[TENNESSEE LAWS] - [CONSTITUTION]
[Bound Volume of Early Tennessee Laws, Encompassing Both Territorial and Early State Imprints, and the First State Constitution]
Knoxville: 1794-1799. 7 works bound together, octavo. (7 3/8 x 4 5/8 inches). First work lacks titlepage, contemporary ownership inscription on first leaf present. Light foxing, A few leaves trimmed closely at bottom edge, affecting text.
Contemporary calf, spine gilt with red morocco label, skillful repair to joints and corners. Housed within a black modern full morocco box.
Provenance: J. Hamilton (two signatures)
Possibly the greatest single volume of early Tennessee material, with the second known complete copy of the First Tennessee Constitution in fine original condition.
Seven works from the earliest pioneer press of Tennessee, including the first printing of the National Constitution printed in the state, as well as the first State Constitution, here in the second known complete copy. Such imprints have not appeared on the market since World War II. In February 1790, North Carolina ceded its western land holdings to the United States. A few months later the area became the newly created Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio. William Blount was appointed territorial governor by President Washington, and in 1795 he called a meeting of the territorial legislature to request a referendum for statehood. Thus, the state of Tennessee was born on June 1, 1796. George Roulstone, the first printer in Tennessee, began a newspaper in Knoxville in late 1791. The earliest Tennessee imprint noted by McMurtrie is a set of acts passed by the territorial government, printed after March 25th, 1793. Since then two earlier items have come to light; a broadside owned by Thomas W. Streeter dated Jan. 28, 1793, and a broadside dated March 13, 1793. The earliest dateable book, present here, was issued in 1794. The Tennessee State Constitution (here in the first of three editions; it was to be revisited in 1835 and 1869) was created by Congress at the time Tennessee was admitted as a state and became effective on June 1, 1796, when Tennessee entered the Union. It was not universally well received, although Thomas Jefferson described it as the "least imperfect and most republican of the state constitutions." The first leaf and one title have the early ownership inscription of J. Hamilton, possibly James Hamilton Jr., congressman and governor of South Carolina, who read law in Charleston and was admitted to the bar in 1810. The individual titles are as follows: 1) [Acts Passed at the First Session of the General Assembly of the Territory of the United States of America, South of the River Ohio. Began and Held at Knoxville, on Monday the Twenty Fifth day of August, MDCC,XCIV. Knoxville: George Roulstone, 1794]. -101pp. Lacks titlepage and preliminary viii pp. containing "Acts and ordinances of the governor and judges...as issued by William Blount." Evans accords this item its own number however, so it is possible that it wasn't issued as a part of this copy. Copies noted by ESTC and Allen at Harvard Law, the Huntington, Library of Congress, State Library of Tennessee, and University of Tennessee. Allen 7; ESTC W9956; Evans 27724; McMurtrie 5. 2) Acts Passed at the Second Session of the First General Assembly of the Territory of the United States of America, South of the River Ohio. Begun and Held at Knoxville, on Monday the Twenty Ninth day of June, 1795. Knoxville: George Roulstone, . 31pp. Copies noted by ESTC and Allen at Harvard Law, the Huntington, Library of Congress, and University of Tennessee. Allen 15; ESTC W5409; Evans 29551; McMurtrie 8. 3) The Constitution of the United States of America. to which is Prefixed, the Constitution of the State of Tennessee. Knoxville: Roulstone & Parrington, 1799. 30pp. Copies noted by ESTC and Allen at State Library of Tennessee and University of Tennessee (lacking titlepage).Allen 45; ESTC W30527; Evans 36404; McMurtrie 30. 4) Acts Passed at the Second Session of the Second General Assembly of the State of Tennessee.... Knoxville: Roulstone & Parrington, 1798. 70pp. The Table of Contents, comprising the last ten pages and present here, not present in two of the four recorded copies, which may have been issued without it. Copies noted by ESTC and Allen at Library of Congress, Harvard Law, New York Public Library, State Library of Tennessee, and University of Tennessee. Allen 38; ESTC W23338; Evans 36403; McMurtrie 27. 5) Acts Passed at the First General Assembly of the State of Tennessee.... Knoxville: George Roulstone, 1796. 78pp. Copies noted by ESTC and Allen at Library of Congress, Knoxville Public Library, and University of Tennessee. Allen 21; ESTC W23331; Evans 31277; McMurtrie 21 6) Acts Passed at the Second Session of the First General Assembly of the State of Tennessee.... Knoxville: George Roulstone, 1796. 13pp. Copies noted by ESTC and Allen at Harvard Law, University of Tennessee, and Centre College of Kentucky. Allen 22; Bristol B9722; ESTC W23332; McMurtrie 22; Shipton & Mooney 47935. 7) Acts Passed at the First Session of the Second General Assembly of the State of Tennessee.... Knoxville: George Roulstone, 1797. 120pp. Copies noted by ESTC and Allen at American Antiquarian Society, Library of Congress, Harvard Law, Knoxville Public Library, and State Library of Tennessee. Allen 33; ESTC W9891; Evans 32913; McMurtrie 24. These works are essentially unprocurable, and this volume provides a rare opportunity to acquire seven significant imprints from the first press in Tennessee. All are of the utmost rarity in any condition.
Check List of Tennessee Imprints 5, 8, 30, 27, 21, 22, 24.