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We can not consider Laurent without mentioning his more immediate mentor, the Abbe Sicard. Theirs was an intense relationship and it was touch and go that America would benefit from Laurent’s energy and expertise. And what an incredible story Sicard had…

So we are not surprised to have Denison invoke him when talking of Laurent Clerc.

“The devotion of Sicard was no less touching. We can form some faint idea of the love and benevolence he manifested towards the deaf and dumb from the affection and gratitude they exhibited. When, during the Reign of Terror, Sicard was immured in the prison of the Abbaye, in hourly expectation of a violent death, Massieu, his favorite pupil, went without food and sleep until his release, and in one day more would have died of grief. At the head of his fellow pupils he appeared at the bar of the National Assembly of France and presented a petition, which expresses happily, yet boldly and tersely, the feelings of their hearts : "Mr. President," (thus runs the petition,) "they have taken from the deaf-mutes their instructor, their guardian, and their father. They have shut him up like a thief, a murderer. But he has killed no one ; he has stolen nothing. He is not a bad citizen. His whole time is spent in teaching us to love our country. He is good, just, pure. We àsk of you his liberty. Restore him to us, his children. He loves us with a father's fondness. He has taught us all we know. Without him we should be like the beasts. Since he was taken away we have been full of sorrow and distress. Return him to us, and you will make us happy."

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