New Haven March 20. 1824
My dear sir,
I most cordially and feelingly condole with you on the late afflicted bereavement in your family. I know indeed, from early experience every pang you have suffered, & hope you may sooner recover from the shock than I did from my first loss of this kind – that of my eldest son. You will present my respectful condolence to Mrs. Hitchcock, whose suffering will of course, embrace all that belongs to yours with the addition of what a mother only can know.
But perhaps we are selfish in mourning so deeply for those that are ‘bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,’ for it is the irreversible order of providence, that we must lament or be lamented, & the only condition of protracted life, is the chance of new surround for the death of those whom we love. The sooner we come to the habitual contemplation
Benjamin Silliman consoles Edward Hitchcock on the death of his infant son. He reminds Hitchcock that it is better to come to terms with the uncertainty of life and think instead of his child's "new surround." He believes, despite the fact that it interferes with "Metaphysical divinity," that it is God's mercy that He chooses to remove the very young from us before they have developed into "moral agents." Silliman says that despite the poor medical attention that may have caused Edward's son's death, Silliman has lost four children whom he believes the best of doctors could not have saved.