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Title: Inaugural Address of Bartholomew Fuller for the Dialectic Society, August 23, 1850: 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 Brian Dietz
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 15K
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:
2005-04-02, Brian Dietz 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: Dialectic Society Records (#40152), University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Inaugural Address of Bartholomew Fuller for the Dialectic Society, August 23, 1850
Author: Bartholomew Fuller
Description: 4 pages, 5 page images
Note: Call number 40152 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/UNC Student Associations
Examples of Student Writing/Debating Society Writings
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of Inaugural Address. Original is in the University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
DocSouth staff created a 600 dpi uncompressed TIFF file for each image. The TIFF images were then saved as JPEG images at 100 dpi for web access.
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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

Fuller's inaugural address urges seniors to act as exemplars and uphold the reputation of the Dialectic Society; he encourages members of the other classes to redeem the character of the debates, be united in their actions, and avoid factions.
Inaugural Address of Bartholomew Fuller for the Dialectic Society, August 23, 18501
Fuller, Bartholomew, 1829-1882

Cover page

Page 1

Fellow Members

Before entering upon the duties of the office to which your kind partiality has elevated me, It devolves upon me in accordance with the requirements of our Constitution to address you on some suitable subject. I am perfectly conscious of my inability to discharge this pleasing, though in many respects responsible duty in a manner befitting the high dignity of the station which I now for a time occupy, and well aware that this my imperfect effort is not worthy to fill2 a place in your archives beside those of the talented and gifted individuals who have from time to time administered to you from this place words of warning, of reproof or of encouragement.
Your memories still with pleasure recall the past and your breasts swell with just pride when you recur to those occasions when Kerr in his clear, eloquent, earnest manner exhorted you to show yourselves men. When Hill in mild, persuasive tones bade you be up and doing or, to descend to still more recent times, when my my immediate predecessor in a chaste and elegant address taught you that "action, action, action"

Page 2
should still be our motto. The subject which I propose for the foundation of a few, brief remarks though trite is yet profitable and ofttimes necessary, and as examples of the great good which has resulted to nations as well as individuals from the exercise of it can but be familiar to you all, it will be less surprising that I have chosen "Unanimity of Action".
Bear with me Gentlemen, if for a very brief space I address myself particularly to the members of my own class. Fellow Members of the Senior Class, an important change has taken place in us within the short period of a few months. Those to whom it was our privilege to listen and upon whose accents we have so often hung with the livliest emotions of pleasure have gone hence to mingle with us no more. Upon us has devolved the conduct of the Hall, the administration of the laws, and the heavy responsibility which of necessity attaches to those, who by their position, are rightly considered exemplars.
Shall it be said of us when we too in our turn have left these halls endeared to us by so many pleasing recollections and hallowing associations, that we finished our course with honor and delivered into the hands of our successors the reputation of our Society untarnished? Or shall it be said that we "Knew our duty but we did it not? that we to whom many an eye, which has not been permitted to see the things which ours have seen,

Page 3
is turned in anxious expectation, we, to whom all with reason look for examples of diligence and faithfulness in the discharge of our duties, have been recreant? Gentlemen it rests with you to answer these questions, to realise the hopes concieved respecting you.
Nor while I thus urge upon my classmates the necessity of action, would I have you Fellow Members, of the lower classes to remain inactive. The character of our debates the lethargy and supineness which each succeeding night is exhibited here have been animadverted upon freely and frequently enough. It becomes us then to redeam the character3 of the debates, to awake from this lethargy, to arouse from this supineness which has for so long a time deadened our faculties and weakened our energies. But can this be effected? Can we hope in the short space of one session or one year to counteract the evil which has so long been brewing? The answer is plain it can be done, but in one way only. It cannot be accomplished by individual effort, but it may be secured by unanimity of action.
It is true of nations, but pre-eminently so of literary institutions like ours that "in union there is strength". We are connected by ties stronger than these of men friendship for we owe to one-another "the performance of all duties that may be required of us in a social capacity" "From the very nature of our union" it is declared "we must all participate in the honor or share in the disgrace of each individual member" How

Page 4
important then is concert of action, that those whom in a very short while we shall admit to all the privileges of membership in this body, and who will henceforth "participate in our honor or share in our disgrace" should behold us as a society united, behold us in a spirit of generous emulation entering fearlessly the arena of debate, all sectional or party feeling banished, behold us in our discussions exercising a mild forbearance and not retorting with malignant asperity.
We have many, very many causes for self-gratulation in that for a number of years past we have not been rent by contending factions, those who once did sow the dragon's teeth have passed from this scene of action to display their capacities in a wider field. We are fortunate in that our lives have fallen unto us in more pleasant places and more peaceful times, let us then not "look mournfully into the past" for we wish not to recall it, but let us "wisely improve the present for it is ours".4
In conclusion Fellow Members allow me to return my thanks for the honor which you have done me, and to assure you that the duties of my office shall be discharged with fidelity and zeal. And I must ask of each and all a hearty co-operation with me in the administration of our laws.


1. Dialectic Society Addresses, UA. The address consists of a cover sheet and four unnumbered pages that were once bound and subsequently were unbound. The cover sheet contains the following information: "Inaugural address/of/ Barthw Fuller /delivered/in/Dialectic Hall/on/The Evening of/23d Augt 1850."

2. Fuller wrote the first l in fill on top of f.

3. Final r has been written on top of an unrecovered character.

4. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion, Book 4, Chapter 8 (1939).