TENNESSEE, formerly considered and denominated one of the " Western States," may now more properly be said to belong to the easterly geographical division of the American republic, since there is but one state lying between Tennessee and the Atlantic Ocean, while, on the other hand, there are five large states and territories between its westerly boundary and the shores of the Pacific. The original charter of North Carolina, granted in 1664 by King Charles II., embraced the area now included within the limits of this state. This region continued to be occupied by various large tribes of natives for more than a century after the above date, during the latter part of which period the early attempts of the whites to form settlements gave rise to frequent, and sanguinary conflicts. In 1751, the Indians having offered donations of land as inducements for mechanics and farmers to establish their residences among them, a fort was erected and garrisoned near the centre of the tract held by the Cherokees. In the course of a few years, viz., in 1760, the latter commenced war upon the garrison, which they besieged and forced to capitulate. But the conquerors, in perfidious violation of their agreement, that the defeated party, some 300 in number, should be allowed to retire beyond the Blue Ridge, fell upon them when advanced about 20 miles on their way, and barbarously murdered every individual, excepting only 9 persons. In the following year, an expedition under Colonel Grant inflicted retributive chastisement upon the savages, and compelled them submissively to beg for peace. All the settlements hitherto made had been abandoned; but, after the cessation of hostilities, many persons from North Carolina and Virginia made renewed efforts to colonize this part of the country. In 1768-9, a body of settlers planted themselves in the eastern quarter of Tennessee, and, their numbers continuing to increase, a large tract of land was purchased, though with much difficulty, in 1775. In the succeeding year, however, a warfare again occurred, which terminated in an arrangement with the two colonies above mentioned, whereby the boundaries of Tennessee were determined. The settlers continued to proceed westward, and, in 1779, having crossed the Cumberland Mountains, penetrated as far as the site on which Nashville now stands. The war of the revolution raged at this period throughout the land, and the inhabitants of Tennessee suffered greatly from the combined assaults of the British and Indians. In 1780, a memorable battle was fought at King's Mountain, in which the hardy backwoodsmen signally defeated the enemy; and in 1781, the Cherokee and Chickasaw tribes were glad to negotiate for peace. Up to the year 1790, North Carolina had exercised jurisdiction over this portion of the western territory; although, in the mean time, numerous controversies had taken place among the people, in regard to their political position, together with some contradictory legislation on the same subject. In that year, the territory was duly ceded to the United States by North Carolina, and Congress forthwith placed the "country south-west of the Ohio" under an appropriate form of government. The territory was repeatedly harassed by the Creeks and Cherokees, whose object was to prevent the further progress of the whites, until the year 1794, when a final and permanent treaty was concluded between those tribes and the United States. In 1795, the territory having acquired the requisite amount of population to become an independent state, a constitution was framed; and, in 1796, Tennessee was admitted as a member of the Union.
Boundaries and Extent. — This state is bounded on the north by the States of Kentucky and Virginia, on the east by North Carolina, on the south by Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, and on the west by the States of Arkansas and Missouri, from which it is separated by the River Mississippi. It lies between 35° and 36° 40' north latitude, and 81° 40' and 90° 15' west longitude; having an average length, from east to west, of some 430 miles, with a breadth of somewhat over 100 miles, and containing an area of 45,600 square miles.
Government. — By the constitution, as revised in 1835, the governor is elected every two years by a plurality vote of the people, and can serve only three terms in any four. The Senate is composed of 25 members, who are elected also biennially. The House of Representatives consists of 75 members, chosen in like manner for the same period; and the legislature convenes only once in two years. All free white citizens, resident in the county where voting for six months previous to an election, are qualified electors. The right of suffrage is not denied to colored persons, who are by law competent witnesses in courts of justice.
Judiciary. — Judges of the Supreme Court are elected, by joint vote of the legislature, for terms of twelve years, and judges of the inferior courts for eight years. There are three judges of the Supreme Court, (one for each of the judicial divisions of the state,) four chancellors, and fourteen judges of the Circuit Courts. There is also a Criminal Court for Davidson county, and a Common Law and Chancery Court for the city of Memphis. Justices of the peace are elected in districts for six years 5 sheriffs are chosen in counties for two years, and are ineligible for more than three terms in succession; registers hold office four years.
Education. — The school fund of Tennessee amounts to nearly $1,500,000. The interest of this fund is annually apportioned to all the districts wherein a school-house has been provided; but the system of free education, which is the glory of many other members of the Union, seems not yet to be fully understood or appreciated by the people of this state. Still, the inhabitants support somewhat over 1000 common or primary schools, — perhaps a tithe of what are needed, — 200 or 300 academies, some of which are of respectable rank; and six or eight collegiate institutions, of varied character and standing. The two oldest of these latter are Greenville College, in East Tennessee, and Washington College, Washington county, both founded in 1794; but the most prominent is the University of Nashville, founded in 1806. And, after all, the number of white adults within the state who can neither read nor write may be estimated at about 60,000.
Finances. — The receipts and disbursements of the state, for a few years past, have nearly balanced each other. From the returns for the biennial term ending October, 1849, the expenditures had amounted to some $800,000; to meet which the revenues had fallen short less than $12,000. The state holds productive property valued at near $5,000,000, and owes a debt of nearly $3,500,000. Its ordinary annual expenditure, independently of the school appropriations and interest on the public debt, is somewhat less than $300,000.
Surface, Soil, &tc. — The state is usually considered as being divided into three nominal sections, severally known as West, Middle, and East Tennessee. The former, situated between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers, presents an undulating surface generally, though in some parts nearly level, with a light but productive soil, finely suited to the cultivation of cotton, the chief staple in this quarter. The middle section is more uneven and hilly, though not mountainous; and the lands are of somewhat better quality. East Tennessee, bordering on North Carolina, is an elevated region, containing numerous lofty and picturesque mountains, mostly covered to their summits with noble forests. Here are the Cumberland and Laurel Mountains, and other conspicuous branches of the Alleghany range. The soil throughout the state, with the occasional exception of rough and broken tracts among the high lands, is very fertile, yielding generous crops of agricultural products. Timber of every variety common to the adjacent states is found in great plenty. In addition to the trees ordinarily composing the western forests, there are upon the mountains vast groves of magnificent pines, furnishing material for the extensive manufacture of tar, rosin, spirits of turpentine, and lampblack; the juniper and red cedar also abound; and the mulberry is so plentiful and thrifty, that the silk culture might be pursued, with great profit, to an unlimited extent. Peach and other fruit-trees, the vine, &c., are cultivated with ample success; and, besides cotton, excellent wheat, Indian corn, tobacco, potatoes of every kind, and all the usual varieties of vegetables, are raised in large quantities. A considerable portion of the cotton raised in this state is sent into contiguous states in the interior, for home manufacturing.
Rivers. — Tennessee is watered in various directions by many important streams. The great Mississippi flows by, and constitutes its entire western boundary. The Tennessee River crosses the state between the divisions called Western and Middle Tennessee. The Cumberland, a tributary of the Ohio, though taking its rise in, and returning to, the State of Kentucky, has its course principally in Tennessee. There are many other large navigable streams; and East Tennessee, particularly, possesses a vast amount of water power, admirably fitting it for a manufacturing country.
Internal Improvements. — There are five railroads, including branches, now being constructed within the state, embracing an extent of 600 miles, of which only about 30 miles are yet in operation. The estimated cost of these works is $600,000. The principal of these are projected continuations of various routes from Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, &c.
Minerals. — Gold, iron, coal, and salt are the most valuable among the divers mineral products of Tennessee. The former exists in the south-eastern quarter of the state, but to what extent is not wholly developed, no systematic explorations on a large scale having yet taken place. In the eastern and middle sections, iron ore is found in great quantities, and of superior quality. In the same quarters, also, there are immense beds of excellent coal. Salt springs are numerous, and there is an abundance of marble, gypsum, various pigments, nitrous earths, &c.
Manufactures. — These consist chiefly of goods for domestic consumption; although manufactured articles to some considerable amount are exported. There are cotton and woollen factories, iron works, machine shops, ropewalks, mechanics' establishments of all descriptions, potteries, distilleries, breweries, a great number of flour mills, grist mills, &c.; the whole employing a capital of some $6,000,000.
Indians. — Most of the tribes which heretofore occupied the territory have passed across the great dividing stream, and taken up their residence upon lands in the Indian Territory, in accordance with treaty stipulations. No bands of native Indians exist, as such, within the limits of the state.
Population. — There were, in 1800, somewhat over 100,000 inhabitants in this state. Since that period, the population has been found, at every decennial census, to have increased prodigiously. It has now reached an aggregate of 1,002,625 of which nearly a fourth part are slaves.
Climate. — Tennessee is favored with a very mild and generally salubrious climate. In the eastern part, it is particularly so; and is not surpassed, in all the desirable attributes of a genial temperature, by any other region of North America. It is, of course, varied, in some measure, throughout the state. But, from its geographical position, it may be pronounced healthy in every section, and almost entirely exempt from those destructive epidemics by which some of the neighboring states are frequently afflicted.
Religion. — Methodists and Baptists constitute the larger portion of the religions denominations within this state. There are likewise large bodies of Presbyterians and Episcopalians, together with several congregations of Lutherans, Romanists, Friends, &c.