[Ed. -- Written Thursday, November 11, 1858…letter to Zebulon McLaurin…he was 20 years old at the time, and a freshman at Ole Miss…from his uncle, Duncan A. McLaurin [John C.’s younger brother, he was 43 years old at the time] …Zebulon died less than one month after the date of this letter (December 7, 1858)…I assume this letter was part of Zeb’s possessions that were returned to his father after he died…-- Tom Gardner]
Nov 11 58
I received your interesting letter of the third [Nov 3, 1858?] by Tuesdays [Nov 9, 1858?] mail and was much pleased to learn that your health was good; which is the greatest of earthly blessings and which but few know how to appreciate until it is too late to enjoy it. From your letter I take it that you was somewhat disappointed in the appearance of Oxford both as a college and in its appearance but you did not find fault of the faculty; which I hope you will be satisfied with and that you will make the progress that your friend know you can. If you are satisfied there Zeb can’t the pinewoods [?] take the first honor without division answer 2 years from next June. I know that it is unnecessary for me to advise you, but a hint upon the item of economy of your time may not be amiss and appreciated by you; 60 seconds make a minute [symbols perhaps meaning "therefore"] the greatest spendthrifts is those that waste their seconds in idleness but [always] try and pursue the curs [sic] that will inshure [sic] good health. I mean by that to take enough of exercise; and much is to be gained from company but many times worthless in the end and as Caesar said of Cassius he visits not the theater he reads much and with Caesar such men was to be feared from the fact that his habits inshured [sic] him knowledge and that you know don’t suit aspiring politicians for others aquire knowledge.
You said that you were anxious to hear from Hugh [Zeb’s younger brother] which I presume you will have done before this gets to you; yes, now I recollect that Daniel Carr went up since Hugh got able to ride about. Hugh has gone to his school and looked stouter than he did when he went back before and said that he felt stronger than he did then. There has been a good deal of sickness here since you left; we have had a good deal in our family; all of the children have been sick with colds; they would have chills and fever; and two or 3 of the little negroes had pneumonia, and one of them died, the rest is all improving; and we have had no new case for 3 days and that is adooing finely. Your father and family are well; the health of the neighborhood will improve I hope as winter has set in in earnest; we have had a week of cold weather and several morning ice and this morning ice aplenty to kill yellow fever which you know is quite acceptable in those cities that has been affected with that disease.
Accept the love of an uncle,
/s/ D. A. McLaurin