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Title: "The Dangers of a College Life," Class Composition of Bartholomew Fuller [Fall 1848]: Electronic Edition.
Author: Fuller, Bartholomew, 1829-1882
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 Amanda Page
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 12K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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:
2005-05-31, Amanda Page 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: Bartholomew Fuller Papers (#3621-z), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: "The Dangers of a College Life," Class Composition of Bartholomew Fuller, [Fall 1848]
Author: Fuller, Bartholomew, 1829-1882
Description: 3 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 3621-z (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Student Life
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.
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.
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All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
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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

Fuller's composition argues that young men in college must guard against extravagance, "spreeing," and profanity.
"The Dangers of a College Life," Class Composition of Bartholomew Fuller , [Fall 1848]1
Fuller, Bartholomew, 1829-1882

Cover page

Page 1
The "Dangers of a College Life"
The dangers to which a young man is exposed during that part of his life which he passes in college, are numerous and difficult to oppose with a firm, unyielding spirit. After he has left the place, where till that time he has been under the supervision of those, whose duty it was to watch over and guide his erring steps and to guard well the disposition to contract vices of every kind; he feels himself at liberty as he thinks to act for himself, and the consequence in most cases, is a departure from those principles of moral conduct, which have been instilled into his mind from early youth. If he could realize, that the habits contracted at college will follow him through subsequent life, and perhaps in more aggravated forms; he would more readily recognise the duty to guard well himself lest he should yield to temptation.– There is danger of extravagance. This is to be shunned with diligence as it is of an increasing and insinuating kind. Surrounded with kindred spirits, each indulgence paves the way for a greater until he quiets his upbraiding conscience with the soothing argument, that it is necessary to keep

Page 2
up appearances—There is another danger to which he should present an invincible front—that which is called in common parlance "spreeing". this habit from its apparently harmless character, is readily contracted, and it appears in a short time to be a very creditable thing, to disturb the faculty and his fellow-students with noise and annoyances of different kinds—This vice should especially be avoided on account of its prolific nature, it begets many others, which when expanded under the fostering care they are likely to recieve, become of as great importance as the parent vice.– Among its offspring may be enumerated, idleness, disrespect towards superiors, a general spirit of insubordination and a neglect of duties, which while they render him more prone to indulge in aberrations from the path of rectitude, debilitate and enslave the mind, fasten it upon the common things of the world, and if at any-time, tired of such groveling occupations, it would soar above the sphere in which it has been so long confined, it finds its pinions shackled—and as the moth flitting around a candle, after a few feeble flutterings, dies, so the mind after a few vigorous exertions sinks again into the same supineness and inanity as before; and if it thinks at all of lifting itself, it is only as one thinks of an impossibility—The mass of evil habits, which which a long course of indulgence has heaped up

Page 3
around the once noble powers, prevents the jewel from sparkling with its primitive brilliance.– It is thus that we may imagine one who though having recieved the highest honor of college, is yet a slave to the most pernicious habits—his fine intellect becoming day by day less bright, and suffering himself to be led on by the syren voice of temptation, until in the mediocre man you would fail to recognise the talented scholar to whom all once conceded the first might.–2
Profanity too he should put far from him. This vice is often produced by peculiar circumstances—with some it seems to be one of the qualifications of a man, there is one other which I am sorry to add is drunkeness—Oh that anyone should ascribe such qualities to these the worst of all sins! Vices which is indulged will corrupt the noblest nature, and which if persisted in by anyone, will draw down upon him the everlasting burnings of the fire that is not quenched, and the every gnawing tortures of the worm which dieth not.


1. Bartholomew Fuller Papers, SHC. The composition is written on three of four pages measuring 8 3/4 by 9 5/8 inches. On the verso of the last page Fuller has written "Dangers of a College/Life–/ Barthw Fuller / No 3." A second hand has written "[UNC Class of 1851]" underneath Fuller's endorsement and "[1851?]" in the upper right corner of page one. The composition confidently can be dated Fall 1848 on the evidence of William Mercer Green's grade book. Fuller is there listed among the fifty-five students in Green's "Sophomore Class in Composition July to Dec 1848." At the end of the class roster Green has written nine possible titles for the semester's composition assignments. The number three appears to the left of "Dangers of College Life," this number corresponding to the number Fuller wrote on his composition.

2. "Mite" or "might" men were students earning first, second, or third distinction.