Governor John Sevier to the Tennessee Legislature, September 22, 1797
Second Inaugural Address,* September 22, 1797
Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Represenatives.
Permit me to solicit you to express to the people in the liveliest terms of sensibility my Gratitude for
all the honors they have Confered upon me.
The Happyest reward I could possibly receive for past services, consists in the public approbation,
and whilst my second election to the office of Governor, will be esteemed as an honorable testimonial of
that approbation it cannot fail to excite my utmost endeavors to promote.
Gentlemen-It Cannot have escaped your observation, that the advancement of our State to respectability
& greatness has of late been truly flattering; emegration the certain source of strength and welth continues
unabated; the manly and pleasing art of agriculture florishes, the plough is fatigued in the forough and
honest Industry has heretofore reaped the reward of her labour. But this happy this bright
prospect of affairs
is considerably darkened by the extension of the Indian Boundary line and gloomy reflection strikes the mind.
The situation of many of our Citizens in the frontier Counties of Hamilton District must claim the sympathy of
every friend to humanity, every lover of his Country ---a Considerable Tract of settled Country
and well Improved land is said to be within the boundary guarrenteed to the Cherokee nation by the Treaty of
Holston, and it needs no argument to prove that if people are Compelled to abandon their possessions,
great Injury will result to Individuals and the public at large.
The attention of the legislature cannot therefore be too early attracted to this Important object; and the
propriety of forwarding on a respectful memorial to the Congress of the United States, from which authority
adequate relief Can alone be obtained, well deserves Considerations.
With Great pleasure I inform you, that the peace with our Indian neighbours still exists, and in endeavouring
to preserve it I trust I shall be supported by the Legislature in as much as a continuance of tranquity is highly
essential to the happiness and prosperity of our Constituants.
A General apprehension has some time past prevaded America lest (notwithstanding the Exertions of the
Federal Executive to prevent it) we be compelled to become a party in those bloody wars in Europe, which have greatly
thined the ranks of mankindBut late events in that quarter which may probably lead to a General peace a hope is
entertained that the calamity of war may yet be avoided. But it becoming a wise nation to provide for her safety,
it has been thought advisable to hold in readiness an army of eighty thousand militia to be apportioned among the
several states; the act of Congress on this subject shall be laid before you; and I must entreat you Gentlemen at
as early a period as possible to make provisions for holding in readiness the quoto assigned to this State.
The laws of the General Government should always meet with our support; from that source we can look for succor
and relief when danger threatens; and it should be the pride and pleasure of Tennessee to appear among its greatest
Suffer me to recommend to your consideration as a precedent and a necessary measure, a well regulated militia
law. Calculated to establish military discipline and to insure punctual attendance at private and General musters;
for let it be remembered that a well regulated militia is the security of a free State.
Several Characters in this State, of military spirit and ardor have raised volunteer Companies of Cavalry and
some of them have already rendered verry essential services to the state, permit me to recommend them to you
particular notice in the formation ofyour militia law, and make for them such provisions as you in your wisdom
may think their Military Genius and enterprise may justly merit.
The transactions of the Executive during the recess of the legislature-and such other documents as may relate
to the public service, shall be reserved for a special message.
Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives Coming as you do from every part of the state,
your knowledge of the Interests and wishes of the people most be accurate and I entertain no doubt you will labour
to support the one and Imbrace the other-as for myself my fellow Citizens, the Greatest object of my future life will
be, to contribute to the Good of my country, and assured as I am of the wisdom and patriotism of this legislature
I retire from among you this day with a full persuasion that under the smiles of a Heavenly father the results of
your deliberations will Streangthen and perpetuate the Great blessings of liberty, laws, and peace.
* Senate Journal, 1797, 25-28.
House Journal, 1797, 140-142.
Source : Messages of the Governors of Tennessee, 1796--1821. Volume One. Robert H. White, Ph.D. 1952
The Tennessee Historical Commission, Nashville, pp. 24-26.
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