Affecting 1789 Autograph Letter Signed by Isaac Silliman of New Haven, Connecticut to His Sister.
“Dadda and mama have grown old—old in sorrow—the cup of their fate has been a bitter draught indeed…”
Affecting letter between siblings during hard times in post-Revolutionary War Connecticut.
Isaac Silliman begins his letter to his sister by noting his neglect of writing to her. He also chides her for not writing: “I believe you are excusable, for aunt told you had a badly swell’d face and (if I guess right) you have a swell’d heart too, pray tell when you expect to be married.”
The next day, he picks up the letter again and continues, this time with a dire assessment of their father’s trade and of their other siblings still at home:
I heard from home a few days ago—our people were all in good health, but alas, they are poor; even indigent and wretched that God only, who has sustained them thus far through a loathsome life can tell what will become of them. Dadda and mama have grown old—old in sorrow—the cup of their fate has been a bitter draught indeed; the bringing in to the world of a large family of children…Dadda’s trade being good for nothing he cannot support them, and all the comfort they have received from them (a wretched comfort indeed for a tender parent) is to hear them crying for that bread which they possibly procure. And they are so distressed by misfortune…no one holds out the helping hand to lighten the load of their misery—they have the common lot of the wretched, unnoticed and unpitied by any of their fellow mortals—fate has denied me the powers of helping them.
All that remains to Isaac Silliman are the tears of “filial piety” and to share his burden with his sister.
Description: Affecting 1789 Autograph Letter Signed by Isaac Silliman of New Haven, Connecticut to His Sister.
New Haven, March 12, 1789. pp. Folio. Slightly tanned, a few short splits at folds; very good.