Rupellville 4 October 1860
D[ea]r Sir

My professional engagements prevent the acceptance of
the invitation tendered me by the executive committee through
you as their chairman, requesting my presence on the 10th [event? next?]--
to witness the laying of the corner stone of the principal building
of the University of the South.

I sincerely regret my inability to attend. I rejoice
in the prospect of having a southern literary & scientific insti-
tution established & located upon Cumberland Mountain
in the State of Tennessee at which the young men of the south
may receive a complete education. Although I cannot
participate in the pleasure of witnessing the ceremonies, my
best wishes for the success of the enterprize & the happiness of
all those connected with it, will be with you.

I am very respectfully
your ob[edien]t servant
J.R. [Melverson? Meterman?]

JH [Oby? Oley?] Chairman

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