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Title: "On Capital Punishment," Composition of John H. Bryan, May 17, 1843: Electronic Edition.
Author: Bryan, John Heritage, 1825-1891
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Risa Mulligan
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 10K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-05-11, Risa Mulligan finished TEI/XML encoding
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: Senior and Junior Orations, North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: "On Capital Punishment," Composition of John H. Bryan, May 17, 1843
Author: John H. Bryan
Description: 3 pages, 3 page images
Note: Call number VC378 UO1 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Curriculum
Examples of Student Writing/Compositions, Examples of
Social and Moral Issues/Other Social and Moral Issues
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
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Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
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For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Bryan's brief essay opposes capital punishment because it makes women and children destitute; on the other hand, it may be conducive to the welfare of humanity.
"On Capital Punishment," Composition of John H. Bryan , May 17, 18431
Bryan, John Heritage, 1825-1891

Page 1
"This is your second failure in Composition"
Mr. Deems' criticism on my Second Composition.
Failure Third
on Capital Punishment.
The subject of this essay is one which demands the attentive consideration of every enlightened citizen of our free and happy country, for many and various reasons. First: because it involves the destruction of human life, the greatest blessing bestowed on us by our all-wise Creator. Secondly: It deprives many a human creature, already sufficiently destitute, of her only support in this world,

Page 2
or involves numerous young children, too young to work to support themselves, in vile and intolerable disgrace, or casts them to wander through the wild world alone and by paths thick-set with snares and tending downwards to destruction. These weighty arguments, though they be but few, in number, are sufficient to show that the subject is one of deep and abiding interest and that it behooves every man, who has the well-being of humanity at heart, to labor strenuously to overthrow the

Page 3
system, if false and pernicious in its effects and to uphold it if, on due consideration, it shall be found to be conducive to their welfare. With these few desultory remarks I must close for the present my essay on the subject of Capital Punishment

Jno. H. Bryan

Wednesday May 17th 1843. Raleigh No Ca.


1. Senior and Junior Orations (1842-46), NCC. The essay is bound in a volume containing 194 compositions written by 132 juniors between 1842 and 1846. The assignment for Spring 1843 required students to address the topic, "Should Capital Punishment be stricken from our penal code?"; thirty-nine students wrote on this topic between April 7 and May 17, 1843, the day John Heritage Bryan attempted the assignment for the third time.