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Been reading the family letter preparing for my presentation a the 40th anniversary of the Association Laurent Clerc in Laurent's hometown of La Balme-les-Grottes, France. This is the first time that I have read them in so much detail, especially since we now have more of the Clerc Papers complied together.

In August of 1818, Caroline Chester (made famous by her diary of the Litchfield Female Seminary) had visited with Eliza soon after he left her with a 2 month old baby and went on his first trip to France (really?). She wrote to Laurent in France about how Eliza was doing and what a beautiful baby, Elizabeth, was.

Laurent had apparently written a letter to Eliza and Caroline had read it. In it Laurent had said that the Abbe Sicard was trying to convince Laurent to not return to the United States. Hope the Abbe was encouraging Laurent to immigrate Eliza and the baby too!

Well, Caroline, always good with words penned this about this subject.

“I have thought many times of what you wrote in our last letter to Mrs. Clerc that the Abbe Sicard wished you not to return to the United States. Oh! Do not be persuaded to leave the American deaf & dumb, they need you very much & your loss to them now would be greatly felt, yet I know I cannot but candidly acknowledge that the claims of your native land are far beyond courts. We already owe you much gratitude for so long remaining in this country & for your unwearied attentions to the deaf &dumb. I hope you will never doubt that this is the true feeling of your friends here & that your goodness in leaving your native place & assisting to establish the American Asylum will never be forgotten by any of the friends who love this benevolent institution.”

I had always wondered how people felt about Laurent and if someone really understood how he must have felt about his leaving his country to America. Caroline gets close.


P.S. Caroline married a Mr. Knickerbocker of Troy. Sarah Clerc, Laurent's second daughter carried on a correspondence with her cousin, Fanny Prescott, who was implicated in close relationship with a Mrs. Knickerbocker of Waterford, NY near Albany and Troy?

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