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Roch-Ambroise Cucurron Sicard

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His Story

1742, Roch-Ambroise Cucurron, Abbé Sicard was born in the town of Fousseret, near Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, France), French educator who was a pioneer in the teaching of the deaf.


1786 to 1789, Abbé Sicard, was principal of a Bordeaux school for the deaf. He  succeeded Abbé de l’Epée at the Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris. Although he long supported teaching deaf persons through sign language, Sicard turned to the oral method toward the end of his long career.

1789 Abbé Sicard wrote “Memoir on the Art of Teaching Deaf-Mutes from Birth” or "Mémoire sur l’art d’instruction les sourds-muets de naissance"

1795 Became a member of the Institut de France.

1808 to 14 He then wrote “Theory of Signs for the Instruction of Deaf-Mutes” or "Théorie des signers pour l’instruction des sourds-muets"


1822.09. 20 Abbé Sicard died in Paris, France

Mr. Sicard, who was a royalist and an adherent to the dynasty of the Bourbons, sometimes imprudently entertained secret correspondence with the garrisons of the Comte de Provence (since Louis XVIII.) then in England. Napoleon, as every body knows, being generally well informed of all that transpired both in Paris and throughout France, knew that such correspondences took place; but not considering Mr. Sicard a very dangerous enemy of his, and thinking him, on the contrary, very useful to the unfortunate deaf and dumb, he suffered him to remain undisturbed, but determined to reprove him for meddling with politics instead of attending to his own business, by never conferring upon him any title of honor he might merit. Mr. S., who had the simplicity to believe that Napoleon was ignorant of his intrigues, wondered why he did not receive the cross of the legion of honor, an honor not unfrequently conferred upon persons much less entitled to it than himself. He did not, however, despair of obtaining it at some future time, and for this purpose, he besought some of his friends whom he knew to have free access and great influence over Napoleon to prevail on him to visit the Deaf and Dumb Institution, but all attempts and persuasions failed, for Napoleon constantly refused, not that he did not feel interested in the deaf and dumb, but on account of Mr. Sicard, whom he wished to punish by not seeing him. Things went on without any other extraordinary occurrences till the Allied Powers entered Paris in 1814. Soon after Louis XVIII. was seated on the throne of his ancestors, Mr. Sicard was among the first who went to congratulate his majesty on his happy return, and it was not long before the cross of the legion of honor for which he had aspired so much, was conferred on him by the king himself, and by and by the order of St. Waldimir of Russia, by the Emperor Alexander, and another order by the king of Sweden. Mr. Sicard was now satisfied that justice had been done him, and desired nothing more. But when Napoleon returned from the island of Elba in March, 1815, Mr. Sicard was so afraid that Napoleon would deprive him of his honors, that he accepted an invitation to visit England in order not to be in Paris while Napoleon was there. He took Mr. Massieu and myself along with him. We arrived at London during the last days of May. We had our first exhibition on the 2d of June. [Footnote: The questions and answers of Massieu and myself at these public exhibitions were published.] We gave two a week, and they were generally attended by princes, members of both houses of parliament, and other distinguished individuals of both sexes, among whom were the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Orleans, (since Louis Philippe,) and her grace, the Duchess of Wellington. Little did I anticipate, at that time, the total defeat which Napoleon was to experience by the combined armies of Europe, under the command of her illustrious husband, the Duke of Wellington. I had the mortification of being present at the house of lords when the prince regent came in person, to announce to both houses the battle of Waterloo and the flight of Napoleon. I also witnessed the illumination of the city in the evening, and the joy that this event caused to the English!

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