Typescript of Dec. 14, 1835 letter from James Cramp at Tampico Prison, which appeared in Albany Journal, Feb. 18, 1836 [Digital Version]

Bibliographic Information

Cramp, James, 1813-1835, Typescript of Dec. 14, 1835 letter from James Cramp at Tampico Prison, which appeared in Albany Journal, Feb. 18, 1836 (Oswego, N.Y.: Union Herald, 1835)

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Title: Typescript of Dec. 14, 1835 letter from James Cramp at Tampico Prison, which appeared in Albany Journal, Feb. 18, 1836 [Digital Version]
Funding from: Funding for the creation of this digitized text is provided by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Author: Cramp, James, 1813-1835
Statements of responsibility:
  • Creation of digital images: Center for Digital Scholarship, Rice University
  • Conversion to TEI-conformant markup: Tricom
  • Parsing and proofing: Humanities Research Center and Fondren Library, Rice University
  • Subject analysis and assignment of taxonomy terms: Alice Rhoades
Publisher: Rice University, Houston, Texas
Publication date: 2010-06-07
Identifier: aa00342
Availability: This digital text is publicly available via the Americas Digital Archive through the following Creative Commons attribution license: “You are free: to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work; to make derivative works; to make commercial use of the work. Under the following conditions: By Attribution. You must give the original author credit. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above.”
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Provenance: The Humanities Research Center at Rice University, under the direction of Dr. Caroline Levander, purchased this material from a manuscripts dealer in 2005. The Gilder Foundation funded the development of the physical archive. Original materials are housed at the Woodson Research Center, Rice University.
Description: 3 pp. typescript
Source(s): Cramp, James, 1813-1835, Typescript of Dec. 14, 1835 letter from James Cramp at Tampico Prison, which appeared in Albany Journal, Feb. 18, 1836 (Oswego, N.Y.: Union Herald, 1835)
Source Identifier: Americas collection, 1811-1920, MS 518, Box 5 folder 1 item 1, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University. Contact info: woodson@rice.edu
Description of the project: This digitized text is part of the Our Americas Archive Partnership (OAAP) project.
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This text has been encoded based on recommendations from Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Any comments on editorial decisions for this document are included in footnotes within the document with the author of the note indicated. All digitized texts have been verified against the original document. Quotation marks have been retained. For printed documents: Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. No corrections or normalizations have been made, except that hyphenated, non-compound words that appear at the end of lines have been closed up to facilitate searching and retrieval. For manuscript documents: Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. We have recorded normalizations using the reg element to facilitate searchability, but these normalizations may not be visible in the reading version of this electronic text
Languages used in the text: English
Text classification
Keywords: Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus
  • Correspondence
Keywords: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Tampico Expedition, 1835
  • Tampico (Tamaulipas, Mexico)--History
  • Texas--History--Revolution, 1835-1836
  • Atheism
  • Conversion--Christianity
Keywords: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
  • Mexico (nation)
  • Texas (state)

From — Union Herald, Oswego, N. Y., Friday, May 6, 1836.

The following letter is taken from the Albany Journal of
Feb. 18, 1836, and should be a solemn memento to all sceptical
minds, and especially to the young men in our villages, too many
of whom are inclined to the principles of infidelity. Mr. Cramp
was known in a number of villages in this state, and it is said,
was very much respected as a young man of talents. Let him speak
for himself.

Dear Friends-

I shall not relate the disastrous circumstances
which have placed me here, a prisoner under sentence
of death; that will reach you by another channel.
I have only five or six hours to live, and it is my intention
to devote a part of that time, to expiate, as far as I
am now able, the crime which I committed, intending, by my
miscalled philosophy, to lead you astray from the paths of
religion. I have been at length over taken, and found that
infidelity was but a weak support in the hour of trial. I,
the scoffer, the ridiculer of Christ's mercies, have found,
that unaided by him, death wears a very gloomy aspect to
me, cut off in the prime of life, and my only consolation,
the thought that I shall sleep in death and mingle with the
clay of the brute.


I must relate the progress of my philosophical
opinions, and if I mistake not, they are similar to
those of most philosophers of the same school. The
first step taken was to throw off, by degrees, the injunctions
of the Bible- and at length finding how far I
had gone, to retrace my steps, seemed a difficult and
unpleasant task, and to elude this step, set about endeavoring
to justify myself, and finding that the word of God
condemned me, I was induced to doubt its truths. From
doubting was urged to dispute, and from disputing to denying,
until the pride without the truth of philosophy taking
possession of me, I valued myself upon the skill with which
I could brow-beat Christianity, and cause a laugh against
religion. You, my friends, were hurrying down the vortex
of ruin with me. But pause! think where you stand, and may
the Almighty arrest your dangerous career before you shall
have arrived so near the verge of eternity, that a few hours
shall have to do the work of conversion, or seal your doom

I had not the assistance of any one to point out my
circumstances; but taking up the Bible, was going to lay it
down again, when the passage of Christ's pardoning the thief
upon the cross, met my sight. I was induced by this to reflect
that even I might not be past the bounds of forgiveness. This
idea led me to a train of reflections, the result of which was,
that I again addressed a God and a Saviour, so long uncalled


upon, and I have found relief.

It is my dying petition that you would give this to
the clergymen of the place, and request them to read it in
the churches, as this is the only method which is left me
to a tone, in some measure, for the injuries which I have
committed upon their members.

Adieu! it is past midnight, and I am to be shot at
7 o'clock. Let this have the effect of directing your attention
to things spiritual as well as temporal, that when
death comes it will find you prepared.

From your unfortunate friend,
James Cramp."

Rice University
Date: 2010-06-07
Available through the Creative Commons Attribution license