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Yale College, the reports of their legislative committee on the
I came to the Legislature with a complete Code analytically arranged. Mr. Meigs had in manuscript the greater part, if not all, of the statutes, but he came to the Legislature with only the first two parts of the Code, which he considered as his special portion of the work, the material being arranged in the alphabetical order set out in his report. The Legislature, after consideration, adopted my plan, and appointed a joint committee of both Houses to use the material of the revisers in making a Code in accordance with that plan. The committee very properly agreed to receive and use, when possible, the material of Mr. Meigs in the first two parts of the Code, and my material in parts three and four. The committee itself, being too large to act efficiently in one body, appointed J. B. Heiskell, M. Bullock, aud S. T. Bicknell a subcommittee to do the work with the revisers. Heiskell was chairman of the committee, and was, by long odds, the most active member. He was
young, ambitious, industrious, and clear-headed. He had implicit confidence in Mr. Meigs from the start, and he and I soon became warm friends. Major Bullock was an old lawyer of high character from Jackson, Tenn., who had the highest opinion of Mr. Meigs, and was friendly with me all the time. Bicknell was a young member of the Legislature from East Tennessee, a relative or connection of Heiskell, whose lead he always followed.
The committee and revisers did meet together nearly every night, and worked in complete barmony, without the slightest bitch or quarrel, from beginning to end. The magnitude of the work done, and the rapidity of its execution, would demonstrate the fact, even if the subsequent life-long friendship of the individuals did not show it. The course was blocked out by the joint committee in advance, and was followed. Beginning with Part 1, Title 1, Chapter 1, Mr. Meigs' material was called for, produced, and, if complete and satisfactorily arranged in view of the analytical plan, adopted. If found defective, my material was taken, in whole or in part, as the case might be.
At first, owing to the fact that Mr. Meigs had not prepared his material to meet the plan, and my material did exactly meet it, much of my work was preferred. But, after a time, Mr. Meigs himself recast his material with the plan before him, and his work was promptly adopted. So, when my special parts of the Code were reached, my material was generally taken ; but Mr. Meigs' work was occasionally preferred. Every section of the Code was carefully read in the presence of the committee and the revisers, and agreed to, usually unanimously, often after the separate material of the revisers had been compared. My annotated Code shows exactly what sectious were the work of each reviser, and what sections belong to each member of the committee. The great bulk of the work belongs to the revisers, less than a hundred sections in the whole Code being actually suggested or written by the members of the committee. Heiskell is in error if he means to be understood as saying that the Code was re-written at these meetings. The time between seven and ten o'clock at night would necessarily be consumed by reading the material of the revisers and discussing the details. All that was actually done was to agree upon the material, which was then turned over to our clerk, Col. H. L. Claiborne, to be copied. The whole Code was read three times,“ by large sections,” as Heiskell well says, in each House, and passed into a law,
As I have already suggested, I have a note of every section of the Code for which the revisers are not primarily responsible. The truth is, Major Bullock is only responsible for Section 1516, and strenuously resisted the adoption of Section 1804 abolishing private seals. He insisted that it was too violent an innovation on a great principle of the common law. Bicknell took no active part in the work, merely following Heiskell's lead on all occasions. The only time he was stirred up was when the laws of bastardy were under consideration. I remember that we had a good deal of fun over the fact, and the revisers and Major Bullock promptly conceded that his East Tennessee constituents and Heiskell’s were specially interested in the subject, and were entitled to be heard through their representatives. I think we made some modification of the law to nieet their wishes, and I find that my pencil notes give Sections 1623 and 1624 under that head to Heiskell, the last of which was repealed at the next session of the Legislature. So, I may say in this connection, that I give the last clause of Section 3213 to Heiskell, and this clause was repealed by the next Legislature. But Heiskell undoubtedly did good service in preparing the Code and putting it through the General Assembly. It was his energy, industry, and zeal that kept us all at work. I find that the first section I give him is 946, and the last 5282, with occasional foot-prints between. Major Bullock, on account of his age, was dubbed the Father of the Code, and the title stuck to him. But Heiskell, like the famous Mr. II., " the only begetter” of Shakespeare's sonnets, may in the same sense be styled the “ only begetter” of the Code. He sau to its birth certain.
At first there was an impression among the members of the Legislature that I had not adhered closely to the wording of the existing statutes, and had made many changes and additions in my revisal, and this impression has come back to Heiskell in his old age. For this reason, frequent objections were made by members of both Houses when the sections of the revisal as read struck them as new, and, not being very familiar with the laws,
much of it appeared strange to them. But when it was found, as it soon was, that both revisers had adhered rigidly to the existing statutes, Mr. Meigs almost literally, and I in substance; and when, moreover, some of the sections most fiercely objected to by particular members, were shown by Heiskell and Major Bullock to be literal copies, much to the confusion of the objectors and the amusement of their fellow-members, all discussion ceased, and the Code was merely read continuously, and passed nem. con.
Bicknell was not chairman of the committee, as your copy of Heiskell's remarks seems to imply. He was from Maryville, East Tennessee, not Maryland, and moved to Columbia after the war.
LIST OF MEMBERS.
Acklen, J. H.,
Nashville. Nashville. Nashville. Nashville. Nashville. Knoxville. Nashville. Nashville. Chattanooga. Chattanooga. Huntsville. Nashville. Covington. Chattanooga. Chattanooga. Chattanooga. Shelbyville. Nashville. Nashville. Knoxville. Memphis. Shelbyville. Gallatin. Nashville. Franklin. Columbia. Nashville. Memphis. Chattanooga. Nash ville. Nashville. Winchester. Fayetteville. Chattanooga. Nashville. Memphis. Memphis. Nashville.