him the 
"Tri-Weekly Union and the Star Spangled Banner." — Mr. Flenniken 
is a distinguished lawyer of Union Town and is the President of 
the Democratic Association of Fayette County. He gives me a most 
flattering account of the Democratic prospects in that part of Penn- 
sylvania. 

I hope the arrangement can be made to have the aid of my friend 
Harris's talents in the Union. The Union should be made in Ten- 
nessee what Medary's Statesman is in Ohio, and what the Union 
itself was in 1839. — It is looked to from all parts of the Union and 
must be a great paper during this canvass. It would do well enough 
as it is in ordinary times, but we are now in a storm, — and it wants 
more spirit and fire. Let Harris and Laughlin both labor for it. 
Harris is willing at a word. I have written to Laughlin and feel 
sure he will consent and take no offence. — Much depends on the next 
90 days, and there is not a paper in the Union whose location makes 
it so important as the Union during that period. — Harris is willing. 
Let him lay hold immediately. There is not a day to be lost. All 
Laughlin can desire is the good of the common cause, and he cannot 
and must not take offense at having Harris's aid, in the great work. 
If the present enthusiasm and confidence of our party can be kept up 
for the next 90 days all will be well in the State, — and in the Union. 
I have written to Armstrong on the subject. Consult him. This 
letter is for your own eye alone. 

In haste. 



9. James K. Polk, Columbia to Maj. J. P. Heiss, Nashville. 

Aug. 21, 1844. 

(Confidential.) 

Your letter of the 29th ulto. is at hand. I had anticipated your 
views in my letter to you of yesterday, which I sent under cover to 
Genl. Armstrong, lest it might fall into the hands of some one else in 
your office. 

I had also written to Laughlin, and received his answer on yester- 
day. He says he is desirous to have Mr. Harris's aid. I think he pre- 
fers to remain, but will be entirely willing that Harris should lay 
hold with him, and make the Union such a paper as the crisis de- 
mands. — Harris is ready at a moment's notice. Let it therefore be 
done. The two can and will make the Union the great paper of the 
country for the next 90 days and this is what it ought to be. Both 
Laughlin and Harris can be well employed their whole time in making 
it a powerful organ. Let it be done. — You cannot imagine the impor- 
tance I attach to it. It is indeed indispensible, that fire and spirit 
and power [?] should be thrown into it. The Nashville Whig press 
must be boldly and promptly met at every point and driven back by 
exposing their falsehoods and misrepresentations. Can you not in the 
[e]mergency and for the next 90 days spare more space in the Union 
for political matter. This is important if you can possible do it, as 
I hope you can. 



• 












144 



Documents 



10. 



James K. Polk, Columbia, to Maj. J. P. Heiss, Nashville. 

Sept. 13, 1844. 



( Private. ) 

I send you today under cover to Genl. Armstrong, a Nashville 
Union of the 11th Instant, — containing with the additional matter 
attached by wafers the material for the pamphlet which I wish pub- 
lished. The "Vindication" as published in the Union of that date, with 
the additional matter attached — by wafers — will constitute the 
pamphlet. 17 Let there be a title page, — if there is room — upon which 
the title must be printed. I wish you to print $10,000 (sic) copies in 
net style. I wish you to advise me on what day they will be out and 
ready for distribution. — I hope they can be ready by monday or tues- 
day. The Title or heading of the pamphlet must be the same as 
that printed in the Union. — I wish it properly done and must there- 
fore ask your personal attention to its publication. Not being a 
printer I do not know that you will understand where I wish the 
additional matter to come in, from the manner in which I have 
attached it by wafers. Lest you may not, I state that I wish the 
statement of letter of John Wallace to be inserted immediately after 
the statement of Jacob Lawrence. I wish the extracts from Mr. 
Senator Haywood's report, to come in at the close of the whole, and 
immediately after the address of the North Carolina Committee. 
There are two extracts from Mr. Haywood's report. I wish the more 
lengthy extract pasted or wafered on the left hand side of the page- 
to come in first; and the other extract to come in after the * 
and to conclude the pamphlet. I hope I have made my [self] under- 
stood. I have noted several typographical errors, — in the paper as 
published in the Union of the 11th, — which you will please have cor- 
rected in the pamphlet impression. If you get this letter in time to 
answer by Saturday's mail, let me know when the pamphlet copies will 

ready. 

11. James K. Polk, Columbia, to Gen. R. Armstrong, Nashville. 



Sept. 16, 1844. 

Private. 

A letter received today from Williamson of Somerville, renders 
it probable that Staunton may still come up in a few days. If he 

* 

17 The pamphlet to which Polk refers so interestedly in this and the following 
letters had its origin in the bitter personalities of the political campaign.^ James 
K. Polk was a native of North Carolina and in no state was the party strife more 
violent. To damage Polk in the canvass the story was circulated in North Carolina 
that his father, Samuel Polk, had been a Tory in the time of the American Revo- 
lution. It was soon demonstrated that Samuel Polk was only four years old when 
the Revolution broke out. The charge was then carried one generation farther 
back and it was alleged that Ezekiel Polk, the grandfather of the candidate for the 
Presidency had been a Tory. In disproof of this latter charge reference was made 
to the activity of Ezekiel Polk and Thomas, his brother, as evidenced by documents 
connected with the alleged Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of May 20, 
I 77S- Various commissions also were reproduced giving official positions held bv 
Ezekiel Polk. A third charge was that in 1780 Ezekiel Polk "took the protection 
of the British commander against the Tories. This was answered by citing the 
example of others, especially Havne, of South Carolina, who did the same thing, 
while the consistent loyalty of Polk was proved by many witnesses. It is interesting 
to note the statement that the charge was first made in 1840 by a Whig paper 
published at Joncsboro, Tenn. This must have been none other than the news- 
paper of William G. Brownlow, who had an especially keen scent for any kind 
of scandal. 

The materials for the defense of Ezekiel Polk's character were presented in a 
report by W. H. Haywood, of North Carolina, and embodied in a communication 
prepared by the Democratic Correspondence Committee of North Carolina. This was 
republished in the Nashville Union of September it with the title. Vindication of 
the Revolutionary Character and Services of the Late Col. Ezekiel Polk of Meck- 
lenburg, North Carolina. It is this with his additions thereto that Polk wishes 
Eublished in pamphlet form. A copy of the pamphlet is in the Polk Papers in the 
.ibrary of Congress. 












Heiss Papers 145 









* 





















does, Nicholson will immediately take his place. I promise to send 
you the names of the Democratic speakers, to whom the letter is to 
be sent by the Committee, I can only a part of them tonight. In 
counties where there are two or more speakers, one letter addressed 
to them jointly will answer. The list is herewith enclosed. 

Major Heiss writes me that the Pamphlet Edition of the "Vindica- 
tion of E. Polk etc." — will be out this week, a part of them on Wed- 
nesday evening. I wish you to send 100 of the first that are struck 
to Edwin Polk, Esq. Bolivar, through the mail. Send them in such 
a way that he will only have newspaper postage to pay. 

Send one copy of the first that are out to each Democratic member 
of Congress. When all are out, send 25 copies to each Democratic 
member of Congress. 

Send 10 copies to each Democratic elector in the Union, — as far 
as their names can be ascertained from the newspapers. 

Send one copy to each Democratic newspaper in the Union. 

Request Mr. Southall to send one copy to each one of the list of 
persons in this State which he has. 

Send one copy to each Democratic speaker in this State. 

Send to any others in any part of the Union whom you may think 
of. 

Reserve 1000 copies for me and 1000 copies for Edwin Polk, Esq 
of Bolivar. 

Send them to Edwin and myself by the first safe opportunity — 
so as to avoid Postage if it can be done. 

I wish 100 of the first that are struck sent to me. Send them out 
to Mr. Loughtry on Thursday, if you can get them. 

12. James K. Polk, Columbia, to Maj. J. P. Heiss, Nashville. 

September 16, 1844. 

Private. 

Yours of the 14th came to hand today. You say you will have 
one or two thousand of the Pamphlet out by Wednesday night, and 
the balance during the week, and desire to know how you are to dis- 
pose of the first copies which you get out. Send one copy to every 
Democratic newspaper in the Union. I suppose you have the name 
and title of a large number of them on your exchange list. Send 
100 copies address through the Post office to Edwin Polk, Esq., Boli- 
var Tennessee. You can put them up in bundles of 25 or 50, and mark 
on the envelope the number of printed sheets which each bundle 
contains. — Put up 200 copies for me an dgive them to Genl. Arm- 
strong to be sent out. Furnish to Mr. Southall two or three hundred 
or a sufficient put up in single copies, to send one to each of the list 
of names which he has in this State. Have a single copy sent also 
to each Democratic member of Congress. Genl. Armstrong has a 
directory containing their names and Post office. Put up all the 
balance in bundles of 25 each and deliver them to Genl. Armstrong 
and I will inform him how I wish them distributed. 

Send me one of the first copies which you strike off. 

I suggest that you put into the next Star Spangled Banner, the 
additional matter, viz Wallace's statement and the extracts from 
the North Carolina Vindication, which will appear in the Pamphlet, 
and which did not appear in the last Star Spangled Banner. 

My news from New York and New Jersey is very fine. 

13. James K. Polk, Columbia, to Maj. J. P. Heiss, Nashville. 

Sept. 20, 1844. 

Private. 

Your letter of the 18th is at hand. I wish you to reserve for my 






• 






146 Documents 



own use 1000 copies of the "Vindication." I have written to Genl. 
Armstrong, particularly how I wish the balance distributed. I di- 
rected to send 1000 copies to Edwin Polk of Bolivar, and pointed out 
to whom the balance were to be sent. He has my letter I wish of 
course one or more copies sent to each Democratic Elector through- 
out the Union as far as their names can be had. 

Will you put up 600 of the 1000 which I wish to reserve for 
myself, — in single copies — as you printers do your newspapers, so 
that I may direct them to individuals. Deliver all reserved for me 
to Armstrong as soon as they are ready, and he will send them out. 



14. Jan 
Private. 



P. Heiss, Nashville 

September 25, 1844. 



I wish you to send out the balance of the 1000 copies of the 
"Vindication of E. Polk etc" — which I directed to be forwarded here, 
as soon as possible. Have the balance of the 10,000 ordered to be 
printed been distributed over the Union as I requested [?] I wrote 
to Genl. Armstrong particularly how I wished them distributed. They 
ought to be off immediately. — Be pleased to inform me if they have 
gone. 

15. James K. Polk, Columbia, to Maj. J. P. Heiss, Nashville. 
Private. 

Sept. 30, 1844. 

I have received a letter from a leading Democratic friend in 
Louisiana, requesting me to ask you to send the Nashville Union — 
in exchange to the "Bayou Sara Ledger," published at Bayou Sara 
Louisiana. I will thank you to do so. 

Have you send the 1,000 copies of the "Vindication" to Edwin 
Polk, Esq. at Bolivar as requested. If you have not, send them 
through the mail. Put them up in packages of convenient size, or 
request Genl. Armstrong to do so, in such manner they will be charged 
with Newspaper or Pamphlet Postage only. — Have all the balance 
been distributed? Send me the balance of my 1,000. 

My news from Georgia is very good, as good as that from the 
North. In haste. 

16. Robert Tyler, 18 Executive Mansion, Washington City, to 

Maj. J. P. Heiss. October 6. 

Your very kind letter addressed to the President has been re- 
ceived, and in the absence of the President from the seat of Govt, 
(he is not at fortress Calhoun, Va.) I take pleasure in replying to it. 

Without much arrogance, I think I can claim that Thomas Jeffer- 
son would not be, if he were living:, very much ashamed of his dis- 
ciple the present President of th U. S. 

Is there any other Republican in the country who has accomplished 
a greater work in the service of the Jeffersonian principles, that act 
of General Jackson' excepted which prostrated the National Bank, 

You can only appreciate what he has done by imagining the con- 
dition of the country if it had not been for his accession to the presi- 
dency and his firm and honest course. 

We should have had a national bank, a Distribution of the pro- 
ceeds of the public Funds, a permanent system of a high protective 
tariff, the country filled with Federalists in office from one end of it 
to the other, and other Federal abuses of a heinous character. 

"Robert Tyler was the son of President John Tyler. The year is not given. 
It was probably 1842. 
























■ 



Heiss Papers 147 



Besides we should have had No Treaty with England, but in all 
probability a war; for this treaty is one of the results of the Presi- 
dent's position without a party in Congress. If it had been made a 
party suestion, we should have had a war beyond doubt. 

As to the Expunging Resolutions, you know my father resigned his 
seat in Congress rather than disobey the instructions of the people 
of his State, which in the absence of any personal ill will towards 
Genl. Jackson, but on the contrary with an admiration of his char- 
acter, proves that he viewed the question as a constitutional one, and 
gives evidence of the honesty of his motives & purpose. Men will 
differ in their judgements, and with my father's views of that ques- 
tion, as purely a question of constitutional consideration, he would 
have been recreant to his own honour, to have voted for them. Think- 
ing it wrong, he would not have done so for the sake of the dearest 
friend he had in the world. 

With respect to the Sub-Treasury as presented in its first crude 
form, no man pretends to say that the people did not decide against 
the measure. The Exchequer plan is but an improvement on the 
Sub-Treasury. Does the Sub Treasury, my dear Sir, alone exhibit 
and concentrate democratic principles? Can only one democratic form 
of a fiscal agent be suggested. 

The Exchequer plan proposed by the President is Mr. Jefferson's 
own scheme, only I think a little safer and if anything a more demo- 
cratic plan. Mr. Jefferson proposed that his issue of treasury notes 
should be bottomed on a specific tax, whereas the President proposes 
an actual sub-stratum dollar for dollar, of gold and silver coin. 

Besides, my dear Sir, any party who goes before the people in that 
old issue, will assuredly be again put down. 

The President is anti-bank — anti a high protection Tariff — anti 
distribution — anti-abolition — anti-Federalism in all and any forms and 
a strict constructionist of the Constitution. What more is needed 
to make a pure Republican? 

(To be continued.) 

* 

II. 

Walker-Heiss Papers, Additional. 

[In the Walker-Heiss Papers, published in the Magazine 
for December, 1915, were included (pp. 338 ff.) documents 
bearing on the appointment of John P. Heiss as special com- 
missioner from the Republic of Nicaragua to the governments 
of Great Britain and the United States. The document printed 
below, which has been only recently placed in the possession 
of the Editor, is the letter of instruction given to Heiss on this 
occasion. By it Walker's intentions are more clearly re- 
vealed. — Ed.] 

Wm. Walker to Mr. John P. Heiss, Special Commissioner to Great 

Britain and the United States. 

Government House, Granada, Sep. 30th, 1856. 

Sir: In the special mission with which you are charged you will be 
governed by the following instructions: 

1st. You will proceed as early as possible to Washington City 
where you will present a copy of your credentials to the Secretary of 
State of the United States. If the information you receive there is 
of such a nature as to induce you to suppose that negotiations are 






148 



I >(>(!( t/K II t.S 



pending in London between the United States and Great Britain con- 
cerning the question of the Mosquitos and of San Juan de Nicaragua, 
you will proceed as soon as possible to England. When arrived 
there you will, at the time you deem expedient, present a copy of 
your credentials to H. B. M.'s Principal Secretary of State for For- 
eign Affairs. 

2nd. If acknowledged and received both by the Secretary of State 
of the United States and by the Principal Secretary of State for For- 
eign Affairs of Her Britannic Majesty, you will request to become a 
party to any negotiations which may be pending or any settlement 
which may be made touching the possession of the Mosquito shore 
and the Port of San Juan de Nicaragua. 

3rd. In any settlement which may be proposed you will insist 
that the Mosquitos are to be treated like any other tribe of savages in 
countries settled by Europeans. . You will suggest that the Right 
Honorable Earl of Clarendon by his late dispatch distinctly admits 
that Great Britain claims no protectorate over the territory inhabited 
by the Mosquitos, but confines her protection simply to the persons 
of those Indians. You will explicitly state that Nicaragua never 
has interfered and does not intend to interfere with the persons of 
the Mosquitos; but that she has been always ready and willing and is 
now ready and willing to extend to them the same personal rights 
and personal protection which she affords to her own citizens. You 
will suggest the utter incapability of the Mosquitos for any social 
or political organization as an evidence of their savage character; for 
although Great Britain asserts that her protectorate over this tribe 
has lasted for two centuries, still they have not made any advance 
towards civilization. 

4th. As a consequence you will insist that the sovereignty of the 
Mosquito shore from the mouth of the Colorado River to the mouth 

of the Rio Wanks resides in Nicaragua. The headwaters of the Rio 
Bluefields and of the Rio Wanks are occupied by Nicaraguans ; and the 
Prefects, Judges, and alcaldes of Nicaragua have always exercised 
jurisdiction over the towns on the head-waters of these rivers. As 
the French held possession of the Valley of the Mississippi in vitrue 
of discovering its mouth and navigating it from its head-waters and 
those of its tributaries to its mouth, so Spain, — under whom Nicaragua 
claims — obtained the vallies of the Bluefields and of the Wanks, as 
well as of the San Juan, by navigating them from their sources to 
the sea. 

5th. The Port of San Juan de Nicaragua is as its name indicates 
a Spanish settlement and was in the possession of Nicaragua until 
the beginning of the year 1848. Nor is it now really in the possession 
of the Mosquitos. It is inhabited by citizens of the United States 
and of Nicaragua together with a few subjects of Great Britain and 
of France. These persons reside at San Juan in a sort of independent 
state under the quasi-protection of the British authorities. To re- 
store the Port of San Juan to Nicaragua takes, therefore, no territory 
from the Mosquitos. 

6th. You will insist on the absolute and unconditional re-delivery 
of the Port of San Juan to Nicaragua. Without this port our sov- 
ereignty over the Isthmus is incomplete and we may, at any time, be 
shut out from the Atlantic. Under no conditions will you agree to 
cede the sovereignty of Nicaragua over San Juan del Norte, though if 
you find a settlement can be made on no other conditions you may 
agree that it be made a free port. 

7th. Should Great Britain propose to make San Juan a free port, 
it can only be on account of the trade with Costa Rica. In this 
connection you may say that present war between Nicaragua and 



i 



I 












Walker -Heiss Papers, II. 149 






■ 



Costa Rica can only end by an intimate alliance or a perfect Confed- 
eration between the two States. In either case, the trade of Costa 
Rica through San Juan will be made free. Or you may propose an 
article in the agreement giving imports and exports to and from 
Costa Rica free passage through the Port of San Juan de Nicaragua. 
You will consent to make it a free port only in case this be a sine qua 
non of any settlement. 

8th. In fixing the territory assigned for the occupancy of the 
Mosquitos, you will endeavor to make limits as narrow as possible. 
So you may agree to pay the chief of the Mosquitos an annuity not 
exceeding $10,000, always, however, making the sum as small as pos- 
sible. You will also provide for the extinction of the Indian title of 
occupancy at any future time. 

9th. You can propose to the two Powers to enter into an agree- 
ment guaranteeing the neutrality in all future wars of the transit 
from one ocean to another, and securing it from all interruption what- 
ever either by the contracting parties or by other belligerents. This 
will give a new importance to the treaty between England and the 
United States concerning the isthmus ; for the consent of Nicaragua to 
such an agreement gives the two great commercial Powers a perfect 
right to secure the trade across the Isthums under any and all cir- 
cumstances. 

10th. You will, however, be careful not to pledge the future action 
of Nicaragua either towards the neighboring States of Central Amer- 
ica or towards the United States. 

11th. You will endeavor to impress both the Powers with the 
importance to them of recent changes in the political condition of this 
Republic. You will endeavor to convince them of the immense com- 
mercial advantages both Powers may derive from these changes. Just 
one hundred years ago England was engaged in a war which con- 
cluded French rule in North America. The Spanish language may 
be destined to the s ame fate as the French. 

12th. Finally, you will endeavor to make the two Governments 
understand that the present movement in Central America is for 
the advantage of all those who speak the English language and who 
derive their laws from the institutes of Alfred. 

WM. WALKER. 









HISTORICAL NOTES AND NEWS. 



* 



A Review of the Proceedings of the Tennessee Historical So- 
ciety, March to May, 1916. 

The most important event for the development of historical in- 
terest during these past three months was the meeting in Nashville 
of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, A full account of 
this meeting is to be found elsewhere. 

On March 14 Major J. G. Cisco delivered an address before the 
society on William Blount. This paper gave a very interesting out- 
line of the life of this early Tennessean and especially dwelt upon 
his expulsion from the United States Senate. The speaker brought 
out quite strongly the feelings of the western people and particularly 
those of Tennessee in support of Blount's policy of dealing with the 
Indians and Spain. 

At the April meeting the regular program was dispensed with, 
and the time was taken up in discussing plans for the Mississippi 
Valley xiistorical Association. 

On May 8 the annual business meeting was held, at which time 
reports were made by the Treasurer and the President on the condi- 
tion of the society. The present list of officers were re-elected for 
the ensuing year. A paper was also presented. Mr. W. B. Myer, 
of Carthage, sent an article on Prehistoric Man in Tennessee, which 
was read by Mr. DeWitt. 

The question of reduction of all dues to $2.00 a year was dis- 
cussed and left to the executive committee to decide upon. The so- 
ciety has had to give up the vault in the Vanderbilt Law Building 
due to the remodeling of the building for the Commercial Club, and 
some provision has to be made for the possessions of the Society. 
The pictures were returned to Watkins Hall for the present. Prac- 
tically all of the documents not stored in a vault of a down-town bank 
will be taken for temporary deposit in fireproof quarters in College 
Hall, Vanderbilt University, until some permanent place can be se- 
cured. 



with 



Washington 



The new members for the past three months are: 
Mr. John Howe Peyton, Nashville. 



Agriculture 



Mrs. John W. Holt, Wartrace. 
Miss Cora Halbeck, Nashville. 



Agriculture 



Mr. Clarence B. Moore, Philadelphia, was made an honorary 
member. 

The Society has received lately the following books and pam- 
phlets : 

Historical Sketches of the Campbell, Pitcher and Kindred Fam- 
ilies, by Margaret Campbell Pilcher. 

A series of pamphlets by Mr. C. M. Burton, of Detroit, Mich., 
relating to the early history of Detroit. 

The Aboriginal Sites on the Tennessee River, Clarence B. Moore. 



Notes and News 151 



A History of Education in Iowa. 
The Illinois Historical Collections. 
The Jackson Highway, by R. H. Gray. 

A Report to the Supreme Court of the United States, State of 
Georgia vs. Tenn. Copper Co. at Ducktown, by Dr. J. T. McGill. 

The History of Memphis, by Hon. J. P. Young. 

Irby Roland Hudson, 

Recording Secretary. 

MEETING OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

As announced in the last number of the Magazine, the ninth 
annual meeting of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association was 
held at Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 
April 27, 28, 29. The Association was invited to Nashville by the 
Tennessee Historical Society, Vanderbilt University, and the George 
Peabody College for Teachers. 

The sessions began Thursday morning at the Hotel Hermitage. 
After the morning session, which was devoted largely to papers upon 
Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Southwest, there was held in 
the loggia of the hotel a joint subscription luncheon of the Ohio 
Valley and the Mississippi Valley Historical Associations, together 
with some citizens of Nashville and neighboring cities. A feature 
of this luncheon was a series of interesting reports upon the centen- 
nial celebrations planned by those states of the Mississippi Valley 
which are approaching their hundredth year of statehood. Added 
to these was an address by Chancellor John Allison of Nashville 
upon Andrew Jackson in connection with the plans of the Andrew 
Jackson Memorial Association. 

After a short interval another regular session was held, lasting 
into the late afternoon. At night in the hall of the Watkins Insti- 
tute, adjoining the rooms of the Tennessee Historical Society, the 
Association met in joint session with the Tennessee Historical Society 
and listened to the presidential address of Dr. Dunbar Rowland of 
Jackson, Mississippi, President of the Mississippi Valley Historical 
Association, in which he described the place of the Mississippi Valley 
in American history. Dr. Rowland's discourse was followed by an 
informal but very clear statement by Solon J. Buck, of the Minnesota 
Historical Society, of "The Functions of a State Historical Society ;" 
and by a highly interesting address on "The Beginnings of Nashville" 
by Professor Archibald Henderson of the University of North Caro- 
lina. This was followed by a reception in the loggia of the Hermitage. 

The session of Friday morning was held in Furman Hall of Van- 
derbilt University. After the reading of papers, the business of 
the Association was taken up and the election of officers for the 
succeeding year. At one o'clock the members and guests were enter- 
tained at luncheon by the George Peabody College for Teachers and 
Vanderbilt University in the Social and Religious Building of the 
George Peabody College for Teachers. Afterwards in the auditorium 
of the same building a conference on various phases of the teaching 
of history was held under the auspices of the History Teachers' Sec- 
tion of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association and the Ten- 
nessee History Teachers' Association. The last session for the read- 
ing of papers was held in University Chapel of Vanderbilt University 
on Friday evening. The speakers were Captain A. L. Conger of the 
Military Service Schools of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on "The Func- 
tion of Military History"; Dr. Philip Van Ness Myers, of Cincinnati, 



152 Notes and News 



Ohio, on "The Ethics of Peace and the Ethics of War"; and Dr. 
G. B. Winton, of Vanderbilt University, on "The Present Situation 
in Mexico." 

On Saturday a party of more than thirty made the trip by auto- 
mobile to the Hermitage, the residence of Andrew Jackson, and 
were there greeted by Miss Louise G. Lindsley, Mrs. P. H. Manlove, 
Mrs. M. C. Dorris, and other ladies representing the Ladies' Hermi- 
tage Association. 

On Saturday afternoon the final entertainment, not included in 
the printed program, was the reception given by the Centennial Club 
of Nashville in honor of Mr. E. R. Harlan, of Iowa, to which the 
members of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association were invited. 

The only disappointments which attached to the sessions were 
found in the absence of some of those who had expected to read 
papers and particularly in the illness of the genial and efficient Sec- 
retary of the Association, Mr. Clarence S. Paine, of Lincoln, Ne- 
braska, to whom the members of the Association, by rising vote at 
the business meeting, extended their cordial sympathy. 

The local Committee of Arrangements, consisting of Messrs. John 
H. DeWitt, A. P. Foster, W. F. Russell, Irby R. Hudson, D. L. Mc- 
Murry, and St. George L. Sioussat, seizes this opportunity to express 
its appreciation of the kindness of those who co-operated in making 
the sessions pleasant for the visitors. Especial thanks are due to 
the Auxiliary Committee of Ladies, including Mrs. B. D. Bell, Mrs. 
A. S. Caldwell, Mrs. James E. Caldwell, Mrs. John H. DeWitt, Mrs. 
Mary C. Dorris, Mrs. Foster Hume, Mrs. Robert F. Jackson, Mrs. 
James H. Kirkland, Mrs. E. A. Lindsey, Miss Louise G. Lindsley, 
Mrs. Bruce R. Payne, Mrs. St. George L. Sioussat, and Mrs. B. F. Wil- 
son, to the ladies of the Hermitage Association and the ladies of the 
Centennial Club. Grateful acknowledgment should be made also 
to the Baird-Ward Printing Company for printing at cost the pro- 
gram of the meeting. 

A REQUEST FROM MR. W. E. MYER. 

Mr. W. E. Myer, of Carthage, Tenn., in conjunction with Prof. 
Warren K. Moorehead of the Peabody Museum, Andover, Mass., has 
undertaken the task of writing a book on "Primitive Man in Ten- 
nessee." This work will be of great scientific interest and has long 
been needed by our State. 

It is now believed by many scientists that man of the same geo- 
logical age as the Cave Man of Europe existed at one time in Ten- 
nessee. Mr. Myer has been requested thoroughly to explore the caves 
of this State. 

The. Tennessee Historical Society urges the public-spirited citi- 
zens of the State to aid in this work. Explore the caves in your 
vicinity and write Mr. Myer • whether you find anything or not. If 
any human or animal bones are found, do not disturb them. Write 
Mr. Myer and he will visit the cave and study them just as found. 
Only in this way can their history be accurately worked out. Write 
and tell him even when no remains are found. 

Also please send him a list of the Indian mounds and Indian 
graves in your section. State which have been explored and which 
have not. Tell who explored them and what was found and where 
the objects now are. 

Tennessee is one of the most interesting states in the Union from 
a scientific view, yet little has been done to bring her rich past to 









i 









Books Noted 153 



the knowledge of the world. This can only be done by our people 
reporting what is in their section, so that scientists may visit and 
study it. They have had long experience in such work. 

Mr. Myer will gratefully acknowledge your aid in the forth- 
coming book. Address W. E. Myer, Carthage, Tenn. 

SCROGGS'S "FILIBUSTERS AND FINANCIERS." 

The story of William Walker, one of the most remarkable men 
who have claimed Nashville as their birthplace, has always had a 
deep interest for Tennesseans. The most complete and scholarly 
account of Walker's career is to be found in the volume lately puo- 
lished by the Macmillan Company, entitled Filibusters and Financiers, 
by Professor William 0. Scroggs of the State University of Louisiana, 
who has been introduced to readers of the Magazine through his 
introduction and notes to the Reminiscences of Elleanore (Callaghan) 
Ratterman and the Walker-Heiss Papers, published in the Magazine 
for December, 1915. 

Besides giving with a wealth of detail heretofore unavilable the 
account of Walker's own activities, Professor Scrogg's excellent book 
sets Walker's career in the proper relation, first, to the work of 
other filibusters, and, secondly, to the financial interests which were 
profoundly interested in such efforts. As to the first, the list in- 
cludes Alex Bell, who in 1851 led a futile expedition against Ecuador, 
De Pindray, de Sigondis, and Raousset-Boulbon, Frenchmen who 
from California headed filibuster expeditions against Sonora in Mex- 
ico before Walker's raid on Lower California; Henry Crabb, another 
native of Nashville, who after extending some aid to Walker in his 
Nicaraguan plans himself undertook, in 1856-1857 to "regenerate" 
Sonora and met a tragic death; and Henry L. Kinney, of Pennsyl- 
vania and Texas, a daring speculator who obtained land rights in 
the Mosquito territory and for a while was a possible rival of Walker. 
Of still greater significance is the demonstration that, to no small 
degree, the filibustering expeditions and the revolutions in the Cen- 
tral American states were, if not promoted, at least utilized by 
the rival transportation interests concerned with trade with these 
states, and, especially, with the transit from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific, now rendered so vitally important by the settlement of Cali- 
fornia under the American flag. Thus besides Walker and his asso- 
ciates in Nicaragua, and besides the governments of the Central 
American republics and those of Great Britain and the United States, 
Cornelius Vanderbilt, Cornelius K. Garrison, Charles Morgan and 
George Law play roles perhaps less dramatic but no less important. 

With regard to the political phases of Walker's work, Professor 
Scroggs points out that the violent pro-slavery attitude which marks 
Walker's book, "The War in Nicaragua," published in 1860 was a 
development and not an original conviction of the filibuster. As 
one of the editors of the New Orleans Crescent, in 1848-1849, Walker's 
position was a conservative one; his paper ridiculed the filibustering 
expeditions against Cuba. Slavery expansion, in Professor Scroggs' 
estimation, was not the motive of the Lower California raid of 1854. 
In this year, after the failure of the raid, Walker, in the San Fran- 
cisco Commercial Advertiser, severely criticised the support by the 
Southern extremists of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. Apparently the 
necessities of his course in Nicaragua led Walker to his later radical 
pro-Southern views. 

Concluding with a severe criticism of Walker's defects as a leader, 
Professor Scroggs thus sums up the final results. "As it was, his 



154 Notes and News 



enterprise, by reason of his failure, was productive of evil conse- 

?uences to all concerned. It was injurious to private capital in the 
Fnited States; it caused enormous destruction of life and property 
in Nicaragua; it created a suspicion in Central America against the 
American people which still persists; it had an untoward effect upon 
the relations of Great Britain and the United States; and lastly, and i 

apparently most important of all, it destroyed interoceanic com- 
munication by way of the San Juan River and thus delayed in- 
definitely that 'regeneration* of Nicaragua which he always de- \ 
clared to be his heart's desire." 



H^^-w v nnmfn»Tn " 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL "COLLECTIONS. 

The eleventh volume of the Illinois Historical Collections — num- 
bered the second of the "British Series" — is entitled "The New 
Regime" and covers the years 1765-1767. Like its predecessor, this 
volume appears under the joint editorship of Professors C. W. 
Alvord and C. E. Carter. The materials included, which illustrate 
the development of British control, the Indian problem, plans for 
new settlements, and trade and commerce, are rich in importance 
for the whole Mississippi Valley, and particularly for the Ohio Val- 
ley. The series as it progresses becomes more and more interesting 
to the students of the history of Kentucky and Tennessee. 































• 






V 

































I 



. 







































- 







































- 






• 















' 































































■ 












. 



























• ' 









PLATE I 




<^*4£ 














2 




rU^M. 












/ 










^A^t 



/CA 



nAs 



if 










^4 



^(P QC&u*****? 







/ 



TENNESSEE 



HISTORICAL MAGAZINE 



Vol. 2. SEPTEMBER, 1916. No. 3, 



RICHARD HENDERSON: THE AUTHORSHIP OF 

THE CUMBERLAND COMPACT AND THE 

FOUNDING OF NASHVILLE.* 



I. 

In the middle years of the eighteenth century the first con- 
structive movement in the Southern Appalachian region, look- 
ing toward extensive colonization beyond the mountains, was 

initiated by great land companies having their headquarters 
in North Carolina and Virginia. In 1750 that same Dr. 
Thomas Walker who had won repute as an explorer upon a 
former journey when he gave the name of Cumberland to 
mountain, gap and river, was despatched upon a tour of ex- 
ploration to the westward in behalf of the Loyal Land Com- 
pany of Virginia; and in 1751, Christopher Gist, whose name 
is associated in our memory with that of George Washington, 
was summoned from his remote home on the Yadkin, neqr 
the dwelling place of Daniel Boone, to spy out the western 
lands beyond the mountains in the interest of the Ohio Land 
Company. 1 

Although no historian adverts to the subject, there can be 
little doubt that Daniel Boone was given the initial spur to his 
distant wanderings through the stories of the fertile lands 
upon the western waters brought back by his neighbor, Christo- 
pher Gist, who lived above him upon the Yadkin. As early as 
1760, and no doubt much earlier, Daniel Boone, gun in hand, 
was scouring the wilderness of Tennessee, and penetrating as 
far to the westward as the Long Island of the Holston River. 
At Salisbury, the county seat of Rowan, he became known 
to the young attorney, Richard Henderson, who often prac- 

*An address delivered in Watkins Hall, Nashville, Thursday, April 
27, before the Joint Meeting of the Mississippi Valley Historical Asso- 
ciation with the Tennessee Historical Society. 

\T. S. Johnston, "Early Explorations of Kentucky," Filson Club 
Publications, No. 13, 1898. 



l.">6 Archibald Henderson 



ticed in the court where Daniel Boone's father, Squire Boone, 
presided as one of the "worshipful justices." To Henderson, 
richly endowed with imaginative vision, Daniel Boone, the 
scout and hunter, narrated bizarre and romantic tales of the 
rich lands, fertile pastures and bound less hunting grounds 



beyond the towering, olive mountains. The King's Proclama- 
tion of 1703, which was indubitably made to allay for the time 
being the alarm of the Indians along the border, was by no 
means designed to set permanent western limits to the colonies. 
This proclamation gave Henderson the first practical sug 
gestion to utilize the knowledge and the genius of Boone in 
exploration in behalf of capital and enterprise. Realizing 
that the western lands must eventually be thrown open to 
colonization, Richard Hendeison, soon after the issuance of 
the Royal Proclamation, organized a land company for the 
primary purpose of engaging an expert scout and surveyor to 
spy out the western lands and with the ultimate object in 
view of effecting a purchase from the Indians. The original 
company which consisted of three partners, Richard Hender- 
son, Thomas Hart, and John Williams, was given the name 
of "Richard Henderson and Company." Boone was engaged 
for the undertaking, not only because of his natural genius 
as an explorer, but also on account of his innate taciturnity 
and his faculty of keeping his own counsel. Henderson was 
wise enough to give Boone discretionary powers in regard to 
prosecuting his inquiries; and in one noteworthy instance, the 
circumspect Boone deemed it the part of wisdom to com- 
municate the purposes of his mission to some hunters, to en- 
able him to secure the results of their information in regard 
to the best lands they had encountered in the course of their 
hunting expeditions. In the autumn of 1764, during the jour- 
ney of the Blevins party of hunters to their hunting ground 
on the Rock Castle River, near the Crab Orchard in Kentucky, 
Daniel Boone came among the hunters, at one of their Ten- 
nessee station camps, in order, as expressed in the quaint 
phraseology of the day, "to be informed of the geography and 
tocography of these woods, saying that he was employed to 
explore them by Richard Henderson and Company." 2 It was 
upon ili is journey that Samuel Callaway, his kinsman, ac- { 

companied Daniel Boone, who, as Ramsey says, "though he 

'John Haywood's Civil and Political History of Tennessee, edn. 
1823, p. 35. Judge Haywood was intimate from boyhood with the 
Henderson family, and was the schoolmate of Archibald Henderson, 
son of Richard, at Springer College in Granville County, the seat 
of the Henderson family. Judge Haywood's successor to the post 
of reading clerk to the North Carolina House of Commons, in 1789, 
was his friend, Major Pleasant Henderson, Richard's brother, and 












Richard Henderson 15* 



had previously hunted on the western waters, came again this 
year (1764) to explore the country, being employed for the 
purpose by Henderson and Company." 3 



Among the hunters who kept penetrating ever further to 
the westward, during each succeeding year beginning with 
1760, was a trained woodsman and expert scout, Henry Scaggs, 
whom Boone encountered upon more than one occasion in his 
western wanderings. It was doubtless upon the recommenda- 
tion of Boone, who recognized his great skill as hunter and 
scout, that Henry Scaggs was engaged as prospector by the 
land company known as Richard Henderson and Company. 
As early as 1763, Scaggs (sometimes incorrectly spelled Suggs 
or Scragging) had already passed through Cumberland gap, 
and hunted for the season on the Cumberland; and in 1765, 
as the agent of Richard Henderson and Company, he made 
an extended exploration of the lower Cumberland, fixing his 
station at what was afterwards known as Mansker's Lick, 
from its supposed discovery by Caspar Mansker in 1771/ 
Aware of the inadequacy of his knowledge of the western coun- 
try derived from the fragmentary reports brought back by 
Boone and Scaggs, Judge Henderson for a time took no step 
toward western colonization ; but when the news of the Treaty 
of Fort Stanwix reached North Carolina in December, 1768, he 
realized that the western lands, though osetnsibly thrown open 
for settlement under the aegis of Virginia on pretext of the 
purchase of the shadowy claim of the Six Nations to the Ken- 
tucky region, could only be legally obtained by extinguishing 
the Cherokee title. The arrival of John Findlav, the Penn- 
sylvania trader, in the valley of the Yadkin late in 1768 was 
singularly opportune; for Boone himself had never penetrated 
further westward than the northeastern fringe of Kentucky, 
whereas Findlay had reached Kentucky as early as 1752, and 
knew the route thereto through Ouasioto Gap and along the 
course of the Great Warriors' Path. Seizing the golden op- 
portunity thus presented, Judge Henderson secured the services 
of Boone and five others, including Findlay as guide, to make 
an exhaustive survey and examination of the Trans-AUeghany 

pioneer with Boone at Boonesborough and with Robertson at the 
French Lick. On his removal to Tennessee, Judge Haywood formed 
the acquaintance of many of the pioneers, from whom he received 
innumerable accounts of their personal experiences — notably James 
Robertson, John Sevier, and Timothe de Monbreun. 



:; 



Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee, Phila., 1853, p. 69. 



4 Haywood's Civil and Political History of Tennessee, ed. 1823, 
p. 35; Ramsay's Annals of Tennessee, Phila., 1853, pp. 69-70; Al- 
bright's Early History of Middle Tennessee, Nashville, 1909, pp. 23, 
29-30. 






158 Archibald Henderson 



region of Kentucky and Tennessee on behalf of the land com- 
pany. Following a two years' sojourn in this region, in which 
lie ranged far and wide through Kentucky and as far down as 
the valleys of the Green and Cumberland rivers, hunting in 



Ma 



North 



explorations and of the nature of the country. 



II. 






area from the Cherokee 



Kentucky 






If Daniel Boone was the first great instrument in further- 
ing the speculative designs of the land company, James Rob- 
ertson was assuredly the second, though no whit less impor- 
tant than Boone. In 1772 the Watauga settlers secured from 
the Cherokee Indians, for a valuable consideration, a ten years' 
lease of the lands upon which they were settled; and Boone, 
who had established friendly relations with Robertson in 1771, 
communicated to Henderson the details of the leases and pur- 
chases from the Cherokees of the rich valley lands made by 
Robertson, Brown and Sevier. After consultation with the 
Indians, Robertson informed Boone, Henderson's confidential 
agent, that he believed, if the inducement were large enough, 
the Indians were ready to sell. Following the disastrous fail- 
ure of his own unauthorized and individual effort in 1773 to 
effect western colonization without even attempting to secure 
by purchase the Indian title, Boone in 1774 advised Hender- 
son and his associates to attempt the purchase immediately, 
since the Cherokee, as reported by Robertson, were at last 
disposed to sell their claim to the Kentucky area. 6 Acting 
upon legal advice solicited and received from the highest 
judicial authorities in England — an obscure subject of great 
importance into which I cannot enter at this time — Judge 
Henderson, accompanied by Colonel Nathaniel Hart, person- 
ally visited the Cherokee chieftains in their principal village 
and secured from them their consent to sell their title. Re- 
organizing the land company, originally known as Henderson 
and Company, first into the Louisa and then into the Transyl- 
vania Company, Judge Henderson, with the aid of Boone 
and Robertson, and some of his own associates, carried through 
the Great Treaty at Sycamore Shoals on March 14-17, 1775, 
purchased for 10,000 pounds sterling the Cherokee title to 
the Kentucky and Tennessee areas, and commissioned Daniel 

*The Harbinger, Chapel Hill, 1834, in which Major Pleasant Hen- 
derson, Judge Richard Henderson's brother, and Daniel Boone's friend 
and fellow-pioneer, relates that in 1774 Richard Henderson followed 







Richard Henderson 159 


















Boone and his axemen to cut out the passage to the heart of 



Wilderness 



III. 



Not the least erroneous statement in Mr. Roosevelt's Win- 
ning of the West is his singular assertion — which his own book 
in part denies — that after the confiscation of the Transylvania 
purchase by the Virginia legislature in 1778, Judge Richard 
Henderson "drifts out of history." Surely there is excuse for 
such a statement in view of the strange, yet not wholly in- 
explicable, fact that the Tennessee historians, Haywood and 
Ramsey, upon whom Mr. Roosevelt so strongly relied, com- 
pletely ignore the very man who was the directing and con- 
trolling spirit in the exploration, colonization and government 
of the wilderness empire of the Cumberland. Writing Ten- 
nessee history from the local point of view, magnifying the 
dangers and the hardships of the hunter and the borderer al- 
most exclusively, these historians committed the grave error 
of neglecting to place themselves at the source and of failing 
to study the colonization of Tennessee in the light of economic 
control. Having recently described the true role of Daniel 
Boone as the agent of commercial enterprise, 6 I purpose now 
to narrate, in the light of a wealth of documentary material 
in my possession and inaccessible to Mr. Roosevelt and the 
Tennessee historians, the true story of the Transylvania Com- 
pany in its relation to Tennessee and of the guiding and con- 
structive role of its president in the founding of the great and 
flourishing city in which I now stand. 

IV. 

Following the stern fight for the rights of the Transyl- 
vania Company which Henderson and Burke made in the 
Virginia Legislature at Williamsburg in the late autumn of 
1776 — a hopeless battle in which they were worsted through 
the all-powerful influence of two great men, Patrick Henry 
and George Rogers Clark — Judge Henderson appeared before 
the Commissioners of the States of North Carolina and Vir- 
ginia at the Treaty of the Long Island of the Holston on 
July 18, 1777, and presented an elaborate memorial in behalf 



6 Cf. the following papers by me, dealing 1 in some detail with this 
phase of the subject: "The Beginnings of American Expansion," 
North Carolina Review, September and October, 1910; "Richard Hen- 
derson: his Life and Times," Charlotte Observer (thirteen instal- 
ments), March 9-June 1, 1913; "The Creative Forces in Westward 
Expansion," American Historical Review, October, 1914; "Richard 
Henderson and the Occupation of Kentucky, 1775," Mississippi Val- 
ley Historical Review, December, 1914. 






160 Archibald Henderson 



of the alleged rights of the Transylvania Company. 7 Lacking 
the authority from their respective governments to inquire 
into the validity of private purchases from the Cherokee and 
fearing to jeopardize the delicate business for which they 
were assembled, the Commissioners unanimously voted to 
ignore the memorial of the Transylvania Company. In No- 
vember of the next year, the Virginia House of Delegates 
declared the Transylvania purchase void; but in consideration 
of the very great expense incurred by Richard Henderson and 
Company in purchasing the said lands, "by which the Com- 
monwealth is likely to receive great advantage, by increasing 
its inhabitants and establishing a barrier against the Indians," 
the General Assembly granted to Richard Henderson and 
Company two hundred thousand acres of land situated be- 
tween the Ohio and Green Rivers, where the town of Hender- 
son, Kentucky, now stands. 8 

With this bursting of the Transylvania bubble and the 
vanishing of the golden dreams of Henderson and his asso- 
ciates for establishing the fourteenth American Colony in 

the heart of the Trans-Alleghany region, all might well have 
seemed lost. But is Richard Henderson disheartened by this 
failure of his imperialistic dreams? Does he, as Mr. Roosevelt 
crassly affirms, "drift out of history?" No; the purest and 
greatest achievement of his meteoric career still lies before 
him. The genius of the colonizer and the ambition of the 
speculator, in striking conjunction, inspire him to attempt 
to repeat on North Carolina soil, along solidly practical lines, 
the revolutionary experiment which the extension of the sov- 
ereignty of the Old Dominion over the Kentucky area had 
doomed to inevitable failure. It was no longer his purpose, 
however, to attempt to found an independent colony, separate 
from North Carolina and hostile to the American government, 
as in the case of Transylvania, which had been hostile to the 
royal government and founded in defiance thereof. Millions of 
acres within the chartered limits of North Carolina had been 
purchased by him and his associates from the Cherokee on 
March 17, 1775. One of the courses of the Great Grant, as it was 
called, read: "down the sd. (Cumberland) River, including 
all its waters to the Ohio River;** and James Robertson in 
his deposition before the Virginia Commissioners, April 16, 
1777, describing the Sycamore Shoals Treaty, categorically 
stated: "The Indians then agreed to sell the land as far as 

'Haywood's Civil and Political History of Tennessee, edn. 1823, 
Appendix, pp. 500-3. 

^Journal, Virginia House of Delegates, November 4 and 17, 1778. 

Cf. also Hening's Statutes at Large, X, 571. 
•Draper Mss., 2CC42. 






Richard Henderson 161 









Cumberland River and said Henderson insisted to have Cum- 
berland River and the waters of Cumberland River, which 
the Indians agreed to." 10 To establish the fact that this vast 
territory lay within the bounds of North Carolina and not of 
Virginia was the first and most vital consideration of the 
Transylvania Company; for while Virginia had declared the 
title of the Transylvania Company void, North Carolina, 
under American rule, had shown no disposition to nullify the 
claims of Henderson and his associates. In order to estab- 
lish the fact that the great Cumberland region lay within 
the chartered limits of North Carolina, it was necessary to 
prolong the dividing line between North Carolina and Vir- 
ginia, which had never been extended further to the westward 
than Steep Rock Creek. Henderson's unpublished correspond- 
ence reveals his conviction that the Cumberland region lay 
within the chartered limits of North Carolina; but James 
Robertson was under the impression that the Cumberland 
region, including the French Lick, would, when the dividing 
lines should be run, fall within the bounds of Virginia. 11 

Judge Henderson's comprehensive design of the promotion 
of an extensive colonization of the Cumberland region now 
moves rapidly toward completion. It is simply a case of 
history repeating itself. Just as Henderson, in his Boones- 
borough project, had chosen Daniel Boone, the ablest of the 
North Carolina pioneers, and his companions, to spy out the 
land and select sites for permanent future settlement, so now 
he chooses as the leader of the new colonizing party the ablest 
pioneer of the Watauga settlement, James Robertson. Large 
inducements to assemble and lead this party were indubitably 
offered by the Transylvania Company to James Robertson. 
Nothing less than such inducements would have influenced 
Robertson to abandon the comparatively peaceful Watauga 
settlements, where he was the acknowledged leader and the 
Indian agent in the employ of the State of North Carolina, 
and to venture his life in this desperate hazard of new for- 
tunes. 

With that untiring energy and sure efficiency so charac- 
teristic of the man, James Robertson now proceeds actively 
to recruit a party for the preliminary exploration, and to 
make all the needed arrangements for subsequent coloniza- 
tion on an extended scale. "The extensive purchase made 
by the Henderson Associates," says Putnam, the picturesque 
historian of Middle Tennessee, "and the further reports made 
by hunters and agents of the large land company as to the 






10 



11 



Draper Mss., ICC 160-194. 
Putnam's Middle Tennessee, p. 67. 






162 Archibald Henderson 









in. 



country beyond the mountains, and the very favorable ter 
upon which large tracts — a thousand acres — would probably 
be granted, were attracting unusual attention. The Hender- 
sons, Hart, and other members of the company were now 
causing it to be extensively known that they were making 
preparations to emigrate, and take possession of the country. 
A considerable number of families agreed to move out in the 
fall. Some were to go by land with cattle, and what could 
thus be packed, others to descend the Tennessee to the Muscle 
Shoals, and being there met by their immediate friends, travel 
across to the Cumberland and into Kentucky; or if it should 
be deemed easiest and best, this party, with women and chil- 
dren, should continue all the distance by water. m2 In his 
letter to Gov. Richard Caswell, of North Carolina, written 
from Washington County on January 14, 1779, in regard to 
a proposed military expedition to be made by North Carolina 
against the Cherokees, James Robertson writes: "I am well 
informed that the first day of March near 200 men and many 
families amongst them, are to meet at the Long Island of 
Holston in order to go down the river, with a design to settle 
Cumberland river, a fork of the Ohio, which might be a con- 
venient time for the Expedition; and posably {sic) under the 
cover of Women and Children they might pass unmolested ; and 
I have told the Indians that people are going to settle that 
country the coming spring." 13 Preparatory to this emigra- 
tion, as pointed out by Putnam, "it was agreed that a number 
of men should go in the spring of the year and plant some 
corn upon the Cumberland, that bread might be prepared for 
the main body of emigrants upon their arrival in the fall. 
Robertson selected his men, or found suitable volunteers to 
go with them, experienced woodsmen and able-bodied men." 14 
On February 6, 1779, as stated by Moses Fisk in his historical 
sketch of Tennessee, James Robertson as leader, accompanied 
by George Freeland, William Neely, Edward Swanson, James 
Manly, Mark Robertson, Zachariah Wells, and William Over- 
hall, and one negro man, "set out on this adventure to exam- 
ine the purchase made by Richard Henderson and Company, 
at the treaty of 1775." 15 

"History of Middle Tennessee, Nashville, 1869, p. 61. 

W. C. State Records, xiv, 247. 

Putnam, 1. c, 63. 

The words quoted are from Putnam, I. c, p. 64. In Fisk's sketch, 
entitled, "A Summary Notice of the First Settlements Made by White 
People within the Limits Which Bound the State of Tennessee/ 1 and 
published in the Massachusetts Historical Collections, Vol. 7, under 
date July 1, 1816, it is stated that Robertson, accompanied by "ten 
men, including a negro, started for the Holston settlement to ex- 
plore and take possession of the country on the Cumberland. 



IS 
14 

15 



n 



- 1 " 



Richard Henderson 163 






V. 

The immediately following phases iu the story of the 
Cumberland settlement are familiar enough to all who are 
acquainted with early Tennessee history. Yet certain docu- 
ments which have recently come to my attention in archives in 
England, North Carolina and Virginia, give additional inter- 
est and piquancy to the situation. The significant facts are 
as follows: The Long Hunter, Gaspar Mansker, of German 
extraction, in 1771 "discovered" the famous lick which bears 
his name; and influenced by Tom and Sam Bryan, with whom 
he re-visited the Cumberland country in 1775, he claimed this 
land by right of settlement under the State of Virginia. 16 
Furthermore, Col. Arthur Campbell, the Virginia borderer, 
had visited the Cumberland country in the early seventies 
a fact unknown to the Tennessee historians — and had regis- 
tered, under Col. Wm. Preston, surveyor of Fincastle Co., Va., 
his claim to "1,000 Acres at a place called Gaspar's Lick, be- 
ing on a creek that empties into Cumberland below the Bar- 
rens." Col. Campbell also located 1,000 acres of land for 
Col. Wm. Byrd, the third, who devised it to his son Charles in 
his will as follows: "I give my son Charles, who never of- 
fended me, a thousand acres of land in the County of Fin- 
castle, known by the name of the Salt Springs, and which was 
surveyed for me by Mr. Arthur Campbell, being part of the 
land I claim under his Majesty's Proclamation of 1763." 17 
Most important of all, George Rogers Clark, the Virginian, 
had purchased three thousand acres of land at the French 
Lick in the year 1776; and referring to this purchase in a 
letter to Patrick Henry from Fort Patrick Henry, in the 
Illinois Country, March 9, 1779, he says: "I thank you for 
your remembrance of my situation respecting lands in the 
Frontiers. I learn that Government has reserved on the lands 

^Unpublished letter from Col. Arthur Campbell to Gov. Richard 
Caswell of North Carolina. In this letter, dated Richmond, November 
8, 1782, in speaking of his preemption of 1,000 acres "on the waters 
of Cumberland River," Campbell remarks: "There is a man in that 
country by the name of Mansker who now claims the land by right 
of settlement, but my location was made several years before he 
moved to that country, and I believe he would never have troubled 
me by interfering with my claim had he not been instigated by Tom 
and Sam Bryan, with whom he was intimate — ." Cf. Albright's Early 
History of Middle Tennessee, 28-30. 

17 Cf. Arthur Campbell to Richard Caswell, Governor of N. C, 
November 8, 1782, Archives N. C. Historical Commission. For will 
of Col. Wm. Byrd, 3d, which was dated July 6, 1774, and proved 
February 5, 1777, cf. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 
Vol. IX, pp. 80 et seq. After the Cumberland region was found to 
lie within the bounds of North Carolina, letters and memorials from 
Arthur Campbell and the widow of Col. Wm. Byrd were presented 






1(>4 Archibald Henderson 



on the Cumberland for the Soldiers. If I should be deprived 
of a certain tract of land on that River which I purchased 
three years ago, and have been at a considerable expense to 
improve, I shall in a manner lose my all. It is known by the 
name of the great french Lick on the South or West side 
containing three thousand Acres. If you can do anything for 
me in saving it, I shall for ever remember it with gratitude." 18 
From these, and other pre-emptions doubtless known to 
him, James Robertson suspected that the French Lick lay 
within the bounds of Virginia. In particular, the fact of 
Clark's purchase of the three thousand acres, including the 
French Lick, a purchase doubtless effected through the in- 
strumentality of Col. Arthur Campbell, was well known at 
Watauga and along the border. Although the inducements 
held out to him by the Transylvania Company were greater 
than those held out by the State of North Carolina, Robert- 
son resolved to remain on the safe side by attempting to 
secure from George Rogers Clark as owner, holding the title 

in 1782 to the North Carolina legislature for validation of these land 
titles. Neither application was successful. Mrs. Byrd's memorial 
was not brought up for final action in the North Carolina Legislature 
until four years later; there was some delay caused by the failure to 
attach a copy of Col. Byrd's will to Mrs. Byrd's memorial. In their 
report, dated December 31, 1786, in reply to the petition of Rev. 
Robert Andrews, to whose charge Mrs. Byrd's interests were com- 
mitted, the committee, consisting of General Rutherford, General 
Gregory, Mr. Relfs and Mr. Lewis, state in specific terms: 

"That it appears to your committee by the papers and documents 
before them that the late Honorable William Byrd was entitled for 
his military services to five thousand acres of land under the Procla- 
mation of his Britannic Majesty in Council of 1763. That in conse- 
quence one thousand acres thereof are located, as appears by 
Certificate of the late Colo. William Preston, Surveyor of Fincastle 
County in Virginia, at the great Salt Lick on Cumberland River 
now called Nashville. 

"Your Committee considering the nature and extent of the sd. 
proclamation, and it being fully ascertained to them by the exten- 
sion of the boundary line between this and the State of Virginia, that 
the aforesaid entry was made on lands within the proprietary part 
of the Carolina's (sic) and consequently not within the gift of the 
Crown, are of opinion that the claim of the late Honorable William 
Byrd to the said lands is inadmissible." Archives of the N. C. His- 
torical Commission. Cf. State Records of N. C, xviii, 33, 190. 

U B. M., Add. Mss., 21, 782, f. 199. This letter is printed in "George 
Rogers Clark Papers, 1771-1781," Vol. viii, Illinois Historical Collec- 
tions, Vol. Ill, Virginia Series, edited by J. A. James, 1912, pp. 304-5. 
In a letter to William Mayo, Virginia, 1. c, pp. 380-1, copied from 
Draper Mss., 50J1, George Rogers Clark, writing from Louisville, 
Kentucky, January 8, 1780, says: ". . . but in order to have done 
with it I have purchased that quantity (10,000 acres) of Improvement 
on Cumberland and Inclose a memorandum (sic) the Best Land in 
that Countrey as they war first Chose/ 1 










Richard Henderson 165 









under the Virginia claim, "cabin rights" to the pre-emptions 
on the Cumberland at the French Lick. 19 Certain it is that, 
shortly after planting corn on the present site of Nashville, 
and taking other necessary steps attendant upon the estab- 
lishment of an infant settlement, Robertson made a long trip 
through the wilderness to Post St. Vincent, visited General 
Clark at Fort Patrick Henry, and "had an understanding 
with him, to be carried into execution upon subsequent ap- 
plication." 20 The nature of this understanding is easily sur- 
mised, namely that the settlers on Clark's lands on the Cum- 
berland would, at some future time, pay him the purchase 
money for the "cabin rights" to their pre-emptions, should the 
French Lick, on the extension of the North-Carolina- Virginia 
line prove to fall within the chartered boundaries of Virginia, 



VI. 

As early as 1777, following the Treaty at the Long Island 
of Holston in July of that year, it became manifest to the 
commissioners of the State of North Carolina and Virginia 
that, owing to the progress of emigration westward and the 
growing aggravation of uncertainties as to land titles, it 
would be eminently desirable to extend still further westward 
the boundary line between North Carolina and Virginia. In 
the latter part of 1778, acts providing for the extension and 
marking of the boundary line were passed by both North 
Carolina and Virginia; and among the Commissioners ap- 
pointed from North Carolina were Judge Richard Henderson, 
Col. John Williams, and Capt. William Bailey Smith, all of 
whom had played active parts in the founding of the Colony 
of Transylvania. The Commissioners from each State agreed 
to meet in the latter part of the summer of 1779 at the western 
end of the line formerly run, and thence to prolong the line 
westward. Meantime the colonization of the Cumberland, in- 
stigated by Judge Henderson as President of the Transylvania 
Company, and to be engineered by James Robertson, had been 
delayed; and the party of settlers had failed to start from the 
Long Island on March 1st as prophesied by Robertson. Col. 
Nathaniel Hart, one of the proprietors of the Transylvania 
Company, living at Boonesborough, Kentucky, actively fos- 

""Robertson had agreed to go to the Illinois and purchase 'cabin 
rights' of General George Rogers Clark, from whom some of the 
emigrants recently from Virginia gave assurance that such land- 
claims could be procured for very small sums." Putnam's History of 
Middle Tennessee, pp. 64-5, 67. The present research thus first ac- 
curately accounts for Robertson's long and arduous journey to the 
Illinois country. 

^Putnam, I. c, p. 65. 









166 Archibald Hvndernon 



V 



tered the plans for the expedition by water of Col. John Don- 
elson, and supplied him with some corn for the journey. "In 
connexion with the early history of Kentucky," records his 
son, Col. Nathaniel Hart, Jr., "it may not be amiss to state 
that Cumberland (now Middle Tennessee) was also mainly 
settled under the auspices of Henderson and Co." 21 Judge 
Henderson left his home in Granville County, North Carolina, 
on August 18, 1779, and together with John Williams and 
William Bailey Smith, joined the Virginia Commissioners at 
a waste cabin on Steep Hock Creek on September l. 22 

In the course of the running of the line, so 
described in the Journal of Daniel Smith** ther 
a lack of agreement between the commissioners of North Car- 
olina and those of Virginia with reference to the observations 
upon which the running of the line must depend; and upon 
reaching Cumberland Mountain, on November 18, the Caro- 
lina Commissioners abandoned the further running of the line. 
Judge Henderson, accompanied by his brothers, Pleasant, 
Nathaniel and Samuel, and a few others, went on in order to 
observe the Virginia Commissioners continue their line to the 
Tennessee River; and reached Boonesborough on Christmas 
Day, 1779." On this same date, the swarm of colonists from 
the parent hive at Watauga, which had gone overland under 
Robertson's guidance, passed their first day at the French 



M N. Hart, Jr., to Wilkins Tannehill, in Louisville News-Letter, 
May 23, 1840. 

"In connection with the running of the dividing line, the follow- 
ing passage from a letter of Col. Richard Henderson's now in my 
possession, postmarked Holston, September 12, 1779, is of more than 

ordinary interest: 

"The Virginia Commissioners, to wit Doctor Walker and Major 
Daniel Smith (of Clinch) who from some inaccurate observations 
before we came had given out in speeches that the Long Island would 

miles in Virga. and thereby had blown up the inhabitants with 
hopes of great extension of territory, are brought to bed. — Indeed 
the people here in General look as if they had lately miscarried, and 
hourly are making applications for Land from our Company &c. — 
Men who, two years ago, were clamorous against Richard Henderson 
and Company, and Damning their title, are now with pale faces, 
haunting our Camp and begging our friendship with regard to their 

Land." 

Tennessee Historical Magazine. March, 1915. 







• :- 




*In Fleming's Journal we read, under date of December 25, 1779: 
"Sam. Henderson arrived with some of the Commissioners from 
Carolina having quitted running the line on some disagreement with 
the Virginia Commisrs. who continued to go on with the line. — Dec. 
26. Clear and moderate. Mr. Henderson took the Lat. and made 
this place 37° 48'." In Durrett Collection, University of Chicago 
Library. 









Richard Henderson 167 


















Lick, and 011 January 1, 1780, crossed the river on the ice to 
the present site of Nashville. 25 

It is most significant that the document, known as the 
Cumberland Compact, explicitly testifies — although the fact 
has been ignored by historians — that the French Lick was 
founded under the auspices of the Transylvania Company and 
the patronage of Judge Henderson, and gives the date of 
the founding as January 1, 1780. The rate of valuation at 
which payment for the Cumberland lands was to be made, in 
case the title of the Transylvania Company should be con- 
firmed, was fixed, viz. : "According to the value of money on 
the first day of January last, being the time when the price 
was made public (and) settlement encouraged thereon by said 
Henderson." 26 



VII. 

■ 

Meanwhile the fate of this colony which he had promoted, 
and upon whose efforts the subsequent fate of the Transylvania 
Company depended, was weighing heavily upon the mind of 
Judge Henderson. The terrible hardships of this bitter winter, 
ever afterwards known as the "hard winter," which he had 
endured in the course of his difficult and dangerous journey 
to Boonesborough, brought to his mind the thought of equal 
or greater hardships which Robertson and his party must 
likewise have borne in their arduous journey overland to the 
French Lick. But his concern was, if anything, greater for 
the party of men, with many women and children, also des- 
tined for the French Lick, who under the leadership of Col. 
John Donelson had set sail from Fort Patrick Henry, on 
Holston River, in the good boat Adventure on December 22, 
1779. With paternalistic care and a lively sense of responsi- 
bility for the welfare of these two parties which he had him- 
self induced to make the great venture, Judge Henderson pro- 
ceeds to purchase, in Kentucky, at huge cost a large stock of 
corn for the colony at French Lick. In a letter of John Floyd's, 
dated Harrodsburg, 20th Feb., 1780, is found the following 
statement: "I have no bread yet, but expect a small supply 



■-•*. 



Putnam's History of Middle Tennessee, p. 66. 



*Cf. the facsimile accompanying this article, on which these words 
appear. Putnam records: "Col. Henderson was a sound lawyer, 
a man of thorough education, an accomplished gentleman, an honor- 
able and patriotic man, and sought and took no advantage of the 
confidence placed in him. Sales were made, but payment conditioned 
on a confirmation. Purchasers here were never urged to make any 
payments on contracts into which they had entered. Old settlers 
ever entertained for Henderson a very high regard as a gentleman 
and patriot." Middle Tennessee, 88-9. 











1(J8 Archibald Henderson 



from my friend Col. Henderson at Boonesborough, who has 
{greatly befriended me by sparing that which he may want him- 
self, and only waits for high water to send it down with his own 
on the way to the mouth of Green River, where he is about 
to form a settlement." 27 The corn for the Cumberland settle- 
ment, hundreds of bushels, purchased by Judge Henderson at 
Boonesborough, was on March 5, 1780, "sent from Boones- 
borough in perogues under the command of the late Major 
William Bailey Smith of Ohio County, Kentucky. This corn 
was to be taken down the Kentucky River, and over the falls 
of the Ohio, to the mouth of the Cumberland, and thence up 
that river to the fort at French Lick. It is believed to have 
been the only bread which the settlers had until it was raised 
there in 1781; for although corn was planted there in 1780, 
yet the place was so annoyed by the Cherokees, that the set- 
tlers were not permitted to cultivate it." 28 There is a note of 
deep impressiveness in this heroic triumphing over the obsta- 
cles of obdurate nature and this thoughtful provision for the 
exposed Cumberland settlement projected and promoted by 
the Transylvania Company — the purchase by Judge Hender- 
son and the shipment by Col. Hart, in that awful winter of 
bitter cold and obstructed navigation, of this indispensable 
quantity of corn valued at sixty thousand dollars in depre- 
ciated paper. 

While Major William Bailey Smith, with his precious 
cargo of corn, w r as making the long journey by water to the 
French Lick, Judge Henderson, accompanied by his brothers, 

'"Draper Mss. 33 S 317. "Green river," which flows into the Mis- 
sissippi not a great distance from the mouth of the Cumberland river, 
is an obvious error in the above statement. It should read "Cumber- 
land river." The settlement, as we know, was not to be made at the 
mouth of the Cumberland. 

a This statement is made by Col. Nathaniel Hart, Jr., son of Col. 
Nathaniel Hart, one of the partners of the Transylvania Company. 
Col. Hart continues: "This corn had been raised by my father at 
Boonesborough, in 1779; and I have now before me an account against 
Col. Donaldson (Donelson) for nine bushels, which he says ought 

to rate high at the French Lick, as it had been worth $200 per bushel 
at Boonesborough." Nathaniel Hart, Jr., to Wilkins Tannehill, Spring 
Hill, April 27, 1839, in Louisville News-Letter, May 23, 1840. Clearly 
Donelson derived the information as to the price of the corn from 
Col. Richard Henderson, the purchaser, at their meeting on March 31. 
In Butler's History of Kentucky (1834 ed.), note, p. 99, the follow- 
ing abstract from Col. John Floyd's correspondence states: "The 
price of corn fluctuated from fifty dollars per bushel in December, 

1779, to one hundred and sixty-five dollars per bushel, in January, 

1780. These prices were at a period of obstructed navigation, and 

in depreciated paper; but its value in jrold and silver is not known." I 

It is clear that by February, 17K0, the price had risen still higher, M I 

to the almost incredible price of $200.00 per bushel. | I 



Richard Henderson 16!) 















Pleasant and Nathaniel, and by Col. Nathaniel Hart, started 
overland to join Robertson and Donelson, and to draw up a 
form of government for the infant settlement on the Cumber- 
land. 29 

The most memorable entries in Donelson's famous journal 
are the references to Henderson and Robertson — projector and 
leader, respectively, of the Cumberland settlement. Although 
James Robertson failed to meet Donelson's party at the Muscle 
Shoals or to leave signs there for their guidance, they were 
met further up the river, on Friday, March 31, by the watch- 
ful and anxious Henderson. The entry in Donelson's journal, 
demonstrating the wise forethought of the promoter of the 
settlement, reads as follows: "Set out this day, and after 
running some distance, met with Col. Richard Henderson, 
who was running the line between Virginia and North Caro- 
lina. At this meeting we were much rejoiced. He gave us 
every information we wished, and further informed us that 
he had purchased a quantity of corn in Kentucky, to be 
shipped at the Falls of Ohio, for the use of the Cumberland 
settlement. We are now without bread, and are compelled to 
hunt the buffalo to preserve life." 30 

Judge Henderson, his two brothers, and Col. Hart arrived 
at Col. Daniel Smith's camp, at Amos Eaton's, on Friday, 

29 This party must have started about the middle of March; for 
on March 10 Judge Henderson was still at Boonesborough. In a 
letter describing conditions in Kentucky, written from Boonesborough, 
March 10, 1780, one reads: "A Boat of Colo. Henderson's is setting 
off tomorrow or next day for the falls (Louisville) by which we 
shall send an address to Colo. Clark to superintend this matter and 
obtain his answer as soon as possible. Mr. Henderson's boat will 
be at Leestown on Tuesday next and will be convenient for you to 
send by." A. L. S. in Draper Mss., 50 J 18, printed in George Rogers 
Clark Papers, 1771-1781, pp. 396-8. This letter contains the follow- 
ing endorsement: 

"March 10, 1780. 

"At a full meeting of the inhabitants of Boonsb'gh Collected on 
the melancholy Occasion of the foregoing Letter it was unanimously 
agreed that the sd. Letter should be Written which was accordingly 
Done, ^nd CaDt. David Gess Directs to subscribe his name Thereto 
for and in Behalf of the Whole. Certified under my hand this 10th 
of March, 1780. Richd. Henderson." 

^Putnam : Middle Tennessee, p. 75. In a statement made by Mrs. 
Donelson, she relates: "When they met Col. Rd. Henderson, Gen. 
Dl. Smith & Capt. Nathl. Hart, on Cumberland, all were rejoiced, 
particularly Colo. Donelson, who was highly delighted — learned of 
Capt. Robertson's safe arrival at the Salt Lick (now Nashville) — 
that corn had been purchased in Kentucky." The information that 
Capt. Robertson and party had arrived safely at the Salt Lick prior 
to March 14, was furnished by General Daniel Smith, who was there 
on that date. Through inadvertence, he makes no reference in his 
journal to the presence of Robertson and his party at the French 












170 Archibald Henderson 



April 7, and left that place shortly after April 10 S1 for the 
French Lick, doubtless arriving there in advance of Donelson 
and his party. Silently eloquent of the granite endurance and 
courageous spirit of the typical American pioneer — thankful- 
ness for sanctuary, for reunion of families and friends, for the 
humble shelter of a log cabin — is the last entry in Donelson's 
Diary, of date Monday, April 24, 1780 : 

"This day we arrived at our journey's end at the Big Salt 
Lick, where we have the pleasure of finding Capt. Robertson 
and his company. It is a source of satisfaction to us to be 
enabled to restore to him and others their families and friends, 

who were entrusted to our care, and who, some time since, 
perhaps, despaired of our meeting again. Though our pros- 
pects at present are dreary, we have found a few log cabins 
which have been built on a cedar bluff above the Lick by Capt. 
Robertson and his company." 



VIII. 

The lapse of time now forbids me to pursue further this 
story of the strenuous struggles and incredible hardships of 
the Cumberland settlers, who established here a permanent 
bulwark against the copper-hued savage and laid here forever 
the foundations of what is now the great and populous city of 
Nashville. I will content myself with presenting to you one 
fundamental historical truth as the culmination of this re- 
search. This is the question in regard to the authorship of 
the famous Cumberland Compact. The cocksure Mr. Roose- 
velt, with his habitual dogmatism, concludes, without proof 
or evidence, that the author of that remarkable document was 
James Robertson. 82 The inherent truth of the situation, if 
other evidence were not finally conclusive, demonstrates this 
to be impossible. The best informed writer on this subject, 
Putnam, who in 1846 discovered the original document now 

Lick. In reference to Mrs. Donelson 's statement (Draper Mss. f 
32S304-305), Draper observes that Mrs. Donelson thinks the corn 
never came. This is an error. The corn was brought safely in to 
the French Lick; and Major William Bailey Smith, who was in com- 
mand of the boats which bore the corn, reached the French Lick 
in time to sign the Cumberland Compact. Doubtless Mrs. Donelson 
was thinking of Isaac Bowman's batteau from Kaskaskia, which fell 
into the hands of the Chickasaw Indians. 

"Cf. Daniel Smith's "Journal," Tennessee Historical Magazine, 
March, 1915, p. 63, which contains the following: "April 7th. Friday 
Horses not all found — Received a letter from the Governor to go to 
the Falls of Ohio on particular business. Col. Henderson brought 
this letter." 

"A study of the original document would have repaid Mr. Roose- 
velt and have saved him from error. 
















































,-- 









>#--» 






























- 









- 
























. 



























; 












H 



• 
























-■ 





















+- 









v 









■ 



♦ 















• 









. 


















* 































. 






. 



• 

























. 






V 



























• 






r* 













































PLATE III. 



^^^ &^£^ 





£fi%£+*~ 



s& a 




s£j£~+s^ j£^m«2 *£<sp* ~ + -**^"++4^ 



fj&* 4-/<~, .^^~^~f * */y^ 





£ £ +/£*& 





7) £~*«"** y > 

























Richard Henderson 171 












jealously preserved in the archives of the Tennessee Historical 
Society, says : "As Richard Henderson, and the other members 
of the 'Transylvania Land Company' were here at this junc- 
ture (April, 1780), he (Henderson) was foremost in urging 
some form of government." 33 A brief inspection will dem- 
onstrate its character. First of all, the Cumberland Compact 
is a mutual contract between the co-partners of the Transyl- 
vania Company and the settlers upon the lands claimed by the 
company. It is, moreover, a bill of rights, through careful 
provisions safeguarding the rights of each party to the con- 
tract. The significant feature of the document is that it is an 
elaborate legal paper which could have been drafted only by 
one intimately versed in the intricacies of the law and its 
terminology. Nothing, indeed, could more effectively exhibit 
the purpose for which the Association was established and 
the Compact drawn up than the following clause in the in- 
strument itself: 

"That as no consideration-money for the lands on Cum- 
berland River, within the claim of the said Richard Hender- 
son and Company, and which is the subject of this Association, 
is demanded or expected by the said Company, until a satis- 
factory and indisputable title can be made, so we think it 
reasonable and just that the twenty-six pounds thirteen shill- 
ings and four pence, current money, per hundred acres, the 
price proposed by the said Richard Henderson, shall be paid 
according to the value of money on the first day of January 
last, being the time when the price was made public (and) 
settlement encouraged thereon by said Henderson, and the 
said Richard Henderson on his part does hereby agree that 
in case of the rise or appreciation of money from that — an 
abatement shall be made in the sum according to its raised or 
appreciated value." 34 

The indisputable facts that Richard Henderson, eminent as 
lawyer and jurist, was the only lawyer on the Cumberland in 
May, 1780, and that his name heads the list of two hundred 
and thirty-odd signatures to the document known as the 
Cumberland Compact, has led one of the justices of your own 
Supreme Court, a deep student of early Tennessee history, the 
Hon. Samuel C. Williams, to state in print that "without se- 
rious doubt" Judge Henderson was the draftsman of the com- 
pact of government. 

Familiarity with original letters of the sturdy Robertson 
with both his chirography and his mental processes — and also 
with the chirography and contents of the Compact conclu- 

88 Putnam: Middle Tennessee, p. 84. 
^Compare plate III. 
























172 



Archibald Henderson 



sively dispels the notion that Robertson may have been the 



am now, and have 



author and draftsman of the compact. I 
been for some years, able to alter the "without serious doubt" 
of Judge Williams into "without any doubt whatsoever," by 
the categorical statement that the document of May 1, and 
also the document of May 13, 1780, are written throughout in 
the same handwriting; and this handwriting is the bold and 
characteristic chirography of the man who purchased the ter- 
ritory, projected and personally co-operated in the settlement, 
sedulously nurtured it with the fruits of the earth purchased 
at fabulous cost, and led in urging the adoption of a written 
form of government at the French Lick — the President of the 
Transylvania Company, Judge Richard Henderson, of North 
Carolina. 

It may be the time is not far distant when in this great 
city of Nashville, patriotically signalized by its monuments 
and memorials to James Robertson, sagacious and paternal 
leader, and to John Donelson, intrepid and successful pioneer, 
there shall be erected some adequate memorial to the pioneer- 
ing genius and empire-building imagination of the man who 
inaugurated and engineered the hazardous and arduous enter- 
prise of a settlement at the French Lick, drafted the Cumber- 
land Compact, and is rightfully entitled to divide with James 
Robertson and John Donelson the honors in the founding of 



Nashville. 



Archibald Henderson. 






Fordell, Universitv of North Carolina. 












































































































• 


















> 






• • 












■ 































































PLATE II. 






1 




















j^fc***%' 



ocTccyfi^ 





UuM j LtM . m< *~~ - *- •>(& 



cU* 




SZTw'-i, *-*** e-^^-^5 



X 



/7frtt 





W^-t^ET* W** „ ^ 



T^u. H*U*~ 9 Mos^k if, I7*V. 












/Zz^ol^^ &/Z>4"""*~ 







































. * 



• - 















Richard Henderson 173 



APPENDIX. 

In connection with the question of the authorship of the Cumber- 
land Compact, I append an affidavit made by the two Tennessee 
historical scholars who have made the most minute and critical study 
of the original document, preserved in the archives of the Tennessee 
Historical Society. My thanks are now gratefully expressed to these 
gentlemen, Mr. John H. DeWitt, president of the Tennessee Historical 
Society, and the Rev. W. A. Provine, D.D., for their minute com- 
parison of the documents; to Mr. J. S. Walker of Nashville, for 
valuable assistance and suggestions; and to Professor St. George 
L. Sioussat for courtesies extended. I am indebted also to the late 
Gen. Gates P. Thruston, sometime president of the Tennessee His- 
torical Society, for courtesies extended me several years ago in con- 
nection with the present research. 

All historical scholars without exception, who have compared the 
original manuscript of the Cumberland Compact or facsimile thereof 
with attested specimens of Judge Richard Henderson's handwriting, 
testify that the original Cumberland Compact is drafted throughout 
in Judge Henderson's handwriting. It is perhaps worthy of note 
that in the body of the document Judge Henderson employs a formal 
or conventional capital R, of a sort which he did not habitually use 
in making his own signature. The six (6) signatures which I have 
traced from the original documents or from facsimiles, photographic 
or photostatic, showdn on a plae (II) accompanying this article, ex- 
hibit variations in the making of the capital H as well as in the mak- 
ing of the capital R. 

The interested student may compare the facsimiles of documents 
which accompany this article — the one being a page of the Cumber- 
land Compact (Plate I), the other being a letter from Judge Hen- 
derson to Capt. Holder (Plate III). 

In the paper above printed, with accompanying documents, it is 
now established that Judge Henderson drafted the original Cumber- 
land Compact. It is not unreasonable to suppose, although there is 
no proof of it, that certain clauses in the document were drawn by 
Judge Henderson with the assistance of Captain James Robertson. 
Indeed, the laws, as drafted, represented the collective will of this 
pioneer community; and it may be that both Robertson and Donelson, 
voicing this collective will, thus aided Judge Henderson to draft a 
series of articles for the government of their association. 

Archibald Henderson. 






174 



Archibald Henderson 



AFFIDAVIT. 

State of Tennessee, 
County of Davidson. 

We, W. A. Provine and John H. DeWitt, make oath that on April 
28, 1916, with Dr. Archibald Henderson, of Chapel Hill, North Caro- 
lina, we carefully examined the original Cumberland Compact (in 
the custody of the Tennessee Historical Society), and compared the 
same with certain photographic facsimiles of certain pages of writing 
furnished us as the genuine handwriting of Judge Richard Hender- 
son of North Carolina, who was president of the Transylvania Com- 
pany, to-wit, a page of the diary of Richard Henderson written in 
1775, the original of which is in the Draper Mss. at Madison, Wis- 
consin; a photostatic copy of his memorial to the Legislature of 
North Carolina in 1784, the original of which is in the archives of the 
North Carolina Historical Commission, Raleigh, North Carolina; 
and a pencil tracing of his signature as judge of the Superior Court 
of North Carolina, the original of which is in the court house at 
Salisbury, N. C. (The information as to the nature and location 
of these papers being furnished us by Dr. Archibald Henderson.) 
While our attention was not given to the subject-matter of these 
writings, nevertheless, we made a very careful comparison of the 
handwriting with the handwriting of the text of the Cumberland Com- 
pact and the name of Richard Henderson as the first signer thereto; 
and we are both convinced without reservation that the handwriting 
of the Cumberland Compact and all of the aforesaid documents. is 
one and the same. We especially noted that the signatures of Judge 
Richard Henderson as traced from the Salisbury court house records 
and as appended to the Cumberland Compact are identical. 

We are convinced from these comparisons that Judge Richard 
Henderson was the draftsman and author of the original Cumber- 
land Compact. 

(Signed) W. A. Provine. 

John H. DeWitt. 

on this the 30th day of May, 

John H. Lech letter, 

Notary Public. 



Sworn 
1916. 

(Seal) 



to and subscribed before me, 

















THE SLAVE LAWS OF TENNESSEE. 



Until 1794, when the Territorial Assembly came into ex- 
istence, the region now comprised within the state of Ten- 
nessee was subject to the laws of North Carolina. No laws 
concerning slavery were passed by this Territorial Assembly 
except one fixing a tax levy on slaves and free persons of 
color. 1 When the state government was organized in 1796 
apparently all laws of North Carolina not amended or abro- 
gated by special act of the Tennessee Assembly were of full 
force and effect in the newly organized state. Thus the great 
negro law of North Carolina, passed in 1741, 2 became the 
slave code of Tennessee, and except for a few amendments, 
was the basic legal code until 1857, when the first codification 
of all the laws was made; and this code of 1857 embodied as 
its main principles of slavery those of the Act of 1741. About 
twenty other acts relating to slaves and free negroes were 
passed by the North Carolina legislature from 1741 until the 
time when the state of Tennessee was provisionally organized. 
None of these, however, marked any departure from the prin- 
ciples of the law of 1741, and most of them were unimportant 
or were intended to be local in their operation, or were merely 
explanatory of parts of the foregoing act. With this original 
plan of slave control very much like those of South Carolina 
and Virginia, Tennessee, like other states, began to modify 
and develop the scope and flexibility of the regulations for 
her colored population. Apparently slaves and possibly free 
negroes came with the early settlers into the new state, for 
within a few years the legislature found it necessary to pass 
specific laws applicable only to colored persons. 

The preamble of the Act of 1741 3 excluded from the class 
of "servant" any "person whatsoever being a Christian or of 
Christian parentage" except indentured whites. Neither this 
act nor others of the North Carolina assemblies preceding 
1741 undertook to draw any legal distinction between the 
slave and the indentured white servant. This fact is worth 
noting, since it indicates the parallelism or rather identity 
which the people of that time saw between white servants 
indentured for a limited period and the black slave indentured 

"Act, Sept. 30, 1794, Ch. 3, Roulstone's Laws of the State of Ten- 
nessee, 29. 

"James Iredell's Laws of the State of North Carolina, pp. 85, ff.; 
Swann's North Carolina Laws. p. 161. 

•Ibid. 









176 //. M. Henry 



for life. There was doubtless considerable difference between 
the social status of the indentured servant and that of the 
slave, and some legal difference; for example, a master was 
forbidden to "whip a Christian servant naked." 4 On the other 
hand, if our impression of the origin and development of 
slavery in the black belts and its toleration and development 
in the uplands is correct, we shall be prepared to conjecture 
that there was a nearer approach in condition of the two 
classes to each other in the latter than in the former. While 
none of the statutes or later court decisions undertook to say 
definitely what constituted a person of color practice doubtless 
recognized as free all who were not known to be held as slaves 
by some white man. 5 But again it is not at all likely that 
very many free negroes appeared among the early settlers. 
If this is correct, the negro owed his presence in Tennessee 
to the fact that he had been taken there as a slave by a 
white slaveholder. 

There was no special procedure provided whereby the free- 
dom of a negro might be tested. But a "next friend" might 
bring suit in the ordinary way, the slave not having any legal 
standing in court 6 as a witness, and the case would be deter- 
mined on its merits as in any other suit. A law of 1817 7 
plainly applicable to an apprenticed or indentured white as 
well as to a slave, provided that pending such suit the plaintiff 
should be taken into custody by the sheriff. In such suits the 
oft repeated assertion of freedom by the plaintiff would be 
admissible as evidence showing failure to acquiesce as a slave, 8 
and reputation or hearsay would be admissible as direct evi- 
dence of freedom. 9 

Another rather peculiar interpretation of freedom came 
up in 1842, 10 when a mulatto whose mother was a slave, was 
made heir and executor to an estate by his mother's white 

4 Iredell, Act 1741, Sec. 4. 

5 The act of 1741, sec. 18, provided that any negro born of a white 
woman while she was indentured should be bound out until the negro 
reached the age of thirty-one. The Supreme Court in 1852, in Ben- 
nett vs. The State, 31 Tenn., 411, held that color in the absence of 
other evidence, determined status whether slave or free. And in 
Harris vs. Clarissa, 14 Tenn., 227, it held in 1854 that the child of 
a slave was a slave. 

•Dorr.n et al. vs. Brazelton et al. f 32 Tenn., 149, 1852; Stephenson 
vs. Harrison, 40 Tenn., 729, 1859. 

7 lst Sess., 12th General Assembly of Tenn., p. 107. 



■ 



Clarissa vs. Edwards, 1 Tenn., 393, 1809. 



"Vaughan vs. Phebe, 8 Tenn., 5, 1827. Not only so, but a negro 
unlawfully held in slavery could recover damages by suit for tresspass 
from his pseudo-master. Matilda vs. Crenshaw, 12 Tenn., 299, 1833. 



10 



Green vs. Rawlings, 22 Tenn., 90. 







■ 









Slave Laics of Tennessee 177 



master, who in turn was the mulatto's natural father. An 
effort was made to re-enslave the negro and seize the estate 
on the ground that though he had been set free by his father 
he was not removed from the state, as the law then required. 
It was argued in his behalf that a contract had existed before 
the law requiring his removal had been passed, and therefore 
this requirement was not binding. The court decided that he 
was free under the common law by "manumission by parole." 

In defining the legal status of the slave in society the 
courts usually referred to the common law for authority. In 
the case of Wright vs. Weatherly, 11 decided in 1835, the pro- 
visions of the civil law are cited but are passed over as not 
binding. 12 But in the case of Jacob vs. the State, 13 1842, where 
the common law was silent, and by reason of that fact, the 
court interpreted it independently. The fact that the common 
law was regarded as more binding than the civil law led to a 
more liberal interpretaion of the relationship existing between 
master and slave than would have obtained had the civil law 
been accepted as the model. To illustrate: Under the civil 
law, in the absence of definite legislative enactment to the con- 
trary, the life of the slave could be taken by the master with- 
out fear of punishment. The common law recognized no such 
prerogative in the hands of the master over the apprentice or 
a lord over a serf. The chattel ownership of the slave, how- 
ever, would have made the applicability of the civil law more 
consistent than the common law, for the common law knew 
no such bodily ownership. 

But the slave was not to be considered as a mere chattel^ 
but as a person in a restricted sense. Let the court speak 
briefly on this point in three instances: 

"Although he is, by our law, our property, yet he (i. e., 
the slave) is an intelligent moral agent capable of being a 
subject of government, and like all other men, liable to 
answer for his own wrongs to the injured party, but for the 
fact that all his personal rights as a citizen and his liabil- 
ities as such, are destroyed and merged in the ownership 
of the master, who controls his person, owns his property, 
and is entitled to the fruits of his labor." 14 

"The law treats the slave as a rational and intelligent 
human being, responsible to moral, social, and municipal 
duties and obligations, and gives him the benefit of all the 

* 
■ 

"15 Tenn., 367. 

"See also Nelson vs. The State, 29 Tenn., 518, 1850. 

"22 Tenn., 493. 

"Wright vs. Weatherly, 15 Tenn., 367, 1835. 









178 H. M. Henry 



forms of trial which jealousy of power and love of liberty 
have induced the freeman to throw around himself for his 
own protection." 15 

"Under our modified system of slavery, slaves are not 
mere chattels, but are regarded in the twofold character 
of persons and property. That as persons they are consid- 
ered by our law, as accountable moral agents, possessed by 
the power of volition and locomotion. That certain rights 
have been conferred upon them by positive law and judi- 
cial determination, and other privileges and indulgences 
have been conceded to them by universal consent of their 
owners." 16 

Under such conditions, the slave partaking of the nature 
of a chattel and of a person in the eyes of the law, what was 
the relationship existing between the master and his slave? 
In 1833, in a lengthy decision, 17 the highest court undertook 
to say that the slaves constituted a part of the master's fam- 
ily, and hence could not be levied upon for the satisfaction of 
a debt. The same method of reasoning was used by the same 
court in 1857, 18 in which concerning chastisement, a parallel 
was drawn between master and slave similar to that existing 
between father and child. On the other hand, the slave must 
not resist re-capture if a runaway 19 nor resist reasonable pun- 
ishment, though punishment extending to life or limb could 
be lawfully resisted by the slave 20 as being undue provocation. 
Again, the master was bound to clothe 21 his slave and could 
protect his slave from wanton attacks from others. 22 The 
law exacted of the hirer the same care of the slave as was 
exacted of the master himself. 23 The master, however, could 
not be held liable in a civil suit for damages committed by 
his slave, 24 unless done by the order of the master. 25 But a 
slave could not plead that he had committed a crime by the 
order of his master, for the master had no such authority. 26 



15 



15 



Elijah, a slave, vs. The State, 20 Tenn., 102, 1839. 
Jones vs. Allen, 38 Tenn., 627, 1858. 
"Loftin vs. Espy and Others, 12 Tenn., 84. 
James vs. Carper, 36 Tenn., 398. 
Tom, a Slave, vs. The State, 27 Tenn., 86. . 



1H 



19 



"Jacob vs. The State, 22 Tenn., 493; Nelson vs. The State, 29 
Tenn., 618. 



"Britain vs. The State, 22 Tenn., 203. 
"Walker vs. Brown, 30 Tenn., 179; 1850. 

Lunsford and Davie vs. Braynham, 29 Tenn., 267. 

Wright vs. Weatherly, 15 Tenn., 367; 1835. 



■ 



S4 









"Wilkins vs. Gilmore, 21 Tenn., 140; Byrom vs. McGuire, 40 Tenn., 
530. 

"The State vs. McCarn, 30 Tenn., 494. 






I 






\ 



Slave Lair* of Tennessee 179 



9 






While certain privileges of persons were accorded slaves, 
they could not hold property, 27 nor could they inherit prop* 
erty, 28 though property bequeathed by a master to slaves to 
be used by them after their freedom had been acquired through 
the will of the master, would be held for them until such free- 
dom should be acquired. 

The patrol system was not elaborately developed in North 
Carolina. Nor was it early made a part of the military sys- 
tem. Apparently no strong demand for a patrol was felt until 
the Revolutionary period. The first enactment on the sub- 
ject occurred in 1779, 30 when "searchers" were provided for, 
whose duty it was to search negro quarters for unlawful 
weapons and to arrest and return to their masters any stroll- 
ing slaves found away from their proper places of abode with- 
out a pass on the Sabbath or at unseasonable hours of the 
night. For these services the "searchers" or "patrollers" were 
to receive compensation from the masters as was allowed for 
returning runaway slaves. 31 Refusal to serve as "searcher or 
patroller" was punishable by a fine of £100. Another act of the 
North Carolina legislature in 1794 32 provided for the appoint- 
ment by the justices of courts of pleas and quarter sessions of 
a sufficient number of men not exceeding six in each district 
to act as patrollers for one year, whose duty it should be to 
ride their district at least once in every two weeks arresting 
and whipping, with not exceeding fifteen lashes, any slaves 
away from their master's plantation. The patrolmen were to 
receive as compensation freedom from road and jury duty, 
and not to be required to pay any taxes unless their taxes 
amounted to more than forty shillings. 33 

It will be seen that the needs for patrol service were not 

^Jenkins vs. Brown, 25 Tenn., 299; 1845. 

^Turner vs. Fisher, 36 Tenn., 209; 1856. 

^Stephenson vs. Harrison, 40 Tenn., 729; 1859. An act of 1787 
provided for the emancipation of a certain slave whose freedom was 
desired by his master's will. The master had further provided for the 
slave to inherit considerable property, a part of which the executors 
gave him, but this act barred any suit by the freed slave for the prop- 
erty except such as the executors saw fit to allow. See another such 
case in North Carolina where a colored girl was set free by special act 
and allowed to inherit property. Martin's Acts of North Carolina, p. 
177; 1794. 

"Iredell, 388, Ch. 7. (This was preceded by an act of 1753, Ch. vi, 
providing for searchers for guns, etc. — Ed.) 

31 This provision as to payment by the master was repealed in 1794. 

"Iredell, p. 3, Ch. iv (of that session) . 

"This was so amended in 1831 as to make the period of service 
three months instead of one year and to allow for further compensa- 
tion if deemed necessary. 



/ 






180 //. M. Henry 



great until the state of Tennessee took upon itself the duty of 
self-government. The first action of the Tennessee legislature 
on the patrol is to be found in the year 1806, when an elab- 
orate act for the regulation of the colored population was 
drawn up. 34 It provided for the appointment of patrolmen 
by the captains of militia companies with the number to t>e 
left to the discretion of the captain and the frequency of the 
ridings to the patrol. Their duties were the same as those 
provided for in the act of 1794, with the additional privilege 
of administering corporal punishment to free negroes who 
might be concerned in encouraging disorderliness among the 
slaves. The patrols in the towns were to be appointed by 
the town commissioners and the duties so distributed and the 
town so laid off that a patrol should be on duty every night 
unless it should prove impracticable because of the fewness 
of the white citizens. The fine for each instance of non- 
performance of duty was to be |5. Another patrol law of 
1856 35 rendered the general provisions regarding patrol service 
more symmetrical, and provided for the payment of the patrol- 
men not exceeding $1 per night of service in lieu of remis- 
sion of road and jury duty. The code of 1858 abbreviated 
verbally the provisions regarding patrol service, but included 
practically all of the foregoing provisions, adding nothing 
new. 

The latitude and discretion allowed the patrol made it 
possible for them to exceed their authority reasonably inter- 
preted. And while this authority must have been often abused, 
still there was a tendency to check such abuse. Perhaps it 
will be appropriate to quote here from a decision of the Su- 
preme Court rendered in 1859 in the case of Tomlinson vs. 
Darnell : 3<5 

"It is of great importance to society that these police 
regulations connected with the institution of slavery, should 
be firmly maintained. The well being and safety of both 
master and slave demand it. The institution and support 
of the night watch and patrol on some plan, are indispen- 
sable to good order, and the subordination of slaves, and 
the best interests of their owners. But the authority con- 
ferred for these important objects must not be abused by 
those upon whom it is conferred, as it sometimes is by 
reckless persons. 

"If they exceed the bounds of moderation in the injury 
inflicted and transcend the limits prescribed by law for 

**2nd Sess., 6th G. A., p. 83. 
*lst Sess., 31st G. A., p. 91. 
8fl 39 Tenn., 223. 

r * 












Slave Laws of Tennessee 181 



the office of patrol, if it be found that they were not en- 
titled to that justification, then they will be liable under 
a verdict to that effect." 

In this connection it must be mentioned that a written 
pass from the master giving a slave permission "to pass and 
repass" until a given time, was considered sufficient author- 
ity for the slave's being absent from home. However, the 
pass might not ordinarily be called for unless suspicion was 
aroused, or unless it was at night that the slave was roaming. 
For instance, a slave was killed at a corn "shucking." He 
did not have written permission from his master to be at the 
white man's house where the husking took place. The mas- 
ter sued the man who had permitted the corn husking for 
damages in the loss of the slave. The lower court held that 
it was the duty of the man at whose house the husking was 
held to see that the slaves present had written passes from 
their masters. But the higher court on appeal 37 reversed this 
decision, holding that long standing custom for slaves to at- 
tend gatherings of this kind under the supervision of a white 
person, without passes, made such a pass unnecessary. 

As w r as the case in early times with indentured whites, 
slaves were all punishable with stripes, limited to fifteen, for 
small offenses, while for more serious offenses thirty-nine were 
allowed, and sometimes the number was left to the discretion of 
the courts. The cow hide or hickorv switch on the bare back, 
"well laid on," as the earlier statutes read, was the approved 
instrument. A casual reading of the advertisements for run- 
aways in the earlier newspapers reveals the effects of the more 
or less severe castigation. But it is noticeable that later no- 
tices give no such identification, and often read "no scars 
or "no noticeable scars." As is well know r n, the earlier colo- 
nial statutes provided whipping for free white persons as well 
as other forms of punishment. It is not to be wondered at, 
then, that such forms of punishment was commonly thought 
proper for slaves and free negroes. But in 1831 38 nailing to 
the pillory and cutting off ears became forbidden forms of 
punishment for negroes,, the purpose being not to inflict pun- 
ishment extending to life or limb. The only crimes under the 
code of 1858 punishable with death when committed by a 
slave, but not capital when committed by a free white person 
were, murderous assault on a white person, being accessory 
to murder before the fact, plotting an insurrection, and rape. 
In 1842 a case came up by appeal from the lower courts 39 

37 Jones vs. Allen, 38 Tenn., 627; 1858. 
"1st Sess., 19th G. A., p. 123, sec. 7. 
"Jacob vs. The State, 22 Tenn., 493. 



yj 






182 H. M. Henry 




involving the interpretation of murder by a slave, and the 
question of the slave's right to resist punishment An unruly 
slave that had been in the habit of running away was caught 
by the master and the master's brother, and when an effort 
to tie the slave was made he stabbed his master, killing him 
almost instantly. The court took the ground that the evi- 
dence was clear that the slave was resisting lawful and per- 
haps deserved punishment at the hands of his master, which 
he had no right to do, and hence was guilty of murder. How- 
ever, one of the justices rendered a separate opinion agree- 
ing as to the facts, but, as obiter dictum, added that perhaps a 
different conclusion would have been reached had evidence 
shown that the slave had good reason to believe that the pun- 
ishment he was about to receive might extend to life or limb. 
That would open the question whether a slave might commit 
manslaughter. The opportunity for such legal definition arose 
in 1850 40 when another case was heard, the facts of which 
showed that the hilarious conduct of a slave was reproved by 
a white man, not his master, by knocking the slave down twice, 
when the latter turned and killed the white man. The court 
took the view that since it was possible for a slave to take the 
life of a white man without premeditated malice, such a crime 
could not rightfully be considered murder, and hence must 
be termed manslaughter. The decision, however, made the 
reservation that owing to the difference in social status of the 
two races what might be considered sufficient provocation for 
one white person to commit manslaughter in taking the life 
of another white man, could not necessarily be deemed suffi- 
cient provocation to a slave to commit a homicide. 41 

The North Carolina act of 1741 42 provided that the owner 
of a slave who had run away and made depredations upon the 
community and had for this been proclaimed an outlaw by 
a justice of the peace, should be remunerated if such slave 
should be killed by any person as authorized in the proclama- 
tion of the justice. Section 52 provided, too, that the owner of 
every slave convicted of having been concerned in an insur- 
rection and executed accordingly should be reimbursed for 
his loss. 

For the trial of slaves charged with crime, a special court 
was provided by the North Carolina act of 1741, 48 consisting 
of three justices of the peace and four freeholders. Appar- 
ently the court was given large discretion in the matter of 

"Nelson vs. The State, 29 Term., 515. 

tt A similar case is Tom vs. The State, 27 Tenn., 86; where a run- 
away slave was decided not to have the right to resist capture. 
"Sec. 46. 



Sec. 48. 












Slave Laws of Tennessee 183 



method of procedure and penalties. Almost no limitation on 
its action was made or qualification for its members required. 
Hasty must have often been the results. But this act re- 
mained the slave code throughout the slavery regime, and it 
does not seem that this particular section was ever entirely 
abrogated. Indeed no amendment to it was made until 1815. 44 
At this time another scheme approximating a jury trial was 
enacted in which it was provided that the court should con- 
sist of three justices and nine "freeholders or slaveholders.'' 
In case the freeholders did not attend when summoned the 
justices were empowered to select others from among the "by- 
standers," if necessary. These justices and other white cit- 
izens were charged with the duty of fixing the penalty for 
any crime of which a slave was convicted by them, unless the 
penalty had already been fixed by law. A unanimous verdict 
was necessary to convict a slave of a capital offense, but a 
majority was sufficient to convict where the penalty was less 
than death. A law of 1819 45 modified the former arrange- 
ment so that three justices were chosen to preside at the 
trial and twelve "housekeepers being owners of slaves" were 
to act as a jury to determine guilt and to fix the penalty. Very 
decidedly stronger safeguards were thrown around the trial of 
a slave by a substantially new law of 1825. 46 This law ex- 
cluded all but slave owners from the jury in the trial of a 
slave, though the fact that one or more non-slavesolders sat on 
a trial was not to vitiate the verdict unless it could be shown 
that this fact had some influence in reaching a decision. The 
owner was allowed as many challenges in selecting a jury as 
were allowed in the trial of a free white person for the same 
crime. In any case of conviction the owner was to have the 
right of appeal to the circuit court, and to give bail in a sum 
twice the value of the slave for his appearance at court, the 
owner to undertake the expense of the appeal. In the act of 
1831, 47 pertaining to the regulation of slaves and free negroes, 
a limitation was placed on the right of appeal, providing that 
only in cases where the penalty was death was the appeal 
to be permitted. 48 Further, where a jury of slaveholders could 
not be conveniently secured non-slaveholding "householders" 
were to be eligible to such service. Perhaps difficulty was ex- 
perienced in securing a jury composed solely of slave owners 



44 



45 



4« 



47 



1st Sess., 11th G. A., p. 751. 

1st Sess., 13th G. A., p. 59. 

1st Sess., 16th G. A., p. 21. 

1st Sess., 19th G. A., p. 123, sec. 6. 



"This right to appeal in any case of a slave tried by a justice 
was restored in 1848. 1st Sess., 27th G. A., 84. 



# 



184 



H. M. Henry 



in some parts of Tennessee. Numerous petitions were pre- 
sented to the General Assembly in 182!) playing the removal 
of this restriction. 49 

By an act of 1836*° the circuit court was given exclusive 
jurisdiction in all offenses committed by slaves where the 
penalty was death, and all persons qualified to serve as jurors 
in the trial of a free white person were to be eligible for 
service in the trial of a slave. It is also provided that coun- 
sel for an accused slave should be appointed if the owner 
failed or refused to provide such counsel, the attorney so ap- 
pointed to be given the right to sue the owner of the slave 



for the amount of his fee. 



last 



abused ; at least, it was repealed in 1838. 51 

The only other legislation of interest regarding the trial 
of slaves was placed on the statute books in 1853. 52 It will be 
recalled that in a case in 1850, Nelson vs. the State, referred 
to above, the Supreme Court said that the homicide of a 
white person by a slave might be adjudged manslaughter, in 
which event the death penalty could not be assessed. But the 
law did not provide that a slave court might find a verdict of 



manslaughter. 



question 



Could a slave 



cuit 



was not given original jurisdiction of the case: and would it 
be difficult after such a trial in the circuit court to justify 
the retrial of the defendant in a slave court? Hence this act 
merely gave the circuit court jurisdiction in all cases of 
homicide by slaves whether finally found to be deserving of 

capital punishment or not. 

It will be proper at this point 1o summarize the legislation 
dealing with the methods of trial of slaves and to add other 
comment on the problem. It appears that at first the white 
population desired a less complicated system of trial by slaves 
than obtained for whites. Hence the simple, unhampered, 
half-responsible scheme planned in the North Carolina act of 
1741 was devised and was carried over by the State of Ten- 
nessee. Questions appear later to have arisen as to the cer- 
tainty of securing justice for the accused slave by this method. 
Suppose the owner of the slave was the prosecutor, was it 
not likely that the court would accept his idea of the case? 
Again, was not the small slave owner's interst as well as the 
personal welfare of the slave likely to suffer where the mas- 
ter was uninfluential in the community? Furthermore, might 

"National Banner and Nashville Whig, October 27, 1839. 
*lst Sess., 21st G. A., p. 92, sec. 9. 
"1st Sess., 22nd G. A., p. 197. 
















"1st 



I 



Slave Laws of Tennessee 185 



not the intersts of the slaveholder suffer and injustice possi- 
bly be done his slave in communities where slaves were few 
and where non-slaveholders looked with more or less jealousy 
upon the free and easy manner of life of the master? This 
desire to have the interests of the slaveholder subserved is to 
be seen in the changing provisions for the qualifications of 
jurors. This doubt as to securing justice for the slave may be 
seen again in the recurring provisions for appeal, first in cap- 
ital cases and then in all cases, and finally in the almost com- 
plete abolition of the slave court with the transfer of most 
of its business to the circuit court. Some of this interest may 
be traced in the legislative work of the General Assembly. 
In 1819 s8 a select committee was appointed to examine the 
laws on slavery and to see what, if any, amendments to the 
laws relating to the trial of slaves in particular were neces- 
sary, but no further trace of its work is apparent. In 1829 54 
an interesting debate took place on the floor of the lower 
house of the General Assembly on a bill to make capital of- 
fenses by a slave cognizable by a circuit court. The bill, how- 
ever, did not become law until 1831. The right of appeal to 
the circuit court permitted by the law of 1825 appears to have 
had the effect of making the rehearings numerous. Hence, 
it was argued by one of the defenders of the proposed measure, 
that it would save time and expense to begin prosecution of 
slaves accused of crime in the circuit courts. He further 
pointed out that the prejudice or lack of interest on the part 
of the master might lend influence to the prosecution of the 
slave. And, again, the master would naturally not undertake 
an expensive appeal unless reasonably sure of acquittal. To 
some of these allegations spirited exception was taken. 

Apparently the master's property interest in the slave was 
in 1774 deemed sufficient protection for the life of the slave, 
protection both against the violence of the master himself and 
against any other possible intruder. That the punishment of 
slave murder had not been common is shown by the preamble 
to the act of 1774, 55 which we shall quote at this point: 

"Whereas some doubts have arisen with respect to the 
punishment proper to be inflicted upon such as have been 
guilty of willfully and maliciously killing slaves." 

Judging by our later standards, we would naturally con- 
sider this hardly humane, but judged by the standards of a 
time when the slave was little better than a savage, and when 



54 



">5 



Nashville Whig, Oct. 13, 1819. 
National Banner and Nashvih 
Iredell, p. 274, Ch. 31. 






186 H. M. Henry 



the paternal care of the slave by his master was more marked. 
legislation was not thought to be so necessary. However, in 
1774 r,fl an act was passed defining the murder of a slave and 
fixing the penalty — for the first offense of which the person 
was convicted of the willful murder of a slave he was to be im- 
prisoned for one year, and for the second offense he was to 
suffer death and could be held civilly liable to the owner. But 
soon, in 1791, 67 the murder of a slave (first offense) was made 
a capital crime. It is possible that some doubt as to the na- 
ture of the punishment of a person convicted of killing a slave 
arose and the Tennessee legislature passed an act in 1799 BS 
duplicating the North Carolina law of 1791 with the exception 
that the homicide of any outlawed slave, or a slave "dying 
under moderate correction" was not to be considered as coming 
within the meaning of the act. 

Neither from laws nor court records can an adequate esti- 
mate of the conditions of slaves be made as to their treatment 
by their masters or the whites generally. That complaint in 
this direction arose rather early is to be judged by the North 
Carolina act of 1741, 59 which made it obligatory on the master 

to provide wholesome food for his slaves and white servants. 
And another act in 1753 60 made the master liable in civil dam- 
ages for thefts committed by a slave, provided it could be 
shown that the slave had not been properly fed. An act of 
the Tennessee Legislature of 1813 01 made the offense of beating 
the slave of another white person equally criminal with that 
of so misusing a white person. The Supreme Court lost no 
opportunity to encourage the principle of humane treatment 
of slaves by their masters, often appearing to strain the law 
to do so. In 1833 62 it held that a family of slaves could not 
be broken up and sold to different white persons to satisfy a 
debt against an estate. 

A difficulty often experienced in the management of slaves 
was that they would steal farm produce from their masters 
or other white people in the community and sell to unscrupu- 
lous purchasers at much less than the actual value of the 
article. This encouraged theft and consequent dissipation on 
the part of the slave, since the money so obtained was often 
used to purchase whisky or in gaming. The North Carolina 

'Ibid. 

"Iredell, 716, Ch. 4. 

"1st Sess., 3rd G. A., p. 187, Ch. 9. 

••Sec. 4. 

"Iredell, p. 153, ch. 6, sec. 10. 

"1st Sess., 10th G. A., p. 70. 

"Loftin vs. Epsy and Others, 12 Tenn., 84. 






Slave Laws of Tennessee 187 



act of 1741 63 forbade trading with slaves. An act of the 
Tennessee Legislature of 1799 64 forbade any person to buy from 
or sell to a slave who did not produce a certificate from his 
or her master expressly permitting such bargaining as to place 
and time. For its violation a penalty of a fine ranging from 
five to ten dollars, recoverable before a magistrate by action 
for debt, was fixed. Another law of 1813 65 made some changes 
and additions to the former regulation. It permitted the sale 
without a permit from his master of any article made or pro- 
duced by the slave himself. It w r as inferred that time and 
permission had been willingly granted by the master when a 
slave was allowed to grow farm produce or poultry, or to 
exercise his mechanical skill in making any other article for 
sale, and that no protest would arise or harm be done. The 
former laws provided no punishment for the slave engaging 
in this unlawful traffic, making an effort only to render effec- 
tive the prohibition on the action of the outside party. But 
this law made it obligatory on the person with whom the slave 
offered to bargain, to arrest and carry him before a justice 
who was to give him not less than five nor more than thirty 
lashes. 

One of the most dreaded forms of traffic in which the slave 
might be concerned was that of intoxicants. This lessened 
the efficiency of the slave and contributed to the possibilities 
of his disturbance of the peace of the community. Apparently 
North Carolina had relied upon her laws to prevent general sell- 
ing to slaves to obstruct the traffic in liquors. In 1813 66 the 
Tennessee legislature passed a law providing a fine of from five 
to ten dollars for each offense of selling liquor to slaves with- 
out a permit from the master, and in case of failure to pay 
the convicted person was to be confined in jail until payment 
should be made. A slave who should sell to another slave was 
to receive from five to ten lashes and not less than three lashes 
for being found in possession of liquor, 67 and a free negro sell- 
ing to a slave was to be fined $50. 68 By an act of 1832 69 a dealer 
in receiving a license to traffic in alcoholic liquors was re- 
quired to take an oath that he would not sell to a slave without 
a written permit from the slave's master. This was probably 
evaded bv allowing a clerk to make such unauthorized sale. 



<KJ 



Sec. 14. 



«4 



1st Sess., 3rd G. A., ch. 28. 



1st Sess., 15th G. A., p. 76, ch. 57 

w lst Sess., 15th G. A., p. 76. 

"1st Sess., 18th G. A., p. 103. 
"Ibid. 

•Called Session, 19th G. A., p. 47. 



188 H. M. Henry 



as 



to include affirmation that the dealer would not knowingly 
mit such unauthorized sale by an employe. To sell whiskev 



/pet 



ee 



be 



th i rty 



state, 72 to get an adequate interpretation of the law and the 
policy of the state toward the slave population : 



«TT 



Under no circumsances, not even in the presence, or 
by permission, in writing or otherwise, of the master, can 
spirits be 'sold or delivered/ to a slave, for his own use, but 
only for the use of the master, and even in that case, the 
'owner or master' must be present, or send a written order, 



be 



ryl 



' 



not confined to licensed tipplers. 

"A general, or indefinite, order, such as those exhibited 
in this case, is of no avail. An order can cover onlv a 
single transaction, and then it is exhausted." 



It must have been common for slaves to hire their time 
from their masters, that is, to pay their owners a stated amount 
of money each week with the understanding that the slaves 
were to be allowed to act substantially as they would if they 
were free, contracting for odd jobs or working at some definite 
trade. This removed largely the responsibility and oversight 
of the master, which was deemed detrimental to the welfare 
of the community, since it lessened wholesome restraint over 
the particular slave and tended to render dissatisfied other 
slaves who observed the liberty which such an arrangement 
permitted. The act of 1813, 78 referred to above, provided a 
penalty of not less than five nor more than ten dollars on the 
master for each day the slave was allowed to hire out his 
time. The fines were reduced ten years later 74 to $1 as a 
minimum and $2 as a maximum, and it was provided, further, 
that one-half the fines were to be paid to the person prose- 
cuting the case. 

Tennessee was known as "the West" at the opening of the 
nineteenth century, and like the other states west of the orig- 
inal thirteen drew upon the population and resources of the 
older states. Naturally it drew upon the slave supply of the 

it 



1st Sess., 26th G. A., p. 154. 
"Act of 1842, 1st Sess., 24th G. A., pp. 161-2. 
"Jennings vs. The State, 40 Tenn., 521; 1859. 



"Sec. 4. 

74 



1st Sess., 15th G. A., p. 76, ch. 57. 






Slave Laics of Tennessee 189 



older states. But this desire for slave labor was not nearly 
so keen in Tennessee as it was further south. The natural 
surroundings and geography of the country, as well as the 
natural resources in the eastern part of the state, first in the 
order of settlement, did not encourage importation, and the 
whole of the western part was not opened until much later. 
Hence, restriction on the importation of slaves was early 
deemed advisable. A law prohibiting the importation of slaves 
for sale was enacted in 1812. 75 Nor was any person allowed 
to remove with his slaves into the state as a refugee from 
danger on the outside unless he should become a citizen of 
the state. It may have been anticipated that communities 
endangered by war or insurrection might seek such refuge 
with the purpose of returning when the danger had passed, 
thereby becoming a charge on the community's welfare with 
no personal interest at stake. It permitted any person, how- 
ever, who intended to become a citizen of the state to remove 
into the state with his slaves, provided that within twenty 
days he appeared before a justice of the peace and took oath 
as to his intentions and submitted the names and descriptions 
of the slaves brought with him. In like manner a person 
already a citizen of the state was to be allowed to import any 
slaves he may have acquired by marriage or bequest. Viola- 
tion of this law was punishable by the public confiscation and 
sale of the slaves. 

The above act may have been intended as an experiment 
or had its desired effect, for being enacted for a period of five 
years it was allowed to lapse, and no new law took its place. 
Doubtless everybody regarded the spirit of the act as binding 
and the legislature neglected to renew its provisions. Some- 
time prior to the meeting of the General Assembly in the fall 
of 1826, Oliver Simpson brought into Giles County some negroes 
for sale. They were seized by the sheriff who was soon to 
offer them for sale under the provisions of the act of 1812. 
A joint resolution was passed by both houses of the General 
Assembly, instructing the sheriff to suspend action until fur- 
ther notice from the assemblv. A debate occurred on the 
floor of the Senate on the expediency of the resolution, the 
argument being made that while the title of the act limited 

its operation to five years the body of the statute did not, 76 
While the resolution was passed by overwhelming majorities, 



75 2nd Sess., 9th G. A., p. 84, ch. 85. Duties had been imposed by 
North Carolina to prevent foreign and domestic traffic, and in 1786 
it was forbidden to bring slaves from a state which had emancipated 
all its slaves. Iredell, 577, ch. 5. 

"National Banner and Nashville Whig, Nov. 8, 1826. 



190 H. M. Henry 



a rigid law 77 embodying the provisions of the act of 1812 and 
still other restrictions was passed. The main provisions re- 
garding imported slaves were the same as before, with the 
exception that the court procedure was more elaborate and 
better defined. A further restriction was made on importing 
a slave under any circumstances whatsoever who had been 
convicted in any other state or territory of a crime the penalty 
for which was transportation. It also forbade under a penalty 
of a fine of $500 the importation of a free negro convicted in 
any other state of a crime the penalty for which was for the 
slave to be sold into temporary or permanent slavery. The 
Slave Act of 1831 78 imposed the burden of proof of innocence 
on the defendant charged with the violation of the above de- 
scribed law. 

This was the policy of the state toward the domestic slave 
trade to the state until the opening of the western part of the 
state presented problems similar to those in Mississippi. 
Thereafter an increasing demand for a full supply of labor 
called for less restraint, and in 1853 79 the General Assembly 
repealed the provisions of the law of 1826, thus permitting the 
sale of slaves within the state. 

Under the law of 1741, 80 actually conveying away a slave 
was deemed a felony and was punishable with death. But 
in 1829, 81 for some reason, the law was so changed as to 
make the penalty from five to fifteen years in the penitentiary. 
If a slave was stolen while a runaway it was to be deemed the 
larceny of a slave if the master continued to pursue him. 82 
Closely akin in its nature and effects was harboring or entic- 
ing away of a slave. Under this accusation would naturally 
come entertainment, encouragement, or assistance to run away 
either to leave the community or the state. This was punish- 
able under the law of 1741 by a fine of forty shillings for 
each offense, or, if the slave was lost permanently as the result 
of such enticement, the fine was £25, or in case the defendant 
was unable to pay he was to serve the injured master five 
years. The fine was made by the act of 1799 83 fifty dollars, but 
reduced in 1806 84 to any sum ranging from ten to twenty 
dollars. But harboring, including such incidents as enticing 

"2nd Sess., 16th G. A., p. 31. 



me 



Supra, sec. 14. 
"1st Sess., 31st G. A., p. 71. 
"Sec. 27. 

,l lst Sess., 18th G. A., p. 27. 
"Cash vs. The State, 29 Tenn., Ill; 1849 
"Acts 1799, p. 200, No. 28. 
"2nd Sess., 6th G. A., p. 83, ch. 32. 












| 



Slave Laws of Tennessee 191 



away, was, by another law of 1836 85 which revised former 
acts, made punishable with from three to ten years in the 
penitentiary. The same act also provided for the punishment 
of any person furnishing a pass to a slave to assist in such 
escape with a similar sentence. 

Throughout the slavery regime the running away of a 
slave from his master was one of the greatest difficulties that 
owners had to deal with in controlling and profitably manag- 
ing their slaves. We shall have, therefore, to peruse the North 
Carolina laws, for not until 1825 was any definite enactment 
taken by the state of Tennessee, to see what the earliest regu- 
lations were. The act of 1741 86 provided that on the capture 
of a runaway he should receive thirty-nine lashes. If the 
owner was unknown, the slave was to be turned over to the 
sheriff, who should advertise, giving a full description. If 
after two months no owner appeared to claim the slave he 
was to be hired out for a time sufficient to pay the fees in- 
cident to his detention after an iron collar with the letters 
P. G. on it had been put on him; and if, after he had earned 
sufficient to pay the fees for his arrest and detention, no owner 
appeared, he was to be advertised and sold at a public sale. 
A law of 1825 87 provided that a runaway should be detained 
one year in the hope of finding the owner, and if no owner 
appeared within twelve months the slave was to be sold at 
public auction and the proceeds to go into the county treasury. 
If, within two years of the time of the sale, the owner should 
appear and on the evidence of creditable witnesses prove the 
ownership of the slave that had been sold, the funds received 
for the slave less the expenses of his detention should be paid 
over to such owner. An act of 1844 88 permitted the sheriff 
of any county to hire to the officers of an incorporated town 
for public service any runaway slaves in his custody on the 
execution of a bond by such municipal officials in twice the 
value of each such slave to guarantee the safekeeping, humane 
treatment and prompt delivery of them. It is probable that 
in order to secure the fees unscrupulous sheriffs or patrolmen 
would arrest a slave who was merely roaming at large without 
a pass, on the ground that he was a runaway, and commit 
him to jail, thus entailing needless expense on the master. 89 
Had this not been the case there would have been little or no 



85 



8« 



87 



S8 



1st Sess., 20th G. A., p. 174. 

Definitely repealed, 1st Sess., 19th Tenn. G. A., p. 123. 

1st Sess., 16th G. A., p. 128. 

1st Sess., 25th G. A., p. 161. 



89 The jailer received the usual fee for prisoners and the person 
arresting received $5 by the act of 1831. 



IU'2 H. M. Henry 



* 

reason for the act of 1852 90 forbidding sheriffs or the patrol 
from confining runaway negroes in the county jail when they 
were found in the town or vicinity where their master lived. 
In this connection it will be appropriate to refer to laws re- 
lating to the transportation of slaves by common carriers, as 
railroads and steamboats, though this must not have con- 
tributed except in the slightest degree to aiding runaway 
slaves. By a Supreme Court decision of 1857 91 it was held 
that the railroad company, through its officers, was bound to 
know that any slave admitted to its cars had the permission 
of his master to take the trip. In case any slave was lost to 
his master in this way the railway company could be held 
liable in -damages. By a decision in 1859 92 the court re 
fused to hold the owner of a boat liable in civil damages for 
the loss of a slave who probably jumped from the boat to 
escape and was drowned when in the care of his master, who 
was also on the boat. The court took occasion to say that they 
must differ from the opinion of Chief Justice Marshall, whose 
decision in a case similar in some respects 93 had held the 
owner of tfce boat liable. 

Negro gatherings caused more anxiety on the part of the 
whites than almost anything else. In such meetings, if freely 
permited, insurrectionary plans were possible and mutual 
discontent aroused. At the same time, however, it was felt 
by the white people that not only should such outlet for their 
social instincts be allowed but that a reasonable amount of 
such relaxation made them more serviceable. In 1831 04 a 
rigid law was passed to define and regulate such meetings. 
It made any meeting of slaves not authorized or permitted 
by their owners or the person on whose lands it was held, 
an unlawful meeting, and made it the duty of the patrol to 
break up such assemblages. It provided for the punishment 
in the discretion of the court, of any person who would permit 
an unlawful meeting on his premises. These provisions are 
a part of a law passed at a time when there was considerable 
excitement regarding possible slave uprisings. This act was 
interpreted by the Supreme Court in 1858 95 to mean that any 
such unauthorized meeting was unlawful, whether or not it 
was accompanied by any unlawful act or disorderliness. On 
the other hand it was not to be construed as a prohibition of 
such usual meetings as funerals or ordinary religious services, 

••1st Sess., 29th G. A., p. 120. 

"Western & Atlantic Ry. Co. vs. W. D. Fulton, 36 Tenn., 589. 

"Scruggs vs. Davis, 40 Tenn., 664. 

"Boyce vs. Anderson, 2 Peters, 156. 

"1st Sess., 19th G. A., p. 123, ch. 103. 

"Leech vs. The State. 39 Tenn.. 140. 






Slave Laws of Tennessee 193 



even if such permission was not expressly given but in the 
nature of the case was implied. With a further view to pre- 
venting such meetings the Code of 1858 forbade by a fine the 
entertainment of a slave by a free negro unless he had a 
pass from his master to that effect. 96 

A constant fear of insurrection of slaves, encouraged by 
free negroes or unscrupulous whites, was the nightmare of 
the southern slave owner. By the law of 1741 97 any slave or 
free negro concerned in an insurrection or in any way con- 
tributing to it was to be put to death. This was amended by 
an act in 1831 98 so as to allow the court trying the case to 
impose a less severe penalty if it was made to appear that the 
offense had extenuating circumstances or was not worthy of 
such punishment. But again in 1858 99 an act was passed mak- 
ing the penalty death for any slave or free negro to aid, abet 
or advise insurrectionary activities. It further authorized the 

judge of the circuit court, on an allegation of five responsible 
persons of the belief that certain negroes were plotting or 

conspiring against the whites, to call a special session of his 
court for that county, empanel a grand jury, and if, after 
investigation, a trial of the suspects was deemed necessary, 
to proceed with same without delay. 

The subject of insurrection naturally leads up to that of 
incendiary literature calculated to incite such insurrection. 
A general act of 1S03 100 prohibited by a fine of f 10 any per- 
son saying anything in the presence of slaves calculated to 
induce insurrection or insubordination to proper authority 
on the part of such slaves. The act further went on to define 
such improper language. In 1836 a more rigid law against 
incendiarism was enacted. 101 It provided that any person 
who should write, print or engrave any writing, picture or 
other device, circulate or have in possession the same calcu- 
lated to incite discontent, rebellion or insurrection, should 
be punished from five to ten years' incarceration in the peni- 
tentiary, and for a second offense the penalty was to be doubled 
in length. 102 

* 6 Sec. 2732. 
"Sec. 47. 

»8 



Ml 

100 
101 



1st Sess., 19th G. A., p. 123, sec. 5. 
1st Sess., 32nd G. A., p. 94. 
1st Sess., 5th G. A., p. 49. 
1st Sess., 21st G. A., p. 145. 



m A painfully careful perusal of the available newspaper files of 
1835 in Nashville failed to reveal any mention of the Amos Dresser 
incident referred to by Professor Hart in his Slavery and Abolition 
(p. 236). This does not, however, prove that such summary punish- 
ment was not meted out to Dresser, for it was not common for local 
newspapers of that day to comment on such extra legal proceedings. 



194 H. M. Henry 



In all of the southern states there appeared the desire by 
some of the slave owners to set free all or a part of their 
slaves. Apparently the greater reason for emancipations in 
the earlier days of slavery was that the profit from the slave's 
work was small and the service was often or usually of an in- 
ferior quality, and failed to balance with the cost of his keep 
and maintenance. As late as 1833 103 Senator Sims asserted 
that the reason that emancipation was growing was that the 
cultivation of cotton was coming to be unprofitable as an invest- 
ment. Another reason was that many slave owners wished to 
reward certain of their slaves for meritorious services. Still 
another reason was to be found in the conscientious scruples of 
the owner as to the ethical or religious principle involved in 
slavery. But whatever may have been the cause of the desire 
for emancipation, another consideration was to be made be- 
fore the slave was to be set free, namely, the interests of the 
community. Most people of that time believed, and with good 
reason, that the presence of any considerable number of free 
negroes in a community was a menace to its peace and wel- 
fare. Indolence, disorder, theft and insurrection were among 
the possibilities. Consequently the master was not allowed 
lightly to cast aside his responsibility. The North Carolina 
act of 1741 104 forbade the emancipation of any slave "except 
for meritorious services," and permitted any slave not set free 
for such reason to be again sold into slavery. But who was 
to be the judge of such "meritorious conduct"? Apparently 
this question was for the time settled by the act of 1777, 105 
which devolved the judgment of the worthiness of the subject 
for manumission upon the county court. This prerogative was 
again reaffirmed in the court in 1796. 106 Some doubt as to the 
right or form of manumission used hitherto having arisen, or to 
prevent the reference of the matter to the legislature, an act 107 
was passed by the General Assembly providing that any owner 
desiring to emancipate his slave should petition the county 
court to that effect, which was empowered to grant the petition 
if in their opinion no harm to the state would result. The 
owner was then required to enter into bond sufficient to cover 
the expenses in case the freed negro became a charge upon the 
county. A transcript of the record was to be furnished the 
free negro by the clerk on payment of a fee. A mere verbal 
permission to a slave to go free could not effect his freedom 

lm Na8hville Republican, Oct. 29. 

'"Sec. 56. 

103 Iredell, p. 288, ch. 6. 

^Iredell, p. 3 (of that session), ch. 5. 









vn 



1st Sess., 4th G. A., ch. 27. 



Slave Laws of Tennessee 195 



or relieve the master of his responsibility in regard to the 

slave. 108 

But this law did not prevent the introduction of bills into 

the legislature seeking special emancipation. Probably the 

reason was to escape the filing of a bond guaranteeing that 

the slave would not become a charge upon the county. But in 

each case varying somewhat in details only one exception was 

made as to giving bond and that was in the case of a free 

negro man whose wife and daughter were set free, no bond 

being required. 109 

It often occurred, however, that a slave owner desired that 
his slaves be freed on his death and it was not uncommon 
that wills were made providing for the emancipation of the 
slaves on the death of the owner. Before any specific enact- 
ment by the General Assembly was made the court had held 
that such a will was valid. 110 In 1826 a slave owner in his 
last will and testament provided that his slaves should be set 
free and that his property should be sold and land bought in 
the Indiana territory and title and deed to same be vested in 
said free negroes. The Supreme Court held that such a will 
was valid. 111 Such cases were probably becoming common. 
Accordingly with a view to systematizing such procedure an 
act was passed in 1829 112 authorizing the probation of such 
wills on condition that the bond as described above should 
always be furnished, either provided for by the testator or 
the executors of the estate. In case the executors failed to 
take the necessary steps to effect such freedom the slaves in 
question, through a "next friend," were enabled to sue for 
their freedom. Or, in case of refusal, the chancery court was 
authorized to compel the executors to take such a step. 113 In- 
deed, a slave who once had his right to freedom established 
by a will could never be again held as a slave. 114 

About 1830 the slave laws in all of the southern states 
were very much strengthened. The most noticeable change in 
policy toward slavery in Tennessee was the prohibition in 

108 James vs. The State, 28 Tenn., 308, in 1842. 

lw For cases referred to above see the following: Acts, 1st Sess., 
14th G. A., 129, 1829; acts, 2nd Sess., 15th G. A., 120, 1824; acts, 
2nd Sess., 15th G. A., 147, 1824; acts, 1st Sess., 16th G. A., 175, 1825; 
acts, 1st Sess., 16th G. A., 353, 1825. Other petitions apparently not 
granted may be noted in the Nashville Banner and Nashville Whig, 
Oct. 5, 6, Nov. 3, 1829. 

°McCutcheon et al. vs. Price and wife et al. f 4 Tenn., 211, 1817. 
Ann Hope vs. David Johnson, et al. 10 Tenn., 123. 
1st Sess., 18th G. A., 49. 
Hinklin vs. Hamilton, 22 Tenn., 569, 1842. 

Isaac et al. vs. McGill, 28 Tenn., 616, 1848; Laura Jane vs. Hagen, 
29 Tenn., 332, 1849; Boon vs. Lancaster, 33 Tenn., 578, 1854. 



hi 

112# 

113 
114 



196 H. M. Henry 



1831 of the emancipation of slaves except on condition that 
they be removed from the state, such removal to be guaranteed 
by a bond equal to the value of the slave. 115 Two years later 
an act was passed relieving from the provisions 110 of the 
former act any slave who had already contracted with his 
master for his freedom. Almost immediately the court inter- 
preted the act of 1831 to permit a master to bequeath to his 
slaves freedom with the provision that they should be hired 
out by trustees until a sum should be realized sufficient to 
defray the expenses of their removal to some state or country 
permitting the presence of free negroes. 117 In 1834 on the 
refusal of the executors of an estate to secure freedom for 
certain slaves provided for in the testator's will suit was 
brought for the negroes by a "next friend," but after ren- 
dering a lengthy decision in which the whole history and 
policy of emancipation was reviewed the court declined to 
order the execution of the will regarding the slaves unless a 
guarantee for their removal from the state in accordance with 
the law were provided. 118 



An interesting case came to the Supreme Court in 1835. 



110 



A slave owner had applied to the county courts to secure the 
emancipation of his slave but his petition was not granted. 
He was also met by a refusal at the hands of the legislature. 
He then sold the negro to another man on the condition that 
the purchaser remove with the slave to Illinois and there 
effect his emancipation, which was accomplished according 
to the laws of Illinois. During the last illness of the negro's 
former master the latter out of gratitude returned to nurse 
him. On the death of the white man whom< the former slave 
had nursed the negro was seized by the executors of the estate 
on the ground that he had been sent out of the state to evade 
the laws of Tennessee. The court held that since there was no 
law to cover the case it appeared to be a casus omissus and 
hence the emancipation effected in Illinois was to be judged 
conclusive. A not very dissimilar case arose in 1845 120 when an 
owner by will set his slaves free in Kentucky, which state re- 
quired no further action to effect their freedom. The executors, 
however, removed with them to Tennessee in order to hold them 
as slaves. But the court held that the case would have to be 
determined by the laws of Kentucky and hence that the negroes 
could not be held in slavery in Tennessee. 



IIS 

111 

111 



1st Sess., 19th G. A., p. 122, sec. 2. 

1st Sess. f 20th G. A., p. 99. 

David et al. vs. Bridgman et al., 10 Tenn., 557. 
'"Fisher's Negroes vs. Dabbs, 14 Tenn., 120. 
,w Blackmore and Hadley vs. Negro Phil, 15 Tenn., 452. 
,JB Reuben et al. vs. Parrish. 25 Tenn.. 122. 



• 



I 

i 






Slave Laws of Tennessee 197 



Several other cases came to the highest court of the state 
within the following years which illustrate varied phases of 
slavery, and hence they will here be grouped together, though 
they are not necessarily connected logically. Children born 
to a slave mother who had before their birth received a 
promise of freedom to be exercised at a later time were to 
be free. 121 Slaves w r ho had had their freedom contracted for, 
though the consideration be merely nominal, could not be 
sold to satisfy a creditor's debt. 122 In case an owner left a 
will providing freedom for his slaves the debts against his 
estate could not be satisfied without selling the negroes, 
the court held in 1848 123 that such negroes should be hired 
out until such time as the earnings of the negroes could satisfy 
the debts and then emancipation should take place. In 1842 
an act 124 was passed to regulate free negroes, one section of 
which provided that a slave emancipated by a county court 
could be allowed to remain in the state provided that he 
furnish bond ensuring orderliness. In case the county court 
of one county refuse a petition for emancipation the owner 
might apply to the court of another county. 125 

But the prevention of the settlement of freed negroes in 
the state by promise of removal beyond its borders was not 
deemed sufficient guarantee of the removal of the dangers of 
a free population, or just to the state so receiving them. 126 
Hence an act was passed in 1854 127 providing that all slaves 
set free by the courts must have their transportation to the 
western coast of Africa and sustenance for six months there- 
after furnished, with the exception of old or infirm slaves 
whose health by removal might be impaired, and those for 
whose freedom contracts had already been made. In case no 
financial provision had been made for their removal, although 
having the benefit of emancipation by will, the negroes should 
be hired out until sufficient funds were thereby acquired. 128 



121 



Hartsell vs. George, 22 Tenn., 255; 1842. 



112 Elias et al. vs. Smith et al. y 25 Tenn., 33; 1845. See McCloud and 
Karnes, Ex'rs. vs. Chiles et als., 41 Tenn., 248, that such contract was 
based on moral grounds and was termed "emancipation by parole," 



owner 



IBS 



124 



128 



Harry et al. vs. Green et al, 28 Tenn., 182. 

1st Sess., 24th G. A., p. 229. 

Case of F. Gray, 28 Tenn., 513; 1848. 



""Such an opinion is expressed in the case of Fisher's negroes vs. 
Dabbs (14 Tenn., 120) referred to above. See also Boon vs. Lan- 
caster, 33 Tenn., 578. 

m lst Sess., 30th G. A., p. 121. 

""Isaac et al. vs. McGill, 28 Tenn., 616, 1848; Boon vs. Lancaster, 
33 Tenn., 578, 1854. 



198 H. M. Henry 



An act of 1858 120 made provision for the choice of a mas- 
ter by any free negro in case any such free negro desired 
to enter slavery. The law threw around such action sufficient 
guarantee against fraud and abuse, at least in so far as the 
letter of the law went. Children of a free negro entering 
slavery were not thereby enslaved. An act of I860 180 spe- 
cifically provided that slaves wiio had been set free by will 
or otherwise, but for w r hom no funds had been provided to 
effect their transportation to Africa, should be given the privi- 
lege of choosing a master and re-entering slavery; a colored 
mother also being allowed to act for any of her children under 
six years of age. 

In 1834 there met in Nashville a convention to frame a 
new constitution. It was to be expected that this convention 
would have before it in some form the question of slavery. 
Particularly so since the apprehension aroused by the Nat 
Turner insurrection had not yet died out. The form the dis- 
cussion took was that of proposals looking to the gradual 
emancipation of the slaves, and the disfranchisement of the 
free negroes w r ho had been voters until that time. Memorials 
from sixteen out of sixty-two counties praying for general 
emancipation were laid before the convention containing 1,804 
signatures, 105 of which were those of slave owners who in 
the aggregate it w r as estimated owned about 500 slaves. 181 
Early in the session a committee of twenty-six was appointed 
to investigate and report on various points, among which was 
slavery. "That they report suitable provisions in relation to 
slavery and emancipation in such a manner as to put those 
subjects at rest, never to be interfered with by the legislature 
under any circumstances." 132 Apparently, how r ever, another 
committee was appointed for the specific purpose of dealing 
with the question exclusively, 133 and by resolution of May 30 
all petitions were to be referred to this committee. On June 
18 this committee submitted a lengthy report. 134 The findings 
may be conveniently grouped under four heads. First, it was 
apologetic (not laudatory, as would be expected) of the in- 
stitution. Secondly, the report praised the motives of the 



,a, lst Seas., 32nd G. A., p. 55. 

,30 lst Sess., 33rd G. A., p. 117. 

l31 Journal of Convention, July 9, p. 124. One of these petitions 
from Greene County carried 347 names. Journal, May 29, p. 48. 
Among the counties presenting petitions were the following: Greene, 
Lincoln, McMinn, Knox, Sevier, Blount, Robertson, Overton. 

191 Journal, p. 30. 

. '"Journal, p. 53. 

"Journal, p. 87. 



Slave Laws of Tennessee 199 



ineinoralists, but illustrated the impracticability of the plan 
by pointing out the probability that the masters would sell 
their slaves out of the state before they would allow them to 
be set free, and, thirdly, that if they were not sold out of the 
state they would constitute a menace to order within the 
state. Lastly, it called attention to the fact that gradual 
emancipation and voluntary colonization were already in 
progress and doubtless would continue until all the slaves 
were finally emancipated. The number who opposed the spirit 
and recommendations of the report was small, but they were 
able to make themselves heard in further parliamentary 
maneuvers. An effort to amend the report before its adop- 
tion was lost by a vote of forty-two to twelve. When put on 
its final passage the affirmative was forty-four against ten 
in the negative, all of the ten negative votes being cast by 
delegates from East Tennessee except one from Bedford 
County. The minority entered in the form of a protest their 
reasons for voting against the final adoption of the report 
and asked that their reasons be spread on the journal. 135 The 
substance of their objections was that the memorialists de- 
sired more consideration of their prayer than had been allowed 
and that they justly deserved it; they averred that slavery 
was morally wrong, and denied that the condition of the 
free negro was worse than that of the slave; they cited the 
signatures of slave owners on the memorials as evidence that 
many slave owners would not sell their slaves out of the state 
in case emancipation should be undertaken, but that on the 
contrary they merely preferred trying free instead of slave 
labor. Apparently the matter was recommitted with a view 
to getting some more definite facts regarding the memorials. 
Their report submitted on July 9 136 summed up the facts re- 
garding the number of petitioners, as cited above, and it 
deprecated further discussion in the fear that it would stir 
up ill feelings. Some of the former protesters replied to this 
second report in a controversial tone to maintain their former 
positions. 137 

The other phase of the negro question, that of the dis- 
franchisement of free negroes, was introduced by a resolution 
on May 27 138 with this purpose in view. So far as the journal 
reveals it, very little discussion on this subject took place but 
what occurred was on June 26. One of these was a long- 
labored philosophical discussion in favor of disfranchisement. 

155 Journal, p. 192. 
™ Journal, p. 124. 
xzl Journal, p. 147. 
x ™ Journal, p. 37. 



200 II. M. Henry 



Another a more practical presentation advocated allowing 
those who already had the right of suffrage to retain it since 
they numbered not more than four or five hundred, the speaker 
advocated excluding from the suffrage those free negroes who 
might hereafter come into the state. 139 By a vote of 30 to 23 
the free negro was disfranchised and there was added with- 
out dissent the following: 

"Provided no person shall be disqualified from voting 
in any election in this state on account of color, who is 
now by existing laws of the state a competent witness in 
a court of justice against a white person." 

The North Carolina laws until 1796 had but little to say 
about free negroes. These negroes were probably regarded 
as having much the same legal status as white persons. A 
law of 1785 140 did, in order to prevent free negroes from escap- 
ing taxation, require that any free negro who entered a town 
should be registered and given a badge with the word "free" 
engraved on it after having paid the tax of ten shillings. 
A free person of color not so complying with the law was to 
be treated as a slave hiring out his time unlawfully. 

In 1806 141 a law was enacted which required every free 
negro to be registered by the county clerk of court with a 
description, age, and statement as to his right to freedom. A 
transcript of this record was to be furnished to the negro by 
the clerk. If at any time the negro should travel out of the 
county of his residence without this transcript he might be 
arrested and jailed until a copy of the record of his freedom 
should arrive, the negro meantime becoming liable for fees 
incident to his incarceration. Another act 142 of 1807 pro- 
vided that for vagrancy on the part of a free negro who was 
at the time outside of his home county he could be held after 
being arraigned before a justice in a bond of f 250 for his good 
behavior. A free negro entering the state from another state 148 
was to be allowed to register his free papers as provided for 
those already resident in 1806. 

This freedom of residence accorded free negroes from other 
states was withdrawn in 1831. 144 Another law of this year 
fixed a penalty of from $10 to $50 fine and from one to two 
years in the state penitentiary for disregard of this prohibi- 
tion, the sentence to be doubled in case the negro neglected to 
leave after the expiration of his first sentence. This act was 



Journal, p. 208, July 31. 

""Martin's North Carolina Acts, p. 160, sec. 10, ch. 6. 
m 2nd Sess., G. A., 83. 
^Sess., G. A., 157. 

"•1st Sess., 16th G. A., p. 128, sec. 3; 1825. 
"•1st Sess., 19th G. A., p. 122. 







Slave Laics of Tennessee 201 



< 



slightly modified in 1842 145 so as to allow a free negro to enter 
the state on permission of the county court of the county in 
which he should expect to reside after having furnished a bond 
of |500 guaranteeing his good behavior and relief in case 
of becoming disabled. 146 

To encourage the emigration of free negroes from the state 
an act of 1833 147 authorized the treasurer of Middle Tennessee 
to pay to the African Colonization Society $10 for every free 
negro transported from the state, a maximum expenditure of 
$500 for any one year being allowed. But ten years later 148 
this law was repealed. 

There were several acts dealing with specific cases passed 

at intervals by the legislature. In 1821 149 three free negroes 
were allowed to prove their accounts, but this act was re- 
pealed two years later. A law of 1827 150 gave a legal name 
to a free negro and his wife. Another of 1855 151 provided that 
free negroes in Lauderdale County should be required to work 
on the public roads as other persons were. This would pos- 
sibly point to the lack of such a requirement in other counties. 
Still another of 1852 152 authorized the county clerk of court 
to hire out free negroes for disorderly conduct. 

Perhaps one of the most difficult things to determine in 
a study of slavery is the real position of the free negro. Was 
his condition better than that of the slave? Was he a source 
of disturbance to the slave population? Was his status and 
presence undermining to the social and economic system of 
the South? The writer has had occasion, in another study, 103 
to say that he believes that the sources are not entirely re- 
liable on this point; they have all the appearances of prejudice 
and often of purposed misrepresentation. What is true of 
the rest of the south is true of Tennessee. However, we shall 
allow a few quotations, perhaps as free as any from this 
objection to speak for themselves. First two from the Su- 
preme Court: 

"He (i. e. y the free negro) is a reproach and by-word 
with the slave himself who taunts his fellow slave by 
telling him 'he is as worthless as a free negro.' The conse- 



140 



147 



143 



149 



150 



161 



15 



im 



1st Sess., 24th G. A., p. 229. 
1st Sess., 24th G. A., p. 229. 
1st Sess., 20th G. A., p. 76. 
1st Sess., 25th G. A., p. 15. 
1st Sess., 15th G. A., p. 246. 
1st Sess., 17th G. A., p. 19. 
1st Sess., 32nd G. A., p. 331. 
2 lst Sess., 29th G. A., p. 237. 
The Police Control of the Slave in South Carolina, p. 216. 



202 H. M. Henry 



quence is inevitable. The free black lives among us with- 
out motive and without hope." 154 

"A free negro is not, it is true, a citizen of full privi- 
leges in our state, but still he is a free person, and cannot 
be punished in (a) summary mode, both in his person and 
his purse, for an act innocent in itself, and which is made 
malum prohibitum by the corporation of Memphis. The lot 
of a free negro is hard at best, resulting from necessity 
arising out of relations in which he stands to his brethren 
who are in servitude, and it is both cruel and useless to 
add to his troubles by unnecessary and painful restraints 
in the use of such liberty as is allowed him. He must live 
and in order to do so he must work." 155 

"In (my) section the residence of free blacks was an 
evil. It was not only corrupting the slave population, but 
the free blacks w r ere forming associations with a certain 

class of white people that was disgusting and a curse to 
the country. 156 

"The free negroes in slave-holding sections are a curse 
to society — they are a degraded debased race. They are 
too lazy to work, and in general get their living by dis- 
honest means. In the district which I represent there 
are many free blacks, and I do not know one respectable 
one. I can say from my certain knowledge that a great 
number get their living by becoming the receivers and 
venders of stolen goods which they have induced the slave 
to pilfer from his master." 157 

This summary limited as it is to the results of an examina- 
tion of statute law and judicial interpretation will perhaps not 
justify too certain generalizations as to the system of slavery 
as it appeared in Tennessee. An appropriate sequel to this 
study would be based on an industrious and patient investiga- 
tion of the court records, newspapers, legislative petitions and 
the census reports. Some observations may be ventured, how- 
ever, as suggestions towards further study. First, slavery was 
an important element in the political sectionalism which 
marked Tennessee. There was a decided sentiment in some of 
the eastern counties for emancipation, while, with the extension 
of settlements to the west, a strong sentiment for slavery was 
developed. Secondly, this hostility towards slavery, or, at 

1M Fisher's Negroes vs. Dabbs, 14 Tenn., 120. 



IS-v 



Winfield 



™* Nashville Republ 






I5T 



'Nashville Republican, Oct. 29, 1833. Debate in Senate of Octo- 
ber 23. 






Slave Laws of Tennessee 203 



least, this lack of enthusiasm for it, served to prevent the en- 
actment of a harsh code and to produce a milder attitude 
toward the slaves. This is to be seen, for instance, in the safe- 
guarding of the criminal trials of negroes. Thirdly, it is 
shown that from 1830 to 1860 there was a constant drift 
towards a hard and fast industrial and social system of slavery 
which caused the state to be quickly aligned with such slave 
states as South Carolina, Georgia, or Mississippi and which 
left the eastern counties, with their smaller slave population, 
out of sympathy politically with the middle and western coun- 
ties. Finally, a thorough study of slavery in Tennessee would 
probably illustrate all the most varied conditions of slavery as 
that institution appeared in any state in the Union. 



H. M. Henry. 



Emory and Henry College. 






ANDREW GREER. 



The historical interest that attaches to the first settlers 
of Tennessee, especially those on the Watauga, afford suffi- 
cient ground for putting on record in the Tennessee His 
torical Magazine something about Andrew Greer. The pres- 
ent time is opportune in view of the fact that Andrew Greer 
was the father of Joseph Greer, the subject of an interesting 
sketch in the March (1916) number of this journal. 1 

Ramsey says in the Annals of Tennessee that "Andrew 
Greer was an Indian trader, and at a very early period, per- 
haps 1766, came with Julius Dugger to the West"; and that 
"Andrew Greer was one of the first if not the very first settler 
of Watauga." This statement as to the time of his coming 
west is corroborated by a record in the register's office, 
Charlottesville, Virginia, showing that Andrew Greer, Sep- 
tember 11, 1776, sold his land in Albemarle County. This 
land was conveyed to Jeremiah Warder and Richard Parker, 
merchants of Philadelphia, Pa. According to the Rev. Edgar 
Woods 2 this sale was made, probably in liquidation of his 
debts as a merchant in that vicinity. 

Andrew Greer was the son of Alexander Greer of Gaugh- 
waugher (?) Ireland (probably Garvagh, Londonderry 
County). The tradition is that he came to America with two 
brothers and settled in the vicinity of Philadelphia. Leaving 
his brothers in Pennsylvania, he came to Virginia and lived 
for a time at Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia. Certain it 
is that he was a resident of Albemarle County in 1758 as he 
was then a sergeant in an "Albemarle company of militia 
lately in active service for the defense and protection of the 
frontier against the Indians." 8 In the year 1834 or 1835 
Michael Woods came from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 
with several families into what is now Albemarle County, 
Virginia. The Kincaid or Kinkead family was one of these. 
There were three brothers, David, Joseph and James. They 
settled in the western part of the county, on Medium's river. 
Andrew Greer, about the year 1751, married Ruth, daughter 
of Joseph Kincaid. Their children were Alexander, born in 
1752, Joseph, born in 1754; Andrew, born in 1756, and Ruth, 
born in 1768. 

"Watauga Old Fields," says Ramsey, "occupied the site 

"Vol. 2, pp. 40 ft. 

1 History of Albemarle County, Virginia. 

'Hening's Statutes, VII, 203. 






Andrew Greer 205 






of the present Elizabethton, in Carter County. Tradition says 
it was once an ancient Indian village, of which, when Mr. 
Andrew Greer, an early hunter and explorer, first settled it, 
no trace remained but the cleared land." Julius Dugger, who 
came to the West with Greer, settled at a place afterwards 
known as Bugger's Bridge, fourteen miles up the Watauga 
from Elizabethton. "They are believed," says Ramsey, "to be 
the first white men that settled south of what was afterwards 
ascertained to be the Virginia line. After them came the 
Robertsons, John Carter, Michael Hyder, the Seviers, Dun- 
jains, McNabbs, Matthew Talbot, the Hortons, McLinns and 
Simeon Bundy. Soon after the arrival on the Watauga of 
the emigrants above named, came the Beans, the Cobbs, and 
the Webbs, and, subsequently, the Tiptons and the Taylors." 

It is probable that Andrew Greer did not bring his family 
to Watauga at this time, but built a hunting lodge as head- 
quarters, traded in furs with the Indians, and made periodical 
trips to the home place in Virginia. Some others began to 
come from that vicinity to the settlements on the Holston and 
Watauga — perhaps some of them influenced more or less by 
his account of the new country. Among those who came at 
an early date were Valentine Sevier, from Augusta County, 
who stopped for a season on the Holston, then settled on the 
Watauga a mile or two below the site of Elizabethton, and 
Matthew Talbot, of Bedford County, who settled below Syca- 

* 

more Shoals on or near the site of the Watauga fort. 

Ruth Kincaid, wife of Andrew Greer, died about 1770, it 
is supposed. Her father, Joseph Kincaid, died in 1774. Then 
in 1775 Joseph Greer joined his father on the Watauga. That 
the other members of the family went with him or had gone 
there previously is inferred from the fact that the names of 
Andrew, Alexander, Joseph and Andrew Greer, Jr., all ap- 
pear among the signatures to the "petition and remonstrance" 
of 1775 or 1776, in which the inhabitants of the Washington 
district ask, among other things, to be annexed to North 
Carolina. 

Ramsey gives the following account of what he says was 
the commencement of Cherokee hostility in 1775: "Andrew 
Greer, being in the Cherokee towns, suspected from the con- 
duct of Walker and another trader that some mischief was 
intended against him. He returned with his furs, but left 
the main trading path and came up the Nollichucky Trace. 
Boyd and Dogget, who had been sent out by Virginia, travel- 
ing on the path that Greer left, were met by the Indians near 
a creek. The creek is in Sevier County, and has ever since 
been known as Boyd's Creek. A watch and other articles were 



2015 ./. T. McGill 



afterwards fouiid in the creek. The watch had Boyd's name 
engraved on the case. He was a Scotch man." 

The next year the Cherokees made an attack upon the 
settlements. One division, led by Dragging Canoe, attacking 
the Holston settlement, was met and defeated at the Island 
Flats near Long Island of the South Fork of the Holston. 
The other division, under the command of Old Abraham, in- 
vested and attacked the fort at Watauga. "Captain James 
Robertson commanded the forces at Watauga, amounting in 
all to but forty men. Lieutenant John Sevier and Andrew 
Greer were also present." The families of the settlers had 
been brought within the enclosure for protection. Mrs. Bean 
was captured by the Indians, and Catherine Sherrill, who 
became the wife of John Sevier, is said to have narrowly 
escaped capture at the opening of the attack by a thrilling 
run to the fort. The Indians continued before the fort for 
six days, abandoning the siege on the approach of troops com- 
ing to the relief of the besieged garrison. 

The District of Washington, which at that time embraced 
all the territory now in the State of Tennessee, was annexed 
by the Legislature to North Carolina in 1776. The Court of 
Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the district was established 
by the Legislature in 1777, and twenty-five magistrates were 
appointed by the governor. Andrew Greer was one of these. 
He was present at the first meeting of the court February 23, 
1778, which was held at the house of Charles Robertson, one 
of the magistrates; and he served as a member of this court 
continuously, or nearly so, until 1796. In 1780 he was appointed 

by the court as one of the judges to examine the different 
kinds of currency and coins in circulation in order to detect 
and prevent frauds and impositions. He was collector of the 
public and county taxes for the year 1783. When Carter 
County was established by the Legislature in 1796 he was 
appointed one of the commissioners to select the site for the 
court house and to erect county buildings. From that time 
until his death in 1806 he took an active part in the admin- 
istration of public affairs in that county. 

It was with Andrew Greer that John Sevier came to the 
West from Virginia, according to a tradition in the Greer 
family. Greer was a friend and supporter of Sevier. He 
was riding with him at the time when Andrew Jackson met 
Sevier on the road between Knoxville and Southwest Point, 4 
threatened to shoot him, and desisted from his purpose only 
when he became convinced that Sevier was unarmed. 

Andrew Greer married a second time. His second wife 

'Kingston. 






Andrew Greer 207 



was Mary Vance. The children of this marriage were Thomas, 
John, Vance, Margery, Jane, and Polly. His children all 
removed to Middle Tennessee before or after his death in 
the fall of 1806. All of them married. Hundreds of his de- 
scendants are now living in Tennessee. He purchased or re- 
ceived for military service fifteen hundred acres of land in 
Lincoln County, Tennessee, but he never left the Watauga. 
He had exercised good judgment and taste in selecting a loca- 
tion fronting on the Watauga River, with the Holston Moun- 
tain as a background, in the upper end of what Governor 
Robert L. Taylor named the Happy Valley. He possessed 
at one time all or nearly all the lands along the river on the 
north side, extending up the river three or four miles from 
the Tumbling Shoals at Elizabethton. Part of the property, 
near Elizabethton, which he sold in 1797, became the Stover 
place, where President Andrew Johnson died, at the home 
of his daughter, Mrs. Stover. One thousand acres which 
he reserved as a homestead was sold by his heirs to John 
Nave. Mrs. Sharp, a granddaughter of John Nave, who lives 
on the place, pointed out to the writer the site of the residence 
of Andrew Greer in a very old apple orchard near the bank 
of the river. His grave could not be found ; but it is supposed 
that he was buried at the upper end of the place, near the 
mouth of Stoney Creek in an old cemetery that was obliterated 
by the high waters of the Watauga River in 1910. 

Vanderbilt University. . John T. McGill. 



DOCUMENTS. 






Papers of Major John P. Heiss. 

(Second Instalment.) 

INTRODUCTION. 

As stated in the introduction to the first instalment of the 
Heiss Papers, 1 Major Heiss, in 1845, was associated with 
Thomas Ritchie of Virginia, editor for many years of the Rich- 
mond Enquirer, in the founding of the Washington Union, the 
"organ" of the administration of James K. Polk. With the 
Union and its business affairs, the first part of the second 
instalment has to do. The later papers of this instalment are 
of a miscellaneous character. 

From the time of Polk's nomination, and particularly after 
his election was known to be a fact, the choice of a government 
organ perplexed Polk and afforded opportunity for speculation 
on the part of both his friends and his enemies. Like the 
larger question of the selection of his cabinet, this constituted 
a part of the problem of reuniting the Democratic party, 2 after 
the strain that had been put upon it through the disappoint- 
ment of, first, Calhoun, and later Van Buren. Implacably 
hostile to Calhoun was Benton of Missouri, a power in the 
Senate, to which body Calhoun also returned. How to preserve 
the peace between these men and their respective followers 
without a surrender to either faction was perhaps the chief 
task of domestic policy that confronted Polk. In the matter 
of the cabinet the existence of a number of offices made possible 
some sectional and factional distribution. If Polk's course in 
this respect is to be criticised, it is not because Polk identified 
himself with any one group, but because he tried to satisfy all 
groups instead of using his patronage to bind men to himself. 
Of course, the circumstances of his nomination had made this 
latter procedure peculiarly difficult. As to the newspaper, 
however, there could be only one, and there was already en- 
trenched the Globe, long the representative of the Jackson dem- 
ocrat, while the Madisonian represented the followers of John 
Tyler, the Constitution favored Calhoun, and the Intelligencer 
upheld the cause of Clay. The Globe, however, under the man- 
agement of Francis P. Blair and John C. Rives, the former one 
of Jackson's oldest and most faithful friends, had long been 

1 In the preceding number of the Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 2, June, 1916, pp. 137ft. 

2 Cp. Madisonian, Jan. 24, Mar. 14, 28, Apr. 7, 11, 1845; Martin Van Buren to 
James K. Polk, January 18, 1845; P^lk Papers, Division of Mss., Library of Con- 
gress: Cave Johnson to Polk, December 6, 1844, ibid.: F. W. Pickens to Calhoun, 
Apr. 17, 1845; J. F. Jameson, (ed.), Correspondence of John C. Calhoun, p. 1029: 
J. S. Barbour to Calhoun, ibid., p. 1036. W. A. Harris to Calhoun, JHLj p. 1038. 



Heiss Papers 209 



devoted to Martin Van Buren, and bad thereby won the dislike 
of the southern element of the party. Within a month after 
his election Polk and his mentor, Cave Johnson, were in cor- 
respondence concerning the selection of a new editor for the 
Globe, and the names of Andrew J. Donelson, Andrew Jack- 
son's nephew by marriage, E. Burke of New Hampshire, and 

Thomas Ritchie of Virginia, were mentioned by one person or 

another. 3 

Although General Jackson, from the moment that Van 
Buren's Hammett letter appeared, had made up his mind that 
Van Buren was no longer available for the Democratic nomi- 
nation, the knowledge that Blair, too, was the subject of dis- 
favor and was threatened in his position as editorial spokes- 
man of the party, stirred the old general, now in his last illness, 
to great regret and indignation. Polk, as he proceeded in his 
course against Blair, faithfully reported to eJackson his actions 
in this as in other respects; and Blair, too, kept in close cor- 
respondence with the Hermitage. 4 In April, 1845, as the matter 
was reaching its crisis, Major William B. Lewis, who, after 
long enjoyment of office, had just been removed by Polk, wrote 
to Jackson for consolation. A part of one of Jackson's letters, 
in reply to Lewis, dated April 8, 1845, was published by Lewis 
in the Nashville Banner* in July. This letter stated what Jack- 
son had heard, and his conclusions, with regard to the Globe. 
As published by Lewis certain names in the letter were sup- 
pressed, the letters in each name being indicated by asterisks. 
To this publication the first numbers of the present instalment 
of the Heiss papers refer. The humorists spoke of this letter 
as an "astrological" affair, but to several politicians it was 
a matter of little jest. 

Public curiosity was aroused as to two phases of the matter: 
first, the influences that led to the change in the organ; sec- 
ondly, the source of the money that was necessary for the pur- 
chase of the Globe. At the time this curiosity was not fully 
satisfied, for the old newspaper came to an end and the new 
one began its career with dignity, and the respective owners 
and proprietors exchanged compliments in friendly fashion. 6 
But a few years later, in 1850-1851, a quarrel over the public 
printing — in its technical details of very little interest — re- 
sulted in the airing by Blair and Rives on the one hand and by 
Ritchie on the other of their respective accounts of the circum- 

3 Cave Johnson to Polk, December 6, 12, 14, 20, 26, 1844, January 2, 5, 11, 13, 18, 
1845; Polk Papers. Polk to Johnson, December 21, 1844, in "Polk-Johnson Letters, 
1833-1848," Tennessee Historical Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3, September, 191 5, p. 204. 

4 Polk to Jackson, March 17, 26, 1845; F. P. Blair to Jackson, March 24, 1845; 
Jackson Papers, Division of Mss., Library of Congress. 

3 July 9, 1845; see below, docs. nos. 1 and 2, and notes 37 and 39. 

*Globe, April 14, 30, 1845; Union, May 1, 1845. For a contemporary account 
of the transfer see Ni/es' Register, vol. 68, pp. 153, 154, May 10, 1845. 



210 Documents 



stances which had attended the beginnings of the Union. 7 In 
1856 Blair again told his side of the story. 8 Finally Thomas 
Hart Benton, the enemy of Calhoun and a severe critic of Polk, 
gathered up the charges of Blair and Rives and published them, 
with elaborations of his own, as history, in his Thirty Years' 
View. 9 In a recent work Professor C. H. Ambler, the biog- 
rapher of Ritchie, accepts the main outline of the Blair-Benton 
story. 10 While perhaps not of fundamental importance, the 
story in its evolution affords sufficient interest to justify some 
critical investigation. 

Benton said that the destruction of the Olobe arose from 
two circumstances: First, in the summer of 1844, after Polk's 
nomination, a friend of Calhoun visited Polk and insisted upon 
the deposition of Blair as editor if the support of South Caro- 
lina in the election was desired by Polk. Secondly, President 
Tyler, nominated for re-election by a convention of his own 
friends, made the retirement of Blair a condition for his own 
withdrawal from the presidential race. Thus from two external 
sources the overthrow of Blair was demanded. The chief agent 
in the intrigue, according to Benton, was Robert J. Walker of 
Mississippi, who became Polk's secretary of the treasury. 

The friend of Calhoun, to whom Benton refers, was un- 
doubtedly F. W. Pickens of South Carolina, who visited Polk 
in 1844 and reported to Calhoun the details of their conversa- 
tion. In this confidential letter 11 Pickens stressed the follow- 
ing points: (1) the tariff, (2) economy in the administration 
of public affairs, (3) the annexation of Texas, (4) the fact that 
Polk seemed to be free from the domination of the New York 
managers. He wrote not a word which would support Benton's 
statement that the destruction of the Olobe was the condition 
of South Carolina's support; and, while the argument from 
silence is never conclusive, in this case it would seem nearly 
so, particularly as the letters written to Calhoun and by him, 
after the change had been made, give no evidence that would 
retroactively lend color to Benton's charge. On the contrary, 
a henchman of Calhoun, complaining of Polk's surrender to the 
northern Democrats, stated that Ritchie and Heiss could not 
get the public printing until Van Ness, a Calhoun man, had 
been removed from office by Polk. 12 

The allegation that John Tyler, also, took part in forcing 

1 Daily Globe, November and December, 1850, and January, 185 1. especially No- 
vember 26, December 17, 24, 31, 1850, and Jan. 16, 24, 185 1. Union, the same 
months, especially December 24, 1850, January 2, 15, 1851. 

•L. G. Tyler, Letters and Times of the Tylers, vol. 2, pp. 413-416. 

•Vol. 2, ch. cli. 

1% T homos Ritchie, A Study in Virginia Politics, chaps. 9, II. 

n Calhoun Correspondence, pp. 968ff. 

l *E. g., Calhoun to T. G. Clemson, ibid., pp. 652(1. 



Heiss Papers 211 

the withdrawal of Blair and Rives was specifically denied by 
Tyler himself, 13 who, unlike Jackson, Polk, and Calhoun, was 
still alive when the charge was made. The contemporary docu- 
ments, now available to the student, lend no support to Ben- 
ton's statement. On the contrary, if there was any condition 
which Tyler laid down for his retirement, it was that his 
friends in office should not be persecuted by Polk if the latter 
were elected ; and to this pledge, Tyler later thought, Polk did 
not live up. Letters of R. J. Walker, Polk, and Jackson show 
that Jackson himself urged withdrawal upon Tyler. 14 There 
was indeed complaint of Blair's attacks on Tyler's administra- 
tion, as constituting a hindrance to the rapprochement. But 
there was no pledge to Tyler that Blair should be displaced. 

Over and above the dislike of Blair by the whole southern 
Democracy, a wholly sufficient cause for the change is found 
in Polk's own feelings on the subject. Blair had incurred the 
personal enmity of Polk, having on more than one occasion in 
Polk's career, either openly snubbed or at least passively 
neglected the Tennessean who was now to be president. With 
this feeling Polk easily combined the belief that Blair could not 
unite the factions of the party. This position Polk stated to 
Jackson 15 and indeed to some extent to Blair himself, and he 
has confided a full expression of it to the pages of his Diary. 1 
If there was one course, wise or foolish, which Polk himself 
determined, it was the removal of Francis P. Blair. 

We are thus brought to the second topic which exercised 
the curiosity of poltical observers, — the source of the funds 
with which Ritchie and Heiss, neither of whom were men of 
wealth, purchased the Globe and established the Union. The 
Blair-Rives-Benton version was somewhat as follows: Simon 
Cameron, elected senator from Pennsylvania in 1845, had ob- 
tained from Bibb, Tyler's secretary of the treasury, the deposit 
in the bank of Middletown, Pennsylvania, — controlled by 
Cameron himself, — of $50,000 of the funds of the United States, 
which sum was allowed to remain there for two years or more 
by Robert J. Walker, secretary of the treasury under Polk. 
This money was advanced by Cameron to pay the instalments 
on the purchase of the Globe. Again, Robert J. Walker was 
charged with the responsibility for the matter. 

lz Union, January 15, 1851; Tyler, op. cit., pp. 406ft. 

"Walker's letter, addressed to James K. Polk, written from Washington July 10, 
1844, is in Tyler, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 139. In this he suggested that Jackson write a 
letter to be shown to Tyler. July it, Walker wrote again, saying that he had seen 
a private letter written by Jackson to one of his friends, but that this would not do 
to show Tyler because it spoke of Thomas Hart Benton as being crazy. 

15 Polk to Jackson, March 17, 26, 1845. Jackson Papers. 

16 Cp. the versions of the conversation between Blair and Polk given by each; 
Blair to Jackson, March 24, 1845, Polk to Jackson, March 26, 1845, Jackson Papers. 
See also M. M. Quaife, (ed.), The Diary of Jamed K. Polk, vol. 1, p. 357, where 
Polk relates what he told Senator Allen about Blair. 



6 



212 Documents 



In the controversy of 1850-1851 and again in 1856 ex- Pres- 
ident Tyler scornfully repudiated the slightest cognizance of 
such an affair. 17 R. J. Walker, when the matter was published 
by Rives, circumstantially denied any collusion on his part 
with regard to the funds in the Middletown bank. Ritchie 
frankly told all that he knew about the financial side, which, he 
said, was very little, but he denounced Rives' charges. 18 Major 
Heiss, whose name as that of the partner of Ritchie had of 
course been brought into the matter, wrote, as to Cameron, 
"We never received one dollar from him as a loan, nor did he 
advance one dollar toward the purchase of the Globe news- 
paper." 1 * Beyond this Heiss was uncommunicative. Ritchie 
said: "To this day Major Heiss never informed us from what 
source he derived his funds for paying the instalments of the 
Globe. He has delicately, but firmly, declined to inform us, 
though we have recently published the assertion, on his author- 
ity, that he did not obtain the money from Mr. Cameron." 20 

But despite such categorical statements the question is not 
easily solved. In the controversy with Ritchie in 1850-51 Rives, 
who had re-established the Globe, in 1848 published several 
letters, or extracts from letters, of Jackson to Blair, of which 
one, written April 9, 1845, was almost identical in substance 
and phrasing with the letter to Lewis of the day before. Rives 
published most of the names. 21 In the chapter in his Thirty 
Years' View Benton again published extracts from these letters, 
but a comparison with the originals, now in the Division of 
Manuscripts in the Library of Congress, shows that Benton 
took very great liberties with the text, making omissions to 
suit himself. In these letters of April 8 and 9 General Jackson 
referred to Cameron as a "renegade politician" and a "bankrupt 
in politics" who boasts of his $50,000 to set up a new paper. 
He inquired also with reference to the intrigue against Blair 
whether any part in it was taken by Major Walker of Columbia 
or by Dr. William Gwinn, "the satelite of Calhoun, the great 
friend of R. J. Walker, Sec. of the Treasury, a perfect bankrupt 
in property." On April 17 Blair wrote to Jackson giving the 
first statement of the Middletown bank story. Before Tyler 
went out a treasury deposit of f 50,000 was made in Cameron's 
Middletown bank and then Cameron made a conditional pur- 

17 Sec the letter cited above, note 13. 

l *Union, January 15, 1851. 

u Union, ibid. This letter of Heiss was dated September 7, 1850. 

20 Union, January 2, 1851. 

"The originals of these letters to Blair are to be found in the Jackson Papers, 
Division of Mss., Library of Congress. They are parts of a long series of the fol- 
lowing dates, Nov. 18, 29,* Dec. 14,* 21,* 1844, Jan. 1, 4. *i»* Feb. 28/ Mar. 3, 9, 10, 
18, 30, Apr. 4,* y* 9,* 20, 28, May 26, 1844. Those marked with an * are the 
ones which were printed in whole or in part. For the important passages of the letter 
of April 9 see Note 39 below. 






Heiss Papers 21ii 



chase of the Madison km. Eight hundred dollars had just 
been put in the hands of Dow, who had bought out John Jones 
of the Madwoman, and in the end it would be swallowed up. 
"Cameron is here now," continued Blair, "and, although I 
know nothing of his having anything to do in connection with 
the purchase of the Globe, it is not improbable that he has some 
dominant interest, inasmuch as he has long had a hankering to 
supplant it/' 22 Jackson replied, April 28: "I have no informa- 
tion who are the real proprietors of the Globe or whether that 
renegade Cameron has any interest in it. If he has not, the 
Globe will not get the congressional printing. Its subscribers 
will fall away, and it will wind up in bankruptcy, as I do not 
know one of those supposed to be concerned who are capitalists 



— all money-making speculators." 25 

Another bit of evidence is found in the Calhoun corre- 
spondence. One W. A. Harris, writing to Calhoun, says : "You 
probably do not know the partners in the Union. Ritchie owns 
half (S'ic), Heiss a fourth, J. Knox Walker, the president's 
nephew and private secretary, a fourth, and Senator Cameron 
of Pennsylvania did hold the other fourth, but for some reason 
or other they made him sell out and it now stands in the name 
of L. S. Coryell of Pennsylvania, who has from the first been a 
very active agent in the business, although he assures me that 
he really has no pecuniary interest in it." 24 

When we take in connection with the above the communica- 
tions from Cameron and from Coryell, 2 " included in this instal- 
ment, we must conclude that Cameron did for a while own an 
interest in the Union; and that therefore Major Heiss' denial 
must have been an extremely technical one. In his attack on 

t-v 

Ritchie, Rives alleged that Cameron, testifying before a con- 
gressional committee, had admitted that he had advanced 
money to Heiss, but this part of the testimony was suppressed. 26 
This, of course, was partisan testimony. 

Major Heiss, as the papers in the first instalment showed, 
was trusted to a large degree by James K. Polk. Coming from 
Pennsylvania, he was familiar with the politics of that state 
and ventured to give Polk advice. It is stated, but upon uncer- 
tain authority, 27 that Heiss had served an apprenticeship in 
the printing office of Cameron, who had been a newspaper 
editor. In his position as owner of the Union Major Heiss 
tended to stand with the southern element in the party. A 



M Jackson Papers. 

**£bid. 

24 Calhoun Correspondence, p. 1042. 

23 See below, docs. nos. 8 and 9, and notes 46 and 47. 

"Globe, December 31, 1850. Benton pressed this point. 

W F. Hudson, Journalism in the United States, p. 402, 



214 Documents 



letter of Robert Tyler to Calhoun of April 19, 1845, contains a 
reference somewhat unflattering to a "Mr. Geo. P. H.," who 
"may be regarded, although rather a worthless man, as a cred- 
ible witness to a fact which occurred within his own knowledge, 
he being in point of fact an actor in the matter." As the 
person referred to was the owner of the Union, Major Heiss 
must be the one intended. Tyler's statement was that Polk, 
though hitherto committed to Texas, in his desire for Van 
Buren's support, was willing to accept the advice of Cave 
Johnson and almost all the politicians of Tennessee and ap- 
prove the Hamniett letter, and the editor of the Union had pre- 
pared an article in support of that position ; but the owner of 
the Union would not allow it to appear. 28 

As has appeared from the above account, it was at first in- 
tended to retain the Globe, with the substitution of another 
editor; but Blair would not agree to this, and Jackson, after 
all his expostulation, finally urged Blair to sell. 29 To persuade 
Ritchie to become head of the new paper was no easy task. 
The way in which Ritchie was approached by Cave Johnson 
and Aaron V. Brown of Tennessee and General Baily of Vir- 
ginia is described by Professor Ambler, w r ho follows Ritchie's 
own account of 1850-51, but with the Bentonian addition of 
R. J. Walker as the supreme manipulator. The following 
statement of Ritchie, however, is omitted by Professor Ambler. 
Ritchie said 30 that in January he received "through another 
friend in Washington" a still more brilliant offer, yet "the 
whole matter was gradually fading away when, toward the 
close of March, 1845 : 

"A gentleman presented us a letter of introduction from 
Washington, referring to him for an explanation of the object 
of his visit. That gentleman was Major John P. Heiss. He 
was a perfect stranger to us; but he told us at once, and in 
the frankest manner, the object of his visit, which was to com- 
municate the wish of the president and some of his friends 
that we should remove to Washington and conduct a journal 
which might become the organ of the administration. Major 
Heiss says truly in his letter of the 3rd instant that It was 
a long time before (we) consented to come to Washington.' In 
our long and cordial interview, we stated to him our objections, 
and he did not succeed in answering them. We stated further 
to him that we would not establish any paper in opposition to 
the Globe and that we were poor, and had no means to purchase 
that establishment. The Major replied that the money would 
be raised elsewhere and that he would see to that particular." 

"Tyler, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 160. 

"Jackson to Blair, Apr. 7, 9, 1845; Jackson Papers. 

"Union, December 24, 1850. 



Heiss Papers 215 



Heiss left without any information from Ritchie that he 
Would accept, but on the advice of some Virginia friends he, 
Ritchie, wrote to Washington, made an engagement with the 
president and had a frank conversation. Ritchie first urged 
the retention of Blair, but Polk replied that Blair had made 
too many political enemies to risk the consequences. He then 
saw Blair and later received from Blair a cordial note, telling 
of a conversation with Heiss, with whom he was about to make 
arrangements for the transfer. 

Scattered notices of Heiss appear throughout the period 
that followed the establishment of the Union. In the summer 
of 1845 Rives made an address before the Democratic Associa- 
tion, in which he attacked Polk bitterly. The speech was set up 
in print, it was alleged, 31 and was nearly published in the Union, 
but Heiss suppressed it. In December Polk notes in his Diary 
that Heiss was entrusted with the copy of his first message 
prior to its delivery. 32 

The documents in the present instalment show that the 
course of the Union was not always a happy one, an impression 
amply confirmed by the notes in Polk's Diary.™ The weakness 
of the old editor on the practical and business side appears, 
together with the proof of his tireless personal devotion to the 
Union.™ We have also the terms of the dissolution of partner- 
ship between Ritchie and Heiss. 35 It is made manifest that this 
severance of business relations in no wise interfered with the 
friendship between the two men, for when Rives made an ugly 
personal attack on Heiss' personal character Ritchie came at 

once to the rescue. 36 

St. George L. Sioussat. 



81 Calhoun Correspondence, p. 1040. 

^Diary of James K. Polk, vol. 1, pp. 108-109. 

**lbid., vol. 1, pp. 350-353, vol. 2, pp. 170, 375, vol. 3, PP- 237-238. 

w See below, doc. No. 12. 

x See below, docs. Nos. 13 and 14. 

**See below, doc. No. 17. 



216 Documents 



PAPERS OF MAJOR JOHN P. HEISS. 






1. One of the principal reasons for my attack on Gray was the 
fol lowing i* 7 

In his correspondence with the "Charleston Mercury/ 1 a Democratic 



i 



k aper and the "New York Courier and Enquirer," a Whig paper, he 

loldly said, "that Gen. Jackson in his letter to Maj. Lewis dated 

April 8, 1845, better known as the letter with the seven and five 

stars; had reference to Ritchie and Heiss — one as being a renegade 

politician who could not be trusted in politics or money and the other 
broke, etc., etc., etc. 

I produce the Republican Banner of July 9th published at Nash- 
ville in which this letter was first published; and it will be seen that 
Gen. Jackson has reference to some renegade politician but the pub- 
lication of it shows in the place of the name, Seven Stars, and in 
the place of the name of the person he considers broke, etc., etc., 
etc., there apears six stars, which does not accord with the number 
of letters in my name. By means of altering these stars in Gen. 
Jackson's letter to conform with Mr. Ritchie's and my own name, 
the scoundrel Gray was the author of a vile slander upon me which 
was circulated from one end of the Union to the other. 

2. Extract of a letter from Gen. Jackson to Mr. Lewis when at 
Washington.* Mr. Lewis says: "I make no apology for publishing 
the enclosed extract, from the General's letter. As my friendship 
for him has been doubted, I want the public to understand how far 
those who doubt it have a right themselves to be considered his 
friends." 

Hermitage, April 8, 1845. 



"I find that Mr. Blair and the President have got into some 
difficulty about the Globe (with Mr. Blair as its Editor) being the 
executive organ. This is a difficulty the President has got into 
where I can see no result but injury to him, and no justifiable cause 
of the President's part for [sic] it. He believes Mr. Blair has be- 
come unpopular with part of the democracy — he has opened 
his ears to bad advisers. Mr. Blair has more popularity with 
the democratic members of Congress and the democracy of 
the United States than any editor in them — and by the course 
adopted, (he) [sic] will disunite instead of uniting the democracy. 
"Present me to Mr. Blair and say to him that I was so sick yesterday 
and exhausted writing to the President, that I could not say half what 
I wished, but if I have strength I will soon write him again. Blair 
has taken a proper stand and I know will never suffer himself to lose 
character or be degraded. The Globe is to be bought — by what 
litical clique, and to subserve what interest? Is the renegade poli- 

^This document is unsigned and undated, but is apparently in the handwriting of 
Major Heiss. Cyril V. Gray aroused Polk's indignation by saying that R. J. Walker 
was the real author of Polk's "Kane Letter." Both Polk and Walker denied this. 
Diary of James K. Polk, vol. i, p. 43. Cp. Rhett to Calhoun, Sept. 18, 1845. Calhoun 
Correspondence. A communication in regard to the "star letter" similar to the present 
one, appeared over the signature "Nous Verrons" in the Charleston Mercury, July 28, 

1845- 

•"Apparently a copy of a newspaper clipping, in a hand not that of Major Heiss. 




He is s Papers 217 



tician ******* to have an interest? Who would trust him in 
politics or for money? My opinion is that when the money is wanted 

it will notbe forthcoming. Is Major ***** of ■ 

to be the purchaser? If so, he is here considered broke, and say to 
Blair, if he sells, to have the cash, or good security, that is known 

and vouched for to be good. 

The difficulty was entirely unexpected to me and has vexed me 
sorely. * * * 

"We all at the Hermitage greet thee with our kindest salutations." 

"Your sincere friend" 

"Andrew Jackson." 39 

I perceive Mr. Ritchie is very anxious about those seven stars 
in Jackson's letter to Major W. B. Lewis, lately published, and in- 
sists that they were not meant for him — for he don't like to be 
called a "Renegade politician" by the old Hero. It is rather singu- 
lar, too, that Major Harris [sic] of Nashville, has found it neces- 
sary to deny in the Nashville Union, that he was the "Major ****** 

of 9 who was "considered broke" at the Hermitage, as 

Jackson said in that same letter. Rather queer, I say, that Messrs. 

Ritchie and Harris * should have been the only persons who have 
thought it necessary to deny that they were the individuals meant. 
However they may deny it as often and as vehemently as they please, 
it is not the less firmly believed by all here. Jackson was not the 
man to forget that the present "official editor" had declared that his 
election would be a curse to the country. 

"Le Solitaire." 

S9 Thc original of Jackson's letter to Lewis of April 8 appears to be in the New 
York Public Library. (Bulletin of the New York Public Library, vol. 4 (1900), 
p. 310). This original has not been collated by the editor of the Magazine. 

The important passages in Jackson's letter to Blair of the following day, April 9, 

were as follows: 

"This, the substance, and I had a hope on the receipt of this letter and some 
others written by numbers of friends would have restored all things to harmony and 
confidence again. I rested on this hope until the 7th when I received yours of the 
30th and two confidential letters from the President, directed to be laid before me 
from which it would seem that the purchase of the Globe and to get clear of you, 
its editor, is the great absorbing question before the President. Well who is to be 
the purchaser? Mr. Richie and Maj. A. J. Donelson its editors, Quere as to the 
latter. The above question I have asked the President. Is that renegade poli- 
tician Cameron who boasts of his $50,000 to set up a new paper to be one of them 
who is a bankrupt in politics and who got elected Senator by selling himself to the 
Whiggs, and could not raise one thousand dollars, to be one of the Proprietors, to 
unite the Democracy. His very election has divided them in Pennsylvania, and a 
letter to me says has done our mutual friend Buchannan much injury, he being 
charged with using secretly his influence to effect it, or would Cameron's ownership, 
in part unite Horn, Kane, Leaper, Dallas and a host of other old true democrats 
("result?] in your expulsion. What delusion. Or is Major Walker of Columbia, 
Tennessee, to be the purchaser. Here it is stated he is vastly encumbered with debt 
by many a perfect bankrupt. Who is to purchase, and where is the 
money to come from? Is Dr. Wm. Gwinn the satelite of Calhoun, the great 
friend of R. J. Walker Sec. of the Treasury, a perfect Bankrupt in property. My 
own opinion is that the contract made, the money cannot be raised and the Globe 
cannot be bought. What then, the President will find himself in a dilema, have to 
apologize, and the Globe be the organ and Richie will return not so well satisfied 
with the sagacity of the administration as when he left Richmond. These are my 
speculations." (Jackson to Blair, April 9, 1845, Jackson Papers, Division of Mss., 
Library of Congress.) 

The Union of Nashville, Tennessee, in the issue of August 16, 1845, contained a 
communication from James Walker dated Columbia, August 12, which cited a notice in 
the New York Express contained in the Banver of August 8. This notice was headed 
"Astrological Question Settled," and said that the seven stars referred to Cameron 
and the six stars to Walker and referred at length to Cameron's attempt to purchase 
the Globe. Major Lewis, Walker said, had refused to show him the letter of Gen- 
eral Jackson or to say positively whether it was he to whom the General referred, 
but he gave Walker some reason why it ought not to suppose it was his name. Walker 
said he was in financial difficulties but not "broke." He was innocent as to the 
removal of Lewis. He defended Cameron against the slurs cast upon him. 

—3 



218 Documents 



3. Agreement made at the City of New York on the [ ]* day 
of November, one thousand eight hundred and forty five, between 
Ritchie and Heiss of the city of Washington, Pproprietors of the 
newspaper called the Union, and James A. Houston of the City of 
New York. 

Ritchie and Heiss agree to employ and hereby do employ James 
A. Houston on the terms hereinafter stated from the Second day 
of December next ensuing during and until the close of the ensuing 
session of the Congress of the United States and so much longer 
as shall be mutually agreeable to the parties to this agreement. 
James A. Houston agrees that he will faithfully devote his time 
and talents during the said session of Congress in superintending 
the reports and proceedings of the said Congress, and also assist 
daily in the preparation of the same for the columns of the Union; 
he likewise agrees to furnish daily an analysis of said proceedings 
to appear editorially in said paper; James A. Houston likewise agrees 
that during the recess of Congress he will render such service as 
may hereafter be agreed upon. 

And Ritchie and Heiss agree to pay to James A. Houston in 
consideration of said services the Sum of Fifty Dollars for each 
and every week of the period aforesaid, to be paid weekly. Ritchie 
and Heiss also agree to depute to James A. Houston the engaging and 
discharging of such assistant reporters as may be necessary, the 
salary of each to be approved by Ritchie and Heiss and to be paid 
by them. 

Witness our hands the day and year above written. 

Ritchie and Heiss, 
James A. Houston. 

4. asbury dlckins, secretary of the senate, to messrs. rltchie 

and Heiss, Printers to the Senate. 

Deer. 17, 1845. 

I have the honor to inform you that you have been this day 
elected printers to the Senate for the Twenty-ninth Congress. 41 

I send, for your information, a copy of a Resolution of the 
Senate, under which you have been elected. 

I send, also, instructions for your guidance in regard to the 
number and distribution of the documents, etc., to be printed. In- 
structions relating to the confidential printing will be sent here- 
after. 

A form of the Official Bond to be executed will be furnished on 
application to this Office. 

5. Thomas Green, Washington, to Thomas Ritchie. 

May 9, 1846. 

The facts and circumstances relative to the payment of Ritchie 

and Heiss ['] second instalment, 43 to Messrs. Blair and Rives were 

so far as I understand them, as follows: Major Heiss, on the 30th 

ult. addressed a note to Mr. Rives, asking for a few days indulgence, 

^Blank in ms. 

41 The public printing was, of course, the prize expected by the government organ. 
The long standing practice was to elect the printers. The plan of letting the public 
printing to the lowest bidder, to which end Garrett Davis of Kentucky introduced a 
resolution in June, 1846, in itself a reform, was initiated however in a spirit of 
vindictiveness which was a manifestation of the hostility aroused by Ritchie through 
the inability of the organ even with Polk's personal supervision — (he himself fre- 
quently wrote articles or drafted them) — to please all the factions in the party. 

4r The circumstances to which this letter refers later constituted part of the grounds 
of difference between Blair and Rives on the one hand and Ritchie and Heiss on the 
other. Cp. Globe, December 24, 1850. Thomas Green was connected with Ritchie 
by marriage. 



Heiss Papers 219 



as Congress had made no appropriation to meet the heavy expenses 
already incurred. No answer was made to this letter, but the next 
day, a draft was presented for the principal and interest. Major 
Heiss refused to pay it, but made arrangements to pay the prin- 
cipal and before 3 o'clock, sent to Mr. Rives house, a letter notifying 
him of the readiness of Ritchie and Heiss to pay the instalment. 

That afternoon, a Notary Public made protest for the non-pay- 
ment of the amount of the principal and interest. The next day, 
Major Heiss determined to make a legal tender, of the principal and 
of the one days interest, no such tender having been regularly made 
the day before, when the instalment was payable. 

A clerk in the Office was given a check on Messrs. Corcoran and 
Riggs for $11,666.66, with direction to call on Mr. Rives and say to 
him, he had called to pay the instalment due by Ritchie and Heiss 
and to deliver the check upon his giving the receipt — he was also 
told to tender the One days interest. If Mr. Rives refused to accept 
it, the further direction was given, to ask him if he would ac- 
knowledge the tender of the check, as a legal tender of so much 
money; and to say, the specie would be tendered, if the acknowledge- 
ment were not made. In the presence of Major Heiss, I told the clerk 
to be particular, as a controversy was likely to be the result — that 
the object was to make the tender a legal one, and thus to stop the 
payment of double interest, he was told to hold no unnecessary con- 
versation but to be sure to get an acknowledgement that the check 
should be regarded as so much money — otherwise the specie must 
be got at once and regularly tendered. The Clerk went to see Mr. 
Rives, and was informed he had gone to the North that morning. 
Major Heiss again confered with me, under hurried circumstances, 
and we thought it best to make the tender to Mr. Blair, who, I was 
sure would acknowledge the check as a tender for so much money 
no new instructions being given or thought of, as far as I knew. In 
the afternoon, passing down street, I called to enquire the result, 
and was very much surprised to learn the check had been received 
and the receipt given so readily by Mr. Blair. I asked if Mr. B. had 
been told of Mr. Rives refusal — the Clerk said no — that Mr. B asked 
why it had not been presented to Mr. Rives, and that his answer was, 
he had called to tender it to Mr. Rives, but was informed, he had 
gone out of town — whereupon the check was accepted as so much 
money, and the receipt given. I said, "but you ought to have told 
Mr. Blair what had occurred on the subject." His answer was, "I 
obeyed my instructions, which were simply to present the check, and 
if it were not accepted, to aske that it should be acknowledged as 
a legal tender, etc." I smiled and said, this must be corrected. When 
I met Major Heiss I suggested the propriety of his writing to Mr. 
Blair, reciting all the circumstances, and waiving all benefit of the 
receipt, if it had been given inadvertently — Major Heiss thought the 
just inference was, that Mr. Blair had concurred in the opinion, no 
interest was due and would not prefer or sanction such a claim to 
it — Moreover that Mr. B. might not like to be supposed so unlike a 
business man, as to give a receipt, inadvertently, and in the third 
place, he objected to writing such a letter, lest it might be supposed 
to imply a consciousness of having intended to take advantage of 
Mr. Rives' absence, whereas he had acted legally and honorably 
throughout and did not like to volunteer explanations. I replied, a 
full statement of the whole case, would show, on its face, that the 
omission to speak of Mr. Rives' views, had been the result of acci- 
dent — the clerks applying strictly, to Mr. Blair instructions, de- 
signed to be followed in the presence of Mr. Rives. 



220 Document 8 




Major Heiss asked me, to sketch such a letter as expressed my 
views — I did so hastily — and then we agreed to refer to an intelli- 
gent and judicious friend, then in view, whether it was better to send 
some such letter to Mr. Blair, in the first instance, or should wait to 
know from Mr. Blair, whether he had given the receipt unguardedly 
and inadvertently, or not. 

That friend decided, that Major Heiss' view was perhaps be 
all of us concurring, that all benefit of the receipt should be waived 
if Mr. Blair had given it, because he was not aware of the objections 
made by Mr. Rives. 

It is proper to state, that I was as much surprised as Major 
Heiss was, at the demand for interest. It had never once occurred 
to me that Messrs. Blair and Rives, either at the date of the con- 
tract, or subsequently contemplated interest on the deferred instal- 
ments. 

6. T. Ritchie, to Major J. P. Heiss. 

Wednesday Mg. 

It is essential, that you close with Mr. Earns 43 today or tomorrow. 
See him, if you please (and if you please take Mr. Green with you,) 
and make the arrangement with Earns. 

The blunders of the two last "Unions" are intolerable. A para- 
graph of mine to close the long editorial, very important as that H 
was, is left out, and I suppose Mr. Adams's excuse is, it would have 
delayed the publication [?]. # This would not have been the case if 
Earns had been working entirely for us, instead of being employed 
in the Navy Dept. He pledges himself in the event of your arrang- 
ing with him, to get the paper always to press in time for the mails. 
I have no doubt of it, myself. It is worse than useless [ ]" 

to wait upon Latham's case. 

Do see Green — and take him with you and arrange with Earns 
today if you can. 

I was to be at the Capitol this morning — on important public 
business — but I can't, for a large budget of English news is just 
poured in upon me, which Earns might take at once, if — etc. 



7. John P. Heiss, Union Office, to Thomas Ritchie, Esq. 

January 15, 1847. 

I promised one week ago that I would not say anything to you 
about the Post Office arrangements and the change of issuing the 
Union for one week. The week has now passed and as it is a mat- 
ter of so serious a nature that [sic] I must call your attention to 
it again. I gave you at your own request in writing the advantages 
that would be derived by our subscribers as well as ourselves, yet it 
seems to have had no effect. 

I have now another suggestion to make in reference to the change 
of hour for issuing the Union. It is this. That we should have all 
the editorial and general news set up and ready to put our paper 
to press at 3 o'clock and send off the Southeren [sic] mail only. After 
that, the Congressional proceedings and any one editorial which has 
reference to said proceedings can be set up for the paper and put 
to press again as a second edition to go off in the mails North and 
West which leave at six o'clock in the following morning. 

♦•Polk in his Diary, vol. 2, p. 172, October 3, 1846, refers to a Mr. Ames, assist- 
ant to Ritchie, as having written an article on Oregon offensive to R. L. McLane. 
See also vol. 4, pp. 214-216. The letter, which was undated, is placed here as having 
probably been written before the date of the first reference in Polk's Diary. 

**A word illegible. 

**This letter and some of those that follow throw an interesting light on the prac- 
tical difficulties which attended Ritchie's editorship. 



Heiss Papers 221 



Now my dear sir we are managing our business on a ruinous sys- 
tem and as the business partner I consider it my duty to urge and 
insist upon a change. I have no voice nor do I desire one in the 
Editorial department of the Union except where I might discover 
something which might result disadvantageously to the interests of 
the "Union/' but if I am to be deprived in having a voice in a busi- 
ness point of view, it is time that I left the concern. I have examined 
this matter so thoroughly, that I am perfectly satisfied of its utility, 
and have determined to take no interest in the Union whatever if 
some change is not made in our hour of publication. I will not, as 
a business partner, assume the responsibility of immense extra ex- 
penses in cases I consider inexpedient and unnecessary. I do this 
in no spirit of opposition, but in Justice to yourself, myself and 
most of all, to our subscribers. 

Below please find a comparative statement of the expenses of 
our paper during the past summer, when our hands not [sic] to 
work late at night, and notv. Our expenses for composition, press, 
room and packing-room, averaged during the summer about $240. 
The expenses of the present week amounts to $321 — a difference of 
$81 — equal to $4212 per year. This estimate is made without in- 
cluding lights, fuel, etc. Under our present system we are compelled 
to keep a fire under our boilers most of the night, which consumes 
nearly a cord of wood. Our extra light, fuel for store and wood 
for steam engine will average $15 per week which added to $81 makes 
$96. of extra and unnecessary expense in the publication of our 
paper. This may be a matter of some annoyance to you but it is 
a matter of considerable importance, and one which I hope you will 
seriously reflect upon before you determine not to consent to any 
change. 

8. Simon Cameron, to J. P. Heiss. May 27, 1847. 

I have your note of 22d and thank you for paying the note. 

I expect to be in Washington before long and will bring with me 
the papers alluded to. 

Can't you pay me a visit? I am going up the Susquehanna river 
about the middle of June. Come before and go with me. You shall 
be well treated. 

This 48 Letter is in answer to my request to Senator Cameron, to 
send the papers to me showing him to be the owner of one fourth 
of my interest in the Union office. I having purchased his interest 
in said office and paid him for the same in full. He still holds the 

papers. John P. Heiss. 

June 15, 1847. 

9. Lewis S. Coryell, 47 New Hope, to [Heiss]. 

Dec. 12, 1847. 

I rec'd yours yesterday, enquiring of me my recollections, about 
the final transactions between you and Genl. Cameron — I comply 
cheerfully, for I remember well it was no ordinary matter, as your 
feelings was exceedingly disturbed, — at your instance I saw Genl. 

* 6 This paragraph and the date are endorsed in the handwriting of Heiss. This, 
with the letter of Coryell that follows (No. 9), shows that Cameron did have at least 
for a time a part interest in the Union. 

47 Lewis S. Coryell, of New Hope, Pa. (1 788-1865), was an engineer and man of 
business much interested in works of construction, such as roads, mines, canals, and 
railroads. Not an officeholder, he wielded much political influence. The Historical 
Society of Pennsylvania has in its possession six volumes of Coryell Papers, to which 
the writer has through the kindness of the Society been given access. These papers 
include letters from prominent politicians in Pennsylvania, such as Buchanan, Dallas, 






222 Documents 



Cameron and had some conversation with him, in conclusion he de- 
sired me to suggest to you to buy him out — I did so, and you told 
me that you would give him the same you was to pay Knox (13,000 
and a share of the back chance [sic] ) m which I reported to him, 
after some talk he told me to tell you that if you would give him 
$14,000— he would take it and relinquish all claims to the claim you 
meant to urge upon Congress for deductions — and that he would 
do all in his power to aid you and that if you did purchase him out, 
He would feel more free to assist you, than if his inst remained. 
I reported back to you, you hesitated I urged you to comply if you 
could as it would close this matter up — you asked more time which 
the Genl. agreed to, and I reported to you, subsequently I saw the 
Genl. after he had requested me to urge you to make the settlement, 
and he told me that you had called and settled and given your drafts. 

This is my recollection of the matter and now permit me to 
disabuse myself to you — I assure you on my honor I had no lot, 
part or interest with the Genl. as you seemed to take for granted at 
some one of our interviews — my only share in the matter on either side 
— so help me God, was the success of the undertaking and some 3 
or 4 journies to Washington to add my feeble aid to the arrange- 
ment, which is my common position, — now may I ask what is the 
matter, what is wrong. I hope not with the Genl. or about this set- 
tlement, for I have heard you as well as the Genl. say that it all 
was satisfactorily arranged — surely there is nothing wrong between 
you and Mr. Ritchie for he told me that all matters of business was 
left to you, and that he knew nothing about the money affairs of the 
office, but that you done all to his entire satisfaction. 

I am still confined, but will try and visit your city in all January. 

If you see the Genl. tell him I have leisure if he would only send 
me some Doc[ument]s to read. 

10. John P. Heiss, Washington, to [Mr. Burke]. 

April 26, 1848. 

I feel some delicacy in addressing you upon a subject which I am 
satisfied is more unpleasant to me than yourself. 

Some time near the middle of March last I addressed Mr. Ritchie 
a note, informing him of the financial affairs of the "Union" and 
its future prospects, and after a consultation with Mr. Ritchie and 
Mr. Green, we came to the conclusion, that we could not continue the 

Shunk, and Cameron, and also from Calhoun and his friends Duff Green, Elmore, 
and D. H. Lewis of Alabama. Coryell seems to have been on the "inside," or to 
have been so regarded, with reference to government contracts of various sorts, and 
to have had at his disposal money for investment. He and Cameron were con- 
stantly associated in one business deal or another. 

The information revealed by these papers as to the negotiations for the purchase 
of the Globe is not as large as one could wish: but some important items appear. On 
March 31, 1845, Cameron wrote to Coryell: "I have my eye on the 'organ' and am 
to be informed when the funds are needed. I shall go over there in a week or two." 
On April 12 he wrote again to Coryell, from Middletown, "If only 1-3 of $40,000 is 
needed, it will be easily arranged. I suppose Heiss is to find only 1-2 of that 3-d." 
Somewhat later, on September 16, 1845, Dixon H. Lewis wrote to Coryell from 
Alabama: "I see you have been [rubbed?] in the newspapers and I don't know 
whether the seven ••••••• j n old Jackson' [s] letter pointed to you or Cameron. 

Ritchie says they did not point to him, but to a man north of the Susquehanna, and I 
supposed your agency in buying the paper had been made known to the old Hero, 
and he was denouncing you to Cameron. Tell me, had Cameron anything to do in 
buying the paper for Heiss? This in confidence." 

^Note in the original. "Knox" evidently refers to J. Knox Walker. 

^•Endorsed in pencil. Burke retired from the assistant editorship. Ambler, op. 
cit., p. 284. 

w Trenholm was a foreman in the printing office. 






Heiss Papers 223 



Union much longer at the expense we were then at in publishing it. 
After that consultation, I informed that it would be impossible for 
us to pay over $1500 per year for an assistant Editor. You replied 
then and said that you believed it to be a fact, but that you could 
not continue with us at a reduction of your present salary. You also 
informed me at the same time that you had other expectations atfer 
May and that after the 1st of said month you would aid us in secur- 
ing an assistant for the amount we proposed. Now my dear sir, 
this is a matter of compulsion with us. Every day the Union is pub- 
lished, money is taken out of our pocket and self preservation re- 
quires us to economize in every way possible. From present pros- 
pects the Campaign paper will be of little service to us. The sub- 
scribers up to this time will not amount to fifty and I doubt whether 
we will have five thousand altogether. It is a matter of sincere 
regret to Mr. Ritchie as well as to myself that the facts have to be 
made known particularly when they affect all our interests. I would 
not consent to publish the Union one day longer if I did not feel in 
honor bound to the President to continue it until the 4th of March 
next. I came here with him and profited by it, and am willing to 
sacrifice part of those profits to sustain and defend him until his 

term of service expires. 

I would state in conclusion that we have been in correspondence 
through a friend with a gentleman in New Hampshire in reference 
to the acceptance of the situation with us. What will be the result 
of this correspondence I am unable at present to inform you. 

11. Jno. H. Trenholm, to Thos. Ritchie, Esq. 

May 31, 1848. 

Your note, just received, relative to the Official proceedings of the 
Balto. Convention, has just been turned over to Major Heiss, who 
will doubtless communicate with you on the subject. Feeling no 
disposition to be responsible for the due issue of the several publica- 
tions (stated) which cannot be managed by me while every disposi- 
tion made in the office to insure their appearance is frustrated and 
opposed out of it, I leave their superintendence at once in other 
hands, with a hope that my successor may find himself more fortu- 
nate than has fallen to the lot of, Your obt. Servant, 

12. John P. Heiss, Union Office. To T. Ritchie, Esq. 

July 5, 1848. 

I will not attempt to deny that we have the physical force to set 
up for our paper from 10 to 12 columns of matter per day, but when 
you foolishly "work like a horse for ten hours" and send us enough 
copy to fill three papers instead of one, insisting it all shall appear at 
once, why the thing is entirely out of the question. If the editors of 
[the] Intelligencer had had this Treaty to set up today, they would 
have published it in their paper tomorrow morning and not pub- 
lished with it a half dozen columns of editorial. When the Intelli- 
gencer has anything of this kind for insertion it seldom would have 
more than a column of editorial, but with the Union it is different. 
Let a dozen treaties be required to be inserted, the editor insists upon 
having his usual amount of editorial. It is nonsense to compare the 
Intelligencer with the Union in regard to energy. While the Intelli- 
gencer makes it a point to produce all the information they possibly 
can and always give place to it in preference to editorial, the Union 
makes it a point to publish so much editorial, that it cannot make 
room for anything else. Where the Intelligencer publishes one column 
of editorial the Union publishes four, and all the energy man ever 



224 Documents 



was capable of would not sustain a paper where the editor requires 
so much space for his editorials, extracts, communications, etc., 
etc., etc. For instance, to-day we received Treaty at 1 1-2 o'clock 
and it is to be set in two languages — English and Spanish. It will 
make eight columns of our paper and the extra setting of it in type 
in the Spanish language will make the labour to setting up twelve 
columns in english. Yet the editor not only insists that this shall 
appear (and it will take until 3 o'clock tomorrow morning to set it 
up — so Trenholm says) but he insists that the 4th of July proceedings 
and twenty or thirty columns more must have room. If the Treaty 
appears to-night, it will exclude everything else, and therefore you 
see how unnecessary it was to work uselessly 10 hours. I have told 
you time after time, that you work unnecessarily. You pore over old 
exchanges for hours and send down columns upon columns of articles 
which are hardly looked at let alone set in type. Two such papers 
as the Union could not contain all the matter you send us for publica- 
tion. I do assure you I have not sufficient "energy" to keep pace 
with you and gladly would I accept an opportunity to retire from the 
responsibility devolving on me. As I have heretofore remarked, I 
will gladly turn my interest over to any friend you may name — to 
yourself if you say so, at a moments notice. God knows I have no 
desire on my part to "ruin the business of the Office" and if by your 
note such a reflection is intended I beg leave to withdraw my name 
without delay. 

P. S. Since writing the above Mr. Trenholm informs me he can- 
not possible set up the Treaty in time for to-morrow's paper. He 
says the copy sent us is incorrect also. 51 

13. Memorandum of the terms of dissolution of the firm of Ritchie 
and Heiss,*- viz: 

1st It shall take date on the first of September, 1848 — to which 
point the accounts are to be settled. Every thing, then due by the 
firm to subscribers or others, to be deducted from the credits and 
effects — if the debts be greated than the effects — each party to be 
charged with one half of the excess. If the debts due to the firm 
be greater than those due by it, each party to have one half as they 
may be thereafter collected. 

2nd. Thomas Ritchie will convey his interest in the Union Build- 
ing (except the machinery and such fixtures as properly belong to 
the Printing Office and newspaper establishment) to John P. Heiss 
and will pay him also three thousand dollars, for his interest in the 
Union establishment — the said Heiss having an equal interest also, 
in the debts due the concern or growing due beyond its liabilities on 
the 1 Sept. 1848. 

3. John P. Heiss conveys all his interest in the establishment on 
the foregoing terms and guarantees, that the debts due the concern 
will be collected for a larger amount, than the debts due by it, on 
the 1st Sept. or which was then growing due — he further guaran- 
tees that the payments made to Thomas Ritchie or for his a-c, 
prior to 1st of September 1848, were not greater than he was en- 
titled to receive from the office. 

4. The said Heiss's private account with the firm, to be settled 
as if this contract had not been made. 

"Note endorsed in handwriting of Mrs. Heiss[?J: "Showing the injudicious course 
pursued by Mr. Ritchie and Mr. H's. desire to withdraw from the paper, July 5th, 
1848. Wishes to withdraw." 

"This and the succeeding document relate to the dissolution of partnership between 
Ritchie and Heiss. 



Heiss Papers 225 



5. Thomas Ritchie agrees to rent the Union Building for five 
years from 1 Sept. 1848 at eight hundred dollars per annum — in- 
cluding all the premises, except the five rooms, of the ground floor, 
fronting on the street. If the buildings be burnt, the rent is to cease. 

6. Each party is to be entitled to collect the outstanding debts 
for which he is to account, deducting proper expenses. 

We agree to the above 

Thomas Ritchie 
John P. Heiss 

Witness 

Thomas Green. 

Indorsed — 

ch. J. P. Heiss 
Thomas Ritchie 

and Agreet. 

John P. Heiss 

Reed. 25th Apl. 1849 to be recorded and the same day was recorded 

in Liber IAS No. 3 folios 419 and 420 one of the land records for 
Washington County in the district of Columbia, and examined by 

Jno. A. Smith, Clk. 

14. This memo, of agreement made this 30th March 1849 between 
Thomas Ritchie and John P. Heiss — witnesseth: 

That in lieu of all further detail in the settlement of their a/cs. 
of the late partnership of Ritchie and Heiss, which has always been 
conducted in the spirit of harmony and mutual confidence (and which 
remain undiminished), it is agreed — that Thos. Ritchie shall give 
his note at 90 days to said Heiss for Eighteen hundred dollars, which 
will be in full of all said Heiss's interest in the debts and effects of 
the Union establishment. Said Ritchie is to be entitled to all the 
debts due to the late firm in any manner or form and to all effects 
or money in the hand of their agents. Said Heiss is to settle the 
debt to Corcoran and Riggs of twenty five hundred dollars and is 
not to be accountable for any money he may have heretofore re- 
ceived — the uncollected bills he will transfer to the order of said 
Ritchie. 

Said Ritchie will execute a deed to said Heiss for his moiety of 
the Union building and is to continue to pay the rent at Eight hun- 
dred dollars pr. annum from the first of Sept. last. As witness, our 
hand and seals this day and year first above written, 

Thomas Ritchie (Seal) 
John P. Heiss (Seal) 

Received of Thos. Ritchie his negotiable note for the Eighteen 
hundred dollars specified in the above agreement. As witness my 
hand this 30 March 1849. 

John P. Heiss. 

Indorsed — 

ch. J. P. Heiss 
Thomas Ritchie 

and Agreet. 

John P. Heiss 

Reed. 25th Apl. 1849 to be recorded and the same day was re- 
corded in Liber IAS No 3 folios 420 and 421 one of the land records 
for Washington County in the district of Columbia and examined by 

Jno. A. Smith, Clk. 






226 Documents 



15. Thomas Ritchie, to Maj. Heiss." 

I could write you a long letter, but a short one may answer better. 

Robert says, you were in bad spirits yesterday morning — but I 
should not have suspected it from the happy face of your wife, to 
whom I was indebted for a most agreeable ride last evening. 

Burke called upon me last night after Robert made his communi- 
cation to me — B. thinks they will not carry out their plans. We ought 
not to resist retrenchment at all — but the contract system would be 
fatal to us — and moreover it would be the means of doing the work 
of Congress worse and more slowly. 

If I could help you I would. But I cannot advise you, except to 
say, to keep up your spirits in the first place — we have done our 
duty faithfully to Congress and faithfully to Mr. Polk and the coun- 
try. This is our consolation. If our inconsiderate friends should 
cut us off from the public work, then we must consult what is best 
to be done. Curtail our expense very much of course, though it will 
operate against the Reports of Congress and in other respects, and 
though, I fear, after all, it will scarcely be worth our carrying on 
the Union. However Nous Verrons". Though I cannot advise you 
what is at this moment best to be done, yet Mr. Green will be in 
Washington this evening; and you know he is a safe and efficient 
Councillor. 

The next thing I would suggest to you, is, to go to Col. C. John- 
son, who is our friend and advise with him. He has both the will 
and the ability to council you for the best 

Advise with Trenholm too, whether we had not better circulate 
among the members — your letter and His and Rives's, and also the 
letter to G. and S.'s* Foreman. 

Keep cool, do not indulge your suspicions of McKay's" unfriendli- 
ness (See our friend Trenholm on this point) and hope for the best. 
It would be strange indeed if this, which I believe, is to be the most 
brilliant Congress which ever sat in the capitol should prove the 
worst for you and your friend. Wednesday morning. 



16. A. O. P. Nicholson 57 to John P. Heiss, 

Nashville, November 30th, 1851. 

You will, no doubt, wonder what could have stirred me up to this 
tresspass upon your attention. It is said that an old stage horse, 
turned out to die on the commons, will prick up his ears at the sound 
of the stage horn. I suppose that it is the same way that a retired 
or defunct politician, from force of habit, pricks up his ears when 
the "noise and confusion" preparatory to a Presidential race attract 
his attention. With such a racket your name is so intimately asso- 
ciated that I have concluded to break our long suspended intercourse 
and bore you for a few moments with a small political augur. The 

M This letter is undated. It evidently refers to the threatened loss of the public 
printing. 

"Perhaps the most characteristic expression used by Thomas Ritchie — which be- 
came so familiar, that it was frequently applied to him as a soubriquet. 

^Gales and Seaton's. 

"Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations. 

"Nicholson, who had been appointed by Polk, when the latter was Governor of 
Tennessee, to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate, was high in the Democratic 
councils of Tennessee. He was editor of the Nashville Union when Heiss gave up 
the business management. He was devoted to the interests of Lewis Cass and urged 
his nomination for the presidency. It was to him that Cass wrote the famous 
"Nicholson letter." He was elected Senator in 1857, and in 1861 threw his fortunes 
with the Confederacy. 






He-is 8 Papers 227 



disgraceful thrashing which the Whigs gave us in Tennessee in 
August has produced a most admirable state of harmony and zeal 
in our ranks. We are in better tune for making good democratic 
music than we have been for many years. There is but little feeling 
of preference as between the several aspirants for the Presidency. 
I am satisfied that Gen. Cass would carry Tennessee with more cer- 
tainty than any candidate spoken of and next to him I think Judge 
Douglass would be the strongest, but there would be no hesitancy 
in giving to either Buchanan or Marcy or Houston 58 a hearty sup- 
port. As strange as it may seem the result in our state in August 
has impressed us with the conviction that the state is democratic and 
hence in the next race we shall not be lacking in the necessary con- 
fidence of success to enable us to make a vigorous fight for the 
nominee. We shall enter the race with strong hopes of carrying 
the state with either of the names as the nominee whilst with Cass 
or Douglass we should count on a certain victory. At present this 
is as near the democratic feeling in Tennessee as I can describe it. 
As to the Vice Presidency until within the last month or two there 
was a feeling of indifference which indicated no feeling of prefer- 
ence for any of the several aspirants. But within the last two months 
a feeling has been diffusing itself in favor of Gen. Pillow 39 which at 
present points him out unmistakeably as the choice of the Tennessee 
democracy. This feeling took its rise in the frequent mention of Gen. 
Scott's name as the probable candidate of the Whigs for the Presi- 
dency. The name of Gen. Pillow has been so recently associated 
with that of Gen. Scott in connection with their Mexican quarrel and 
trial that the feeling in favor of Gen. Pillow was almost a natural 
consequence. I returned home from Nashville yesterday and after 
mingling for a week with the democratic members of the Legisla- 
ture I became thoroughly satisfied that the vote of the state will 
be given to Pillow for Vice President in the Baltimore Convention. 
I dont think that the name of any other Tennessean will be brought 
forward in the convention and his friends entertain strong hopes 
of his nomination. 

We are making arrangements to hold a State Convention in Nash- 
ville on the 8th of Jany. I have no idea that any preference will be 
expressed as to the Presidency and as far as I could judge whilst 
at Nashville I think the sentiment prevailed that it would be best 
to express no preference as to the Vice Presidency altho' some of 
Pillow's friends were decidedly for an expression in his favor and 
they may prevail on the Convention to take that course. I have 
noticed no movement by the Whigs preparatory to their National 
Convention but they are very decidedly in favor of Fillmore. He 
will get the entire vote of the Southern Whigs but I see no prob- 
ability of his getting any Northern states. Indeed I see no chance 
for his nomination whilst I consider Gen. Scott as already good as 
nominated. I consider him much the most dangerous candidate the 
Whigs could run and if we beat him it will be the first time that 
gun powder and humbuggery have been whipped. I am aware that 
many Southern Whigs now declare their oposition to him but I have 
heard that same thunder before and I don't choose to believe in it. 

I hope you will pardon this boring and if you would subject me to 
a similar process in return I would be well pleased. 



M Sam Houston of Texas was prominently spoken of in 1852 as a presidential 
candidate. 

^General Gideon J. Pillow of Tennessee, connected by marriage with Aaron P. 
Brown, was prominent in Tennessee politics, and was a "favorite son" for vice- 
president. 



228 Documents 



17. Thomas Ritchie, Washington, to John P. Heiss. 

Feb. 16, 1852. 

John C. Rives has devoted from 3 to 4 columns of his Saturday's 
Daily Globe to a severe commentary on your late article in the 
Delta. 

Mr. Trenholm, who is very much excited by this elaborate attack, 
promises to send you a copy of the Globe, but for fear of accidents, 
I will attempt to procure another copy and send it to you today. 

The gist of the piece is in the last paragraph, where he out- 
rageously charges you with drawing money, whilst you were in the 
navy, on false pretences, for which offence you were dismissed from 
the service. 00 He states that the proof of the accusation is to be 
found in the Records of the Navy Dept., and that he has in vain 
called upon the Secy, for extracts which he has refused to give him, 
and stating, that you were the only person, who had a right to call 
for them. John C. Rives affects to say, that he has derived his in- 
formation from a Captain in the Navy. 

The attack of Rives has produced much conversation in this city, 
but I have not met with a man yet, who does not discredit the whole 
story. 

I shall not condescend to notice anything that he says to me, my 
only care is, about you. I have advised with friends whether I had 
not better throw a short card into the newspapers, begging a sus- 
pension of the public opinion until you could answer for yourself, 
but they tell me it is best to advise you of the movement, and wait 
for your own action.* I have suggested, my waiting on the Secretary 
for information, but they again reply, that I have no authority to 
call for facts, which you alone are authorized to extract, if there 
be any on record. 

I need not tell you, my dear sir, that this accusation is directly 
contradicted by everything that I have heard or seen about you, and 
that I have uniformly reposed every confidence in the integrity and 
disinterestedness of your character. The same sentiment pervades 
this community. 

I saw Mr. Corielle* 1 in this city a few days ago, and I went to 
hunt him up yesterday, but unfortunately he has just departed. 

Be you the judge of the best course you ought to adopt, but I 
most respectfully suggest whether you had not better telegraph 
the editors of the Union at once about it, and then come on without 
delay yourself, to meet the accuser here. I believe this is the advice 
too of your best Friends. 

18. Henry A. Wise 02 to John P. Heiss* Only, Near Ononcock, Va. 

December 2nd, 1855. 

Your want of acquaintance with me, personally, did not cut you 
off from any approach which you chose to make to me on several 
accounts. You and yours had been kind to mine; and you had volun- 
tarily done me honor far beyond my deserts. To yourself only did 
you owe it, to make the explanation which I reed yesterday, on my 
return from Washington, where I went last week to visit a sick wife. 
1 understood the relation of things, from your friends as well as 

°°Thcre are in the Heiss Papers some documents referring to this incident in the 
early career of Heiss. Heiss replied by attacking the character of the person who 
was cited as authority for the story. He claimed that whatever he had done that was 
culpable was not in his own action but the result of orders from a superior. Ritchie's 
letter was followed by one from Trenholm on the same subject. 

«L. S. Coryell. 

•'Henry A. Wise of Virginia had just finished his remarkable campaign against 
the Know-Nothing party. 



Heiss Papers 229 



mine. You had sold out and the Delta 03 was no longer independent. 
It was bought up for a purpose to make a President. I never thought 
to be one, but if the office comes to me I will wield it, independently, 
to promote a patriotic and pure spirit, in times which are almost 
destitute of anything like devotion to country for country's sake. 
Your efforts in the Delta looked like such a spirit. I regret you were 
induced from choice or necessity of change to relinquish your post. 
Of that you were rightful judge. I can only say that I am grateful 
of your estimate. I wish I were worthy of it. The Dallas movement 
will be futile. I shall go for Buchanan. He will fail. God only 
knows what will come of the struggle. I will try to be prepared for 
either best or worst. I agonize to think what may happen to the 
country. 

My sister loves your wife so much that I cannot resist to say: 
— my compliments to her. 

19. J. T. Pickett, Gilmor House, Monument Square, Baltimore, 

to Major John P. Heiss, Washington, D. C., 

May 9th, 1856. 

I am rejoiced to see that you have given that d — d, malicious, 
squab, toad of a "fat boy" — Wallach — M — what he has most richly 
deserved a thousand times, and can only say, in the language of the 
poet, "hit him again." 

Sad affair that at Willards, 65 but hotel keepers and their servants 
have got to be so high & mighty in these United States that Sena- 
tors can scarcely obtain civil treatment at their hands. I have 
lived in hotels all my life but always had a great aversion for Boni- 
face and his flunkies — especially a few whom I could name in Wash- 
ington. 

I truly hope the administration is at length whipped into recog- 
nizing Nicaragua. Let me know if I can help "the cause" any. 
Will be in N. Y. a fortnight from tomorrow. 

20. Henry A. Wise, to John P. Heiss. 

Richmond, Virginia, February 6th, 1857. 

I have just returned here from an absence at Washington and 
find yours of the 30th ult. I heartily approve of its proposal to pub- 
lish an independent paper, 68 Democratic in spirit, which will not 
seek the patronage either of Congress or the Executive, at the 
Metropolis. Truly independent, fairly discriminating according to 
justice and truth, dignified, critical and statistical, separate from 
journals, with a good home literary and scientific column, and space 
cliques and aspirants, with good types, scanning well the foreign 
journals, with a good home literary and scientific oclumn, and space 
for able, standard doctrinal essays, it will be self-sustaining. I will 
help all in my ability to sustain such a journal. It is not money 
which can make good journalism — brains and pains alone can do it 
You have the head, and need only a liberal line of agents and cor- 

^The newspaper which Heiss for a while controlled in New Orleans. 

w On May 8, 1856, one Wallach, editor of the Star of Washington, was attacked 
by Heiss with a cane. Wallach drew a revolver, but the combatants were separated. 
Heiss was indicted for assault and battery, submitted, and paid a fine of $47.51. ^ The 
occasion was apparently a publication which reflected on the character of the Nicara- 
guan envoy, Father Vigil. 

^William Herbert, a member of Congress from California, had shot and killed 
one of the Irish waiters at Willard's Hotel. He claimed that he acted in self- 
defense. 

^Apparently Heiss was feeling his way with regard to another newspaper enterprise 
in Washington, which resulted in his establishment of the States. 



230 Documents 



respondents to acquire an army of 100000 subscribers. Have agents 
in every Southern section — sections of States I mean. 

21. Alex Dimitry* 7 to Major Heiss, October 30th, 1857. 

Conversing, after dinner, with my wife, on the nature of the 
festival called Allhallowmass, or all Saints' Day, I indulged in some 
considerations, which ( as I thought, put into proper shape, might 
be not uninteresting reading for your third, or local, page. I write 
them down and send them to you to make out of them, as the French 
say: choux on des raves, cabbage or radishes, as you please. 

With best regards to dear Mrs. Heiss and the other ladies of the 
household, from Mrs. Dimitry and myself, I remain, dear Major, 
yours with affectionate respect, 

22. Jefferson Davis, Washington, to John P. Heiss. 

October 13th, 1859. 

Mr. Callan showed me your note to him containing some kind, and 
very gratifying allusions to myself. 68 I had not forgotten my obli- 
gations to the conductors of the Delta when you were connected 
with it nor were they the less impressed upon me because there was 
no intercourse between us in relation to the matter. To the con- 
ductors of the public press the conduct of public men should be a 
thing apart from all personal relations, and no one should receive 
unkindly a fair criticism, or censure decorously administered. 

In my political career I have had less than is usual to do with 
newspapers, not that I have held them in lower consideration than 
others, but the rather because I have felt we had separate walks 
which best could be trodden when we kept apart; and also no doubt 
because I have always been too busy in my own sphere to encroach 
upon another. I am about to leave for Missi. and write you this 
note before going, having been prevented by frequent, though slight 
illness from calling upon you to make in person my acknowledgements 
for your kindness. 



•"Minister to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. 

•Heiss was becoming more and more identified with the extreme southern position 
in the democratic party. 



HISTORICAL NOTES AND NEWS, 

Members of the Tennessee Historical Society will regret to learn 
of the death, in Lincoln, Nebraska, of Mr, Clarence S. Paine, the 
genial and efficient secretary of the Mississippi Valley Historical 
Association. 

The collection of manuscripts of the Tennessee Historical Society 
other than the selection of the oldest and most valuable which is 
kept in a safe deposit vault, has been removed from the rooms of the 
Society to the Thruston Room in the Main Building of Vanderbilt 
University, which is entirely fire-proof. Temporary accommodations 
are thus offered to the Society without expense until, as is hoped, 
the State of Tennessee shall provide fire-proof quarters for all the 
Society's possessions. 

GENEALOGICAL INQUIRY. 

It is not the plan of The Tennessee Historical Magazine to 

devote space to purely genealogical matters. The Tennessee His- 
torical Society is not in a position at present to have an official 
genealogist. Genealogical inquiries therefore must be referred to 
voluntary action of members of the Society. The Magazine will be 
glad, however, to print specific requests for information, provided 
these are made concise and within brief compass. 

We take pleasure in printing the essential paragraphs of such 
an inquiry received from Mrs. M. H. Burrell, whose address is 4G 
Seventh Avenue, New York City, hoping that some of our members 
may be of assistance to Mrs. Burrell. 

"Could you tell me where the early marriage records of Tennes- 
see are kept — such as are existent. I presume, of course, that they 
met with the vicissitudes consequent on such records in those perilous 
times, but some must have survived. 

"I am looking particularly for the names of the wives of Henry 
Small, Coroner, Mont. Co. 1810, and Sheriff, Stewart Co., 1808-10; 
pp. 764, 905, History of Tennessee, 1886, Goodspeed Co.; and Joseph 
and Thos. Washington of early Tennessee; — Thos. later of Georgia. 
I have made something of a study of the Washingtons of Northamp- 
ton Co., N. C, descendants of Lawrance Washington, of Burleigh, 
England, younger brother of Col. John, ancestor of the great Wash- 
ington, and in exchange for any information you can furnish me, 
will be pleased to send anything new I can in relation to this in- 
teresting minor branch of the Washingtons. I understand that some 
of the family have been distinguished in political life in Tennessee — 
one Hon. George A. and Hon. John A. — the latter, I think, as a 
Representative in Congress. Probably you know the name and ad- 
dress of the present head of the family now and can inform me. I 
think some member of the family married a Small, a Bailey or a 

Dunn. 

"I have been more than interested in studying the early history 
of Tennessee, a minute knowledge of which is new to me, and a 
revelation. Why do not the parishes publish their records and sell 
them to the libraries? North Carolina is doing a great work for us 
researchers — Virginia also. — We want the real church records to 
study in connection with the State and County histories — so well 
already done. 



232 Notes and News 



Henry Small: Mar. — ? 
Resigned as J. P. 

Beauford Co. S. C. 1790; later in Tennessee. Mathew Washington 
Small, prob. son, 6, Oct. 1806, d. Edgefield, S. C. Mar. 11, 1860: 
Margaret Dunn, dau. Moses McLean Dunn, Elizabeth Wells. Moses 
McLean Dunn, son of (Azariah?). 

Hay don 
Elizabeth Wells, dau. of John 

Philip 

Joseph Washington: mar. ? 
Thos. Washington: mar. ? 

Whose son was Ethelred Washington, fifer [?], Va. Cont. Line, 
whose heir Wm. Washington, had grant of '1000 acres of land in 
Tennessee?' " 



MCCLURE'S "STATE CONSTITUTION-MAKING." 

At first sight Mr. McClure's book, State Constitution-Making, 
With Especial Reference to Tennessee, recently published by 
Marshall and Bruce, Nashville, might seem to be born under 
an unlucky star, coming forth as it does almost at the same time 
that the proposal for a constitutional convention has been defeated. 
In the election authorized by the last General Assembly of Ten- 
nessee to determine whether or not there should be a convention to 
amend the constitution of the state, a majority of votes were cast 
against the convention. Before the election no organized opposi- 
tion appeared, while those favoring the convention were active. The 
defeat at the polls was due in large part to lack of interest in the 
matter but more to the conservatism of the counties of smaller popu- 
lation and remoter situation. In East Tennessee, where the ma- 
jorities were particularly heavy against the convention, it has been 
suggested that the question of apportionment had something to do 
with the decision. Some have offered as the explanation the fear 
that the convention would listen to the advocates of woman suffrage, 
of compulsory voting, and other changes considered radical. There 
was not lacking, of course, the argument that the old constitution 
was good because it was old. 

To help in forming public opinion on the subject of constitutional 
revision in Tennessee was the purpose in the mind of Mr. Wallace 
McClure, Cutting Traveling Fellow in Columbia University, and a 
member of the Knoxville bar, in writing the volume under review. 
Mr. McClure's interest in the subject is known to readers of the 

Tennessee Historical Magazine through his two papers, The De- 
velopment of the Tennessee Constitution, and Governmental Re- 
organization, a Constitutional Need in Tennessee, appearing in the 
numbers of December, 1915, and June, 1916, respectively. These 
papers have been worked over in Part I of Mr. McClure's book, 
which is entitled "Constitutional Development in Tennessee, ,, and in 
Part III, "Tennessee Problems." These two parts make up but 
fifty pages of the book, while Part II, nearly 300 pages in extent, 
deals with current thought and action upon constitutional problems. 
This part of the book, which could constitute a separate work, is a 
review of recent changes in the state constitution preceded by a 
general analysis of written constitutions in the states carried on by 
topics such as elections, taxation, etc. To each chapter of this part 



Notes and News 233 



is appended a "Tennessee Note," which gives the provisions of the 
Tennessee Constitution if there be any which apply to the topic 
under discussion. The first part is an historical introduction. Part 
III deals exclusively with the possibilities of reform in Tennessee. 
If one views Mr. McClure's book as intended for the general reader or 
student of the United States, one is obliged to wonder if the book 
will be of wide appeal, weighted as it is with so much that has to do 
only with Tennessee. But as to the importance of the work for 
Tennessee there can be no question. The people of Tennessee like 
those of most other states are inclined to leave their governmental 
affairs and their political thinking to no small extent to those trained 
in the law. But however successful as a practicing lawyer a man 
may be, it does not follow that he is well informed with regard to 
government in the wider sense. While Mr. McClure's book in no 
wise assumes a didactic form, but, on the contrary, is written in a 
plain, straightforward manner, it might indeed well be a text-book 
not only for the members of the constitutional convention but for 
every member of the General Assembly of Tennessee. The results 
of the recent election show that the public must be educated to a 
wider interest in the constitution. No agency could work better 
towards this end than this book of Mr. McClure's. 

The Tennessee reader who wishes to learn, for example, what 
force there is in the criticism of the present constitution from the 
standpoint of those who wish better taxation, will find in Chapter 
15 a "model tax clause," a discussion of the general provisions 
found in the states as to taxation, assessment, etc., and a special 
explanation of the restrictive clauses in Tennessee Constitution. 
Moreover, the newer topic of the short ballot, recall, and referendum, 
the state budget, home rule for cities, city manager plan, and the 
consolidation of city and county government, will find succinct dis- 
cussions of these topics, and in the opening pages a very well worked 
out bibliography which will guide him to further reading on the 

subject. 

In an appendix are given in parallel columns the four constitu- 
tions of Tennessee in 1870, Tennessee in 1834, Tennessee in 1796, 
and North Carolina in 1776; the ordinance of the constitutional 
convention of 1870, the acts of 1915, chs. 110 and 111, which provided 
for the election just held, and the equal suffrage amendment ap- 
proved March 15, 1915. There is an index to the text. 

If it were possible to bring the contents of Mr. McClure's book 
before the thinking people of Tennessee, a good deal would have 
oeen done towards the establishment of a more informed and there- 
fore wiser public opinion with regard to the fundamental law of the 
state. If this were to be accomplished, the delay in the voting on 
proposed amendments would not be matter of regret. 






TENNESSEE 



->-* 




HISTORICAL MAGAZINE 



Vol. 2. DECEMBER, 1916. No. 4. 



FORT PRUDHOMME: WAS IT THE FIRST SETTLE- 
MENT IN TENNESSEE? 



No keener interest is aroused in the public mind by any 
phase of the early history of a country than the story of its 
first settler, the pioneer builder of the future state. The iden- 
tity of the first settler or colony of settlers in Tennessee has 
been a much disputed question among historians for more 
than a century. Though the influx of early population un- 
questionably came over the mountains from the Carol inas and 
Virginia into East Tennessee, the first bona fide settlement 
has been conceded by practically all historians, writing since 
the early part of the last century, to West Tennessee, through 
the agency of the French explorers of the Mississippi River. 
These very reputable writers agree that the name of this first 
settlement alleged to have been established by Sieur Robert 
Cavelier de la Salle in 1682 was Fort Prudhomme, though 
they are at variance as to the site, a few placing it at the first 
Chickasaw Bluff on the Mississippi River, though the greater 
number locate it at the fourth or lower Chickasaw Bluff, the 
present site of the city of Memphis. It may be stated here 
that there are four bluffs abutting on the Mississippi River be- 
tween the mouth of the Ohio and the northern limits of the 
State of Mississippi, known as the first, second, third and 
fourth Chickasaw Bluffs. These are westerly projections, into 
the alluvial basin, of the great plateau which constitutes West 
Tennessee. The first of these touches the River at Fulton, 
Tennessee, opposite the lower end of Island 33, some 62 miles 
by river above Memphis. The second is at Randolph, about 
10 miles below the first bluff by water; the third is opposite 
Island 36, and the fourth bluff is just below the mouth of 
Wolf River and forms the terrace or plateau on which Mem- 
phis now stands. 

If we may treat the coming of DeSoto, May 8th, 1541, to the 
lower Chickasaw Bluff, the cantonment of his troops in huts 
here for thirty days, and the establishment of a rude shipyard 



236 I. I'. YOUNG 



in which he constructed four piraguas or barges in which to 



/ 



transport his forces across the river, as a settlement in Ten- 
nessee, then the investigation of LaSalle's adventure would 
be unnecessary and we could accept DeSoto as the first settler 
of our Rtate. Again, if we could accept as a settlement the 
arrival here, in 1739, of Governor Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de 
Bienville with 1200 French colonial and Swiss troops and 2400 
Indian allies and the erection on the bluff where Memphis now 
stands of Fort Assunipcion, a considerable fortress, "con- 
structed of piles, three bastions bearing on the plain and two 
half bastions on the river," all heavily mounted with ordnance, 
and the residence of that entrenched force on the bluff here 
from July, 1739 to March^ 31, 1740 in an endeavor to conquer the 
Chickasaw Indians, then such settlement would have preceded 
the first Anglo-American settlement at Fort Loudon, in East 
Tennessee, by some 17 years and have given the palm to West 
Tennessee. 

But passing by these seizures by the early Spanish and 
French Commanders, of the lower Chickasaw Bluff and their 
operations here, as mere temporary expedients in a campaign 
having other and specific military objectives than a purpose 
to plant settlements here, we come to examine the claims ad- 
vanced by several historians that the French explorers who 
erected Fort Prudhomme in 1682 should be recognized as the 
builders of the first cabin and founders of the first settle- 
ment on the soil of Tennessee. To that end excerpts will be 
made in chronological order from the works of those who have 
given the story of the settlement. 

The first will be quoted from will be the History of Louis- 
iana by Francois Xavier Martin (1827), which thus narrates 
the founding of Fort Prudhomme by LaSalle in February, 
1682: 

"They made a short stay at the mouth of the Ohio, floating 
down to the Chickasaw bluffs, one of the party going into the 
woods, lost his way. This obliged Lasalle [sic] to stop. He 
visited the Indians in the neighborhood and built a fort as a 
resting place for his countrymen navigating the river. At the 
solicitation of the Chickasaw Chiefs, he went to their prin- 
cipal village, attended by several of his men, they were en- 
tertained with much cordiality and the Indians approved of 
his leaving a garrison in the fort he was building. The Chick- 
asaws were a numerous nation able to bring two thousand 
men into the field. Presents were reciprocally made and the 
French and Indians parted in great friendship. Lasalle, on 
reaching his fort was much gratified to find that the man who 
was missing. He left him to finish the fort, and to command 
its small garrison. His name was Prudhomme; it was given 













FORT PRUDHOMME 237 



to the fort — and the bluff, on which the white banner was then 
raised, to this day is called by the French ecor a Prudhomme. 
This is the first act of formal possession taken by the French 
nation of any part of the shores of the Mississippi." 

The next narrative in chronological order is that in the 
History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the 
Mississippi, by Dr. John W. Monette (1846). The sketch fol~ 
lows briefly that of Martin given above. He says: "The party 
(LaSalle's) next delayed a few days at the mouth of the Ohio, 
where LaSalle made some arrangements for trade intercourse 
with the Indians. Thence they proceeded to the first Chicka- 
s& Bluffs. Here LaSalle entered into amicable arrangements 
for opening a trade with the Chickas& Indians, where he es- 
tablished ai trading post and obtained permission to build a 
stockade fort. This he designed as a point of rendezvous for 
traders from the Illinois country, passing to the lower posts 
on the river. The post was called Prudhomme, in honor of 
the man, who with a small garrison was left in command.'' 

We will now look into the works of the Tennessee his- 
torians; in pursuing the object of our search, quoting first 

from the learned Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey, 1 the earlier historian 
Judge John Havwood having onlv mentioned that he had 
seen an early map with the French fort Prudhomme shown at 
the Chickasaw Bluff, but not mentioning which bluff. 

Dr. Ramsey says of this Fort: "As he (LaSalle) passed 
down the river he framed a cabin and built a fort called 
Prud'homme, on the first Chickasaw Bluff. The first work, 
except probably the piraguas of DeSoto, ever executed by the 
hand of civilization within the boundaries of Tennessee. A 
cabin and a fort! Fit emblem and presage of the future in 
Tennessee. The axe and the rifle, occupancy and defense, set- 
tlement and conquest!" 

"While at the Bluff, LaSalle entered into amicable arrange- 
ments for opening a trade with the Chickasaws and establish- 
ing there a trading post that should be a point of rendezvous 
for traders passing from the Illinois Country to the post that 
should be established below. The commercial acumen of La- 
Salle in founding a trading post at this point is now made 
most manifest. Near the same ground has since arisen a city, 
whose commerce already exceeds that of any other city in Ten- 
nessee." 

In the Goodspeed History of Tennessee (1886), the com- 
pilers use, almost verbatim, a part of the above narrative of 
Dr, Ramsey, placing Fort Prudhomme on the first Chickasaw 
Bluff, and add: "Since the time of LaSalle the largest com- 

■ 

*The Annals of Tennessee to the end of the Eighteenth Century, 
by J. G. M. Ramsey, A.M., M.D., 1853. 






238 J. i\ YOUNG 



raercial city of Tennessee has been established and developed 
very near, if not precisely upon the very spot selected by him 
for his trading post." 

Justin Winsor, in his Narrative and Critical History of 
America (1888), merely chronicles that LaSalle's party: "flop- 
ping at one of the Chickasaw Bluffs built a small stockade 
and called it after Prudhomme, who was left in charge of it." 

Claiborne, in his book, Mississippi as a Province, Territory 
and State (1879), does no more than record that LaSalle's 
party on February 28, 1682 "reached the Chickasaw Bluffs." 



Mr. Keating, the Memphis historian, is more comprehensive 
in his statements, relating not only to LaSalle's voyage down 
the Mississippi Kiver but including also Marquette and Joliet's 
journey 1673 and Father Hennepin's 1680. In volume 1, pages 
26-27, of his History of Memphis (1889), he thus records these 

several transactions: "On their (Marquette and Joliet's) way 
back they stopped at the Chickasaw Bluffs and Marquette 
marked it for a Mission, and Joliet established a trading post 
at that time the last in a continuous line from Quebec by way 
of the St. Lawrence River, the lakes and the Fox, the Wiscon- 
sin or the Illinois River, a post that was thereafter to be 
continued as the nest or nucleus of a great city with but few 
interruptions, only changing from French to Spanish, and 
thence to English and finally to American control." 

And on page 27 the author continues: "Two years after 
Hennepin's visit (1680) and nine years after the departure 
of Joliet and Marquette, Chisca (4th Chickasaw Bluff) was 
taken possession of in Sept 1681 [sic], by Robert Cavelier 
de la Salle, an officer in the service of France, who proclaimed 
it and all the country about it from ocean to ocean to be the 
possessions of his king, and named it Louisiana. He made a 
treaty of peace with the Chickasaw Indians and built a fort 
with necessary cabins near the mouth of the Nashoba (Wolf) 
River which he named the Margot (Blackbird). In honor of 
the officer he left in command, he named the fort, Prudhomme. 
This was the first attempt at military occupation by a military 
power on the banks of the Mississippi River." 

Mr. Phelan 2 narrates that : "more than one hundred years 
later (after DeSoto's visit) LaSalle desiring to enter into 
amicable relations with the aboriginal inhabitants along the 
banks of the Mississippi River, was forced by geographical 
considerations to build his fort here. He gave it the name of 
Prudhomme. This was probably in 1682." At page 5 of his 
book in a foot note Mr. Phelan says: "Ramsey (p. 39) says 

'History of Tennessee, James Phelan, 1888. 



j 



FORT PRUDHOMME 239 



that the fort was built on the first Chickasaw Bluff, it was the 
fourth." 

There are probably other writers who have taken the same 
view about the location of this fort and the purposes of the 
builder, which have escaped the attention of the writer. After 
considering the positive statements of all these reputable his- 
torians, the average student of history would unquestionably 
be justified in accepting this central statement, that LaSalle 
in 1682, on his voyage down the Mississippi River, had se- 
lected the fourth or lower Chickasaw Bluff, the site of the 
present large city of Memphis, as a suitable location for one 
of the chain of French forts from the great lakes to the Gulf 
of Mexico and had built a fort and cabins here, established 
amicable trade relations with the dominant Indian tribe, the 
Chickasaws, on the lower Mississippi and had left a perma- 
nent French settlement at this point, the first white man's 
lodgement in the limits of the present state of Tennessee. 

But a close inspection of the narratives of some of the 
persons who accompanied LaSalle on his long journey down 
the Mississippi River in 1682, the writings having been made 
under the immediate eve of LaSalle and one of them officiallv 

c t 

signed by him, would seem to overcome, indeed, to dissipate 
the conclusions of the later historians, who manifestly 
had no access to these reports and diaries, and to establish 
the fact that LaSalle made no settlement whatever at Fort 
Prudhomme, entered into no treaty with the Chickasaw In- 
dians on that journey and did not in fact stop at all on the 
lower or fourth Chickasaw Bluff, while passing down the great 
river. 

In ordetf to make this clear we will turn to the storv of 
the voyage of Sieur Robert Cavelier de la Salle, to explore the 
Mississippi, from the manuscripts of Father Zenobe de Membre 
(sometimes written Zenobius Membre) compiled by Father 
Chretien Le Clercq and published in his Establissement de 
la Foi etc. (Paris, 1691). Zenob£ de Membre was a Recollect 
Missionary of the order of St. Fancis, who accompanied La- 
Salle throughout this voyage as chaplain and is extremely full 
in his narrative, both as to the country and the occurrences 
of the voyage. This narrative, in the third part of the work of 
LeClercq, was translated by John Gilmary Shea, in his Dis- 
covery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley (New York, 
1852). Father Zenob£ de Membre traveled in the same boat 
with LaSalle and was evidently the chronicler of the voyage, 
though an official report was made up at the request of LaSalle 
by the notary, Metarie, and signed by all the voyagers, which 

lias been preserved and translated in the life of LaSalle by 
Jared Sparks and will be referred to later in this article. 



240 J. P. YOUNG 



Father Zenob6 de Membr6 after reciting the entrance from 
the Seignelay or Illinois River into the Mississippi on the 
6th of February 1082 and the stop at the mouth of the Oua- 
bache or Ohio River, thus continues : 4 *From the mouth of thig 
river you must advance forty two leagues without stopping, 
because the banks are low and marshy, and full of thick foam, 
rushes and walnut trees. On the 24th those whom we had sent 
out to hunt all returned but Peter Prudhomme; the rest re- 
ported that they had seen an Indian trail, which made us sup- 
pose our Frenchman killed or taken. This induced the Sieur 
de la Salle to throw up a fort and intrenchment, and to put 
some French and Indians on the trail. None relaxed their 

* 

efforts till the first of March, when Gabriel Minime and two 
Mohegans took two of five Indians whom they discovered. 
They said that they belonged to the Sicacha (Chickasaw) na- 
tion, and that their village was a day and a half off. After 
showing them every kindness, I set out with the Sieur de la 
Salle and half our party to go there in hopes of learning some 
news of Prudhomme; but after having travelled the distance 
stated, we showed the Indians that we were displeased with 
their duplicity; they then told us frankly that we were still 
three days off. (These Indians generally count ten or twelve 
leagues to a day). We returned to camp and one of the In- 
dians having offered to remain while the other carried the 
news to the village, LaSalle gave him some goods, and he set 
out after giving us to understand that we should meet their 
nation on the banks of the river as we descended. 

"At last Prudhomme, who had been lost, was found on the 
ninth day and brought back to the fort, so that we set out 
the next day, which was foggy. Having sailed forty leagues 
fall the 3rd day of March, we heard drums beating and sasa- 
couest (war cries) on our right. Perceiving that it was an 
Akansea village, the Sieur de la Salle immediately passed over 
to the other side with all his force, and in less than an hour 
threw up a retrenched redoubt on a point, with palisades, and 
felled trees to prevent a surprise, and give the Indians time 
to recover confidence." 

Here is the chronicle or diary of a man of intelligence and 
observation who was at the elbow of LaSalle during all of 
that daring voyage and whose accuracy has never been ques- 
tioned, but who makes no mention of a cabin or a colony at 
Fort Prudhomme, nor any amicable trade arrangements with 
the Chickasaw Indians. But he tells us that losing one of 
his hunters in the forest at the first plat of ground sufficiently 
elevated above overflow to permit them to land, after passing 
the mouth of the Ohio, 42 leagues or one hundred and five 
miles above, LaSalle stopped to search for him, and finding 






FORT PRUDHOMME 241 



* 



some Chickasaw Indians near by, constructed a little stockade 
or fort for protection and on the ninth day after his disap- 
pearance found the lost hunter Prudhomme and resumed his 
voyage to the mouth of the river. It will also be noted in the 
narrative that LaSalle threw up a little "retrenched redoubt 
on a point with palisades within an hour" opposite the Akansa 
village, also as a hasty measure of protection against the In- 
dians and we have no reason to believe that Fort Prudhomme 
was any more substantial or of any different character. The 
distance from the mouth of the Ohio River, 42 leagues, would 
have placed Fort Prudhomme exactly at the first Chickasaw 
Bluff instead of the fourth on which Memphis stands, the 
French land league of that day being about 2 1-2 English 
miles and the first Chickasaw Bluff being about 105 miles, 
land courses, below the mouth of the Ohio. It is to be noted 
also that the first leg of the journey after leaving Fort Prud- 
homme was 40 leagues or 100 miles, which would bring the 
voyagers to the Akansea Village as called by Father de Mem- 
bra, but being really the village of Mitchigamea and discovered 
and named by Father James Marquette in his voyage with 
Joliet down the Mississippi River in 1673, w T hich is described 
in the same volume by John Gilmary Shea from which this 
voyage of LaSalle is taken, both translations being by Mr. 
Shea. The Mitchigameans were a branch of the great Akansea 
tribe and located on the river at a lake, of that name near 
the present city of Helena, Ark., and just below the mouth of 
the St. Francis River and there Bienville found them still lo- 
cated in 1739. 

But w r e have still higher evidence of the occurrences con- 
nected with the stop of LaSalle at the first Chickasaw Bluff, 
in an official document, prepared by Jacques de la Metarie, a 
notary commissioned to accompany LaSalle in his voyage to 



Louisiana, entitled Proces Verbal of the Taking Possession of 
Louisiana, at the mouth of the Mississippi, by the Sieur de la 
Salle, on the 9th of April 1682, which official paper or "act" 
was drawn up as it certifies, at the request of LaSalle and 
signed by the Notary and also by LaSalle and other witnesses, 
including Father Zenobe. 3 It is to be regretted that space for- 
bids the printing here of the entire document. But from the 
body of the paper this excerpt is taken : 

"Proceeding ab'out a hundred leagues down the Kiver Col- 
bert (Mississippi, from the mouth of the Illinois) we went 

8 From Jared Spark's Library of American Biography ; sub-title, 
"Life of Robert Cavelier de la Salle" (Boston, 1845). The editor of 
this volume in a foot note says. "This curious and important his- 
torical document has never been printed. The translation here given 
is made from the original, contained in the archives of the Marine 
Department at Paris." 






242 J. P. YOUNG 






ashore to hunt on the 26th day of February. A Frenchman 
was lost in the woods, and it was reported to M. de la Salle 
that a large number of savages had been seen in the vicinity. 
Thinking that they might have seized the Frenchman, and in 
order to observe these savages, he marched through the woods 
during two days, but without finding them, because they had 
all been frightened by the guns which they had heard, and fled* 

Returning to camp, he sent in every direction French and 
savages on the search, with orders, if they fell in with savages, 
to take them alive without injury, that he might gain from 
them intelligence of the Frenchman. Gabriel Barbie with 
two savages, having met five of the Chicacha nation, captured 
two of them. They were received with all possible kinduess, 
and, after he had explained to them that he was anxious about 
a Frenchman who had been lost, and that he only detained 
them that he might rescue him from their hands, if he was 
really among them, and afterwards make with them an ad- 
vantageous peace (the French doing good to every body) they 
assured him that they had not seen the man whom we sought, 
but that peace would be received with the greatest satisfac- 
tion. Presents were then given to them, and as they signified 
that one of their villages was not more than half a day's- 
journey distance, M. del la Salle set out the next day to go 
thither; but after travelling till night, and having remarked 
that they often contradicted themselves in their discourse, he 
declined going farther, without more provisions. Having* 
pressed them to tell the truth, they confessed that it was yet 
four days journey to their villages; and perceiving that M. 
de la Salle was angry at having been deceived, they proposed 
that one of them should remain with him, while the other car- 
ried the news to the village, whence the elders would come 
and join them four days journey below that place. The said 
Sieur de la Salle returned to the camp with one of these Chicka- 
saws ; and the Frenchman whom we sought having been found* 
he continued his voyage, and passed the river of the Che- 
pontias, and the village of the Mitsigameas. The fog, which 
was very thick, prevented his finding the passage which led 
to the rendezvous proposed by the Chick achas." 

This official document is confirmation of the narrative of 
the priest, Zenob£ de Membrg and makes it clear that there 
was neither cabin nor colony planted at Fort Prudhomme, 
nor any garrison left there under Pierre Prudhomme, the 
French hunter, and that there was no treaty nor trading post 
arrangements with the Chickasaw Indians relating to the first 
Chickasaw Bluff. LaSalle, it shows, met only two captive In- 
dians while at Fort Prudhomme and was prevented by fog 
from meeting the Elders of the Chickasaw tribe at the ap- 















FORT PRUDHOMME 243 



pointed rendezvous for meeting as he floated down stream. 
The Proces Verbal also shows that the fort, Prudhomme, was 
100 leagues below the mouth of the Illinois River, or 250 miles, 



which would place it at the first Chickasaw Bluff and not at 
the site of Memphis on the fourth Bluff. 

In the Abbe Prevost's General History of Voyages of Dis- 
covery (Paris 1749), the voyage of LaSalle down the Missis- 
sippi River in February 1682 is briefly described, but no men- 
tion is made of Fort Prudhomme. A map in this work, how- 
ever, accurately presenting the whole valley of the Mississippi 
River, shows Fort Prudhomme at the first Chickasaw Bluff 
and not at the fourth, where Fort Assunipcion is shown. 

In Claiborne's History of Mississippi as a Province, Terri- 
tory and State (1870), a full account of the expedition of 
Bienville against the Chickasaw Indians in 1739 and the build- 
ing of Fort Assumpcion, in August of that year, on the fourth 
Chickasaw Bluff at the mouth of Wolf River, is given in a 
diary of a young French officer with De Noailles d'Aime, a 
commander who accompanied Bienville, translated from the 
French. This diary in describing the operations of Bienville's 
forces here in the fall and winter of 1739, several times men- 
tions "Prudhomme heights" as lying far to the north of Fort 
Assupmcion on the fourth Chickasaw Bluff. 

It thus being made clear by the narratives of the original 
founder or builder of the stockade or defense called a fort, and 
the narrative of those who were with him on this voyage that 
the fort was a mere temporary shelter or defense against a 
few Chickasaw Indians seen in the vicinity, while LaSalle's 

* 

party were endeavoring to find the lost hunter Prudhomme, 
and that the party were only there some nine or ten days and 
left no colony behind them, it becomes apparent that Tennes- 
see was not settled first at Fort Prudhomme in 1682, notwith 
standing the error into which several historians have fallen. 

The same can also be said of the voyage of Marquette and 
Joliet, as the narrative of Father James Marquette and his 
original map of the country discovered by him, after a long 
period of rest in Saint Mary's College of Montreal, were finally 
brought to light and translated and given to the world by Mr. 
John Gilmary Shea in the same volume in which he published 
the narrative of Father Zenob6 de Membr6. These will fully 
and clearly show that Marquette like LaSalle did not stop at 
the lower Chickasaw Bluff and left neither colony nor trading 
post behind him on the Mississippi River. 

The first settler of the Anglo-Saxon race in West Tennes- 
see of whom we have any account was William Mizzell of 
North Carolina, who was found on the lower Chickasaw Bluff 
at the Spanish post and fort of San Fernando de Barancos by 






244 J. P. YOUNG 



Capt. Isaac Guion of the 3rd U. S. Infantry Regiment, when 
he came on July 20th, 17!)7, to take possession of the fort and 
the lower Chickasaw Bluff in behalf of the United States, the 
fort having been constructed by Governor Don Manuel Gayoso 
de Lemos of the Province of Louisiana and the Spanish flag 
raised over it on the 31st of May 1795. Mizzell was living 
here as an Indian trader at that time, together with a Scots- 
man named Kenneth Ferguson. This was about 40 years after 
the settlement of the post at Fort Loudon in East Tennessee 



in 1756. 4 



J. P. Young. 















/ 






*Since the foregoing article was completed the writer, through the 
kindness of Capt. H. N. Pharr, Civil Engineer of Memphis, has been 
permitted to inspect two ancient maps in his possession and deline- 
ating the Course of the Mississippi River from the Balise to Ft. 
Chartres; taken on an expedition to the Illinois, in the latter end of 
the year 1765 by Lieut. Ross of the Thirty- fourth Regiment (British). 
Improved from the surveys of that river made by the French. The 
other map, nearly as ancient, is a Map of the course of the Missis- 
sippi from the Missouri and the country of the Illinois to the south 
of this river, and bearing this legend: An accurate tracing from 
engraved original in my possession. (Signed) Carl F. Palfrey, Civil 
Engineer. The copyist was Carl F. Palfrey, Captain of Engineers and 
Secretary of the U. S. River Commission in 1898. 

The first of these maps shows Fort Prudhomme to be situated at 
the second Chickasaw Bluff or "Cliffs of Prudhomme," where Ran- 
dolph, Tennessee, now stands, and the second map indicates the Fort 
at "Prudhomme Cliffs," which is placed in this map on the first 
Chickasaw Bluff, or the present site of Fulton, about ten miles above 
the second Chickasaw Bluff. At either point it bears out the con- 
clusion of this article, that the fort was above and not at the Fourth 
Chickasaw Bluff, the present site of Memphis. 












TENNESSEE: A DISCUSSION ON THE SOURCES OF 

ITS POPULATION AND THE LINES 

OF IMMIGRATION. 



Perhaps no more interesting volume could be produced in 
the field of American history than one dealing with the sources 
of the population of the various states of the Union. From 
what ethnic sources did this population come? When did it 
come and how did it get there? What states had the greatest 
influence in peopling other states and why? What routes 
were followed in arriving at the destination of the immi- 
grants? Why were these particular routes chosen and what 
influence did they have on the settlements and on the sources 
from which immigrants were drawn ? 

Some phases of these questions have been discussed in the 
very interesting and instructive volume published by the Cen- 
sus Office in 1909 and entitled A Century of Population Growth, 
1790-1900. This volume is based entirely on the returns of 
the early censuses, but these sources are not in themselves suf- 
ficient, for the facts presented by them are not full enough 
and the records themselves are not vet available to students 
in general. Not until a great number of local studies have 
thoroughly covered the ground for the states and for parts of 
the same and brought together into larger and more usable 
shape the materials now scattered through local studies or 
buried unused in local archives will it be possible for some 
general scholar with synthetic mind to work over the whole 
and produce a work covering the whole Union in scope, com- 
parable to the work of the German historical scholars on the 
European Voelkerwandeningen in character and surpassing 
in fascinating interest the masterpieces of historical romance. 

In my studies dealing with the history of public school 
education in the states of Arkansas and Alabama I have 
sketched very briefly the outlines of such a study for those 
states and present here the outline of a similar study for Ten- 
nessee. 









240 



STKI'IIEX B. WEEKS 



I. Sources of Tennessee Population. 

Statistical View of Tennessee Population, 1790-1910. 



Year 

1790 

1795 3 

1800 

1810 

1820 

1830 

1840 

1850 

1860 

1870 

1880 

1890 

1900 

1910 



• • 



White 

. . 31,913 

. . 65,676 

. . 91,709 

. . 215,875 

.. 339,927 

. . 535,746 

. . 640,627 

. . 756,836 

. . 826,722 

. . 936,119 
. . 1,138,831 

. . 1,336,637 
. . 1,540,186 
..1,711,432 



Colored 

3,778 

11,586 

13,893 

45,852 

82,834 

146,158 

188,583 

245,881 

283,019 

322,331 

'403,151 

4 430,678 

4 480,243 

4 473,088 



Total 

■35,69 1 
77,262 
105,602 
261,727 
422,823 
681,904 

829,210 
1,002,717 
1,109,801 
1,258,520 
1,542,359 
1,767,518 
2,020,616 
2,184,789 



Per C«nt of In- 
creaa e Since 
Last Certain 



116.5 
36.7 

147.8 
61.5 
61.3 
21.6 
20.9 
10.7 
13.4 
22.5 
14.5 
14.3 
8.1 



Population 
per Square 
Mile* 

0.9 

1.8 

2.5 

6.3 
10.1 
16.3 
19.9 
24.0 
26.6 
30.2 
37.0 
42.4 
48.5 
52.4 



as to origin. 



The first question to engage attention is the inquiry as 
to the nationality of these people and the sections from which 
they came. The U. S. Census prior to 1850 made no inquiry 

We are therefore under the necessity of taking 
as a basis the material as given in the Census for 1850 and 
subsequently, and arguing backward as to the sources of this 
population. 

There follows a list of all the states which have at any 
decennial census since 1850 furnished as much as 1,000 to 
the population of Tennessee: 



Statistical View of the Sources of Tennessee Population, 1850-1910. 

Native of* 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 

North Carolina . . . 72,027 55,227 51,110 41,918 32,633 28,405 29,066 
Virginia and 

West Virginia 46,631 36,647 43,397 38,224 30,382 26,594 24,414 

South Carolina ... 15,197 11,423 13,854 11,698 8,396 6,572 6,314 

Kentucky 12,609 12,975 19,867 24,868 27,527 36,052 41,936 

Alabama 6,398 8,015 20,217 22,200 22,045 27,709 29,739 

Georgia 4,863 6,372 18,021 19,481 23,085 38,561 33,896 

Pennsylvania 2,146 2,659 4,074 3,311 4,319 3,958 4,759 

Mississippi 2,137 3,567 15,451 19,632 24,859 35,357 46,195 

Maryland 1,554 1,222 1,580 1,463 1,358 1,099 1,002 

New York 1,019 2,475 3,002 3,082 3,949 4,093 4,181 

Missouri 920 1,471 3,262 3,776 4,377 5,981 6,690 

'Size of Tennessee, 1910; 41,687 square miles, land; 335 water, 
gross area, 42,044. — U. S. Census. 

•Divided as follows: Davidson, 3,459; Greene, 7,741; Hawkins, 
6,970; Montgomery, 1,387; Sevier, 3,619; Sullivan, 4,447; Sumner, 
2,196; Washington, 5,872. 

•Ramsey: Annals of Tennessee, p. 648. 

4 Excludes a few Indians, Japanese, and Chinese in 1880, 1890, 1900 
and 1910— less than one-tenth of one per cent. 






TENNESSEE POPULATION 



247 






1,396 


2,461 


2,968 


4,537 


6,707 


7,726 


1,086 


1,835 


2,840 


5,851 


7,454 


7,812 


2,140 


4,420 


5,035 


10,064 


10,353 


10,229 


971 


2,977 


3,867 


4,807 


8,737 


10,129 


525 


1,362 


1,560 


1,901 


2,300 


3,127 


254 


896 


1,450 


2,034 


4,556 


5,592 


253 


259 


370 


833 


1,362 


1,405 


88 


245 


374 


838 


1,056 


1,157 


115 


355 


625 


1,763 


2,056 


2,494 



Illinois 872 

Indiana 769 

Ohio 742 

Arkansas 496 

Louisiana 261 

Texas 100 

Iowa 30 

Wisconsin 8 

Michigan 7 



Should we attempt to interpret these figures one conclusion 
comes out above all others. It is that North Carolina is the 
mother of Tennessee. As late as 1890 North Carolina was still 
contributing a larger per cent to the population of Tennessee 
than any other state and the further we go back the more 
distinct does the Carolina hegemony become. In 1800 the 
number of North Carolinians was only slightly larger than 
that of the Virginians; in 1850 it was more than 50 per cent 
larger. 

Considering the ante-bellum period by itself it is found 
that according to the census of 1850 and 1860 there had been 
little immigration into the state from any free state except 
New York and Pennsylvania. 

The immigration from the slave states as reported in 185D 
and 1860 may be again divided into what we may call the 
primary and secondary migrations, or migrations from the 
older and the newer slave states. To the older group belong 
the Virginias, the Carolinas, and Georgia; to the younger be- 
long Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky. This last group 
of states had been but recently settled. Two of them were 
nearly a generation younger than Tennessee and Kentucky 
was of the same age. Their population came from the states 
which had also furnished the largest number to Tennessee, 
and since the settler who went from Kentucky, Alabama, or 
Mississippi to Tennessee was himself in great probability only 
a Georgian, a Carolinian or a Virginian once removed we may 
dismiss them from consideration as not really affecting the 
result, and so go back to the older group of contributing states 
and regard North Carolina, Virginia (including West Vir- 
ginia), South Carolina, and Georgia as the states which, and 
in that order, have done most towards furnishing the founda- 
tion for the population of Tennessee. In 1850 7.2 per cent of 
the total population of the state was reported as being natives 
of North Carolina; 4.6 per cent came from Virginia; 1.5 per 
cent from South Carolina; .48 per cent from Georgia. These 

5 The term "native" as used in the census of 1850 and 1860 seems 
to mean "free." But in any case the number of free negroes who 
immigrated into the state was too small to make any difference in 
percentages. Later censuses include all. 






248 STKI'HEN B. WEEKS 



four states at that time furnished 13.8 per cent of the total 
population; but no account is taken here of native Tenues- 
seans of the first generation whose parents were natives of 
those states for this phase; of the question is not considered 
in the census returns and we have no way to arrive at their 
numbers. But we are able through the census reports to differ- 
entiate the native born population of the state from that born 
elsewhere and the proportions which obtained in 1850 will 
probably hold as substantially accurate for earlier periods. 

According to the census of 1850 there were 756,836 white 
citizens in the State, of whom 580,695 were natives. Of the 
remaining 176,141 there were 168,966 who were born out of 

Tennessee but in the United States, 5,638 who were born in 
foreign countries, and 1,537 born in places unknown. Of 
these 176,141 white immigrants living in Tennessee in 1850, 
72,027 or 40.97 per cent were natives of North Carolina; 26.5 

per cent came from Virginia ; 8.6 per cent from South Carolina, 
and 2.7 per cent from Georgia. Considering the secondary 
statps we find that 3.6 per cent came from Alabama; 1.2 per 
cent from Mississippi, and 7.2 per cent from Kentucky. The 
four primary states furnished 78.7 per cent of the total immi- 
gration in 1850 and the three secondary states furnished 12 
per cent. These seven states furnished 90.7 per cent of the 
total number of immigrants living in the state in 1850. 

These per cents have been shown with particular care for 
the reason that they furnish an indication of the race to which 
the people of Tennessee belonged. Judging by the character 
of population in the contributing states in 1850 we are per- 
fectly safe in the assumption that the population of Tennes- 
see in 1850 was predominantly English and Scotch-Irish. It 
is possible for us to prove that there had been no distinctive 
change in the character of the immigrants who were coming 
into Tennessee in 1850 as compared with earlier years and we 
may assume that the population of the state in 1790 was es- 
sentially of the same type. Such is the view of the authorities 
of the United States Census at the present time. 

In 1909, when Mr. S. N. D. North was director of the Cen- 
sus, Mr. W. S. Kossiter, at that time chief clerk of that Bu- 
reau, prepared and published a study entitled A Century of 
Population Growth, 1790-1900, in which this particular point 
as to the origin of the population of the various states in 1790 
is discussed. He says with reference to Tennessee, for^which 
the original census returns are lost: 

The composition of the white population of Georgia, Kentucky, 
and of the district subsequently erected into the state of Tennessee, 
is also unknown; but in view of the fact that Georgia was a distinct- 
ly English colony and that Tennessee and Kentucky were settled 



























TENNESSEE POPULATION 



249 


















largely from Virginia and North Carolina, the application of the 

North Carolina proportions to the white population of these three 

results in what is doubtless an approximation of the actual distribu- 
tion. 

The estimates then presented by Mr. Rossiter, like all others 
for the first census, are based on an "inspection of the heads 
of families" for all the states whose records are now in ex- 
istence, and when the North Carolina proportion is applied 
to the population of Tennessee in 1790 we get the following 
figures to which have been added the corresponding averages 
for the United States as a whole: 

Nationality of Population in Tennessee and the United States 

Compared, 1790. 

Tennessee. United States. 

Number Per Cent of Per Cent of 

Race Whole. Whole. 

English 26,519 83.1 82.1 

Scotch (Scotch-Irish) 3,574 11.2 7.0 

Irish 734 2.3 1.9 

Dutch 64 0.2 2.5 

French 96 0.3 0.6 

Germans 894 2.8 5.6 

All others (including Hebrew) . 32 0.1 0.3 

Totals 31,913 100.0 100.0 

From these percentages it is evident that Tennessee was 
considerably ahead of the United States in the number of its 
citizens who traced their ancestry back to the British Isles 
and considerably behind in those who looked to the continent. 

The number of foreign born in Tennessee in 1850 was 5,740 
or something less than 3.3 per cent of the total of the non- 
native citizens. The percentage was not far from the average 
for the whole South at that time and, indeed, for the period 
as late as 1900. Says Rossiter in A Century of Population 
Growth, 1790-1900, p. 87 : 

At the census of 1850, when the classification of nativity was in- 
troduced, the white population of 12 southern states, Virginia, Ken- 
tucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, 
Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, included in 
the aggregate less than 4 per cent who were foreign born. The pro- 
portion of foreign born in this group of states increased but little 
during the half century, and even at the census of 1910 the white 
population was composed almost entirely of the descendants of per- 
sons enumerated in 1790 and 1800. 

In another place (p. 117), discussing the same general sub- 
ject from the standpoint of family names and the ideas of 
nationality which they convey, Mr. Kossiter says : 

Were it feasible to make an analysis of the population of the 
southern states in 1900 similar to that made from the schedules of 






250 ' STEPHEN B. WEEKS 



the first census, it is probable that little change would be noted from 
the proportion shown in 1790. In that section there has been a note- 
worthy preservation of the purity of the stock enumerated in 1790, 
contrasted with the extraordinary change in the composition of the 
population which has taken place in the remainder of the nation. 

And while this preservation of the purity of the original 
stock, maintained in the South for a century, has caused it to 
become the most English part of the nation, it is also true that 
it is the most conservative and is carrying into its public acts 



ted 



Puritv of 



English blood has also meant the strength of English con- 



servatism. 



II. The Lines of Immigration. 



One more question is pertinent im this connection. How 
did the immigrants get into Tennessee? This seems easier of 
answer than questions of similar import for some other states. 

During the years immediately preceding the war of the Rev- 
olution the Virginia settlements extended further westward 
than those of North Carolina and the line of migration lay 
directly along the Great Indian War Path which ran north- 
east and southwest and over which passed the northern and 
southern Indians "in their intercourse with distant tribes, in 
their hunting excursions, in their hostile expeditions and in 
their embassies of peace; this was the path of migration, the 
chase, the treaty, and savage invasion." Immigrants coming 
from more eastern and northern sections struck this path and 
crossed New River at Inglis's Ferry, not far from old Fort 
Chissel. They reached the Holston (North Branch) at Seven 
Mile Ford, crossed it near the Long Island and were then soon 
in Carter's Valley where, as has been seen, settlers from Vir- 
ginia located at an early date. 6 

The War Path continuing southwest passed close to Rogers- 
ville, Tennessee, which may be counted as the eastern terminus 
of the road laid out by Daniel Boone later known as the Wil- 
derness Road. This road turned westward, passed through 
Cumberland Gap and into the new Promised Land of Kentucky. 
Toward Cumberland Gap all southern roads looking into the 
unknown west converged, 7 just as in more modern times rail- 
roads converged at Kansas City and made that the gateway 
to the new southwest. 

But while the Wilderness Road was one of the oldest into 
the western country and one of the best known, it remained 
a mere trail till 1795, when it was widened into a wagon 
track. 8 

•Ramsey's Tennessee, p. 88; Royce's Cherokees, map. 

7 Speed , s Wilderness Road, p. 16. 

•A Century of Population Growth, 1790-1900, p. 21, quoting Speed, 

op. cit. 9 p. 51. 






TENNESSEE POPULATION 251 










* 

Following this trail southward from Virginia immigrants 
struck the north or western side of the Holston and thought 
they were still in Virginia. These trails — trade routes — ex- 
plain why one of the two Virginia settlements was in the pres- 
ent Sullivan County, in the extreme nowtheast of the state 
and the other in Hawkins, west and north of the Holston. 
These settlers were merely pushing out a little further from 
the Wolf Hills (now Abingdom, Virginia) into the Indian 
country. They had not left their base; there was no Indian 
country behind them. 

With the North Carolina settlers on the Watauga the case 
was different. They cut loose from their base of supplies; 
they invaded and traversed the Indian country. Coming from 
what is now central and Piedmont North Carolina, they turned 
to the northwest and struck the Yadkin Kiver somewhere not 
far from the present town of Huntsville, west of Winston- 
Salem. Daniel Boone had settled on the Yadkin about 1769, 
and he was perhaps the first to start this new trail. It seems 
reasonably certain that the pioneers from North Carolina fol- 
lowed up the Yadkin towards its source, passed by or near 
the site of the present Wilkesboro, went through some of the 
passes of the Blue Ridge into what is now Watauga County, 
struck the head waters of Watauga River perhaps near the 
present Boone, North Carolina, and following it westward 
passed through the Iron Mountain range and debouched upon 
the fertile Valley of the Watauga, sufficiently far away to 
assure them of safety against Gov. Tryon, the Great Wolf of 
Carolina. 

In the course of time this became the well established 
line by which emigrants from central North Carolina entered 
the Mississippi Valley for the double reason that it was freer 
from Indians than a more southern route could be and lay 
nearer Kentucky. It was doubtless over this same trail that 
Richard Henderson and his partners went from North Carolina 
to their newly purchased province in Kentucky, then known 
as Transylvania. 9 

The settlements on the Watauga again became the start- 
ing point for those who ventured still farther in this Anglo- 
Saxon breaking of the American wilderness. Before the eigh- 
teenth century had rounded out its eighth decade adventurers 
were floating down the Holston and from Holston into the 

9 So well established was this route about 1816 when William Darby 
first published his Emigrant's Guide that he gives the route and dis- 
tances from Knoxville, Tenn., to Raleigh, N. C— 394 miles (pp. 200-1). 
The route lay from Knoxville east by way of Dandridge, Greeneville, 
Jonesboro, and Elizabeth ton, Tenn., thence into Ashe County (now 
Watauga), N. C, to Wilkes Co., thence by a place called Rockford, to 
ITrmtsvillA in YaHkin Countv. to Salem, and thence eastward. 












252 STEPHEN B. WEEKS 



Tennessee on their long and dangerous trip to what was to 
become the Cumberland settlements, now Nashville, in Middle 
Tennessee. After floating down the Tennessee to its mouth 
they laboriously pushed up the Ohio to the Cumberland and 
then up that stream to the present Nashville. 10 This route 
was long and in part very laborious. It had the advantage of 
giving the emigrants an opportunity to carry their household 
property in flat boats more easily than they could do over- 
land, but the danger of attack by Indians was no less than by 
land, and soon settlers began striking overland from Watauga 
towards the new country in Middle Tennessee. In course of 
time two routes were developed. The northern route, known 
as Walton's Road, started at Wilsons, a little to the north 
of Knoxville, crossed the Clinch and passing by way of Mont- 
gomery anad near Cookeville united with the southern road and 
thence passed on to Nashville via Carthage, Hartsville, and 
Gallatin. The Cumberland road leaving Walton's Road east 
of Cookeville, went by way of Crossville and passed the Ten- 
nessee near its junction with the French Broad at Kingston 
and thence to Knoxville, which was said to be 192 miles from 
Nashville. 11 

Ramsey gives a third road which he calls Robertson's Route. 
It left Tennessee at Cumberland Gap, passed north of Cumber- 
land River and after a wide detour which included Mt. Vernon, 
Danville, Lebanon, and Bowling Green, Ky., entered Tennes- 
see near the modern Franklin, Ky. 12 

In the next generation, after the Cherokees had been to a 
large extent subdued, the Tennessee River route was largely 
used for emigrants who were pushing into northern Ala- 
bama and Mississippi. They floated down the Tennessee from 
Knoxville to the Muscle Shoals and then passed inland to the 
new settlements further south. It was towards Alabama main- 
ly that the more adventurous Tennesseeans of that generation 
turned their attention. As has been already pointed out in 

,0 Darby, Emigrant's Guide, pp. 194-5, gives the distance from the 
sources of the Holston to the mouth of the Tennessee as 697 miles. 
He names the various stopping places and the distance between each. 
The distance from Nashville to the mouth of the Cumberland he gives 
as 120 miles, so emigrants from Watauga who arrived by the all water 
route had to travel about 800 miles. The land route, via McMinnville 
and Kingston at the junction of Clinch and Holston, and thence to 
Knoxville was 192 miles. 

"See Royce's maps in his Cherokee Nation and his Indian Land 
Cessions where these roads are traced. 

12 It does not appear that this route was so much used. It repre- 
sented a wide detour from the more direct Walton and Cumberland 
roads. See Ramsey's map where it is called Robertson's Route and 
Royce's Cherokee Indians, map, where it is called the Nashville road. 
See also Speed's Wilderness Road, p. 63. 








































TENNESSEE POPULATION 253 



my study of public school education in Alabama, 13 the north- 
ern part of the state was settled to a large extent by the Ten- 
nessee overflow. The movement southward was more strictly 
a migration than that from Kentucky into Tennessee or from 
Tennessee into Kentucky. These latter were the usual free 
play of a mobile population on either side of a purely arbitrary 
political boundary. The two states were of substantially the 
same age, were physically alike, were settled by similar peo- 
ple and movement north or south was merely a question of 
economic advantage. On the other hand, movement into Ala- 
bama was an advance step, an invasion of the Indian coun- 

\ try. Before 1850, the earliest date when these migrations are 

considered in the census, the removals to Alabama and Missis- 
sippi had reached their flood and were receding in favor of 

I other states. At that date native Tennesseans were living 

in other states as follows: Alabama, 22,541; Mississippi, 27,- 
439; Texas, 17,692; Arkansas, 33,807; Kentucky, 23,623; In- 
diana, 12,734; Illinois, 32,303; Missouri, 44,970. In 1880 the 
Tennessee contingent in Kentucky had risen to 54,386; in Mis- 
souri to 72,454; in Arkansas to 87,593; and in Texas to 83,158. 
As might be shown in other cases the star of empire was still 

moving westward along lines of latitude. 

Stephen B. Weeks. 



13 



Published by the U. S. Bureau of Education, 1915 









JOHN BELL'S POLITICAL REVOLT, AND HIS 

VAUXHALL GARDEN SPEECH. 



There have seldom arisen, from the same environment, po- 
litical leaders so diverse in mind and temperament as James 
K. Polk and John Bell, who were long considered rivals for 
public favor in Tennessee. By nature Polk was a partisan. 
Bell an independent; Polk was resolute and aggressive, Bell 

was prudent and cautions; Polk was a master of detail, Bell 
was an expounder of general principles; Polk applied con- 
crete facts, Bell pointed out abstract truths; Polk was in- 
tensely practical, Bell was essentially theoretical, speculative, 
philosophical. These differences are singularly illustrated in 
the several platforms upon which they were nominated for 
the Presidency. When Polk ran in 1844, the paramount issue 
in his platform was crystallized into the popular slogan, "Polk, 
Dallas, and Texas," and he was fitted as few other men were, 
to do the particular thing desired by his party. When Bell 
made the race in 1860, he was planted upon a broad platform 
declaring for "The Union, the Constitution and the Laws," 
and left to his own genius to find a way to preserve and en- 
force them. 

These divergent characteristics made Polk the willing fol- 
lower of General Jackson, and produced in Bell a grudging 
support of his administration, and an open revolt against his 
party at the close of his term as President. 

Bell was something more than a year younger than Polk. 
He was born February 18, 1797, on Mill Creek, about six miles 
from Nashville. His father, Samuel Bell, who lived on the 
Murfreesboro road, not far from the Hermitage, was a suc- 
cessful farmer, and in 1799, was commissioned one of the 
justices of Davidson County, at that time an office of con- 
siderable dignity and responsibility. 

Bell was a young man of remarkable precocity. In 1814, 
while Polk, who suffered much from ill health in his youth, 
was still attending a grammar school, Bell was graduated 
from Cumberland College (University of Nashville), at the 
age of seventeen. His school mates reckoned him the most 
talented man in the institution, as Polk was afterwards con- 
sidered the most regular and diligent pupil in the University 
of North Carolina. 

Upon leaving college he began the study of law, was ad- 
mitted to the bar in 1816, and opened a law office at Franklin, 
in the adjoining county of Williamson. The following year he 
was selected by his neighbors to deliver the oration at a cele- 









• 



JOHN BELL 255 



bration of the Fourth of July, 1817. This oration aroused 
such enthusiasm that, before he left the grounds, he was nomi- 
nated as a candidate to represent Williamson County in the 
senatorial branch of the General Assembly, which was to con- 
vene in the city of Knoxville on the third Monday of Sep- 
tember following. Although he had an opponent in the field 
a gentleman of tried ability and high qualifications — and 
had only a month in which to make the canvass, he was elected 
by a handsome majority. Being only twenty years old, he 
was not yet of senatorial age, although the constitution did 
not then require any greater age in a senator than in a rep- 
resentative. 1 

In 1818, Senator Bell was married to Sally Dickinson, 

daughter of David Dickinson, of Rutherford County, and 

granddaughter of Col. Hardy Murfree. His wife was educated 

at the Moravian Female Academy, Salem, N. C, where she 

was the friend and associate of Sarah Childress, who became 

the wife of James K. Polk. After his marriage Bell abandoned 

politics for the time; he removed to Nashville and formed a 

partnership With Judge Henry Crabb, and for the succeeding 

nine years devoted himself assidiously to the practice of his 
profession. 

In 1827 Sam Houston, who had represented the Nashville 
district in Congress since 1823, became a candidate for Gov- 
ernor, and left the Congressional field open to the public. Two 
candidates entered the list, John Bell and Felix Grundv. Born 
in Virginia and reared in Kentucky, Grundy came to Ten- 
nessee in 1807. Three years later, in 1811, he was elected to 
Congress, and was re-elected in 1813, but resigned in 1814. 
During his three years' service in Congress, he had made more 
than a local reputation by his earnest and effective support 
of President Madison's war measures. Since his resignation, 
for a period of thirteen years, he had held no high office. He 
had been three times a state representative, while Bell had 
served one term as state senator. Each had devoted himself 
with brilliant success to the practice of the law, Bell having 
acquired a high standing at the bar as a lawyer of acuteness, 
research, and ability, while Grundy achieved fame as a crimi- 
nal lawyer that no Tennessean has yet surpassed. Grundy 
was fifty, and Bell thirty. The veterans of 1812 rallied to 
Grundy's standard, but the stalwart young Democrats enlisted 
under the banner of Bell. The district was composed of the 
counties of Davidson, Williamson, and Rutherford. Bell was 
born in Davidson, lived in Williamson and represented it in 

*Dr. J. W. Richardson, Speech on the Bell Resolution in the Ten- 
nessee Legislature, 1856, p. 7. 















25(i A. V. GOODPASTURE 






the state senate, and had married into an influential family 
in Rutherford. The canvass, which is famous for its brilliant 
oratory, and the intense interest it excited, continued for a 
whole year. * 

General Jackson lived in the district, and was then a can- 
didate for President, against John Quincy Adams. Both Bell 
and Grundy favored Jackson's election, as they must of neces- 
sity have done if they hoped to be elected. Public sentiment 
was so nearly unanimous for Jackson in Tennessee, that in 
the following Presidential election he received ninety-five per 
cent of the popular vote, against Adam's five per cent. Jack- 
son, who was never neutral, openly espoused the cause of 
Grundy. This was the first evidence of a want of sympathy 
between Jackson and Bell, though they were wholly incom- 
patible in their mental constitutions. Bell was wise but 
timid; Jackson was bold to the verge of temerity. Pausing 
before the dangers and difficulties in the way, Bell balanced 
the chances of success, and shuddered at the audacity with 
which Jackson dashed on — to victory. 

Still Bell supported Jackson for President. In a letter 
prepared for the public, Oct. 11, 1826, he declared the admin- 
istration of Adams owed its existence to a union of discordant 
and hostile interests, brought about by the arts of political 
management and intrigue, and congratulated the country that 
here existed such a man as Andrew Jackson to be the in- 
strument in the hands of the people, for its overthrow ; a man, 
he said, whose purposes are admitted to be always pure, whose 
mind seemed formed for great emergencies, and whose splen- 
did services placed him in deserved public favor, an immeas- 
urable distance in advance of all others. 2 

The election was held in August, 1827, and Bell was elected 
by a majority of 1024 votes. 

After the Congressional election a significant thing oc- 
curred, indicating that the discriminating public had detected 
an estrangement between Bell and Jackson : Notwithstanding 
Bell's exaggerated eulogy on Jackson, his sincerity was sus* 
pected, and his friends thought it necessary for him to again 
declare himself against the Adams administration and in 
favor of General Jackson, which he did in a public letter, 
Sept. 17, 1827. In that letter he says : "Those who know me 
will not suspect that I have avowed myself the friend of Gen. 
Jackson merely that I might avoid that destruction of po- 
litical prospects which an opposite course would have threat- 



2 John Bell: His Past History Connected with the Public Service f 
p. 2. 






JOHN BELL 257 






ened. I am not yet become ambitious of public honors/' 3 

When Bell took his seat in the national House of Repre- 
sentatives in 1828, Polk had already been a member of that 
body for two years, and was making reputation as an un- 
compromiisng Democrat, and as an able champion of his per- 
sonal and hereditary friend, General Jackson. 

The earliest political divergence between Polk and Bell 
| was upon the predominant question of a national bank. In 

[ August, 1829 — four months before Jackson's first message to 

Congress — Polk had declared his irreconcilable opposition to 
; the existence of any national bank. 4 Bell, on the other hand, 

while he voted against rechartering the Bank of the United 
! States, as early as 1832 made it plain that he favored the in- 

[ corporation of some sort of a national bank. 5 Coming as he 

did from Jackson's own Congressional district, this leaning 
of Bell toward the bank, made a rift in the ranks of the ad- 
ministration, which the opposition saw, and used with telling 

effect. 

In 1833, Andrew Stevenson, a supporter of the administra- 
tion, was re-elected for a third time Speaker of the House 
of Representatives, and Polk, who was the recognized leader of 
the Jackson forces in the House, was appointed chairman of 
the committee on wavs and means. But the following year 






' 



Stevenson, who had been appointed Minister to England, re- 
signed the Speakership, and it became necessary to elect 
his successor. Polk, the chairman of the committee on ways 
and means, was promptly nominated as the candidate of the 
Democratic-Republican party. The National Republicans 
united with a few bank Democrats in the support of Bell, 
with whom they hoped to divide and defeat the Administra- 
tion. The contest was close, determined, and bitter. It was 
decided June 2, 1834, when Bell was declared elected, having 
received four votes more than the majority necessary to a 
choice. 

Senator Hugh Lawson White, writing at the time, said : 
"I fear a want of kind feelings between them may grow out 
of the canvass, and be the means of dividing, at home, those 
who now pass for friends. Both are to me like children; 
therefore I took no part in the contest." 6 White was right; 
the friendly intercourse of the two distinguished Tennesseans 
was entirely severed, and was not mended by the succeeding 

3 John Bell: His Past History Connected with the Public Service, 

p. 2. 

4 John S. Jenkins: Life of James K. Polk, pp. 83-4. 

5 "Speech on Clayton Resolution," Abridgment of the Debates of 
Congress, Vol. 11, p. 624. 



6 



Nancy N. Scott: Memoir of Hugh Lawson White, p. 253. 



258 A. V. GOODPASTURE 



elections in 1835 and 1837, when Polk had his revenge by twice 
defeating Bell for the Speakership. It is pleasing to know, 
however, that near the close of Polk's administration, he and 
Bell, then a member of the United States Senate, were recon- 
ciled, through the good offices of Daniel Saffrons, of Gallatin, 
Tennessee; which was especially gratifying, as they expected 
to live neighbors in Nashville after Polk's retirement at the 
close of his term as President, and wished to live on terms of 
social and personal intercourse. 7 

Want of agreement with the dominant issue of the Demo- 
cratic party, and the united support of the Whig party in his 
race for Speaker of the House of Representatives, made easy 
the open revolt of Bell against Democratic party, which was 
the most brilliant epoch in his career. Occasion was found in 
the election of a successor to President Jackson. Van Buren 
was the leading candidate, and was known to be the favorite 
of the retiring President. After coquetting, not very suc- 
cessfully, with the Van Buren following, in his race for Speak- 
er, Bell determined to espouse the cause of Hugh Lawson 
White, without regard to the action of the Democratic Conven- 
tion. White was a Democrat, and next to Jackson, was the 
most popular man in Tennessee. He was a man of high charac- 
ter, firmness of purpose, and ardent patriotism, with consid- 
erable ability, experience, and learning — in fact, a man who 
would have honored the office of President; but from this 
viewpoint, it does not appear that he ever had the remotest 
possibility of election. 

Benton ascribes White's candidacy to the intrigues of de- 
signing politicians, operating through the vanity of his wife. 
"In his advanced age," he says, White "did the act which, with 
all old men, is an experiment; and, with most of them, an 
unlucky one. He married again; and this new wife having 
made an immense stride from the head of a boarding-house 
table to the head of a Senator's table, could see no reason why 
she should not take one step more, and that comparatively 
short, and arrive at the head of the President's table." And 
. quotes the exultant announcement of a Whig member of Con- 
gress from Kentucky: "Judge White is on the track, running 
gayly, and won't come off; and if he would, his wife won't 
let him." 8 

In November, 1832, White was married a second time, to 
Mrs. Ann E. Peyton, of Washington City. She was a widow 
of respectable, and even influential family, being the daughter 
of Colonel Craven Peyton, of Loudon County, Virginia, who 

Tolk's Diary, Vol. 3, pp. 258-60; 264-5; 284-5. 



» 



Thos. H. Benton: Thirty Years 9 View, Vol. 2, p. 185. 
















JOHN BELL 259 















lost his life in the war of 1812. Well educated, sensible, with 
charming manners, she was a woman of unusual attractions. 
She had been unhappy in her first marriage, was divorced, and 
resolved to maintain herself and her two children by her own 
exertions. Having failed in an attempt to establish a school 
at Alexandria, she opened up a boarding-house in Washing- 
ton, where, by good management, tact, and perseverence, she 
built up a profitable business. White had resided with her, 
when in Washington, from 1820 till their marriage in 1832. 
She Was an affectionate and devoted wife to him, and sur- 
viving him seven years, died at his residence near Knoxville, 
in April, 1847. 9 

If Mrs. White was ambitious to be the first lady of the land, 
the talent and virtues of her husband, as well as her own ac- 
complishments, justified the wish. But it is almost certain that 
White had his eye on the Presidency long before he was mar- 
ried to Mrs. Peyton. As early as April 28, 1830, in the middle 
of Jackson's first term, he wrote: "I have not, nor will I, com- 
mit myself to support any particular pretender after Jackson 
is off the stage. Of course I shall never have my exertions 
applauded in the Telegraph (Calhoun organ), nor in any 
other paper published here, while things remain as at pres- 
ent." 10 Again, May 18, 1932 : "I am for Gen. Jackson, but am 
not either a Calhoun Jackson man, or a Van Buren Jackson 
man, and therefore it is pleasing to the Globe (Jackson-Van 
Buren organ) and Telegraph (Calhoun organ) not to notice 
favorably anything I say or do; and as I am opposed to Mr. 
Clay, his papers will of course speak disrespectfully of me. 
Notwithstanding these difficulties, I will go on exactly as I 
have done, making myself as useful as I can; determined to 
leave myself at liberty, when Gen. Jackson is off the stage, to 
exercise my own judgment on the question of a successor." 11 

Van Buren, Calhoun, and Clay were the recognized candi- 
dates; White opposed them all. Whom, then, did he favor? 
The inference is strong that thus early he had hope that his 
claims to the succession might be taken up. Besides, the Ad- 
ministration had reckoned on his aspirations since the disso- 
lution of the cabinet in 1831, if not earlier. In 1833 and 1934 
his candidacy was freely and widely discussed. Finally, De- 
cember 20, 1834, he became an avowed candidate, having re- 
ceived the caucus nomination of the Tennessee delegation in 
Congress — Polk, Grundy, and Johnson only declining to enter 

the conference. 

Polk had been a warm personal and political friend of 

9 Nancy W. Scott : Memoir of Hugh Lawson White, pp. 419 ; 450-55. 
10 Ibid. 9 p. 270. 
n Ibid., p. 269. 






2<;0 A. V. GOODPASTURE 






White, and was then ready to support him, if it should be 
ascertained that he was the choice of a majority of the party. 
It was apparent, however, that Van Buren would receive the 
nomination of the Baltimore Convention, and, therefore, it 
was determined to run White as an Independent candidate. 

The Globe, the Democratic organ at the capital, charged 

that White was a tool in the hands of one deeper and more 

designing than himself; one whose foul and deep-laid scheme 

it was to defeat Jackson's administration and strengthen the 

hands of his enemies. This, it is said, referred to Bell. 12 

Whether Bell brought White into the race, or found him there, 

his candidacy accorded with Bell's feelings, and he accepted 

the leadership of his campaign. He delivered the keynote 

speech at Vauxhall Garden, Tennessee, May 23, 1834. This 

address was prepared with more care and labor than he ever 

devoted to another speech. The place chosen for its delivery 

was spacious and attractive. The audience was large and im- 
posing. 

Vauxhall Garden was a place of fashionable resort in the 
southern border of Nashville. It was modeled after the famous 
Vauxhall Gardens which flourished for two centuries in the 
city of London, whose 



Green groves, and wilderness of lamps 
Dimmed the stars. 



It contained a large assembly room, beautiful promenades, 
walks, and other places of amusement and recreation, laid otf 
and arranged in attractive style. 13 

Here Bell lighted the torch of revolt against the Demo- 
cratic party, and kindled a flame that swept the country like 
a besom, giving the opposition party a majority of nearly 
10,000 votes, in a State that, four years previously, had cast 
less than 1,500 votes for the gallant Henry Clay. The Demo- 
cratic leaders aligned the White party with the opposition 
(where they finally landed), and undertook to provoke from 
them an attack upon the Jackson administration, thus nar- 
rowing the contest to a fight between White and Jackson, 
leaving Van Buren, who was never popular in the South, in 
the background. How signally they failed will be seen by a 
synopsis of Bell's speech. He made the public believe White 
was a better Democrat than Van Buren; and eased them so 
gently into the Whig party that they never waked up until 
they were safely delivered. 

12 James Phelan: History of Tennessee, p. 367. 

"Eastin Morris: The Tennessee Gazeteer, Nashville, 1834, p. 122. 



\ 



JOHN BELL 261 






He said he was not a partisan, and was disqualified by 
feelings and principle from becoming one. 

Party had been the radical vice of other governments; 
and our system, and the extent of territory over which it 
operated, was peculiarly exposed to the assault of factions. 

For the last eight or ten years we had been in a state of 
moral war, and avoided physical war almost by a miracle. 
The fabric of our government had been shaken and convulsed 
to its center, and confidence in it impaired at home and 
abroad, not by anything peculiar in the questions that had 
arisen, but by party. 

There can be but two parties, the "ins" and the "outs." 
Every party is composed of factions. No man is exempt from 
error, and no institution or department of government without 
defects. These furnish handles to faction. 

Men are drawn into parties by a great variety of motives, 



good and bad. The ambition of bad men leads good men to 
believe it would be better if they were permanently invested 
with power; it leads men to destroy rather than let fall into 
the hands of those they believe to be bad and dangerous men. 

There was nothing in the questions which had arisen in the 
last eight or ten years, nor in the federative feature of our 
system, nor in the extent of territory over which it operates, 
nor even in the institution of slavery itself, to impair the har- 
mony, duration, and prosperous action of our system. The 
real danger lies in violent party action in the government 
itself. 

"While the party to which we all belong" was forming, 
each party contended which should go farthest in the support 
of both branches of the "American System," the Tariff and 
Internal Improvements. The extreme legislation resulted in 
the dangerous experiment of nullification. Likewise, the great 
combustion of feeling and opinion which kept the country in 
such alarm on the subject of the Bank, had its origin in the 
machinations of party, that common incendiary in free gov- 
ernments. Now it was proposed for the first time in the his- 
tory of free states to surrender the liberty and institutions 
of the country to the absolute control of this great enemy. 

He drew a striking analogy between the system of party 
organization and discipline in some states (by which he meant 
particularly New York), and the Society of Jesuits. 

He saw a foul blot upon the attempt to bring this system 
of party organization into National politics, — the deliberate 
attempt to procure the open and direct interference of the 
President in the question. 

He defended his own political record, and complained that 
his enemies had set themselves to work to effect a breach be- 



• 



• 



262 A. V. GOODPASTURE 



tween himself and the President; "a man," he said, "towards 
whom I have never failed in showing a proper respect, and 
whose administration I have faithfully supported." 

He alluded to the caucus of the Tennessee delegation in 
Congress that brought Judge White forward as a candidate 
for President. He defended White's record, and declared the 
race of White and Van Buren to be a contest between two of 
Jackson's friends. White had been more consistent than Van 
Buren in his support of Jackson. The friends of White would 
not seek to disturb the tranquility of Gen. Jackson's admin- 
istration, nor to defeat or unsettle any of those great ques- 
tions upon which he had acquired so much of his present 
power and influence. They would adhere to Gen. Jackson's ad- 
ministration from consistency and a respect for their own 
characters, and because they would be supporting their own 
principles. 

Some appeared to think Gen. Jackson could transmit to a 
successor of his own choice his own stern opinions, and his 
power over public opinion. The danger was rather that the 
reaction would be excessive, and that the executive in the 
next administration would not be felt as much as he ought. 
"It is a daring enterprise in any light in which it can be 
viewed, in any man, to attempt to wear the armor of the po- 
litical Achilles ! It is no puny arm that can wield the trunch- 
eon of Jackson." 

He then considered the general charge that the candidacy 
of Judge White would be dangerous to the "unity of the 
party," and undertook to show that the Jackson party had 
never been a unit on any question, except the Bank, the sup- 
port of Gen. Jackson, and the preservation of power. After 
artfully defending his own record on the Bank question, he 
again warned his countrymen against the excesses of party, 
and closed with these words : 

"When party is the watchword and ensign of those who 
fight for the spoils, the warning voice of patriotism says to 
every free man, to every White man, inscribe your COUNTRY 
upon your banner, and in hoc vince" 1 * 

The effect of the speech on his immediate auditors was ir- 
resistible; it convinced and inspired the men, and charmed 
the women. There chanced to be in the audience a young 
widow, Mrs. Jane (Ervin) Yeatman, of Bedford County. She 
was an accomplished lady, of fascinating manners and vigorous 
intellect, who had never before seen Mr. Bell, but who had 
heard of him, and sympathized deeply with him as a public 



14 



'/ 



f May 



Vauxhall Garden, 















JOHN BELL 263 



man. Mrs. Yeatman listened to the whole of his speech with 
the warmest admiration. When he had concluded she whis- 
pered to a friend : "Though I never before thought of marry- 
ing a second time, I do not know how I should be able to 
refuse a nuptial offer from such an orator and patriot." Bell 
probably heard of the conquest he had made, for in a few days 
he called to pay his respects to Mrs. Yeatman, and in due 
course they became husband and wife. 15 

The effect of Bell's speech was not confined to the large 
audience who heard it delivered; it was circulated in pamph- 
let form, and furnished the Opposition all over Tennessee the 
cue upon which the White campaign was pitched. The nick- 
name of "No-Party party" which they received was a tribute 
to Bell's speech. The "No-Party party" was militant, the 
tide was running their way, and the result proved it to be a 
ground-swell. Bell was re-elected to Congress without oppo- 
sition. Polk had a hard fight to hold his seat. White carried 
the state by an astounding majority. Jackson confidently 
awaited the "sober second thought" of the people. 

A. V. Goodpasture. 



16 Henry S. Foote: Bench and Bar of the South and Southwest. 
p. 177. 



DOCUMENTS 



1. Letters of General John Coffee to His Wife, 1813-1815 



INTRODUCTION, 

General John Coffee was born in Prince Edward County, 
Virginia, June 2, 1772, and died on his plantation, "Hickory 
Hill," on Coxe's Creek, near Florence, Alabama, July 7, 1833. 
His father, Joshua Coffee (1745-1797), removed in 1775 from 
Virginia to Granville County, North Carolina, and became in 
1780 a captain in the Granville regiment of militia. For nine 
months he saw service toward the South in the Revolutionarv 
militia. After the close of the Revolution he removed to 
Rockingham County, North Carolina, where he died in 1797. 
He left a widow, Elizabeth Graves Coffee (1751-1804), and 
three children, Thomas Graves Coffee, John Coffee and Mary 
Coffee, w r ho married Simpson Harris. The elder son became 
a resident of Alabama and the two younger children removed 
to Tennessee. It was in April, 1798, that John Coffee came 
with his mother to the village of Haysborough, on the Cum- 
berland River, near the present village of Madison, a few 
miles above Nashville. There he was a merchant and a sur- 
veyor. He was well educated for those days, and his skill as 
a surveyor was a material factor in his unusually successful 
career. 

Though it was once considered as a uossible rival of Nash- 



been 



ory. There lived a number of strong and sturdy children of 
the pioneers. The founder of the town was Colonel Robert 
Hays, who married a sister of Mrs. Andrew Jackson. A 
brother of these notable women was Captain John Donelson, 
whose daughter, Mary, was married in 1809 to John Coffee. 
John Donelson, Senior, was the celebrated co-founder with 
James Robertson of the Cumberland settlement, the leader 
of the flotilla headed by the boat, Adventure, which brought 
the colony to the Cumberland in 1780. His granddaughter, 
Mary Donelson Coffee, was sixteen years of age at her mar- 
riage. She lived until December 1871, and was the mother 
of ten children,— Mary Donelson Coffee (1812-1839), who 
married Andrew Jackson Hutchings; John Donelson Coffee 
(1815-1837), who married Mary N. Brahan; Elizabeth Graves 



Coffee (1817-1838) 



(1819-1891), who 



married Elizabeth Hutchings and was an officer in the war 
with Mexico; Alexander Donelson Coffee (1821-1901), who 
was first married to Ann E. Sloss, then to Mrs. Camilla Mad- 









COFFEE LETTERS 265 









ding Jones; Rachel Jackson Coffee (1823-1892), who married 
A. J. Dyas; Katherine Coffee (1826-1881) ; Emily Coffee (1828- 
1829); William Coffee (1830-1903), wlio married Virginia 
Malone; Joshua Coffee (1832-1879). Alexander Donelson Cof 
fee and William Coffee were officers in the Confederate army. 

Some time in his earlier years John Coffee became the de- 
voted friend of Andrew Jackson and continued so until his 
death. With him, John Hutchings and some of the Donelsons, 
Jackson was for a time a silent partner in mercantile busi- 
ness. Coffee was engaged as a merchant from 1802 to 1807, 
but, as he himself said, "From some accidents or losses, and 
from bad calculations or mismanagement, this proved a losing 
business." He further said : 

"In the early part of the year 1807 I engaged in the sur- 
veying business in the then newly acquired country on the 
rivers Duck and Elk, which business, by my great exertions 
and unremitting attention, proved profitable. In the course 
of two years I was thereby enabled to pay the arrearages of 
my mercantile debt, amounting to six thousand dollars, be- 
sides reserving to myself several valuable tracts of land." 

When Mary Donelson was married to John Coffee in Oc- 
tober, 1809, her father gave her a farm on Stone's River, about 
two miles from the present village of Jefferson, in Rutherford 
County, and there they resided until their removal to Alabama 
in 1819. This farm is situated about ten miles from the 
Hermitage, near which Mrs. Coffee's father resided. It was 
not very long after his removal to the Stone's River farm 
that John Coffee was chosen as clerk of the County Court of 
Rutherford County. He held this office and operated the farm 
until the thrilling movements of 1812 brought him into the 
field for military service. In fact, even by this time he was a 
prominent and popular citizen. He was regarded as great of 
body and of heart. He was tall, broad-shouldered, gentle in 
manner, but brave and intelligent. In the year 1806 he had 
fought an almost harmless duel with Nathaniel McNairy out 
of his partisanship for Jackson in the troubles leading to 
his duel with Dickinson. When Aaron Burr was making 
Jackson believe that a war with Spain was imminent, Jackson 
suggested Coffee as his first choice as colonel of one of the 
regiments to be raised in Tennessee. It is not remarkable then 
that John Coffee was colonel of a regiment in the very first 
expedition that went out from Tennessee in the second war 

with Great Britain. 

The story of his military career — so full of courage, faith- 
fulness and heroism — is well told in American history and 
especially in the biographies of Andrew Jackson. Fortunately, 
he left many letters and other papers. His letters to his father- 

— 2Hist. 









266 DOCUMENTS 



in-law, Captain John Donelson, written during his military 
campaigns, are the property of the Tennessee Historical So- 
ciety. They were published in the American Historical Maga- 
zine for April, 1901. His letters to his wife have been sacred- 
ly preserved by his descendants and these and other papers 
are now furnished for publication by Mrs. A. D. Coffee, of 
Florence, Ala., and Mr. Robert Dyas, of Nashville, a son of Gen- 
eral Coffee's daughter, Mrs. Rachel Coffee Dyas. Many let- 
ters written by General Coffee to General Jackson are a part 
of the Jackson papers originally committed to Amos Kendall, 
then to Frank P. Blair, and now in the Division of Manuscripts, 
Library of Congress. Mr. Robert Dyas has submitted to the 
editor of the Magazine for examination the original letters of 
Jackson to Coffee, covering a period of many years and deal- 
ing familiarly and often confidentially with a multitude of 
subjects. It is to be hoped that this most interesting collection 
can be published at no distant date. General Coffee's letters 
to his wife are always affectionate and practical. In nearly 
all of them she is addressed as, "My Love," or "My dear 
Wife," and they close with fond expressions of tender devotion. 
They exhibit the finest spirit of duty and kindness in the 
heart of the heroic Indian fighter and the brigade commander 
at New Orleans, of whom General Jackson said : "John Coffee 
is a consummate commander. He was born so. But he is so 

modest that he doesn't know it." 

These letters, telling wjth simple art their momentous 
story, are yet full of details of home life, farm management 
and relations with kindred and friends. They show a thrifty 
mind, a determination to see that all at home are well pro- 
vided for. The story opens with the Natchez expedition, fruit- 
less save for its military discipline. The great drama of the 
Creek War, the expedition in Pensacola, and the New Orleans 
campaign — a succession of victories — is told in plain contem- 
porary narrative. 

In presenting these letters many of the references to do- 
mestic details are omitted, with due indications of such omis- 
sions. Minor errors in punctuation have been corrected. The 
letters are set forth in groups, and further explanation will be 
given with each group. In nearly all cases the letters to Mary 
Coffee are directed to Rutherford County, Tennessee. 

John H. DbWitt. 



COFFEE LETTERS 267 









The Natchez Expedition, 1813. 

The Natchez expedition is well known in history. President 
Madison planned an invasion and occupation of West Florida. 
In November, 1812, the governor of Tennessee received a call 
for fifteen hundred volunteers for the defense of New Orleans 
thus the real purpose was withheld, as New Orleans was not 
threatend by the British. Andrew Jackson, major-general of 
Tennessee militia, was impatient for some real military service. 
In that year John Coffee had raised a troop of cavalry and 
when Jackson's army was finally organized Coffee was elected 
colonel of the regiment of cavalry, or mounted gunmen, num- 
bering 670. Jackson went by river in flat-bottomed boats to 
Natchez with the two regiments of infantry, commanded by 
Colonels Thomas Hart Benton and William Hall (afterward 
governor). They left Nashville on January 7, 1813. Colonel 
Coffee's regiment assembled at Franklin, and on January 19 
began the march overland. On February 16 the three regi- 
ments were united near Natchez. Coffee's regiment stopped at 
Washington, in the territory of Mississippi, a short way from 
Natchez. 

Great was the disappointment of officers and men, when 
after a month of idleness an order came from the War De- 
partment to disband. General Jackson, instead, led the force 
back to Nashville at his own expense, for which he was after- 
ward reimbursed. 

The following letters relate to this expedition : 

John Coffee to Mary Coffee. 

1. Nashville, Friday night 12 o'clock, January 2nd, 1813. 

When duty requires it, all who wish to act justly, will and must 
obey, although our private interest, as well as our most tender wishes, 
would dictate otherwise, — when I parted with you last, I flattered 
myself if detained here thus long, I would have had the gratification 
of seeing you again before I left the State, but in this I am and must 
be disappointed, when I am absent from my command all appears to 
be wrong, it's hard to get along with my business when present, but 
worse, much worse, when away — therefore have resolved to do my 
duty at the sacrifice of my dearest interest and wishes, and I know 
you will, like a true patriot, applaud my resolution, notwithstanding 
your fond desire that I could be with you, — but the time will soon roll 
away when, I hope, the situation of our country will not require the 
service of her citizens — and then my love we can sit down in peace 
and enjoy the comforts that are laid in store for us and which we 
shall so fondly enjoy, to which time I shall look forward with 
anxious solicitude, when we can sit down with our dear little infant 1 
daughter and spend our days in each other's tender embrace — 

, Mary Coffee, who in 1833 married Andrew Jackson Hutchings, a grand- 
nephew of Mrs. Andrew Jackson, son of John Hutchings, who by will made General 
Jackson guardian of Andrew. This is the first will recorded at Huntsville, Alabama. 
It was written by the hand of Andrew Jackson, and Mrs. Jackson was one of the 

witnesses. 

The letters of General Jackson to Andrew Jackson Hutchings are now in the cus- 



268 DOCUMENTS 



I have seen Mr. Eastin 2 he tells me you and little Mary are well,- 
I expect by the time this reaches you a part of S. Harris 8 family 
will be with you. I saw Mr. Harris, who said Lucinda 4 would go 
with the first waggon — himself and wife would wait untill the last 
of their property went, the waggon left here this morning to go to 
his house for the last load, so you may not expect them for near a 
week, — I hope all is going on well — are the boys doing anything about 
getting in the corn — I expect the weather is so bad they cant do 
much— do my dear encourage them to progress as well as they can 
untill Mr. Harris comes, when I am in hopes he will superintend the 
business of the farm — I dont recollect anything to advise you of 
more than when I left home — I wish you would write me a line by 
Ben, 5 about matters and things as I shall feel very anxious to hear 
from you as well as to know the situation of my farm etc. — I have 
sent Ben expressly for that purpose, as I cannot come myself. I 
dent expect to write you again untill some opportunity offers on the 
read, when or where I cannot say — I flatter myself I shall have a 
pleasant trip although the weather is as yet bad, we shall soon reach 
a more temperate climate — And I have an agreeable set of officers 
as companions, and have no doubt all be pleasant. 

P. S. I expect we shall leave this place on Wednesday next — on 
the line of march — 

2. Camp near Franklin, January 16, 1813. 

I received yours requesting me once more to visit you before my 
final departure from the State. I need not remark to you, as I am 
sure you are apprised of my great anxiety to do so, did not prudence 
and a sense of my duty dictate otherwise, I am not disposed to com- 
plain or shrink from the task I have undertaken, but will only ob- 
serve, that its a laborious one, it requires all the Philosophy, all the 
energy and firmness I am master of, to keep things going on in a 
proper train, One hour's absence will take days to regain the former 
order of things, I am now left to the entire command of my Regi- 
ment, and the eyes of my men and those of the world are upon me, 
and one small piece of neglect would never be regained by me 
during life, under those circumstances I think, my^ love, you will 
applaud my resolution, and approve the privation of enjoying one more 
evening with an affectionate wife and tender infant — untill I have 
discharged the trust reposed in me by my country. . . . 

I expect to leave this on Monday next on our final march, I shall 
pass through Columbia, Colbert's ferry and direct to Natchez, where 
I expect to meet General Jackson again. I fear he will be froze up 
in the river with the ice for some time yet to come — Mr. Wilson will 
hand you this, as he goes home, by the time he returns do write me by 
him, I shall expect you to write by all safe opportunities as it will 
be the greatest pleasure I can here enjoy to receive a line from you, 
how is our sweet little Mary and yourself. Am in perfect health. 

tody of the Tennessee Historical Society through the kindness of Mr. Robert Dyas. 
They have never been published. They reveal a tender love and solicitude for the 
young man and show the deep religious convictions and kindly emotions of General 
Jackson. 

a Wil1iam Eastin, a merchant of Nashville and Franklin, who in 1809 married 
Rachel Jackson Donelson, a sister of Mrs. Coffee. 

•Simpson Harris, of Rutherford County, who was the husband of General Coffee's 
sister, Mary Coffee Harris. He was the great-grandfather of Rev. John Royal Harris. 
D.D., a well-known Presbyterian minister, now of Pittsburgh, Pa. 

4 Lucinda Harris, daughter of Simpson Harris. She married Dr. Horatio De 
Priest, of Columbia, Tennessee. 

•Ben was General Coffee's negro servant. 



COFFEE LETTERS 269 












3. Camp near Franklin, Tenn., January 18, 1813. 

I drop you this line by Mr. McCulloch who is just about to leave 
me, and has promised to hand you a bundle of papers, that you will 
take care of, I had prepared them to send by your brother Sandy 
who is in the neighborhood, but seeing Mr. McC have got him to 
deliver them to you. If your father wishes to see any of my papers 
do shew them to him as he may want to transact some business for 
me in my absence, I have requested him to do so, — I saw Mr. Harris 
yesterday as he passed by here, and he has promised me that he will 
move up immediately and attend to any business of the farm, I hope 
he will do so. ... I shall, to a certainty, leave this place to- 
morrow, and move on without halting again — I will write perhaps 
from Columbia but if I do not, will write by every opportunity — hope 
to hear from you by Ben Wilson, by whom I wrote you, am crowded 
with business but am [well] and enjoy perfect health — hope you and 
our little daughter are in good health, — how does she grow, write me. 

4. Camp at Colbert's Ferry, January 28, 1813. 

We reached the Tennessee river on the evening of the 25th Instant 
and took us two days to cross the river, which we completed last 
night. I find all the Indians on the road, and particularly the Colbert 
family, are very accommodating to us, we shall be tolerably well 
supplied in passing through the nation, Colonel Henderson is in ad- 
vance of us about an hundred miles laying in supplies, who informs 
me he succeeds very well. We march slow, not more than from 20 
to 23 miles per day. It will take us upward of 20 days yet to reach 
Natchez, shall move on this morning — I am advised that the Indians 
below here on the road are alarmed at our approach, many of them 
leaving their homes uninhabited — I am informed the inhabitants in 
the lower Country are much gratified at hearing of our marching to 
their relief, but they know of no enemy to combat with, their country 
as yet is uninvaded, — since my being in camp I hear no news, being 
generally engaged in the execution of my duties, the men under my 
command appear perfectly careless and easy, quite chearful, and no 
expectation of meeting an enemy any where — yet wishing to do 
all now goes on easy since we commenced our march, being now con- 
vinced all is not a bubble — 

I wrote you by Alex McCulloch, since which nothing occurs to 
advise you of, only that I called at Doctor Deprist's, saw Sister 
Harris and all the girls, all are well, Betsey was very chearful, and 
friendly as usual, she promised me to visit you early in the spring, 
enquired of you in the most affectionate manner — I expect Mr. Harris' 
family will have reached you before this line does, he promised me 
he would attend strictly to the business, very probably they will have 
to sell their boy Dave, he was still run away. I wrote to your 
father, when at Franklin, that I wanted him to consult with you about 
the business of the farm, and if you thought it best to hire a man 
to make a crop, this I want you to think of and do as you and him 
think best, — I fear very much you will be at a loss to keep things to- 
gether, it is a task I never thought to have put on you, but the nature 
of things as they have turned up require it, and I know you have 
resolution enough to do anything. A soldier's wife will shrink at 
nothing — It was hard that I was confined so near home so long and 
not able to see you, but I congratulate myself that all will be right 
one day, nothing but my absence from you and our sweet little Mary 
interferes with my enjoyment, I enjoy perfect health, strength, and 
spirits, — I hope you are chearful and will spend your time in social 

•Alexander Donelson, who was killed at the battle of Emuckfau, January, 1814. 



270 DOCUMENTS 



intercourse with your friends all around you — write me to Natchez 
immediately on the receipt of this, get Mr. Herndon to enclose your 
letter in one from him, — he will know how to direct it, — I shall not 
fail to write when an opportunity offers. 

5. Chickasaw Agency, February 4, 1813. 

I arrived here yesterday, in good health as is also my whole Regi- 
ment. We have had excessive bad weather, constant rains and snows, 
ever since we left Franklin, the roads have been very bad, although 
we have got on very well. The weather is now very fine, and I hope 
it will remain so. We are now one hundred miles south of Colbert's 
ferry, Tennessee river, in the heart of the Indian country, The In- 
dians are remarkably kind, and furnish us with every thing they have, 
We do very well, get plenty of corn and fodder, meat, etc. I find 
we shall not want for anything while passing through this country — , 
Have had no account from the lower country, all accounts say there 
is no appearance of an enemy there. I know not what we are to 
do — perhaps nothing — if so, the easier done, I have not heard from 
any of my friends or acquaintances since I started, Tell Mr. Eastin 
to write me, I shall expect to receive a letter from you, directed to 
Natchez, write me fully on any business that may have occurred 
since your last, — but more particularly how you and little Mary are, 
can she talk or walk, tell me all about her. I hope by next spring, 
when I shall again return to my dear wife and child, to find her much 
grown in person and in sprightlyness, You must improve her all you 
can and try to learn her to talk. I hope you are enjoying yourself 
with your friends, you certainly will do so, — were I to hear that you 
had secluded yourself it would give me great uneasiness, I hope my 
dear you will be particularly happy untill I return. 

6. Cantonment Washington, six miles from Natchez, 

February 21, 1813. 
I arrived at this place on the 16th Instant, after a journey of 
four weeks from the day I left Franklin, during which time I have 
experienced various kinds of weather, — for the first half very cold 
and wet, the latter 1 part very fine and the roads good, — General Jack- 
son, with his Infantry, landed at Natchez the same day I got to this 
place and the next day he marched them all here. On tomorrow we 
shall remove from this about one mile from the town, where we shall 
encamp in the woods, and wait for further orders — It is very prob- 
able we shall not go further down the river than this, as there are 
no appearances of an enemy in any part of this country. General 
Wilkinson 7 has advised General Jackson to halt here supposing this 
to be the most central point to act from, whether to the South, East 
or West, which appears so plausable that the General has determined 
to act accordingly — I espect in a few weeks we shall know our desti- 
nation. Have just heard of the defeat of General Winchester, hope 
it is not as bad as we have heard — the Inhabitants here are very 
hospitable, they treat the volunteers with the greatest attention and 
kindness, the most respectable giving dinings et. etc. I have not 
had it in my power to see any of our friends in this country as yet, 
I passed Mrs. Cafferys 8 (who lives 5 miles from the road) before I 

'Major-General James Wilkinson, first the confederate and then the enemy of 
Aaron Burr. At this time he was at New Orleans in command of the Southern mili- 
tary district. 

•Mrs. Caffery was a sister of Mrs. Andrew Jackson. She married Captain John 
Caffery, originally from Virginia. It is probable that they accompanied her father. 
Col. John Donelson, in the "Adventure" m 1780, but went on down the Mississippi 
and settled at Natchez. However, it is known that Capt. CafTery lived at a later date 
in Davidson County near to the home of Capt John Donelson. The Cafferys finally 
went to Louisiana. ^ One of their descendants, Donelson Caffery, was a United States 
Senator froiri Louisiana twenty years ago. 


















COFFEE LETTERS 271 




knew where she lived, I also passed Mr. Green's 9 without going near 
enough to call, I hear all are well — 

My dear, I have not had the pleasure of hearing from you since 
I left Franklin. I had expected at this place to have rec'd a letter, 
but as yet am disappointed, hope by next mail I shall, — time goes on 
slow, notwithstanding we live easy, If I had you and sweet little 
Mary with me, I should be perfectly happy, How does she come on, 
say something about her in your next line — I feel exceedingly anxious 
to hear from you, lest some fatality may have happened to you, I 
knew not the anxiety I should feel untill I have experienced 
could I hear often from you it would afford me the greatest relief 
I could possibly obtain at this distance — therefore hope you'll not 
omit writing me at least once in two weeks, Until I advise you of 
my removal, direct your letters to Washington, Mississippi Territory 

What has become of Mr. Harris's family — have they moved up? 
I saw sister Polly 10 and the girls at Columbia who told me they would 
move up immediately, expect they are with you, they were then all 
very well, do write me how they are situated and doing — I wrote 
you a scrawl from the Chickasaw agency, among other letters I was 
writing on business, and in the midst of hurry and bustle, I dont 
know what I wrote, or thought hardly, as my mind was very much 
engaged on the business of my Regt. As yet I have been fortunate, 
the Indians through which I have passed, have been remarkably kind. 
I suffered for nothing when among them, they fed my men and horses 
bountifully and showed every mark of respect, to us they could — 
I have enjoyed excellent health myself, and the men also under my 
command — If any business of mine should have occurred since my 
departure from home, advise thereof — I shall continue to write you 
every opportunity. 

P. S. 22nd. Last night we had snow and sleet — its now very 
cold, more so than usual, and now packed up to march to our in- 
tended encampment — all is well — as I pass through town shall drop 
this letter in the post office. 

7. Camp Jackson, One mile from Washington, February 28, 1813. 

I again take up my pen to write you, I did expect to have heard 
from you by last mail, but have been disappointed. We are encamped 
in a wood, have been at cantonment near Washington and at this 
place since the 16th Instant, Removed here supposing the situation 
more healthy and clean, and plenty of fuel, Our men are very 
healthy, some few complaints, but all are mending. My Regiment 
enjoys more health now than at any period heretofore since embodied. 
Since here, have had some very cold weather, but now it is quite 
warm and pleasant, though am astonished to find gardening so late, 
very few have done anything in that way 

As to our future movements I am uninformed, the General has 
not received orders to march any where from this place, and we can- 
not here see any probable prospects of an enemy in any part of this 
country. Some conjectures that we may be ordered to Mobile to take 
possession of west Florida. Perhaps it may so turn out, as we return 
home. I cannot think we shall be long continued here without gov- 
ernment adopts some more energetic measures, — seeing no prospects 
of any thing to do increases the anxiety to return home, Under a 

9 Probably Abner Green, a son-in-law of Anthony Hutchings and probably a relative 
of Mrs. Coffee. Mrs. Jackson stayed at his home just prior to her marriage to General 
Jackson. 

10 Mrs. Simpson Harris, General Coffee's sister. 



272 DOCUMENTS 



hope that we could render our country important services, we con- 
sented to the sacrifice of leaving our homes, our families and all our 
individual interest, but in that hope I now suppose all will be dis- 
appointed, and instead of a benefit only be an expense to our Country 
— but should this be the case we shall console ourselves under the re- 
flection that we have attended the call of our country and would 
fondly have rendered any services in our power — 

1st March. I commenced writing last evening, since when the 
General has reed letters from General Wilkinson at New Orleans, who 
says he has no instructions from government, which keeps us still 
in the dark. — Have been here 13 days and within five miles of Natchez, 
have not yet been there, shall see it today on a special invitation of 
my old friend Mr. W. Jackson, who is with us every day. The citizens 
around us are hospitable and devour, our time is rendered as agree- 
able as under such circumstances it can be — and the men very well 
contented — I have myself enjoyed good health, this morning weighed 
216 lbs which is as heavy as I ever was — General Jackson two days 
past has been somewhat unwell with a cold though getting better 
since being bled — I flatter myself I shall receive a line from you by 
the mail which arrives early tomorrow morning — my anxiety is great 
to hear from you and Mary, By a letter from your Aunt Jackson, 
to the General, reed by last mail, she says you were well which is 
all I have heard since I left Franklin — how is the prospects for a 
crop, our little farm now should be progressing. Do my love stimu- 
late the boys to do the best they can. I cannot, at the distance I am 
from you, pretend to dictate whats to be done, but industry is a 
requisite that cannot be dispensed with by them — I hope my dear 
you will not neglect writing me as you promised when I parted with 
you, as its all important to my enjoyments here, to know how you 
are doing, I presume you may write me to this place, after the rect 
of this provided you do it immediately. . . . 



8. 



Camp Jackson, March 8, 1813. 



Yours of the 18th February I reed, by last mail, which was the 
first information I had received of you since I left Franklin and 
which afforded my mind much relief to hear that you were well, and 
that our sweet little daughter was much grown and doing well also,- 
we are at the same place as when I wrote you last, no prospects of 
going further, vague reports say we will be ordered by the way of 
Mobile as we return, to take possession of that country, — this is un- 
certain, perhaps we may have to pass through the Creek nation, even 
that is uncertain, although they have committed recent murders, which 
I presume you have the particulars of more correct than we hav 




Last night, for the first time, Mr. A. Green visited us. He stayed 
with me all night, says his family enjoys bad health, has lost his 
two only daughters, has three sons left, he is determined to move to 
Tennessee this spring, your Aunt Caffery will go with him, she is 
very anxious to return to her friends. I have not seen her. Mr. 
Knox u and Polly is well, and will I suppose also move if the others 
do. Have quite an easy time, live in camp, have only been once to 
Natchez and then stayed only two hours. I find my tent the most 
comfortable place I can get. I enjoy health and good spirits, as do 
the men generally. General Jackson was, when I wrote you last, in- 
disposed, he has got quite well — have no news here in camp or in 
the country since the defeat and imprisonment of General Winchester, 

"John Knox, who married Mary (Polly) Caffery, daughter of Capt. John Caffery 
and Mary Donelson Caffery. He was a son of Benjamin Knox and a cousin of 
President James Knox Polk. 






COFFEE LETTERS 273 



I would to God we had been with him, we would have changed the 
scene with those rascals — I expect we shall have to go there yet be- 
fore they can be flogged — what say you, had we not better pass on 
through Tennessee and Kentucky to their aid — as we have began the 
campaign had we not better go there to end it, — say something on 
this subject in your next, but I know you are such a soldier you'll 
sanction the thing. How are all our friends, — have not reed a line 
from one of them — would be glad to hear anything — I dont recollect 
whether I said anything in my last about Colonel Purdy and Lady 
starting on to Tennessee they left here 8 days past, and will reach 
there in about 30 days. Mrs. Purdy was quite well and perfectly 
recovered. • . . 

I was very sorry to learn from you that you had not visited your 
friends in Davidson, on the 18th of Feby. Why my dear are you so 
careless about your parents, or all others of your relations? It would 
give me much satisfaction to learn you enjoyed yourself with your 
friends when I was absent — and from the same rule of reasoning I 
suppose you have not seen any of the neighbors. O, my love, this 
won't do, — go the rounds and ask them to see you, and that will keep 
you alive — but without company I fear you'll forget how to be social — 
I hope when I hear from you again to hear all about the neighbors 
and friends and this will be an evidence that you have been neigh- 
borly — write me again to this place. 



9. 



Camp Jackson, March 15, 1813. 



By Stockley Hays 12 last evening I reed, your letter of the 20th 
Ult. which contained the pleasing intelligence that you and our 
little daughter were well, and that the latter had grown finely, all 
of which was pleasing information. — 

By last mail, which came to hand yesterday, we received orders 
from the War department to return home, and which will be put in 
execution as fast as possible, we are now all in a bustle making ready 
for our march, expect to start in 4 or 5 days, all together, Infantry 
and Cavalry, which will retard our movements, Calculate on being 
one month on the road, when I hope to have the pleasure of seeing 
you at home, — we have had a fatiguing trip and as things have turned 
out will be for nothing, but that was to us unknown, Our men would 
have gone home better satisfied could they have had one stump of a 
fight, but perhaps better so than worse, yet I flatter myself had we 
been put to the test, a good account would have been rendered from 
the Volunteers, we had just begun to learn how to do duty when we 
shall be discharged. — 

I am very glad to hear Mr. Harris has hired Billey Boak 13 as I 
think his steadiness will do something, although I know it will be 
slow — I am in hopes I shall be at home myself in time to have a 
crop made, — do direct the whole of the land prepared for a crop, and 
if there should be more than can be attended, when I get home can 
have it brought up, and thereby we can make a crop, — nothing here 
has transpired since I wrote you last, — I enjoy good health, as does 
the men generally, I wish you would send word to Bery Wilson's and 
Henry W. Peak's family that they are all well and so is the others of 
their friends, and all in good spirits, You may say to Miss Charlotte 
that the Captain has just applied for a permit to leave us and return 
home in great haste, but it cannot be granted, therefore she may 

12 Stockley Donelson Hays, a son of Col. Robert Hays and a first cousin of Mrs. 
Coffee. 

18 Billey Boak was an overseer, often mentioned by General Coffee in earlier corre- 
spondence when he lived at Haysborough. 



274 DOCUMENTS 






expect him when we all arrive. As I mentioned we would probably 
get home in one month, it may be a few days longer as its uncer- 
tain as to the precise time of starting, but we will certainly be off 
in a week from this time. ... I don't expect to write to you 
again untill I get to the Chickasaw agency which is about half way 
home. There I will inform you of our movements — 

The Creek War, 1813-14. 

The campaign to avenge the massacre at Fort Minis and 
drive the Creeks out of the present State of Alabama was 
waged largely by Tennesseans. The call from the South was 
quickly heeded by General Jackson and his militia. The place 
of rendezvous was Pavetteville, Tennessee. Colonel Coffee 
with his regiment of cavalry and mounted gunmen went ahead 
and reached Huntsville on October 4, 1813. On the tenth they 
were joined by Jackson and his forces. The following letters 
describe the movements of Coffee's command from this time. 
It should be remembered that they were scant of supplies, with 
vaguely enlisted men, advancing into the enemy's country in 
large part a wilderness. 

10. Camp Batey near Huntsville, [Date not given]. 

I have omitted writing you untill my final course was shaped. I 
have been here five days getting things ready to enter the Indian 
country. Tomorrow morning I shall take up my line of march, shall 
go from this to Fort Hampton near the mouth of Elk river, from 
there by the way of Colbert's ferry and then on towards fort St. 
Stephens — our first place of destiny. There is no more appearance 
of Indians doing mischief here than there is on Stone's river, and 
the best informed here have always thought so. The alarm has arisen 
from the poor cowardly creatures that have run off, and left their 
all, in every direction and without knowing for what. We have sent 
spies over the river that have been seventy miles direct into the 
Indian Country, who have this day returned and say that there is 
no appearance of the Indians coming this way at all. Seeing the 
people here are perfectly secure, I shall now proceed to the relief 
of the poor suffering people on the Mobile. George Smith and Sandy 
with twenty men has gone on before me with Col. McKee, an Indian 
agent, to make provisions for me as I go on. I have under my com- 
mand upwards of thirteen hundred men and have been compelled to 
turn off several hundred others that I could not provide for. I am 
sufficiently strong to go anywhere, without any kind of danger, and 
when General Jackson comes on with his 2500 men, now at Fayette- 
ville, we shall be able to over run the Creek nation, and I fear we 
shall never see an Indian for, as they hear of our strength, they will 
fly before us and never risque an action. If men flock in to the Gen- 
eral in proportion to what they have done to me, he will have an 
army that can drive the Creek nation like a flock of bullocks, and 
from all I can learn they will and more too. . . . 

11. Camp Coffee, South Side Tennessee, October 13, 1813. 

I wrote you a few days since but have not had an opportunity of 
sending it, but I herewith sent it you, that you may more fully un- 
derstand our different movements. Here, since the writing of that 
letter, we have had nlausable intelligence of the enemv intending to 






COFFEE LETTERS 275 



come against Madison County, which halted me here untill the facts 
could be more fully ascertained. Seeing I had to detain, I moved 
about seven hundred of my men over the Tennessee River, to build 
a small fort, and encamped at this place which is two miles above 
Dittoe's landing on the south of the river. Soon after I encamped, 
there came other news that the whole Creek Nation was moving on 
this way in one body and would, in all probability, reach us the 
same night. After we received the information, we prepared, and 

expected an attack, and continued in expectation two days and 
nights, when Genl. Jackson, with his army, arrived and joined me 
which was yesterday. We are now out of any apprehension of being 
attacked, being strong enough to meet the enemy anywhere we can 
find them. They will no doubt try to evade a meeting, which they 
can easily accomplish, as they know the situation of the country 
much better than we do. The Gen'l. and the principal part of his 
army will necessarily detain here a few days preparing for their 
further march. Tomorrow I shall make a small excursion into the 
adjoining country with about 600 of my Regt, and return and move 
on with the Genl. The East Tennesseans are in motion and we will 
all unite before we enter the Creek nation, when we can be able to 
drive them out of their country or cut them off if they attempt to 
support it. Things are fixed in such a train that there can be no 
doubt of the success of the campaign. I hope and flatter myself 
that it will be a short one, and that we can again return home to 
our families and friends. The last I heard from you was by Stockley 
Hays, who said he understood that you were well. I do not know 
precisely when I can again write you, neither can I ask you to write 
me untill I can direct you where to send your letters. Captain Ham- 
mond's company is going with us. I saw Mr. Harris today. He is 
well and quite pleased with the jaunt. He asked me to mention 
him to his family as he was engaged and did not expect to write 
himself. Your brother Jack is also to accompany us. Your uncle 
Jackson has performed the journey out exceedingly well and enjoys 
good health, 14 you never saw him in finer health and spirits than he 
now shews. I enjoy good health myself. How are all friends at 
home, and how comes on little Mary in running about the yard. I 
hope all is well. 

12. Headquarters 24 miles South from Ditto's Landing, 

October 24th, 1813. 
I have this moment arrived here from a rout into the Indian 
Country of ten days, have been to the Black Warrior Towns, where 
Mrs. Crawley was carried, and find them all deserted by the Indians- 
leaving their corn and some other plunder behind. 15 I burnt three 
towns but never saw an Indian. I am now convinced that the Indians 
will never meet us in action, all our fighting will be scouting parties, 
we move on from here this day and will not halt again untill in the 
heart of the enemy's country — our spies have been to the place where 
the Indians were said to be imbodied and find no signs of their ever 

14 An evidence of Jackson's indomitable spirit, as he had not recovered from the 
wound in his shoulder, received in the affray with Thomas H. Benton September 
4, 1813. 

15 The chief object of this excursion was to obtain food. Coffee marched two 
hundred miles in ten days, burned two towns and obtained three hundred bushels 
of corn. His men suffered great privations on their return. 

"Jackson's plan of campaign provided for a base of supplies on the Tennessee 
at its southernmost part, a military road thence for fifty miles to the Ten Islands on 
the Coosa, where another fortified post would be established for supplies, and thence 
down the Alabama River system to Fort St. Stephens, always destroying such armed 
bands as opposed him and devastating villages as he went." Bassett's Life of Andrew 
Jackson, p. 94. 




276 DOCUMENTS 




being there — they will certainly desert their country before u 
Capt. Hammonds 1 ' and Company are with us. Mr. Harris is very 
well, he is not present or he would write, and Colonel Hays 17 now 
waits for me. Your brother Jack is well — Sandy and Captain Geo. 
Smith 1 * have not returned from their tour with Colonel McKe 
I have just reed, by Colonel Hays, a letter from your father saying 
that you and Mary were well, — how are the rest of our friends. I 
hope all is well — I suppose you will have no opportunity to write 
which I regret very much — let me beg of you to be of good cheer 
as I assure you we are not in any particular danger here. I know 
you are a philosopher, and now is the time to exercise it, and I know 
you will do it — 




13. Camp Brown, 30 miles from Ditto's Landing, 19 

October 25, 1813. 

I wrote you yesterday by Colonel Hays from General Jackson's 
camp 10 miles below this where I mentioned to you that I had just 
returned from a tour in the interior of the enemies country. The 
General has gone on with his army and I will follow him tomorrow, 
and join in the evening, when we will keep all together untill we 
reach the heart of the Creek country, to the end, if any engagement 
should take place, our forces should all be present to act together, 
in which event there will be certainty of success — I expect the East 
Tennessee troops will join us before we get to the Creek country which 
will strengthen us — after writing you yesterday, Colonel Hays de- 
tained, untill I wrote your father. By the Colonel I reed a letter 
from him wherein he mentioned news having reached you of Major 
Gibsons being killed, — the report is false — there has not been a gun 
fired, by either an Indian or white man, at each other of our army, 
and I am doubtful but few will be fired. The Indians gives up their 
country before us as we approach, so far as we have yet been, and 
I think that will continue to be the case, — yesterday I reed letters 
from Captain Geo. Smith and Colonel McKee in the Choctaw country, 
who had gone on expecting me to follow — they state that the Indians 
had fled from that part and had all gone to the centre of their 
country, from where they will move down, no doubt, to Pensacola, 
to their friends and allys, the Spaniards and British — I expect that 
I shall have frequent opportunities of writing to you after this, by 
a chain of deposits, that will be established by the army, as we go 
on and by expresses kept up from there to the army. . . . 

14 . Ten Islands, Coosey River, November 4th, 1813. 

I have again an opportunity to write you a line, — we are progress- 
ing into the Indian country as fast as we can get provisions, and a 
very few days more will bring up the East Tennessee troops when 
tl e whole will move on together — I have a small scirmish 20 with the 

1,l Captain Eli Hammond, the Indian fighter, who was in the Nickajack expedition 
of 1794. 

17 Col. Robert Hays, who married Jane Donelson, sister of Mrs. Rachel Jackson. 

a, A son of General Daniel Smith. George Smith married Tabitha Donelson, 
daughter of Capt. John Donelson. 

^Ditto's Landing was on the Tennessee River a few miles southwest of Huntsville, 
Alabama. It was named for John Ditto, who traded with the Indians and had an 
early post there. 

*°This was the battle of Tallusha tehee, thirteen miles east of Fort Strother on the 
Coosa. This was an Indian village, and Coffee (now a brigadier-general)) was sent to 
destroy it. The Indian force was annihilated. It was greatly outnumbered by the 
Tennesseans and neither side asked for quarter. Coffee lost five killed and forty-one 
wounded. The battle inspired the army with confidence. General William Carroll 
said: "After Tallushatchee we had tlie measure of the Creeks. All apprehension was 



» 









COFFEE LETTERS 277 



Indians and a part of my Brigade, where we killed two hundred and 
took eighty prisoners, the particulars of which I have this day written 
to Captain Parks, and who will send it to you, for your information — 

The die is now cast and I dont expect after this the enemy will 
ever meet us, — they have no kind of chance — our men will drive 
them where ever they find them — we shall build a fort at this place, 
for a deposit of provisions and to leave the wounded men in. — The 
only man killed of my party that you have any knowledge is young 
Thomas Hudson, son of Mr. Hudson at Haysborough, he was killed 
with an arrow — our loss is so small, when compared with that of the 
enemy, that it is not felt here. Our men are in excellent spirits — we 
shall very soon finish the work of destruction of those wretches and 
return home, which time will afford me the greatest pleasure on earth, 
but notwithstanding my inclination to be at home I cheerfully yield 
it to duty, untill the work is completed — supported with the impres- 
sions that you will, in like manner, submit cheerfully to the momen- 
tary privations of our social happiness untill I again return to you 



15. Headquarters Camp Strother, Ten Islands, Coosey River, 

November 12, 1813. 

Last night we returned to this place after having advanced thirty 
miles south of this towards the enemy where we had a battle at 
Talladega Creek. 21 Our party consisted of 2000 men, commanded by 
Gen'l. Jackson in person, the enemy were a little upwards of 1000 
chosen warriors, sent on to meet us and intercept our march. By the 
friendly party we were advised of their approach and position, which 
enabled us by forced marching, night and day, with our detachment, 
to meet them thirty miles in advance of our main army. We met 
them in the morning early, when we surrounded them and in a few 
minutes put the whole to flight, having killed 300 of their best war- 
riors on the ground and the most of the balance were wounded. 
Thus the two first chosen sets of our enemy have been completely 
cut off and destroyed. We have in the two battles, one on the 3rd, 
and the other on the 9th instant, killed 500 of the warriors, and 
wounded at least as many others besides upwards of 100 prisoners 
of their families now in our possession. In the first battle I lost 
five men killed and forty some odd wounded; in the latter battle we 
lost 15 men killed and eighty five or six wounded, the most slightly. 
Upon the whole calculation we shall not lose more than 30 men killed 
in both battles, — whereas the enemy on as fair calculation will have 
lost 600 killed, counting on such as must die of their wounds. Al- 
though we regret the loss of our brave fellows yet the great dis- 

dispelled. Every man in Jackson's army was serenely confident that contact with 
them meant victory for us, under any conditions. The brightest spot in the history 
of that campaign is the setting of its pace by John Coffee and his mounted riflemen of 
Tennessee at Tallushatchee!" Buell's Life of Jackson, p. 305. On October 30 Coffee 
was placed by General Jackson in command of a new brigade composed of his own 
regiment of cavalry, now commanded by Col. John Alcorn, and a regiment of 
mounted gunmen commanded by Col. (afterward governor) Newton Cannon. 

21 Talladega was a friendly Indian village, but it was completely surrounded by- 
more than 1,000 hostiles. On November 7, 181 3, a friendly chief who had escaped 
disguised in the skin of a hog, reached Fort Strother and requested speedy help. On 
November 9 Jackson drew up his army before Talladega in a crescent, with the points- 
thrown forward. Coffee's mounted riflemen held the flanks, divided into two parts. 
Nearly 700 Indians escaped through a gap between the cavalry and infantry and lived 
to fight at Tohopeka. Talladega ended all chance for the Indians to invade the Ten- 
nessee settlements. ^ For the next two months Jackson had to remain at Fort Strother 
to deal with mutinies based on claims of termination of enlistment, lack of supplies, 
and the need of an almost new army. All but one hundred of Coffee's men returned 
home. After a new recruiting campaign the army was made over so as to take the 
field. 



278 DOCUMENTS 



proportion is beyond the most sanguine calculations on our part. 
We only want supplies to enable us to finish the campaign in three 
weeks. We will wait here untill we get them which it is supposed 
will be in a week from this time when we will advance forward and 
not stop untill we reach the Georgia army in the Creek nation, which 
will be easily done. And when done, our work will be completed and 
we can then return home where I hope we can remain in quiet with 
our families and friends and not be called on again during the present 
war. 

Thus, my dear, I think the time is not very distant when I shall 
be with you at home and there permitted to remain. A communica- 
tion is now opened from Huntsville to this place, by whom you can 
write which I hope you will do. Direct your letter to me in Gen'L 

Jackson's army, Huntsville, M. T. — from where it will be forwarded 
to me. 

I hope nothing is materially suffering for my presence at home, 
notwithstanding I feel uneasy lest there should be, — let me know 
anything of the kind by letter. My love, be not uneasy as to my 
safety, there is not the danger here that may be supposed by you. 
I assure you we feel no kind of danger, as our force is beyond all 
doubt superior to that of the enemy — both in number and in quality. 

Sandy* 2 and Jackey 23 and Mr. Harris are with me. All are well 
and ask to be recommended to you. Mr. Harris, wishes his family to 
be informed that he is well and doing very well. He will write by 
the next express. How is our dear little Mary, and yourself. I have 
not heard from you now God knows when. 



16. 



Huntsville, December 19, 1813. 



I have been confined at this place by the complaints I laboured 
under when I left home, having increased to a very aggravated state 
since the 11th inst. I am now much amended, so as I think I can 
leave this tomorrow or next day and proceed on my march. 

Great discontent hath prevailed in all our camps, men in all 
directions deserting, some going off in companies, etc., etc., etc., etc. 
I apprehend before I reach Genl. Jackson he will have been compelled 
to yield to the multitude and all be compelled to return, but this will 
be his last resort, and I hope may not be the case, yet I fear it. Genl. 
Hall's Brigade has already left him, thus we are clear of the Scotch 
Irish in that quarter. My Brigade are ordered to halt (since I 
marched them) at Fort Deposit and there wait for further orders. 
When I shall be called on to march I cannot say, perhaps in a few 
days. I have now no expectation of any fighting being done this 
campaign. There must be an additional force here before anything 
can be done effectual. . . . 



17. 



Huntsville, December 27, 1813. 



I wrote you some days since from this place by Mr. Harris, which 
I presume you have rec'd before this. In that I mentioned I had 
been indisposed, but was recovering. I now have the pleasure to in- 
form you that I am perfectly restored to health. Yesterday I rode 
to the River, distant ten miles, and today I rode back again without 
any inconvenience, in a few days I shall be as strong as usual. 

Our camps have been in great confusion here for some time nast 
ver since my return last from home. The whole of Genl. Hall's 
Brigade of Infantry volunteers have returned home and nearly the 
whole of my Brigade has and will return. Tomorrow morning will 

^Alexander Donelson. brother of Mrs. Coffee. He was killed at Emuckfau. 
M John Donelson, son of Captain John Donelson and brother of Alexander Donelson. 



















COFFEE LETTERS 270 



divide the sheep from the goats, and all who are not willing to go on 
will return home. After that I promise myself some satisfaction, 
being clear of the uneasy and discontented in camp the remainder 
will go on in quiet. My Brigade will be kept up by the new troops 
that came on with me, those with Col. Carrol, and one Battalion of 
Madison County troops, added to Captain Hammond's Company of 
Rangers. I am ordered by Genl. Jackson to remain here untill sup- 
plies of provisions are carried on before me, when I am to follow. 
I expect to leave this place with the mounted men in 4 or 5 days 
and when we reach Genl. Jackson the army will all move on to- 
gether without delay untill we unite with the Georgia army at the 
forks of the River below us, which is 80 or 90 miles distant. The 
Georgia army has had a battle with the Indians 24 and have defeated 
them, having killed 200 Indians with very little loss on our part 
All of which discourages the Indians, seeing they cannot stand us a 
fight at any place, it's possible they may give us one more battle but 
that is quite uncertain. We have but little to dread from them. 
When we reach the Georgia army all will be completed. As to a gen- 
eral battle we shall have nothing but skirmishing, and hunting them 
up in the forests, etc., etc. 

I flatter myself that all the attempts of the refractory part of our 
army to destroy the credit of the army and the objects of the cam- 
paign, will be baffled by the patriotism of our citizens at home. I 
cannot bring myself to believe the friends of those who return in 
disgrace will receive them unfriendly, . . . but will rather con- 
demn their conduct. If my conjectures are right, so soon as it reaches 
camp the spirit will die here and all will be content. Capt. Geo. 
Smith has promised me he will call and see you, he can tell you all 
the news here. I hear from Genl. Jackson every day; he is in good 
health and spirits. . . . 



18. 



Huntsville, January 3, 1814. 



I am yet confined at this loathsome place, awaiting orders to 
march. As fast as one difficulty is removed another presents itself. 
1 am not yet certain if we shall be able to move on untill we get an 
additional army. I this day Reed, a letter from Genl. Jackson dated 
the 31st, Dec, he is endeavoring to make one quick movement, but is 
even doubtful if he can or not raise men enough. Col. Carroll is now 
gone to see him and will return tomorrow, when I expect a final de- 
cision. If we move it will be in four days from this time. Whether 
the army makes a move or not I must go on to the Ten Islands to 
headquarters. I never can think of bearing any part of the disgrace 
that will attach to our disorderly army. Notwithstanding the great 
exertions of our enemys to the contrary, I have no doubts but you 
hear a great deal of stuff about Tyranny, etc., etc., but you need 
not be uneasy, all will very soon be put in a proper point of view, 
the disgrace will fall on the proper objects and those calumniators 
will discover to their great mortification that they will have to bear 
the burthen of their own sins. Your brother Jack, who bears this, 
can give you all the news here. I shall expect you to write me, by 
him, fully your mind on every and all subjects, and business, etc. 

I am now in good health, after lying up a considerable time. I 
hope, my dear, you and our sweet little Mary are well, and enjoying 
yourself. Make my respects to my friends. Jackey waits while I 

write. 

24 Probably the battle of Autosee, on the lower Tallapoosa River, November 29, 
1 81 3. General Floyd defeated the Indains with a force of Georgia militia. 



280 DOCUMENTS 



in* 



19. Huntsville, January 8, 1814. 

I shall leave here tomorrow for Fort Strother, Sandy has this 
ment gone on before me. I am more at ease than I have been 
since in the army, my Brigade having left the service except a few 
individuals of the officers and men, who remain in service. Several 
companies are expected out shortly, to join again, of my old brigade. 
Untill then I shall have very little to do, yet I will not leave my post. 
Let others do what they may it shall never induce me to do an act 
that will reflect on me when enquired into. All those who have left 
the service will one day see their error notwithstanding their clamour 
now. Violent exertions are making to injure Genl. J. and all the 
officers that support him, but all will be in vain, — on enquiry he 
will be found correct and his enemies will be seen in their proper 
colours. I am not certain whether we shall make a movement untill 
we get an additional reinforcement. Genl. Pinkney, who commands 
the whole southern army, has ordered Gov. Blount to send out men 
and keep the ranks filled, and he has also ordered Col. Williams's 
Regt. of regulars to march out immediately and join Genl. Jackson. 
The Gov. will now begin to see he must act, and arouse from his 
lethargy. I don't believe anything will be done untill this reinforce- 
ment is received. We shall have no force here, untill they come on, 
but the new volunteers, mounted men from Tennessee and Madison, 
not more than 900 in number or thereabouts. They are very clamor- 
ous and I fear will not do much good, they are now crossing the 
river, under Col. Carroll's direction. It snows and rains today and 
the prospects gloomy and I fear they will not withstand the weather, 
orders, etc., etc. I have lost all my horses, have sent men to hunt 
them. If they should go home and the men come after them, send my 
saddle horse and the little sorrel, but keep your horse at home, I 
will have enough without him. If no person comes after them and 
they get home get Mr. Harris, if he comes out, to bring them with 
him, if he has to hire some person to assist him, — he will find a num- 
ber of persons coming out. Say to Mr. Harris that as soon as he is 
able he must by all means come out and join his company. There 
will be an inquiry into the conduct of that company and he must 
not be wanting in his duty, he must come the very moment he is able. 

I wrote you by Capt. Smith, and also by Jack D., both of which 
I expect you have reed. Nothing of consequence has since occurred. 
I am now perfectly recovered from my late illness and quite able 
to stand fatigue. I hope, when we get our forces all together, very 
soon, to give the final blow, when we shall be able to quit the field 
and resume the life of citizen, which time I look for with anxious 
solicitude, when I will be clear of the bustle and clamour of men 
hunting popularity, and sit down in pleasure at home in private 
life. I am worn out with company. . . . 



20. 



Fort Strother, January 30, 1914. 



Before this reaches you, no doubt you will have heard of one 
other excursion we have had in the enemies' country, — we returned 
to this place on the 27th, after a tour of ten days, — we advanced 
70 miles below this, and on the 22nd and 24th of this month we had 
four different engagements with the enemy, in all of which we killed 
upwards of 200 of the Indians, — we lost 18 men killed dead and 
about seventy wounded — I reed, a wound myself in my right side but 
not dangerous — and your Brother Sandy 25 is no more, a few minutes 

"Alexander Donelson, who was killed in the battle of Emuckfau, January 21 , 18 14. 
The battles of Emuckfau and Enotachopco were at this time fought in rapid succes- 
sion. The Indians had concentrated between' Emuckfau Creek and Tallapoosa River 












COFFEE LETTERS 281 



after I was wounded, he was shot through the head, and fell. He 
lived about three hours, but never spoke, nor do I believe he was sen- 
sible of his pain — a braver man never was, and he has left an untar- 
nished reputation, and I hope is happy, clear of the bustle of this 
world — 

Jackey had just reached us the night before the first battle, 
he has escaped unhurt — Mr. Harris not being very well was halted 
at Huntsville and I have not, as yet, seen him, I hear he has got 
well — I expect to start home some time today, and will travel slowly, 
it will be 8 or ten days before I get home as my wound is somewhat 
sore, but not painful or by any means dangerous — I shall omit giv- 
ing you any particulars untill I see you, when I hope to find you and 
our little daughter in health — my respects to all friends — 



21. 



Fayetteville, March 5, 1814. 



I reached this place this evening, the roads excessively bad and 
weather cold, snow, etc., but all well. 26 This day I met Christopher 
Hutchings 27 express from Genl. Jackson bearing letters to Nash- 
ville, and elsewhere. The Genl. sent me enclosed the copy of a 
letter that he has received from Genl. Pinckney, which speaks in 
very flattering terms of our conduct, as well also does the Secretary 
of war. This will kill our enemies dead when they see that all their 
lying and abuse will not turn our government against us, but, on 
the contrary, they speak in the highest terms of approbation. I 

would send you a copy of Genl. Pinckney's letter, but it is lengthy 
and it is now late and I must send the original on so as to reach 
Nashville, where I presume that and the letter of the secretary of 
war will be published, when you will see them both. If you should 
see Mr. Casedy 28 or Doctor Bedford ask them to call on Wm. B. 
Lewis and see those documents, I know they will be pleased with 
them. Genl. Jackson urges me to come on and join him and we will 
very soon finish the campaign, which I hope to see realized in less 
than two months, when I shall be able, with propriety, to return and 
sit down in ease, which will be the greatest pleasure to me on this 
earth. I will again write you from Huntsville. 



22. 



Huntsville, March 9, 1814. 



I have been at this place ever since the evening of the 6th In- 
stant, detained by the very great fall of rain for two days last past, 
the waters are very high and the army in its movements will be much 
retarded. Genl. Johnston with his Brigade is now at Fort Deposit 
crossing the Tennessee River, and will progress as fast as the waters 
will permit them. I have not heard from Col Dyer and his detach- 
ment since here officially, — report says that they are waiting at the 
Tennessee (Deposit) for further orders from Genl. Jackson before 
they start on to the Cahaba, the place that he was ordered to scour 
before he left home. His delay I am f earf ull *will occasion a tradiness 
in the movement of the whole army. However we cannot go on untill 

in order to attack Fort Armstrong. In these engagements the Indians were beaten, but 
not demoralized, and Jackson's army, for lack of supplies, returned to Fort Strother 
on January 27. At Emuckfau General Coffee led the main charge with fifty-four of 
his own men and two hundred friendly Indians. General Coffee himself was wounded. 

2C General Coffee had evidently made a visit home in order to recover from his 
wound. 

^Christopher Hutchings was a brother of John Hutchings, the mercantile partner 
of Jackson. He was a son of Col. Thomas Hutchings, who married Catherine Donel- 
son, a sister of Mrs. Jackson. 

^Charles Cassedy was for many years the confidential friend and secretary of 
General James Winchester. He was a writer for the newspapers of the day in Middle 
Tennessee. 



282 DOCUMENTS 



all the troops and a sufficiency of provisions are up and at head- 
quarters, and a number of waggons are now in this county on their 
way to aid in transporting provisions, which will render it impossible 
to leave Ten Islands under eight or ten days from this time. I shall 
leave here tomorrow and will proceed to headquarters, from which 
place I will again write you. i wrote you from Fayetteville which 
1 presume you will have received ere you receive this. I there men- 
tioned to you the high approbation our conduct in the late excursion 
had met Genl. Pinckney, and referred you to the papers of Nashville 
for its contents, that together with the secretary of War's letters 
of approbation will completely set aside our false calumniators and 
lay them at rest. 

23. Fort Deposit* March 12, 1814. 

I progress very slow indeed, everything here moves very tardily 
owing to the very high waters of late. I reached this place last even- 
ing and will leave it this evening or early tomorrow, shall get to 
head quarters in good time to march with the army that is collect- 
ing very slowly. Genl. Johnston is still in my advance, he left here 
yesterday morning. We learn that considerable difficulties are thrown 
in the way of the East Tennessee troops by Genl. Cocke, I hope not 
as bad as reports say. We have nothing here new, I refer you to 
Col. Hays and Lemuel^ for the passing times. 

One thing I can say to you I believe to certainty, that there will 
not be a campaign sent to the Floridas (Pensacola) so that we may 
be certain of returning home when we end the Creek campaign, 
which we think will end in two months, at which time I hope to have 
the pleasure of seeing you and Mary. ... 



24. 



Fort Williams, April 1, 1814. 



I have to announce to you one other victory obtained over our 
enemy, at the same bend of the Tallapoosey, 81 near where we fought 
our last battles. We attacked the enemy, on the 27th of last month, 
the enemy were about one thousand in number, enforted in a bend 
of the river, with very strong works. I crossed the river with 700 
mounted men and 600 Indians and took possession of the other bank 
to prevent them swimming over the river and escaping — all was 
executed well, the enemy fought with their usual desperation but we 
overpowered them, and after cannonading them about two hours, we 
charged their works by storm, and put the whole to death but a few 
that hid under the banks of the river, — the slaughter was great. 
We counted 557 dead bodies on the ground besides about 300 that 

^Fort Deposit stood at the head of the Tennessee, the last point on the river 
before the march into the enemy's country. . By this time the Cteeks were in desperate 
straits. Over 1,000 of their warriors had been slain, all their towns in the Coosa 
Valley destroyed, and the tribe was dispersed. The remnant, however, rallied and 
made their last stand at Horseshoe Bend. On March 16, 1814, General Jackson started 
with his force from Fort Strother in boats down the Coosa. After building Fort 
Williams at the mouth of Cedar Creek and leaving there a garrison of about 400, he 
had left 2,400 men. of whom General Coffee's mounted rifles numbered 900. At Fort 
Williams General Jackson learned that about 1,000 Indians, under Weatherford, were 
concentrating at Horseshoe Bend, about fifty miles away. General Coffee went ahead 
to observe the enemy. The battle was opened by him on the morning of March 27. 

^Lemuel Donelson, son of Capt. John Donelson and brother of Mrs. Coffee. 

,l The Indians had built a strong log breastwork across the narrow isthmus formed 
by the bend in the river. Surrounded by this breastwork and the river, they made 
their last stand. General Jackson led in person the charge upon the breastwork 
and was slightly wounded, but his men went over the works and made a bayonet 
charge. Coffee's dismounted men fired upon the enemy from across the river and co- 
operated with the friendly Indians in shooting down those who tried to escape. 
Coffee's men held the right bank of the river and the rear of the enemy. 












COFFEE LETTERS 283 



was shot and sunk in the river, making in the whole that we killed 
from 850 to 900, — and took about 500 prisoners, squaws and children 
we lost on our part of white men 26 killed and 106 wounded besides 
2o friendly Indians and 47 wounded — this place was an assemblage 
of all the upper towns on the Tallapoosey, which we have now de- 
stroyed, it only remains that we take possession of the forts of the 
river and fight one battle there, to finish the Creek war — this I hope 
we will do in ten days from this time, — I cannot say precisely when 
I shall be discharged but think it will be in less than one month 
from this time — I have never heard from you since I left home, only 
by a letter reed, from Colonel Hays, he says you are well, — cannot 
you write me. Having now nearly compleated our business here, I 
shall soon turn me towards home when I hope to enjoy the re- 
mainder of my life with you in quiet — my love to our little daughter 
— and all friends — 

Lemul Montgomery 32 was killed in battle at the charge against 
the breast works by a ball through his head — 



25. 



Fort Williams, April 2, 1814. 



I wrote you yesterday by Mr. Lewis, who was the bearer of an 
express from General Jackson, he promised to leave the letter at 
Murfreesborough, from where I know you will get it, but Mr. Wm, 

White is going to start this moment and is going so near you, I drop 
this line by him, — in my other I give you account of another battle 
we have had, in which we killed from eight to nine hundred of the 
enemy, and took about 500 prisoners — this is the greatest defeat we 
have ever given them, we killed three of their prophets in this battle, 
one of whom was a very principal one, this will damp them very 
much — I herewith send you a plot of the river and bend where we 
fought for your satisfaction to see our movements, I expect the day 
after tomorrow we will start to the Hickory ground and will reach 
that point in 3 or 4 days, perhaps we may have one battle more, 
in that quarter before they give up this country, but they cannot 
hold out, they are already nearly starved to death, having eat up 
all their provisions — as I mentioned in my last I do not know when 
I will be at home but suppose one month will finish all my duties — 



26. 



Fort Williams, April 6, 1814. 



When I last wrote you from this place I did not expect to write 
again until we reached the Hickory ground, but Mr. Harris is going 
directly by you, he has promised to call and see you, and I drop you 
this by him tomorrow morning early we take up the line of march, 
with about 3000 men and officers, we shall proceed directly to the 
Tallapoosey river opposite to where the Georgia Army lies, out from 
the river about 12 miles, this point on the river will be where the 
enemy is said to be embodied, when we get there, the Georgia Army 
will be called to the river and the two armies will descend on both 
sides to the junction where we will establish fort Jackson, when 
this done I think the war will be over, there will be regular troops 
enough to support the post and if so the Tennessee troops will be dis- 
charged, this I calculate will be our future operations and move- 
ment, and if I judge right, we shall turn homeward in about twenty 
days from this day — and in 15 days more we can reach home, — but 

32 Lemnel Purnell Montgomery, major in command of the Thirty-ninth Regulars. 
The capital city of Alabama is named in honor of him. He was a native of Virginia, 
but resided in Hawkins County, Tennessee. His mother, Euphemia Montgomery, who 
was related to the Donelsons, lived until 1834. His father was Hon. Hugh Mont- 
gomery. 



284 DOCUMENTS 



in all this I am not certain, we may be double that time out, and do 
not calculate on seeing me certain untill you see me, — your friends 
here in the army are all well, Captain Geo. Smith had started home 
some days ago, but returned and will finish the campaign and return 
home with me when I go — I mentioned in my last that I had not seen 
Mr. Harris, nor have I as yet, he is at Huntsville I expect in the 
quarter masters department I presume he has written his family — 
please make my respects to all friends — how do you and little Mary 
do — I hope you are enjoying health — am in good health myself — 

27. Junction of the Coosey and Tallapoosey, April 18, 1814. 

We reached this place so long sought for on yesterday. The 
Georgia Army has joined us, the Indians have all fled, they are run- 
ning in all directions, numbers are coming in and begging forgive- 
ness, some are running towards Pensacola while others are hiding 
in the swamps, our fighting is over, the nation is conquered, and all 
we have to do is to establish a sufficient number of posts, to retain 
possession of the country — when this is done we will return home,' 
I think we will set out on our return march in ten days from this 
time, we shall progress slowly, our horses are worn down, have had 
no corn for a month past, and the grass very bare, — we have got a 
number of the negroes and some prisoners that was taken at Fort 
Mims, expect we shall get all before we start, — Colonel Russel has 
not yet come up the Alabama to meet us here, as we expected, but 
we have sent for him and expect he will come when he hears we are 
here, we have had all the fighting and labor to do, and now surely 
those other armies can keep what we put them in possession of. It 
still remains hard to feed our armies, the difficulty of transporting 
provisions is great, for want of horse feed, and the river navigation 
exceedingly difficult, — 

We have this day cleaned a spot of ground, (the very same on 
which the old French fort Tuloose 83 stood,) in the forks of the rivers, 
where will be built fort Jackson, the foundation we will lay as the 
last work of our army I expect, — General Pinckney is at fort De- 
catur, 25 miles in our rear, and will probably be here in a few 
days — Now I think I can see the way clear, when I shall be able to 
return home and remain in quiet with you, and enjoy the blessings 
of private and social life, the remainder of my life — 

My love to you and little Mary — 



The New Orleans Campaign, 1814-1815. 

Just when General Coffee returned home after the battle 
of Horseshoe Ben is not clear, but it is probable that he came 
back early in the summer of 1814. On May 28, 1814, General 
Jackson was appointed major-general of the seventh military 
district, U. S. A., with orders to go to Fort Jackson and make 
a treaty of peace with the Creeks. This treaty was made on 
August 9, and then General Jackson went to Mobile to look 
after its defenses. His celebrated quarrel with the Spanish 
governor at Pensacola, Manriquez, soon broke out and he de- 
termined to invade Florida and drive the British out. This 
was in the absence of any authority from Washington, but 

M Fort Toulouse was built in 17 14 by Bienville between the Coosa and Tallapoosa 
rivers in order to check the English of Carolina and to influence the natives. Being 
in the river basin with Mobile, it was ceded to the British by the French in 1763. 












COFFEE LETTERS 285 



with the approval of the Southern people. Before leaving 
Fort Jackson for Mobile General Jackson requested of Gov- 
ernor Willie Blount that he send hiin a brigade of volunteers 
under Coffee. About 2,000 men assembled at Fayetteville. 
On October 5 General Coffee marched southward at the head 
of this force. He was joined by 800 more on the journey. On 
October 23 they reached St. Stephen's, thirty miles above Mo- 
bile, having traveled 450 miles. The following letters describe 
the movements of Coffee and his men until after the Battle 
of New Orleans. 



28. 



Fayetteville, October 3, 1814. 



I have been detained here several days longer than I expected 
when I left you, have mustered into service about two thousand men 
here besides several companies that is to follow after and four com- 
panies from East Tennessee, when all is together I shall have about 
twenty six hundred men in my Brigade. We have had a second Regi- 
ment organized, in which was elected Thomas Williamson Col., Cap. 
George Elliott" 4 Lieut. Col., Capt. George Smith 2nd Lieut. Col., Wil- 
liam Mitchell and William Phillips Majors. The first Regiment will 
be commanded by Col. Dyer and his old field officers. All now appears 
satisfied and is going on well. We shall certainly set out from here 
tomorrow, and will go the route I mentioned before I left home, think 
in 12 days to reach Genl. Jackson or his orders. 

I have been very uneasy since I left home about the situation in 
which I left you, so small force and all the crop yet to get in, in con- 
sequence of which I got Mr. Hogg at Shelbyville to employ the man 
you heard me speak of, his name is Blessing. Mr. Hogg writes me 
he has employed him, and has agreed to give him $150 in cash to 
oversee for me one year, he will come down to you in about three 
weeks, or sooner, and remain untill Spring, when he will move his 
family. When he moves, if it is before I return, I have directed 
that he live in the Cabin, Boak's house, untill I do return, I think 
it will be best for you, as they will be company when at home, and 
when you leave home they will be a guide. He is the most indus- 
trious man from character to be found anywhere, and am told his 
wife is an amiable, well disposed woman, as such I hope you will 
have no trouble, but a benefit by being so near. If when I come 
home it don't suit we will build a home for them somewhere else. 



29. Camp Gaines, 15 miles below St. Stephen, October 22, 1814. 

I left Fayetteville on the 5th Instant and arrived here this even- 
ing after a march of 18 days, distance from home about 470 miles. 
We are here about 30 miles from Fort Montgomery, or Fort Mims, 
in the neighborhood of which place I expect to halt a few days. I 
have this day received orders from General Jackson, who is at 
Mobile, about 70 miles below this place. He will meet us in a few 
days, when I expect we shall march to Pensacola, when I expect little 
or no resistance as the enemy is in very small force, no British re- 
inforcements have yet arrived and the Indians daily leaving them. 
Prospects are not half as gloomy here, as I expected, It's more than 
probable we shall not have any battle during the campaign. The 

34 George Elliott, who was thus chosen lieutenant-colonel, was a citizen of Sumner 
County, Tennessee. He was a farmer, a breeder of thoroughbred horses, and a close 
friend of General Jackson. 



U8(> DOCUMENTS 



Tennesseans are in high spirits. We have generally enjoyed good 
health, some little sickness, but out of 2000 men I have not yet lost 
one dead, an unusual circumstance. 

I hope we shall not be continued here all the winter. When our 
infantry from Tennessee arrives the forces here will be all suffi- 
cient to maintain the country and when that is the case we shall not 
be wanted. 

I look forward with solicitude to the time of discharge when I 
can return home, and join you in the sweet enjoyments of domestic 
life. The more I experience of public life, the less I apprise it, 
and the more I appreciate the enjoyment of a quiet fireside in society 
of an affectionate wife and darling child, and I think I can with 
propriety say, this will be the last campaign I shall ever make, hav- 
ing satisfied my anxiety when I have relieved this country. 

I hope you and our dear little Mary are doing well, I have en- 
joyed good health. Do, my dear, write frequently. Your brother 
Jacky came on here ten days before I did, and heard his company is 
ordered to the Alabama heights, about 30 miles above where I shall 
halt, when we move all will go together. Billy has been to General 
Jackson's head quarters, and has this evening returned and is now 
with me. Mr. Harris is also here with me, all are well. General 
Jackson has been sick, but has perfectly recovered. . . . 

30. Camp in the cut off, Mouth of Allabama, October 29, 1814. 

We are situated on the bank of the Alabama at its mouth, and on 
a large Island of the Mobile, where we have been several days, 
every preparation is making and will be ready in two days, to take 
up the line of march to Pensacola, distant from here about 75 miles 
We hear from that place every day or two, and from certain ac- 
counts the enemy have no forces there but the shattered remains of 
those that survived at Fort Bowyer, in the whole not more than 
250 British and about the same number of Indians, and without 
they are reinforced before we reach that point, we shall not meet 
with any resistance, — Its presumable we shall take possession of the 
Forts, and public stores, and leave a force of regular troops to pro- 
tect it, but will not interfere with the Inhabitants, or abridge any 
of their privileges — the Governor of Pensacola has written several 
pompous letters to General Jackson which will justify the measures 
about to be taken, those letters were written before the attack on 
fort Bowyer, no doubt he would now be glad he had been silent, 
I expect to return to this place in about two weeks, and after re- 
cruiting our horses, probably we shall move west towards the river 
Amete; which is a central ground between New Orleans and Mobile, 
and from where we can move with ease to either point — 

I hope when I return to this place to meet letters from you, 
which will be a source of infinite satisfaction to me, to hear from 
you frequently, in my leisure moments what pleasure could equal that 
of perusing a line from you, announcing the welfare of yourself 
and our dear little daughter, whom I hope are doing well — I will 
frequently write you, and hope you will, in like manner, — Your 
brother Jack and his company joined us last evening which is the 
first time I have seen him since here, he is well, Billey is with me 
and has been well, Colonel Geo. Smith and little Jack Donelson have 
been somewhat unwell but both recruiting and able to do duty — 
General Jackson has had a considerable attack of sickness before 
we arrived but is quite recovered and looks well, — say to Mrs. Mc- 
Culloch that the Major enjoys excellent health and spirits 

Make my respects to Mr. Eastin, and Captain Parks, and their 



COFFEE LETTERS 287 



ladies, I will, when I have as much time, write them, perhaps when 
I return from Pensacola shall have something to write thats in- 
teresting — 

■ 

31. Camp at Fort Mims, November 15, 1814. 

Inclosed is a detailed account for your satisfaction, of our ex- 
pedition to Pensacola, send it to you separate from any other mat- 
ter, that you may show it to any of our friends and neighbors that 
may feel anxious to hear from us — 

I think there is no probability of our having anything more to 
do here, but still, policy will dictate to the commanding General 
to keep the volunteers untill other troops arrive sufficient to support 
the country, after which I have but little doubt we shall be at home 
in two months from this time — I had the gratification last evening 
of receiving yours of the 4th Instant announcing the welfare of your- 
self and our dear little daughter which is a satisfaction to me, that 
cannot be equalled by any other, after encountering the fatigues and 
dangers of the field, and returning to a post of safety and the pleasure 
of perusing a line from you, has restored my feelings beyond expres- 
sion — do my dear write me frequently, after the Rect. of this direct 
your letters to Natchez from which place I can get them — 

I am much pleased to learn that the overseer has taken charge 
of the farm and relieved you of the charge of attending to it — I hope 
all will go on well untill I reutrn. 

Our friends are all well here, but your cousin Jack Donelson, he 
very low with a nervous fever, but I hope will recover, all at- 
tention is paid to him by General Jackson and his other friends — 
say to Mary when I come home I will bring her some prettys. May 
the great ruler of events protect and preserve you both untill I re- 
turn to you — . . . 

2. Camp at Fort Mims, November 15, 1814. 

On the 13th Instant we returned to this place from Pensacola, — 
we marched from here to that place on the 2nd and arrived on the 
evening of the 6th, in front of the town and fort, sent in a flag of 
truce, which was fired on, and compelled to return, (a circumstance 
heretofore unknown in civilized warfare) we encamped about 1 1-2 
miles from the town where, in the course of the night, communica- 
tions between the Governor of Pensacola and General Jackson passed, 
— but an obstinate refusal to give up the forts and town on the part 
of the Governor, and a declaration on their part that they would hold 
out and maintain their ground to the last extremity — this was the 
result of the negotiations — of course we had nothing to expect, but 
to take it by storm, at the point of the bayonet, — In the Bay before 
the town, lay three large British men of War, placed in a position 
to rake our columns, before and after we entered the town. In the 
rear of the town, on an eminence was the Spanish fort, mounting a 
number of large pieces of artillery, besides 8 or ten block houses in 
different parts of the town, and its environs, all mounting several 
pieces of cannon, and several other British ships of war, laying off 
in the harbour, — this was the species of force we had to contend 
with, — with the exception of a few pieces of cannon placed in the 
streets to rake them as our troops advanced — on the morning of the 
7th we moved against the town, in four columns, three of white men, 
and one of Choctaw Indians, we took a direction around the town and 
out of sight, so as to enter it at a different point from where we lay, 
and where the enemy would naturally expect us, — as our columns 
passed down the Bay (that is nine miles wide) they were exposed to 



288 DOCUMENTS 



the fire of the British ships and the Spanish fort, but our manoeuvers, 
around the town, and entering at a different point expected, so frus- 
trated them, that they fired but few shots at us before we entered the 
streets, — in one of the streets was planted two pieces of cannon, that 
opened a brisk fire on one of our columns as they entered the street, 
but which gave no check to the charge. The cannon was instantly 
charged and taken, and the town surrendered, immediately after, 
and after some negotiations the Governor agreed to surrender the 
whole of his public forts, those at and about the town was surren- 
dered, but the two forts, that was about 16 miles below, on each side 
of the mouth of the Bay, was basely surrendered by the Spanish 
officers to the British vessels, and both were blown up before our 
troops could possibly reach them, — after we had full possession of the 
town and fort, the British vessels fired a few shots at us and hoisted 
sail and left the bay — Our intention probably would have been to 
keep possession of the country, had not the two forts that commanded 
the harbour been blown up, but this put it out of our power to main- 
tain it — our troops treated the Citizens of Pensacola with the same 
respect that they had usually shewn to our own citizens through 
whom we passed, which has had an astonishing effect on their feel- 
ings towards us, — in this affair we lost five men killed and about 
ten wounded, some dangerously — what injury we did to the enemy 
we are not advised of, but suppose it must be small as they sur- 
rendered before we could do them much hurt. 

Of our future movements I am not fully advised but expect in a 
few days to be ordered towards the Mississippi; between Natchez 
and Orleans, where we can act to either or any point, untill the ar- 
rival of General Carroll's troops, when I think it most probable that 
my Brigade will be discharged 

33. Camp at Carson's Ferry Tombigby, November 18, 1814. 

I wrote you a few days since by mail, and since I returned from 
Pensacola, in which I gave you a detailed account of our procedure 
while gone to that place which I hope you will have reed, ere this 
reaches you, — Major McCulloch since hearing the accident of his 
little son breaking his thigh, has determined to return home imme- 
diately, by whom I send you this line, — no change of things since I 
wrote you, only our movements are more definite, I am ordered to go 
directly to Baton Rouge on the Mississippi, which place is about 
60 miles below Natchez, and from here is about 250 miles. I am now 
crossing the Bigby and will in two days take up the line of march 
for that place, with about eighteen hundred men, the balance of my 
command say about 1000 men will fall back and scour the Escambia 
and Cahaba rivers — it is believed that we shall only be wanted to 
maintain and protect the country until the arrival of the Tennessee 
Militia, who will be all sufficient for that purpose when they arrive — 
I think by Christmas and in a few days after I shall be at home 
but lest I should not, and you may be in want of funds for some 
purpose, before I do return, I herein enclose you forty dollars in 
Nashville notes, I asked Mr. Eastin, if called on by Jack Hogg, to 
advance for me twenty-five or thirty dollars which Hogg was to 
pay the overseer for me, — if Hogg has called or does hereafter call, 
pay the money to him or to Mr. Eastin as the case may be, I dont 
recollect any other money transactions that I have to attend 
Major McCulloch will have pork to sell and if Mr. Eastin has not 
enough to supply you, apply to Major McCulloch and he will let you 
have as much as you may want. I think you had better salt up 
in the whole about 5000 weight. I hope to be at home before all this 
takes place but, lest I should not, I mention it to you now. 














COFFEE LETTERS 280 



My love, I feel great solicitude to be with you, and nothing but 
a duty I owe to my country could possibly induce me to sacrifice so 
much on my own part and more so on your part, but I hope when 
the present campaign is over that I shall not again be called upon 
during the present war, as every day convinces me of the sacrifice 
I make in leaving the enjoyments of tranquil life with my family. 



34. Mouth of Sandy Creek, December 15, 1814. 

I arrived at this place, which is twenty miles above Baton Rouge 
on the ninth instant, after sixteen days marching from the Cut-off, 
worse than any I ever experienced. The line of march was on a 
parallel with the sea coast, and distant from it generally forty or 
fifty miles, crossing all the little Rivers that are very numerous in 
this Country, having the whole, to swim, bridge or ferry. It rained 
on us twenty days successively and heavier rains than you ever saw 
fall, — I have selected this place on the bank of the Mississippi and 
distant above Orleans a little upwards of an hundred miles, as a 
suitable spot to forage the horses and feed the men untill further 
orders. This day by express I reed, dispatches from General Jackson 
at Orleans, saying the enemy in numbers had arrived, and was 
seen laying off Cat and Ship Islands, which is opposite the outlet 
from Lake Ponchetrain, and a little East of the mouth of the Missis- 
sippi River — the General says, the River is so well fortified they 
cannot approach that way, then the only way they can possibly come 

in will be through the lake, if so perhaps they may attempt landing 
on this side, and marching by land, in that event I shall be ready 
to meet them, in the swamps, when one Tennessean can run down 
ten sailors, and worn out Europeans, through mud, water, and brush, — 
I do not believe they will ever land, but should they attempt it, I 
have no doubt as to the result, being favourable to our army. — what 
has become of General Carroll. I cannot hear one word of him, surely 
he is coming on although he must come slow. 

I am still of opinion our services will not be wanted here long, 
if the enemy land at all they will do it very shortly which will bring 
the thing to a quick issue, and if they disappear and the Tennesseans 
and Kentuckians get down and properly arranged. I expect we will 
be ordered to Tennessee, in a month from this time, — but at present 
I expect you need not look for me untill about the first of February 
when I have but very little doubt, but I shall have the pleasure to see 
you at home. 

As usual I have not time to write letters, say to Captain Parks 
when the British land, and we have run them through the brush and 
something of importance happens, I will write him all about it, — 

• • • 

P. S. Say to Major McCulloch nothing has occurred or I would 
write him, when anything does he shall hear from me. I hope he 
found his little son, recovering from his wound, and the balance of 

his family well. 

I learn from Colonel Dyer that Colonel Stockley Hays found his 

Lady well, and that Mrs. Doctor Butler 35 has recovered her health. 

■ 

ce. Battleground, five miles below New Orleans 

January 20, 1815. 
The moment is pleasant (after many days fatigue and dangers, 
exposed in the face of an enemy) that the mind is at ease and turned 
to that domestic enjoyment that awaits me at home, — 

^Mrs. Dr. W. E. Butler. She was the daughter of Col. Robert Hays and Jane 
Donelson Hays. 



o 



90 DOCUMENTS 



I had not closed my letter to you more than one hour on the 23rd 
Dec. when I reed, orders to march my command to meet the enemy 
then already landed, and within six miles of New Orleans. 3 * I had 
at that moment only 800 effective men, together with about 600 regu- 
lars and Orleans Militia, was the only disposeable force in readiness 
to meet them that night, we marched without loss of time, and about 
one hour after dark (a fine moon light night) we met the enemy 
who had encamped, on the bank of the Mississippi in an open level 
field, — the right on the river, the open ground on the left, — the order 

of battle, the regulars and Orleans Militia attacked in front on the 
bank of the river, and my Brigade moved round on the left and 
attacked their main columns on the centre, the Battle soon became 
general, — but just before we had formed, an armed schooner of ours 
had dropped down the river and opened a fire on the enemy which 
drove them out from the river near a quarter of a mile, where we 
met them formed in line, my men behaved most gallantly on that 
occasion, they fired and advanced on the enemy under a heavy fire 
from more than double their numbers, and drove them back about one 
quarter of a mile untill they took shelter under the levee, or bank of 
the river, — we dropped back in the open field about half a mile, re- 
connoitred the ground of Battle, carried off our wounded, and lay 
untill early next morning. General Jackson was at the head of the 
regulars, and which fought and lay seperate from my command, 
in this affair we had engaged about fourteen hundred men, and the 
enemy about three thousand, we lost about twenty five men killed, 
seventy wounded and about seventy five made prisoners — the loss 
of the enemy was upwards of 400 in killed and wounded, and one 
hundred prisoners — in the course of the night General. Carroll with 
a part of his command came up with us, and in the same night the 
enemy reed, reinforcements of upwards of two thousand men, seeing 
their superiority of numbers, we fell back about one mile, and took 
a strong position, and entrenched — since which time we have had 
almost one continuous battle for twenty eight days. Not one day 
passed without attacks of Pickets on the line, a continued cannonade 

and bombardment, on the 28th Dec. the 1st and 8th January, they 
charged us in line, and as often were repulsed — the latter day, they 
lost in killed wounded and prisoners, upwards of three thousand 
men, their Commander in chief and second in command, both killed 
and a Major General, Kean, badly wounded, besides all their most 
valuable officers — after the enemy having lost upwards of four thou- 
sand men, they decamped and embarked on the night of the 18th 
Instant, under cover of a very thick fog that is common here — what 
their further intentions are we cannot say but believe they are tired 
of their company here, and is finally gone — thus the famous cam- 
paign against Orleans is at rest at present, and has thus far been 
marked with better fortune to the American arms than anything 
heretofore known — Our whole loss in all this affair has been about 









3C The important part played by General Coffee and his brigade in the battles of 
December 23 and Tanauary 8 is too well known to require description here. He com- 
manded his own Tennessee riflemen, dismounted, the Mississippi dragoons, and the 
Orleans Rifle Company. On the night of December 23 they performed valuable 
services on the left, by closing in behind the portion of the enemy who were engaged 
with General Jackson. On January 8 they held the extreme left of the American line, 
• between Carroll's brigade and the swamp. For two weeks they lived in the mud 
without complaint, but it was necessary for the place to be well guarded in order 
to prevent the enemy from going over the breastworks or advancing to the intrench- 
ments. "The gallant officer who commanded them, ever calm, ever active, without 
precipitation, tranquilly giving orders, which he well knew how to cause to be promptly 
obeyed; vigilant and provident to avoid unnecessarily exposing hisr men, for whose 
safety he was as anxious as a father for his son's, acquired by his conduct the strongest 
claim to the esteem and gratitude of his country." La tour's Memoirs p. 107. 









COFFEE LETTERS 291 



fifty killed, one hundred and twenty wounded, and about one hundred 
and ten prisoners, all of which we have since got by exchange — the 
prisoners we have taken are sent up the country — surely Providence 
has had a hand in the thing — you will very shortly see the official 
reports — 

What may be our movements in future I cannot say, I hope we 
shall not be wanted very long here, as soon as things are tranquil I 
expect to be ordered home — 

I never enjoyed better health notwithstanding the fatigue both 
day and night — 

This is the first moment I have had to spare to write to you, and 
am now called on duty — I hope and trust that the same providence 
that has protected us here, have supported you, and our little daugh- 
ter, in health and spirits — you will hear from me now more fre- 
quently. 

Say to Sister Harris that Mr. Harris reached me yesterday from 
Mobile, the first time I have seen him since at Pensacola, he is very 
well, his duties detained him in our rear — your friends are all well — 
remember me to all friends. 

36. Camp Coffee, 4 miles above Orleans, January 30, 1815. 

I received yours of the 12th inst. by last mail, and at the same 
time received one from your Father, Both of which inform me that 
you and Mary are well, and from your Fathers remarks, am gratified 
to learn that Mary is fast improving, and already able to assert her 
rights, for every days experience shows us that what we never claim, 
we rarely ever obtain. I hope you are both doing well and will con- 
tinue so untill I reach you. Now that we have nothing else to do the 

mind is naturally turned to the objects most dear, and the anxiety 
ten fold to any time heretofore. I hope you have gone to your Father's 
to stay until I return, as it's uncertain to me when we shall be dis- 
missed from here, at any rate don't expect to leave here until the 
20th of February, if then, which will bring the last of March before 
we can possibly reach home. . . . 

Believing the Great Ruler of our destinies is smiling on our cause, 
I hope his fostering hand will hover over and protect you until we 
meet again. 

We are, and have been at perfect ease for eight days past, The 
enemy have entirely left our shores and no doubt will leave this coast 
as soon as they possibly can. Its generally believed they will go 
directly to Bermuda, where they can deposit their sick and wounded 
and get supplies, etc. If so they will not return here this spring. 
They can not come until they get another army at all events. All 
doubts are removed here, every thing is cheerfulness. The name of 
Tennessee is revered, and General Jackson idolized. I wish you could 
have been here to have seen him received into Orleans, after the 
memorable battle. A triumphal arch, adorned with wreaths, sup- 
ported by eighteen pillars (one for each state) and eighteen dam- 
sels, the fairest in the City, bearing a motto emblematic of the state 
she represented; all so arranged as to leave an open avenue through 
which the General and suite passed, and was crowned with laurels 
and his path strewed with flowers by the damsels. He was then 
conducted to the church that was spacious and richly adorned where 
they sung Te Deum, several hours, and the scene closed. 

There never was such victories obtained by an army before, history 
affords no such records. We have good information that the enemy 
has lost between four and five thousand men in killed, wounded and 
prisoners. One General and two Major Generals killed, the fourth 
deranged, and all Lord Wellington's valuable field officers destroyed. 



2!)2 DOCUMENTS 



While on our part our loss in killed is between forty and sixty, and 
almost double the number wounded. And what is still more strange 
the enemy always had more men on the field than we had, until we 
reduced them in battle. On the 23rd. of Dec. we fought them in open 
field, they had three men to our one, and we killed and wounded four 
men to their one. In all our skirmishes where no advantage of walls 
or entrenchments on either side we had decided the better of them. 
But on the 8th of January the grand charge, we had every advantage 
we could ask, we had a strong bank of earth twelve feet thick and 
high as a man's shoulders, on our side and a ditch on the other side 
with water. The slaughter was shocking. After that day the enemy 
lost all hopes of success, and made preparations to depart as fast 
as possible. I think when this information reaches England, we 
shall have peace and not before. 

How is the overseer doing? I hope he will be preparing for a 
crop. I can not at present give any particular advice, don't trouble 
yourself with the farm, have no doubt he will do very well. Let 
him be preparing the ground for crop, and before time to plant I 
will give further advice. 

Captain Rapier's boat leaves here in 8 or ten days, by her I will 

send you a barrel of oranges and cocoa nuts. I think they will keep 
very well. Say to your mother I shall send up a supply of sugar 
for her family, Mr. Eastin's and our own. Coffee is dearer here than 
in Nashville, as is everything else except sugar. 

I am in good health and generally have been so during the cam- 
paign, no fatigue or exposure has ever borne me down. Have every 
day been on duty since I left home. 

How are all friends? I often think of Captain Parks, I know the 
lively interest he feels in the events here. Give him and Mrs. Parks 
my most friendly respects. I wrote your father by last mail I will 
write Mr. Eastin by this. 

All your friends here are well. Say to sister Harris that Simpson 
is here with me, and is well. My love to her and the children and to 
such other of our friends as you may see. 

May God bless you and our dear little daughter my dear. 

37. Camp Coffee, near New Orleans, February 15, 1815. 

Since last writing you nothing of importance has taken place, the 
enemies fleet still hovers on our coast, but no attempts to land, — Our 
flag of truce sent to them on the final adjustment of the exchange of 
prisoners left here twelve days since and has not returned, suppose 
it is detained untill the enemy move off, or make some other movement 
against us, — our prisoners lost here have all been returned, an hun- 
dred of those taken in our gunboats has not been obtained, we hold 
upon all theirs untill ours are all delivered — without strong reinforce- 
ments the enemy certainly never will again attack us — untill^ their 
final departure I dont expect to leave this, before the expiration of 
our time of service, but this is little expected, every day is expected 
to bring news of their leaving us — when we leave this suppose it will 

take one month to reach home, flatter myself of being with you by the 
last of march. . . . 

I expect the overseer will be preparing for a crop, I want him to 
commence early. I want a fence run between the young orchard and 
the wheat field, direct him to run it so as to include all the young 
Peach trees, and continue it straight to the lane fence, the orchard 
and that enclosed to be planted in cotton the same as last year, — I 
had intended to sow the field below the garden in oats, and so it may 
remain yet— the whole balance of the two plantations had better be 
planted in corn, all ought to be broke up as early as possible, and 





















COFFEE LETTERS 293 



before it is planted if possible — you can send him orders to this 
effect — 

Mrs. Jackson has not yet arrived here but is daily expected. 

The army here is somewhat sickly though not more than might be 
expected, — Colonel Smith is very sick but not dangerous and is nearly 
well, your Brother Jackey is quite well, as are all other friends, 
General Jackson does not enjoy good health, he has been very low but 
is better. I hope he will accompany Mrs. Jackson home this spring. 
I yet enjoy good health myself — 

Please remember me affectionately to your father and mother and 
all friends — 

38. Camp Coffee, near New Orleans, February 24th, 1815. 

I have written your Father by this days mail to whom I refer you 
for the news respecting the movements of the enemy. 

If the accounts of a peace being concluded is true and the same 
should be confirmed by our government we shall certainly receive it 
officially in a few days, when ever that takes place I expect to be 
ordered home immediately and not before untill the expiration of our 
service as engaged for, — you will be better able to judge of this early 
than I can, as you will have the news earlier — 

At present it is not believed the enemy will return to this place 
again, but of this we have no certainty, never untill yesterday did we 
give up their prisoners, as untill then they had retained some of ours, 
four schooners left New Orleans early yesterday morning loaded with 
British prisoners to be delivered to them at the mouth of the Missis- 
sippi, when they receive them, its probable they will leave the 
coast, — 

Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Butler, and Mrs. Overton 37 all arrived here 
on the 19th Inst in good health and are now with their husbands high- 
ly pleased, of course — they just arrived in time to prepare for the 
Ball given at the anniversary of General Washington, the 22nd Inst. 
which was quite splendid and the ladies much pleased with it. — Not- 
withstanding their present enjoyments, their troubles are yet to come, 
its highly probable General Jackson will return to Tennessee this 
spring, and if he does not, the Ladies will, and then it will be they'll 
regret their undertaking, the task will most certainly be an arduous 
one, descending the river was only a frolic, but returning will be 
laborious. I fear your aunt will almost shrink under the fatigue, 
I wish she had your philosophy, to remain where she could be most 
happy and most certainly provided for, I never saw the inconvenience 
so plain as since her arrival and reflected on it. . . . 



39. 



New Orleans, March 3rd, 1815. 



Some days since I saw a letter from Mrs. Gibson to the Colonel 
dated the 20th Janry. and in it she mentioned that our dear little 
Mary had been dangerously ill, but was much amended, — with much 
anxiety I attended the Post office this day in hopes of having the 
pleasure of a line from you, but am disappointed, I am fearful the 
reason is that either you or Mary are sick, and you dont want to 
advise me of it, or certainly you would write me, I shall be uneasy 
untill I hear from you, this day I reed, a letter from Captain B. 
Coleman dated 24th Jany. — he says he saw you a day or two before 
and all were well, which gives me some hope that Mary has recov- 
ered — 

Great expectation was had, that this day's mail would bring in- 

sTMrs. Andrew Jackson, Mrs. Dr. W. E. Butler, and Mrs. Judge John Overton. 



294 DOCUMENTS 



telligence of a peace being signed by our commissioners and perhaps 
ratified by our government, but the mail that was this day due has 
not come on, any further than from Nashville and of course no news. 
We are much at a loss what will be the course of conduct to be pur- 
sued if peace is not made immediately, it will \>e difficult to defend 
this part of our country, in and through the approaching season — 

We have by this day's mail seen the account of the capture of 
the President frigate, by four of the enemies vessels, we regret the 
loss of the vessel and her brave crew, but the nation has not suffered 
in her character, as they sold themselves like true born Americans, 
and the enemy have nothing to boast of — would to God Major Law- 
rence had have acted the same part before he gave up Fort Bowyer, 
and thereby saved the credit of our arms — 

The enemy the last accounts were laying off Mobile, and it was 
uncertain if they would attack the town of Mobile or not, I believe 
it is certain that Admiral Cochrane, the principal naval commander, 
has left the fleet, and has gone to the Chesapeake, for either rein- 
forcements or to be ready to meet any dispatch vessels that may be 
sent on the subject of a treaty — perhaps next mail will bring us in- 
telligence of something that may alter our destination, but without 
it, I dont expect to leave here untill the complete fulfillment of our 
term of service which will be on the 28th of this month, so that we 
have no certainty of leaving this untill that time, and it will take 
us from thirty to forty days to reach home — 

I have the pleasure to say our troops are in better health than at 
any time for one month past, fewer deaths and dangerous cases, and 
a smaller sick report we have suffered much from sickness owing to 
colds and the measles which is pretty generally removed — 

Colonel Smith has entirely recovered of his sickness, but is not 
yet very strong, he rides about — your Brother Jackey and other 
friends are all well — I still enjoy good health myself if you would 
write me on the rect. of this, and direct your letter to the Choctaw 
agency it will certainly meet me there on the way home, and would 
be very pleasing to me — I shall be unhappy untill I receive a line 
from you. 

40. Camp near New Orleans, March 16, 1815. 

By the last mail I reed, a letter from you which was the only 
one reed, for more than a month, and by which I was informed of 
the recovery of our dear little daughter from a severe illness, I 
hope you and she are now in health, I have experienced more un- 
easiness about your situation and health of late than I ever felt be- 
fore, but I hope my dear all is well with you — I shall continue to feel 
unhappy until I hear from you — 

Not untill three days since, did the news of peace reach here 
officially, you cannot imagine the joy expressed by the Citizens of this 
country and city at the welcome news, illuminations and rejoicing in 
various and numerous ways by every class of citizens and you may 
suppose not unwelcome news to the army — tomorrow morning I take 
up the line of. march for home (the sick sent on to Natchez in ad- 
vance in the steam boat) I think I will be home by the 18th or 20th 
of April — say to the overseer to push on the preparation for a crop, 
on as large a scale as the farm will admit of, and when I reach home 
I will aid him in cultivating it. 

By yours before the last, I had expected you were at your fathers, 
and as such directed several letters to you at Nashville, but I hope 
your father has sent them to you, to him I am more indebted for in- 
formation than all my friends besides, having received from him sev- 
eral intelligent letters with much satisfaction 






NATCHEZ EXPEDITION 295 



Our prospects are pleasing, all our friends here well, your Brother 
Jackey has had some late indisposition but now well, as is Colonel 
Smith also Mr. Harris and others — Mrs Jackson and Mrs Butler well 
and in fine spirits. I expect they will start home in 8 or 10 days 
perhaps sooner, the General will accompany them — 

I am still blessed with as good health as I ever had — my respects 
to all friends — 

I will again write you from Natchez or Washington — shall ex- 
pect to meet a letter from you at the Chickasaw agency 

41. Washington, near Natchez, March 26, 1815. 

Early tomorrow morning I leave this on my march home, think 
in twenty days to be with you, accidents excepted, Nothing has oc- 
curred since I wrote you from Orleans, I left that place on the 18th 
Inst, and reached this yesterday — have everything now ready to 
proceed and shall lose no time untill I see you — have nothing to in- 
form you, hope you are in health but feel great anxiety for you — 
hope Mary has perfectly recovered her health, tell her Pap will soon 
be with her — I still retain good health, say to Sister Harris that 
Simpson is here and is well — as all friends — 



2. Roll of Tennessee Cavalrymen in the Natchez 

Expedition. 

Among the papers of General Coffee is a roll of the regi- 
ment of cavalry commanded by him on the expedition to 
Natchez. This is in the form of a record of names of men with 
the number of blankets, sabres and pistols furnished by each. 
It is probable that this is the same regiment that was after- 
ward commanded by General Coffee in the first part of the 
Creek War. There are no muster rolls of the troops of the 
Creek War in the archives of Tennessee, but these are pre- 
served in the War Records Office of the War Department at 
Washington. This roll of cavalrymen contains the names of 
ancestors of many Tennesseans. 

It will be interesting to ascertain from what counties re- 
spectively these cavalry troops come. It is certain that troop 
No. 3, commanded by Capt. Baskerville, came from Sumner 
County. A number of the names are memorable in its annals. 
It will be well if anyone who reads this roll will point out the 
home counties of other troops. The title is as follows : 

"A return of Blankets, Sabres and Pistols, furnished by 
individuals at their own private expense, in the Regiment of 
Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry, commanded by Colonel John 
Coffee — a part of the detachment under the command of 
Major General Andrew Jackson, in the service of the United 
States of America, destined for the defence of the lower coun- 
try." 

Some of the names are obscured by discoloration. The fol- 
lowing is the list by companies: 

TROOP NO. 1.— Capt. Coleman; John Nash, Reid, 



Barksdale, Thomas G. Watkins, Sam'! Matery, Gray K. Hubbard, 



296 DOCUMENTS 



• -* « » — 



> — 



'AK ■ * • • • 



^V< •. • ^ 



• « *» 



• V ^ 

*■'* 



. 



Peter Winn, John Knight, P. Gatlin, Rob't Bedford, Henry 

McPeak, Vincent Willie, George R. Nash, Jacob Johns, Thomas Bed- 
form, Thomas Nash, John McPeak, Josiah W. Zachery, Benjamin 

Wilson, Robert Smith, Thomas Nelson, William Jones, Whitsett, 

John Smith, James Clemens, Thomas Hubbard, Vincent Hubbard, 
Francis B. Cox, Henry Miller, John Bailey, James Stone, John Stone, 
John Smith, William Lockerd, Elisha Saunders, John Bowles, Willie 
Jones, Nathan Stockerd, George Williams, Samuel Smith, Robert Dyer, 
Joseph Kendrick, Theodorick Mabery, Bazel West, Walter Myrick, 
Joseph Patterson, Paul McMillian, Cyrus Sharp, Matthew Dickey, 
Alexander Cathey, John Gazaway, John Hall, John Wilson, Ben- 
jamin Maberry, Jonathan Sherwood, William H. Dyer, William Hig- 
gins, William H. Whitson, Isaac Edwards, Joab H. Barton, William 
Gibbon, Lewis C. Anthony, John McQuaig, William Arnold, Benjamin 
Ward, William Steen, Adam Cox, Thompson Enoch, John F. Couser, 
John R. Enoch, Joseph Adkins, Thomas Adkins — 72. 



TROOP NO. 2.— Capt. Molton; David Rushings, Absolum Maddin, 
Andrew Hamilton, John Lewis, John McHenry, Charles Baker, John 
Boothe, Isenias Haley, Howard W. Turner, Elisha Simmons, Robert 
Norris, John Baker, Thomas Arnold, Israel Arnold, Ephraim Arnold, 
James L. Bell, James Black, Jesse Bays, John Cooper, Hewell Parrish, 
Alexander Dickson, William Evans, Shadrick Prinn, Stephen Harris, 
Isaac JHU1, Randolph Harris, John Hooper, John Hays, Patrick Kelly, 
James Lewis, Aaron Lewis, Joseph Larkin, M. C. Molton, Samuel 
Lewis, Peter Phillips, Benjamin Persel, William Powers, Jesse Norris, 
Sanrttel Richardson, Andrew Smith, James Simmons, West Wood, 

* Hugh Dickson, Richard Juster, William Wingate, Samuel Morris, 
Richard Rushing, Jacob Vaughn, Wm. Wright, Richard Justice, Clarke 

» Spencer — 51. 

.^ w ,..':' TROOP NO. 3.— Capt. Baskerville; John Baskerville, Moses Henry, 

£pff Reubin Blackemore, Thadeus W. Barber, Robert Hodge, James Wil- 

"%•-..' son, Thomas Knight, Thomas Brookshire, James Johnson, Ephraim 

$%. k Hunt, Henry Bledsoe^ John Bachelor, Peter Bryson, Matthew Duty, 

William Malory, Thomas Young, James Trousdale, John White, 
George Cooper, Solomon Duty, Ralph Dickinson, Archd Mitchell, 
Francis Johnson, Jacob C. Cook, Isaac Bledsoe, Joseph Braton, Benj. 
Brown, John Fuller, Thofloas T. Blackmon, Benj. Dowell, Jacob West, 
Ebin Phillips, John Gwif£john Mardrell, Wm. Murphy, David Wil- 
liams, Benj. Ashlock, Geofge Duty, Rob't Moore, Wm. A. Roberts, 
Wm. Carothers, Umphrey Bate, Arch'd Johnson, Silas Prewett, Benj. 
Duty, Ed. Kean, R'd C. Johnson, Macklin Key, Jacob Gillespie, John 
Parker, Falton Boran, Lemuel Stubblefield, Isaac Ball, David Hig- 
gins, Wm. Counsel, Asa Hai-den, Ashly Stanfield, William Grubbs, 
John Byrn, Robert Fall, John Rutherford, James D. Edson, Phillip 
Ashlock, William Robertson, Hugh Latimore, William Bowling, Alex 
Bowling, George Mecklenberry — 68. 

TROOP NO. 4.— Capt. Stump; R. C. Fielding, Joseph Gray, Wil- 
liam Ritchie, N. Y. Hail, W. B. Amnon, D. E. Irvan, William Hud- 
son, William Cleaves, J. Messy, Joseph Chumley, E. Singleton, C. 
Manly, William Letts, Stephen White, Isaac Lewis, Jesse Belam, 
Hugh Walker, Isaac R. Gray, James McQuirter, David Willis, Alex 
Rily, William Anderson, Willis C. Clarke, Thos Stephens, Joel Leek, 
Stephen Cavender, L. Green, Matthew Williams, Alsey Pace, A. 
Duglas, John Blaize, M. Garrett, Wm. S. Burnett, Peter Binkley 
Rob't Holt— 35. 

TROOP NO. 5.— Capt. Tyrel; Cornelius, C. Davidson, 

Abner Warren, D. Tredwell, R. Bruden, J. K. McKean, J. Bassey, 
Thos. Ray, Reuben C. Biggs, S. Cogghill, Ben Caps, Rob't Cartwright, 















NATCHEZ EXPEDITION 297 






Jas. Frazer, Moses Frazer, Thos. B. Hudson, Rich'd Harmon, J. Mc- 
Durnett, John Robertson, John Robert, Jr., Wm. Turner, Geo. Gal- 
legher, James Brayden, Thos. H. Harris, Cary Kelly, Wm. Richards, 
John Rainey, John Smith, Sen., John Smith, Jr., James Vaught, Jed- 
son Wilie, Ezekiel Brown, Rich'd McMahan, Isaiah Hogan, Aaron 
Edwards, Rob't Hight, Henry Lemon, Thos. Stuart, James Laseter — 38. 

TROOP NO. 6. — Capt. Byrn; Josiah Walton, James Hamilton, 
Isaac Luny, John Cotton, Isaac Ellett, John Montgomery, Alex Cot- 
ton, William Cantrel, James Strother, Sam'l Rogers, Allen Cotton, 
Jacob Savia, Stuart Brigance, Adam Cowger, Hubbard Avent, James 
Byrn, Norflet Perry, Sam'l Edison, Olley Blackamon, Henry Winn, 
Chas. Brigance, Nicholas Lattimore, Rob't Parks, Hardy Robason, 
Thos. Coffman, John C. Lattimore, Isaac Morris, Jesse Daniel, Berry 
Edwards, Rob't Moon, Thos. Dugger, John Curby, Everet Elliss, 
Westley Dugger, Alex McElroy, John H. Payton, Tho. M. Scurlock, 
Jos. Elliss, Ezekiel Brown, John Hunter, Dred Dugger, Nicholas 
Bain, Rob't Strother, John Bell, Solomon Anderson, Rob't W. Ceiltis, 
Igreat Dugger, Jurdon Uzell, Willie Dorset, Henry Pearson, 
Rich'd Boyce, Winslow P. Johnstone, John Kalhoun, John Turner, 
Elisha Staltons, Wm. Daniel, Sam , l Lawrence, Simeon Perry, Henry 
Barnes, Benj. Kinsol, Tho. Daniel, Tho. Finley, Archibald Kempson, 
John Rice, John McKinsay, Elijah Rice, Tho. Marlin, Peter Winn, 
Thos. Wingo, Charles Brigance — 71. 

TROOP NO. 7.— Capt. Smith; Robt. Q. Johnston, Henry Hart, 

Wm. T. Williams, Wm. Lofland, Jno. S. Sanders, Sam'l Greenfield, 
Eth'd Williams, Elias F. Deloach, Benj. Darnal, Wm. Haygood, Wm. 
Briant, Wm. Hutchington, Benj. F. Smith, Josiah Fort, Henry Fort, 
Wm. Fort, Rob't Haygood, Wm. Adams, Joel Campbell, David Duvall, 
Rob't Briant, Thos. Darnal, Nicholas Darnal, Daniel Collier, Wm. 
Smith, Moses Grant, Abijah Hightowre, Stephen Terry, John Robert- 
son, Sam'l Lunsford, Larkin Usery, John Moore, Jas. B. Campbell, 
Jacob D. Clines, Joshua Luntsford, Henry Johnston, Jas. Cook, Tho. 
Cook, David Waldin, Morgan Moore, Wm. Jimonson, Britton Briges, 
Jos. French, Morris Morris, Martin Duncan, Wm. McFaden, Tate 
Odeneal, Francis Hambleton, Jno. Garner, Joseph Colwell, John Grant, 
Tho. Roberts, Jas. Loyd, Sam'l H. D. Ryburn, Jas. Walker, Arthur 
Williams, Jno. Baker — 57. 

TROOP NO. 8.— Capt. Jetton; John Wilson, Wm. Newgent, Jos. 
Wilson, David Hall, Jno. Lawrance, Ezekiel Dickson, George Douglas, 
Wm. Hill, Wm. Gavel, Moses Swan, Barnes Clark, Vyneard Croford, 
John Casy, Luke Dean, Daniel Eastwood, Kinchen Freman, Jno. 
Hill, Lemuel Hall, Wm. Johnstone, Rob't Kelton, John Kislough, Jas. 
Marlin, Wm. Mabury, Jno. Marlin, David Moore, Amis McCoy, Jno. 
McCarrell, Enoch Harris, Oliver Harris, Wm. Noton, David McCay, 
George Philips, Wm. Parker, Wm. Norman, Wm. Morris, Hugh Kirk, 
Thos. Pinkerton, Jno. McCary, Henry Thompson, Alex Russell, Rob't 
Russell, Thos B. Smith, Levy Taylor, Martin Taylor, Charles Taylor, 
Sam'l Nale, Rob't Whittle, Sam'l Warren, Jas. McClash, Edmond 
Tennison — 52. 

TROOP NO. 9.— Capt. Kavennaugh; Isaac Coon, T. W. Linster, 
Jno. Bridges, Jos. Holcombe, J. W. Linster, Daniel Duns, Tho. Cowan, 
Wm. Parks, R. Ragsdale, R. L. Deen, Wm. Gurley, Levy Ragsdale, 
Andrew Beagar, Isaac Bigell, Wm. Bigell, John Benson, John Capps, 
<Wm. Cowan, Peter Edwards, John Epps, Wm. Fibrel, Andrew Good- 
man, Benj. Gar ley, Benj. Goodman, Jesse Gully, Geo. Glasscock, 
Nathaniel House, H. B. Jackson, Lee Kavenaugh, Jos. Long, Wm. 
Marten, R. W. Coutcker, Andrew McKinny, Glen Owen, Mat Patton, 
J. B. Scrugs, Wm. Scott, J. R. Tankely, Joseph Teas, Tho. Wallace, 

— 3Hist. 



298 



DOCUMENTS 






John Wise, Ephriam Beazly, J. Carothers, H. P. Holt, Jas. Boyet, 
Benj. Jones, Laban Benson, Wm. Edmondson, Green House, Collinck 

Kinny — 50. 

TROOP NO. 10.— Capt. Bradley; William Hallum, Isham Wynne, 
John Hallum, John P. Moss, Joseph Reiff, John A. Givins, David 
Parrish, John Warren, Jacob Reiff, Stephen Barton, John Bradley, 
Joseph Bouton, Drury Bettes, Wyat Bettes, John Bartlett, John Bryant, 

James Bales, William Bryant, Thomas Burket, John Cavet, Carter 
Crutcher, Wm. Crawford, Green Cook, Jesse Cook, Elisha Cole, David 
Cole, James Calhoon, James Dooly, Peter Earhart, Thos. Grissom, 
James Eason, John Guthrey, Thompson Hays, Reid Horn, George 
Harpole, Sam'l Hunter, Isaac Hunter, Eli Harris, Pleasant Irby, 
Joseph Irby, James Roane, Luke Kent, James Jones, Joseph King, 
Isaac Kelly, Thos. Morton, Rob't Marshall, Andrew McDaniel, Wm. 
McDaniel, John Irby, Sam'l Miller, Sam'l Neel, G. Neel, B. Organ, 
S. Organ, John Reiff, R. Sutton, Rich'd Rowland, James T. Wynne, 
J. C. Williams, Wm. Talbut, Jno. Young, A. Brown, Daniel Warren, 
John Cocke — 66. 



TROOP NO. 11, 



Will 



McKnight, Rob't Moore, H. Hammons, S. Bedford, Geo. Patton, A. 
Lackey, Alfred Moore, Allen Corbet, Burwell Featherstone, E. H. 
Chaffin, H. Sheppard, H. Hartgrove, Jno. Dickson, James Hill, Jno. 
Hill, James Moore, Josiah Vanhouse, Jno. Irwin, Jno. May, Jno. 
Wood, Jas. Monahan, Jos. Thompson, Jno. Cabler, Moses Ashbrook, 
Brent Wallace, Thos. Smith, Thos. Furgason, Thos. Rodes, Thos. 
Hamilton, Nath. Henderson, Lem'l Nichols, Thos. Darnall, A. Chisolm, 
J. D. Graves, Abraham Rodes, H. Scott, H. Horn, H. Crenshaw, John 
Hopper, Jos. Thompson, Sr., Rob't Beard, Wm. Weer. — 44. 

































HISTORICAL NOTES AND NEWS 

PROCEEDINGS OF THE SOCIETY. 



At the October meeting Mr. John Bell Keeble delivered an address 
on "Some Phases of Reconstruction/' and at the November meeting 
the address of the evening was by Rev. G. B. Winton on the subject, 
"Panama." Both of these papers were of marked historical interest 
to those who were so fortunate as to hear them. 

The Society has received, among other gifts, a collection of forty- 
nine volumes from the New York Historical Society and a copy of 
the Nashville Union and American for May 26, 1861, the latter a gift 
of Mr. Rammage. 

The Society went on record as desiring the passage of a bill to 
create a Department of Archives for the State of Tennessee and 
appointed the following committee to work for the same: John H. 
DeWitt, Chairman; Dr. A. H. Purdue, John P. Hickman, Dr. A. A. 
Lyon, A. P. Foster, Hallum Goodloe, H. K. Bryson, Judge T. F. Wilson, 
Dr. St. George L. Sioussat, Miss Carrie Sims, and Mrs. B. D. Bell, 
together with all members living outside of the county of Davidson. 

The new members added to the list since the last announcement 
are as follows: Mrs. Mark Harrison, Nashville; Miss Emily Martin, 
Brentwood; Rev. G. B. Harris, Nashivlle; Hon. Hallum Goodloe, Nash- 
ville; Mr. J. F. Rippey, Nashville; Mr. L. Lewis, Nashville; Mr. Robert 
Dyas, Nashville; Judge Henry R. Gibson, Knoxville; Mr. Evander 
Shepard, Shelbyville; Mr. Charles S. Shirley, Columbia; Mr. J. W. 
E. Moore, Brownsville; Mr. Clem I. Jones, Athens; Mr. Charles T. 
Cates, Jr., Knoxville; Thad A. Cox, Johnson City; Giles L. Evans, 
Fayetteville, and C. C. Dabney, Nashville. 



THE TENNESSEE SOCIETY OF COLONIAL DAMES. 

The Tennessee Society of Colonial Dames held its semi-annual 
meeting on Thursday, Nov. 16, 1916, at Woodstock, the country home 
of Mrs. J. C. Bradford. Mrs. James H. Kirkland, the president, pre- 
sided. 

Mrs. W. A. Bryan and Mrs. S. A. Sheib were received as new mem- 
bers. Visiting Dames were Mrs. Polk, of Little Rock, Ark., and Mrs. 
James Allison, of St. Louis. 

After the minutes of the last meeting had been read by the secre- 
tary, Mrs. Samuel H. Orr, Mrs. Frank W. Ring discussed the work of 
the Society in the mountain schools in Van Buren County, and Mrs. 
C. B. Wallace spoke of the work at Rock Island. 

Miss Susie Gentry, chairman of the Historical Research Committee, 
gave a sketch of Gen. Andrew Lewis and of old Fort Loudon, the 
site of which is to be marked by the Tennessee Society. Miss Gentry 
also spoke of the memorial building in honor of George Washington 
which the various patriotic societies propose to erect at Valley Forge. 
Mrs. Maggie H. Hicks reported for the Library Committee. 

Mr. John Howe Peyton, the president of the Nashville, Chattanooga 
& St. Louis Railway, made an interesting address relative to the work 
of the railroad in relation to scientific agriculture and the improvement 
of the land in the mountain districts, and especially with regard to the 
co-operation between the railway and the Colonial Dames. 



300 TENNESSEE HISTORICAL MAGAZINE 



SONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

The annual meeting of the Tennessee Society of the Sons of the 
American Revolution was held Monday evening, October 23, in the 
private dining-room of the Commercial Club in Nashville. 

After the reading of the minutes and the reports of committees, 
the membership papers of Mr. R. B. Cassell, of Hariman, were sub- 
mitted and accepted. 

Mr. Wm. K. Boardman, secretary, made a short talk concerning 
the methods of entertaining the National Society at the 1917 Congress, 
which is to be held in Nashville. 

For the ensuing year Mr. Leland Hume was elected president of 
the Society and Mr. Carey Folk, treasurer. The other officers were re- 
elected for another year's service, as follows : John W. Faxon, James 
N. Cox, and Wm. Lawson Wilhoit, vice-presidents; John C. Brown, 
registrar; Rev. Jas. I. Vance, D.D., chaplain; Dr. Paul DeWitt, sur- 
geon; St. George L. Sioussat, historian; Wm. K. Boardman, secretary. 

Mr. John H. DeWitt presented the subject of the state archives bill 
to be introduced in the approaching session of the Assembly. The 
Society instructed the president and the Executive Committee to 
draw up suitable resolutions in behalf of the bill, to be presented to 
the Legislature when the bill is introduced. 

The Society extended to Mr. Boardman its congratulations upon 
his election as vice-president general of the National Society. It was 
voted to present Mr. Boardman with a jewel as a token of the Society's 
appreciation of this honor. 

Short addresses were made by the Rev. Dr. Vance upon John 
Sevier, and by Dr. St. George L. Sioussat upon LaFayette and Rocham- 
beau. 

A rising vote of thanks was tendered the retiring president, Mr. 
E. A. Lindsey, in appreciation of his services during the past year. 

It was voted to give the president power to appoint necessary com- 
mittees for the entertainment of the Congress of 1917. 

DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

The eleventh State Conference of the Tennessee chapters of the 
Daughters of the American Revolution met in Memphis, November 1, 2 
and 3, by invitation of the Memphis chapters. 

This Conference was one of the largest ever held in the State, as 
there were approximately 400 local Daughters besides delegates. 

The business sessions were held in the ballroom of the Chisca 
Hotel, the State Regent, Mrs. Thomas Polk, of Jackson, presiding. 

The first session was impressively opened Wednesday afternoon 
by "Bugle Call" by Francis Bingham and "Salute to the Flag," fol- 
lowed by the singing of "America." 

Addresses of welcome were delivered by Mr. Goodman for Mayor 
Ashcroft, and Mrs. C. B. Bryan in behalf of the hostess chapters, 
responses being given by Mrs. Hallum Goodloe and Mrs. N. B. Dozier. 

In the address by the State Regent patriotic education was the 
keynote, and the Tennessee Daughters were urged to adopt it as a 
slogan. 

Reports from the various committees showed a creditable year's 
work, especially the Patriotic Education Committee, mountain school 
work coming under this head. During the school term sixty pupils 






























HISTORICAL NOTES AND NEWS 301 



were enrolled at the Flag Pond D. A. R. School, which is being taught 
this year by Miss Minta Carter, a mountain girl. An "Amelia Mor- 
row Chamberlain Scholarship" was established by the Conference 
in memory of Mrs. Chamberlain, of Chattanooga, an ex-State Regent. 

The report of the Historian, Mrs. Charles R. Hyde, included four 
addresses delivered on "Historic Chattanooga ;" one on George Wash- 
ington, one at the Berry School. She had visited Chief Vann's home, 
Chalmette; collected data relating to the Cherokee Indians; also 
written articles on "Early Books in Tennessee," and a poem, "Old 
Times in Tennessee." 

Chapters were requested to send books for the Memorial Con- 
tinental Hall Library at Washington. Among the books promised 
were some by local authors — poems of Walter Malone, Sara Beaumont 
Kennedy, Virginia Frazier Boyle, and Mrs. Watson's "Field of Honor." 

A unique feature of one of the sessions was the reading of an 
original poem, entitled "Memphis," by the poet laureate, Mrs. W. B. 
Romine. 

The Conference voted unanimously to ask the next Legislature 
for an appropriation for publication of the Draper Manuscripts and 
to secure the publication and preservation of the State archives. 

Distinguished guests and speakers at the Conference were: Mrs. 
John Miller Horton, of New York; Mrs. George T. Guernsey, of 
Kansas; Mrs. George T. Squires, of Minnesota, and Mrs. W. G. 
Spencer, vice-president general National Society from Tennessee. 

At a beautifully appointed luncheon the last day of the Con- 
ference Mrs. T. J. Latham presented the Tennessee D. A. R. with a 
silver loving cup. 

A spirit of harmony pervaded the entire Conference, which marked 
the close of a most successful year's work and gave promise of a still 
better new year's work under the guidance of the efficient State 

Regent. Matie C. Fletcher, 

Secretary Tennessee D. A. R. 



INDEX 



i 



TENNESSEE HISTORICAL MAGAZINE 






VOLUME II. 



The names of contributors of articles are printed in small capitals f 
the titles in italics. Titles of works reviewed or noticed are inclosed in 
quotation marks. 






American Revolution, Daughters 

of, 300-301. 
American Revolution, Sons of, 

300. 
Andrew Greer, by J. T. McGill, 

204-207. 
Anti-Slavery Activities of the 

Methodist Episcopal Church in 

Tennessee, by A. E. Martin, 

98-109. 
Bell's, John, Political Revolt, and 

the Vauxhall Garden Speech, 

by Albert V. Goodpasture, 

254-263. 

Bolton, H. E., "Texas in the Mid- 
dle Eighteenth Century/' 87. 

Cavalrymen, Tennessee, in the 
Natchez Expedition, Roll of 

(doc). 

Coffee, John, Letters of General, 
to his Wife, 1813-1815 (doc), 
with Introduction and Notes by 
John H. DeWitt. 

"Collections, Illinois Historical/ 9 
87, 154. 

Colonial Dames, Tennessee So- 
ciety of, 299. 

Compact, Cumberland, and the 
Foundimg of Nashville, Richard 
Henderson: The Authorship of 

the, Archibald Henderson, 

155-174. 
Constitution Making, State," by 
Wallace McClure, 232-233. 
Constitutional Need in Tennessee, 
Government Reorganization, A, 

by Wallace McClure, 89-97. 

Cumberland Compact and the 
Founding of Nashville, Richard 
Henderson: The Authorship of 

the f Archibald Henderson, 
155-174. 



n 



Daughters of the American Rev- 
olution, 300-301. 

Death of Mr. Clarence S. Paine, 
231. 

Diaries of S. H. Laughlin of Ten- 
nessee, 18 40, 18 US, (doc), with 
Introduction and Notes by the 
Editor, 43-85. 

Early Corporate Limits of Nash- 

ville, by R. B. C. Howell, 110- 
118. 

"Filibusters and Financiers/' by 
W. O. Scroggs, 153-154. 

"Financiers, Filibusters and/' by 
W. O. Scroggs, 153-151. 

First Settlement in Tennessee? 
Fort Prudhomme: Was It the, 

by J. P. Young, 235-244. 

Fort Prudhomme: Was It the 
First Settlement in Tennessee? 

by J. P. Young, 235-244. 

Genealogical Inquiry, 231-232. 

Goodpasture, Albert V., John 

BelVs Political Revolt, and the 
Vauxhall Garden Speech, 254- 
263. 

Governmental Reorganization, A 
Constitutional Need in Tennes- 
see, by Wallace McClure, 89- 
97. 

Greer, Andrew, by J. T. McGill, 
204-207. 

Greer, Joseph, The King's Moun- 
tain Messenger : — A Tradition 
of the Greer Family, by Mag- 
gie H. Stone, 40-42. 

Heiss, Major John P., of Na&h~ 
ville, Papers of (doc), with In- 
troduction and Notes by the Ed- 
itor, 137-146, 208-230. 

Heiss Papers, Walker — //, (doc), 
147-149. 









*The Editor gratefully acknowledge 
Hudson in the preparation of the Index. 









INDEX 



303 



Henderson, Archibald, Richard 

Henderson: The Authorship of 
the Cumberland Compact, and 
the Founding of Nashville, 155- 
174. 

Henderson, Richard: The Author- 
ship of the Cumberland Com- 
pact and the Founding of Nash- 
ville, Archibald Henderson, 
155-174. 

Henry, H. M., Slave Laws of 
Tennessee, 175-203. 

Historical Association, the Nash- 
ville Meeting of the Mississippi 

Valley, 86-87. 
History of the Life of General 
William Trousdale, Hon. J. A. 

Trousdale, 119-138. 

Howell, R. B. C, Early Cor- 
porate Limits of Nashville, 110- 
118. 

"Illinois Historical Collections/' 

87, 154. 
Immigration, Tennessee: A Dis- 
cussion on the Sources of Its 
Population and the Lines of, by 

Stephen B. Weeks, 245-253. 

Inquiry, Genealogical, 231-232. 

King's Mountain Messenger, Jo- 
seph Greer: — A Tradition of 
the Greer Family, by Maggie 
H. Stone, 40-42. 

Laughlin, S. H. of Tennessee, 
1840, 181*3, Diaries of, (doc), 
with Introduction and Notes by 
the Editor, 43-85. 

Laws of Tennessee, Slave, by H. 
M. Henry, 175-203. 

Letters of General John Coffee to 
his Wife, 1813-1815, (doc), 
with Introduction and Notes by 

John H. DeWitt. 

Life of General William Trous- 
dale, A History of, by Hon. J. 
A. Trousdale, 119-138. 

Manuscripts, Society's, 231. 

Marshall, Park, The Topograph- 
ical Beginnings of Nashville, 

31-39. 
Martin, A. E., Anti-Slavery Ac- 
tivities of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church in Tennessee, 98- 

109. 
McClure, Wallace, Governmen- 
tal Reorganization, A Constitu- 
tional Need im Tennessee, 89-97. 



McClure, W., State Constitution 

Making, 232-233. 

McGill, J. T., Andrew Greer, 
204-207. 

Methodist Episcopal Church in 
Tennessee, Anti-Slavery Activ- 
ities of the, by A. E. Martin, 
98-109. 

Mississippi Valley Historical As- 
sociation, the Nashville Meet- 
ing, 86-87, 151-152. 

Myer, Mr. W. E., A Request from, 
152-153. 

Nashville, Early Corporate Lim- 
its of, by R. B. C. Howell, 
110-118. 

Nashville Meeting of the Missis- 
sippi Valley Historical Asso- 
ciation, 86-87, 151-152. 

Nashville, the Founding of, Rich- 
ard Henderson: The Author- 
ship of the Cumberland Com- 
pact and, by Archibald Hen- 
derson, 155-174. 

Nashville, the Topographical Be- 
ginnings of, by Park Mar- 
shall, 31-39. 

Natchez Expedition, Roll of Ten- 
nessee Cavalrymen in, (doc). 

Paine, Mr. Clarence S., Death of, 
231. 

Papers of Major John P. Heiss of 
Nashville, (doc), with Intro- 
duction and Notes by the Ed- 
itor, 137-146, 208-230. 

Population and the Lines of Im- 
migration, Tennessee: A Dis- 
cussion on the Sources of Its, 

by Stephen B. Weeks, 245-253. 

Proceedings of the Society, 86, 

150-151, 299. 

Prudhomme, Fort: Was It the 
First Settlement in Tennessee? 
by J. P. Young, 235-244. 

Public School System of Tennes- 
see, 1834-1860, by A. P. Whit- 

AKER, 1-30. 

Request from Mr. W. E. Myer, 

152-153. 
Revolt, and Vauxhall Garden 

Speech, John Bell's Political, by 

Albert V. Goodpasture, 254- 

263. 
Revolution, Daughters of the 

American, 300-301. 

Revolution, Sons of the American, 

300. 












304 



INDEX 



Roll of Tennessee Cavalrymen in 
the Natchez Expedition, (doc). 

* 

Scroggs, Walter O., "Filibusters 
and Financiers," 153-154. 

School System of Tennessee, 
1834, I860, the Public, by A. P. 
Whitaker, 1-30. 

Settlement in Tennessee? Fort 
Prudhomme: Was It the First, 

by J. P. Young, 235-244. 

Slave Laws of Tennessee, by h. 

M. Henry, 175-203. 

Society's Manuscripts, 231. 

Sons of the American Revolution. 

"State Constitution Making," by 
Wallace McClure, 232-233. 

Stone, Maggie H., Joseph Greer, 
the King's Mountain Messen- 
ger: — A Tradition of the Greer 
Family, 40-42. 

Tennessee: A Discussion on the 
Sources of Its Population and 
the Lines of Immigration, by 

Stephen B. Weeks, 245-253. 

Tennessee Cavalrymen in the 
Natchez Expedition, Roll of 
(doc). 



of 



Tennessee Society of Colonial 

Dames, 299. 
"Texas in the Middle Eighteenth 

Century," H. E. Bolton, 87. 
Topographical Beginnings 

Nashville, by Park Marshall, 
31-39. 
Trousdale, General William, A 
History of the Life of, by Hon. 

J. A. Trousdale, 119-138. 
Trousdale, Hon. J. A., A History 

of the Life of General William 
Trousdale, 119-138. 
Vauxhall Garden Speech, John 

BelTs Political Revolt and, by 

Albert V. Goodpasture, 254- 
263. 

Walker-Heiss Papers, II, (doc.), 
147-149. 

Weeks, Stephen B., Tennessee: 

A Discussion on the Sources of 
Its Population and the Lines of 
Immigration, 245-253. 

Whitaker, A. P., The Public 

School System of Tennessee, 
1831>-1860, 1-30. 

Young, J. P., Fort Prudhomme: 
Was It the First Settlement in 



Tennessee? 235-244. 






























\ 




















































































F 

431 

T28 

▼.2 


































































































































Tennessee historical magazine 















* 



- 





















PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE 
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 



UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY 
















































































I 
























I : 















| 



■ 



■ 



• 



! ... 






•Lid. 















to 


















. 















f; 



! 






■ _ 




mw 



. 



• 






i 









■ 



■ ■ 









I 






i ■ 












WW 



^B 






- 



■ 



i . , • 

ii 



. 



• 






l 









Til 1 












. 



I 



' 



H 









i 



1 

■ 



• 









: i J 









li.lH'R- 















. 



tMST 



■ 



II 






( 1 












In 



i y 









HH 



* 









• 



. 






: i.j;'i 









■J»: 









. 






'.".•Ii 



•' 



1 









*s? s 






IF 



■ 









' 



I 



i'i|j.ijtj!itji! 



* 






• 






- 



■ 






• ■ 















> 









\ 



. 



• 



' 











• 







• 



I 












' 









» 



* 






■ 









. 






1 









i 












i'LU 









I 









* #+ * 












• 












i < 

I