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MEMORIES OF LAURENT CLERC: JAMES DENISON


I think that Laurent indeed had a lot of regard for Sicard throughout his life. All his letters seem to indicate that he was forever grateful. He even waited until after Sicard’s death to convert from Catholicism to Episcopalian. Now that is respect.


“Until the last day of his life he continued to regard the Abbé Sicard with this reverence and devotion. We of this country and generation, with our educational advantages and opportunities, cannot perhaps fairly estimate the difficulties which De l'Epée and Sicard had to overcome in their endeavors to enlighten the deaf-mute mind.”


I think that this statement might be true. The approaches of France https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education_in_France and the United States https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education_in_the_United_States were different but there were some similarities when it came to the education of the Deaf?. The Asylum apparently was the first federally funded school in America. The state of Connecticut gave $5000 towards the institution. France of course was on the cutting edge around the Revolution with their support of the Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris and Laurent.


And really, no truer words were uttered when James spoke of the sacrifices of Laurent’s mentors and the conditions in which they found themselves. Truly inspirational.


The facilities at their disposal were utterly inadequate to the work. To gain pupils, they had to combat the distrust and prejudice of the poor ; to acquire indispensable means, they had to contend with the skepticism and indifference of the rich. In order that the cause of their hearts might live and triumph they denied themselves the necessaries of life, and refused tempting offers of wealth and distinction.”



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