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Title: Letter from William Bagley to Margaret Bagley, September 7, 1844: Electronic Edition.
Author: Bagley, William, fl. 1842-1850
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 Bagley, William, fl. 1842-1850.
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 14K
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:
2005-05-25, 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: William Bagley Letter Books (#863-z), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from William Bagley to Margaret Bagley, September 7, 1844
Author: William Bagley
Description: 1 page, 1 page image
Note: Call number 863-z (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Examples of Student Writing/Letters
Education/Goals and Purposes
Health and Disease/Diseases
Personal Relationships/With Family Members
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 Southern Historical 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.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
All em dashes are encoded as —
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.

For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Bagley tells his sister that there would be no shame in not graduating; news of deaths at home in Williamston, NC, makes him apprehensive about the health of those he loves.
Letter from William Bagley to Margaret Bagley , September 7, 18441
Bagley, William, fl. 1842-1850

Page 1
Chapel Hill Sept 7th 1844

[My] Dear Sister

Your very affectionate letter of 10th ultimo2 [has] been recd & contents noticed with no ordinary degree of pleasure interest, [I w]as very glad indeed to hear from you & to receive your very kind [adv]ice but notwithstanding all your entreaties, I must say that [m]y purpose is fixed—as it were according to the laws of the Medes [&] Persians 3. You are right in supposing me unhappy but I don't think I am as much so as I was last session; It would sound truly bad, I admit, for the world to say that I came to College but was not able to graduate, but Sis , such will not [be] the fact for every one who knows me, can testify that I have at least sense enough to graduate at Chapel Hill .
I am well aware that the laurels of Henry Clay were gained [b]y persevereing industry—that he was once nothing but a null-boy &c;, but I am also aware that he never went to college & if he had have gone he probably would be no greater man than he now is, you seem to think that every thing depends on my graduating, but I feel assured that [I] can be as smart as if I were to graduate & therefore adopted my present course, it causes me much grief when I think that my friends will be dissatistfied & I sometimes almost give myself up to despair but I hope I shall bear up under every difficulty & at last come out victorious over every foe.—I recd Mr Moore's letter last night which gave an account of several deaths & a great deal of sickness, I am truly sorry that the "King of Terrors" is laying waste our country at so great a rate & as I have before stated in my letters home, I am almost in constant apprehensions about the health of the family. Oh! what bitter pangs would take hold of me if Death should sieze one of my dear friends & I be more than an hundred miles off!! It has indeed carried some to their long home ever since I left Willia[m]ston 4 & how many more it is likely to remove from all earthly scenes it is not for us to determine, In thinkinking about it sometimes I wish—like David—that I was there to die for them but such cannot be the case, but if they must die I want to be [there], I can tell you, My Dear Sis , that it is a source of great pain that I should be so situated as to be comparatively free from the attacks of disease while the family all the time are in bad [hea]lth, for if I am deprived of that little family circle, there is nothing left on earth that is plea[sing] I should feel like a "wanderer o'er earth's barren mountains" for they are all the world to me & [though] I may be cast out of society, scoffed & sneered at, still if I can find an asylum in the bosom of the [f]amily, all will be well. Please write soon & give me all the news & let me know especial[ly a]bout the health of all.

Aff Yr brother5

[Mar]garet Bagley , Williamston, N.C.


1. Bagley Papers, SHC. The letter appears on page 4 of a letterbook measuring 7 1/2 by 12 1/8 inches and containing 156 numbered pages. Once bound, the fragile letterbook is now held together by a few threads at the spine; the first leaf (pages 1 and 2) is missing. This second letterbook (Volume 2) in the Papers contains copies (or drafts) of letters Bagley wrote from September 1844 through May 24, 1850.

2. "ultimo": the previous month.

3. Apart from traditional local laws, Medo-Persian imperial law was based on the authority of an absolute monarch. Once the word of the king had gone forth as law, that law could not be changed or reversed, even by the king himself. See Daniel 6:15: "Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king established may be changed."

4. A hole in the manuscript appears where the m in Williamston would be.

5. The line ends in a flourish.