MEMORIES OF LAURENT CLERC: JAMES DENISON
James is not done helping his audience remember Sicard’s own journey through the horrors of the Reign of Terror and the sacrifices he endured to sacrifice for the Deaf of France. It is amazing that Sicard even survived let alone stayed the course of educating others. Even more it is incredible that the Paris school continued to exist and function while surrounded by utter chaos and calamity. I often put forth that Laurent was as much an important role model of the modern Deaf man as that of an educator bringing forth a method of communication. All students need their role models to light the fire of learning and emotional development. Laurent surely had that in Sicard. -Laurent-
In his twelfth year Laurent Clerc was transferred from the paternal domicile on the banks of the Rhone to the institution under the charge of Sicard. It was in the year 1797. Napoleon had just fought and won the marvelous campaign of Italy. France, whose prophetic eyes beheld in him the hero of the future, hastened to place her welfare and her destinies at his feet. She allowed him to transform her fair domains into a military camp, with Paris for headquarters. Henceforth the sword and the musket were the sole passports to power and distinction. The pure flame of religion and the beneficent light of human progress paled in the lurid blaze of military glory. But Sicard, who had not been dismayed by the persecutions of the Reign of Terror, was not cast down when he saw that the ruler of France ignored his existence and looked coldly upon his cause. In the eighteen years that Laurent Clerc was associated with Sicard - during which period the star of Napoleon had risen above the horizon, attained its zenith, and set forever behind the lonely rock of St. Helena - he beheld his beloved teacher and friend ever at his post, applying himself, undisturbed by outside influences, to the sacred work of cultivating the minds and hearts of the neglected children of silence.